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Old Aug 3, 2008, 4:17 PM   #1
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I started with a Canon AE film camera and have been using a Powershot for the past several years. As a Florida resident, I'm wanting to get more serious about wildlife photography and I'mconsidering three different cameras with built in stabilization. Can you help point me in the right direction?

Olympus E51010 mp $599 with Zuiko Digital ED 14 - 42 mm f3.5 - f5.6 Lens - (equivalent to 28mm - 84mm in 35mm photographyand image stablization and dust reduction system and 4/3 lenssystem. All 4/3 System lenses have a FOV 2x that of a 35mm lens system. For example, the 90-250 F2.8 Lens has a Field of View equivalent to a 180mm to 500mm lens.

http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthreads/information/php/2007_Reviews/Isaac/Oly510Review.php

Sony A200K 10 mp with 18-70 mm zoom f3.5-4.5 (27-105mm eq)$499 and for another $100 you can get a Sony 75-300 mm telephoto zoom lens ($599 for both).


Pentax K200D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens $614.


Brian



I like the Olympus because the 2x FOV makes a 250 mm lens = to 500 mm lens, but I think the Sony is a good deal right now. I'm leaning toward Sony, but I'm thinking the Olympus might be a better platform to add a lens for bird photography later on.

In the meantime, if I decide to go with Olympus instead of Sony I'll just have to get closer to the birds to make up for the lack of zoom.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:01 PM   #2
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First, the Sony A200 has a 10MP sensor, not a 14MP sensor. The A350 has a 14MP sensor, plus 'Live View' like the A300 and the Olympus.

There are some differences between the models you're looking at. The Olympus E-510 has 'Live View' but can't autofocus while you use it. The E-520 can, as can the Sony A300 and A350. The Sony A200 and Pentax K200D don't have 'Live View'. You should decide if that's a feature that you want. Your PowerShot had it, and it may have become a feature you've gotten used to. If you want it, you should also know that the 'Live View' LCD display on the Sony A30o and A350 are articulating, something that the 'Live View' on the Olympus doesn't do.

Yes, the Olympus has a 2.0x crop factor, but lenses other than those in the kit are very expensive, even taking into account the affect of the crop factor. That said, the Olympus E-510/520 is smaller and lighter, and, by virtue of the crop factor, so are its lenses. Olympus also has a smaller selection of lenses than Sony or Pentax, especially from third party manufacturers. And Sony and Pentax also both benefit from a vibrant market in used lenses (Sony more so than Pentax). Since the Olympus 4/3 lens mount is relatively new, there aren't many used lenses available.

While Pentax has a greater selection of lenses with shorter focal lengths, Sony has a better selection of lenses with longer focal lengths, including some that qualify as 'Best in Class', though they are expensive. And third party lenses are available for both, more so than for the Olympus.

If size and weight are important to you, Olympus is the best choice.

If 'Live View' is important to you, the Sony A300 or the A350 might be better choices than the E-520, which is a better choice than the E-510, which is of course abetter than the A200 and K200D.

If a selection of reasonably priced lenses is important to you, Sony would be a better choice, followed by Pentax.

And lastly, how the camera feels to you should also be important. If you can't comfortably hold the camera, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, then you'll miss some 'once in a lifetime' shots.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:06 PM   #3
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I should also mention that I have some experinece with the Sony 75-300 in its previous incarnation as a Minolta lens. It suffers from chromatic aberration at longer focal lengths. For $100, it's not bad, but you shouldn't consider it as part of your decision of which camera to buy.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:09 PM   #4
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Thanks.

Sorry for the misquote on the Sony. I was looking at the A350K and got the 10 mpand 14.2 mp mixed up.


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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:41 PM   #5
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The Sony A200 has a 10 mp sensor, not a 14 mp one. It is the A350 that has the 14 mp sensor. The Pentax and the Sony A200are supposed to use the same sensor and it seemed to me looking at the sample photos, they are very similar as far as image quality. Best thing to do is look at them yourself (Steve's has reviews of both cameras and full sized sample photos you can look at).

If you really want more than 10 mp and want to go Sony, I think the A700 would be better than the A350. The viewfinder on the A350 is really tiny - that was their compromise to provide better live view. Not sure that live view would be all that useful for birding/wildlife, though (at least I don't find it useful at all).

The Oly does provide some real advantages when it comes to the long end of things. It's also a lighter camera, something you could really appreciate at the end of a day out in the field, carrying a camera. The pictures are noisier at higher ISO - take a look at sample photos to see if the extra noise would bother you.

As far as used lenses - Sony uses the Minolta Maxxum mount. So if you buy used lenses you'll need to make sure that they aren't an earlier Minolta mount. Pentax can use any lens ever made for the Pentax K-mount cameras, along with the older screw-mount M42 lenses with an adaptor. There are far more people who've bought Pentax cameras than Sony cameras simply because they've been for sale longer, which means that there are more people chasing the top quality used lenses and the prices are higher. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Minolta Maxxum lenses cost as much as the Pentax lenses in a year or two (maybe less as the Sony cameras are very nice and selling very well to new dSLR owners). If you decide to buy Sony you might want to plan on buying used lenses as soon as you can afford to. I got caught in the run-up of used lens prices - a macro lens I wanted had been selling for around $125 when I first bought a dSLR, but $250 when I bought it a year ago. It's now selling for around $300-350.

As far as tele lenses - Pentax has recently released several new lenses that cover 300mm. From what little I've seen of the new Pentax 55-300, it looks better than the Sony 75-300, but it's a new lens so I think it's still a bit unknown. I wouldn't use that as a discriminator though, as both Sigma and Tamron make good zooms for both cameras. I keep looking at the new over $1000 DA*300 lens, but can't justify paying all that money just for auto focus, when the image quality isn't that much different than my older A*300 lens - purchased used for $500.

As far as numbers - I just looked at KEH. There were 19 lenses listed under Minolta AF and 2 under Sony for a total of 21 lenses. Pentax had 10 AF lenses and 17 manual focus lenses (these will work on Pentax dSLR cameras - but they remain manual focus) for a total of 27 lenses (that's not counting the 7 screwmount lenses that you can also use with an adaptor).

I'd recommend two things - first that you handle all of the cameras you are considering. Ergonomics are almost more important than image quality in this class (all of the cameras are capable of taking excellent pictures). Then take a look at the various camera specific sections of this board - you'll find a large number of Pentax shooters taking pictures of birds and other wildlife.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:45 PM   #6
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bp-

Here is a random thought from a a more mature digital camera instructor. I have a huge selection of both digicams and DSLR cameras that I can use (including a new Sony A-300 camera) to choice from when taking photos.

As I always ask enthusiats who are considering a DSLR, are you sure you want to deal with the added size and the expenses of a DSLR camera? There are a few really excellent ultra-zoom bridge cameras that offer some of the very same kind of photo flexibility. No, Let's be quite honest, these so called "bridge cameras"are not cameras that can produce excellent high ISO shots without the the appearance of some noticable noise. But they do indeed produce rather excellent photos at far les size, expense, and hassle.

Here is a good photo sample from the Fuji S-8000, that demonstrates exactly what Iam discussing. I do not mean to interupt your thread, but it might be something to consider seriously.

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 7:02 PM   #7
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Edit: Retracted.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 8:28 PM   #8
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My apologies to mtngal.

I just went back to get a better count on KEH.

There are 217 Minolta Autofocus lenses.

There are 74 Pentax Autofocus lenses.

There are 188 Pentax Manual Focus lenses.

That's a total of 262 Pentax lenses vs. 217 Minolta lenses.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 8:43 PM   #9
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However, T-Cav-

That is indeed just the point that I was attempting to make. A DSLR kit of whichever brand you might desire to choose. Is: (a) large (b) rather expensive (c) might not be capable of meeting the expected increase in Image Quality that you are hoping for by deciding to exercise your option for a DSLR camera.

We have very increased image quality coming from the so called bridge cameras that I spoke of earlier. These bridge cameras offer equal image quality based on normal outdoor lighting conditions like those lighting conditions that the OP has spoken about in this thread.

If the OP desires to further explore his DSLR options, then I will urge him onward with vigor and gusto, while cautioning him to be aware of (a) his projected camera kit size, (b) his actual and calculated financial expense, and (c) the image quality available from his multiple camera options.

Now that is fair, isn't it? And just for closure, here is a photo sample from the Nikon P-80 for everyone's consideration.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Aug 3, 2008, 8:50 PM   #10
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bpearcy10 wrote:
Quote:
Sorry for the misquote on the Sony. I was looking at the A350K and got the 10 mpand 14.2 mp mixed up.
That would be $1,000 for the A350 and the two lens, or $800 for the A300 with the two lens kit. That throws off your cost estimates.

I presume then that the 'Live View' is something you want, which would disqualify the Pentax.

I just checked the price of the Olympus E-520 at Adorama, and with the standard two lens kit (14-42 & 40-150), it's $800.

But Olympus (or Adorama) has some variations to that kit. There's another two lens kit (14-42 & 70-300) for $1,000, and a three lens kit (14-42, 40-150 & 70-300) for $1,100. If you don't mind the greater noise at higer ISO settings, and want the smaller, lighter package, one of these might be just what you're looking for.
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