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Old Jan 28, 2010, 9:23 AM   #11
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nikon's d5000 is good, sony's 230 is a good value for the money.
I'd probably look at the Sony A500 as the closest competitor to the D5000 from an Image Quality perspective. Both cameras use a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor and do well at higher ISO speeds.

The A500 doesn't have video. But, because of a separate live view sensor in the viewfinder housing, it's Autofocus speed is going to be much faster when using Live View. That's because the sensor in the viewfinder housing sees the same image that would normally go to the Optical Viewfinder when in Live View mode and the camera can still use it's dedicated AF sensor assembly for Autofocus without flipping the mirror back and forth for focusing (or relying on slower contrast detect autofocus using the main imaging sensor). So, Autofocus speed with the Sony A500 is just as fast as you'd have using the Optical Viewfinder (unlike other dSLR models when using Live View).

It's not a fully articulating LCD like the D5000's. But, the Sony A500 LCD tilts up or down to allow easier shots from lower angles like shooting from floor or waist level, or taking overhead shots in a crowd.

The lower priced A330 and A380 also have a tilting LCD with the same type of Live View System (although they're smaller cameras with a smaller optical viewfinder and slower burst speed using continuous drive mode). But, the A330 and A380 use 10MP and 14MP CCD Sensors respectfully, that don't do as well at higher ISO speeds compared to models using a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor.

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As far as budget and size goes, I would like to keep this under $1000 (probably more like 700-800) but am flexible.
Some vendors have the Sony A500 at $699 body only and $799 including a kit lens right now after $50 instant savings (which started today and is good through February 27th), which would fit into your desired budget. Of course, I'd also factor in items like an external flash and longer focal length lens (although you wouldn't need to buy everything up front to get started with the camera you end up with if you decide to go with a dSLR).

I'd try out any cameras you considering in a store to see how comfortable you are with them from a size, weight, ergonomics and viewfinder perspective (and make sure to try the Live View modes if that's something you're interested in using), as not everyone likes the same thing in a camera body.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 9:27 AM   #12
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Since you have a baby on the way, you may want to keep your camera size down. The 550 and 500 are larger dslr's. It will add more weight to all the baby stuff you will be traveling with. Just something to consider with a larger dslr like the sony 550 or nikon d90. So you may really want to handle all the dslr's before trying buying to see if it fits your ergo needs and transport needs.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:42 AM   #13
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One more thing, and sorry if this is such a basic question. But what is the zoom range of an 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm lens (as far as 2x, 5x, etc. like how the point and shoots are advertised)? Thanks.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:46 AM   #14
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JM667

Just divide the wide angle focal length into the zoom focal length.

Therefore the 18-55mm lens = 3X

Therefore the 55-200mm lens = 3.6X

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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:50 AM   #15
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well the point and shoot base the zoom range by how many times it is greater then their closet range. Generally 28mm. So a 10x zoom on a 28mm begining range would be 28-280mm. With the 18-55 and 55-200 lens, you have a zoom factor of almost 11x as 18 is your widest. But the zoom range of the 18-55 is about 3x and the 55-200 is about 3.5x by them selves. So zoom range is not a good way of judging a dslr range.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:55 AM   #16
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PS

Also remember that since the aps-c sensor has a crop factor 1.5 with sony pentax and nikon, your actual range also need to be multiply by the crop factor. So your focal range for the 18-55 and 55-200 covers a range of about 27-300mm
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Old Feb 8, 2010, 3:04 AM   #17
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While I was at a Best Buy today (I know, I will still need to stop by a camera store to see more choices) I handled a few of the cameras there. And if I wasn't already sure before, I think I am now that I want to go the DSLR route. Even though some of those higher end point and shoots are quite a bit faster than what I have now, I still think I may end up being disappointed. And I don't find the size of the DSLRs to be that large when having just the regular lens on. So I really just handled the Nikon D3000 and D5000 and the Canon T1i and Xsi. At first the Nikon seemed to focus a lot slower than the Canons, but then I realized it had the zoom lens on it where the Canon didnt, so I figure that probably had something to do with it. But anyways, the both felt good in my hand. I think the shutter button placement on the Nikons felt a little more comfortable to me, but the Canon felt slightly better in my hand. So I guess thats a wash there. They ranged from $650 (the D3000 with the 2 lenses) to $950 (the T1i with the 2 lenses), and I am not going to spend $950. But I am in no hurry to get this, and I guess I shall just wait and see what the prices are like in a few months from now. So I guess I don't really have that new of news, just thought I'd post to say I'm pretty sure I want to go the DSLR route now
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Old Feb 8, 2010, 8:14 AM   #18
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Remember that you're comparing an entry level dSLR with the best AF performance (Canon T1i) with an entry level dSLR with close to the worst AF performance (Nikon D5000), so there will be some difference, and it's not necessarily related to the lens.

Also keep in mind that Canon's XSi is likely to be discontinued soon, and will probably be replaced with a newer model. If you've got some time before you need to make your purchasing decision, you might want to wait for that.

But if you wait too long, you may end up missing some shots you really wnat, because you're still learning to use the camera. So don't wait too long.
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Old Feb 8, 2010, 10:56 AM   #19
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I did not realize the D5000 had one of the worst AF systems and the T1i one of the best. That might help me choose better since the two brands feels so close in my hand. So does the xsi have the same fast autofocus as the T1i? Is that what you are saying should be able to be had at a good price when the new ones come out? Or are you saying the T1i should drop then?
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Old Feb 8, 2010, 11:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JM667 View Post
I did not realize the D5000 had one of the worst AF systems and the T1i one of the best.
The D5000 has a very good Autofocus System (11 point AF with relatively fast AF, similar to the Nikon D90 AF system, since both are using the exact same AF sensor assembly).
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