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Old Oct 7, 2009, 1:51 PM   #1
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Default Age old Question? DSLR or High End Digicam

Hello all,

A newbie here and with a very familiar sounding question: I am finally ready to take the digital plunge ( yes, I am still shooting with a Canon EOS Elan 2E)
and am in desperate need of your advice. I have been checking all the usual review sites and have come to the conclusion I am in the mind set of not wanting to spend a huge amount of $ on various accessories for a high end DSLR, but wanting very good quality prints for 8x10's and under. I would also like the versatility of being able to shoot occasional video with zoom as I don't curretnly own a video camera.
The reviews of the Canon SX 1 IS certainly seem good, but I could also be convinced to spend a little more on an entry level DSLR.
So far I have looked at:

Canon XSi ( high end range)
Pentax K200D
Pentax X 70
Pentax K2000 ( comes with 2 lenses in the kit)

I am open to all suggestions but don't want to go over $600 initially,
if possible.

Thanks everyone!
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 2:03 PM   #2
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Oh, maybe I should consider the new Pentax Kx? It has 720p HD video at a price tag of $649.00? Too new so no hands on reviews yet.
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 2:17 PM   #3
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What kind of lenses do you have? If they are good lenses, then take that into consideration as you'd be able to use them on a Canon dSLR. That could save you quite a bit of money over switching to a different platform, like Pentax. That was one of several reasons I bought Pentax to begin with - I had a bunch of Pentax lenses originally purchased in 1980 that were still perfectly good.

If video is a must-have, then none of the dSLR cameras you are considering will work as none of them has video capability. You would need to consider the Canon T1i or the new Pentax Kx (should be shipping soon, but not yet out). Both cameras would be over your budget, though I would expect the Pentax to be under $600 in a couple of months.

If you've been using a film SLR you'll know the biggest draw-back of a dSLR camera - larger, heavier and more fiddling than a point and shoot. Only you can decide if the image quality gain you get from a dSLR is worth the disadvantages.

Any of the dSLR cameras you are considering will give you good pictures. The weather sealing on the Pentax K200 is very nice, if you are into such things (as someone who likes to snowshoe and lives near a desert, it's high on my personal list of features). Having image stabilization in-camera is also nice for some (those shooting sports won't care about it much since at their shutter speeds, there won't be much camera shake).
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 2:35 PM   #4
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Lizzie-

Welcome to the Forum. Thanks for your question. Generally speaking all of the consumer level DSLR cameras are capable of producing very good image quality.

As Mtngal mentioned, Sony, Pentax and Olympus DSLR cameras have IS (image stabilization) built into the camera body. That means that you can save money by not having to pay extra for lenses which have the IS built only in to that particular lens. On the other hand the, IS systems used by the Sony, Pentax and Olympus DSLR cameras provide the IS feature to every lens mounted on the camera.

One of the nice features of both the Sony and the Pentax system DSLR cameras is that both Sony and Pentax DSLR cameras can use "legacy" lenses. For Sony that means that all of the older and very fine lenses made for the Minolta brand cameras are 100% usable on the Sony Alpha DSLR cameras. For Pentax DSLR cameras all of the older lenses made for Pentax cameras in the 1960 through 2010 period will mount on any new Pentax brand camera. Not all of those older lenses will provide auto focusing and auto exposure capabilities on the newer Pentax DSLR cameras.

So please add Sony brand DSLR cameras to your list as well, because they are very well priced. For example, I just purchased a brand new, in the box, Sony A-200 with the Sony 18-70mm kit lens on e-bay for just $350.00. That could be an option that will save you some money too.

have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Oct 7, 2009, 7:10 PM   #5
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I'd like to reiterate mtngal's comment that the lenses you've already got for your Canon film SLR will also work on a digital SLR. Depending on what you've got and what you'll need, that could save you a lot of money.

I'd also like to point out that using a dSLR for shooting video is no small matter. Unlike camcorders, dLSRs don't continue to autofocus during a video capture, so if the subject is moving toward or away from you while you're recording a video, you'll need to focus manually in order to keep the subject in focus.
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 7:57 PM   #6
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So maybe I should just stay with a high end digicam and forget the dslr. The only lense I have from my Canon is a 28-105 Ultrasonic and it isn't in the greatest shape. Can I get a good, crisp shot from any of the higher end digicam? I don't need a pocket sized camera either.
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 8:11 PM   #7
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lizzie-

Quite clearly the DSLR type camera will give you the greatest image quality. However, if you consider a digicam as your BETTER solution, what are your specific requirements?

The new Sony WX-1 is cutting new ground. So too, is the Fuji F-70EXR, at a modest $235.00 price tag giving you both a lot of zoom and the EXR advantage of Fuji that is pretty amazing, all in a very small form factor.

We are here to help you in every way possible. So we will look forward to your investigation of higher end digicams.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 9:00 AM   #8
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You can absolutely get wonderful shots from P&S cams as long as the light is good. When the light drops is when you quickly see the limitations of the small sensors. You may want to take a look at the G11 - http://bit.ly/F3R5Ior S90 - http://bit.ly/3Jn13K They are a little pricey as far as P&S goes but the G11 looks to have much better than average low light capabilities and the S90s control scheme is beautiful.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 10:22 AM   #9
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I was in the same dilemma last year -- torn between Canon 450D and Canon SX1 IS but I decided to go for the SX1 IS because of the zoom range and the ability to shoot HD video. Furthermore, the 4fps continuous shot is faster than many entry level DSLRs at that time.

The SX1 IS serves me quite well till today but the urge to upgrade to a DSLR remained, and recently I decided to take the plunge and bought my first-ever DSLR. Now I feel complete, and incomplete at the same time because now I am going to need the lenses other than the one I already have.

If I were to go over the whole process again now, and with the budget limit of about $600, I might still look at the SX1 IS plus several newer cameras like the Sony DSC-HX1 because of its fast frame rate, and sweep panorama feature; FujiFilm FinePix F70EXR, Panasonic DMC-FZ38, Canon G11, Canon SX20 IS. Or I might wait for the Pentax K-x.

... if only all DSLRs autofocus when shooting video, most of the problems will be solved.

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Old Oct 8, 2009, 10:44 PM   #10
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Both Tobiasg and Jaxson bring up valid issues.

When the light is great point and shoot cameras work well. It is when the light decreases substantially that the point and shoot cameras become hard pressed, and turn in poor image quality.

Photo, or image quality decreases measurably on point and shoot digital cameras due to the much smaller physical size of the CCD type imager. In contrast. DSLR cameras have imagers that are 15 to 20 times larger than the CCD type imagers used in point and shoot cameras. That imager size make a REAL difference.

Even consumer level DSLR cameras selling for less than $(US)500.00 are capable of taking very creditable photos at ISO 1600. There is not any point and shoot cameras that can compete, head on, at that ISO level, and produce the same image quality.

Here is a sample photo from the Sony A-230 camera taken at ISO 1600 that shows what a consumer level DSLR camera can do.

Sarah Joyce
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