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Old Feb 22, 2010, 3:36 PM   #1
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Default What camera would you choose?

Hi everyone, it's nice to be back. It's been a pretty rough year, with a serious illness and death in the family and my daughter's nasty divorce to contend with, so until very recently I haven't had either the time or the inclination to do much photography.

Anyway, here's my situation. I got tired of my Fuji S9200, mainly because of the small LCD and EVF, and I really hated the fly-by-wire manual focusing. I replaced it a few months back with a Sony A200 that I picked up dirt-cheap on sale with the 18-70mm kit lens. I added a Tamron 70-300mm LD/DI zoom lens and Sony's new F20AM flip-flash and I've generally been quite happy with that combination, except that I'm finding it somewhat limiting. Being used to the live-view Fuji, I really miss that function, not to mention the lack of video capability. I have a camcorder, but I don't use it much because I don't like carrying it AND my camera around and it's not HD.

I've been considering a few cameras to replace the Sony, mainly the Pentax K7, the Nikon D90 and D5000, and the Sony A550. I eliminated the A550 right off the bat because it doesn't do video and it felt surprisingly cheap and flimsy, more so than my A200. The D5000 looked promising but I didn't care for the low-res LCD and the rather dim viewfinder. It also felt a bit too plasticky, very much like the A550.

That leaves me with the K7 and the D90. They both feel very solid and well-built and they both have the qualities I'm looking for, namely speed, IQ, HD video and live-view. I'm aware of the compromises involved with each camera but I find them both very appealing. I'm also looking at getting at least two lenses with a total FL of at least 18 to 300 or 350mm and a decent flash.My budget is $2000 - $2500. Does anyone have any experience with these cameras?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated, and thank you.
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 3:39 PM   #2
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well sony just announced their replacement to the A700 that does full AVCHD video. that may be something worth thinking about and letting you stay in the sony system.
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 3:40 PM   #3
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Hiya, toshi43... I have been racking my brains over cameras for the last three months.. now I am close to a purchase, and will probably go with the Pentax K-7, there are two really neat lenses, one I will buy... that is really great for detail... I thought about the D90, but even the vender said it has horible sound for the movies... But I would like to have a camera that I can take some videos now and then. The K-7 will have a lot of room for me to be creative... well, this is my opinion...

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Old Feb 22, 2010, 4:20 PM   #4
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Hi Toshi - I didn't know you'd been away, as I'm fairly new here.... hoping 2010 is a better year for you though!

I just wanted to through another option into the mix.... the Panasonic GH1. The standard kit with excellent stabilised 14-140 lens (28-280mm equivalent) would leave money in the kitty (sorry, just saw your avatar!!) to stretch the focal range and/or add flash etc. if needed.

From what I've seen, the GH1 scores highly for Live-View composition and HD video - for the money, I don't think you'll find a more capable setup for both stills photography and movie making. You get full 1920x1080 and it's the only camera of this type able to auto-focus effectively during movie recording (apparently). Get manual focusing with a cheap'n'cheerful old fast prime, and you'll be making beautiful film-like movies with super shallow depth-of-field before you know it, opening up new creative possibilities.....

As for your search criteria - the contrast-AF system is supposed to be very quick, (i.e. up there with 'proper' DSLRs), and the EVF is highly rated, so unless the GH1 took rubbish pictures - which it doesn't - then this pretty much ticks all of your boxes.

Definitely worth checking it out IMHO!
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 6:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
Hi Toshi - I didn't know you'd been away, as I'm fairly new here.... hoping 2010 is a better year for you though!

I just wanted to through another option into the mix.... the Panasonic GH1. The standard kit with excellent stabilised 14-140 lens (28-280mm equivalent) would leave money in the kitty (sorry, just saw your avatar!!) to stretch the focal range and/or add flash etc. if needed.


Thank you, mrmacmusic. I briefly considered the GH1 but I don't think it's the camera for me. The reviews I've read on cameras like the GH1 that use the FourThirds system are consistent in that they seem to produce noisier images, especially in low light. This seems to be because of the smaller FourThirds-format sensors. That's the reason I didn't consider Olympus as well.

Anyway, after using a DSLR optical viewfinder for a while, I don't think an EVF would cut the mustard.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 2:45 AM   #6
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I'm not sure it's the camera for me either.... but as of yet, I've not managed to give it a whirl, and until I do, I'm leaving it on my "check it out" list!!

Perhaps in contrast, I've read very good things about the capabilities of the GH1 (particularly the EVF), but I agree that the four-thirds system can be noisier at and beyond ISO1600 where the APS-C hold on a bit further....although I would argue that's really only true for mid-range DSLRs.

Whether it helps or not, I don't know much about the Pentax K-7 you mention in your original post, but I have read that video is not the Nikon's strong point. Having recently tried a Canon 500D for size (as I'm coming down from a 40D), I wasn't overly impressed with the live-view implementation - something which is important to me. The new 550D sounds very interesting, as it appears to take a lot of useful stuff from the 7D (including full 1080p video), and should have better live-view. If the right lens-combo outfit was in budget, it might well be worth getting your hands on that to try out too!!
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 12:01 PM   #7
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Thanks again, mrmacmusic. There are so many choices out there these days that trying to weigh all the pros and cons can take weeks if not months, never mind the headaches from all that thinking.

I haven't been able to find much info on the new Sony and Nikon models, but depending on how itchy I get, ( I REALLY like the Nikon D90) I might just wait and see. Video performance isn't a major priority for me, I usually only take short clips and it'll be nice just to have the capability when I need it. It'll be interesting to see the improvements the new models bring with them.

If it wasn't for it's limitations, I'd hang on to my trusty A200. It's about as basic as you can get but it's a very good camera that takes excellent pictures. This shot of Vernon taken from the top of Turtle Mountain is a good example of the results I regularly get from this camera.

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Last edited by toshi43; Feb 23, 2010 at 1:58 PM. Reason: posted pic from wrong camera
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