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Old Nov 11, 2008, 8:52 AM   #1
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Okay I"m look at the Olympus SP-570 UZ. I like the camera because it covers just about every aspect of lenses. It can zoom for wildlife, go wide for landscapes and do good macro. The only thing that I'm wondering is whether I should spend a little more and get an entry level dSLR.

Here's what I want to do with the camera. I'd like to be able to take good wildlife shot when I'm in the bush Geocaching or trapping and landscape. I'd like to be able to take shots durring church event like youth group or confrences. And of course I would like it for family event like Christmass, birthdays etc. So what I'm looking at is something along the lines of a hobby/prosumer camera. My budget is around $700-800cdn. I don't mind buying a kit and then waiting a while before I buy a good all in one zoom or just a telezoom and later on get a good landscaping lens.

What's your thoughts?
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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The first thing you need to decide is whether you are willing to carry the extra weight and equipment you'd probably end up having to carry to do what you want to do. You'd most likely need more than two lenses to do all you want to and get better quality. There's no right answer to that question - some people will happily add extra equipment while others will run away screaming.

While you can get by with some slower, less expensive lenses for outdoors use, you'll need a faster lens and/or a flash for indoors. Since you mentioned church events and conferences, you might not be able to use flash much, so a fast lens becomes more important (something like f1.4 thru f2.8 ).

Your wildlife could be managed by a lens that's sharp at 300mm - longer lenses are going to be much more expensive (and heavier, larger etc.).

If you really like wide angle shots, you'd need to get the dSLR with something like a 10-20 or 12-24 lens - that will be wider than the Oly will go and an advantage to the dSLR.

There are a number of ways to approach macro with a dSLR - some are cheaper than others. It partly depends on your subject - most kit lenses do fine for whole flowers, but not for insects.

In general, you need a really sharp lens for macro, which means that adding some of the various devices (extension tubes, dioper/macro add-on lenses) to a zoom lens like the kit lens won't give you the best results. Something like a fast prime lens, like a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8, if you get it for your conferences, would work better and save you the cost of another lens (but then you are constantly taking off and putting on extra equipment). If you find yourself doing a lot of insects and such like, you'll probably end up buying a macro lens.

As you can see, you'll end up spending quite a bit more money for the dSLR. Would the extra image quality be worth the extra aggravation? That depends on your own personal preference.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 3:00 PM   #3
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I am willing to carry the extra equipment but I would like to limit the amount as much as I can.

I was looking at the AF18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II as my main lens because of it's all around capabilities. I am well aware though that it most likely wont be enough for every application (ex: F/3.5-6.3 ). The only problem is that this lens doesn't come with anything to combat camera shake(VC) so it pretty much makes it useless on anything that's Canon or Nikon without a tripod. So I was told that I could go with a Sony which has VC built-in to the body and doesn't rely on the lens. Another option I thought of was waiting for the AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC which does have VC built into the lens. Are there any other lens that can compare to these that have VC built into them? That would make it much simpler for me to choose.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 3:11 PM   #4
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Most Sony, Olympus and Pentax models have stabilization built into the bodies now.

Personally, I think the Sony A200 has the best "bang for the buck" (AF speed, viewfinder, ergonomics/control layout, available ISO speeds, write speeds to memory cards, etc.) in the entry level category at $499 for a kit with a body and lens. But, I'm probably a bit biased since I shoot with a KM Maxxum 5D (that the Sony entry level models were based on), and a Sony Alpha 700.

So, I'd lean towards the Sony or Tamron 18-250mm lenses on this type of body, if I really wanted a Super Zoom type lens (and I really haven't wanted one yet, since you tend to get better image quality sticking to lenses with a less ambitious focal range from wide to long).

In addition to Tamron's VC (Vibration Control) lenses you can find for Nikon and Canon models, you may want to look at Sigma's lenses with OS (Optical Stabilization), like their Sigma 18-200mm OS. But, so far, I have not been impressed with user reports on reliability with Sigma's OS lenses.

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Old Nov 11, 2008, 5:32 PM   #5
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I'm just wondering if there is a table or graph that shows the 35mm equivalent difference for zoom ( ex 50mm=25 yards ). You raise a good point about the quality with such lenses so it may just be better to have 3 lenses and forget the all in one package. Though it is appealing because of it's versatility.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 7:40 PM   #6
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The Sony A200 with the kit lens. $499. Tamron 70-300 $159 at B&H photo. A used Minolta 50mm 1.7 $100 on Ebay. These are consumer lens and they are not super good but they will blow away any P&S and be stabilized by the Sony body. Pentax and Olympus users can tell you about similar deals for their brands. Try to steer clear of Sigma lens since there are significant quality issues with their consumer priced lens. C. W.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 9:11 PM   #7
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Is the Sony 300 or 350 worth the money for the upgrade for what I want to use it for?
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 9:24 PM   #8
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The Pentax line would offer two choices - either the weather-sealed K200 or the new K2000. The K2000 has the advantage of being very light and the kit includes an external flash. The K200 is heavier, but weather sealed, useful for shooting in dusty or if you are out hiking and get caught in an unexpected rain shower. Right now the K200 is reasonably priced at $498 for the body only/$564 with the kit lens (B&H prices). The K2000 is brand new so it hasn't been discounted yet (I expect the price will drop in a month or two).

As far as lenses go - you could either go with the Tamron 18-250 or the kit lens and the DA55-300. I've been impressed with pictures various people have posted with this lens, plus it gives you extra reach for wildlife. Add to that one of the fast Pentax primes such as the FA 50mm 1.4, which will help with your low light, and would be sharp enough for adding extension tubes or add-on lenses for macro.

K2000 kit - $686
DA55-300 - $299
FA 50 1.4 - $199
Total - $1184 This includes the 18-55 lens and the flash

K200 body only - $498
Tamron 18-250 - $489
FA 50mm 1.4 - $199
Total - $1186 This does not include the flash

K200 kit - $564
DA55-300 - $299
FA 50mm 1.4 - $199
Total - $1062 - also does not include a flash

All of these scenarios would not include whatever you decided to do about the macro - whether it be extension tubes or add-on lenses. If you aren't intimidated by manual lenses, there are other, cheaper solutions. Since Pentax puts their stabilization in the camera, those older, inexpensive, manual lenses are all stabilized (the M 50mm 1.7 usually goes for somewhere around $50). If I were buying new, I'd most likely get the K200 as I'm a hiker and snow shoer (I actually own the K20).
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 9:31 PM   #9
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If I were to choose I would have to go with the K200 because I live up in northern Ontario and will be using it during the winter with snowshoeing, hiking etc.

Thanks for the info I hadn't even considered Pentax. Anymore thoughts would be welcomed.
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Old Nov 17, 2008, 9:06 AM   #10
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I just bought k200d and I"m enjoying it right now. Thank you for your help. It was appreciated.
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