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Old Jan 2, 2006, 12:53 PM   #1
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OK, now that I have read way to many reviews and discussions, I have no idea where to go. I currently own a Fuji 602 zoom and I hate the indoor pictures it takes. I am trying to decide if I shouldjust make the investment and buy a good dSLR like the Rebel XT, purchase a good lens (and learn about the whole "f stop this and f stop that???)(which I don't mind by the way), or just get a good point and shoot. I don't know that I really want to be changing lens all the time. Can you buy one good lens to getboth indoor and outdoor pictures, or would I need two lens? I guess I would need to learn about that as well...

I have also been considering the Canon Powershot G6 and the Canon S2 IS. But then that opens a whole new can of worms as well. Do you go with more MP or the higher optical zoom???I will be taking pictures of my kids during baseketball games, soccer, karate and dance performances...(I have yet to get a good indoor/low-light picture, so I seem to be morefocused onthat right now). My outdoor pictures turn out great, although I would like to get a bit closer. Dose that bring me back to the dSLR, higher MP or a 12X zoom???? I'M SO CONFUSED!! :?

I would like this to be a camera that I can use for a very long time. Can anyone shed any light for me?

Thanks!


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Old Jan 2, 2006, 1:11 PM   #2
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How much money do you want to spend? If you get a DSLR and you want lenses that work well in dim light, you will be spending a lot, more than twice as much as the non-dslr ultra zooms.

That said, here are my recommendations:

DSLR - Konica Minolta 5D - you can get this camera with a kit lens for less than $700 online. It has image stabilization built into the camera body. It has pretty good picture quality as higher ISO's.

I think many others will recommend the Canon Digital Rebel XT and Nikon D50 or D70s. The latest Olympus Evolt 500 is a good camera but maybe not quite so good in lowlight. I have the Pentax *ist DS, which was replaced by the *ist DL and *ist DS2. They use regular ol' AA batteries and produce pretty good pictures.

Non-DSLR - Panasonic F20 or F30. The former has a 12X optical zoom stabilized with 5 megapixels, capable of low F-stops throughout the entire zoom range. The latter has 8 megapixel resolution, with image stabilization, and an option of RAW pictures, for slightly higher picture quality. The knock on the Panasonic ultra zooms is that they are not so good in dim light.

I have a Fuji S5200, 5 megapixels, 10X optical zoom, unstabilized. Its sensor does better than most of its non-DSLR rivals in low light.

But the question you have to ask at the start is how much you can afford. Some of the entry level DSLR's are approaching $600 online, but almost everybody who gets one seems to end up spending a lot more buying new lenses.
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Old Jan 2, 2006, 1:45 PM   #3
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That is a very good suggestion from robbo I concur.
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Old Jan 2, 2006, 1:50 PM   #4
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Robbo's post is excellent. When approaching the decision to purchase a dSLR camera, your budgeted amount is a key issue. Naturally, sophisticated non-dSLR cameras (which are sometimes referred to as "cross-over" cameras) have to be also considered.

In your low light shooting environments, is there a possibility that you can use flash? I ask that question because with the addition of a slave flash any camera can reach out to 40 to 50 feet when required.

Of the non-dSLR cameras that Robbo mentioned (the Panasonic FZ-30 and the Fuji S-5200), let me add a note. I have shotmany stage and concert photos in the last five years, and the Panasonic FZ series cameras are just not up to the demands. I have owned, used, and sold three of them. Personally, I have had only moderate sucess with the Fuji S-5200, better sucess with the Fuji S-9000, and the best sucess with my Pentax 1st DS.The difference between the Fuji S-9000 and the Pentax 1st DS is about $130, but to get the telephone lens that you seem to desire for the Pentax DS, you are going to have to spendanother $250 to $400, based on your lens choice. Verifying Robbo's contention that a dSLR represents a greater investment.

With those details done let's take a look at photo results. I will attach to this post a sample Fuji S-9000 photo. It is a concert photo that was taken, without flash,handheld at full (10.3X) optical zoom and the ISO set to 1600. I was about 60 feet away when I took the photo.

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Old Jan 2, 2006, 1:56 PM   #5
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FutbolMom-

This sample photo was taken with a Pentax 1st DS. It was taken using a Sigma 70-300 lens. It was taken without flash, using ISO 3200 from around 80 feet away.

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Old Jan 2, 2006, 2:00 PM   #6
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FutbolMom-

Here is another photo taken with a Canon 20D. Again, no flash, handheld, ISO 1600, and I was about 40 to 45 feet away.

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Old Jan 2, 2006, 2:05 PM   #7
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FutbolMom-

Here is another non-dSLR example photo. This one was taken with an Olympus C-8080 from about 25 to 30 feet. This time a slave flash was used, the ISO was set to ISO 400, the photo was shot handheld, at 5X optical zoom. This will give you an idea of what a slave flash can do.

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Old Jan 2, 2006, 2:12 PM   #8
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Many thanks - I know I didn't ask the question originally, but that confirms my reasoning was good as to why I want to buy a DSLR - composition aside, the difference between the DSLR images and DigiCam images speak for themselves.
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Old Jan 2, 2006, 2:52 PM   #9
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Mt, those all were great pictures. Thank you. I know for most of my low light shots, I probably wouldn't be any farther than about 30' at the most. If I choose to go with a camera that will need a lens, I understand that I want to purchase a quality lens. What type (or range???) do I need? I know for low light I need a low f stop, and it appears that some lens do that, and some don't??? If I find the right "low-light" lens, can I still use it outdoors for say soccer shots?

As for my budget, right now I'm thinking $600ish. (I know my husband would want that to be lower, but I'm at the point where I don't want to have to do this again for a long, long time!!)

A quick question regarding higher MP as compared to a larger optical zoom...which is the better choice? I need to be prepared if my husband apsolutly puts down his foot on the whole camera investment thing)...that's a wife, covering every angel and having the info to back it up. I would on a rare occasion want to have a few 8 X 10's, but most pictures would be 5 X 7.

Thank you for your patience and knowledge. This really helps to have someone to talk to that isn't trying to push what they have in their store!

Oh, and a flash is definitly ok.

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Old Jan 2, 2006, 3:40 PM   #10
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FutbolMom-

If flash is possible, that willmake our camera choice much more flexible and LESS expensive. Based on what I have heard thus far, you could feasibily use a Fuji S-5200 perhaps, which would keep your camera cost below $(US) 300. However to that you would have to add an accessory bracket, and aslave flash costing $(US) 35 to $50 in order to get your flash range out to 25 to 40 feet.

The Fuji S-5200 is a 5mp camera with a 10X optical zoom and it should do the job quite nicely, while producing quality prints up to 8" X 10", providing the image is not cropped too much.

Please understand that higher mp are NOT related to optical zoom. Higher mp allow you to make larger enlargements, such as the 8" X 10" print that I just mentioned coming from a 5mp camera, such as the Fuji S-5200,providing there is not too much cropping when making the print.

As I understand the circumstances, a Fuji S-5200 equipped with the suggested slave flash would look like the attached photo. Keep in mind that everything here is predicated on you being able to use flash. The setup you see will cost around $(US) 350. How do that sound?

I will do some test photos this afternoon with my Fuji S-5200, so I can provide you with sample photos at 25 to 40 feet. That way you will be able to see what that set-up can really do.

MT


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