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Old Mar 3, 2009, 3:37 AM   #1
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I plan on purchasing a DSLR Camera tomorrow. I got a bonus from work and can spend about 1000 give or take a few hundred more.

I would be using it for taking pics of? kids, indoors, outdoors; social events at work and holidays at home; outdoor pictures such as trips to the grand canyon, other state parks, lakes, hiking pics, mountain views, canyon views, etc.; day to day pics indoors and outdoors; pics of kids indoors such as a gym, school, low lighting areas; sunsets; big 'sky' country in AZ; perhaps sports later (kids).

I would probably only purchase the lens that comes w/said camera and one other

Not sure about the flash? Does one come w/camera? Would I need to purchase one?

Most shots would be taken w/o tripod, so perhaps image stab as a factor?

I've been told to consider: Canon XSi or XS, Nikon D80 or 90, Sony A200 or A300, and ??

A friend has older lenses from a film minolta, not sure of what kind and if they'd be compatible...

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 5:50 AM   #2
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For indoor sports, you probably won't be able to use flash, so getting used to available light photography might be a good idea. In that case, you might want to avoid using flash for anything.

The Canon XSi and the Nikon D90 are probably the best for sports/action/wildlife, but the D90 will take a big bite out of your budget. Canon has the best selection of large aperture lenses appropriate for available light shooting, followed closely by Nikon, but Canon and Nikon both use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, and the large aperture lenses aren't stabilized. That doesn't matter much when you're sports because you'll want to use a fast shutter speed, and that will reduce the chances of motion blur due to camera shake. But for general indoor shooting, you may be shooting at slower shutter speeds and stabilization might be handy.

The Canon XS isn't quite as good as the XSi for sports, and the XSi has a 12MP image sensor while the sensor in the XS is 10MP.

The difference between the Sony A200 and the A300 is the 'Live View'. A consequence of the 'Live View' feature is that the optical viewfinder in the A300 is smaller. 'Live View' might be ok for some things, but for sports, holding the camera + lens at arms length for the duration of a basketball game can get old fast. So you'll probably want to use the optical viewfinder instead, and the A200 has a better one. And that choice would save you some money. But Sony's selection of large aperture lenses isn't nearly as good as Canon's or Nikon's.

An important consideration is how the camera feels to you. If you can't comfortably hold it, it you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll miss some shots. So, go to a good store and see how they feel before you make a decision.

When you buy a dSLR, you're buying the first part of a photographic system. This is an important decision, because everything you do subsequent to that is dependant on the appropriateness of that first decision. I suggest you browse the Post Your Photossection to see the types of photos you want to take, and see what others have used to get the photos you like.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 2:21 PM   #3
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Another camera to consider is the Pentax K20. They recently dropped the price of the camera and it is an excellent buy right now. The nice thing about it is that it offers weather sealing - a big bonus if shooting in deserts, snow and light rain (it's not water proof so you can't go swimming with it. I've shot pictures in the snow quite often with mine). It's excellent for landscape and general use. If you don't mind manual lenses, you can use any Pentax lens ever made on the digital cameras, which can save you money buying used lenses (I'm using some lenses I originally purchased in 1980). Using manual lenses isn't difficult, but its not for everyone.

Be aware that whatever camera you get, the kit lens that will come with it will have limitations. They are always a good buy (quality for the price), but they won't be very capable for indoor sports.

Since you aren't planning on a tripod, you might put a higher value on Sony and Pentax since they offer anti-shake in-camera. Both Nikon and Canon put their anti-shake in their lenses, so you have to pay more for lenses if you want image stabilization.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 7:00 PM   #4
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I just went through what you are going through a few months back. I had it down to the Sony or Nikon. Then realized that I could use older Minolta lenses with the Sony If you look on ebay you will find plenty of lenses for a very reasonable price. Had to chose between the A200 and the A300. I ended up bringing home the A200. I quickly realized that not being able to use the LCD to take shots. that would not be good for what I wanted. I didnt want to look through the view finder all the time.( high up or from the waist)sonys A300 tilting view finder fit that bill. I did end up getting the A300 and havnt looked back. First big shoot out was a trip to mexican riviera. I took 1500 pictures and kept 800. Its a great camera.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 7:32 PM   #5
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well i have had a delay in purchase, going back shopping this weekend. still considering canon or nikon, not really interested in sony. any more thoughts on canon vs nikon
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 8:23 PM   #6
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Within your budget, the XSi is better for sports/action/wildlife, and the kit lens is good. ... and it's stabilized. it can do most of what you say you want to do.

If you want a flash, that will work for indoor/low light shooting, but that's as far as your budget will take you. You might be able to squeeze in a Canon 55-250 IS lens and that will work well.

If you want to use available light, or can't use flash(indoor sports), as good as the kit lens is, it won't do that very well. You'll need a large aperture lens, and they generally aren't stabilized. A fast standard zoom will max out your budget, and a fast, stabilized standard zoom will max out your budget without the camera. (Btw, this is one of the attractions of stabilization in the body, like in Pentax and Sony dSLRs.)
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 10:25 AM   #7
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KayJ wrote:
Quote:
well i have had a delay in purchase, going back shopping this weekend. still considering canon or nikon, not really interested in sony. any more thoughts on canon vs nikon
The thing about Canon vs. Nikon is their cameras don't stack up head-to-head much. They alternate once you pass the D60 vs XS (which are pretty equal cameras). The cameras line up not coincidentally by price point.

XSi is better than D60

D90 is better than XSi

50D is better than D90

D300 is better than 50D

1dmkIII is better than d300

d3 is better than 1dmkIII

If your choice is between D90, D80, XSi or XS the D90 is the best camera body in that list. BUT lenses are important. An XSi with better lens can outperform the D90 with poor lens. You've got some low light work, and the CCD sensor of the D80 will suffer there. My advice is to choose between the XSi and D90. The D90 is the better camera no question about it. The ISO 6400 capability will give you a LOT more flexibility than the 1600 of the XSi. It's also a much sturdier camera. But bigger too. My personal opinion is if you are OK with the size/weight you'll have a lot more growth opportunity with the D90 than the xsi.




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Old Mar 7, 2009, 1:16 AM   #8
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Alas, I have made it to the small town nearby. Looks like bestbuy, walmart, samsclub are my only bets for shopping.

All BB has avl in the store, according to the website is Canon XSi with EF-S 18-55mm zoom lens with optical image stabilization, D60 with 18-55mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor VR lens.

Online BB has avl the Nikon D60 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor VR lens and 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens; Nikon F-Bayonet mount as a kit, the D80 w/ 18-135mm DX Zoom-Nikkor lens, D90 w/18-105mm AF-S DX Nikkor lens.

Frustrating!!!
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Old Mar 7, 2009, 5:13 AM   #9
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Between the Nikon D60 and the Canon XSi, the XSi is a better choice.

Among the retailers you mentioned, you probably won't find much of a selection inthe stores. But it's important to get a feel for them, to see if you a comfortable with them. Some people have complained about how small the Canon Digital Rebels and the Nikon D40/D60 are. I would try the other stores to see if their selection included any other choices, and then select from among the models available where you are. Unless you cna put this off until you can get to a place that has a better selection.
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Old Mar 7, 2009, 8:38 PM   #10
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I like the Canon kit that is on the site you put a link up for. Question: Is this a reputable retailer? It appears to be in Canada? Should I try to find a place in the US selling a similar pkg?
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