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Old Nov 24, 2009, 1:16 AM   #1
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Default Looking to move up in camera a wee bit..

I currently own three digicams: Canon A400, Canon A720IS and a Kodak DX7440. I used the A720IS on our summer vacation and got a good lot of candids which I used to make a photobook. (My eldest two children used the older two models to take "kid's eye view" shots. Nothing quite like looking up at Expedition Everest from the perspective of a 7yr old )

I had one gripe about my A720IS: it takes forever to recycle between shots. I missed a number of shots that I would have liked because I'd just taken a pic and the camera was "busy". I've been looking at dSLRs in hopes of reducing my frustrations and getting a camera that will help me catch those kid moments that get away too fast. My kids don't play and aren't interested in sports. The only thing they might do in the near future is karate. They presently are all active in children's choir and plays at church.

I've looked at models with in-body IS, mostly for its cost effectiveness. I'd also like to keep with a model that uses (or can use) SD/SDHC cards, since I presently have SD cards. (However, that's not a huge issue since memory is pretty cheap.) I'd like to keep this to the "budget/beginner" range of dSLRs. Think <$600.





Here's the models I have been looking at:
  • Sony A230 18-55/55-200 kit - $599.00
  • Olympus E520 14-42/40-150 - $494.83
  • Pentax K2000 18-55/50-200 - $529.95
  • Pentax K-x 18-55 (single lens kit) - $594.95
I've been just oogling away at that last one, but I think it (or the E620) is out of my price range at the moment. I think I'd be better off with the older camera bodies to start with and then buy just the body after a good while of learning to use my new stuff.

I looked at a Nikon D40 on clearance at my local Walmart for ~$340, but I am concerned about overcoming the learning curve and then wanting a model with more features in a short period of time.





In summary:
  • I'll be shooting pics of family gatherings, kids' events, but not sports/landscapes/wildlife/astrophoto/weddings/etc
  • Budget is a key point
  • Value:dollar is very important
  • Quick recycle shot-to-shot or continuous fps is important
  • Noise is only a moderate consideration. I think the most I'll likely need is up to ISO800-ish.
  • Good image quality for printing is important. The pics I take will be turned into scrapbook pages, photobooks, etc. Pics that will only look nice on the PC screen/digital photo frame won't cut it.
I welcome advice, opinions, questions. Help me find the camera that's the "most right" for me. If there's a serious flaw/shortcoming in the cameras I've listed, I'd certainly appreciate someone saying, "Hey, yeah, it's a good camera, but it won't suit your needs, but brand/model x will do a superb job."

Thanks for any/all help!

~Amy~

Last edited by dansamy; Nov 24, 2009 at 11:27 PM.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 7:22 AM   #2
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All in all, your requirements aren't very demanding on any of the dSLRs you've listed.

There are two things you mentioned that concern me, however.

The only thing they might do in the near future is karate. They presently are all active in children's choir and plays at church.

Karate and plays would require large aperture medium telephoto lenses. Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 would work well for plays, and it's available for the Sony and Pentax dSLRs in your list, but it might be too long for Karate. For that you'll need something shorter. Sigma has a 50-150mm f/2.8, but f/2.8 probably won't be fast enough for the Sony A230 or the Pentax K2000. You'll need faster shutter speeds for Karate than for plays, and the A230 and K2000 can only go to ISO 3200, so at f/2.8, your shutter speeds may be too slow. You could get faster prime lenses for any of the cameras in your list, but they can be expensive and limiting in other ways. On the other hand, the Pentax K-x can go up to ISO 12800 which would allow you to use shutter speeds that are 4 times faster than you could get with the others.

I think the K-x is the best choice for what you want to do. In addition to the higher ISO capability, it also has a higher resolution image sensor, 'Live View', and can shoot videos.

Since you mentioned Karate and plays, which will require more capable telephoto lenses than the ones in your list, I think it would be a mistake to buy those second lenses. The extra lenses you'll need will make those second lenses redundant.

Unfortunately, because of the Karate and the plays, the Olympus doesn't stack up well against the others in your list. There just aren't very many appropriate lenses for it to cover those activities, and the ones that are availabel are very expensive.

Again, if not for the Karate and the plays, any of those systems would propably work as well as any of the others.
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Last edited by TCav; Nov 24, 2009 at 7:27 AM.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 7:23 AM   #3
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The Pentax K-m and K2000 are the same camera (I see you have both on your list). The K2000 is the model for the U.S. Market. Pentax sells this camera as the K-m in other regions.

BTW, since I see you're looking at the Sony A230, you may want to be aware that sonystyle.com has the A330 (which has a tilting LCD with Live View) with both the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses on sale for $599.99 right now (it's a weekly special):

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665879084
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 7:29 AM   #4
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P.S.

Are you sure you don't mean K-x versus K-m? From what I can see of pricing, you can buy the Pentax K-x on sale for $599 right now with a single kit lens at a number of reputable dealers. The K-x is a nicer camera with a better Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor (with lower noise levels as ISO speeds are increased compared to the other models you're looking at).
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 11:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
P.S.

Are you sure you don't mean K-x versus K-m? From what I can see of pricing, you can buy the Pentax K-x on sale for $599 right now with a single kit lens at a number of reputable dealers. The K-x is a nicer camera with a better Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor (with lower noise levels as ISO speeds are increased compared to the other models you're looking at).
Yes, I meant the K-x. That's what I get for attempting to post coherently at 1am in the morning.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 11:19 AM   #6
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dansamy-

If camera size is among your priorities, the Pentax Kx model is a bit smaller than the Sony A-500 model. Both use the very same imager, and therefore, both have excellent numerically high ISO capabilities.

Fast action sports like karate, taken under conditions where no flash is allowed also requires a camera that can focus very quickly and accurately. Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras focus more quickly than Pentax and Sony DSLR cameras, so that might alter your consideration process as well. A Canon T-1 would be required to equal the ISo setting available on the Sony A-500 and the Pentax Kx.

Have a great day and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Nov 26, 2009 at 10:53 PM.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 10:11 PM   #7
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My children are not currently in martial arts, however, it's something they may be doing soon. Their father and I both hold black belts and we'd like to see them earn at least their 1st degree belts as well. It will most likely be 1-2 more years before they do become involved in marital arts. They are involved in children's choir and church plays. So, should I purchase something like the Canon T1 now or purchase a smaller beginner-type model and upgrade? I'd like to purchase at least a body with one half decent kit lens and add from there. Is there potential within the Pentax line for a body upgrade in two years to a body that will focus quickly enough for martial arts? I know that whatever I buy, I am going to have to add lenses and, eventually, a body upgrade. That's something that appeals to me about SLRs. When I outgrow a beginner's "light" model and find myself needing a more substantial camera, I can get one without having to start over.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 11:10 PM   #8
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I hate to be the bearer opf bad news, but, the future of Pentax might be somewhat uncertain. I believe it was 2 1/2 years ago the Hoya Corporation (of filter fame) purchased Pentax. However in the last three month when doing an interview with the Japanese Financial Press Corps, the president of Hoya said, "...We now realize we took on too much with Pentax. So we are searching for a partner to share the new product developmental costs and of course, the profits, as Pentax moves forward..."

That made me sort of uncertain as to Pentax's future. I believe that with a great deal of certainty we can be fairly sure that Canon, Nikon, and Sony will be here for the long haul. so that might affect your future plans somewhat. In terms of lens selection, Canon comes first, followed in turn by Nikon and then Sony.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 11:38 PM   #9
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Ouch! So, I may just have to take a deep breath, suck it up and pay the extra expense for IS lenses as opposed to in-body? Does Sony's future in dSLRs look bright enough to consider them? Or should I just go with Canon? I am very concerned about Canon's menu system. A friend owns a Canon dSLR and she hates it because there are some settings that she must drill down in the menu trees to get to whereas they were easily accessed by a button press on her Sony A100.

Canon has this on sale tomorrow for $500.

Last edited by dansamy; Nov 26, 2009 at 11:43 PM.
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 7:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
... the president of Hoya said, "...We now realize we took on too much with Pentax. So we are searching for a partner to share the new product developmental costs and of course, the profits, as Pentax moves forward..."
But a perfect candidate is already waiting in the wings: Samsung! They already resell Pentax cameras bearing their own name, and they make the sensors for many of Pentax' cameras. The only real problem is the cultural differences that exist between Japanese companies and Korean companies.
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