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Old Dec 15, 2008, 12:53 PM   #11
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The Canon XSi is a great entry level dSLR, and the lenses are both very good and their stabilized! This is a very atractive kit.

Have you tried any of these dSLRs out yet? An important consideration when selecting a camera (especially a camera that costs this much) is whether or not you like how the camera feels. If you can't comfortably hold it, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll miss some shots.
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 1:00 PM   #12
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I have looked at several in the stores. I have held the D90, Rebel XSi and theSony A-350. I will probably have to do so again. I was so preoccupied with asking questions about image quality, speed, and iso stuff that I didn't really put in enough time holding them to get a good idea of how it really feels in my hand.
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 2:01 PM   #13
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Also remember to check out the viewfinders! You'll be spending a lot of time looking through the viewfinder and I find the Sony A300 and A350 to be too small for me. They added another sensor to give you better live view, which took away room the regular viewfinder.

As far as good quality and low price, the Pentax K20 is an excellent deal at the moment. Both the K200 and K20 are weather sealed, which makes them much heavier than the light-weightK2000.

Another nice thing about the Pentax dSLR cameras is that you can use any lens Pentax ever made - I'm still using a 50mm 1.7 lens that originally came with a film camera in 1980. You can often find used lenses for significantly cheaper than a new lens, though a manual lens won't suddenly become auto focus/auto exposure.
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 6:27 PM   #14
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Here's another vote for you to at least check out the Pentax K20D and the K200D. Both cameras are weather-resistant. The K20D offers 14 megapixels of resolution while the K200D has 10 megapixels. The K200D's controls are a bit more menu-based while the K20D offers more manual dials and buttons on the camera body. But if you're new to DSLRs, you'll probably like the scene modes included with the K200D. The K20D is pretty much a manual control camera.

I personally went for the K200D because it was a few hundred dollars less at the time I bought it - leaving more money in my budget for faster lenses.

Like you, makins117, I was concerned about overall system cost. And while all of the major DSLR makers offer some decent prime lenses that aren't too expensive, Canon's and Nikon's better and faster zoom lenses were all $1000 and up. I am very pleased with my f/2.8 16-50mm and f/2.8 50-135mm Pentax lenses. And they were 30-50 percent less expensive than comparable zooms from Canon and Nikon.

Don't misunderstand, I am not putting down Canon or Nikon at all. But system cost was a major factor in my decision and I have not been disappointed with my photographic results.

But I have a feeling you're not going to be buying a lot of up-market lenses to start with. With that in mind, Pentax's kit lenses are pretty darn good. But so are Olympus's. In terms of sheer bang for the buck, I think you'll find these two brands very compelling.

But I have one question for you: You mentioned you have an older SLR. What kind? And do you have several lenses for it? if so, you might be able to use them on a DSLR of the same brand. BTW... Sony purchased Minolta's camera business, so if your film SLR is a Minolta and isn't too old, its lens(es) might be compatible with newer Sonys.

But please... go to a camera shop and try out any DSLR that you are interested in. Hold it in your hands - better yet, bring a memory card and take some test shots. Check out the controls. A camera might be perfect for you on paper but not so great in your hand. Good luck!
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 6:46 PM   #15
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Biro-

I always look for your posts. However, this time I am going to disagree with you a bit. Perhaps the OP should scale back on his/her aspirations to reduce the overall system cost.

If we do that, then the Olympus E-510 (the camera body is less than $(US) 300.00) on E-bay and the E-520 camera body is (around $(US) 440.00 at ww.amazon.com). Then go one step forward.As a two lens kit, these camerasbecome both can be winners. If you desire to reduce your investment even lower, then consider just purchasing the camera bodies, and adding the Zuiko lenses (which are really top notch) as your budget allows.

What kind of IQ am I talking about? Take a look at this E-410 photo, done with the ZD 50mm F 2.0 lens.

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Old Dec 16, 2008, 11:04 PM   #16
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Oh, Sarah... you're really not disagreeing at all. As I mentioned in my post, Olympus is right there for bang for the buck. I happen to think the Oly E-520 (and the E-510 before that) with the two lens kit is one of best deals out there in DSLRs. But I probably should have been more specific. I only mentioned Oly in passing. Buying in stages can be a a great way to control costs. Also, buying used - as long as you buy from a highly reputable source - is another option.
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 11:01 AM   #17
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Hi Biro-

It nice to know that we are on the same page so as to speak. Many years ago my father, when he was alive, said to me this:

"A SLR camera is something I would call a continuing investment, as there is always the inclination to add another lens. My Kodak camera, at least for me, was a one time investment."

Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 4:44 PM   #18
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Hello All. Still trying to decide. I have another question for you all though. I just saw that Amazon has Canon 40D for $799.00 for the body and approximately $940 with a 28-135mm lens. Is the 40D too much camera for a beginner? Is it better than the others I was looking at? I don't want to consider something like that to only be frustrated in the long run because I can't utilize it to the fullest. Thanks!
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 4:58 PM   #19
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A camera is only "too much camera" if the photographer isn't willing to spend time to learn how to use it properly. The same thing applies about being frustrated - I don't get frustrated because I don't use either my cameras or my computer to its fullest potential - I only get frustrated when either the camera or program isn't capable of doing what I want it to do, or when my skills aren't good enough. Most of the time it's the latter, and is always a reason to spend time figuring out what's wrong. If you are willing to invest time and effort to learning how to use the camera, then it's fine. Just don't expect to stick a lens on it and start shooting Ansel Adams type of pictures without some study.

If you are willing to read the owners manual, spend some time learning about some of digital's adaption of things photographic (i.e., the whole idea of changing ISO frame to frame, rather than by the roll of film), then you'll have no trouble. You say you've used film SLR cameras and those basic principles haven't changed.

The Canon 40D is an awesome camera - I don't know what the fps of the D90 is (should check that out) but the 40D is more than any of the other cameras you were looking at - so it would be better for sports. I shoot Pentax so I'm not familiar with that lens though. It feels quite a bit different than the XSi (some people prefer it over the cheaper Canon) so make sure you actually handle it before you buy.
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 5:44 PM   #20
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As mtngal said, if you are willing to learn and are willing to use your local Community College, which probably offers some excellent photography course, you could do. Perhaps you could even hook-up with somebody local who also has a 40D camera and was willing to do some mentoring.

Please refer to the attached photo showing Amazon's Christmas Promotion. The lens they are including is one of Canon's consumer level lenses. By using the correct multiplier for that lens, in 35mm terms that lens is 44.8mm at the wide end and 216mm on the long end. So you would effectively have no wide angle capability. I own the lens, and it is not bad at all. However, I did want you to be aware of the details.

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