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Old Jan 21, 2010, 4:58 AM   #21
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Having chipped in mid-thread, I went back and looked at your first post to see how you were going to use your camera.....

Whilst it's probably not a particularly helpful statement to make, pretty much "any" camera will take photographs of kids in action, indoor/outdoor scenes and low-light scenes, such as the school plays and museums you mention.

But to bring that statement into context, that doesn't mean you'll be happy with the results from "any" camera, and some are definitely better than others in particular shooting scenarios. When there's plenty available light, most times, you'll get the shot. However, the laws of physics always apply, particularly when there's not so much light about.

Whatever camera you use, whether it be a 60 point-and-shoot, or a 2000 DSLR outfit, if you keep your ISO low, you will get the best quality image out of it. But if your lens is slow and the light is low (and even if it's not), your shutter speed is also going to be low in order to get the correct exposure, and that means you're not going to be freezing any action. Probably be OK in the museum, but I doubt it'd cut the mustard at the play. Catching shots of the kids running about calls for a fast shutter speed which means you'll be turning up the ISO and wishing you had a faster lens especially if you're indoors.

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So the $400 camera is a step above a $200 camera with the same or similar sensor because of lens capabilities and/or quality and its post-processing ability.

And comparison between a big-zoom bridge camera and an entry-level dslr is an apples-to-oranges approach. For another $100 we gain a huge sensor that we can't do so much with, given a simple kit lens, unless we have a longer term plan to invest much more $$$.
My take?

Bigger sensor is better, especially from a low-light performance/high ISO perspective.
The kit lens is fine to start with but you will want to upgrade. End of.
You are unlikely to get fantastic results straight away from a DSLR.
Bridge cameras like the FZ35 (38 here) are fantastic value for money.
Your final choice will be a compromise.
Whatever you buy now, you'll change in a few years anyway.

Hopefully that's not too controversial.... I take the stance that the more expensive your kit, the more likely you are to get the shot in more situations. But that doesn't mean I recommend spending lots of money, just beware that once the DSLR bug bites you, you'll want to buy more lenses, faster, sharper glass, bigger flashgun etc..etc..

Above all, whatever camera you choose, enjoy using it!
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 10:45 AM   #22
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Jim-

An important issue is this:while a DSLR camera is more capable, it is not magic.
It will not produce superior image quality in all situations all by itself. I shoot both super zooms and a whole flock of DSLR cameras, and have gone through the prounouced learning curve to get those top quality DSLR shots.

It takes the increasing skill of the person behind the camera, and the willingness to post process the photos to achieve their maximum image quality from a DSLR camera.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 4:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
That's more like it. Reasonably form-fitting, no excess bulk. Where does one find a bag like that? The bags I've noticed look like a person could put a few extra lenses in there along with a change of clothes.
You can also get something from canon, olympus, and nikon makes them for their camera. There are also aftermarket ones. Here are just a couple of example for simple cases for DSLR's

http://www.adorama.com/ICACSRXSI.html
http://www.adorama.com/NKCF63.html

and couple of after market ones

http://www.adorama.com/OTSLRM.html
http://www.adorama.com/ZGCBK.html
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 9:56 PM   #24
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I discussed my options with my wife. It appears as though a dslr purchase will allow me to take great pictures of my kids - every other weekend. Thanks for all the advice in this regard pro and con - perhaps we'll venture forth in a couple more years.

I have 4 digicams in mind, rather two pair of clones - Canon SX20 vs Panasonic FZ35, and Canon SX1 vs. Sony HX1. All four are rather similar in features, but the first group costs $350-ish and uses a CCD sensor while the second group costs $500-ish and uses a CMOS sensor.

Feature-wise they all read like clones, and any of these are acceptable, so image quality between these four will be the deciding factor - lower-light, indoor/outdoor, lens distortion, chromatic abberations, etc.

I saw a feature listing for the HX5, and it seems to compare favorably to the four I mentioned, perhaps closest of all to the SX200 (300?) but in a delightfully small package. The maximum f-stop is about a half-stop smaller than the rest, making me question the theoretical low-light performance (I have been listening!).

What say the group?

Thanks

Jim
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 10:04 PM   #25
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I would wait till after PMA show. It is only couple of weeks away. It may give you even more to consider
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 10:51 PM   #26
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The HX5 is an interesting camera, but we will have to see how it turns out. the last camera to use the exemor backlit sensor (WX1) didn't fair so well in the image quality department. So, its a bit of a gamble at this point.

Of the four mentioned, i see no reason to step up in price. The FZ35 and SX20 do just as well. They are both good choices. The FZ35 is usually the better choice due to its smaller size, unless one already has Canon Speedlight Flashguns that would mount on the SX20.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 11:25 PM   #27
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Hi, Jim-

My vote goes to the Panasonic FZ-35, as well. It is an easy, quick camera to use. I love mine! Plus you will get HD video where you can zoom while filming and stereo sound.

It will a real learning tool for you, and I know you will enjoy it a lot.

Sarah Joyce
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