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Old Nov 7, 2010, 5:39 PM   #1
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Default bridge camera or DSLR? Please help!

Hi everyone! I may be in the market for a new camera however I'm having trouble deciding some things. I will try and make this as short as possible.

First, I have been shooting Canon rebel film cameras for about 15 years now. Though I've never had the money to get into really good lenses. The best lens I have is the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, plus a couple of "kit" lenses that are actually pretty decent. I once had a Cosina zoom which served it's purpose but it wasn't that great. But as money became tighter over the years my film usage went way down, thus so did my photography hobby. So last year I finally got a decent P&S Canon SX120. It's a nice camera but I am looking for something a bit "more" at this point. Here's the problem, I've recently gotten into photographing birds and some macro work too, and as much as I'd LOVE to jump into the DSLR camp, I'm afraid getting good lenses to go along with a DSLR body is going to put rocket the price into the stratosphere.

So I was considering a bridge Camera like the FZ35 or 40, or the SX30, or perhaps the S200EXR or HS10...all of these would give me the reach I desire for birds and small animals but I worry about a couple of things.

1.) IQ. Are the IQ of bridge camera better than say a Canon Rebel XSi with say the 75-300mm zoom that comes in the "kits"? Or is even that lens going to be better than anything a bridge camera can give?

2.) I dabble in astrophotography. Nothing major, but like to do starry night scapes, constellations and moon pics. I've never had a zoom long enough to do really cool moon shots but would love to do that. But I especially like to shoot just night landscapes. Can ANY of the bridge cameras do that? I realize they will not be DSLR quality but my SX120 with only a 15 second exposure just can't do what I want. Of course my 50mm 1.8 lens with film body can and does do it, but again film is costly and I really like seeing what I took right away as opposed to waiting 2 weeks until I finish a roll of film.

Those of you with bridge cameras have you ever tried astro work, like constellations etc? Again I'm not trying deep field stuff or anything. And I don't do it often, but I do dabble in it, especially aurora photography when the opportunity presents itself. I'd still use my film Rebel for serious work, but a sort of "do it all" camera would be nice.

I know, I know, no camera can "do it all". And I know DSLR is the way to go. I've been told that by everyone ad nauseam. I've been told that bridge cameras are crap, and DSLR is all that matters and if I can't get IS lenses I should just give up photography because I'm a bum and jerk for not having the "top" gear. (this is certainly how it feels when I read so many reviews or visit websites and it's frustrating)

I'm not a pro who can write off camera gear as a business expense, and I don't have thousands of dollars to fork over for a DSLR with a great set of lenses. But I'm also not a beginner who just points and clicks. I love manual controls, but I like versatility too. I don't like changing lenses all the time, but of course I do have the SX120 which is great for family stuff etc. I'm really at a loss for what to do. I really like the looks of the FZ35 and the new FZ40, and the price is right for me. If I did go DSLR I'm going to be forced to go with kit lenses and I'm just not sure that's what I want, plus even with the kit lenses they are twice the price of a FZ40.

Any help or direction would be great.

PS: sorry if I sound frustrated but things are so confusing in the digital world compared to film that it's easy to get down on the whole process which should be fun.

Thanks in advance,
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Old Nov 7, 2010, 8:27 PM   #2
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A bridge camera will not match the IQ of a dslr, especially with less then ideal light. So None of the megazoom's will match a canon XSi in IQ or low light.

But as you put it, it does get more expensive it you add lenses. All you canon glass will work on the XSi. So besides the 50 1.8 what else do you have?

The megazooms give you a ton of reach, and does well with macro. So it will give you 2 of the things you are looking for, but if you shoot in low light, 800iso or 800asa is film term is their max.

Also if you are into DOF control. There megazooms do limit the dof because of the much smaller sensor. None of them can come close to what your ef 50 1.8 can do with throwing the background into a bokeh effect.

So if you are looking for low price, and convenience the magazoom is a good route. It you are looking to advance in photography with more control a dslr is the better route.

If you do go with a canon dslr like the XSi or T1i, the 2 kit lens would be a good option, and add a canon 58mm 500D close lens for the macro work and you will have a very good general photography kit with you 50 1.8 and other lenses.
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Old Nov 7, 2010, 8:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightPhoenix View Post
...
2.) I dabble in astrophotography. Nothing major, but like to do starry night scapes, constellations and moon pics. I've never had a zoom long enough to do really cool moon shots but would love to do that. But I especially like to shoot just night landscapes. Can ANY of the bridge cameras do that? I realize they will not be DSLR quality but my SX120 with only a 15 second exposure just can't do what I want....
I'm no authority but a bit of experience tells me that f/2.8 at iso1600 and 30 second exposure is necessary to capture stars. any combination of those that yields the same exposure will work. if you're thinking longer exposure to compensate for a lousy aperture, well, you may begin to see trails. if that's what you want, great!
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 9:00 AM   #4
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But as you put it, it does get more expensive it you add lenses. All you canon glass will work on the XSi. So besides the 50 1.8 what else do you have?
Well that's the thing, a couple of my older lenses are coming apart and are just unusable. One was a Cosina 28-210mm but the piece that locks onto the body has come apart. I've tried to fix it several times but it never lasts long. (the screws were metal, but the threaded part where the screws went into was plastic and broke off) It obviously was never a great lens to begin with, but I got many years of use out of it, but of course always wished I had further reach.

Right now I only have 2 lenses that actually work; the 50mm and a 35-80mm kit lens which came with the Rebel 2000 I have now. It's actually a decent lens and I have no complaints about it. (it's better than the Cosina ever was) Though I suppose many people would find it lacking.


Quote:
If you do go with a canon dslr like the XSi or T1i, the 2 kit lens would be a good option, and add a canon 58mm 500D close lens for the macro work and you will have a very good general photography kit with you 50 1.8 and other lenses.
Would you say that the Canon 75-300mm III lens that comes in all the kits would perform better than any superzoom? It gets trashed by everyone, and I know the 250mm IS zoom is a much better lens, but is the other one really that bad?

Thanks for response. I guess I'll just have to think about what i'm going to do. I have time and will continue to research.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 9:32 AM   #5
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the 75-300 is not a great lens and it is pretty poor on the slr or dslr scale and not as good as your 28-210,. If you get the XSi get the 55-250 is you are looking to save some money and do not shoot action. If you need action outdoor the ef 70-300 would be a better choice.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 10:34 AM   #6
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the 75-300 is not a great lens and it is pretty poor on the slr or dslr scale and not as good asy you 28-210,. If you get the XSi get the 55-250 is you are looking to save some money and do not shoot action. If you need action outdoor the ef 70-300 would be a better choice.
You mean my old Cosina is better than the Canon 75-300? I had no idea...lol! Makes me want to try and fix that darn thing yet again. I tried super glue a couple of times but that didn't last long since the lens is pretty hefty. It's a shame too because the glass is in great shape (no scratches) it's just unusable because of this one flaw. Ah well.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 1:55 PM   #7
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the 75-300 is a very poor designed lens, different brands used it, and they are all poor.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 8:32 AM   #8
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Here are several ideas.....

I can't take credit for this, but on another thread this suggestion came up.. see post #23.
If you are in the US and decided you are interested in another DSLR, you could trade your broken XS in on a Canon Refurbished camera for 20% off the refurb rate through the Canon Loyalty program. A T1i would be about 450 (depending on current price and your sales tax) shipped free. A T2i is about another 100. They come with a 90 day warrenty. there is a thread running on Fred Miranda (actually several) (http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/top...oyalty#8845636).

You can also go to KEH.com - they do not have the 20% discount but they may have lower prices (they also do lenses - at times cheaper than ebay). Call them up and talk to them - tell them what you want and are doing. They may have some suggestions.
Trade your old broken camera in on a relatively low cost or possibly refurbished dSLR. Then for lenses. I would go for Tokina lenses. Its a very good third party lens manufacturer over in Japan. They also have some very fine inexpensive lenses - especially full manual lenses. They are built like a tank - all glass, will survive a nuclear strike. Go that route. You can find them on evilbay.
Forget about the "buy it now". Look for the fully manual lenses being offered by individuals. Also look in Craigslist.

Here are some at random...

For memory cards - look for the small ones 1G or 2G cards (NOT on ebay - as they are probably fakes). Try Newegg.com Just get the inexpensive ones from Transend, Patroit, etc. You will not be able to store 572 images on one card but 78 or 112 would be just fine.

Last edited by interested_observer; Nov 12, 2010 at 8:45 AM.
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