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Old Aug 5, 2008, 6:03 AM   #31
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Harriet and TCav- Whoa-wait a minute, please! The OP was talking about taking outdoor photos of wild animals. That means good outdoor light. Therefore high ISO capabilities are not a requirement. But then, perhaps I have missed something?? Have I?? Sarah Joyce
Birding does not always mean bright light and low iso's. Birds are often found sitting in shade (trees have leaves), and as Mtngal said, higher iso's are often used to achieve faster shutter speeds for birds in flight, or to minimize the effects of shake when using extremely long lenses. When shooting other wildlife, most of the time, animals are most active at dawn and/or dusk, so again, higher iso's will come into play. Despite the quality of Oly lenses, you can't get around the higher iso issue....the 4/3 sensors simply produce more noise at higher iso's.
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 6:35 AM   #32
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In addition to the higher noise levels, I would also suggest if birds in flight are a desire of the OP then focus performance comes into play. Of the 3 systems mentioned, Sony is going to have a clear advantage in that department - especially in focus-tracking. Focus performance is a very critical factor if your wildlife is moving - especially, as pointed out, when shooting in less than ideal lighting when wildlife is most active.
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 10:35 AM   #33
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Points all very well made, folks! I agree that there will be situations where it is conceivable that higher ISO settings will be required for both lower light levels and to obtain a faster shutter speed.

JohnG also raised an interesting point as well about the speed and accuracy of focusing.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 7:34 PM   #34
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Thanks everyone for the benefit of your experience. I really wanted to buy an Olympus E-510, but re-reading the posts again in one setting has helped me rule it out.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Unless I change my mind before I pull the trigger this weekend, I think I'm going with the Sony A200.

I appreciate your patience and you allowing me learn from your discussions.

Any specificmemory card recommendations for the A200?

Any specific 300 mm lens recommendations?
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 8:30 PM   #35
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bpearcy10 wrote:
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Any specificmemory card recommendations for the A200?

Any specific 300 mm lens recommendations?
For wildlife, you'll probably wnat to shoot continuous or burst, and that requires a fast card. I suggest the SanDisk Extreme III or the Lexar Platimum II.

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Any specific 300 mm lens recommendations?
The Sony 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6lens that comes as part of the kit is hard to beat for $100, and lenses in that category and price rangeare not very good. I think the Sigma APO and the Tamron Di LD are better, but they cost more than the Sony (as part of the two lens kit.)

There are other options, of course, like the Sony 'G' ($800!) or the Sigma 50-500 that peripatetic mentioned ($1,100! and it's big and heavy), or a used Minolta 100-300 APO (~$600 used.)

To start, the Sony 75-300 kit lens is hard to beat, and you can upgrade later.
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Old Aug 6, 2008, 3:44 AM   #36
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Im sorry if I sound insistent, but I would really handle these cameras personally before making a decision.
First of all, because while I agree that olympus has higher noise at higher settings, I think this is often overstated. Specially in comparison to the Sony:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra200/page17.asp

And there are certainly many other technical specs where different brands will have different advantages.

But the key thing is, for amateurs like me, especially since I am not printing anything larger than 8x11, technical specs do not matter that much. Im not saying they are not important, just that sometimes we underestimate the physics of it all.

The main difference, for your purposes, especially as you first get into this, is how its feels in your hand and in your face.

The olympus is smaller, the lens you'll need to carry will also be smaller, which can be a big plus, but its viewfinder is also quite small, which might be a big "negative," especially for those just getting into dslrs. The a-200 is bigger, and you will need a longer and heavier lens to reach the same magnification, but it has a better and bigger viewfinder.


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Old Aug 6, 2008, 7:21 AM   #37
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dlpin wrote:
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First of all, because while I agree that olympus has higher noise at higher settings, I think this is often overstated. Specially in comparison to the Sony:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra200/page17.asp
My apologies. I had read in one of the posts about the A700. Was not aware we were talking about the A200. I agree with your assessment - the A200 also has poor high ISO. Should still have better AF speed than the Oly but high ISO performance on both is lagging behind the competition.

Unfortunately there is no one perfect camera. There are always trade-offs. And especially at lower price points you have to be willing to make compromises.
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Old Aug 6, 2008, 6:07 PM   #38
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dlpin wrote:
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Im sorry if I sound insistent, but I would really handle these cameras personally before making a decision.
First of all, because while I agree that olympus has higher noise at higher settings, I think this is often overstated. Specially in comparison to the Sony:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra200/page17.asp

And there are certainly many other technical specs where different brands will have different advantages.

But the key thing is, for amateurs like me, especially since I am not printing anything larger than 8x11, technical specs do not matter that much. Im not saying they are not important, just that sometimes we underestimate the physics of it all.

The main difference, for your purposes, especially as you first get into this, is how its feels in your hand and in your face.

The olympus is smaller, the lens you'll need to carry will also be smaller, which can be a big plus, but its viewfinder is also quite small, which might be a big "negative," especially for those just getting into dslrs. The a-200 is bigger, and you will need a longer and heavier lens to reach the same magnification, but it has a better and bigger viewfinder.

I agree about your "feel" commentand will take your comment one step further.

Go in the store and grab the cameras with your eyes CLOSED. No name recognition, no "oh this isexpensive one or what my friend likes" etc. Just simple blind testing.

Lift the camera by the hand grip, stabilize it with a big lens to your closed eye and try to find the shutter button and other basic operating buttons with your fingers.

Is the camera easy to hold and the buttons relatively easy to find?



Then take a look through the viewfinder. Is everything (the little glowing lights etc) within your field of view and can you continue to see what you need to see when the camera is pointed towards a bright light source? How about when you point the camera towards the ground (representing a low light condition), do the glowing lights overwhelm the actual view of the camera?



How about autofocusing. That little servo motor is louder on some brands than others. Most people might not care one way or another, others will.



What about that viewfinder. In the old days of slr's I grabbed a friends camera and realized that there was no way I could use his camera while wearing my glasses.... some dSLR's suffer the same problems. Or if you are left eyed versus right eyed.

Then there is material feel. Most cameras in our price ranges will be made from plastics or composite materials,so unless the camera just feels like it is fragile, most camera bodies are pretty much the same. But give the camera a shake. Remember you are walking through the woods and over the rivers to find your subject matter. Do the guts of the camera move about?



When you are done, I am willing to bet that you will find a couple brands of cameras that you suddenly don't like as well as others.






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Old Aug 7, 2008, 9:38 PM   #39
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So what I'm hearing is that I should save my money and buy the Sony 700 for about $1,200. That blows my budget for sure because on top of that I still have to get a couple of lenses.

Not an easy decision at all.

My plan was to spend $1,000and get the bestpackage I could, but it seems that $1,000 doesn't buy good bird equipment.

Maybe I should stick to my original plan and "make do" by buying a hide of some type.
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Old Aug 7, 2008, 10:46 PM   #40
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What they're talking about is that the A200 doesn't do well at higher ISO settings. So, if you can do what you want while keeping the ISO setting at or below, say, 800, then you should do well.

At the long end of the lenses we've been talking about, the maximum aperture will be f/5.6. With an ISO setting of 800, you should still be able, in even overcast skies, to use a shutter speed fast enough to get most of the types of shots you mentioned.

Just because only a $1,300 camera with an $800 lens will get excellent results, doesn't mean you shouldn't expect to get good results with a $500 camera and a $200 lens.

Especially when you've already seen the good results your nephew got with a $500 dSLR (the Nikon D60). There's no reason to expect that you would get significantly different results with any of the dSLRs you're considering.

And especially if the effort brings pleasure to you and your wife.

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