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Old Jul 6, 2008, 12:39 AM   #1
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I'm looking to buy my first DSLR. My price range is $500-$700. +/- $50-100 if necessary. Im mostly gonna be shooting family events, a little bit of landscapes, and some sporting (mostly family games at parties). So i'm looking for an all-around camera/lens package that would be good for general pictures. nothing to specific. The pictures will almost always be outdoors with good lighting.

I decided to skip out on the Nikon D40/D60. I was originally going to get the D80, which is a lil out of my range...but it is still an option. I think it would be worth saving the extra money but i'm still unsure. If i can get a camera that is almost equivalent to the D80 for a little less money, that would be great.

I'm open for all suggestions. I'd like to get the camera and lens within my price range. If possible...list some key features that would make the camera worth buying.

-Steve

PS. My name is also steve :?
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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For landscapes, you'll need a wide angle lens, but for "sporting (mostly family games at parties)" you'll need a moderate telephoto.

The Sony kit lens is 18-70mm which, all by itself, might do the trick. So the Sony A200, A300, and maybe even the A350 are all candidates.

The Sony A200 is available in a two lens kit of the 18-70mm and a 75-300mm for $700, but the longer lens isn't very good.

Olympus sells its entry level dSLRs with a two lens kit of a 14-42mm anda 40-150mm lenses. This kit would also accomodate your requirements, so the E-410, E-420 and the E-510 are also candidates.

None of Canon, Nikon nor Pentax have a kit that would fulfill your requirements, so they require a bit more shopping.

Sigma has a 17-70mm lens for ~$370, which limits you to $430 for a dSLR body. For that, all there is is the Canon XT. Nikon has an 18-135mm lens for ~$320, but it plus the D80 will put you over budget and you've already ruled out the D40/D60 (and rightfully so, IMHO), so that's the extent of the one-lens solutions.

To suppliment a kit lens, Sigma has a 55-200mm and a 70-300mm, and Canon and Tamron have 75-300mm lenses, all of which are less than $150, but they're not very good. Sigma has a 70-300mm APO, and Tamron has a 55-200mm Di II LD and a 70-300 Di LD for less that $175, and I think they're worth the extra money. So that leaves ~$525 for a dSLR with a kit lens.

That leaves the Canon XT or the Pentax K200D with the rebate offer that expires today ( 7/6/08 )!

The Sonys, the Pentax and the Olympus E-510 have sensor shift image stabilization, which reduces (if not eliminates) motion blur due to camera shake.

The Canon has the largest selection of lenses and accessories, but is only 8MP while the other s are 10MP (or 14MP in the case of the Sony A350.)

The Sony A300, A350 and all the Olympus dSLRs have 'Live View' which lets you compose your shot on the LCD display. The Sonys and the Olympus E-420 can autofocus while using 'Live View'. The 'Live View' is stabilized on the Olympus E-510, but it can't autofocus while using 'Live View'. The LCD display articulates on the Sonys.

I think those are the major distinguishing characteristics, but I invite others to comment on my remarks.

If you don't care about 'Live View', I think either the Pentax K200D or the Sony A200 with the kit lens and any of the Sigma70-300mm APO, Tamron55-200mm Di II LD or the 70-300 Di LD give you the most capabilities. If you do, the Sony A300 is a good choice, and you still may have room in your budget for an extra lens.

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Old Jul 6, 2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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Thank you very much TCav. I will look further into the cameras you mentioned. I am very impressed with the community here at Steve's Digicams. So far I've had quick responses that were all very helpful.
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 2:24 PM   #4
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I have been researching nonstop and I have checked out the A200 and its upgraded models A300 and A350. I do like the A300's and A350's Live view and the pop-out screen. However, I have read the full review at cameralabs.com and the A350's image quality is not the best, especially at higher ISO settings. 14mp sounds good at first, but it seems like its pushing it. I'm not overly impressed with the quality when they compared it to the EOS 450D.

I like how the A300 and A350's AF in live view. 450D has a slight delay and some noise.

The 450D has a smaller grip than that of the A300/350. Which, until I hold one, puts me in favor of the A300/350 in that aspect.

I'm looking more towards the 450D / XSi. I'd rather have tacksharp pictures over a smooth live view.

>>>I have found that the 450D is a possibility because Sears carries the camera with the EF-S 18-55mm lens for $899.99 and my mother has a Sears card with no-interest payment options :-) <<<

So the expensive is now more affordable and more convienent...less time saving money before I buy and more time taking pictures!

Does anyone have any opinions on the 450D, and would you suggest buying it. Plus any upgrades off the start if necessary.

-Steve
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 2:52 PM   #5
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Adorama has the XSi with the kit lens for $830 (vs. $899 at Sears.)

The kit lens is nice and it'sstabilized, but it might be short for your "sports" shots.

The XTi doesn't come with the stabilized lens or 'Live View', and it's only 10MP (vs. 12MP for the XSi), but it's ~$180 cheaper. That will buy a nice lens.
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 2:56 PM   #6
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More good news...Walmart.com has the XSi w/18-55mm lens for $819.84. And my mother works at walmart...so thats another 10% off with the employee discount and Site-to-Store shipping is free. So, after discount and after taxes, the total for me would be $782.12. Which puts me back into my original price range of $500-700 +/- $100 if necessary.

Im really leaning towards getting the XSi, but I am still open for suggestions. I don't want to rush this. $800 is a lot of money for me being that I am a full-time trade school student.

Edit: The sporting aspect is not really that big. I'd like to take pictures of sports, but it would only be on occassion.

-Steve
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 5:47 PM   #7
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I think the XSi is a very good choice, but a very good choiceamong many good choices.

Good luck with it.
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 6:52 PM   #8
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Once again thank you TCav. You are a lot of help.
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