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Old Dec 3, 2009, 2:18 PM   #1
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Default Cheap DSLRs: Sony A200 vs Nikon D40 vs Canon XT

After years using and old Canon G Powershot-line camera, I'm ready to upgrade. I have some experience with DSLRs, and I am ready to enter the field of DSLR photography. A nice enough point and shoot would be about the same as one of these anyway.

I've narrowed it down to the XT, D40, and A200. Obviously my budget is very limited, so I'm buying an older camera used to keep within it. I know they're not cutting edge, but they're all I can afford at the moment. I would take other suggestions though.
From my perspective, the A200 would be the best. But there strong arguments for the others from what I've seen. (I don't care about megs) So I'm asking about a few specifics.
The main types of photography I do are macro and portrait. But I would be doing more nature stuff if I had a longer lens.
Now according to what I do:
Which one is the best overall? Simple question, hardest to answer. WHich lasts longer? Which has best features?
Which has the best kit lens? I know I'll get a better lens eventually, but it still matters. Length doesn't matter, just quality.

Also, I will want to buy a nice all-around lens in a while, so which has the cheapest and best value one? I would want it to be pretty long, at least 200mm, but still take nice portraits and macro. Does such a one exist? (I am new to lenses, so help me). It needs to be pretty cheap, too. I know the A200 can use certain old lenses, but I still need help choosing one. Open to suggestions.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 2:32 PM   #2
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What are you planning on spending for the camera body and lenses for starters? There are some pretty good deals going on right now on new camera kits. For example, I'm seeing the new A230 with a kit lens selling for only $429 at some vendors.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 2:32 PM   #3
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The A200 has a 10MP image sensor, while the XT is 8Mp and the D40 is 6MP. The A200 has sensor shift image stabilization in the body, so all lenses are stabilized, while the XT and D40 rely on stabilized lenses, but don't come with one. Also, the A200 can use the many Minolta AF lenses available onthe used market, and they will be stabilized on the A200. The XT and D40 do not have a large number of used stabilized lenses available to them, and since the D40 doesn't have a built-in autofocus motor, many of its unstabilized lenses won't autofocus on it anyway.

For me, the D40 is definately out. The A200 has the edge because used lenses, including used macro lenses, will be stabilized. On the other hand, portrait lenses for the XT are less expensive.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 2:38 PM   #4
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What prices are you getting for these older cameras? Are they cheaper than the A230 for 430ish as Jim mentioned, or a Canon XS for 450ish?

Of those listed, I would lean towards the A200 for the reasons TCav mentioned.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 3:18 PM   #5
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Well, I'm looking to spend about 400 total (maybe a bit more). But that will include gettin batteries, memory, etc. All three of those cameras average 350 used (d40 more)on eBay, so that's why I'm looking at them. I plan on gradually upgrading through the years, but I cant spend a bunch at once.
Maybe I'll just wait and then splurge a little more.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 3:27 PM   #6
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If I had $400 to spend on a dSLR and was looking at used A200s XTs and D40s, I think I'd beg, borrow, or steal the extra $30 to get an A230.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 3:47 PM   #7
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What makes the A230 superior to the A200? I know itmust have improvements, but I don't know what they are and if they're worth it.
Since I'm scrimping, I think I'll give up better controls or whatever for now.
Then in a few years I can upgrade bodies.

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Old Dec 3, 2009, 4:15 PM   #8
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A NEW A230 is better than a USED A200 plus $30.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 4:59 PM   #9
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Ah. thank you.
One last question. Is there a decent all-around lens that would be compatible with the sony? I could just buy the body and spend a few extra bucks and get a nicer lens?
I know it can use older Minolta lenses.
Decent focal length (200mm), portrait, macro.
Thanks for all your help.
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Old Dec 3, 2009, 5:02 PM   #10
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There isn't a decent all-around lens for any dSLR. The ones that are available cost more than the camera body you're looking at, and aren't as good as multiple lenses with less ambitious zoom ranges that cost a lot less.
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