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Old May 8, 2009, 1:03 PM   #11
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Glitches, huh? I'd take that with a "grain of salt", since when cameras have problems, you usually see it discussed in forums, and I can't recall seeing any particular defect with these models. When serious bugs are found with how a function is working, dSLR manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus usually come out with firmware updates to fix them.

If you like the A350 better, also look at the less expensive A300. For most practical purposes, the A300 is the same camera with a lower resolution Sony 10MP CCD sensor (as used in models like the Sony A200 and Nikon D60).
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Old May 8, 2009, 1:35 PM   #12
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Glitches, huh? I'd take that with a "grain of salt", since when cameras have problems, you usually see it discussed in forums, and I can't recall seeing any particular defect with these models. When serious bugs are found with how a function is working, dSLR manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus usually come out with firmware updates to fix them.

If you like the A350 better, also look at the less expensive A300. For most practical purposes, the A300 is the same camera with a lower resolution Sony 10MP CCD sensor (as used in models like the Sony A200 and Nikon D60).
I had a whiff of a suspicion that she didnt want to sell me the cheapest camera, as I've been web-trawling extensively to come up with a shortlist and heard nothing but praise for the A200. The A300 does seem more suitable than the A350 as I cant think I'm likely to need 14 MP anytime soon. I'll need to go and look again tomorrow, I forgot what you'd said about the viewfinder size of the 300/350 and didnt pay enough attention to it today, its not something that appears obviously important to me as a less-than-novice but its starting to niggle away now I think about it.

Going to the shop also helped me see that the live view isnt so important as the cameras give you lots of other feedback, like the settings they are using in auto - that will likely be a big help to me as a learning tool.
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Old May 9, 2009, 9:59 AM   #13
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Paid another visit to my local shop today. I'm now swaying towards the A200 as after a lot of looking through viewfinders, I felt it was the one I was most comfortable looking through. The A350 was nice and crisp but in the long run I think I'll prefer the bigger viewfinder on the A200. They also had a Panasonic G1 just in today, but I really didnt like the viewfinder on it.

The lens they suggested I buy with it is the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks
Richard
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Old May 9, 2009, 9:57 PM   #14
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Richard, I have the A300, and don't find the smaller viewfinder a problem, but as I don't use the live-view feature, I now feel I should have gotten the A200 instead. I think you will find it's a great camera.

About the Sigma 70-300, read this first:http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...0-300-apo.html

Good luck with whatever you decide. Robert

A good alternative to the Sigma would be the Tamron 70-300 LD DI macro, in the same price range. I currently own this lens and had one for my previous camera, a Nikon D50, and both have worked flawlessly..

Last edited by Hawgwild; May 9, 2009 at 10:03 PM.
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Old May 10, 2009, 12:38 AM   #15
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The viewfinder with the Sony cameras is a personal thing. I looked at them and the smaller viewfinder would drive me nuts. But then, I do lots of manual focus, both because I do lots of macro and because several of my favorite lenses are manual focus (I shoot Pentax and use a variety of older, manual lenses). If you will be depending on auto focus exclusively, it might not be as important.
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Old May 10, 2009, 6:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Primavera View Post
.....I really want to learn how use a manual camera - I guess what I meant is I'm after a camera that is fairly intuitive...
I had a Zenit 3m (predecessor of the Zenit E), and used several other tank-like Russian cameras of that period. I eventually graduated to an Olympus OM-10 and lens collection, until going digital (with an Olympus C3020Z in 2002). So I know where you're coming from.

If you want to learn manual control in digital photography, I'd suggest not leaping straight to the considerable bulk and expense (even if second-hand) of a dSLR & lenses, but buying a cheap superzoom first, and using it as a learning tool. The cheapest are probably the two I use, Kodak Z712 and Z1012. These have a full on-screen settings display in an electronic eye-level viewfinder (EVF), and handle very much like small dSLRs.

This route would also answer your 'live preview' question by trying it out. As explained above, putting live preview on a dSLR is tricky, and not as useful as it might be. On my superzooms, I set exposure routinely for anything but a snatched shot by twiddling EV in aperture priority mode in the EVF until I can see that the tonal balance is OK, mainly by eye, but using the on-screen histogram if desired. So I do some of the photoshopping before I take the shot. There's then an optional few seconds display of the image you just shot, so you can see whether it's what you expected (i.e., identical or not to the live preview).

This was the biggest breakthrough in my entire photographic life (starting c.1960). Before these cameras, I was bracketing every doubtful exposure.

I've just got my 80-year-old mother-in-law to try digital at last (instead of APS film), using my son's now unused 4Mpix Sony S4 dating from 2005. To my, and her delight, this elderly camera has live preview on its LCD, with EV adjustment at a single button touch, which she has used with great success to ensure that the delicate tones on cherry blossom petals in her garden are not blown out, as they are with default automatic exposure.

Incidentally, both she & I find the current taste in default automatic exposure on many digicams to be about 0.3 EV overxposed, resulting in frequent blown highlights.

The only drawback is the difficulty of seeing the LCD screen adequately in bright ambient lighting. Until the acquistion of my EVF-fitted cameras, I used gadgets ranging from cardboard tubes to Victorian 'black cloth over the head' to get a decent view.

I forgot to give my answer to your other question : The second biggest breakthrough in my photography was image stabilisation. You'll need it often in Shetland, I happen to know.

Last edited by Alan T; May 10, 2009 at 7:06 AM.
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Old May 10, 2009, 7:50 AM   #17
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Default What type of shooting ?

What type of shots do you like to take, inside, birds, wildlife, landscape ? What is important to you, zoom, IQ, flash ??
I think live view is not on the priority list until you look at these other factors. I'm a die hard Oly fan, not because other cameras aren't great but because I've had them since film days and gotten used to the menus and like the smaller size. I have the sp560 with tcon and my thing is zoom, and that combination gets me over 800mm which is important for birding or wildlife. It gives decent IQ but I wanted more detail and depth so I purchased an E510 with a 70 300 lens. I gave up a couple hundred mms in zoom but I gained better IQ and flexibility with ISO and shutter speeds.
I'm in a forum where several folks have the Nikon P90 which is a superzoom and gives you a huge range from low 20's to over 600mm optical. It does a great job. This would be a very good option at a decent price and allow you to learn how to use manual modes so that when you did jump into a dslr you would know what your likes and dislikes are.
Either way pick them up and see how they feel to you and read hands on reviews by people that use them. My opinion is if you're not used to using manual controls buy a reasonable priced superzoom first, there are a lot of good ones out there, and practice with it for a while then jump to the dslr. If you still want to get a dslr, get used to using the viewfinder instead of the monitor, if that's a priority then dslrs are probable not for you.
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Old May 11, 2009, 7:45 AM   #18
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So much information - eek, and big thankyous to everyone for all the help.

I'm reaching the conclusion that in the long run live view isnt likely to be as important to me as I thought it might. I dont know if this is sound logic but I figured that for still pictures I can just retake, and for moving targets, well you dont have much time to play with the live view anyway. In the short term it might help me with composition, but it might also be a bad habit waiting to happen.

Eharrim - What kind of shots do I like to take - guess that's something I should have included in the original post. Landscapes are my favourite, before I had kids landscapes were pretty much all I shot. I have 2 small children and they've been my main subjects for the past 7 years, now their legs are getting a bit of strength we'll be heading to the hills more and I'll be doing landscapes again too.

AlanT - thanks for the thoughts on Superzooms. As far as the expense goes I've figured these items are holding their value very well. Yesterday I saw an 8 month old A200 sell on ebay for 3 less than Jessops are selling them new so the outlay isnt a problem in terms of resale. I also think I'm unlikely to give in with a modern camera, I've enjoyed automatic photography and photoshopping for long enough to know that its worth the effort - I have a real (mid-life) need to get my finger out and get on with it too.

Hawgwild - Regarding the Sigma lens, thanks for info, that thread worried me. Jessops, the UKs largest chainstore, is doing a pretty good deal on the Tamron with the A200 at the moment so I'm thinking to go with that, I would rather have shopped locally but they only have Sigma's.

Again, thanks all
Richard
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