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Old Feb 28, 2010, 5:33 PM   #1
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Default Help with buying an entry-level DSLR

Hi,

I am planning on getting an entry-level DSLR for my sister and I needed help from the experts. She has been a point-and-shoot user but is fairly comfortable with DSLRs. I currently own a Sony A300 and I love it. But I want to get her one which is newer. The ones I have on mind are (1) Pentax K-x (2) Nikon D5000 and (3) Sony A330 (or A380). I initially had Canon EOS 500D (T1i) on my list till I came across the Pentax camera. I am leaning towards the Pentax camera based on specs and reviews; although I must admit that I am a little paranoid with the brand. Anyway, here is my take on the three cameras:

1) Pentax K-x:

Pros: 12.4 MP, video recording, 11 point AF, good continuous shooting speed, live view feature, image stabilization in the body and CHEAP.

Cons: AF points don't light up when its focused, no tilting screen (can live without this though)

2) Nikon D5000:

Pros: 12.3 MP, video recording, tilting screen, good brand name (I can live without this too)

Cons: No image stabilization in the body, EXPENSIVE!

3) Sony A330

Pros: Image stabilization in the body, tilting screen

Cons: Only 10.2 MP, no video recording (although both these features don't matter a lot, I want them because other brands provide them)

And before I forget, the camera is just for regular use - landscape, close ups of objects & faces, indoor.

I really appreciate your help in advance.

Thanks,
Nev
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 5:39 PM   #2
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If Live View is important for you the sony is the best option. But the VF is tiny.

But between the 3 listed. The K-x is the one I would pick. Best in class low light performance. The inbody IS will make non IS third party lenses IS. And it is also a very good price point. 699 with a 2 lens option at abes of maine right now, big zoom.

Tilt screen is not a big deal with the nikon as the live view AF is very poor on the nikon and pentax. The sony gives up hd for the better live. So it make the tilt screen more effective for lcd work.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 5:49 PM   #3
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I happen to agree with shoturtle-

The Pentax Kx is the best of the selected cameras.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:03 PM   #4
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How willing are you to share lenses? Perhaps the Sony might be a good idea, then you can share lenses between you - get lenses that don't overlap, each of you get a top quality one and share between yourselves. Also, since you are a Sony shooter, you can answer her questions when they come up (or the two of you can discuss and figure it out together).

On the other hand, if you AREN'T willing to share, then perhaps the Sony should go to the bottom of the priority list.

All of your choices will handle general use, the Kx is reputed to be excellent indoors, but it doesn't sound like this is going to be a huge factor (you listed it last).

As far as trusting the Pentax brand, I've been hearing that Pentax is going out of business for the past 5 years and it hasn't happened yet. Thought it was really interesting that a sales person in a Ritz store a year or so ago told me that Pentax was history - about a month later Ritz filed bankruptcy and that store is long gone, and Pentax has come out with 2 new cameras. As far as quality goes, I've been very happy with Pentax (I own a couple of Pentax cameras) for a very long time. My lenses are a mix of new and old - one of the lenses I use occasionally with my K-7 was first bought for me by a boyfriend in 1980, still works very well.

The most important thing you should do is have your sister actually try the cameras (if possible). The cameras are all different sizes and weights and ergonomics are probably more important if you are choosing a general camera. You won't use a camera that you find is too heavy/small/light/large or if you can't easily reach the controls.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:13 PM   #5
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Thanks to both of you for your suggestion. I currently own a A300 and I am very happy with its live view performance. I never got to try the live view with Nikon or Pentax and so I cannot say if its performance is acceptable to me or not. I'll take your word that they're not that great.

With regards to the K-x, are you happy with the image quality? Nikon users usually squirm when I mention brands like Pentax (even Sony). I also read that the AF points don't light up when it locks on a target. It seems like a useful feature to have but it does not have it. How big of a concern is it? What about its use of AA batteries? Although they're available everywhere, I found them to drain out fairly fast. Is that a concern?

Although you folks said that Pentax is the best among the three I chose, you seem to imply that there are better options. Feel free to suggest them to me. I am not closed to these 3 options. I picked these three because they seemed to have the features I cared about and they fit in my budget.

Thanks again,
Nevine
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:13 PM   #6
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Hi nevjac, I am buying a camera, too. I going with Pentax. Done enough reviewing and studying what is out there. I believe Pentax has much to offer.

Ned
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:15 PM   #7
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One more thing for your sister. The pentax has allot of art filters and menus. So if she is a bit lost on the setting. She can always pull one up on the menu and use it like a point and shoot. It is the easier system for a point and shoot user to transition to a dslr.

The canon 500D and the new 550D has the best AF system in this segment. But also the least newbie friendly and most expensive.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Feb 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:25 PM   #8
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I am not very willing to share lenses Besides we live in different States.

I agree with you that Sony should be my last choice (I really hope they come out with something new). And thanks for the details about the Pentax brand and its image quality. I also agree that I need to try them out before buying. I stopped at BestBuy and Ritz and they mentioned that they don't carry Pentax anymore. So that's why I thought, emailing this forum would be my best option. And as far as size goes, I read that its the smallest among all and its ideal for one-hand shoots. I am guessing this wouldn't be a problem for medium-sized hands ... especially for women.

Thanks once again for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

- Nev



Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
How willing are you to share lenses? Perhaps the Sony might be a good idea, then you can share lenses between you - get lenses that don't overlap, each of you get a top quality one and share between yourselves. Also, since you are a Sony shooter, you can answer her questions when they come up (or the two of you can discuss and figure it out together).

On the other hand, if you AREN'T willing to share, then perhaps the Sony should go to the bottom of the priority list.

All of your choices will handle general use, the Kx is reputed to be excellent indoors, but it doesn't sound like this is going to be a huge factor (you listed it last).

As far as trusting the Pentax brand, I've been hearing that Pentax is going out of business for the past 5 years and it hasn't happened yet. Thought it was really interesting that a sales person in a Ritz store a year or so ago told me that Pentax was history - about a month later Ritz filed bankruptcy and that store is long gone, and Pentax has come out with 2 new cameras. As far as quality goes, I've been very happy with Pentax (I own a couple of Pentax cameras) for a very long time. My lenses are a mix of new and old - one of the lenses I use occasionally with my K-7 was first bought for me by a boyfriend in 1980, still works very well.

The most important thing you should do is have your sister actually try the cameras (if possible). The cameras are all different sizes and weights and ergonomics are probably more important if you are choosing a general camera. You won't use a camera that you find is too heavy/small/light/large or if you can't easily reach the controls.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 6:32 PM   #9
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I shoot the pentax k-x at times next to my T1i. It is a great camera. It is pretty light. And next to the canon the IQ is the same up to 6400iso. At 12800iso. The Pentax take a sight lead in noise. So IQ should not be something you should worry about with the K-x.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 7:00 PM   #10
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Thanks to all of you for your advice. I think going for the Pentax K-x sounds reasonable. Although I must say that I am not fully convinced. When I bought my A300, I was fully satisfied because it had live view, tilt screen, image stabilization in the body and good price. No other camera had all these features together. Now with the plethora of options, I am a little confused. And I also must say that buying a camera is a one time buy for me. If I have to spend an extra 200-300 bucks for a better camera, I am willing to do that. In fact, one of you mentioned about Canon 550D. I took a quick glance and its got nice features (except for the price tag). May be if I can get one for $1000 (including two lenses), I am willing to push my budget up. I doubt if I'll get it for that price though. Thanks to everyone for your patience and for your excellent suggestions.
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