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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:01 PM   #1
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It is time for me to upgrade my body, so I am upgrading my brand as well. I have a Canon EOS 20D, but after several years, I am still not comfortable with the controls. Sidenote: With film SLRs, I finally settled on the Pentax LX because it felt "right" in my hands and was easy for me to use. The "rightness" of a camera is important to me so that I can forget about setting it concentrate on the photography. The standard changes should be part of my muscle memory.

I am looking for a body under $1400. Money is tight right now. That seems to leave the Nikon model before the D300, Sony Alpha 700 and Pentax K20D. I would like to have the Image Stabilization built into the camera, rather than pay extra for it in each lens, although this is less of a factor now that Tamron has started producing Image Stabilizing lenses since Tamron lenses will cost less than Nikon.. It is not in their prior lenses, or non-stabilized future lenses of course.

I have ruled out Olympus since the E3 is too expensive and their lenses are very expensive by my standards.

Pentax new lenses now seem too expensive for me to consider. Am I wrong?

Does the Sony A700 12 bit RAW make a difference in RAW processing?

Any and all experience and advice is useful to me in terms of what my options are. If someone disagrees with any of my assumptions or beliefs, I'd like to hear about the reasons why. I can accept constructive correction. Please do accept that my mind is made up about the Canon 10D - 40D line, though.

Questions are also welcome.

Thanks in advance to all who answer!

Rick:?
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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Since the impetus behind this change of allegiance is the feel of the camera body, perhaps that's where you should start your search. Find a camera retailer that stocks the high-end dSLRs in your price range, and spend some time getting acquainted with each of them.
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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Thanks. I do need to do that. You are right. I just want to know all options available to me and use them as a pre-filter. For example, if I should look at the Olympus E510, it would be of value of me to know that. If I should not look at Pentax because of the Lens price issue, or someone can point out prior lenses that would work well, that is helpful as well. I just want to look at the camera lines that will work for me and choose the best functioning of them for me.

I don't have experience with Minolta lenses, for example so someone's experience with them would help, since the autofocusing lenses will work well with the Sony, and should be moderately priced at this point.

I am both blessed and cursed with pretty equal use of my left and right brains, so this information is also helpful in my decision making, lol.

Rick


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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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First there's the obvious. A primary consideration should be the lenses. Canon, Nikon, Leica and Zeiss make the best lenses. Leica lenses are available for the 4/3 mount (Olympus and Panasonic) and Zeiss lenses are available mostly for Sony.Canon and Nikon have the best selection, by far, followed by Sony, Pentax and the Nikons without an internal autofocus motor, and lastly, Olympus. Pentax has a better selection of shorter focal lengths, while Sony has a better selection of longer focal lengths. Sony's and Olympus' lenses often are very expensive.

Also There are only a handful of companies that make image sensors, so the differences come down to resolution, settingsand the processing engine. For instance, the Pentax K10D and the Sony A100 use the same image sensor, but the Sony has high noise at high ISO settings, while the Pentax has a lack of detail at high ISO settings. Clearly these are two sides of the same coin, and both conditions can be corrected via menu settings. So, in general, more megapixels is better, and everything else can be corrected, especially if you shoot RAW.

As for Image Stabilization, Pentax, Sony and the Olympus E-510 and E-3 have sensor shiftimage stabilization, so it's availablefor any lens. Canonand Nikonuseoptical image stabilization, but only in some of their lenses.Image stabilization is most useful at longer focal lengths, so that may not be an issue for you depending on what you usually shoot.

You haven't gone into what you usually shoot or what lenses you use, but I'd suggest you take a good look at the selection of lenses before you bite the bullet. You may end up buying a camera you really like but can't find th elenses you need to do what you want.
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Thank you. I will definitely look at lenses. I am selling two Canon L lenses without IS, the 300mm f4 L and the 70-200mm f4L, so I am aware of the IS price differential for them. I do shoot a lot of nature, but will be working on body studies as well. And general shots too. I was a newspaper photojournalist way back when.
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 2:57 PM   #6
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Rick_S wrote:
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... I am selling two Canon L lenses without IS, the 300mm f4 L and the 70-200mm f4L, ...
It's a shame to give up all that good glass, but if you don't like the body, you don't like the body. I'm sure you'll get a good price, none the less.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 12:20 AM   #7
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You had asked about the Pentax K20, rather than the K10. The K20 isn't yet for sale yet. The sample pictures and specsI've seen make it look like a very desirable camera (I'm thinking about it, though I shouldn't be as I already have the K10 and the K100 and have a very limited budget) but it is using a new sensor made by Samsung. It's not the same one that's used on the K10 or a Nikon camera (just Samsung's own new camera that will be very similar to the K20). The early reviews have been very positive,but until it gets in the hands of some of us amateurs, it'll be a bit of an unknown item.

As far as lenses go - you aren't limited to just Pentax lenses - both Sigma and Tamron make lenses in Pentax mounts, as well as other companies. Both Sigma and Tamron have announced that they are going to be producing some fast longer lenses in Pentax mount this year, which means that there will be more choices in lenses, through 300mm (up until this year that was Pentax's greatest limitation - the few top quality fast telephotos on the used market were bringing in very high prices).

At first I was using a Kiron lens with my Pentax dSLR, along with three lenses I bought new in 1980 - Pentax dSLR cameras can use any lens ever made by Pentax - though old M42 screw mount lenses require an adaptor. Any lens will retain whatever capability it had when it was made - if it was an auto focus lens when it was made, it will be an auto focus lens on any of Pentax's dSLR cameras. Same with exposure - if the lens was an auto exposure lens when it was made, it will retain that capability with a dSLR. However, a manual lens (like my 1980 lenses) won't suddenly become auto focus/auto exposure. This backwards capability means that you aren't limited to modern lenses though you do need to do some research and make sure youknow what you are buying.

I was going to write about the fact that the K20 will be a heavy camera - it's going to be within an ounce (I think I read) of the K10 and I think the K10 is as heavy a camera as I could manage. However, it's not as heavy as the D200, 715g (K20)vs. 830g (D200). Best thing to do is handle all of the cameras you are interested in to see which one feels more comfortable to you.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 6:09 AM   #8
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Mountaingal, thank you for the info on your experiences with the k10 and k100. That is exactly what I wanted. When I sold my Pental LX and SMC lenses, I looked first for a Pentax DSLR, but there was none to be found. The *1st didn't come out until a year or a year and a half later.

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