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Old Apr 15, 2010, 4:42 PM   #1
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Default Decisions, decisions... D5000/e620/T1i... (long backstory included)

My current camera-buying activities are being driven by apparent sensor failure (the manual WB keeps shifting green over the course of a day spent outdoors; I have to keep resetting it) on my now-ancient, and trusty, FZ5. The fact that I had a poor picture-taking trip in Australia with that camera has led me to want to supplement its replacement with a DSLR, so I can gain additional capabilities (better low-light, faster focus times, better flash)

I'm looking for equipment that can handle both day-to-day "recording memories", and also gear that can "take photographs" when I want to. I was looking long and hard at the GH1 as an all-in-one, but really that is too much camera for hauling to birthday parties, or taking some simple photos on x-mas morning.

For the compact, I eventually settled on a FZ-35. I wanted to wait until it's replacement came out, but I am going to Italy with the wife in early Sept., and I want to have some experience with it before going. We've been pretty happy with our current FZ5. In any case, the current price of $300 is a steal. I have a funny feeling the the replacement is going to go for 30x, with subsequent cost to IQ. (Zoom seems to be the new Megapixel Wars.) With a super-zoom there is only so long you can make the lens before you have to shrink the sensor, or start making crazy optical compromises. (Unless you want the camera to be a lot less compact.)

I considered the HS10, but the higher price, the size, the weight, and the current "teething" issues being experienced by those that have one kind of pushed me away from it. (It should not require a "reset" as part of init. setup; this does not present encouraging evidence of quality control.)

For the sake of price, complexity and weight, I decided to go with separate P&S and dSLR gear.

With the P&S out of the way, and on the way, (and the idea of one of those m4/3 gems discarded) it's now time to get the DSLR.

I currently have my eye on three models: e620, D5000, and T1i.
e620:
Pros: Small, light, cheap, excellent lenses, excellent jpegs, built-in IS
Cons: Limited lens selection, format appears to be "dying" with all the action in m4/3 now, no video (although I probably wouldn't use it too much) some features only work with the never-to-be-sufficiently-cursed xD slot (give it up already! You aren't Sony!)

D5000:
Pros: Sturdy, decent lenses, excellent low-light performance, decent price (if not as crazy-cheap as the Olympus)
Cons: AF Lens selection slightly limited (but growing rapidly), larger, changing settings requires some fiddling, heavy, IS per-lens
Note: I'm kind of annoyed I can't use my small library of existing Nikon lenses with the thing without losing AF (a crap 75-300 4-5.6 Quantaray, a cheap Quantaray 24mm, and a Nikon 50mm 1.8? I also have a broken Quantaray 35-80)

T1i:
Pros: Decent lenses and a lens library going back well over a decade, decent image quality, excellent interface
Cons: Price. (Unless I can find a good sale, over $200 more than the Nikon, which in turn is nearly $200 more than the Oly), IS per-lens

I've decided against the Sony (lots of button-fiddling, huge, lousy battery life on feature-equiv. models, questionable ergonomics... all this is a shame, b/c that Live View system looks real interesting and the price not horrible) and the Pentax (reportedly lousy IS, and the lack of AF point indication in the VF would drive me nuts, but it's cheap!)

Am I missing anything major? Any other major factors I should be considering?

SirWired

Last edited by sirwired; Apr 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 6:57 PM   #2
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the oly does use CF cards also, which are faster the sdhc when using udma cards. Allot faster.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:28 PM   #3
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sir wired-

Your DSLR choice has a lot to do with what you are shooting. For example, if you were a sports shooter, Canon DSLR's focus faster and offer a better selection of sports oriented lenses.

So it might be very wise to remind folks about the what you shoot, shoot second, shoot third, etc.

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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:34 PM   #4
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Well, I just came back from the store (no purchase yet!.) Naturally, no one store carries all three... (Ritz didn't have any Canon, BBuy no Oly.)

Dammit... while it was great to hold the three cameras in my hand, it's not helping so much with the decision. I will say that next to the Oly, the shorter kit lens on the Nikon is gratuitously bulky, but the longer zooms looked a little more proportional. All three felt ok in my hand, but none of them really felt "natural"; that would probably change in time. (I did see why nobody likes the new Sony body design... that "grip" is just stupid.)

Of the three, I'm leaning towards the Canon if I can catch it on sale, I think.

Would I really notice the difference in output between the three unless I started to Pixel Peep with lenses much better than I can afford?

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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:39 PM   #5
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Heh... yes, the pictures I take... good question.

I do a lot of landscapes and other static pictures, for which I understand just about any camera that isn't a lemon will take just fine. (Heck, a DSLR is probably overkill for most of those.) However, I'm also a big fan of my local zoo, and have taken I don't know how many thousands of pictures there. I'd also like to do more macro.

Sports? Not so much. very occasionally, and certainly not often enough to be purchasing one of those super-long wide-open bazookas.

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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
I've decided against the Sony (lots of button-fiddling, huge, lousy battery life on feature-equiv. models, questionable ergonomics... all this is a shame, b/c that Live View system looks real interesting and the price not horrible)...
I'm confused. Now, I am probably a bit biased towards Sony since I shoot with a Sony A700 most of the time. But, your comments are very confusing to me. What Sony models have you looked at?

The CIPA rating for battery life on a model like the Sony A500 is rated for 1050 shots. That's roughly twice the CIPA rating for the Nikon D5000 you're looking at (the D5000 has a CIPA rating of 510 photos on a single charge), and I've seen the Sony A500 take more than 1000 shots in a single session with battery life remaining.

As for button fiddling, again, I'm confused. It does have dedicated buttons for a lot of features (including dedicated buttons for changing Dynamic Range Optimization settings so you can select from different DRO settings including it's unique Auto HDR feature) but I just don't understand the "button fiddling" comment (as you don't have to use the extra buttons it has if you don't need those features). Personally, I think these models have pretty decent ergonomics, too (although each user is going to have different preferences in that area).

I'd look at the A500 and A550 if you're comparing Sony's entry level models to models like the Nikon D5000 you're looking at, as it sounds more like you're looking at the lower end Sony models.

The Sony A500 looks like it's selling for around $649 now at reputable dealers (or around $749 including a kit lens). That's about the same price as the Nikon D5000 you're considering. So, if you're comparing the Nikon with the lower end Sony models, I'd compare it to the Sony A5xx series cameras instead.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:53 PM   #7
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Hmmm... I was looking at the 300-series. (Where could I find a 500-series to try out? Ritz didn't stock it...) Price-wise, (just using B&H as a guide) it comes between the Nikon and the Canon. I will note that the lack of video (while not a deal-killer) certainly is odd.

I also like the DOF-preview on the Canon. Does anybody here have any idea why this is such a rare feature, and has been so for decades, even with film cameras?

SirWired

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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:59 PM   #8
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  1. Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
    ... (It should not require a "reset" as part of init. setup; ...
    I had to reset my Nikon D90 before I used it, and I know at least one other person that had to do the same thing. I think it's a good idea to do it anyway, just to clear any oddball settings that might have crept in while the camera was boxed up, and the battery was dying.
  2. Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
    ... and the Pentax (reportedly lousy IS, ...
    It's not lousy! It just not quite as good as the others. It's still better than not having IS.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 8:06 PM   #9
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Ritz stocks them in some areas. Do you have more than one location for a Ritz or Wolf Camera in your area? If so, I'd call them to see if they stock them. Note that Sony also has stores in some areas. To see if there is one near you, check their store locations on this page:

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...tail_Locations
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 8:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
I also like the DOF-preview on the Canon. Does anybody here have any idea why this is such a rare feature, and has been so for decades, even with film cameras?

SirWired
It's a difficult feature to use at best with a DSLR. They have small viewfinders and unless you're using a larger aperture lens wide open, the viewfinder, in addition to being small, is very dark making it tough to see what is and isn't in focus. Also, since you can review images immediately, DOF preview becomes even less useful.
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