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Old Aug 26, 2007, 10:40 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I've been following the discussions in here for a few weeks now, so i thought i'd add my dilemma and see if i can get some help fromsome ofthe helpful contributors on this site...

I am planning a 3 month trip to india (and some of south east asia) at the end of this year, and i need help choosing a camera for my trip. I've beentoIndiaonce before, and during that trip i used a sony 5mp point+shoot.. and i was disappointed by many of the results, especially the poor low light capability, and the slow responsiveness

Soafter doing some initial research, i thought an entry-level DSLR (withits bigger sensor, clearer crisper images, lens inter-changeability) would be exactly what i need..the options available in my price range are eithera Nikon D40, or a Canon 350D (secondhand)

However, upon more research, i have discovered that travelling with a DLSR (and a couple of lenses) could be a major pain in the a**, and that i might be better off with a really good point+shoot (the Canon G7 or A640 have been recommended by camera sales people).

So my question to you is, what would you do in my shoes? Should i go for a DLSR and take just one (light) lens (perhaps a 50mm 1.8 )with me?Or would i be better off with a point+shoot?

I should add that the purpose of my trip is for a holiday, not purely for photography, and my companions are not particularly keen photographers.. And also, i'm a complete amateur.. most of my photography 'experience' is limited to family occasions. BUT i'm very keen to learn more, and i'd love to come back with some beautiful pics of India..
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 11:46 PM   #2
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kiwigirl-

We are here to help you. A couple of questions please:

(!) I there a budget that we should be aware of for this project.

(2) Have you considered a dual answer? A minimal DSLR camera and a small point & shoot such as a Fuji F-20, F-31, or F-40. That would allow you to have the advatages of both type of cameras.

(3) Can we suggest some other P&S cameras? Those that have been suggested to you, are really not that good in a low light level shooting environment.

(4) A 50mm F 1.8 lens will not work on the D-40. Is a Sigma 30mm F 1.4 lens (it will work on the D-40) within your budget. Or can you locate a used Nikon D-50, on which the 50mm F 1.8 will work? Otherwise, we should consider going to your other DSLR choice which is the Canon 350D/X?

(5) Can you give the beginning date of your trip, so we can consider the learning curve factor of getting you started on a new camera?

If the budget is a problem, this 90 day trip could be done with one of the Fuji F-series cameras, I mentioned above. Please take a look at the Fuji cameras and what they are capable of in a low light levl shooting environment. A good place to begin is to check out the photo samples on www.pbase.com.

So let's get a dialogue started and I think that with all of us working together, we can get a solution for you that is workable and within your budget. Thanks in advance for your co-operation.

Sarah Joyce

Consider our questions, your budget, your confidence in learning a new camera, be it the DSLR or the point and shoot.
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 1:51 AM   #3
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Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your prompt response! To answer your questions:

1) Yes there is a budget. I can't afford more than NZ$800, which is roughly US$560

2) No, i hadn't considered a dual answer! Considering my limited budget, i figured i could only afford to buy one camera.. But that's a good idea...

3) Yes, I am open to suggestions about other P&S cameras - anything that's within my budget

4) Why won't a 50mm f1.8 work witha D40? And how much is a Sigma 30mm 1.4? I've had my uneducated eye on a 50mm 1.8 Nikon lense at my local camera shop, it retails for NZ$199.. Is a Sigma one much more expensive? And yes, actually, a quick look on the internet tells me i can locate a used D-50, the body-only is selling for NZ$550..

5) my trip begins mid-November this year! [and all this reading around has taught me that i really do need to buy my camera and practise with it before i head off..]

I recently borrowed a friend's Fuji s9000 for the weekend and took some pix of a local band in a nightclub and theyturned out pretty average. (i had the ISO quite high (800 then 1600)played around with the aperture settings, and the shutter speed.. but the light was just way too low..) and then took some pix in the middle of the day at a friend's engagement party and they turned out fabulous!

the s9000 is a chunky, SLR-like camera, and it was my first experience using one (perhaps i should post some pix.. hmmmm) but my point is, my interest in photography is more than fleeting. I'd really like to learn the ropes and be able to capture what i see.. so i'm willing to put in the time to learn how best to 'utilise' my camera.

having said that, perhaps it'd be better for me to take baby steps and start off with a a goodpoint&shoot, and upgrade as my skill improves?
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 3:42 AM   #4
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The Fuji S6000 is better in low light than the S9000, it shares the same lens (28 - 300mm) with manual zoom and focus rings, and is considerably cheaper than the S9000's replacement (S9100). Since it is SLR-like in size and shape, has manual functions as well as RAW, it might be a good one to consider.

If you want to go the two camera route, the Fuji F31 is the best low light P&S camera on the market...then have fun selecting a DSLR.

Good luck with your choice.

the Hun


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Old Aug 27, 2007, 12:37 PM   #5
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Kiwigirl-

Many thanks for your quick reply to our questions. Let's just summarize the working parts of this puzzle.

Budget: $ (NZ) 800.00 or approximately $(US) 560.00

Departure Date; Approximately 15 November

Firstly, to your question: The Nikon D-40 cannot use the Nikkor 50mm F 1.8 lens because the D-40 does not have an in camera focusing ability. The D-40 must use a lens with the focusing moter within the lens. That is why a suggestion was made to look for a used Nikon D-50 which does have the focusing power within the camera and is able to use the Nikkor 50mm F 1.8 lens.

Secondly, the Sigma 30mm F 1.4 lens does have a focusing moter within the lens and it is made for the Nikon mount. I personally purchased my Sigma 30mm lens on E-Bay for $(US) 300.00, which would be be approximately $(NZ) 429.00 which does seem like a strain on your budget. The Sigma 30mm is a great lens, but adding one to your kit would probably cost a bit too much.

Rinnie's suggestion of the Fuji S-6000 is an excellent idea. It has that same Fuji 28-300mm lens that you used on the Fuji S-9000. However the Fuji S-6000, although just about the same size as the S-9000 (see photo) has a much better low ligh level shooting capability. But, it does not have any IS (image stabilization).



If you felt the need for IS, which is a very good idea for any long zoom camera, and is something that I would recommend, you might give some consideration to the Sony H-2 or H-5 models. They are really wonderful ultra zoom cameras with a full 12X optical zoom and IS. A used Sony H-2 sells here in the USA for right around $(US) 200.00 or $(NZ) 286.00. The H-2 and H-5 are not as capable as the Fuji S-6000, but they do quite well at ISO settings of 400 and 800. So they could provide a higher ISO capability along with IS which I think might be a better compromise. They also, like the Fuji S-6000 would allow a one camera solution, capable of macro shots, zoom in the case of the S-6000 to 300mm, and in the case of the Sony H-2/H-9 cameras, zoom all the way to 432mm. They also would allow you to take video clips, which a Nikon D-40 could not do at all. I would lean toward the Sony H-2/H-9 choice due to their extended zoom and their IS capability. Below you can see a no flash, ISO 400 example from the Sony H-5.



As you can see from the photo below, the Sony H-5 is measureably smaller in physical size than the Fuji S-6000 and it has more MP's as well. It also have an excellent 3 inch LCD Screen as well that makes framing low light level shots a good deal easier.



I know we are tossing out a lot of ideas all at once, but give some consideration to the Fuji S-6000 (as you have alreay used a friend's S-9000), and especially to the Sony H-2 or H-5 cameras. Any of these three cameras will keep you within your budget, have an easier learning curve, and will be much more capable than a Nikon D-40 with a 30 or 50mm lens on it. All in all these three cameras will make much better travel companions due to their increase capabilities.

BTW If you are wondering how I just happen to have all these cameras to take photo of when needed, I am a professional digital camera instructor, and a photographer for over half a century.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 12:40 AM   #6
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Hi Sarah,

Apologies for the delayed response. I was under the misapprehension that i'd get an email notifiying me of any responses.. but alas, i was wrong...

Thank you for your comprehensive advice. What luck, to strike such an experienced photographer, aprofessional digital camera instructor no less!

All you say about the Sony H-5 has me interested. My only concern at this stage is what i've heard about Sony cameras not being as 'good' as brands like Canon or Nikon which focus on manufacturingcameras.. Is this true, or just an urban legend? Is there a difference in 'sensor size' or something technical?

Or will the difference in the cameras make little difference in my hands? (considering my lack of expertise)
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 9:07 AM   #7
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Kiwigirl,

Welcome to India, You have chosen your iternity very wisely.As far as I can see Sarah has given you a very nice advise about cam.

Personally I feel you should stick to all purpose cam.Changing the lens in dslr is a bit worrysome . Chanes of havingdirt in sensor is quite high.

When I move in India, I travel with my FZ-30 and A-640. B'coz it is easy to cancel from public view.So I take my pictures without any hinderance.



Second advantage is portability. Ease to composewith zooming in & zooming out is admireable.

Even if you tend to go for dslr then buyonegeneral purpose lense . something on the range 28 -135 mm will be suffice. And Plz put some filter just to protect the lens
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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kiwigirl-

I use the Canon S-2, S-3, S-5, the A-710 and the Sony W-80, H-2, H-5, and H-9 when teaching. I use those cameras for students who have not made a final choice on a camera and who want to try out several cameras. Almost without exception, the students choose the Sony H-2, and the photos that the H-2 produces do look better. So I sincerely believe that the admonition that you must go with Canon or Nikon is something of an urban legend.

I suggested the H-2 because of its 12X optical zoom and Image Stabilization, thus making it an ideal travel camera that is able to zoom when desired, but still equally capable of those close-up shots as well. The H-2 is a 6mp camera with a 2.5 inch LCD screen. The H-5 is a 7mp camera with a 3.0 inch LCD screen. The two cameras use the same Carl Zeiss lens. I suggested the H-2 or H-5 because they offer you the greatest flexibility in your travel oriented shooting and the best optical quality.

Of course it is always your choice. I am just making suggestions. I will also include a H-2 photo that shows quite well what the camera can do. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 3, 2007, 11:59 PM   #9
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Thank you Sarah! (and The Hun, and mcliu)

Having considered this, i am pretty much convinced that i should get myself one 'ultrazoom' camera, and leave behind the hassles of changing lenses, carrying extra gear etc etc..

I've been watching a couple of auctions on the H-2 and H-5 on a local website here, but before i buy i'd like to actually hold the camera and play around with it.. unfortunately there is a serious lack of well-stocked camera shops in my neighbourhood (they've only got the H-9 on the shelves) I'm leaning towards the Sony option now - it is a much prettier camera! and image stabilization will be very handy...
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Old Sep 4, 2007, 9:56 AM   #10
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Kiwigirl-

I have attached a photo of the H-2 sitting right beside the H-9. As you can see the H-2 is slightly smaller than the H-9, and the grip is the same. So, physically handling the H-9 and then reducing it in size by 10% should give you a very close approximation indeed of how the H-2 would feel in hand.



I personally much prefer the menu and the controls layout on the H-2 to the H-9. This photo shows the control setup of the H-2.



Beyond these photos, I cannot do more than to be ready to answer any and all questions you might have. As a digital camera instructor who uses my three H-2 cameras for my students on a regular basis during our shooting sessions, I can share with you that I have never had a student dislike the H-2. It is just the opposite. There is usually a ruch to see who gets to use the H-2 cameras. They love those H-2 cameras.

If possible get the H-2 rather than the H-5 camera, The H-2 is sharper and easier to use. I hope this helps and I will be happy to answer any and all of your questions. have a great day!

Sarah Joyce
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