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Old Jul 23, 2006, 3:49 AM   #1
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My wife and I are practicing for retirement. Last year I picked up a Canon DS500 after a lot of thought. We have been to Alaska twice and once to the Mexican Rivera, and now I have quite a few stunning images. The 7MP image size is stunning, especially for landscapes and stitched panoramas. I will go with nothing less than this - it has been so wonderful to work with. The DS500 has really met all of my needs up to now. The go anywhere small size is just superb. The only thing I am disappointed with is the digital zoom (but that is understandable) – the optical zoom is wonderful.

However, we are planning a Scandinavian cruise next summer with stops in St. Petersburg with the Hermitage museum. This is probably a once in a lifetime cruise and I would like to upgrade my camera. Our 17 year old son will be going with us and I will give him the DS500 to use. I am considering a Canon ES 30D, EOS 350, ES20D, or ???. I have not started looking at Nikon, or any other brand yet, however have an open mind. The main focus is landscapes, panoramas and general inside shots.

I am willing to pick up additional lenses. I am figuring acquiring probably 2 lenses, in the area of a 20 – 80 mm Image Stabilized and a 70 to 300 mm Image Stabilized. I really do not want to carry a tripod.

Weight and size are important (the reason why I really love the DS500), but I really want some stunning images and realize that I need to probably step up to another camera. I would like something fairly automatic – I would like to enjoy the sights and take pictures and not have to concentrate on setting up the camera all the time. I have an old Pentex Spotmatic (SPII) that I have been using forever.

PS - The Navy sent me to a quick photography class (2 weeks) (35 years ago) for shooting ships at sea so I have a good understanding of the basics...

Your expert opinions are being sought!!!!
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 12:58 PM   #2
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interested-

There are a large number of folks who are moving from the point and shoot ranks to the DSLR camera ranks with the very same priority lists. I would venture the guess that you like your Canon SD-500 most for it fine point and shoot capability.

It is for that reason that almost every consumer level DSLR camera marketed today includes an "Auto" mode, as well as a selection of Scene Modes on theirconsumer level DSLR cameras. So making the transition fom your Canon SD-500 should really be quite easy to do.

The potential photo opportunities on a Baltic Capital cruise are endless. St Petersburg is a very special photo opportunity sit IMHO.My husband and Iteach Digital Camera Workshops on cruise ships and not only have we done that cruise many times, but we are doing it twice this year. Be sure to obtain a special photo license when you enter the Hermitage Museum, so that you are allowed to take photos. Peterhof Palace is another of our favorite photo sights in the St Petersburg area.

Both Sony and Pentax are providing built-in IS within the camera body of their newDSLR cameras. That means that every lens used on those DSLR cameras has IS. That saves youa good deal of money when you are purchasing lenses for your DSLR. You simply don't have to purchase much more expensive IS lenses, where the IS feature is imbedded in just one specific lens.

Both the Sony and the Pentax DSLR cameras also have another feature that is fairly unique, as well. The Sony Alpha DSLR cameras can use almost all of the older Minolta lenses on the used lens market, or those old Minolta lenses that some people still have from their Minolta film SLR cameras. The same is true for the Pentax DSLR cameras. The newest Pentax DSLR, the IS equipped Pentax K100DS, can use any older K-mount lens ever made. That means thatif you still have that Pentax Spotmatic, youcan use the lens from the Spotmatic on the new Pentax K100D DSLR camera. So with both the new Sony and Pentax DSLR cameras, you can still pick up great used lenses at bargain pricesthat will work, with IS,on your new Sony Alpha or Pentax K100D DSLR camera. The Pentax K100D camera is also going to be priced a whole lot cheaper than the Sony Alpha.

Take a good look at all of the consumer level DSLR cameras. They are priced right at the price levels for high end P&S cameras and offermany added advantagesfor a far larger and longer photographic future.

MT


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Old Jul 24, 2006, 3:29 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for your advice. I'm a systems engineer and have done a lot of work in image exploitation, orthorectification, and integrating it all together with Geographical Information Systems (GIS), so I am use to using a lot of pixels (the more the better). Your suggestion concerning having the image stabilization on the camera body makes a lot of sense to me. Also, pondering the situation a bit, it also makes a lot more sense putting the $$ in to better lenses than a camera body right now (getting more and better light to the sensor). Any of the dSLR camera bodies – be it Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentex, etc. will hold me for at least several years, so yes it is a question of selecting the right or best overall "system" for the perceived needs (which will probably change), but you have to start somewhere. So starting at the lower entry end, would seem to be the best approach here.

So I went over to a camera store today, had them pull the Pentex istDL (they did not have the DS or the 100D yet), the Canon Rebel XL and 20D (they did not have the 30D yet), and a couple Nikons. I just went from camera to camera, feeling them, the overall weight and balance, operation of the system, snapping pictures – etc. Maybe not the best selection method - but at least a start.

I found that I like the feel and balance of the Pentex the best. It's a bit smaller, but also a tad heaver (not much) than the Rebel XL (which felt a bit "plastic" and "light" for the size). I also liked the way that the Pentex zoomed and focused.

So right now, I am leaning towards the Pentex 100D with the image stabilization in the body with a couple of the best lenses I can afford. Effectively skimping initially on the body but with all the basic features (i.e., with IS), with what appears to be a great entry price as compared to Canon, Nikon and the rest.

The one thing that does bother me is the 6MP of the Pentex line vs. more pixels with the Canon, Nikon, Sony and etc. The link http://www.dansdata.com/gz059.htm was very good about pixels in general – I have always been concerned with the image after it has been taken, not the actual imaging sensor, so the link helped a lot.

Reading the posts here, I'm again tempted to change my mind to a single zoom, and 2 fixed focal length lenses. The posts have gotten me thinking that with some of the cheaper lenses, I can easily experiment with what really works initially and then possibly around the first quarter next year choose the ones that I actually want to take and pick up a better quality of the type that works best for me.

My wife has already booked the "Red October" 2 day tour in St. Petersburg and we are expecting to have a wonderful time…. May I ask what cruise lines you provide your classes for? And many Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old Jul 24, 2006, 12:29 PM   #4
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As a Digital Camera Instructor who conducts a widevariety of lectures, including the currently very popular, "An Introduction to DSLR Cameras," I own and have used the Canon XT and 20D, The Nikon D-50 and D-70, the KM 5D and 7D, The Olympus E-300 and E-500, and the Pentax DS and DL. So, as a result I have some hands on experience and have developed some personal preferences along the way.

The difference in 6mp versus 8mp is actually a whole lot smaller than you might think. Yes, a difference will indeed become apparent when you make huge mural sized enlargements. However, most folks do not go that large on a regular basis.

Congratulations on making the trip to the camera store. Actually handling the different cameras is a very important step in the selection process. The selection of a systemthat has IS built into the DSLR body, is important to me as well. That make the Pentax K100D a good choice. It is a good starter system.

I have lectured for Princess, Norwegian, and Celebrity when making a port calls into St. Petersburg. We will once again be there aboard the NCL Norwegian Dream's 09/08/06 departure from Dover.

I have attached a photo taken at Catherine's Palace taken with a Pentax DS equipped with the Pentax 50-200mm lens.

MT

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Old Jul 24, 2006, 8:12 PM   #5
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Here is another photo for you. It was taken with my Pentax DS and the Pentax 50-200mm lens. It is the entrance gat at Peterhof Palace.

MT
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Old Jul 25, 2006, 3:39 PM   #6
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Wonderful images, thank you very much for posting them. Were the zoom lenses the Pentax that is offered with the body, or were they after market lenses? The more I consider the situation, the more I am drawn to the Pentax K100D - as I believe that it will hold me in good stead for quite some time (as an enthuastic armature). The Pentax lenses - especially the older ones are very reasonable - and I can start an inexpensive collection.

However, I do have a question. The Pentax K100D is 6 MP and I just saw that Pentax is showing a 10MP version that may be announced in the Fall. My timeframe is probably between now and November so I will have enough practice time for the trip in July 07 (plus more trips after that). Question -
  1. Buy the camera - the Pentax K100D in the near future.[/*]
  2. Buy the 10 MP camera on announcement - paying the new model premium.[/*]
  3. Wait till the 10MP camera is on the market and buy the Pentax K100D at a possible discount (I see I can pick up the Pentax K100D body with a 18 - 55 mm zoom and 50 - 200 mm zoom (both lenses are Pentex) for $885 at Henry's Photo - which is less than what I was expecting to pay).[/*]
Given the wide variety of Pentax lenses available, what would be the ones, all of you here, on the forum, would suggest (as an inventory) and then to actually carry on a trip (the primary 2 or 3). What Pentax older glass has proved to be the better lenses. What would be other worthwild makes to look for?

Thank you very much!!!
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Old Jul 25, 2006, 4:16 PM   #7
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There are a lot of questions within your post. Yes, I like my Pentax DS a lot. As you already know, my husband and I do a lot of traveling. Over the years, I have found the kit lens, which gives you a wide angle, and the Pentax 50-200mm lenses make the perfect traveling set of lenses that can be contained in a small non-descript camera bag.

Yes, I have a few more lenses at home, but that specific duo is perfect for traveling.

Yes, the K10D a 10+mp Pentax DSLR will be released, I would assume in time for the Christmas Market, and in as much as it is rumored to compete with the Nikon D-200 and the Canon 30D, it will cost considerably more than the K100D. Think of a price in the Nikon D-200 and Canon 30D range, but perhaps just below them..

I can do everything that I want to do with my 6mp Pentax DS, so I will not be rushing out to purchase the new K10D. Yes, I will follow with much interest the reviews on the K100D with the anti-shake feature, because, having used it with my KM 5D, I really think that it is a valuable feature.

In as much as you have described your upcoming 2007 Baltic Capitals cruise as "...the trip of a lifetime..."I would purchase the K100D soon so that you will get used to K100D and develop your skills with the new DSLR prior to your trip. If there is anything that I see all the time as I conduct workshops, is that people wait until the very last minute before their cruise to purchase that "dream" camera. As a result they arrive on board studying the camera's documentation, and trying to understand all of their new camera's features. As a result, the end up taking poor photos on a very important cruise.

Start with those two lenses, then once you have become acustomed to the K100D, and have shotseveral hundred shots, then and only then, based on your shooting preferences,give some consideration to other lenses. Personally, I feel thatbeyond the lenses I have referred to above, you don't need a lot more lenses. But you will know what is best for you.

Here is another Peterhof photo.

MT


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Old Jul 25, 2006, 6:46 PM   #8
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Your suggestions has helped a great deal in crystallizing what I am trying to do. I've had the SD500 nearly 2 years and have taken about 6,000 shots - a lot of them being 5 to 12 shot panoramic sets. What I did not want to do is wind up spending $5K to $10K for a body and several lenses. The suggestion of the in body stabilization solved that - and at a cost of about $600 which would be a tad more than a single stabilized lenses, the Pentax system solution appears to work for me very well – the optimal solution. That coupled with actually handling the camera and liking it's feel better than the Rebel and one of the Nikons, tells me I am on the right path.

In looking at the features of the body, it appears that the Pentax will keep me contained for quite a while - the mid to upper Canon and Nikon features would not be appreciated for a while.

I spoke to a gentleman at Henry's Camera (for quite a while on the phone) about the Pentax K100D set they have (body + 2 zoom lenses for $885). He anticipated that the 10MP would be pricier (as you suggested equal to a Canon 30D or Nikon D-200) and Pentax would probably hold the line on the K100D since it was just introduced. I think for me the wider capability of the K100D body, even with the 6MP would be more than sufficient for a few years - thus providing the entire system (body + 2 lenses) for less than a Canon 30D body only or equivalent. I would be attached (maybe not locked in) to the Pentax system - but I am not all that unhappy about it. 8X10 would be about the largest I would go, and for items larger I can compensate with software on the post processing side. Overall, I can't beat the initial total price and looking at prices of older lenses, am quite happy to go shopping in the used market as compared to Canon and Nikon. To me this would be a perfect entry to mid solution for a pretty reasonable price.

I was giving myself a couple of months of comparing, deciding, shopping and acquiring through fall, then from there practicing and experimenting for 6 to 8 months prior to leaving - unless my wife slips in a cruise next spring (however - I should be in good shape).

I am very glad you made the suggestions, as I had not considered Pentax as of yet and had not made the differentiation in image stabilization either. I think that this solution will be well beyond my current abilities and will be growing into it for quite a while.

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Old Jul 25, 2006, 10:10 PM   #9
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The very most importment element in the whole decision process it that you are happy with your decision and are looking foreard to it wil the expectation of having a lot of fun with the K100D camera. I like my Pentax DS and am seriously considering getting the K100D body myself.

(a) Because I believe that OIS is very effective after using my KM 5D for 6month.

(b) Because the Pentax K100D is price right and has moved ahead of the DS model

(c)Because I like the idea of 4 rechargeable NIH batteries, and a ready supply of used Pentax lenses. That make for a very economical entry into the DSLR market.

Here is another St Petersburg photo for you.

MT
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 12:27 PM   #10
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mtclimber wrote:
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Here is another photo for you. It was taken with my Pentax DS and the Pentax 50-200mm lens. It is the entrance gat at Peterhof Palace.

MT
How come exif shows Canon power shot G3?
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