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Old Jun 16, 2005, 12:40 AM   #1
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Howdy y'all. I've owned a Sony MVC-FD73 (one of those old floppy-drive digital cameras) and it's time for an upgrade. The old .3 MegaPixels just isn't cutting it anymore :O

I've been reading plenty of reviews and doing my research and I've decided I want to go with a Digital SLR. The problem is, I don't know what to go for.

I'm looking for something versatile for starters, something can do nice landscape shots, action shots, up-close shots, etc etc.

The biggest appeal of the DSLR for me is the lack of shutter lag. I hate pressing a button to take a picture and losing a great shot of my dogs playing to the delay. However, the relatively high price of a DSLR is very prohibitive to me. I'm a pretty broke college student so the best I can swing is about $1,000 for the entire set-up. Please note that I also would need a new printer to do photos (that's all it'd be used for, I have anyone printer that works just fine for text). I've heard great things about the Canon Rebel XT, but the price of the camera alone is practically $1,000, excluding the printer I'll need.

I guess I should ask, is it really worth going the DSLR route? I'm trying to get into photography as a hobby but the thought of dropping a grand on a camera and accessories scares the living hell out of me. It'd pretty much drain my bank account.

The other camera I hear good things about is the Nikon D50. I know Nikon makes damn good glass so they're a contender as well.

Is the original Canon Rebel worth a try? It's much cheaper than any other DSLR but I'd also be sacrificing around 2 MegaPixels as well. Would such a decline be a huge detriment to image quality?

What do y'all recommend? Thanks!
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 1:12 AM   #2
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Howdy,

You could get a new 300d (dig reb), a d50, pentax istds or the new dl all for under 900 with the kit lense. All are 6mp and have (or should have in the case of the dl) at least very good image quality. I had the same price range when I bought mine last month and my only choices then were the 300d and the ist ds. I bought the istds since the 300d feels kinda cheap and I had some m42 primes laying around even though canon's cmos may take slightly better pics than the sonyccd sensor of both the pentax and the nikon. For best value look at the ist dl wich will be out in a few days. It should realisticly be around 700 with the kit lense after a couple weeks and should perform almost as well as the d50 and the ds. That would give you enough $ to pick up a gig sd card, a case, a set of rechargable nicads, and your printer. Another choice is the olympus e-300, although this has much fewer lense choices and seems to have less image quality than the other choices--although it IS 8mp. Good luck and enjoy.....
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 5:41 AM   #3
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I'd say that just about any of the new DSLRs from Cannon, Nikon, Pentax or Olympus would meet your requirements and the prices are coming down. I'm a Nikon D70 user and love the camera. The D50 looks like a very similar camera with a few less features. A lot of people get very passionate about their cameras and will tell you that this or that is the best and nothing else comes close. For my part I think that there's probably not a whole lot to choose between them and that there are pros and cons to all the cameras. There are very good reviews on this site and others on the web that can help you choose.

I'm not aware of any compact camera that has as little shutter lag as the DSLRs although they are improving and I'm sure any modern camera will be much faster than your Sony.

The other big advantage with DSLRs over compacts is a bigger sensor. This means bigger photosites, which means higher ISO and less noise.

Megapixels is a big selling point because it appears that it is easy to compare cameras by the number of pixels. However it's not as straight forward as it seems. It takes a big increase in megapixels to make a difference. If you look at the linear measurements a 6 Mp camera has 3000x2000 pixels an 8Mp camera has 3400x2300 this doesn't make a lot of difference if you are printing up to A4.
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 10:28 AM   #4
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Are you ready for the substantial differences in the way the camera will function and perform?
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 11:42 AM   #5
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My son has the Digital Rebel (D300) and it is a great camera. I own the Canon 20D. The DR would make an excellent start in the DSLR world. However, the real advantage of a DSLR is the ability to control the camera and the mutiple lens options.
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 11:55 AM   #6
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Is a dSLR worth it? well, sure--especially for the shutter lag. Of course, a better camera doesn't necessarily mean better pictures. (For example, a dSLR will really bad lenses may not be better in quality than some point and shoots, and often point-and-shoots are better with macro shots).

Another suggestion is to find a Digital Rebel or d70 or equivalent on eBay... After one bad eBay purchase (guy skipped town with my money and I had to get PayPal to credit my account) I got a GREAT deal on a Digital Rebel with battery grip, 80-200 f/2.8 L lense, and other accessories for $1200 (the L lense alone is worth that). You take risks, but you can also get good deals if price is essential to you.



If you're just beginning a hobby, and don't understand how to manipulate the technical elements of the camera (like f-stop, shutter speed, etc.) and/or you've not had a lot of experience with the "art" of taking pictures, consider a good, fully manual point and shoot. You won't get the uber-short shutter lag, but you can practice with a good camera on manual and not spend so much money.



P.S. don't really worry abot the megapixels. 6 MP is much more than enough for 8x10 and above -- its the huge poster prints that will be a little blocky. High megapixels is largely a marketing device to get people to upgrade.


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Old Jun 16, 2005, 5:47 PM   #7
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I took photography in high school using 35MM SLRs so I'm familiar (though a bit rusty) with shutter speed, f-stop, etc etc. So it wouldn't be a quantum leap in how to use the camera.
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 6:23 PM   #8
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The background in 35mm SLR will be very similar to the techniques used for DSLR. No quantum leap.
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Old Jun 17, 2005, 1:51 PM   #9
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Yeah, I figured it'd be pretty darn smiliar.
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Old Jun 17, 2005, 8:10 PM   #10
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roboman,*I just went through the same process as you to decide on a 'cheap' dSLR.* Originally I was planning on the Pentax DL next month but after going to a local store and seeing which one felt comfortable on my normal sized hand and my wife's small hand, we decided on the Nikon D50 in black when comparing against the Pentax DS. The Pentax looked so much smaller, but as a few folks here mentioned, it didn't feel comfortable for me.From what I could research, Pentax seemed to be a distant third in popularity compared to Canon and Nikon as well. I just wish that the Nikon D50 had the 2.5" LCD that the Pentax DL will have.I don't like the fact that there is that Nikon $99 software but hopefully I can get by with PhotoshopCS.Now my only dilemma is whether to wait a few weeks and see if prices will drop as David Pogue's article mentioned. Perhaps by that time Steve will have reviewed the D50!
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