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Old May 12, 2009, 9:30 PM   #11
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Would these be good or would I be better off buying a 70-300mm lens from Sigma or Tamron?
Of the inexpensive 70-300 or 75-300 telephoto zoom lenses, the Sigma and Tamron are the best. The Sigma has a history of stripping its autofocus gears on Sony dLSRs, but it doesn't seem to be a problem on other brand cameras.

But none of those lenses will work well in low light like you mentioned in your inital post. Sigma and Tamron make 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses that would work well in that situation, but they start at $700, which would put quite a chunk out of your budget.

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The Canon was the EOS Rebel XS and the Nikons was the D90 and the D60.
Those aren't exactly in the same class. I'd drop the D60 for low light performance, less than stellar AF performance, and the narrow selection of lenses, espeically the lenses that would be appropriate for low light. But either of the other two should be fine.
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Old May 13, 2009, 2:56 AM   #12
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Any of the options you are considering would be fine...

Thing is though that with your price limit I would be very tempted by the Pentax K20D, which is a step above all the entry level models you are considering and is incredibly good value.

Also check out the Panasonic G1, which sort of falls somewhere between a P&S and a DSLR but is capable of producing some very good results.
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Old May 13, 2009, 5:58 PM   #13
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Is a used body an option? I've seen some used D70s and D80s kicking around in camera stores here (and online)... saving a few hundred dollars on a body might give you a bit more room for quality glass...

just a thought
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Old May 13, 2009, 7:56 PM   #14
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I really think that Conner has the right idea.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 13, 2009, 9:55 PM   #15
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It is all a REALLY matter of cost! if you want to control the costs of your proposed camera, then you might take a moment and listen for a bit.

A DSLR digital camera is a good instrument. However, it is indeed a very expensive instrument, when you consider the additional lenses, flashes, and accessories that you will naturally purchase, and accessories.

In contrast, a camera such as the Sony H-50, the Canon Sx-10, the Nikon P-90, or the Olympus SP-590, or the Panasonic FZ-28, or the Kodak Z-980 is just a one time purchase. Yes, I will readily admit, as a professional digital camera instructor, that in a DSLR camera, due to the larger imager, you will get a very slightly better imager.

But let me ask you this: how important is that slight difference??

Is it worth $(US) 1,000.00, or even $(US) 2,000.00 dollars?

That is the decision that you have to make.

While, I do indeed own 5 different DSLR cameras. And, I have worked my way through the LBA (lens buying addiction) syndrome. i have settled on a wide variety of ultrazoom cameras that I much prefer much more than a very expensive DSLR camera.

So, the choice is entirely up to you. Ultrazooms are not as good as DSLR cameras, but is that small difference that critical? Folks, we are talking about at least a $(US) 1,000.00 difference! Only you can formulate that answer.

Therefore, I will conclude here. However, as always, I will be available to answer your specific questions.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 13, 2009, 11:16 PM   #16
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Ultrazooms are not as good as DSLR cameras, but is that small difference that critical? Folks, we are talking about at least a $(US) 1,000.00 difference! Only you can formulate that answer.

Sarah Joyce
Depending on what you shoot the difference may not be so small at all. High ISOs (available light photography)? BIG DIFFERENCE. Shallow DOF? BIG DIFFERENCE. Moving wildlife? BIG DIFFERENCE. Sports? BIG DIFFERENCE. True macro. BIG DIFFERENCE. Quick focus for moving children when you can't pre-focus? BIG DIFFERENCE

Snapshots of landscapes - not so big a difference
Standard vacation photos - not so big a difference
Standard birthday shots if superzoom has hotshoe for external flash - not so big a difference.

So it really depends on what you want to shoot. sometimes the difference is minor as Sarah suggests but other times it's a major difference.
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Old May 14, 2009, 2:46 AM   #17
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Ditto.

Sometimes the difference is small, and sometimes it's very large.

But Sarah is certainly right in that for each step up that you take the quality difference gets smaller and smaller, the amount you have to pay gets bigger and bigger. And crucially too the demands on the skill of the photographer get higher and higher too.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml
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Old May 14, 2009, 11:27 AM   #18
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Many thanks to JohnG and peripatetic-

You both explained the difference between a DSLR camera and a ultrazoom very well. It all depends on the kind of photos that you are taking.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 14, 2009, 11:44 AM   #19
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One other thing to take into consideration is that your lenses become more of an investment with a dSLR.

That's because you can usually take them with you if you upgrade your camera body later within the same manufacturer's system (although there are no guarantees about future compatibility, after AF lenses became popular in the 80's, lenses from the major camera manufacturers have continued to be usable on newer generations of most dSLR camera bodies).

This is a rather complex issue, since some manufacturers like Nikon have started making changes in some bodies so that some AF lenses will no longer work as they did on previous bodies + lenses designed specifically for dSLR models using an APS-C size sensor may not be compatible with some dSLR models using a larger sensor (for example, a Canon EF-S mount lens won't work on a Canon EOS-5D which uses EF mount lenses). But, for the most part, your lenses would be an investment with a dSLR system, so you could use them later when you upgrade your body (or sell them if you change systems, with far less depreciation than you'd normally see selling a non-dSLR camera with a permanently attached lens).

So, even though the initial cost of good lenses may be high, you may find that you'll use be able to use them for years to come, whereas with a point and shoot model with a permanently attached lens, you'll end up replacing the body and lens for each upgrade.
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Old May 14, 2009, 12:54 PM   #20
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I was in the same scenario and crossed the line from a a point-n-shoot to dSLR. I needed something better for indoor shots for my 1 year old son and my 7yr old daughter's school performances. DSLR is really an investment but looking back at my archived 6 yrs worth of pictures to the ones taken with my dSLR early this year the image quality was a lot better especially indoors and low light situations and to me was totally worth it. Also, dSLRs are so much faster that i can capture and freeze those great baby moments and kids reactions. There are a lot of nice dSLRs out there but i settled with Nikon's D90 (great low light and high ISO image quality) with the 18-105 kit lens (very good and sharp and nice sweet zoom range) with a 70-300 VR zoom for those longer range shots (sports, wild life). I'm looking at getting some primes as well (50mm/1.8 or 35mm/1.8) for a cheaper, faster, wider and bigger apperture for those indoor shots without flash. And ofcourse an external flash for fill and bounce off ceiling/walls. It's not cheap and i would say mine still in the pretty basic set-up to other's standard but more than good enough for my current needs. Just started out and still learning. A nice but very expensive set-up for me would be a D700 with 12-24/2.8, 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 zooms. Possibilities are endless just depends on your budget and expectations.

Last edited by rrbarcarse; May 14, 2009 at 12:56 PM.
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