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Old Aug 26, 2009, 4:40 PM   #31
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Boy, this has really taken the fun out of getting a new toy.
Don't sweat it.

Chances are, any of the entry level dSLR kits will do just fine in the vast majority of conditions you'll use one in (family gatherings, etc.).

Then, after you've used a kit for a while, you'll have a better understanding of where your existing equipment may be holding you back, and you can make better informed decisions on any additional purchases you may need for the conditions you use a camera in more often.

Personally, a typical 18-55mm kit lens would work fine for most of the photos I take of grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc. at parties, family gatherings and more.

Heck... I went out with relatives Saturday afternoon, and didn't even bother to bring a zoom lens along. I just mounted a 28mm f/2 on my camera and used my feet for zoom. ;-)

I've got boxes and boxes and boxes of prints taken mostly with 50mm or 35-70mm lenses on a 35mm camera (and a typical 18-55mm kit lens is going to start out even wider). For most uses, those types of focal lengths are fine. We're getting to be a bit "spoiled" anymore with super zoom type cameras. ;-)

Where you may need something different is in more extreme conditions (like your ballgames, dance recitals, etc.). But, even then, you may be able to get some photos at closer distances without a lot of expense.

You're not going to be able to get great photos of everything in all conditions, no matter how much you spend. Any system has limitations. ;-)

But, you can still have fun and get good photos in most conditions, without spending a small fortune. Also, quality is very subjective. From my perspective, the content of the images (being able to capture memories of family, etc.) is more important than the technical details or how sharp someone's eyelashes look at larger viewing sizes. Most users never print at larger sizes anyway.

IOW, I'd get a starter kit within your budget and have fun with it. If you can swing a bit more, look at some of the two lens kits (for example, one with a 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens). Then later, if you see where your gear is holding you back in some conditions, set a bit of money aside for more lenses later as you can afford them (and the used market is full of lenses, too).
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 5:30 PM   #32
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JimC, thanks....you captured the spirit of what I was looking for.....here are some samples of shots I have taken in the past.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3852588972/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3852591450/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3852592732/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3860563472/

Last edited by anthony_b; Aug 26, 2009 at 5:43 PM.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 5:31 PM   #33
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I just want to say "Thanks" to all the participants in this thread. I have learned while reading it - which is why I'm here.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 6:30 PM   #34
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I'd like to mention that, while the photos you provided links to could all be taken with any entry level dSLR, buying any dSLR, and then buying lenses and accessories for it, commits you to a system.

The problem with that is that some systems won't do some of the other, more esoteric things you want to do. For instance, your daughter's volleyball is a problem (photographically speaking), and if you start with the wrong system now, you might have to start over with something new when you decide you want to photograph that. It would be best if you started with something that could handle that now, even if you don't want to pay the extra money for the appropriate lenses now. Canon and Nikon have lenses that can handle what you ultimately want to do, so buying a Pentax or Sony dSLR might end up being a bigger mistake than buying a superzoom.

Both Canon and Nikon have inexpensive, entry level dSLRs, but I think the least expensive one that has a fast enough autofocus system for sports/action photography is the Canon XSi. You can certainly buy a lesser model from either Canon or Nikon and upgrade later when you start to get your sports lenses, or you can spend a little extra money now, and have something that will work for what you wnat to do now, and whose extra capabilities you won't use until later.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 6:37 PM   #35
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Those all look like conditions where the entry level dSLR kits are likely going to do a better job than what you used. You're at close enough ranges for the kids playing ball in the back yard where faster focus speeds may be helpful using a typical kit lens. One of the photos looked like it had a Dynamic Range issue (where the detail in the building was a bit "washed out"). The dSLR models are going to be better in that area (where you have a greater range from bright to dark).

If it were me, I'd go with a dSLR versus a point and shoot with a $500 budget. You can always add more lenses later if you really need them.

As for the Sony A230 or Pentax K2000, that's a tough call. The Pentax has a relatively small internal buffer with relatively slow write speeds to media. It's probably using a Sony 10MP CCD sensor (as is the Sony A230 you're looking at). But, because of it's smaller internal buffer, it's going to slow down faster if you take many photos in bursts (as in sports photos). Chances are, it's Autofocus System isn't quite as good as the Sony's either. But, it's a well liked camera, and we have a terrific group of Pentax shooters in the forums willing to share their knowledge. If you're looking for users having fun with a dSLR (especially using budget lenses), look no further than our Pentax dSLR forum. Frankly, I wish more of our forums had a group of users as enthusiastic about their cameras and lenses.

Personally, I'd go with the Sony solution (and Sony has a really good deal on a two lens kit including the A230 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses right now). But, I'm a bit biased, since I shoot with a Sony dSLR. lol

I'd try them out in a store and see what feels more comfortable to you.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 6:48 PM   #36
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The problem with that is that some systems won't do some of the other, more esoteric things you want to do. For instance, your daughter's volleyball is a problem (photographically speaking), and if you start with the wrong system now, you might have to start over with something new when you decide you want to photograph that..
They all have pros and cons. For example, the entry level Canon models like the XS and XSi don't have an available ISO 3200 if you need to use it; and the Nikon models won't use a lot of the brighter lenses available (because their bodies don't have focus motors built in like the Pentax and Sony dSLR models).

As you know, I use a Sony A700 now. I have zero regrets choosing this system. Frankly, I would not swap my camera for anything made by Nikon or Canon short of the Nikon D3 (and even then, I'd have to think about it, since I wouldn't want to lug a camera that heavy around all the time), and in case you're wondering, I've taken thousands of photos with a D3 (as well as a number of other popular models like the Nikon D300, D5000 and more). ;-)
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 7:03 PM   #37
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anthony_b-

JimC has given you some excellent advice. In the long run as long as you are willing to learn and grow in photography, the DSL is the logical next step. Congratulations!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:45 AM   #38
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Thanks to everyone who offered there insights !!...Looks like I'll be searching for a deal on a Sony a230...but I'll also be eyeballing the Panny fz35 for it's HD recording too.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:51 AM   #39
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Chances are, you'd be happy with any of the entry level dSLR models from any of the major manufacturers (Sony, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc.) for most of the shots you take. I'd try them out in stores to see what you're more comfortable with (ergonomics, control layout, etc.). Not everyone likes the same thing in a camera. So, my preferences may be different than yours. ;-)

One nice thing is that you've got lots of choices anymore (of course, that can make it more confusing, too). :-)

As for the super zoom type models in a non-DSLR offering, you'll have to decide if that kind of camera is a better fit for what you want in a camera. Personally, I'd want a model capable of good photos at much higher ISO speeds with better Dynamic Range (and I don't use longer focal lengths much, since most of my images are capturing friends and family at closer distances). I'd also want the ability to use brighter lenses, have a faster AF system, have the ability to use an external flash, etc. But, some users prefer the convenience of a smaller camera and may appreciate more optical zoom in a smaller package. Many users have both types of cameras.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 12:09 PM   #40
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I've read in some areas that the Pentax doesn't due as well in lower light areas as the Sony....Plus I've had about two or three Sony Digicams in the past so I'm somewhat familiar with the menus...
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