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Old Nov 4, 2007, 2:00 PM   #1
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I have always wanted a SLR camera but figured that I wouldn't know how to use it. I took a photo course to see if I was really ready for a dslr and would know how to take advantage of one. I think I am ready to try one and have been reading the posts on different ones to try and decide which one fills my needs without going overboard.

At first I thought the E510 was the answer but after the course I am not sure I want or need to spend that much money. Maybe I should start out with something less expensive and see how it goes. I can add along the way as my abilities progress.

What I want to be able to shoot? I almost bought a bridge camera couple of years ago because I wanted a long zoom for travel and outdoors. I could never make up my mind so I held off. Kept thinking dslr for not much more. I also have a new grandchild so will be wanting to shoot indoors. She will grow up quickly and will want to shoot action shots as well. Won't even go in fast action low lights, can't afford it and my abilities aren't there yet (or my pocketbook).

So here are the ones I am considering. A Pentax k100d super: great price right now and could add the Pentax 50-200lens's and not break the bank. Might even add a 50mm prime for those indoor low light shots in the not too distant future. Am I right in thinking I could add one for a bout $80? People like the Pentax and I have seen great results using just those lenses. Though to be fair I have seen great photos from them all.

Nikon D40, my son-in-law has this and he has been happy with it, but for some reason it hasn't appealed to me. The Pentax is cheaper has IS and dust reduction which that one doesn't.

Canon XT, maybe even XTI becauseit is suppose to be quicker on theAF, hadn't thought about this one because while IQ is suppose to be great all the reviews tell you to go out and buy a better lens then show you a gallery with shots that used a $400 to $1500 lens's and say" See what great pictures this can take?" Wouldn't they all take GREAT (or better)pictures with the addition of a $700 lens's? I would hope so! I noticed the samples on this site even shot some of theirs with sharpness at +1. Not sure what that was about. Maybe they would look like all the others if left at default settings. Many reviews say things like don't use out of the box settings for best results on different cameras for various reasons.


At this point I am thinking Pentax due to cost to start with and lower cost to add lenses down the line. Has dust reduction, in-camera IS. I wasn't super impressed with the sample photos from some of the reviews but they all say it is very capable.


Nikon D40 is better at low light, but then so is the Canon,and user friendly layout I think. My son-in-laws pictures look good. IS through more expensive lenses and no dust reduction.

Canon XT/XTI I like the different Picture styles that can be downloaded to the camera. I know I can probably do this with adjusting different settings in all of them when I learn more but would be nice for someone like me just starting out and trying to learneverything.Rated well by all of the reviews (read add different lens's) Is their kit lens's that bad? I also read it was rated for 50,000 shots some place. Are all the cameras I am looking at kind of rated for the same amount of photos and I have just missed it in their reviews? With all the pictures I shot just trying out different things it doesn't seem all that high considering I was thinking I would have this camera for quite some time.


I know this is a long post and I thank anyone that has lasted through the whole things. I guess as a newbie I am wondering if I could tell the difference among these cameras all taking the same shots. I can tell if a picture is sharp, if there is detail lacking or has noise even if I dont know how to adjust for it. Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this. Is there anything I am missing?
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 2:54 PM   #2
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notaclue wrote:
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So here are the ones I am considering. A Pentax k100d super: great price right now and could add the Pentax 50-200lens's and not break the bank. Might even add a 50mm prime for those indoor low light shots in the not too distant future. Am I right in thinking I could add one for a bout $80?
You're right, and that's a great plan. And the Pentax 50mmlenses are all excellent, but the f/1.4 is about $200, and the f/1.7 is hard to find.

notaclue wrote:
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Nikon D40, my son-in-law has this and he has been happy with it, but for some reason it hasn't appealed to me. The Pentax is cheaper has IS and dust reduction which that one doesn't.
Just a few of the reasons not to go with the D40. But there is a good one to go with the D40: you can borrow his lenses and stuff. But there is another one notgo one to go with the D40: he can borrow your lenses and stuff. [suB]:-)[/suB]

notaclue wrote:
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Canon XT, maybe even XTI becauseit is suppose to be quicker on theAF, hadn't thought about this one because while IQ is suppose to be great all the reviews tell you to go out and buy a better lens then show you a gallery with shots that used a $400 to $1500 lens's and say" See what great pictures this can take?" Wouldn't they all take GREAT (or better)pictures with the addition of a $700 lens's? I would hope so! I noticed the samples on this site even shot some of theirs with sharpness at +1. Not sure what that was about. Maybe they would look like all the others if left at default settings. Many reviews say things like don't use out of the box settings for best results on different cameras for various reasons.
Yes, as kit lenses go, the Canon's is the least among equals. But Canon does have the least expensive 50mm prime, and it is also very good. You could just buy the XT (or XTi) body and the 50mm f/1.8 to start. It's a fine lens and will work well for photos of an infant/toddler. It's a little long for group photo's though, but Canon also has the 28mm f/2.8 for less that $200.

notaclue wrote:
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At this point I am thinking Pentax due to cost to start with and lower cost to add lenses down the line. Has dust reduction, in-camera IS. I wasn't super impressed with the sample photos from some of the reviews but they all say it is very capable.
Very true.

notaclue wrote:
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Nikon D40 is better at low light, but then so is the Canon,and user friendly layout I think. My son-in-laws pictures look good. IS through more expensive lenses and no dust reduction.
The advantage of IS in the body is that you only have to pay for it once. With Nikon and Canon, you pay for it with each lens (and it ain't cheap!)

The pros and cons of IS have been discussed here ad nauseum, but I think the greatest argument for getting it is this: If you've got it, you can turn it off; if you don't have it, you can't turn it on.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 3:06 PM   #3
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All of the cameras you are considering are capable of taking outstanding pictures. You'll probably get responses from someone who uses all of the cameras you are considering and are completely satisfied, so rest assured that no matter which you choose, you'll have a camera that has the potential to take some outstanding pictures. I've never been much for scene modes but my background was with a basic semi-automatic Pentax ME (set the aperture on the lens, the camera chose the shutter speed) that I used for over 20 years.

I happen to have the Pentax K100 and the K10. My K100 is the older one without the dust removal, while the K10 has it. My personal opinion is that it doesn't work very well, and it wouldn't be a make-or-break feature for me. Dust hasn't been a big deal for me - I've learned how to change lenses quickly and rarely have a problem (put your back to the wind, have the new lens with the rear cap off ready to go on the camera in one hand. Use the other hand to remove the old lens at the same time you put the new lens in place). What dust I've found gets blown off easily with a couple of puffs with ahand air blower. A better buy might be a close-out deal on an earlier K100 (non-Super variety). The IS - called SR by Pentax - really works well for me and is available on the K100, K100 Super and K10. I find it really useful and since you are talking about long lenses, it becomes more important than if you were only using a wide-angle lens. The DA 50-200 is a nice lens, and relatively small so you can slip it in a pocket.

As far as some things to think about that you've missed - you mentioned an interest in the Oly E510 but said that you didn't want to spend so much right off. If your ultimate goal is to get the Oly (or it's replacement down the line), then ONLY buy another Oly. When you buy a dSLR you are buying into a lens system and your lenses will ultimately cost much more than your camera body. You can't use a lens made for a Nikon camera mount on a Canon or a Pentax. So whatever camera you buy now, you'll want to stay with that manufacturer/lens system. You'll want to keep that in mind when you start looking at cameras.

The next thing that you should think about is how comfortable it is to use that particular camera. Some people would find one camera might feel cramped/too small, while someone else would love it. Some find that they prefer one viewfinder over another one - that might be important if you use the camera a lot. Perhaps your fingers are too short to easily reach some controls. At the moment I'm still getting over elbow problems and find the extra weight of the K10 a real problem at times - others might not notice it at all. There's no one-size-fits-all camera so it's important to handle them in the store for a while, make sure you can reach all the controls.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 6:45 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for your responses. You are answering what I have been wondering. As far as sharing lens with my son-in-law, they are the ones with the new baby so they will not be adding anything soon. He has just the kit lens that came with the camera and just recently bought a flash. He could use my lens if I bought one though if I went with the Nikon, but that is not enough of a reason to purchase a camera brand:-).

The reason I had considered the Oly is because it came with the two lens that I thought I would want and it had gotten such good reviews. What I have now is a Oly 2040Z and a Fuji F20 that I bought this summer for a pocket camera. I always thought my Oly took nice pics when I used it right. It has that F1.8 lens that is nice and bright. When I started looking for a new camera I realized how much people like the brighter lens for portrait work, that is when I thought I would probably want to add the 50mm no matter which camera I purchased. I may only be saving $300 going with a Pentax setup but that is a lot to me. It seems like the D10 was a lot bigger in my hands. I did try it with used MF lens they had on hand to see what it was like to use a MF. I wouldn't mind that for long zoom because I probably wouldn't be using it for much action, and I would have the SR built in. I did snap off a few photos on y own card to compare and unfortunately it was set to a lower quality so I couldn't make any real conclusion. Had I been able to pick one up at Circuit City with the $100 rebate and the additional $50 for AAA members it would have been around $360. Pretty hard to beat. As it is it will probably be more like $400.

I know what you mean about weight and size, I hope to get to see them again in person this week. While looking at the Nikon I seem to remember that I felt like the wheel was kind of hard to reach. One gal in my class had the Nikon D80 with the 18-135 lens and I remember thinking that I would not want to haul that around. While they probably aren't that much larger they sure seem like it. My hands are starting to give out and I think weight will matter and heavier lenses.

For some reason it seems that I thought the Canon's viewfinder seemed darker than the Nikon and I even asked the sales clerk and they thought so too. Not that the Pentax was the brightest but it seemed brighter and the Nikon was the brightest.

I guess the only thing I still wondered about is the 50,000 shot question. Is that true for all cameras in this price point? Thanks for your time and help. I am still interested to see if anyone else has any input on this topic.

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Old Nov 4, 2007, 6:49 PM   #5
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Not much to add to the excellent advice you've gotten from TCav and mtngal, but one clarification. You mentioned thinking you could buy a 50mm high speed lens for about $ 80. You should be able to get a manual focus version of that lens (a 2.0 or 1.7) cheaper than that, and perhaps even an f1.4 MF for about that. The lens TCav mentions at about $ 200 is the FA-50mm....a wonderful AF lens (Need I say it's one of my favorite lenses that I have, lol)
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 7:10 PM   #6
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One other issue, since you mentioned it, is that each of the cameras you mentioned has an excellent bright 50mm lens for portrait work, but the Nikon D40 won't autofocus the Nikkors.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 9:14 PM   #7
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Personally, I think any Nikon body would be a good choice with the 18-200 VR, the 70-300 VR, SB600 flash and, if you have any money left, the excellent Nikon 105mm VR macro. That way you will have invested in good glass and will have a lens for every occasion.


Regards,

The son-in-law :blah:
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 6:00 AM   #8
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notaclue wrote:
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... My hands are starting to give out and I think weight will matter and heavier lenses. ...
jonathanwylie wrote:

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Personally, I think any Nikon body would be a good choice with the 18-200 VR, the 70-300 VR, SB600 flash and, if you have any money left, the excellent Nikon 105mm VR macro. That way you will have invested in good glass and will have a lens for every occasion.
18-200 VR: 19.8 oz.
70-300 VR: 26.3 oz.
SB600 flash: 10.6 oz.
105mm VR macro: 27.9 oz.

To be sure, these are very good products, but they may not suit notaclue very well. The lightest lens in your list weighs over a pound, and is the one she'd most likely need the 10.6 oz. SB600 for. That combination comes to 30.4 oz.! That's on top of the D40's 17 oz., for a total of 47.4 oz.! That's almost 3 pounds! ... for someone that has already said "weight will matter"!

That's a lot of weight for grandma to carry arround to get photos of her grandchildren. Don't you think?

All of which raisesa reason why notaclue should reconsider the Olympus E-510. Olympus makes the smallest and lightest dSLRs and, for equivalent angles of view, the smallest and lightest lenses too. And the E-510 has sensor shift image stabilization too. (The E-410 uses digital image stabilization, which isn't as good.)
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 6:27 AM   #9
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That last post I believe was my son-in-law making out his wish list:|. If you notice he is the one with the Nikon camera. After reading what people have suggested I did think about the E510 again. Do you have any idea what a 50mm prime for that camera runs? I don't see myself adding a bunch of lens, just the 3 that I have mentioned. TheE510 does come with the 2 and then at some point I could add the prime.That should do me fine. Thanks
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 6:40 AM   #10
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TCav wrote
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To be sure, these are very good products, but they may not suit notaclue very well. The lightest lens in your list weighs over a pound, and is the one he'd most likely need the 10.6 oz. SB600 for. That combination comes to 30.4 oz.! That's on top of the D40's 17 oz., for a total of 47.4 oz.! That's almost 3 pounds! ... for someone that has already said "weight will matter"!

That's a lot of weight for grandpa to carry arround to get photos of his grandchildren. Don't you think?
Yes, tongue was very firmly in cheek. I really AM the son-in-law and have a Nikon D40. As long as she is able to drag those heavy lenses over to my house, I will be happy. :G
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