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Old Dec 29, 2008, 9:13 AM   #1
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I am looking for an slr but don't have much money. Which brand would be the best?
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 9:53 AM   #2
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All entry level dSLR cameras will take excellent pictures.

Some have features that will help more in certain situations, so not knowing how you are planning on using the camera makes it hard to separate them into a "better" category.

The best camera for anyone is the one they feel most comfortable with and find a delight to use. Best thing to do is go to a camera store and handle them. Pentax, Sony and some Olympus cameras have stabilization in their camera bodies. Canon and Nikon put their stabilization in their lenses. Stabilization is something that not everyone will need, it depends on the person.

Pentax can use any lens ever made by Pentax, and that lens will have whatever capability it was made with (manual lenses don't suddenly become auto focus/auto exposure lenses). Sony uses the Minolta Maxxum mount, so can use their old lenses. Canon can use EOS lenses, but not earlier manual lenses. The entry level Nikon cameras don't have a focus motor in the camera body, so not all current Nikon lenses will auto focus with them (you have to buy a lens with the focus motor in it, usually more expensive).

Given that money is a significant issue, given that you haven't indicated you are planning on using the camera for something that might differentiate one manufacturer over another, I'd probably start by giving the Sony and the Pentax higher priority than the others (availability of used lenses and both having in-camera stabilization), then go handle them all.

Buy the one that doesn't feel too light/heavy/big/small, where you can easily reach all the controls, one that you can see through the viewfinder well (you will be spending a great deal looking through it, make sure you can see through it easily to see whether things are in focus or not), regardless of anything else.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 10:26 AM   #3
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Thank you. I had an old pentax years ago. I believe it was an slr because I could change out the lenses. I want something with little lag time. I also wantclearer pictures than what I'm getting with my sony cybershot. I would like to take some good moon shots and I believe an slr would do it justice. What lens would I need for that?
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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A good moon shot requires a good long lens. That kind of lens would only be good for birding, etc., so if that's what you've got in mind, there are a number of lenses that would do that justice. The most economical of those is the Sony 500mm f/8 Reflex Telephoto Lens, which is a catadioptric lens, so it has fewer optical elements and fewer polished surfaces. It is smaller, lighter,less expensive, and has fewer optical flaws that refractive lenses. It is the only f/8.0 lens available that is also autofocus.

But if birding and moon shots won't consititute a significant portion of your photography, perhaps you could provide a little more detail on what you want to shoot.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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maryccc wrote:
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I am looking for an slr but don't have much money. Which brand would be the best?
maryccc wrote:
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Thank you. I had an old pentax years ago. I believe it was an slr because I could change out the lenses. I want something with little lag time. I also wantclearer pictures than what I'm getting with my sony cybershot. I would like to take some good moon shots and I believe an slr would do it justice. What lens would I need for that?
Sorry to say that realistically this two questions don't really go together. Even the option mentioned by TCav is about $600 and not really long enough to do a great job of shooting the moon, possibly better for wildlife but not an option I would really consider.

To get an idea of the focal lengths you need to get good moon shots take a look at http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/moon_shots

I'm not trying to put you off but would rather you were fully aware of what you might expect.

As for getting clearer photos that your cybershot this shouldn't be an issue with any of the entry level options. The cheapest way to go is probably Sony but I would suggest going to a local store and handling them to see what feels good in the hand.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 12:23 PM   #6
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Mary-

First thing-please read over the thread entitled: "Thinking About Purchasing a DSLR Camera?" It is located right in this folder and it will give you a lot of excellent background information.

Then let's really take stock of what kind of photos that you are now taking or want to take in the future. Do you know that the average consumer DSLR kit, after you purchase, lenses, accessories, and a good external flash runs about $(US) 1,000.00. In contrast, a good ultrazoom or bridge camera with a huge lens (up to over 500mm)which would be perfect for photographing the moon costs only about $(US) 250.00! Oh yes, an ultrazoom or bridge camera has absolute minimal shuter lag, or delay.

If we can match your needs to exactly the right camera for you, we probably could save you a lot of money.

Oh, please don't get me wrong. Consumer level DSLR camera are excellent and most take great photos. But, why purchase a sledge hammer if you are only installing thumb tack. A DSLR camera might be more than your really need.

We let's count up what we know about your needs thus far:

(a) You used to own or use a film Pentax DSLR camera

(b) You are concerned about shutter lag or delay

(c) You really want to take some good photos of the moon

Gee, we really don't know much do we? If you could tell us more about the kind of photos you want to take, your hopes for the future, photo-wise, and the like, perhaps we can save you a whole lot of money and find the camera that is exactly right for you.

We here to help you personally!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 6:34 AM   #7
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I really want an SLR and have always wanted one since my pentax days. I would use it to shoot family pictures too. I do a lot of that. When my son starts into sports I would like to get good shots of that too. I have a sony cybershot hd2 and used that for some moon shots and it does well but I want more detail. I could eventually get a better telescope and use the slr with that. I just want great pictures.
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 7:01 AM   #8
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All dSLRs will do well when taking family photos, and most dSLRs can easily be connected to telescopes (though Canon and Nikon have an advantage.)

For sports, the Canon XSi is currently the best choice among entry level dSLRs. It has the best autofocus system for sports/action/wildlife, and is one of the better dSLRs at producing images with less noise at higher ISO settings, which allows you to use faster shutter speeds.

Image stabilization reduces, if not eliminates, image blur from camera shake, and is a popular feature. While Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, Pentax and Sony use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body. This means that any lens on a Pentax or Sony dSLR body will be stabilized, which would seem to give an advantage to them. But Canon and Nikon have stabilized kit lenses that you would use for most (if not all) your family photos, and for sports photos you would use faster shuter speeds, so camera shake won't be a issue.

The fact that you want to shoot sports tells me that the Canon XSi would be the best choice. And once your son decides which sports he wants to participate in, you can get the appropriate lens or lenses.
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 10:12 AM   #9
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I agree with TCAV here. For right now any of the DSLRs will meet your current needs assuming the ergonomics meet your approval.

But DSLRs aren't like digicams. The idea is you're buying into a system. And while you'll likely buy a new camera in a couple of years it's beneficial to be able to carry forward the lenses / external flash from your previous DSLR. With that in mind, switching systems gets costly.

If sports shooting is in your future, Canon and Nikon lead the rest of the pack by a significant margin. The only system even close is Sony. But they currently only have one camera that competes against it's Canon and Nikon counterparts - the A700. The lower level models don't compete well against the XSi for sports and Sony has nothing to compete with the pro grade sports cameras of Canon and Nikon.

Again - all DSLRs out there can do what you currently need them to do but a Canon or Nikon purchase now better positions you for the sports shooting down the road. The problem with Nikon is their entry level camera - D60 has some disadvantages for sports shooting. You have to step up to the D90 to get a decent sports camera. So, Canon has the advantage at the entry level. Mid level, Canon's 50d has an edge over the Nikon d90 but from there Nikon takes over. Their D300 is an exceptional sports shooting camera and the D700 and D3 outshine Canon's 1dmkIII. Both systems have top notch pro grade lenses.

I will point out though - you need to consider that lenses for sports photography can be expensive. Sports shooting is very demanding of the equipment. Even the most basic sports at the lowest level will require a lens beyond the kit lens that comes with your dslr. So, if you really intend to shoot sports down the road, realize you'll have to spend more money on lenses to do it. How much money depends on what sports.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

John
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