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Old Apr 29, 2010, 9:54 AM   #1
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Default Canon A640 Upgrade

I currently own a Canon PowerShot A640 but find that I am missing out on some family photos for two reasons:

1) Flash goes off all the time and either saturates the photo or creates lots of shadows/dark backgrounds
2) Auto focus is too slow and I am missing the picture

Recently, we had some friends over who had a Nikon D5000 and they were able to capture all of the photos that we were missing. We were literally standing side-by-side trying to photograph our babies.

This led me to start looking at DSLR which of course opened Pandora's box.... <begin mad scientist music and muhwaaas in the background>

I am a novice when it comes to the cameras but I have played with the manual settings. It takes far too much time for me to figure out what will work right for a particular lighting and scene so I miss out on my kids/babies awesomeness. Plus, using the A640 in manully mode is not practical for my wife who just wants to have the camera figure out everything for itself. So a good, fast autofocus is a must.

I mostly take family photos (action and stills) and dabble in landscape/outdoor photography while on hikes or on vacation at the beach.

My budget is anywhere from free to $800-900. I could be talked into $1k if the camera made me "go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness!".

I do like the flip down/twist LCD on my A640, so having that in a new camera is a big plus.


In the DSLR and my price range, from Nikon it sounds like the D90 is a better choice than the D5000 even though it is older. And the Canon 550D is getting good reviews even though it's build quality and lens in the kit (and perhaps basic camera performance) is not as good as the Nikon's.

In the Micro 4/3, the Lumix G1(G2) and PEN E-PL2 sound like the leaders.

The P&S is so crowded I am not sure and am looking for help.

So here are my questions:

1) Can I solve my problems by getting a better P&S (e.g. Canon G11) or do I need to go to upgrade to something else?

2) Is it too early to be on the bleeding edge of the Micro 4/3 line of cameras?

3) Does the picture per second metric have anything to do with the speed of the autofocus? For instance, does the D90 4fps vs 550D 3.6fps mean the Nikon D90 has a faster autofocus? Is this true for all cameras?


I guess I am looking for advice on what to get or at least what to investigate further to help tackle my problems.


Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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invalidopcode-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

As I see it, you have some basic decisions to make.

(1) How serious do you want to get with your photography?

You see, it hardly seems logical to go to a DSLR, if you are going to shoot in the Automatic Mode and don't want to bother with details.

Try a couple of scenarios on for size: It would seem that an upscale and better P+S camera like the Canon G-11 might be the next step.

Some folks have jumped to a DSLR while still wanting everything very easy and simple and become frustrated. Then the DSLR get put in a back closet and hidden away.

Just some thoughts.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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I would tend to agree that DSLR might be overkill but it seems if I go that route, I can be sure to get the good performance.

If there is a P&S or a micro 4/3 that is good for kids/action and low light, I am all ears!

As for the G-11, the reviews say it has an average to slow AF.

Again, thanks for your reply and all the other replies on other people's questions.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 12:08 PM   #4
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The Olympus EPL-1 will work well for kids, action, and low light. It can handle ISO 1600 to 2000 without a problem. Add the FL-36 flash and you have a dynamite kit.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 6, 2010, 8:57 AM   #5
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Well, the E-PL1 arrived yesterday.

I immediately updated to the new 1.1 firmware since it improved the AF speed so I don't know how the original 1.0 performed. But so far I am very happy with the performance.

It did have a little trouble autofocusing in low light but I need more time to play with the settings and camera configuration before I panic over it. It was morning, curtains closed, and I was trying to get close and focus on my baby's face laying on her blanket.

I have the manual next to me as I type this... I don't recall the last time I actually read a user manual!

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Old May 6, 2010, 9:14 AM   #6
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Congratulations on your new camera, Invalidopcode-

Have fun and enjoy your photography.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 12, 2010, 2:48 PM   #7
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I just wanted to post an update that I am very happy with the camera. The quality of pictures and camera performance is everything I had hoped it would be.

Now I just need to find a good case for it. There is one on ebay that some people have purchased but that has been it so far.
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Old May 12, 2010, 2:59 PM   #8
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It sounds like things are going along smoothly.

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