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Old Nov 25, 2007, 2:23 PM   #1
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I'm a college student and beginner/amateur photographer. I took a film b&w photo class in high school (about 4 years ago), and loved it! However, after my class I bought my current camera, an Olympus C-4000 zoom. I wanted a camera that could serve as both a p&s and a way to learn more about photography. This turned out to be its biggest problem, because its too big for everyday shooting and too automated/menu-y for more advanced shooting. I've kind of lost my passion for photography due to the frustration with my camera. I realized, though, that I definitely miss it. I've decided that I need to get a dslr if I really want to learn photography and figure out at what level I want to keep photography in my life.

My budget is about $550, and I've narrowed down to the Canon XT, the Nikon D40, and the Nikon D40x. I went to a camera store this weekend and played with all 3 and some others. The nikons felt very comfortable in my hands, the canon felt very similar. Neither was clearly awkward in my hands. I have no old lenses, as my fslr is a vivitar 3800n. I may possibly have a flash, that I bought for the vivitar, but generally I have no old parts weighing into the decision. I will definitely be sticking with the kit lens, at least to start, because I doubt I'll be able to afford more lenses for awhile. My shooting style is not something I'm sure about. I really like to take pictures of my cats, but other than that I really just want to try shooting everything and see what happens.

Please help me narrow my choice down
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 2:30 PM   #2
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All of the 3 are quite capable cameras.

Ergonomics did not seem to be a deciding factor and that's important.

Given that fact: in your price range, the Nikons will have a slightly better kit lens than the Canon. BUT, the d40/d40x don't have a focus motor. So down the road you'll be limited to Nikon af-s and Sigma HSM lenses (signifying the lenses have focus motors). They are outstanding lenses but also more expensive. Also, none of the short prime lenses available for Nikon are currently AF-S. That may change in the future but no idea what the timeframe would be. That's really what it comes down to IMO (since ergonomics didn't produce a winner): the slightly better kit lens of Nikon vs. the overall lens availability advantage of Canon (vs. d40/40x). I don't think there's a right answer here.
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 2:39 PM   #3
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have you considered the pentax k100d or the samsung GX-1S? the GX-1S takes very nice pics, and the lens is very sharp - at least, the one we have is. and both are in your price range
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 2:51 PM   #4
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yes i've considered the pentax/samsung cameras. My original list was Canon XT/XTi, Nikon D40/x, Oly 330/410/510, Sony A100, Pentax k100d/super/samsung gx-1s. The XTi and A100 are too expensive. At the camera store I played with Oly 410 and 500 (they didn't have 330 or 510) and didn't like either so I took all 3 off the list. they didn't have the pentax/samsung either, but I just decided to focus on the canon/nikon because I felt really comfortable with either.
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 3:27 PM   #5
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Unless you are into post processing all of your images, the Nikon D-40 might be the best choice, as it has the best out of the camera images without any further photo editing/processing. I am a D-40 user and here is a sample photo.

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Old Nov 25, 2007, 3:46 PM   #6
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"I've decided that I need to get a dslr if I really want to learn photography..."

I'm not so sure you're ready...you didn't like taking pictures with your C-4000....

"...because its too big for everyday shooting and too automated/menu-y for more advanced shooting."

Too big? Are you kidding me? The C-4000 is like a compact compared to the XT...a mere 14 oz as opposed to 25 oz for the XT with an 18-55mm lens. If you couldn't handle the C-4000, how do you intend to deal with the XT? Hire a camera bearer? And what happens if you decide you like photography and start buying additional lenses? Throw a couple of prime lenses and a real big zoom in a bag and start lugging that around with you. And what advance shooting are you referring to? The C-4000 has manual mode, as well as aperture and shutter priority modes, manual focus, and it even takes video clips. What do you expect the DSLR is going to do for you? Give a couple examples of the 'advanced shooting' the DSLR will provide.

I'm not saying that the C-4000 is any competition for a DSLR, but maybe you should be looking at a new P&S with full manual features to learn on, at about half the size and weight of a DSLR, and a lot less money.

Think about it.

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Old Nov 25, 2007, 4:19 PM   #7
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Ths is more clarification, as previous poster requiested, on why I want a dslr.

The reason I bought the c-4000 is that I wanted a camera that could do both everyday automatic shots and manual features. At the time, the only reason I definitely didn't consider dslr was price. The fact that my camera is so mid-range turned oiut to be my problem with it.

On the P&S end, I'm a small female college student. A c-4000 does not fit into the pockets in girls clothes very well, and there are plenty of social events where a large camera or camera that requires a bag just looks out of place, and in some cases where it could be dangerous to have a camera that nice. It is especially awkward to have a camera with a neck-strap at a Sorority formal...

On the advanced/manual end, I didn't like that all of the manual controls on the c-4000 required using the menu to set them. I really hate that manual focus is managed by changing to the mode and then using the arrow buttons to change focal length. The thing that made me stop using manual features was almost definitely the fact that it required using menu buttons for things that seemed much more natural as rings and dials. By advanced shooting I mean actually learning photography. Learning how to compose, how to use light, how to control the camera settings. As much as I love electronic gadgets, I found that the electronic-manual thing didn't work for me. I considered some almost-dslrs but i realized that if the price is so close, I might as well get an slr incase it turns out that i want to keep going.

My actual plan is to get one camera on each end, a dslr to really learn photo on and a cheap p&s for taking to formals and other such events. I've decided to go with the dslr first because I want to make myself use it a lot without any other cameras being available as an option, to really go relearn what I've forgotten and go beyond.
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 5:10 PM   #8
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You don't need a DSLR to learn photography...you can learn all about composition, using light and camera settings with a modern bridge camera. It would be smaller, lighter and considerably less expensive than a DSLR with a kit lens. You have yet to state a valid reason for needing a DSLR. Rings and dials just isn't cutting it - some of the newer ultrazoom cameras have all the rings and dials you could ever want. But, since you've already convinced yourself you need a DSLR - go ahead...and good luck.

Oh, by the way, maybe you'd better take a look at the XT manual on-line...lots of menus and electronic things...you may not like it...

the Hun

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Old Nov 25, 2007, 5:34 PM   #9
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I've posted the same question on several forums, to try to get a wider array of answers since I like lots of information. On another site the suggestion was made by at least two people that since the bridge cameras I was looking at (fuji s6000 fd, s9100, panasonic something) cost almost as much as an entry-level dslr and since I was looking to grow into the hobby, the dslr offered the change to grow with me more than a bridge camera. If I really like photography, which I think I do, then the lenses I buy for this camera will move on with me. I don't get that with a bridge camera.

I've realized that just spending the last week online looking at cameras and photography forums has brought back a lot of the stuff I used to know. It also has suddenly made me want to actually use the camera I have hated for 4 years until I get a new one. I think the problem I've had with the c-4000 is the whole "right camera for me" thing. A lot of the responses to people looking for slrs say "buy the one that feels best to you because if it doesn't feel right it never will", and I don't think the c-4000 was ever completely comfortable to me. It was just the best I could do at the time. Thanks very much for your advice.
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Old Nov 25, 2007, 6:05 PM   #10
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Two more points, then I'll leave you alone...

1. "...the bridge cameras I was looking at (fuji s6000 fd, s9100, panasonic something) cost almost as much as an entry-level dslr..."

You can buy the Fuji S6000fd from a reputable online merchant (Amazon, Beach, etc.) for $349 (and, I believe there still is a $50 mail in rebate from Fuji in effect). That will give you a camera with full manual controls (including manual zoom and focus rings), and a 28-300mm lens. I don't think you can come close to that lens range with a DSLR for even twice that amount of money (especially if you buy OEM lenses).

2. "...the lenses I buy for this camera will move on with me."

Not necessarily...if you decide that sports photography is your thing, or birding, then the kit lenses you buy with your entry level DSLR will be essentially useless for those endeavors. Yeah, they will move on with you...in your closet.

Good luck with your decision. Safe trip back to school.

the Hun







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