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Old Sep 2, 2008, 4:44 PM   #1
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I want to get a new camera but i need some help. I have a canon powershot sd750 and i like it. I like how portable it is and i like being able to just grab it and take a quick pic of my 3 kids. I am getting a little annoyed by the quality. I do have photoshop so i can fix some things but i think i'm ready to trade up. ok so i mostly use my camera to take pictures of the kids and just basic everyday things I want to get something thats better quality than my current camera but i dont want to spend alot and get a dslr. I'm looking for something in between the basic point and shoot digital and a dslr. I honestly dont have the time to learn all the features of a dslr or maybe i just think its more to it than there really is. I feel like if i get a dslr and dont take the time to learn all the features then i'm just wasting my $ and i really dont want to do that. I wouldalso like you to tell me honestly if its wroth itto get anything other than a dslr because i also dont want tospend$600-800 on a camera and still not be happy. So any suggestions would be appreciated. I just started my research so i dont have anything specific in mind currently. If you need anymore info please let me know. Thank you so much & sorry for sounding so confused.
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 6:53 PM   #2
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I'm thinking about getting a Sony A300 and i'm wondering. Does it let you take pics in camera raw?? If you have this camera please also let me know if you recommend it.

Thank you.
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 9:12 PM   #3
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Yes, the Sony A300 can shoot in raw.

Note that raw formats are proprietary, and differ between camera models (even within models from the same manufacturer). But, you'll find good support for it's raw files from third party raw converters (and Sony also includes software that can convert them).

Just keep in mind that you may need a newer version of a given raw converter to get support for a newer camera model, because raw formats are different between camera models.

The A300 can also shoot jpeg + raw. That way, you have a jpeg file you can use if desired, or you can convert the raw file if you find the jpeg isn't what you need (i.e, you want to extract more detail, or had settings off in the camera and need better ability to adjust them later).


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Old Sep 5, 2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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Thank you so much Jim.

I noticed you're an admin so i'm guessing you've read alot of posts. Is the A300 a decent camera for a beginner? I was thinking about getting a bridge camera but dont know if i'd regret that once i was more familiar with slr settings so i'm really intrested in the a300. Any advice?

thanks again.
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 11:51 PM   #5
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The A300 would make a pretty good camera for someone moving to a dSLR, and you'll find that it has a variety of scene modes, as well as a full auto setting to help you get started.

A dSLR tends to be more flexible in more conditions compared to a bridge type camera, too (thanks to a much larger imaging sensor with higher usable ISO speeds). You may have a little bit of a learning curve. But, if you're planning on getting more into photography, a dSLR like this is a better way to go for a number of reasons (lots lens choices if you need to shoot in tough conditions, speed of operation, better low light autofocus, faster write speed to memory cards, better ability to control depth of field, better dynamic range, and more). Note that the Sony models can use any Minolta Autofocus lens, too (and you'll find lots of them in the used market).

If you're interested in a model with live view (and I'm assuming that's the case since you're looking at the A300), the Sony A300 has a more responsive autofocus using it's live view system compared to any other dSLR model using live view right now (including higher end models from other manufacturers), and it's also got a tilting LCD. If you don't need live view, I'd look at the A200 instead, as it's got a bit larger optical viewfinder compared to the A300 and it's a less expensive camera ($499.99 including a kit lens).

Note that I'm probably a bit biased towards the Sony dSLR models though, since I shoot with a Sony A700 right now. ;-)

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Old Sep 6, 2008, 12:16 AM   #6
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Since you already started this thread in our What Camera should I buy forum, as well as the one in the Konica Minolta /Sony dSLR forum asking about the A300 that I responded to, I've merged both of them together so that any responses will be in the same place.

Hopefully, some of our other members will chime in with opinions and suggestions, too.

You may also want to let members know what you find limiting with your existing camera model (speed, image noise, etc.) for better responses. I'd probably go into more detail on what you don't like about the image quality, since you may have the same issues with a dSLR, depending on what you're talking about. For example, if you're shooting indoors, you may find that an external flash is a good idea for a more diffused light source.


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Old Sep 6, 2008, 11:28 AM   #7
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Thank you Jim, i totally understand what you mean.

Here is a sample pic, cropped & a photoshopped sample of what i'm atleast expecting with upgrading my camera.

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My issues with it is the dullness of the pic. I'm looking for something that will give me a little more true color & definitely more sharpness. I love this pic and had it been a better camera it would have been a great shot.

This pic was taken in a zoo butterfly house so it was sort of indoor but with adequate lighting and it was with flash. I took it with my P&S canon sd750. I find if i take a pic without the flash it comes out blurry or more often than not its not sharp at all.

Here's another example, same issue.

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Here is an indoor pic. These are the pics i'm usually taking because my main photoshoots are of the boys running around and on the fly. This is with flash. With this one i'm just looking for way better. I didnt do any edits of this pic.

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Do you think its possible to get a better quality of the abovepic with the A300 in the sameconditions and with the lens kit that comes with the camera or would i definitely need another lighting source?

Is it realistic to think that i can get this quality (the photoshopped pic)or better with the Sony a300 or a similar dslr?

Another question. Is the A350 worth the extra $200? I noticed that it has noise reduction which is another issue for me with the p&s but compared to the a300 would you say that getting the a350 is worth the extra $. Pros/cons??

I know this is alot. I really appreciate the info. Thanks.
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Old Sep 6, 2008, 11:53 AM   #8
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
If you're interested in a model with live view (and I'm assuming that's the case since you're looking at the A300), the Sony A300 has a more responsive autofocus using it's live view system compared to any other dSLR model using live view right now (including higher end models from other manufacturers), and it's also got a tilting LCD. If you don't need live view, I'd look at the A200 instead, as it's got a bit larger optical viewfinder compared to the A300 and it's a less expensive camera ($499.99 including a kit lens).
Yes i am looking for a camera with a live view, its what i'm used to and would have to have it until i'm comfortable with the viewfinder again. Also i'm thinking long run and i like the option of both the viewfinder and the live view.

I know what you mean about the live view capabilities on the A300 because my dad has a canon 40D and the live view is a mess, i was playing around with the A300 in the store and it looked alot better than my dads for sure.
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Old Sep 6, 2008, 12:17 PM   #9
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Well, light is a camera's best friend. If the lighting is dull, the photos are usually going to look dull. ;-)

Here's a short essay on the subject. Notice the huge difference waiting 30 seconds can make in an image if you roll your mouse over the samples here:

30 Seconds to Good Light

A flash can help get around that part in some conditons (for example, your samples showing the images without and without one).

Some of the problem you're seeing is that your camera has a very tiny sensor size. So, it's best used at lower ISO speeds for best results. Otherwise, the noise starts to destroy some of the detail. Ditto for camera's built in noise reduction in the image processing pipeline, which can lead to softer than desired images in some lighting.

Personally, I prefer a less aggressive approach to image processing versus an image that may look too oversharpened and contrasty. But, image quality is very subjective.

For your closeup photos, it can be tougher to get what you want in focus using a dSLR model, because you'll have a much shallower depth of field. In other words, the leading edge of a butterfly's wing may be sharp, with the rest of the image blurry, unless you understand how to set Aperture as needed for greater depth of field. That means you'll also need to pay closer attention to your focus point when shooting that way.

But, when you do that (use an aperture setting that gives you more depth of field), you'll have slower shutter speeds. So, you have to be aware of potential problems from camera shake unless you increase your ISO speed (which is how sensitive a camera's sensor is to light to help make up for your aperture setting). That would take some getting used to. But, you can find tutorials on the internet to help you understand that part. For example, Sony has a lesson on aperture in their online photo school here:

Sony Photo School

Also, you may find that the kit len doesn't allow you to "fill the frame" as much as desired for very small subjects. For most closeups, you'll be OK (you can usually fill the frame with a subject roughly 4 times the size of the camera's sensor with a kit lens). For anything smaller, you'd either need to crop, or get a lens solution allowing a smaller subject to fill the frame (for example a dedicated macro lens like a Sigma 50mm f/2.8, which runs around $275). This type of lens would give you much higher quality compared to a lens like Sony's 18-70mm kit lens, too. There are some other alternatives available (for example, extension tubes that allow you to focus closer with a lens). But, they have some drawbacks.

As for the indoor photos of children, an external flash is really your best approach. Yes, you'd probably get higher quality images without going that route with a dSLR. But, for even better quality, I'd budget for an external flash. That way, you can bounce it for a more diffused light source (versus the "deer in the headlights" type images a built in flash is usually known for).

Note that most camera models also allow you to tailor the look of your images more to your liking via settings for things like sharpening, contrast, saturation and more. For example, you may find the "Vivid" mode on the Sony to be more pleasing for your flower photos.

You may also want to try experimenting with the available settings on your Canon. For example, using a lower ISO speed setting, and changing it's settings for contrast, saturation and contrast to better suit your tastes in how an image looks.

There are pros and cons to any solution.


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Old Sep 6, 2008, 1:26 PM   #10
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wow that 32secs made a huge difference.

With the camera i have now its just a p&s canon sd750, no manual settings.

I still have to save a bit more but as of right now i think i'm really liking the idea of the A300. I see that its a very expensive hobby but like you said, i dont have to buy everything at once. I've gone this long on a p&s so i guess even the basics of slr will be a huge difference to me. I'm hoping. I really dont want to be disappointed.

Thank you for the links once again.


ETA: On the pics above, it shows the original taken form my canon sd750 p&s on top and a photoshopped copy on the bottom just to show you what i would likeor expect atleast from a dslr.
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