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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:50 AM   #1
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I have the Canon A520 and now I am looking to get something that I can use to take some nice creative shots (closeups, waterfalls, night time shots of valleys and such). At this time I am limiting myself to $500. Any ideas?



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Old Aug 6, 2006, 12:51 PM   #2
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I would think the A520 would be good at all of those things. I'm not sure you're going to do much better at that price, except that would would get 6 or 7 megapixels in current models instead of 4. That really only gives you the ability to take larger shots - but it is nice for cropping.


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Old Aug 6, 2006, 1:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

"I'm not sure you're going to do much better at that price"

Thats unfortunatelywhat I was thinking as well. Sure, I might get some extra features and a better zoom, but all and all, I really don't want to spend $500 and not see a huge diffence in image quality. And, as for right now I am happy with 4MP of resolution. So more MPs doesn't really appeal to me.

Is it possible to get a used Digital Rebel for the $500 range?
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 1:08 PM   #4
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Here is a refurbished Rebel for $499...

http://www.refurbdepot.com/productde...roduct_ID=3892
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 3:16 PM   #5
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BTW, the refurbished Rebel is advertised as including the Canon EF-S 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 zoom lens. What is the deal on this lens? Can it do close-ups? How many 'x' does 18-55mm equal? Is f3.5-5.6 a decent range?
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 3:32 PM   #6
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If you are interested in DSLRs have a look at the Pentax DSLRs too... keep an eye open for deals on older cameras.
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 6:46 PM   #7
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Actually, the A520 is rather poor in low-light situations without a flash. Many compacts are now actually better than the A520, especially when you give yourself a generous budget of $500. The Fuji F30 is the current king of p&s low-light photography, though it's outdoor pics slightly trail the latest from Canon, Casio and Sony.

SelrahCharleS is giving some great advice - there are many happy Pentax DSLR users out there, and I've seen the Pentax *ist DSLR advertised for <$500 after rebate.

Within the next 2 months, Fuji and possibly Canon will be introducing new <$500 models. Canon's due for a refresh of the Powershot A-series.

I have a Canon A620, and it takes noticeably better pics than my mom's A520. Both cameras are less than good in low-light.

kenbalbari wrote:
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I would think the A520 would be good at all of those things. I'm not sure you're going to do much better at that price, except that would would get 6 or 7 megapixels in current models instead of 4. That really only gives you the ability to take larger shots - but it is nice for cropping.

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:35 PM   #8
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The Sony H series cameras are giving good results with motion and in lower lighting.

Good luck shopping and look at the individual forum sections for each camera.

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:48 PM   #9
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"How many 'x' does 18-55mm equal? Is f3.5-5.6 a decent range?"

Contriver,

This indicates you know very little about the technical aspects of photography. Please don't take this as a "putdown". That isn't my intention. To me, it simply shows that you probably aren't ready to make the step to a DSLR. I would stick with the A520 a bit longer and invest a small amount in some books to learn the basics of photography. My favorite is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. It's not a dry, scholarly text but a very enjoyable read that makes it easy to understand how a camera works. Here are some things you can try with the A520. Closeups? An adapter and closeup lens is available from Canon for the A520. Waterfalls? Mount an ND filter on that same adapter to slow down the shutter speed and get that dreamy look. Night time shots? The slowest shutter speed on the A520 is 15 seconds. Even at night, you can let a lot of light into the camera in 15 seconds. Of course, you'll need a tripod for the things I've suggested. Yes, a DSLR will outperform a point-and-shoot; but it can be very frustrating, also, if you don't know how to get the best out of it. A professional photographer could pick up a disposable camera at the corner convenience store and beat anything I would do with a high-dollar DSLR. Master the A520 before you take the step to another level. You won't be depriving yourself.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 4:18 AM   #10
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I think that's some good advice from lucky, even if he didn't answer the question. There is an entire forum here though , for questions specifially about Cannon lenses:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_forum.php?id=65
And one here for more general beginning photography help:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_forum.php?id=9

There's also a nice search feature, so you can search on "lenses", for example, in one of those forums and find alot of information there.

Quote:
Canon EF-S 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 zoom lens. What is the deal on this lens?
Kit lense. It's on the inexpensive end of things as these go, but it's a good place to start.

Quote:
Can it do close-ups?
Well, one way to do a close up is to move the camera close. It can do that. But it's really not a telephoto lense.

Quote:
How many 'x' does 18-55mm equal?
Well it's a 3x zoom range (55/18 ) - but it's partly a wide angle lense. I believe normal magnification is 50mm on a 35mm camera. This is a 27mm-82mm equivalent (about), so it's maximum magnification is only about 1.6x.
Quote:
Is f3.5-5.6 a decent range?
It's not particularly good. You'd be better off with something that can at least go down to 2.8. But that limited range seems pretty typical of these kit lenses.

Quote:
Actually, the A520 is rather poor in low-light situations without a flash. Many compacts are now actually better than the A520, especially when you give yourself a generous budget of $500.
A fair point from FG. The newer models do have newer sensors, and have made some improvements in image quality. And there has been improvement particularly in reduced noise at higher ISOs, and many models in that range now have optical image stabilization as well.

But I don't know that you really need much of that for "closeups, waterfalls, night time shots of valleys and such". The 520 was only introduced 16 months ago; it's not that badly out of date. And it does take nice pictures. Plus it has the manual controls you need to do most of those creative things. It's an ideal camera to learn the skills you need to get something out of that dSLR which you can save up for instead of upgradeing your compact every year.

For real close closeups, it has a decent macro mode. For waterfalls, you can set it on a tripod and experiment with longer exposures blurring the water. For night time shots of valleys, you can shoot in a low ISO, you just need a tripod (and you'd have to disable the IS if you had it), and use longer exposure times.

If you're looking for something smaller and more convenient that can more easily slip into a pocket, or something better for taking indoor shots, or something with a bigger zoom, or something which takes better movies, or something with a bigger brighter LCD, I might give a different answer.

But for the uses described the A520 is pretty good. You could always upgrade to an A540, an A620, or an A700. But the next major step up, when the 520 isn't enough, is really a dSLR like the Rebel or a Nikon D50. The D50 isn't much more than $500 either, by the way.

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