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Old Aug 27, 2008, 6:56 PM   #1
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Hi, about 3 years ago i bought a Fujifilm Finepix S9000 (S9500) with some help and suggestions from people from these forums.
The camera was everything i needed back then, but now i need a new camera with the following qualities:

-Wireless flash support

-Shutterspeed longer than 30 sec possible (in bulk)

-Relatively cheap lenses available (as a poor student a new camera is a big investment already, and i'm planning to buy a fisheye lens too)

-Low noise up to ISO 800, but i guess that's not really a problem with most dslr's.

First i wanted to buy the Canon Rebel Xsi / eos 450d but i understood that they don't support wireless flash (or am i wrong?)
The Sony Alpha series camera's seem to be great too, but i can't find any info whether or not they support 'infinite' shutterspeeds

So if a camera pops into your mind, please tell me.
Thanks!

Steven
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Old Aug 27, 2008, 7:34 PM   #2
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All of the Sony Alpha models support shutter speeds up to 30 seconds long + Bulb (where you can keep the shutter open longer than 30 seconds if desired). You'd want to use a cable release with Bulb mode, and I'm not sure what to expect in the way of image quality with exposures longer than 30 seconds (image quality tends to degrade with longer exposures using most digital cameras and I haven't noticed many long exposure photos from one).

If you're trying to shoot something like Star Trails, you can also stack shorter exposures together using software. Here's one product designed to do that:

http://www.tawbaware.com/imgstack.htm

All Sony Alpha models allow use of the built in flash to wirelessly control a compatible Sony external flash like the HVL-36AM, HVL-42AM or HVL-56AM.

AFAIK, the XSi does not support wireless flash using the camera's built in flash. But, you might be able to use a different approach (like a ST-E2 Speedlight Transmitter or 580EX Speedlight as the commander on the camera, communicating with another Canon flash acting as the slave). Perhaps some of our Canon shooters will chime in with more detail on what does and does not work.

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 2:59 PM   #3
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Thanks, i think i'm going to go for the Sony a300. The image quality and noise levels seem to be decent enough, and i'm guessing i'm going to use the tiltable live view screen all the time.
Only too bad the screen shows just 90% of what's actually going to be your picture, and (according to reviews) the 0.74% magnification factor of the viewfinder is a bit small.

But, i have read that the lens that comes with the standard kit (a sony 18-70 mm plus optionally a 70-200 mm) is a bit 'soft' compared to the standard lens for an eos 450D
(click link to see what i mean; just look at the difference in details on those mountains!) http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/So..._results.shtml

So, what do other sony users think ? Is it a good idea to buy just the body and get myself a slightly better lens, or will the difference be barely noticable?
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Old Aug 29, 2008, 4:15 PM   #4
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The Canon kit lens is sharper. But, keep in mind you're looking at crops (small portions) of the full size images. So, you may not be able to see the difference at typical viewing and print sizes.

The Sony lens has more focal range from wide to long (18-70mm versus 18-55mm), which would be more important to me. But, to some other users, the extra sharpness of the Canon lens would be more useful. There are always tradeoffs with any lens choice (size, weight, cost, focal range from wide to long, sharpness at various apertures and focal lengths, color, contrast, AF speed, flare resistance, etc. etc.). ;-) Personally, I use a Minolta 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 as my usual "walk around" lens, even though I have one of the 18-70mm kit lenses. But, some people may find the 24mm end more limiting (you can only back up so far). The 18-70mm kit lens would give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 27-105mm lens on a 35mm camera, which is a relatively useful focal range for many uses.

Unless someone has any special requirements, I usually suggest that a new dSLR owner stick with the inexpensive kit lenses for a while, because they don't add a lot to the camera kit. That way, they can get a better feel for the limitations of that type of lens, and can make better informed decisions on what may work better for them later, without spending a lot of money up front. For example, you may decide that you want a brighter lens (despite the extra size and weight for a given focal range), or you may decide you need something longer, sharper, etc. There are many choices in lenses, and they are all a tradeoff in one area or another.


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