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Old Feb 15, 2008, 12:26 PM   #1
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Hi

Been looking at the various discussions re superzooms and struggling like many others to make up my mind



planning to go on safari in July and need something better than my current 4 mp canon s45 to get closer to the wildlife



seen an offer for a pentax k 100 d super with small zoomlens (believe 18-55mm) for a similar price as a good superzoom, only would need to buy further zoom in the 300 range and I would have all i needed for not much more money than superzoom.



would this be a sensible move, and will i notice the difference in quality of images?



nikon d40 seems in similar pricebracket, is there much to choose between the 2?



other (compact) slr's to consider?



thanking you all in advance



gerbo


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Old Feb 15, 2008, 2:43 PM   #2
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The current superzooms offer tremendous reach and reasonable image quality for the same or less cost than an entry level DSLR with one kit lens. No doubt that the entry level DSLR wll give superior images with the right lens in the right hands .If you want to improve your skills, a DSLR gives more scope, but has a bigger learning curve and ultimately costs more. It is also much easier to choose a superzoom than the combination of DSLR + lenses. The lenses are more critical and probably last longer than the DSLR body.

I have a superzoom and a DSLR with several lenses but not one with anything like the same reach as the superzoom. If I was going on safari, I would want at least the same 400+ mm reach of the superzoom (I have over 600mm with a 1.4 teleconverter on the superzoom) and preferably a maximum of F4 aperture to keep shutter speed high enough in low light. That sort of lens costs, and would make my carrying equipment much heavier and bulkier. I'd probably stick with the superzoom unless lens lust took over!

WIth either route, you must allow enough time to get familiar with the equipment, and handling the cameras (with the appropriate lenses) is a must. You should get a lot of good advice from superzoom and DLSR advocates, but you have to decide whether you have the commitment and funds for the DSLR route at this stage and for the coming trip. Enjoy the decision making process and have a great holiday.
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 2:56 PM   #3
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Choosing a camera and lenses, depends a lot on what budget

you have to begin with...there are lots of videos on Youtube

to watch, to help make up your mind.....:|......musket.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:21 AM   #4
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All photography is a compromise, and it depends on where you want to compromise. To some people, the quality of the pictures from a superzoom is perfectly adequate, while to others, the extra weight and cost of a dSLR set-up is minor compared to the quality increase they see with a dSLR. There's no right or wrong answer to that question.

If you want to go the dSLR route, include the Olympus E-510 in your research. Both the Oly and the Nikon d40 are smaller and lighter than the Pentax K100.

Pentax and Olympus put image stabilization in their camera bodies, while Nikon puts it in-lens. How important is IS to you? It will be very important to some, while not at all important to others. Having image stabilization in the camera body means that all lenses you get are stabilized, so you don't have to buy it with each lens, a possible cost savings. Remember, stabilization only helps deal with camera shake at slow shutter speeds - it does nothing to stop motion blur.

Pentax has the best backward capability as far as lenses go, any lens made by Pentax can be used on the K100. This means that you can sometimes get really good lenses used (though research the lens before you buy - a lens from 1980 is probably a manual focus/manual exposure lens and will remain that way. On the other hand, a lens from the mid-1990s could be both auto focus and auto exposure and will retain those capabilities with the digital cameras). It's not as easy as it once was because Pentax dSLR cameras have become quite popular and that's driven up the price of used lenses.

The D40 gets its smaller size and weight by not having a lens focusing motor in the camera body. That means that to maintain auto focus you have to pay for lenses that include a focusing motor (often more expensive lenses). So you'll need to make sure that the telephoto lens you are looking at will auto focus (or not, if you don't mind manual focus lenses).

The Oly has a smaller sensor, which means that you get a smaller field of view with the same focal length lens than with the Nikon or the Pentax. That might be another advantage for the Oly for your safari. It does seem to have more noise at higher ISOs than either the D40 or the K100 (which, by the way, are supposed to use the same sensor). That may or may not be a big deal for you.

As far as features etc. I would probably start my list with the Oly on top, and then Pentax second if stabilization is high on your personal list. Otherwise, I think it's a toss-up - bothNikon and Pentaxhave their ownstrong points.

But before you actually order anything - make sure you go to a camera store and handle all cameras you are interested in. You might find one too big or too small, another might have buttons and dials that are awkward for you, or discover that one has abetter viewfinder (the Oly is the only one that has "live preview" and even that one (from what I read)has a focusing limitation when you use it - plan on using the viewfinder mostly). Imagine carrying and using each camera for a full day before you decide what to get.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 6:51 AM   #5
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"seen an offer for a pentax k 100 d super with small zoomlens (believe 18-55mm) for a similar price as a good superzoom, only would need to buy further zoom in the 300 range and I would have all i needed for not much more money than superzoom."

Not sure what you mean by 'not much more', but you can buy a good superzoom for less than $400. Unless you plan on attempting to buy from some mail order rip-off specialist, the K100D kit will cost you $600. Add the Pentax DA 55-300mm zoom at $400, and you're up to $1000. I think that's a lot more than a superzoom.

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Old Feb 16, 2008, 8:07 AM   #6
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from a reputable dealer i can get the pentax + lens for 279 pounds (UK) , which is the same as the UK price for the panasonic FZ18. A sigma 70-300 lens can be bought for 99 pounds.



The question remains, for this relative small extra financial outlay, do I buy much in the way of extra quality?



gerbo
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 9:56 AM   #7
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In my opinion, the extra quality is well worth the disadvantages of a dSLR. For many people the answer would be no. What do you think of the various sample pictures taken from both cameras?
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 10:04 AM   #8
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wittetulp wrote:
Quote:
from a reputable dealer i can get the pentax + lens for 279 pounds (UK) , which is the same as the UK price for the panasonic FZ18. A sigma 70-300 lens can be bought for 99 pounds.

The question remains, for this relative small extra financial outlay, do I buy much in the way of extra quality?
First, the obvious. The FZ18 is an 8MP camera while the K100D Superand the D40 are6MP cameras. For image quality, the FZ18 has the edge.

Second, the £99 Sigma 70-300 is not a very good lens. Sigma's APO version is better, but costs £160. And it doesn't autofocus on the D40.

Third, a dSLR and associated lenses is bigger and heavier that a superzoom. That means you'll have more stuff to lug around with you on that safari.

The good news is that you're giving yourself plenty of time to get used to whatever you buy, before you really need to know how to use it. Lots of people come here asking if they should get a dSLR for their once-in-a-lifetime trip next week. That's absurd. Whatever you end up getting, get lots of experience using it so you'll be prepared for what you might encounter (photographically speaking) on your trip.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 10:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
First, the obvious. The FZ18 is an 8MP camera while the K100D Super and the D40 are 6MP cameras. For image quality, the FZ18 has the edge.
In terms of just pure megapixels, yes the Fz18 has more megapixels. I wouldn't necessarily assume it has better image quality, especially at higher ISO's, where the DSLR's will certainly outshine any point and shoot. The D40 has consistently been recoginzed as having superior image quality, even when compared to it's big brother the D80 (which has 10mp). There is certainly more to IQ than just megapixels.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 11:15 AM   #10
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rjseeney wrote:
Quote:
In terms of just pure megapixels, yes the Fz18 has more megapixels. I wouldn't necessarily assume it has better image quality, especially at higher ISO's, where the DSLR's will certainly outshine any point and shoot. The D40 has consistently been recoginzed as having superior image quality, even when compared to it's big brother the D80 (which has 10mp). There is certainly more to IQ than just megapixels.
Yes, but the OP probably won't be using higher ISO settings while on safari, so that probably shouldn't be a significantfactor in her decision. So that leaves megapixels.
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