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Old May 9, 2011, 12:09 PM   #1
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Default Struggling over camera choices. Megazoom poiint and shoot or entry level dslr??

Ok. I am the phtographer for our family. Both kids are involved in school activities and sports. I am tired of missing all the good pictures becasue the lighting is dim in the gym or auditorium or becasue I do not have enough zoom to get a good soccer shot or dance shot. ( They don't allow mom's on the filed.) :-) I do use the video on my cell phone and my point and shoot cameras quite frequently. Many of the videos are actually good enough for us but I would like to get the best video quality that I can afford on a new camera.

I had the canon A80 which of course was very slow to take pictures in low light and had little zoom. It got dropped at Disney 2 years ago and I have been using a Fuji pocket camera since then. Our video camera is a 15 yr old sony 8mm. It hd it's place but is very large and rarely goes anywhere with us anymore since the phone and point and shoot take video. it goes to church performances and sometimes recitals but that's it and it really isn't any good indoors.

So, I am on a budget. Trying to stay around $600 but could go $700 if it was worth it..or if there was a payment plan of some sort. I know that is not much to work with. I really want to be able to use auto settings as much as possible while learning more manual settings as time permits. Moms don't always have a lot of time to read manuals and try out things. I usually view my photos on my computer but would like to be able to print decent photos as needed. I don't forsee needing poster sized prints ever, though.

I had originally been looking at the canon sx30 is point and shoot but eveyone keeps trying to talk me into dslr. I am not opposed but am concerned about a few things: 1. the cost to be able to do the things I want to do, 2. the learning curve..will I be able to take basic photos and video pretty quickly while lerning more as I go, 3. is it really practical to carry a dslr around Disney or other vacation spots or will I regret not be able to stuff it in my purse when not using it.

I really want it all, like everyone else, but am realizing the more I research that no camera does everything no matter how good the user is. And of course, for the money cameras cost, we all want more.

So is the Canon point and shoot sx 30 is really terrible? I thought it would probably be way better than anything i have ever had before...taking better pics and video. However, even at $429 ( what i can get it for) I do not want to try to take an awards picture and only get my child walking away. That would be tragic. Tired of that. Can do that now. But, if it is better in low light and faster than the cheap point and shoots it might be ok. I don't HAVE to get 4 shots per second but 1 or 2 would be nice.

As for dslrs...I have really been considering the Pentax k-x becasue it seems to have pretty good ratings and of course fits in my budget. I have found one with two lenses with the 55-300mm for $605 out the door. I can learn to live with red.:-) I also looked at the newer Pentax k-r which would be a little over $100 more if it is worth that for me. We have friends who love the Nikon D5000 but I can't find it in my current budget and am not sure it would be worth the extra for me. I would love to hear thoughts on this as I am learning as i go. Also have consider the Nikon D3100. Found one being sold like new for $435 but would need to buy a telephoto to go with it. Just not sure.

I just really do not want to spend $600 or $700 and then regret the purchase. I have waited too long to have a decent camera to make a poor decision now. We are going to DC in June and I would like to purchase something before then.

Incidentally, I can get the Canon sx30is and try it out for up to 30 days and still return if I don't like it. Just not sure if it's worth it or not.

Looking forward to your responses.
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Old May 9, 2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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In good lighting, the SX30IS might be the solution for you. I have had it since early December and like it. However, image quality takes a dip as you go above ISO 200. The Pentaxes will allow you to use higher ISO settings and get decent results. I have the K-x with the two lenses you mentioned. It's a good combination. However, if I could afford it now, I would choose the K-r. It's one stop better in low light according to several reviewers. That means its noise levels at ISO 3200, for example, would be like the noise levels for K-x. at ISO 1600. For a cheap alternative, try getting a Fuji F7OEXR or F72EXR for less than $150 refurbished from ebay. 10X optical zoom and good low light performance for a point and shoot.
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Old May 9, 2011, 3:37 PM   #3
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kids sports, go with the dslr and spend some time learning about the system. I would look at a canon t1i or t2i if you can. If you add a ef 70-300 IS USM or tamron 70-300 VC USD, these lens will be able to keep up with the kids with daytime outdoor sports. Indoor will get expensive with lenses. The canon entry level has a better AF system then the pentax or the nikon.
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Old May 9, 2011, 5:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo View Post
However, if I could afford it now, I would choose the K-r. It's one stop better in low light according to several reviewers.
I might be able to swing the Pentax k-r if I opt for the 55-200mm second lens instead of the 300mm. Is that worth the trade off?

I know that indoor shots are going to be harder to get with any camera but surely with any of these dslrs they will be better than what i get now with my fuji pocket camera that is my 12 yr olds. Right? It actually did ok at the theatre show but only becasue i was on the second row near the stage where the lights were. I didn't need to zoom much and pics without flash were ok. This weekend, same theatre but for a dance recital. I had to sit further back and have not one decent picture...but I expected that. Even teh video from my pocket camera stunk. The lights reflected off the girls costumes. So...I would like to be able to do better than what i can get with a Fuji J40 point and shoot. I guess my standards are starting out low. lol I love photography and would love to be able to get better quality images but am probably not really picky if the picture is clear.

I guess most any camera with some zoom will do pretty well in outdoor soccer or golf. Some burst would be great but if not I can still get a good picture. So probably i should focus more on what will get me a better quality photo indoors. I know there are things I can learn to help manage in different lighting conditions but I have to have the speed to get the picture in lower light. If that makes sense?

I really cannot increase my budget any more. Gas prices and increased grocery prices as well as having two teens eating us out of house and home are cutting into our funds.
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Old May 9, 2011, 6:01 PM   #5
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The 300mm is the better lens, it is way sharper at 200mm and sharp at 300mm. Fo the extra 80 buck it is really worth going with the 55-300 in kit form.
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Old May 9, 2011, 6:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
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The 300mm is the better lens, it is way sharper at 200mm and sharp at 300mm. Fo the extra 80 buck it is really worth going with the 55-300 in kit form.
So if I get either the Pentax k-x or k-r with the two lenses kit including the 55-300mm lens, will that be enough to start with? I know i need memory card, bag, battery... but with those lenses, will I be able to get better pics for say an indoor graduation, musical theatre performance, awards ceremony, etc. I think it will be great for soccer outdoors but just making sure i will have usable photos in the indoor settings.

Thanks for your replies. I have read and read and changed my mind 10 times or more.
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Old May 9, 2011, 7:35 PM   #7
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I think a Pentax K-x with the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-300mm lens is quite a nice start. SD and SDHC cards are pretty cheap now. For indoor events you may have to hike the ISO settings up a bit. It won't be ideal, but it will be better (by far) than your present situation.
Buydig is selling the dual lens kit for $688. Other etailers may provide similar deals.

Don't buy from a disreputable etailer. You can check an etailer's reputation by going to resellerratings.com

Good luck!

Last edited by robbo; May 9, 2011 at 7:41 PM. Reason: adding information
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Old May 9, 2011, 7:45 PM   #8
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Has anyone bought from Beach Camera? They have a good deal and Buy Dig has a good deal, I think, on the k-r.
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Old May 9, 2011, 11:03 PM   #9
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Those 2 lenses make a very good general photography kit. Indoor's depending on the lighting and distance the high iso of the pentax may work. But indoors out of flash range is really hard and expensive, especially if you need a zoom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kc4braves View Post
So if I get either the Pentax k-x or k-r with the two lenses kit including the 55-300mm lens, will that be enough to start with? I know i need memory card, bag, battery... but with those lenses, will I be able to get better pics for say an indoor graduation, musical theatre performance, awards ceremony, etc. I think it will be great for soccer outdoors but just making sure i will have usable photos in the indoor settings.

Thanks for your replies. I have read and read and changed my mind 10 times or more.
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Old May 9, 2011, 11:15 PM   #10
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Well, I will not be able to use the flash for dance recitals or musical theatre...maybe at awards type things and of course for most other indoor activties I could. But no flash at performances.

I have been able to make fairly decent videos, except at this recital, at shows and things with no flash or anything. Will I still be able to capture decent video. If so, I may just have to be happy with video clips and take photos after the shows.

I am excited to be getting a new camera soon and a new hobby of sorts. I know I will have tons of questions, though. I tried to look at the better lenses for indoor use and almost threw in the towel. lol I know more than some people but way less than you guys!

I hope to order something tomorrow...either teh Pentax k-x or k-r depending on what prices I find on my final search. Thanks for all your help.
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