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Old Dec 4, 2008, 6:18 PM   #11
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Finny-

If you want in camera image stabilization, as tCav said, your choice is Pentax or Sony. Take a look at amazon, the Pentax K200 body is $(US) 120.00 cheaper than the KM (2000) and it has more features.

Then you can just add the lenses that you require.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 6:48 PM   #12
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Finny, you asked: Does that mean that the IS macro lenses from Canon and Nikon are inferior?

Not by a long shot. The Canon and Nikon lenses are EXCELLENT, depending on model/class.

They are even more costly in their IS forms, though, because you pay for the IS in the lens... there aremany who prefer the slight plusses of in-lens IS.

On the other hand, with in-body-IS the, lenses can be used from any source as long as they come in the correct mount and still be stabilized. Personally, I owned (own)Zeiss lenses almost exclusively in my well-over 40 years of film photography ... but when digital came along I went with Canon, so I stick with Canon mount lenses and their superior quality "L" lenses.

But you pay for quality, and in-lens-IS ups the cost even more.

Personally, I recommend to my students who fit the description you provided that they go with the Canon XSi for overall cost-effectiveness, but Nikon, Pentax, and Sony are all viable depending on your preferences.


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Old Dec 4, 2008, 7:34 PM   #13
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Finspot wrote:
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TCav, if I'm reading you correctly, the Pentax and Sony cams should rise to the top of the list b/c they have IS in the camera body, which allows for the purchase of better macro lenses.
Not quite. The only stabilized macro lens is the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. It is a fine lens, but it costs ~$740. The good news is that it has a built-in autofocus motor, so it will work with Nikon's entry level dSLRs. That, btw, rules out Canon entirely.

But because Pentax and Sony have image stabilization in the body, you can use any macro lens, OEM or third party, expensive or inexpensive, good or bad, and it will be stabilized.

Finspot wrote:
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Does that mean that the IS macro lenses from Canon and Nikon are inferior?
Absolutely not. Save one, they're just not stabilized, so in order to use them, you'd need tocarry a tripod around with you during you're "hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor sports." That goes against the "Smaller and lighter" criteria.
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 7:43 PM   #14
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The Pentax is sounding better and better. So what are the drawbacks of the KM and K200D compared to, say, the Canon XSi?
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 8:11 PM   #15
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The XSI is very good for an entry level dSLR. It has a very fast autofocus system (for shooting sports/action/wildlife), a 12MP image sensor (vs. 10MP in the others), and 'Live View' ('Live View' would be great when macro shooting while using a tripod, but is of little value otherwise.)
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Old Dec 4, 2008, 9:18 PM   #16
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Both the Canon XSi and the Pentax K-200 have their "pro's and con's." For me, the lower cost of the K-200 body at www.amazon was the selling point. I already had a Pentax K-100, and some lenses, so that was a good solution for me. The Pentax K-200 has full weather seals which the Canon XSi does not. The K-200 was also a good low light level camera showinghardly any noise or artefacts at ISO 800 and ISO 1600. The Canon XSi jpeg photos have been reported (in professional reviews)to be soft right out of the camera. The solution was to either shoot RAW or increase the in camera sharpening to level +5.

Either one is a good choice. You have held them in hand, now its time to make a choice.

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Old Dec 4, 2008, 9:58 PM   #17
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Haven't held the Pentax yet--and I think I'm more in the K2000 (KM) camp rather than K200D camp b/c of the size/weight issues, although weather-proofing is no doubt a nice feature. I'll try tomorrow and get back to y'all.

THanks for the help everyone! Keep the opinions/knowledge coming!!

Finny
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Old Dec 5, 2008, 8:38 AM   #18
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mtclimber wrote:
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The Canon XSi jpeg photos have been reported (in professional reviews)to be soft right out of the camera. The solution was to either shoot RAW or increase the in camera sharpening to level +5.

To be fair Sarah as we've discussed it's a single review not multiple reviewS (plural). I think it's very misleading to ignore all the other professional reviews and quote a single source as well as indicate that multiple professional reports agree on that point when they do not. That's the problem with reviews - I don't recommending trusting a single source. The best approach is to read multiple ones and look for common agreement. If 4 or 5 reviewers state the IQ is great and 1 states it is not - that is hardly definitive proof.

By the way - the same goes for any camera really - not just the XSi. Putting all your faith in a single review is not recommended.

For the OPs stated purposes I agree both cameras can do very well. But I disagree with the notion of softness from the XSi. I haven't seen that as a common theme in either professional reviews other than the single review Sarah has quoted - and at least 4 other pro reviews seem to contradict that review. Nor have I seen it stated from people who actually use the camera. There have been reports of focus issues - but not softness. And the focus issue is a tough one - as we've seen from people on this board and I've seen in other forums - the focus issue in many cases is attributed to people moving from digicam to DSLR and being unprepared for the differences in depth of field and how a DSLR focuses. Once they learn to deal with those differences suddenly the equipment magically repairs itself.
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Old Dec 5, 2008, 10:17 AM   #19
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Pont well made, JohnG-

It is a single professional review. None the less the XSi while a great camera, has indeed received a lot of focus complaints from users in the field. That is undeniable. If these are transitioning digicam users or not is very difficult to actually determine.

As I said either the Pentax or the Canon choices are good. For years, I have used my XT and my 20d, and I am still using them. I have nothing against Canon. Let's leave the issue this way. For me, and perhaps nobody else, I am a bit wary of the Canon XSi, due to its reported focusing problems.

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Old Dec 5, 2008, 2:09 PM   #20
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I think people are overlooking something important here; Pentax prices are very good, and the K20D is fantastic value.

You can get the K20D (which is a mid-level camera with much better AF, weather sealing, etc than the K200) and still stay within your price range.

B&H for example have a K20D with 18-55 kit lens for $850. That leaves room for either a nice macro lens, or a telephoto zoom.

With all the talk of macro lenses it's easy to overlook the fact that 1-1 macro isn't always necessary. For shots of flowers and butterflies an ordinary lens will often focus close enough. If you want to get down to the insect level then you will need a "proper" macro.

So my suggestion would be a K20D + 18-55 kit. ($850) you could add the 55-300 zoom telephoto for ($299) and you are still within your budget.

The K20D is quite possibly the best value camera currently being made IMO.
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