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Old Oct 21, 2005, 9:41 AM   #1
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I recently decided to go with a pocket-sized P&S (Canon SD450). It will be used when on vacation & the times when I just want something convenient. I also realize it's a limiting choice. Ideally, I would also like to have a camera that would also be suited for my son's sport activities where you can be more than 20 to 30 Ft away (karate, baseball, etc) as well as indoor, people shots. I don't want to deal with red-eye & purple fringing (my old camera does that so well).



I would also prefer a camera that would provide the flexibility to be as manual as possible with a good viewfinder and IS. I am torn at what way to go. Do I go for a prosumer or a lower-end digital SLR? Movie mode is not important to me, but is all the added features of a prosumer a real benefit over a DSLR? Is one style easy to master? Is the DSLR more future proof?



Can you share your thoughts? What choices have you made? What best compliments a small P&S? thank you
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Old Oct 21, 2005, 10:25 AM   #2
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My initial answer will of necvessity be somewhat limited and it may not hit the mark exactly due to the fact that we don't know where you live nor how much experience that you have with photography. Thus we will have to ask a number of questions. Is cost or budget a factor?

The lowest cost choice would be to go with something like a Fiji S-5200 costing about $(US)350. With that you would have full manual controls, up to 10X optical zoom, a high ISO capability, and a new camera that would allow you to learn a lot about photography ata fairly decent cost. My thought was that because your Canon SD-450 was essentially a full P & S camera without almost any manual features, the S-5200 would be perhaps a logical next step.

Keep in mind that thereare presently only 2 dSLR cameras that have IS technology internally. The KM 5D and 7D. Other brands such as Canon, Nikon, and the like put stabilization into individual lenses. Also please keep in mind that the average dSLR kit with several lenses runs, on an average $(US) 1500-2000.

So perhaps with a bit more information, we can more properly tailor a solution for you. Tell us a bit more in specific terms what photos you want to take that will require manual controls and how far you desire to go with photography?

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Old Oct 21, 2005, 10:37 AM   #3
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The Fuji s5200 would be a good choice for what you're looking for in a prosumer. It has fast enough ISO (up to 1600) to allow you to capture action and long enough zoom (up to 10x) to be able to see it. It doesn't have IS -- it uses the higher ISO instead. It has a pretty mediocre flash, and does not accept a hot shoe. But what you're looking for in this camera is the possibility of avoiding flash at all.

A dSLR will definitely be a better camera than a prosumer camera. However, it's a lot more money. To get the range of coverage of an ultrazoom with comparable lenses to the best of them would cost well over $1000. This is because the dSLR lens has to be bigger, and that makes it a lot harder to make one of the same quality. In general, you don't even have the option of a 35mm-350mm kind of lens range on dSLRs -- they use a couple or three lenses to cover that range. Everything is better by the time they do that, but the cost goes up a lot.

If cost is no object, and since you do not care about movie mode, the only other down side I can think of on a dSLR is that it's easier to get dirt on the sensor. After all, when you remove the lens, the insie of the camera is open to the world. Other than that, a dSLR is clearly superior to the cheaper cameras.


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Old Oct 21, 2005, 10:44 AM   #4
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Hello,

Well I have all three cameras, A P&S (Canon SD300) the Prosumerish (Canon S2IS) and a DSLR (Maxxum 5D)

The PS by far gets the most use, just because its always in the pocket, and you dont have to worry at gatherings and such about lugging anything. The S2 is great for the sports and things with its ~35 - 400mm Range and image stabilization. To get that kind of range with image stabilization on a DSLR you need to lay out far more cash for that lens. What you dont have on the S2 is an optical viewfinder so at times with low lite or really fast moving subjects I find it a bit hard to track movement. You also wont have the range of ISO so you can shoot fast action in lower light without blur. Racetrack at night comes to mind.

The DSLR (which is relatively new to me) and my SLR's before it only came out when I wanted the utmost in quality, and the inconvieniece of lugging extra lenses and equipment was necessary. I think for what you want though, a prosumer would be of a better shoice to you. I think they have the features, price and performance you would need for everyday shots in one easy to carry package.

I have the S2 and love it. I have had no problems, love the range and IS, love the movie mode (you dont need it) but its great to have. Little video clips and you can snap photos at the same time. Very cool when you make DVD's to give to the relatives. The manual focus is not so hot (works, but certainly not as accurate as SLR focus ring and viewfinder)

If you want manual zoom and focus, then the panasonics (FZ30) seem like they will do the job for you.


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Old Oct 21, 2005, 11:30 AM   #5
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Helpful replies and some more information

The budget would allow up to $1,200. Iwould prefer having:

Manual zooming

Hotshoe for Flash or decent internal flash

Ability to crop 50% of the photo andenlarge up to 8X10

Zoom range up to 100-120mm w/odistortion or purple fringing

& if possible a easy to use macro.

I do have prior experience with an old SLR, but the new digital cameras are like operating a computer at the same time. I know I will learn it, its just different. I like the idea of a Prosumer from having all the features at a reasonable price. I like the DSLR knowing it will provide the best opportunity for a good shot and future flexibility. Will a DSLRbe more future proof? Is IS important in the zoom range?

thanks again

PS - Can you add filters to a Prosumer w/o the use of an added adapter or hood?








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Old Oct 21, 2005, 12:31 PM   #6
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To my mind, being able to crop an image by 50% and then blow it up to 8x10 suggests at least an 8 Mpixel image. If you agree, then the prosumer options get few quickly. Add hot shoe and manual zoom, and you're pretty much talking about either the Panasonic FZ-30 or the Fuji s9000. Both of these cameras have a lot of noise in their images at higher ISOs. The FZ-30 has a fair amount of noise at low ISO. Whether either of them will do what you want is a question you'll have to address. Otherwise, a low-end dSLR that squeeks under your budget is your best hope -- but I think you'll be hard-pressed to get a decent set of lenses on one that can cover from macro to a reasonable zoom at that price point. Perhaps used or refurb could do it.

Among my many prejudices are that built-in flash is really only good for fill flash, so I opted just for the hot shoe option here. Also, to my mind, none of the cameras in this class have a problem of chromatic aberration at zooms as low as 100-125 mm.

BTW, if I am not mistaken, the FZ-30 filters screw onto the lens housing directly with no adapter. But there are many people here who actually own one that could tell you for sure. I don't have any idea about the situation with the 9000 in this regard.



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Old Oct 21, 2005, 1:37 PM   #7
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I think the KM Maxxum 5D might be the right choice for you then. With the kit lens (which is pretty decent) you get 18-70mm (36 - 140mm 35mm eq) range. Not to shabby for a walkabout. It has IS built in, so you dont need specific lenses with it, although in this range its not so important unless you are shooting handheld with longer exosures. Noise will by far beat the prosumers. It might not have all the megapixels you want (desire) I would rather get a longer zoom then crop 50%.

BTW, the Sd450 should have a focal range of ~30-100 as well. Are you sure this is all you want?
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