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Old Jun 29, 2009, 4:41 PM   #11
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True, but I've read posts by an A350 owner complaining about inconsistant metering too.
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Old Jun 29, 2009, 7:33 PM   #12
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The bottom line though Jim is there simply isn't anything about the 350 say that makes it a better fit for the OPs needs than any other dslr. I'm not a big fan of the 'you can use any minolta lens ever made' because most consumers aren't big about buying from the used market. So, if you prefer your lens to be NEW with manufacturer guarantee, that isn't a benefit. For the stated purposes, every system out there is quite capable. And I'm one of the first to jump on and restrict people's selections when I think a given system has a strong advantage or disadvantage.

Sony being a large corporation isn't that relevant either. That shows they may have promise, but as TCAV pointed out, they're still a distant third. Your point about them being ahead of Pentax and Oly would only seem to strengthen an argument that Canon or Nikon is a better choice because they're far ahead of Sony. Don't get me wrong - I think the Sony's are fine dslrs by most accounts. I just don't think they'll fit the OPs needs any better than Nikon, Canon, Oly or Pentax offerings. Every system has pros and cons. In some instances photographer needs make one system a better fit than another. This case, the needs are basic enough any system will suffice.

For what it's worth, I shoot Canon. But, in this instance, it doesn't make sense for me to push Canon on the OP because realistically the other systems will work just fine. I certainly would never buy a camera based upon the company prowess and the 'hope' they'll realize their marketing goals. Buy the camera/system that has what you want/need right now - unless the company goes belly up (which could happen to any company) you know they can meet your needs. If that's Sony - great. But if a pentax camera feels good to you and the features/lens/flash gives you what you need - go for it.

As to Nikon and the lack of a focus motor - that was a hot button for me early on. Truth be told it is less of an issue now. The one area where it is still a problem is short primes. So, if your photography is going to require the use of short primes I think the d60 is a poor plan. But if you're planning on using consumer or pro zooms or long primes, the lack of a focus motor isn't an issue. In any case, you really can't make a bad choice - but don't put too much weight in this issue on Jim, Tcav, I or any other prolific poster or moderator here recommending a specific brand. I honestly don't think it will matter much as long as you end up with the right lenses / flashes for the type of work you want to do. If you don't mind used lenses then Sony and Pentax have a great backward compatibility to old lenses. But, if you prefer to buy new lenses you might want to see the availability and price of lenses in the various systems to get a 'true price' for an outfit you might want to buy - including one or two 'down the road' lenses. That availability and price may drive you toward/away a system where all else is equal.
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Old Jun 29, 2009, 7:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
As to Nikon and the lack of a focus motor - that was a hot button for me early on. Truth be told it is less of an issue now.
I'm glad to hear a non Nikon shooter say this. I've been trying to make this point for the last year or so without sounding like too much of a Nikon fanboy. This argument is still being used all the time and it is really no longer an issue. Nikon has a lens to cover every shooting situation (except bright primes which has finally been addressed this year to some extent), in consumer and pro level builds/quality.
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Old Jun 30, 2009, 1:43 AM   #14
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I'd also like to point out that the Pentax and Sony/Minolta backwards compatibility with lenses is a triumph of marketing over substance.

When you go to a second-hand store the cabinets are full of Nikon and Canon lenses and then a few others here and there.

Ebay is the same, there are lots of Nikon and Canon used lenses available and fewer of the others.

The reason for this is simple: Canon and Nikon make more cameras and lenses than anyone else. So although Canon changed their mount in 1987 they have made more than 100 million EF mount lenses since then. Pentax hasn't made anything like that number in their entire history.

Also the Canon EF mount is able to take (with adapters) the widest range of lenses of any system. It is easy to find F-mount adapters, FD mount adapters, Leica R adapters, Contax adapters, there are even Pentax and Minolta adapters! The Nikon F mount also has a huge range of used and modern lenses available. And the modern 3rd party manufacturers make most of their lenses available in most mounts.

Is it really an advantage to choose Pentax or Sony because you can mount a 1950s lens on them? No it's not, but it's very good marketing and a lot of people have fallen for it.

Canon and Nikon have the widest range of lenses available for them. But for most people ALL of the manufacturers have a sufficiently wide range available that it most likely will not be a consideration of any major significance.

For high-end (expensive) and specialist purposes you may want to restrict yourself to a particular brand and that will most likely be Canon or Nikon.
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Old Jun 30, 2009, 3:45 AM   #15
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Actually, you can't use a 1950's mount lens on a Sony body without an adapter. Pentax is actually your best bet for older Manual Focus lenses if buying an entry level dSLR. But, you can use any Minolta Autofocus lens ever made on a Sony dSLR model and still enjoy the benefits of both Autofocus and stabilization.

As for availability, the last time I checked and counted them, you could find *more* Minolta Autofocus Mount (a.k.a., Maxxum, Dynax, Alpha, Minolta A Mount) at popular vendors of used gear like http://www.keh.com, http://www.bhphotovideo.com and http://www.adorama.com compared to Autofocus lenses from Nikon, Canon and others.

That may have changed lately because Sony has been selling a lot of cameras. But, you can still find a very good stock of used lenses in Minolta AF mount at popular vendors of used gear, and they're all stabilized on a Sony dSLR model. Ditto for high end lenses. For example, B&H has two Minolta 600mm f/4 HS (High Speed) AF lenses in stock right now.

Someone buying an entry level camera may not care about the high end models. But, it's nice to know they're there if you need them at some point. Of course, Sony has been releasing more lenses as time passes, and will be introducing a Super Telephoto lens of it's own (they showed a model of it at PMA when they showed models of the other lenses they recently announced like the new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 55-200mm f/3.5-5.6, 30mm f/2.8 Macro and 50mm f/1.8). They've also been releasing a number of newly designed "best in class" lenses since buying Konica Minolta's camera related assets.

There are many lens choices in this mount available. Here are some incomplete lists of Minolta Autofocus mount lenses that have been manufactured by Minolta, Sigma, Tamron, and others:

Fixed Focal Length Lenses in Minolta A mount

Macro Lenses in Minolta A Mount

Zoom Lenses in Minolta A mount

That was a big consideration for me. For those of us on a tight budget, being able to use Minolta AF mount lenses is nice. I've bought a number of my lenses in either used or refurbished condition, including my Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.8, 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 35-70mm f/4 Macro; and Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 (and all are Autofocus, and all stabilized on my Sony DSLR-A700). I've also bought some new lenses at great prices in Minolta AF mount. For example, my Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 was bought new in the box, and it's a very sharp lens (one of the sharpest wide zooms ever tested by Photodo.com ). They made it in Nikon mount, too (only it won't Autofocus on a D60). ;-)

The OP asked for alternatives to a D60, and I suggested looking at the entry level Sony models. I think they're a better value, especially where lens compatibility is concerned. Even though you can mount older Nikon lenses on a D60, you don't get Autofocus unless the lens has a built in focus motor. You also don't get stabilization unless you go with a VR lens. With the Sony entry level models, you also get a more advanced 9 point AF system (that's also faster than the D60's in most lighting).

The D60 is a nice camera, and I even defended it in a recent thread. But, I still think the entry level Sony models have more "bang for the buck", even if you never buy a used lens. One of our members with a D60 even agreed with me in the same thread when discussing the A200 versus D60. ;-) This is the one I'm talking about:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...irst-dslr.html

Sure, any of the entry level dSLR models can take great photos in most conditions. The OP wanted alternatives, so I brought up the Sonys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soansari View Post
...I was thinking of getting a Nikon D60. Any other good recommendations?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
...As for other cameras you may want to look at in addition to the Nikon D60, I'd check out the Sony dSLR models like the Sony A200, A230, A300, and A330, which all use a Sony 10MP CCD Sensor, as does the Nikon D60 (only with the Sony models, you get a more advanced 9 point Autofocus System, combined with the ability to use any Minolta Autofocus lens ever made while enjoying the benefits of an in body stabilization system).
If you want to disagree, fine. ;-)
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Old Jun 30, 2009, 5:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
I'd also like to point out that the Pentax and Sony/Minolta backwards compatibility with lenses is a triumph of marketing over substance.

When you go to a second-hand store the cabinets are full of Nikon and Canon lenses and then a few others here and there.

Ebay is the same, there are lots of Nikon and Canon used lenses available and fewer of the others.
Would you deny that Sony and Pentax have the largest selection of stabilized lenses on the used market?

Certainly, nobody needs image stabilization all the time, but most people could use it occasionally, and if you don't have it, you can't use it.

I acknowledge that Canon and Nikon make and have made a lot of lenses, including some I wish I could use, but if I need something, and one manufacturer has the right combination of features and lenses, that's the camera for me. Even if it isn't Canon or Nikon.

The OP has said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by soansari View Post
I love taking photos of landscape, close-ups, and kids/pets. I was thinking of getting a Nikon D60. Any other good recommendations? And what lenses should I start out with?
Would image stabilization help with "landscape"? No. What about "kids/pets"? Probably not, unless he or she shoots in available light, like I do, where longer shutter speeds can mean motion blur due to camera shake. That is, without image stabilization. What about "close-ups"? Absolutely. If the OP can get by with the kit lens, then the issue is moot since all current dSLRs are stabilized when using their respective kit lenses. But if not, like when shooting "kids/pets" in available light, then stabilization needs to come from somewhere. Where's that going to be? Where's the OP going to find a large aperture stabilized lens? The $960 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens or the $1,130 Nikon 17mm - 55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Autofocus Zoom Lens. Or maybe the $420 Sigma 18mm - 50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro Autofocus Zoom Lens or the $460 Tamron SP AF 17 - 50mm f/2.8 XR DI-II LD Aspherical (IF) Standard Zoom Lens, either of which would be stabilized on either a Pentax or Sony dSLR. I don't know which solution will provide the best results; I just know that the Pentax and Sony solutions are cheaper.

So the Nikon D60 wouldn't necessarily be a good choice for the OP.
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Last edited by TCav; Jun 30, 2009 at 6:24 AM.
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Old Jun 30, 2009, 8:45 AM   #17
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It appears my post did not stick for some reason. In general I still maintain any system would work. But I do disagree with TCav's assertion. Based on my personal experience, relying on f2.8 lenses and anti-shake is a poor approach for kid/pet photos. There are simply way too many instances where such a solution will produce poor results. I love available light and there are instances where it works well - primarily when you have sunlight available near the subject. But too many times you either don't have enough light (and anti-shake does not prevent your subject from moving and causing blur) - especially at 2.8. And in quite a few instances you actually want more DOF to get more subjects in focus. In my experience and from the photos I've seen from others, relying on anti-shake so you can take 1/15 second exposures of a human animal subject produces less-desirable results than if you properly used an external flash.

So, regardless of which system the OP chooses - I would strongly advise an external flash rather than thinking IS and an f2.8 lens will produce the same results as are possible with the flash when you don't have that sunlight.
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Old Jun 30, 2009, 9:02 AM   #18
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some examples where available light would not have worked very well:






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Old Jul 1, 2009, 2:36 PM   #19
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I have had slr's, medium formats, etc. for over 40 years..so I'm at the other end of the spectrum..but at the same time, not a pro although I did some minor work for publications many years ago. I'm just a guy who has taken lot's of pictures over the years, using lot's of different types of cameras and brands.

In fact I have these brands in my 'stable' ...Mamiya, Pentax, Canon, Leica, Zeiss- Ikon, Panasonic Lumix, Yashicamat...etc. I do like my toys.

Pentax:

- I'm biased I admit it. I've had Pentax slr's since '68. Never had a problem with their equipment (touch wood ). Got lot of it.

Digital wise, I have the K10D which I wouldn't recommend for the beginner and the KM (K2000) which is a great DSLR for the beginner. It takes excellent pictures, had a very good kit lens, opens you up to the Pentax system of lenses. It also has a help button that the shooter can press and it can answer minor questions. Very good for the beginner.

The KM has a dust removal system and a very effective Shake Reduction system that works as advertised. In low light situations I still carry my monopod or tripod...but to be honest...upping the ISO and employing the Shake reduction (SR) seems to work well without the need for a 'stand'. I like my KM (k2000 in the states) very well and would recommend it to a beginner or to a more advanced photographer who may want it to supplement more advanced bodies...that's what I do.

Nikon:

Another excellent camera and Nikon has a tremendous system of lens. Nothing against the Nikon...except that you have to pay extra for the lenses to get the SR in each lens you buy. I think Pentax has a better idea than Nikon and Canon by having the SR in the body...no added expense.
But I do like the Nikon line, especially the higher end from D300 up.

I have read and am told that the Nikon D60 is a great little camera.

Canon- again an excellent piece of equipment. See my concerns about Nikon...also apply to Canon. Canon also has probably the greatest amount of accessories / lenses in their line. Wonderful cameras.

Sony:

I've had problems with Sony products in the past, TV, MP3, Radio... Because of these issues I've hesitated to go for one of their DSLR's.

Also Sony is a relatively new player in the DSLR market..I realize they took over Konica- Minolta...two fine old names and built their lines on these...so the foundation is good.

But on the other hand...we have a Sony DSLR with the kit lens, at work for the past year...it's run well. No problems and lot's of different people...some of them ham fisted operating it. A lot of the people at work are beginners with no DSLR experience. I've just shown them the basics with the work Sony and they're off...their pictures are fine. Again no problems and because it's a company piece of equipment...it sometimes isn't taken care of as a camera should be...but it's survived and done well.

I've also never had problems with either of my Pentax DSLR's Sony Sensors...so maybe this fear of mine is groundless.

In fact it probably is....but there you have it.

In conclusion I don't think you can go too far wrong with Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic DSLR's.

At the entry level they are all pretty good...same deal as you go up the various lines.

My suggestion...go to a camera store that carries all the lines. Handle, try the different brands in the store. See what feels the best to you. If you have a camera enthusiast buddy that doesn't have any strong brand loyalty...take them along with you. See what they say and check out different camera forums (like this one) with a barrage of questions.

BTW...before I bought my Pentax K10D...I also tried the Canon 30D and the Nikon D200...it was close...I could of gone for any of these fine cameras and I doubt if I would of had any regrets.
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Old Jul 1, 2009, 5:26 PM   #20
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I ordered a Pentax K2000 a few days ago, I have yet to receive it and am a beginner myself. But, I did to a ton of research before deciding on the K2000 and from what I do know, it seems to be a very good entry level DSLR.
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