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Old Feb 14, 2009, 9:28 PM   #1
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Hi,

I currently have a Canon Power Shot A 700 camera but am thinking seriously about purchasing a digital SLR camera and am not sure where to start. What should I look for in an SLR camera? How do you decide which one is the best to buy.? Can anyone give me any recommendations on which SLR cameras are the best and pointers on how to go about deciding which one to buy. Thanks.

Janice




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Old Feb 14, 2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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There are no bad dSLRs, though some are better at certain things than others.

Certainly, Canon and Nikon have the greatest selection of lenses and accessories, not just from OEMs but from third parties as well. So a dSLR from either Canon or Nikon can certainly take you in directions that the other brands can't. But there are differences between them as well. For instance, Canon's entry level dSLR, the XSi has the best autofocus system for sports/action/wildlife, but Nikon has a stabilized macro lens that Canon lacks.

And while Canon and Nikon use image stabilization in some of their lenses, Pentax, Sony and some Olympus dSLRs have image stabilization in the camera body. That means that any lens, including 20 year old Pentax and Sony (Minolta) lenses, will be stabilized.

And while Sony has some really top notch optics, not just in their own 'G' lenses, but also some excellent offerings from Carl Zeiss, they can be very expensive, and their selecetion of fast primes isn't as good as Pentax'.

Olympus makes some of the smallest, lightest dSLRs available, and they have some very good lenses, but they can also be very expensive. Plus their autofocus system does not perform as well as the others and their high ISO performance isn't as good either.

It really comes down to what type(s) of photography yuo think you might be interested in. What do you have in mind?
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 7:49 AM   #3
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The types of photos I will take most frequently are family, my pets, nature especially flowers, some travel. I may at some point decide to try still life as well. I'm not sure what else I may end up doing in the future.
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 8:59 AM   #4
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What you describe could probably be accomplished with the standard kit lens for any dSLR.

I didn't ask you how much you expect to spend, and of course, that will make a difference.

Going froma Canon A700 to a dSLR is quite a big step. A big part of how appropriate a camera will be for you is how it feels to you. If it's heavy or awkward to hold, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll be frustrated with it.

But there are some basic differences between a P&S digicam and a dSLR that I should point out.

Your A700 has a lens that zooms from wide to medium telephoto. dSLRs usually have lenses that are more specialized, and while they will generally be optically better, to use the same angle of view that the A700 has, you'll probably need to change lenses. While there are some superzoom lenses that can cover the range of your A700, they are expensive and not as good asmultiple lenses of less ambitious zoom ranges.Also, the A700 has a 4X digital zoom. dSLRs don't have a digital zoom, so if you've ever used this feature, you'd need to use a longer lens on a dSLR instead.

Your A700 has a macro feature built-in, but that would be an additional cost lens or accessory for a dSLR.

Your A700 also has 20 different shooting modes for different types of subjects, while a dSLR will typically have fewer. The A700 can also record videos that dSLRs can not.

All of this is not to help you select a dSLR, but to prepare you for what you can expect from one.

I think you should go to a good camera store(as in, not a Best buy, Circuit City or WalMart) and try out the dSLRs they have that are in your price range, remembering that, in addition to the dSLR and kit lens, you may also need to get an extra lens or two, plus some accessories. But remember that the sales people frequently have their own hidden agenda and may try to encourage you to buy something that may ultimately not be the best choice for you.
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 12:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I don't know what the price range is for digital SLRs & what additional options you get with more expensive versions so at the moment I don't really have a price range in mind. I would like to purchase something that I won't outgrow too quickly so that I won't have to upgrade for a long time. I had an SLR film camera in the past so am aware that I will need to purchase additional lenses etc. I will likely just get the camera for now & gradually purchase the additional lenses I want over time. I know the owner of a camera store where I live so will start by looking there. I hope to get there within the next week & then may have more questions about certain models once I know what he has available. I plan to still keep my A 700 too at least for a while so will still have the features it offers that the SLR may not.
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 1:41 PM   #6
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jvanwees wrote:
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... I know the owner of a camera store where I live so will start by looking there. ...
Excellent idea. And since I presume you would be pleased to give this person your business, take note of what brands of dSLRs he has the best selection of cameras, lenses and accessories, and seriously consider his recommendations.

Good luck.
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