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Old Oct 23, 2007, 12:22 PM   #1
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Well, its been about 2 years since I actively posted here.

I have been neglecting the photography thing for a while, and then about a month ago my Canon S2 IS got stolen.

And of course now I will be going on a holiday with quite a bit of photography opportunities.

What should I get? I feel that one cant go wrong with Canon (and I can get one for about 10% off retail price.

But from what I read, the Nikon just "feels" better. The Pentax of course is cheaper. The Minolta and Sony variants have in body IS. (I LOVE IS)

Or should I just be stingy and get a S5 IS or something in that class? Stick to what I know?
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Old Oct 23, 2007, 12:42 PM   #2
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What models are you looking at now?

Do you have any existing lenses?

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The Minolta and Sony variants have in body IS. (I LOVE IS)
Yes, the built in stabilization is nice to have with primes in low light.

Here's one I've posted before, taken with a hand held Sony DSLR-A700 at ISO 3200, 1/20 second with a Minolta 100mm f/2 Autofocus lens at f/2.5

[img]attachment.php?id=111576[/img]

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Old Oct 23, 2007, 1:00 PM   #3
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I looked at the Nikon D40 and the Pentax K100D. (which surprisingly enough also have IS)
But I get the feeling that the Pentax is not quite of the same quality as the Canon and Nikon. I could only see a price for the Sony A100, not the A700. The A700 looks a bit expensive for me. Its hard to give you a $ value, as here in South Africa it some items are more expensive or less expensive than they should be.

I dont have any lenses, and plan on using the kit lens for a while, and then investing in a sigma macro lens and a sigma telephoto after that.

Do IS work better (or only) with prime lenses? Primes are aparanly better (are they?), but not quite as cost effective as variable focal length lenses.

The thing is, after the 4th or so review, I have no idea what I want anymore.
What put me off the Pentax is that the autofocus speed and shutter lag seems to be about the same as my S2 IS' was.

What I dislike about most of the new cameras is the aggresive noise reduction, but then I also dislike lots of noise..... see why I get confused when I read a lot of reviews?
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Old Oct 23, 2007, 1:21 PM   #4
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Stabilization can help with any of them if your shutter speeds are slower than you can hold a camera without blur from camera shake.

You can get brighter primes compared to zooms in many focal lengths, and they are stabilized in low light on a KM or Sony dSLR body. I like that part. Of course, I'm biased since I'm using a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and Sony DSLR-A700 with some Minolta primes (like my Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 Autofocus lenses). You can find brighter Minolta AF lenses on the used market in many focal lenghts, too (35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4).

Buying new, Sony offers lots of bright Autofocus Primes, including a 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, Carl Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, 300mm f/2.8 SSM and more.

A general rule of thumb for shutter speeds needed to prevent blur at typical viewing and print sizes is 1/focal length for a hand held camera. For example, 1/50 second or faster at 50mm, 1/100 second or faster at 100mm, etc. Camera shake is magnified as focal lengths get longer (movement occurs across more of the frame with a narrower angle of view).

Some people can hold a camera steadier than others, so it's only a rule of thumb.

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Old Oct 26, 2007, 8:38 PM   #5
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The Sony A-100 is a bargain, the Sony A-700 is a serious artistic instrument, in my opinion.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 26, 2007, 11:08 PM   #6
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I have the A-100 and have been very satisfied with the camera. The stabilization feature is great to have and the chance to use a lot of old Minolta lens is a real plus. I would try to stay away from Sigma though. I have the 70-300 Apo and it has been repaired twice already. I would try to get my hands on the 70=210 F4 beercan lens. They are always on Ebay for about $150. They are very sharp and really built to last. Mine is probably about 20 years old and it has been rock solid reliable unlike the Sigma. C. W.
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Old Oct 27, 2007, 1:33 PM   #7
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I'm another one who finds in-camera IS to be particularly useful. I have the Pentax K100 (and K10) and have been really happy with the results. I also have a number of old lenses and love the quality - if you decide to go for the Sony I wouldn't hesitate to learn about older Minolta lenses and venturing into the used lens market. The big thing is to learn about what lenses are good and which aren't - all of the major lens manufacturers have made excellent as well as lousy lenses over the years.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 1:24 AM   #8
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my husband has a canon 20D but wanted a second camera to just take around, so he recently got a samsung dslr that is the equivalent of the pentax *st. the raws are sharp, clear and very good quality - and are a higher bitrate than the canon. i find the samsung more comfortable to hold than the canon rebels or the nikon D40s, and more comfortable is important when buying a camera.

btw, i don't think getting an S5 would be stingy at all. i have a canon 30D, but i think the S5 is pretty cool, and so do the professional reviewer i've read. i'm planning to pick one up in the very near future as a camera i can take with me all the time.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 9:31 AM   #9
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Thanks to all those who replied.

Is there anything about the camera's I've listed that you dont like? The digital market is quite mature and its usually the shortcommings more than what you have that define your experience with a camera.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 13, 2007, 9:44 AM   #10
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There are pros and cons to any of them.

The new entry level Nikon models (D40, D40x) can be handicapped because of the lack of bright primes with AF-S (which means no Autofocus on these bodies with many lenses), with only more expensive alternatives in some focal length lenses and no alternatives in some lenses unless you want to use manual focus.

Take this thread asking about the best lenses for sports to see an example of how that can be a big problem for some low light use (because nobody makes bright primes with built in focus motors in some of the focal lengths you may want to use in some conditions, like low light indoor sports):

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=66

The Sony DSLR-A100 tends to have a bit higher noise levels than some of it's competitiors using the same sensor as ISO speeds are increased. But, at the same time, it's more sensitive than set (for example, it's ISO 1600 setting is really ISO 2000), and it's applying less noise reduction compared to most of it's competitors (so more detail is being retained).

The older Konica Minolta 5D that the DSLR-A100 was based on was much better in this area, thanks to a 6MP sensor with larger photosites for each pixel. The new DSLR-A700 is superb in this area, thanks to a new sensor design and improved noise reduction algorithms. But, if you don't plan on taking a lot of low light photos of non-stationary subjects without a flash, then you probably don't need the highest ISO speed settings anyway using a model like the DSLR-A100 (and the Stabilization built into the body helps to reduce the need for higher ISO speeds if you're shooting non-stationary subjects).

The Pentax models tend to have less choices available in Autofocus Lenses in the used market compared to other brands. I can remember looking through listings for both new and used lenses a while back and decided that I wouldn't consider Pentax for that reason (they were very hard to find in the focal lengths I was interested in). But, the market is full of Manual Focus lenses that would work on one, and lens availability for AF lenses is now improving some (although you'll see very few Autofocus Lenses in used listings at popular dealers compared to Nikon, Canon and Minolta/Sony mount cameras).

I'd figure out what you may need in lenses first (for the types of subjects you want to shoot, and the conditions you'll be shooting in). Then, do some shopping of new and used lens listings to make sure you can live with what's available in a given lens mount, before deciding on camera model.

I'd also consider a camera's performance (AF speed, cycle time between photos, number of images in a burst before the camera slows down, flush times to the memory card with a full buffer, etc.) if you plan on doing sports or other types of shooting where these areas become more critical for a higher percentage of keepers. There is a pretty huge difference in things like AF speed and write speed to memory cards between some of these cameras.

Steve usually goes into that type of thing in each model's review conclusion section here.

But, if you don't have any special requirements (i.e, low light sports, etc.), most any of them can take great photos in the conditions most users would use a camera in.

All of the entry level Nikon, Sony and Pentax DSLR models are using Sony sensors. So, most of the differences between them are in other areas (AF speed, buffer size, write speed to media, ergonomics/control layout, viewfinder, image processing/noise reduction algorithms, lens availability, etc.).

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