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Old Dec 11, 2009, 7:55 PM   #1
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Default Beginner - Olympus DSLR or P&S Sony HX1, Panasonic etc?

Hello everyone.
Discovered this wonderful site a couple of days ago and have been frantically reading reviews etc. in an effort to decide on which camera is right for me. Still no clue sadly so I am hoping some of you can help me out.

My family and I currently use a 4 year old Sony Cybershot P&S camera and frankly, it just doesn't meet our needs. I have two small kids and the camera never catches the moments we want to capture. The pics are too slow, out of focus, too dark, too grainy etc. My wife's biggest complaint is response time (takes forever to focus and snap actual photo) and the need to constantly use the flash which make resulting skin tones look awful. All indoor photos without use of flash come out dark and slightly out of focus.

The new batch of Superzoom cameras have caught my eye due to their flexibility and impressive feature set (HD video etc.) but the notion of owning a DSLR appeals to me, even though I am truly a beginner and have not held a SLR in over 20 years (high school photography class).

I need a camera that promises ease of use, great everyday photos, very fast response time, including focusing etc. (kids move FAST and want to capture the moment), ability to shoot indoors without a flash, have stability control and have "live view" as I am accustomed to viewing an LCD screen.

Even though I am a complete novice, my wife and I love to hike, ski, vacation etc. so I hope to improve my photography skills over time and take some great outdoor photos. I would also like to take some great photos of my kids playing sports etc. so a burst mode etc. would be quite useful. HD Video is a nice touch but not mandatory.

The cameras I have been contemplating are the:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35
Sony DSC-HX1
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS

I purchased the Canon yesterday but ended up returning it today after finding it uncomfortable to use last night. While it was a clear step up over my Cybershot, it just wasn't what I was after.

Today, I purchased the Sony HX1 but while visiting another store the DSLR section caught my eye and I saw the Olympus E-520 for a great price along with the Nikon D3000. After reading some reviews, I'm torn in which direction I should move in. From what I have read, a DSLR will give me far better image quality over the Superzoom cameras but they are somewhat more complicated to use. Given my intended uses, what do you feel is the better choice for me?

I am budget limited and am looking to spend no more than $550 CDN. All of the cameras listed above are priced between $500 and $550 CDN, with the Olympus E-520 seeming to be a steal at $499 complete with a lens package that includes the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED lens & 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 ED lens. The camera feels very comfortable in hand and is much better feeling than the Sony A330 but I'm just not sure if it is the best camera suited to my needs.

All opinions are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 11, 2009, 8:20 PM   #2
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The Olympus two lens kit is certainly a great deal, and will serve you better than the P&S cameras you've been looking at. And since you already feel comfortable holding it, I think it's what you should go with. The only drawback is that the autofocus system isn't great for moving subjects, so if your kids get into organized sports, the Olympus might let you down occasionally. And for indoor sports, lenses for Olympus can be very expensive.

Canon has a number of concurrent specials going on right now, and either the XSi or the T1i would be better for capturing images of your active children, so you may want to look there.
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Old Dec 11, 2009, 9:39 PM   #3
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mark,

Since you mentioned the D3000, also check out the D5000. It has the live view you want, along with an articulating LCD...it also has the video you want, as well as a higher burst rate and ISO capabilities.

Good luck with your search.

The Hun
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 10:10 AM   #4
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The olympus E620 is a better camera then the E520, if you are willing to spend a little extra. But both olympus has a ton of built in filters in the menus that gives it the connivence of a p&s while you learn more photo skills with a dslr. IMHO the olympus makes for easier transition form p&s to dslr. I like the fact that the olympus uses CF over sdhc, there is less compression then sdhc cards. If you were to get the olympus, do not even bother getting the xd card, go straight for the compactflash card instead. a 8gb is good.

Overall it is generally accepted the the olympus gives you the best set of kit lens out the box. So you will not be disappointed with the photo quality from the lenses. Also if you do not want to do alot of post shooting editing on a computer with photoshop or aperture, the olympus gives you a lot of editing built in to the camera. With the in camera ablity it is like a 200 buck saving if you do not own photoshop or some other program.

Also the Olympus has in body image stab. So no matter what lens you put on you will can help reduce camera shake. While with the D3000 to have this feature, you are limit to getting lens with image stab.

Also the olympus are pretty light dlsr compare to the other makers. Part of the reason is the four third format vs the APS-C format. There is a little sacrifice to the 4/3 format, it does not perform quite as well as APS-C in low light. But it is equal up to 800iso at 1600 it is not quite as good as APS-C like the D3000, and honestly at 3200 all the camera's in its price range are not that great. But coming for a P&S the low light performance of the olympus is a leap and bounds better then what you are uses to.

Also visit this site if you want to take some simple online workshops for dslr. It has youtube videos.
www.dslrtips.com

Last edited by shoturtle; Dec 12, 2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 2:07 PM   #5
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Olympus, fuji, sony, canon all suck. theyre very low end poor quality camera brands.

Try Nikon.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 2:56 PM   #6
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I would not pay that blanket statement to much mind. JMTC
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 3:05 PM   #7
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I second everything TCav, the Hun and shoturtle have told you.

Any DSLR will outperform any point-and-shoot camera - it's just a big step-up in class. So if I were in your shoes, I would be confining my search to the that category of camera. And, remarks from fanboys notwithstanding, each DSLR in this category has its advantages and disadvantages. But none is dramatically better or worse than the others.

If you decide you like Nikon, start with the D3000 or D5000... the D40 and D60 are older, inferior cameras compared with the other two.

Right now, the Olympus E-520 kit with the 14-42 and 40-150mm lenses is a fantastic value - and the cheapest two-lens kit you'll find (and those kit lenses are quite decent). But the E-620 is a definite improvement, if you can pay a bit more.

While the Nikon D3000 and D5000, and perhaps the Canon XSi and T1i, can also be had for only a bit more money the the E-520, its with only one lens. I promise you if you're shooting your kids at sporting events on a playing field, you're going to need a second, longer lens.

Another camera to consider in this class is the Pentax K-x, which offers outstanding high ISO performance. That's important if you're using slower kit lenses and you have to use fast shutter speeds while shooting sports.

If your budget is an absolute one, then the Olympus is a fine value that I'm sure you'll be pleased with. If you decide over the long haul that you aren't satisfied, then it's not like you've spent thousands of dollars on a camera and lenses. You can always change.

One more remark about shooting kids at sporting events. The Pentax K-x offers the fastest burst mode in this category of camera while the Canons offer probably the fastest autofocus and best predictive autofocus. The Nikons are probably second after the Canons in terms of autofocus, but Pentax has definitely raised its game with the new K-x.

But everything is a compromise: features, price and ergonomics. There is no "right" or "wrong" decision... it's what the best balance for you. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 8:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I went to a number of stores today to grab the Olympus e-520 deal but it looks like I acted too late Everyone sold out early this morning after a number of flyers were published in yesterday's paper.

Spent another couple of hours trying out different cameras and now find a DSLR is right for me. Just love the feel and flexibility of these cameras. The three I really liked were the Nikon D3000, the Pentax K-x and the Sony A330. I liked the Pentax the best but unfortunately my budget just won't stretch at the moment. The Nikon had an impressive feel and nice guide system to walk me through operating the camera but the lack of live view turned me off - not sure if I can be restricted to using the view finder for all my photos. Surprisingly, the Sony ultimately won me over with it's terrific live view and ease of use. I know this camera gets some bad reviews from DSLR enthusiasts but for a P&S user, the layout and menu of the camera are very familiar and so I hope the transition from P&S to DSLR will be fairly smooth and quick. I purchased the combo kit today with the two lenses and can't wait to play with the camera over Christmas time. I still have 2 weeks to return / swap cameras so I hope I made the right decision.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 8:26 PM   #9
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not sure if you took alot on line but adorama.com has the e520 for for the one len kit for 430
http://www.adorama.com/IOME520K.html?searchinfo=e520
and 599 with the 40-150mm 2 lens kit.
http://www.adorama.com/IOME520K1A.ht...rchinfo=*e520*
Great shop to deal with.

But the a330 is a good starter.

Last edited by shoturtle; Dec 12, 2009 at 8:33 PM.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 8:35 PM   #10
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Hi shoturtle.
I am located in Canada and prefer to but locally as shipping from the US can be quite expensive when you take duties, brokerage fees and taxes into account.

Cheers.
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