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Old Jan 16, 2010, 10:52 PM   #11
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It does seem like the sensor is smaller in the Olympus, but considering that I'm coming from a point and shoot is that a huge deal? I have about 500.00 to spend and I most likely will not be able to get any additional lenses for a while if that helps. I liked the Olypus 620, but I couldn't find it in my range with a lens. The Sony's caught my eye too but then the reviews didn't seem so good. The only thing swaying me away from the Cannon is the fact that it doesn't have image stabilization.....See I'm driving myself nuts! I'm sure any of the cameras in this thread would be a huge step up from the Cannon power shot A710, that is all dented and has some scratches on the lens, that I'm currently using.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:03 PM   #12
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my1hd... just take a deep breath and take it easy. It is very easy to get oneself all lathered up by over-researching on the Internet. You need to go to a camera shop and try out some of these cameras and see how they "fit." Take your husband with you. The world won't end if it takes you another few weeks or a month to decide. Better that you be happy with your purchase. Don't put yourself under a lot of pressure - this is supposed to be fun.

The good news is... almost all of the cameras I suggested are rather small in relation to a lot of other DSLRs. Olympus has a reputation for making small cameras and their E-620 is no larger (in fact, just a bit smaller) than the E-520. It is also a significant step up from the E-520 in terms of features and image quality. If you decide you love Olympuses, I'd recommend the E-620 over the E-520.

Right now, if you pushed me to a wall and put a gun to my head and demanded direct recommendations, I would have the go with the Pentax K-x. It's the newest of all the cameras listed and is quite compact. Pentax's kit lenses have a good reputation but they also have some truly wonderful lenses to offer if you decide to upgrade. And you can use up to ISO 6400 with confidence. Right now, Amazon.com has a great two-lens deal for $648, but that second lens is a 55-300mm, not a 50-200mm - which is a good thing:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...g=533643271-20

Full disclosure: As a Pentax owner myself, I am a bit biased. But no one on these boards will call the K-x a bad camera.

But I'll also say this... the Sony A230 is a solid camera - even if a bit older. And that two-lens kit for well under $600 represents cracking value. As Hards80 says, there's the A330 if you must have live view, but that reduces the size of the viewfinder considerably. Between the two, I'd go for the A230 myself.

If you find you'd feel better with a Canon, I say opt for the slightly more-expensive XSi over the XS.

And - oh, yes - The Pentax, Sony and Olympus all offer image stabilization in the body (it can be turned on and off). That means ALL lenses you use will be stabilized. The Canon and Nikon offer stabilization in many (but not all) of their lenses. But I'm pretty sure both the Canon and Nikon's kit lenses are stabilized. Some people say because Canon and Nikon put the stabilization in the lens it means any extra lenses you buy down the road will be more expensive. I'm not 100% sure that's the case most of the time.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Biro; Jan 16, 2010 at 11:07 PM.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:08 PM   #13
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The very real lack of dynamic range and lots of clipped highlights would sort of rule out the Olympus E-520 for me. I know, I own one.

My small hands still like that Sony A-230, and even ISO 3200 is usable in a pinch, ISO 1600 all the time. Plus you would be able to get the two lens kit, that you need still at a very reasonable price. The Sony 55-200mm lens is inexpensive (less than $100 on E-Bay) and very good. leaving you some room for other items that you may need.

My only complaint with the E620, while Olympus has two good kit lenses. They are somewhat ISO limited. I own one of those too. Its a good camera, but ISO tops out too fast. The Oly 70-300mm lens is inexpensive right now and pretty good quality wise.

The Canon XS is another great size camera again and my hands. The 18-55mmIS kit lens all you need to get started, because it combines very nicely with the 55-250mmIS lens which is a very good lens. The XSi is another good camera, but hand size-wise, I find myself stretching my hand a little more than I would like.

The Nikon-5000 is a compromise camera to my mind. It is limited as to the lenses that it can use. And for me at least it is a step too far $$-wise.

I do not need live view so the A-3XX cameras were never an option I seriously looked at. If you have not already done so, be sure to physically handle all the "candidate" DSLR cameras. That is so important, at least for me with my small hands. Please be sure to do it. Being a Mom is busy, I know. We raised eight children, but make the time. Be sure to handle those cameras.

Enjoy your weekend.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:14 PM   #14
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Sarah's experience with the Sony A230 points out something to keep in mind - don't put all your faith in reviews. To say Sarah has photo experience would be an understatement. And if she's pleased with the image quality of the A230, I'm sure you will be as well. The priorities of any given reviewer might not be the same as yours - especially if you're on a budget. It's easy to recommend the expensive stuff when you're not paying for it.

The A230 is one of many examples of how you can save money by buying cameras late in their production run or just as they're about to be replaced. And you still get an unused camera with a full warranty. Sure, the latest and greatest stuff may be very desirable. But if a given camera was good when it came out, it'll still take the same images a couple of years later.

Edit: I almost forgot. Remember Minolta? That's pretty much what Sony DSLRs are. Sony used to collaborate with Minolta on digital cameras. Then, a few years ago, Sony bought Minolta's camera business - lock, stock and barrel - as a going concern. You can use a lot of older Minolta lenses on Sony DSLR bodies - another way to add lenses without spending a lot of money.

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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:23 PM   #15
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i should should have mentioned it before, but the suggestion for trying them out is a good one.

today's dslrs are all good. most will do anything we ask of them (minus some sports, real low-light, etc). but keep in mind that you are the one shooting it day-in-and-day-out, so if you are not comfortable with the size, the button layout, the viewfinder, etc, you will not be happy. they are just as important of consideration than the image quality differences
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:30 PM   #16
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Biro is very correct-

Minolta 50mm F 1.7 lens are still inexpensive, as are most Minolta lenses. But be selective. JimC is pretty much an expert on Minolta lenses. I was just thinking, the obvious question is what, does the A-230's image quality look like??

Here is a photo taken with the A-230 body and the Sony 55-200mm lens this past summer in Alaska.

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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:31 PM   #17
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Here is a no flash, ISO 1600 photo, taken with the A-230 and the Sigma 18-125mm lens and nearly full zoom.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:42 PM   #18
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Here is a 100% crop of the above photo.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:48 PM   #19
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Thank you all! You have really been very helpful! I found a camera store near by so I am going to check these all out. I don't need "perfect". I found in life nothing is ever perfect and there is always bigger and better. Right now i just want the most for my 500.00. I'm sure I will be able to take great shots with it. After all it is the photographer not the equipment right? I did find that sony a230 at a cheap price. I'm going to seriously consider that one again. I also am seriously considering that pentax-kx. I can't wait to go test them all out!
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 11:52 PM   #20
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Here is a photo of my husband, taken this afternoon (01/16) from the Canon XS using the Canon 55-250mmIS lens.

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