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Old Mar 8, 2010, 7:18 AM   #1
a|s
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Default Budget Low Light Performance

my new job involves alot of travel and i've never really been able to afford a decent camera up until now, i've been using an old minolta 7000 of my dad's with a single minolta af28 lense.

now i have the means to get a better camera i wanted a dslr, nothing too expensive for the fear of muggings and theft (i will be working in some pretty ropey places).

having read a few threads on here i've kind of narrowed it down to the canon T1, the Nikon D5000 and the Pentax KX.

i want to be doing long exposure shots of stars and desert/remote location shots but will be using it alot during the day whilst travelling. will be used for action shots when climbing and riding as well.

from what i can gather the pentax is excellent for low light conditions and priced very competitively, at the moment i am almost decided on it, just really looking for some reassurance before i splash out.

a close friend who photographs recommended the nikon simply because of the extensive cheap lenses available but with the IS built into the Pentax body i guess pentax lenses are just as affordable?

have factored in the cost of a tripod also. and am likely to stick to the stock lense 18-55 unless otherwise convinced to get the dual package with the 300mm

the inclusion of the HDR feature in the pentax kx is also attractive.

is there anything i'm missing out to affirm my decision? do people think its a wise one for my needs?

cheers, hope to contribute more to the forum as i imporve in my photography. i'll certainly be visiting some interesting places to take photos!
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 7:29 AM   #2
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The canon is actually the leader in lens selection, not the nikon D5000. There are in expensive lens like the 50mm 1.8 for the canon, and a higher grade 85mm 1.8, that will not auto focus on the nikon as most nikon primes do not have built in motors. And the D5000 do not have a in body Auto Focus motor. So if you are looking for a large lens selection, relatively inexpensive. The canon will give you that.

It you get the K-x, which I shoot on occasions. If you match the 2 kit lens with the FA 50mm 1.4. You would have a very good kit, that would cover allot of your shoot needs. With the low light at long exposure. The kit lenses will work fine with a tripod. And for those short exposure shots, the 50mm 1.4 in conjunction with the inbody imagine stabilization would make it a fantastic low light combo. The Pentax k-x has the best low light sensor.

Just on more thing to consider, the canon T1i has the best Auto Focus system and is the second best low light sensor. With the AF system, it will be able to get a AF lock when the light is to low for the K-x to get a AF lock.
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 7:46 AM   #3
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If you still have the Minolta 7000, all the lenses and accessories you have will work on any of Sony's dSLRs. That could save you some money.

I will add that most of the inexpensive OEM lenses that go out to 300mm aren't as good as the Tamron 70-300 Di LD, which also happens to be cheaper. And since it's available for any of the cameras you mentioned, as well as the Sony's, the availablility of an inexpensive long lens in a kit shouldn't be a consideration.

For shooting indoors, I've had a lot of sucess using the Tamron 17-50/2.8 which would replace the kit lenses, and it would be stabilized on the Pentax and Sony bodies, allowing you to use longer shutter speeds without worrying about motion blur due to camera shake..
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 8:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a|s View Post
my new job involves alot of travel and i've never really been able to afford a decent camera up until now, i've been using an old minolta 7000 of my dad's with a single minolta af28 lense
As mentioned by TCav, a Minolta AF lens like that 28mm would also work on a Sony dSLR model (A230, A330, A380, A500, A550, A700). Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera related assets a while back and all Sony dSLR models use Minolta Autofocus (a.k.a., Maxxum, Dynax, Alpha) mount lenses.

Note that most entry level dSLR models use APS-C size sensors (smaller than 35mm film). As a result, you'll have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) for a given focal length lens. With entry level dSLR models using Sony sensors (like the D5000 you're looking at), multiply by 1.5x to see how angle of view compares. For example, a 28mm lens on a dSLR like that would have the same angle of view you'd get with a 42mm lens on a 35mm camera (28mm x 1.5 = 42mm). For Canon models using an APS-C size sensor, use 1.6x instead.

I sometimes use a Minolta 28mm AF lens on a Sony A700 for indoor use in dimmer light. Is it the Minolta AF 28mm f/2 or is it the Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8? I've got the Minolta 28mm f/2 AF lens.

So, you may want to look at a model like the Sony A500 (which like the Nikon D5000, uses a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor), since you'd already have one lens that would work on one (a brighter 28mm AF prime that could come in handy in some conditions).
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 8:10 AM   #5
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Just note that the sony option with the great low light is not inexpensive it would be the A500 and A550. Just the bodies alone is more then the K-x with 2 lens and almost as much as the T1i with one lens. So if budget it a key factor this is something to consider.
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 8:29 AM   #6
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You're only looking at around $100 more to get a Sony A500 kit with an 18-55mm lens compared to a D5000 Kit with a 18-55mm lens (since he's also considering a Nikon D5000), as the A500 with lens sells for around $849 and the Nikon D5000 with a lens runs around $749.

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665970151

A Minolta 28mm AF lens is worth more than the price difference between those kits. I like a 28mm for low light since it makes for a smaller camera package with a bright prime on it (that's not as long as something like a 50mm, making it more useful in closer quarters compared to longer focal lengths, since you can only back up so far in some conditions and still fit what you want into the frame).

Even if it's the 28mm f/2.8 (versus 28mm f/2), it's still going to be worth over $100 if it's in excellent condition. The 28mm f/2 fetches a lot more. Note that Sony gets $269.99 for a new 28mm f/2.8 AF lens (which is using the Minolta 28mm f/2.8 optical design, rebranded after Sony bought KM's assets)

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...uctId=11039131
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 9:28 AM   #7
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Hi Jim-

I don't want to sound like a stuck record, but the A-500 was too darned physically big for me. I like the size and the fast action of my A-230 and A-700.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 9:47 AM   #8
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thanks all for your help.

my budget is not necessarily limited by affordability more replaceability (is that a word?!) i would prefer to minimise my budget to avoid the loss of an overly expensive piece of equipment, as the likelihood is greater given the places i will be traveling to (angola, cameroon, nigeria, liberia, guatemala), hence my desire to look for the best balance between performance and cost.

i think stretching to the a500/a550 is just too much given the difference between that and the pricepoint of the pentax, although the appeal of minolta compatibility is attractive. the d5000 was at the top end of my budget as it is.

the point of the T1 having a better AF has interested me, i think i'm going to go back to the shop and have another play around. still leaning on the side of the pentax with the two lenses, taking the 18-55 an most trips but keeping the 300mm on the ship for use when needed, however your advice has given me lots to think about and has been a great help.

if i don't end up going for a Sony, i will likely sell the minolta lens to fund whatever purchase, i didn't actually realize it was worth anything!
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 9:57 AM   #9
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Yes, the Canon T1i has a faster AF system than the others, but if you're not shooting sports/action/wildlife (and I suspect you aren't since you'd leave the long lens on the ship), the difference isn't significant.
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Old Mar 8, 2010, 12:33 PM   #10
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The pentax is a much smaller camera the the A500 or A550. So it may be a concern. But like TCav pointed out if you are not a sport/action or wildlife shooter. The bit better low light performance would give the pentax a edge over the canon. But if you are shooting in really low light in Africa at night. The AF system on the canon will allow you to get a AF lock, where the pentax can not.

But you would really want to invest in a 50mm prime for low light shooting without a flash. The canon has a good inexpensive one ef 50mm 1.8, around 100 dollars, but is is not the best for low light. The ef 50mm 1.4 is a much better lens for low light, but it cost the same as the pentax FA 50mm 1.4. Both are excellent lenses, in the 330 dollar range.
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