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Old Aug 10, 2007, 8:24 PM   #1
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i have read and read and read all the reviews and opinions and i think i'm just confusing myself even more. i just sold my point and shoot and want to learn how to make use of the features of a dslr to take better and more artistic family photos. i will usually just be making smaller prints but i plan to also make bigger enlargements. as a matter of fact it was some enlargements i made from my p&s that motivated this decision. i took some files over to the local lab for some 11x14 enlargements. the guy working said the files would be plenty big (from a 5mp camera) and look good. when i picked them up i was dissapointed with what i saw. they looked ok but the noise and overall quality were evident. i should mention i was shooting with a sony dsc-t3 (had to import from japan).

so here i am excited to make this transition. price is a little bit of an issue. if i can save money with the pentax and be happy with the performance and picture quality then i'll go that route. but if the canon or olympus will stay with me longer i'm not opposed to spending the money.

will the 6 vs 8 vs 10 mp make that much of a difference in an 11x14 print? any advice is appreciated. thanks.

p.s. there are some great shops near me here in los angeles (bel air and samy's). what are your opinions on buying from one of them vs buying and saving money online?
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 9:13 PM   #2
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All of the entry dSLR cameras are really capable and will give you lots of great pictures - that's the good news (so don't fret too much over your choice).

One of the most important thing to consider is how do the cameras fit in your hand. Are the controls easy to reach? Is the camera going to be too heavy or light, too big or small? Best thing to do is go to a camera store and handle all 3 cameras. The other thing to consider is how important is anti-shake. It doesn't matter for some but will be very important for others. That might influence your choice.

I happen to have both the Pentax K100 and K10, and do not find the K100 limiting at all (I use both quite often - keep different types of lenses on each one so I don't have to change lenses as often). I've never printed anything larger than 8x10, but they've looked very good. In fact, the 6 mp sensor on the K100 has less noise than the 10 mp sensor on the K10, so I tend it choose it when I'm shooting in really low light. Having 10 mp is nice if you are shooting birds or wildlife and do significantly cropping, but otherwise I'm perfectly happy with the image quality of the K100.

As far as buying from Bel Air or Samys vs. on-line - I've bought 3 cameras, 2 lenses and a monitor calibrator from B&H (old-time photo store that's had a large mail-order and now internet business) and highly recommend them. On the other hand, Bel Air was one of the first places in the US to have a newly released Pentax lens last week, I picked up my pre-ordered one on Monday. They are more expensive for items that have been out for a while but they have good service and a good stock of everything photographic. It's really nice to have a local place to go, actually handle the cameras, and then walk out of the store with what you want; a place that knows something about photography. As long as I'm buying a hot item that's not discounted anywhere (reliable) I'll happily give my money to a local shop.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 10:59 PM   #3
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thanks for the great reply mtngal. it's making me gravitate toward the pentax. i've read nothing but great reviews about it and the sample pics i've seen look great too. i guess the only hold up i have is the 6mp resolution. i'll definitely want to get enlargements bigger than 8x10 at times so i want to be sure that the files will be enough. great advice to hold and handle them too. i was definitely planning on doing that.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 1:22 AM   #4
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Hi alleyooptroop I have the Pentax K100D and also a Canon SD500 (P&S). The Pentax is 6mp and the Canon is 7mp. I too was concerned about the loss of megapixels, however I did not want a larger, heaver, more complex body (the K10D). So, I bit the bullet and went with the K100D and have not regretted the decision.

Yes, its only 6mp, but it really does not matter. The additional real estate is only really useful if your croping image. Its a very good camera, with all the controls that most people could want. There are a few limitiations - bursts of 3 images in quick succession, etc. However, these limitations will probably never be an issue.

On the megapixel issue, there are several good articles on line that address it, and anything over 5mp is just fine. Also, hop over to the Pentax forum here and see some examples and discussions. Over the last year, I can't remember anyone complaining that 6mp was too limiting for general use. - Actually - repost the question over there and see the response that you get....

Here is a site on megapixels -
http://cameras.about.com/cs/choosing...megapixels.htm
http://www.melbpc.org.au/pcupdate/2303/2303article4.htm
http://www.kneson.com/news/200608/200608.html
http://www.dansdata.com/gz059.htm
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...s-demyst.shtml http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...ounting1.shtml
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...solution.shtml http://www.targetwoman.com/articles/...largement.html


hope that helps..

PS - Pentax has a rebate, so remember to apply and save about $100.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 10:20 AM   #5
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alleyooptroop-

Either the Nikon D-40 or the Pentax K-100D are really sufficient for me, as well as excellent cameras. Yes indeed, I had some real qualms about 6mp. But I have never felt held back or limited by the 6mp bogey man. Certainly the current rebate on the Pentax K100D makes it even more attractive.

There are those who want to tell you that the Pentax system lacks a wide lens selection of lenses. I actually did not find that to me true at all, but then I am a person who has a foot in the point and shoot camp and the DSLR camp. I carry a Pentax K-100 with a Sigma 18-125mm lens mounted on it and a Canon S-5 ultrazoom in my purse/camera bag. That way I cover a 28mm (in 35mm terms) wide angle all the way out to 432mm (in 35mm terms) providing the light is good, and I can also capture excellent video clips as well.

Your meleage may vary, but your DSLR kit can be as big or as small as you want to make it. In the meantime, you will be getting the photos that you really want.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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Best bang for the bucks, Pentax K100D, hands down. Quality with good price says it all!
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 1:33 PM   #7
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All the cameras you've mentioned will do a fine job for you, even though they are all very different. And as mtngal has written, how the camera feels to you is the most important factor when selecting a camera. If you can't comfortably hold the camera or locate the controls, you'll be less likely to use thecamera to its full potential, and yours.

You say you're interested in creating 11x14 prints, and any of these cameras will be able to do that, but if you want to do any cropping or other post-processing, starting with a 10MP image will give better results than starting with a 6MP image.

An important distinction for the cameras you've selected, is that Olympus makes the smallest, lightest dSLRs available. It does this by using a physically smaller image sensor. As a consequence, for the same field of view, an Olympus dSLR can use smaller, lighter lenses than the Canon or Pentax. An unfortunate side effect, however, is that Olympus dSLRs have greater depth of field at a given focal length and aperture than the Canon or Pentax, and many people prefer to have less depth of field for some types of photography, like portraiture and close-up work.

Another distinction among the three dSLRs, is the methods they use for image stabilization. The Canon dSLR has no facility for image stabilization and relies entirely on image stabilization within some of it's lenses. The Pentax uses the 'sensor shift' method of image stabilization, which means that the camera actually moves the sensor around within the camera body to compensate for camera shake. The Olympus E-410 uses 'digital image stabilization' which means that the sensor has a few extra pixels around the outside of the image, and when the camera detects that it is being shaken, it shifts the the range of pixels it uses to create the image. This last type of image stabilization is widely used in camcorders, but is generally considered to provide lower quality images than the other two methods. (The higher end, more expensive Olympus E-510 uses the 'sensor shift' method of image stabilization.)

Image stabilization is most effective at longer focal lengths and indoor/low light photography, so I don't know how useful it might be for you, since you don't mention what you'll be using the camera for.

Can you let us know what you've got in mind for your next camera?

Also, I agree that, when you can support your local photography store, you should (within limits, of course.)


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Old Aug 11, 2007, 1:34 PM   #8
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Mingsdad I really like to save money. So please take a very good look at the rebates being offered by Pentax, IMHO one of the best rebates is to be obtained by purchasing the Pentax K100D with the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens and the Pentax 50-200mm lens at the same time. That would allow you to cover in 35mm terms a focal length range of 28mm to 300mm all with SR at a really great price.

I will attach a sample from that Pentax 50-200mm lens for your reference.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 2:45 PM   #9
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thanks interested and sarah. great info. i read all the articles about pixel resolution but still feel like i didn't get a firm answer on whether a 6mp file will look good in a 16x20 enlargement. the one article talked about a certain amount of pixelation being ok if you're viewing it at a distance but i want super sharp, high quality prints at that size that look good with your nose right up to it. anyone know if that's possible? if so i think i will go the pentax route.

also, no one has chimed in on the olympus. it seems to rate behind the canon and pentax from what i've read.

i was at target this morning and got to hold both the canon and the nikon d40. the canon did feel cheap. it was the plastic metallic version. i wonder if the all black version would feel different. the nikon definitely felt better. can't wait to hold the olympus and pentax.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 2:50 PM   #10
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thanks for the info tcav. i'll mostly be using the camera for family photos but hopefully with all the new tools at my disposal i'll be shooting other things. i'm going to venture over to bel air camera or samys to see if they have examples of enlargements from different camera resolutions.
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