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Old Apr 18, 2010, 8:30 AM   #1
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Hi,

I'm a beginner with DSLRs and need an advice.. The more I do my research, the more confused I am. And it's a little depressing.

First I should say something about my personality so you can help me decide on the camera that suits me best. I am a creative person and like to express myself in many different ways. This means I like photography just as much as I like drawing, writing poetry, singing, playing my violin or making jewellery. I'm good at all of it, but exactly because of this "dispersion of interest", I don't think I'll ever have enough time to become an expert in any of those fields. That's why I wouldn't go for a very expensive camera. However, I want my photos to be lively, bright, with lots of artistic features. What I would like to do is play with focus and shoot nature scenes, portraits in the nature (symbiosis between man and nature), romantic candle scenes, night scenes, seaside. I also love to travel and it would be great to be able to shoot, e.g. the streets of Paris, as well as the view from the Eiffel tower and get good quality photos.

Now, taking all this into consideration, my choice was Olympus E-450. Good price, portability, Art Filters, clear picture. However, I was looking at the photos I've made with my compact Olympus SP-310 and the thing that bothers me most is the lack of IS! One in 5 photos taken inside is clear. My hand shakes pretty hard, so I can't take special scene images, and I'm not particularly fond of flash.. So I thought I'd go for Olympus E-620. It's heavier, but it has built-in stabilization. But other features are, more of less, the same as the ones of E-450 and the price is fairly higher. How important is IS actually? I read somewhere that, if a person moves, the photo will still be blurry and IS only compensates for the trembling of my hand. And it says that E-450 has lens stabilization? What's that? Is it any help?

The next thing is zoom. 3x optical zoom sounds rather disappointing, because SP-310 had 3x zoom. So I thought I might go for E-450 and a double zoom kit instead of E-620, but I'm afraid that the photos will be blurry. And I don't particulary fancy the idea of carrying a tripod into the nature. I've read somewhere that I can adjust shutter speed and ISO. Is it easy to learn? Do the photos turn out blurry in a daylight too, or only at night and indoors? And I don't understand those mm things - do I get 6x optical zoom with double zoom kit? Is it worth it?

I checked out many other cameras, which only confused me even more, because there are too many factors to take into consideration and the images can be bright and clear with whichever camera one shoots..

And then I saw Olympus SP-800UZ. It's a compact, but it has creative filters, TruePic III, 14 mps, as well as 30x optical zoom and double stabilization. And now I'm really confused.. What is the main difference between this compact and budget SLRs? I realise that the inability of focus adjustment represents a great minus. Is the image quality so drastic? What else does one lose with this type of camera?

And, not to bother you too much, I would only like to summarize - the most important thing to me are nice scenes and vivid, lively, bright colors, which I first thought I'd get only with Art Filters, such as Pop Art, but now I'm not sure any more. Bottom line, I wouldn't like to get too bright, "wahed-out" images in a direct sunlight and I'm getting sick of blurry photos...

Any help is appreciated!
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Old Apr 18, 2010, 12:21 PM   #2
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  1. The E-450 is the camera body,and it's not stabilized. There are stabilized lenses for it, but they are expensive and the selection is small.
  2. Stabilization is important for some things, including some of the things you say you want to shoot, like:
    1. "romantic candle scenes"
    2. "night scenes"
  3. Yes, carrying a tripod on a hike or to the top of the Eiffle Tower can be a problem, but if you're shooting in good outdoor light, or have a stabilized system, you can safely leave it behind.
  4. Yes, you can increase the ISO, but that will increase image noise, especially in an Olympus dSLR. And yes, you can decrease the shutter speed, but that increases the chance of motion blur due to camera shake and subject movement.
  5. That "3X" and "6X" zoom thing is simply the ratio of the shortest focal length (that "mm" thing) and the longest focal length. P&S digicams have non-removeable lenses, so a 3X zoom ratio gives a perspective of what the camera is capable of. dSLRs have removeable lenses. A 14-42mm lens would be a 3X zoom, but so would a 70-210mm lens, and their angles of view would be very different. Get used to the "mm" thing.
  6. If you want to shoot in low light, an Olympus dSLR is not a good choice. A Pentax K-x would do much better. And remember that some of what you want to do will require a speciallized lens, which will be bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the kit lens (even if you do go with an Olympus.) But that's what makes a dSLR the outstanding creative tool that it is. You can beat your head against the wall trying to make due with one P&S or another, and all you'll do is waste money on cameras that won't adapt to what you want to do.
  7. Another thing to consider is that, even though some dSLRs offer the creative bells and whistles that you may be accustomed to with your P&S cameras, that kind of thing is often better done in post processing anyway. So a dSLR will give you better images to start with, and you can be as creative as you want on your computer later. Doing it all in the camera means if it turns out you don't like the result when you get back home, you don't have the original image, so you're out of luck.
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Old Apr 18, 2010, 12:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
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...And yes, you can increase the shutter speed, but that increases the chance of motion blur ...
I know you mean "decrease"
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Old Apr 18, 2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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I know you mean "decrease"
Yes. I reread my post and corrected it as you were responding.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 9:01 AM   #5
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Ok, thanks a lot for your advices! I will have to think it through.. And yeah, thank you for the introduction into the world of dSLRs
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Old Apr 21, 2010, 3:48 PM   #6
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I have taken your advice and checked Pentax K-x. You were right, the image quality seem far better, especially at night. There are some things that worry me, though. AA batteries - hate them, my old Oly used to devour them in no time, rechargeables as well. It is pretty heavy. Plus, there is no buil-in stabilization. Does that mean I'd have to have a tripod every time I want to shoot a night scene?
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Old Apr 21, 2010, 4:16 PM   #7
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I have taken your advice and checked Pentax K-x. You were right, the image quality seem far better, especially at night. There are some things that worry me, though. AA batteries - hate them, my old Oly used to devour them in no time, rechargeables as well. It is pretty heavy. Plus, there is no buil-in stabilization. Does that mean I'd have to have a tripod every time I want to shoot a night scene?
Yes, the K-x uses 4 AA Lithium or Alkaline or rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. That can be a pain, but Pentax states that you should be able to shoot 1900 images on a single set of batteries (with no flash, 1200 with 50% flash.) I prefer rechargeables, but if the batteries go dead in the middle of something, you can always go into a corner drug store to get more batteries.

Also, the K-x does have sensor shift image stabilization.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 4:56 AM   #8
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Yes, the K-x uses 4 AA Lithium or Alkaline or rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.
Wow, you learn something every day, I had no clue about this... interesting move.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 2:03 PM   #9
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It's my choice no.1 now.. Just curious - what's with that ISO 12.800? Why would anyone use it?
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 2:25 PM   #10
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There were many people that still wanted AA over a proprietary battery. While I think the K-x can use alkaline batteries, I wouldn't recommend them except in an emergency - my old K100 doesn't work for very long with them. Now the K-x is reputed to work well with lithium batteries (I hope the same thing holds true for my venerable K100 as I just loaned it to someone who's going to be traveling to the Middle East and suggested that they go that route rather than dragging around my new heavy charger and two sets of Eneloops).
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