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Old Jan 25, 2010, 5:10 PM   #11
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Yes that is pretty much the gist of it, but you really should look at the 500D and pentax K-x. They are more then entry level camera. The 500D uses the same sensor as the 50D, so it is excellent camera with allot of features.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:33 PM   #12
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While the Pentax K-x has some advantages (cheaper and higher ISO ability) over the K-7, it's not weather sealed. Since you mentioned that, I think you'd be better off with the K-7 over the K-x, if your budget allows.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 4:16 AM   #13
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There is no test you have to pass in order to "deserve" any particular camera.

The only thing that matters is that you can comfortably afford to buy it.

I would never own the entry level DSLRs. They feel cheap and plasticky, and are horrible to hold and use. The viewfinder is cramped, the AF system is weak, etc, etc.

There is a very big advantage to buying a semi-pro or pro camera - it gives you plenty of room to grow and it means that you know that if your pictures aren't good enough it's not the fault of the equipment. You can simply concentrate on getting on with becoming a better photographer.

Most good photographers own high level equipment. This is not because they cannot take great photos with lower level gear, but simply that the features and usability of the more expensive equipment makes life easier for them.

The D90 and 50D are very nice cameras, but if you can afford better then there's no reason not to buy better, and certainly no reason to buy cheaper.

My dream camera is a Leica M9, but it is beyond what I can comfortably afford. So I have to "get by" with a Canon 5DMkII. If I couldn't afford that, I would manage with a 7D or 50D. Below that however I would not use an SLR. That is just my preference, but I would much rather have a M4/3 than an entry-level DSLR. These are very personal decisions and have nothing much to do with your abilities as a photographer, they are about ergonomics and finances.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 6:48 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
I would never own the entry level DSLRs. They feel cheap and plasticky, and are horrible to hold and use. The viewfinder is cramped, the AF system is weak, etc, etc.
So, why don't you tell us what you really think?

Different users prefer different ergonomics in camera (with size and weight entering the equation, too). For example, I've seen more than one post indicate that the new Pentax Kx fits some hands nicely (especially true with users with smaller hands, as many women have). So, I'd try them out in a store and find a model that fits you well.

You'll often find an entry level model with roughly the same image quality as a higher priced body, too.

For example, the 500D (T1i) would have image quality that's going to be roughly equivalent to the higher priced EOS-50D (as both use a Canon 15MP CMOS Sensor); and the Nikon D5000 would have image quality that's roughly equivalent to the higher priced D90 body (as those use a similar Sony 12MP CMOS sensor)..

Sometimes a newer body will even have some improvements in the image processing pipeline if the lower priced model was released later than the higher end body, and may even have some features not present on a higher end body. For example, the new Sony A500 and A550 models have an Auto HDR feature that you don't get with the A700, A850 or A900.

So, you really need to take them on a case by case basis, as you will often see feature differences between models, even if the sensor is the same or very similar. As a general rule, the higher end bodies will have much better build quality, more available options in their configuration menus, better viewfinders, faster frame rates, larger internal buffer sizes for more photos in a row before the camera slows down, easier access to frequently used features because of more buttons and dials (versus needing to dig into menus) and more.

In the case of some models like the D5000 versus D90, lens choice also enters the equation because the D5000 body does not have a built in focus motor (meaning that any lens you use on would need a built in motor if you want Autofocus). That means that some lenses that would Autofocus on an a D90 (for example, the inexpensive Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8; or a lens like the Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8 that's popular for low light use) would not Autofocus on the D5000. Now, there are a lot of lens choices that do work fine on the D5000 (and the list is growing all the time). But, I'd still take that kind of thing into consideration when looking at the lower priced Nikon bodies (because you'd have a lot more lens choices with a D90 or higher end body, especially when considering used AF lenses in Nikon mount, since many may not Autofocus on a D5000).

But, from a strictly Image Quality perspective, you will often see little or no difference between an entry level body and higher end body if they're using the same sensor, provided you can get the shot without fiddling with menus or running into limitations in other areas.

IOW, the higher end body usually makes it easier to capture more good images in demanding conditions. But, what you're shooting also enters the equation (i.e., you may not need a faster frame rate, larger buffer size, easier access to features used more often due to more external controls, etc.).
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 7:08 AM   #15
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I agree with all of that Jim.

From an IQ perspective there is essentially no difference between the 500D and the 50D. And it is equally valid to feel that the 50D brings nothing except extra bulk to the party and why pay more when the 500D is lighter and smaller, etc.

Which is why it's important to hold the camera in your hands for a few minutes before buying it. :-)
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 12:00 PM   #16
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Which is why it's important to hold the camera in your hands for a few minutes before buying it. :-)
i think all too often this point gets lost. people scour the internet and nitpick over different amounts of chroma noise at some odd ISO they would never use, but fail to miss the most important point.

you are the one that actually has to hold it all day and shoot it. it better feel good in your hands and the controls better be intuitive to your way of thinking.

and in the end, modern dslrs are just good, all of them.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 3:16 PM   #17
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Another thing that gets lost, along with how the camera feels, is the viewfinder. You will spend a great deal of time looking through it so it should be one you don't find yourself straining to see through. If you can't clearly see what you are shooting, see it without distortion, then you won't enjoy using the camera. A much better photographer than me once told me to always take a look at the edges and corners of the viewfinder before pressing the shutter - it's amazing how something you didn't notice can ruin a shot. That's hard to do if you can barely see the scene through the viewfinder and are trusting the camera to get everything right.
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