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Making the jump: pocket vs. prosumer vs. dSLR (1 Viewer)

Dave_vega

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I just thought i'd post here again and let everyone know that I just bought a sony dsc-f717 prosumer..I just really enjoy the camera so I made the plunge and bought it today..I will get it in 2 days, so expect some pics then.. ;)
 

Aaron Silverman

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DPReview.com just announced the new Panasonic FZ20, the 5-MP successor to the FZ10. 12x zoom, IS. . .I may have to give this one a serious look! Hopefully it'll be out in time for the HTF meet in September. And hopefully it'll be priced reasonably. And hopefully it'll clear up some of the issues with the FZ10.
 

Aaron Silverman

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Now I don't remember what they were. I think it may have had some purple fringing problems, among other things.

At any rate, thanks to everyone who chimed in with tips! I finally went for the FZ20 (it came out *just* in time for next week's HTF meet!), which arrived yesterday. It's a bit bulkier than I expected, but to be honest, coming from using a regular SLR, I love how solid it feels in my hands compared to the tiny point-and-shoots. I only took a few shots last night, but they look good so far. The menus are fairly intuitive and easy to navigate, and there are tons of options to play with. The manual focus ring on the lens is pretty cool, although I haven't really played with it yet.

One interesting surprise is that the 12x zoom is entirely internal to the lens -- when zooming, no movement of parts is visible outside the camera body! (If you look directly into the lens, though, you can see the elements moving.)

Oh, and I got a new Dell about a month ago through their Outlet, just like when I bought my laptop a few years ago. When they get those sales going at the Outlet, they can't be beat! I got a P4 3 GHz with HT and 800 MHz FSB, 512 MB of RAM, 160 GB HD, 128 MB GeForce 5200 video card, dual DVD-ROM and DVD-RW drives, XP Home and Works Suite 2004 for just over $800. Unfortunately, my Paint Shop Pro disc is at my parents' house, which is 1200 miles away. . .

Thankfully, the IRS recently realized that it owed me a goodly sum of money from 2002, so I was able to pay for all this stuff. :)
 

Seth Paxton

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Aaron, I just noticed you altered your name area to include "average". Good stuff.


Okay, I have another "which should I pick question". I'm looking to upgrade from my Kodak P&S 3MP. What I want is better image quality (seems to be a lot of chromo noise in the Kodaks I've used, comparing to something like Macvica I had for awhile). I also want a greater zoom (like 8-10x) and quicker pickup.


I'm still a newbie to cameras really as I was never a big film camera person. My dad was so I was exposed to it a bit, but not enough to grasp all the issues at this point.


So I'm getting more serious about picking between something like the Digital Rebel for around $950 and maybe a Nikon Coolpix 5700 for around $800. Anything in the $800-1000 is acceptable if it represents a really solid choice that an amateur looking to spend more time taking photos but not looking to push anywhere near semi-pro kind of efforts could be happy with.


Will a newbie be too lost with a DSLR? Will a DSLR allow me to get those great Pacers photos, indoor photos, and other troublesome shots that my Kodak leaves me unsatisfied with? Or would the convenience of the built-in lens and P&S attitude make any small improvement I would experience in going to a DSLR not really worth the jump?
 

ManW_TheUncool

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A little of both. :D Did you at least read this whole thread -- not really that long -- to get a better idea first?

You won't necessarily get lost w/ a DSLR, *but* it'll cost yah if you're serious about some of the things you want to do. Just buying the D-Rebel kit won't cut it. If that's your thinking, then you're best off getting a $500-600 5-6MP prosumer cam that offers image stabilization w/ decent zoom range and add a good external flash to help out the indoor/low light shooting -- and forget about fast performance or shooting the Pacers games.

_Man_
 

Seth Paxton

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Well one problem I guy like me runs into in a thread like this is that I'm not coming from a knowledge of film cameras, their lenses, f-Stops, etc.

So when people compare them to what a D-SLR or P&S will do its hard to know if that's good, bad or whatever.


I see that Aaron was just asking about the 5700 himself a few months ago but apparently didn't buy it. I wished I'd realized he was such a camera guy when we were in LA because I would have pestered the hell out of him about it. :)

So a D-SLR will get me reduced optical pickup noise that makes me nuts and a much quicker "instant" photo rather than a delay.

And for that benefit I will pay in price, carrying lenses (and their cost), and size.

What about simplicity? Can I slap a lens on a D-SLR and still sort of point and shoot, or will I be setting most of my stuff manually and hand-focusing? And if that's true is it really tricky or am I over-worrying about it (I take it Man that you are saying I am)?


As I said, I need a greater zoom but some P&S take care of that. Image size is not a problem and I'm more than happy in the 4-5 MP range. Again, not a factor.

Being in Indy I like to take photos of Pacers and the various races, and my results are mixed so far. I could punt on that issue but I really don't want to. Sounds like I don't get rid of delay till I go to D-SLR.


How many lenses do you guys take in a "small" bag, when you are shooting on the go and want to keep it simple(r)? I'd like to get an idea of what total package I'm looking at if I go D-SLR, cost and carrying bulk.

Right now I'd probably buy redundent lenses since I don't know any better. :)
 

Citizen87645

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Seth, if I'd known you were curious about cameras I would have offered some unsolicited info :)

As far as what I bring in my small bag, on the HTF trip I just took the D-Rebel camera body and the kit zoom lens (about a 35mm to 90mm in full size 35mm terms) and of course my battery charger. There were times when I was wishing I had brought my other lens and external flash, but I didn't want to carry that much for the vacation-type shots I figured I would be taking. For the last few years I've also been favoring the wide and medium telephoto ranges because it forces me to physically move close to the subject rather than "hide" behind a telephoto lens.

The D-Rebel will certainly support a point and shoot style if you want to use it that way. The nice thing is you can go to the total opposite end if you so desire.

Also, if you're going to do sports and fast action, the delay found on the majority of P/S models will frustrate the hell out of you. The delay can be bad enough just in terms of trying to capture good facial expressions. I imagine there have been some strides in the area, but for me going SLR was the best all around option.
 

Citizen87645

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As far as the "staple" accessories, I recommend covering the lens range from at least 35mm to 200mm and getting an external flash. There are zoom lenses that cover that range in themselves, which is convenient, but you usually give up a bit in the lens' widest aperture and maybe the optical quality. Kinda depends on the manufacturer and model (like most electronics).

Also, if you're shooting indoor basketball games you'll have to increase the ISO to at least 400 and more than likely top out at 1600. At 1600 you'll see noise - not horrible, but it's there.
 

Seth Paxton

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In films terms I love the flattened look of telephoto, and in terms of sports and vacation shots its nice just to get closer to the action. Sometimes the best angle for a shot is not from the closest point, unless you hop into a balloon.
smile.gif




The case for the Rebel is really strong, I'm reading about it at Steve's Digicams review site now and I've spoken to a friend who owns one. The thing about him is that he was a big film guy who does like to and has sold pix from time to time, so he was never of the P&S mindset.





The one thing about lenses is that the swapping process and really drag you down if something cool comes up. You definitely need to have a feel for a good shot.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Seth,

Check out the new Canon triple rebate and get the D-Rebel (for $300 off!). Posten posted a link to more info in another thread here:

[url=http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=214209]http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=214209[/url][Edit: Just realized the link was bad and fixed it for whoever cares. :D]

If I were you -- and you say you are willing to spend -- I'd probably get the D-Rebel kit + 85mm f/1.8 + 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L USM. That's ~$500 in rebates w/ maybe $2800 in upfront costs (+ whatever shipping/tax) for ~$2300 net (before tax/shipping). You could also skip the 85mm f/1.8 to shave ~$200 off the net costs, but it's definitely worth it for indoor action and such if you can zoom w/ your feet, eg. sidelines of high school basketball.

But you should know that you will likely add various accessories too, so be prepared to spend more than that.

If what I suggested is too much, you can also drop down to the 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM (no IS) and shave off another $400-500 (after rebates). The IS is not that necessary for shooting sports since your shutter speeds will need to be fast enough to keep up w/ the action anyway, which should be fast enough for handholding.

And then, for best results, you do also need a decent computer and do some postprocessing on the pics. But that's up to you of course.

BTW, I do try to keep my kit/bag small too, and for myself, I have no problems lugging my D70 kit everyday in a mid-size camera bag -- w/ essentially the same lenses I suggested for you. Of course, my co-workers do think I'm nuts. :D

_Man_
 

Thomas Newton

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quote:

In films terms I love the flattened look of telephoto, and in terms of sports and vacation shots its nice just to get closer to the action.



The "flattened look of telephoto" has nothing to do with high-magnification lenses per se. It is a matter of perspective, having to do with relative distances of objects from the camera. A foot makes a LOT more difference when the objects are 2 & 3 feet away than it does when they are 1000 & 1001 feet away.

If you take "wide-angle" and "telephoto" pictures of some far-away scene from the same vantage point ... then crop and enlarge the portion of the "wide-angle" picture that corresponds to the "telephoto" picture ... you'll see the same flattened perspective.
 

Sam Posten

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For someone considering the rebel as a first DSLR wouldnt the 70-200 f4/L be a better choice Man-Fai? That's 1/3 the price and still L.



Sam
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Sam,



The extra stop of the 70-200 f/2.8L would help for those Pacers games he wanted to shoot -- that seems to be the primary reason that's leading him to consider spending good $$$ for DSLR.

f/4 would probably be right at the threshold of what he needs and would definitely require pushing ISO1600. Also, the brighter lens will help w/ the AF. IIRC, the non-IS 70-200 f/2.8L would cost less than 2x the 70-200 f/4L. Of course, I guess he can also try the more affordable Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 also -- that's what I use on my D70, and it's quite popular w/ both Canon and Nikon shooters. But why go w/ Sigma when the Canon L lens is w/in reach after factoring the rebates?

_Man_
 

Sam Posten

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If you are going to spend $1500 on a lens tho you might as well spend the $1500 and get a 20d instead of the Rebel tho, especially if sports is your thing.... I'm not putting the Rebel down, its a hell of a camera and a steal now...



Sam

Who is perpetually 2 weeks away from ordering his 20d...
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Sam,

I was suggesting the non-IS version of that lens if he feels IS is not needed. The non-IS version is ~$1100 before rebates, not $1500.

Of course, it's debateable whether it makes sense to stick w/ D-Rebel when you spend so much on a lens. OTOH, your 20D will probably be worth less than any $1000 lens a couple years down the road too. The whole point of going w/ the D-Rebel right now is the great deal of course. With the rebates, it effectively costs less than 1/3 the price of the 20D. However, if he really can pony up *another* extra grand, well, sure, get the 20D.
biggrin.gif
But again, he could also go w/ the cheaper alternative in Sigma, which costs ~$700.

Hey, Seth. What kind of speakers can you hock for this new hobby?
smiley_wink.gif


FWIW, I never expected to spend big $$$ on cameras when I first got into the hobby w/ the Canon G3 either. And when I decided to go w/ a DSLR, I really didn't think I'd spend >$1K on a lens either, but now, I'm really tempted by the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR, which is equivalent to the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L.
biggrin.gif
And if I get it, it will be my first time breaking the cardinal rule of not spending more on an add-on item than the main equipment. Of course, I guess one can always rationalize that the DSLR body is actually the add-on while the lenses are the main gear. Certainly, when you put a piece of glass like an f/2.8 telezoom on a prosumer body, the body does feel more like the add-on than the glass.
biggrin.gif


_Man_
 

Chris Tsutsui

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I have a Canon Digital Rebel I got for 800 shipped from Butterflyphoto.com



They also sell a memory card called "Digital Visions", and I got the high speed 512meg memory card for $140. What I found is that the Digital Visions memory card is identical in pretty much every way to the PQI brand memory card that costs $50. The speed is the same, loading/uploading same, I can't tell the difference... The only difference in appearance is that one has a PQI written on it while they both share the same yellow/dolphin graphic design which I thought was weird...



Anyways, what I guess I'm saying is don't waste your money on spending $150 on a high speed memory card, when it doesn't make that big of a difference. As long as the memory card works, I'd save some money and get the cheaper one.



As for my Canon D-SLR... The lens is ok for your average photos, but I'd say expect to spend about $1000 or so to get a really good lense for some versatility. Then again, compare the images from DSLR to Digicam and you'll see some obvious differences. Especially when you start playing with the ISO settings and noise comes into play.



When I get prints at places like Kinkos at 8x10" @ 300DPI, the images look as if I had developed 35mm prints myself in a dark room. The noise is similar and everything... That is what I think is the most significant factor when choosing between Digi SLR and Digicam.



Ideally, I would have wanted to get the Canon 10D or better, but the price was just too high. That would have to be the biggest weakness of D-SLR, along with the Size. It's a bit big as compared to digicams like the G5. ALthough, one thing I do like about it, is the simplicity when it's set to Auto mode. I can teach anyone how to use it in a few seconds. I'm sure this can be done with most digital cameras, but when the cameras can takes shots as fast as 2.5 frames per second in bursts of 4.. ppl can get carried away with the Rebel. hehe



Oh, with the flash on, and not set into "burst/sports mode", It can still take about 1 shot per second or maybe a bit faster. Though the more you take, the longer you'll have to wait for the buffer to work and the images to "preview".
 

Sam Posten

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Chris: I always recommend people check Rob Galbraiths site before buying any flash memory:



http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mu...ge.asp?cid=6007



It should be required reading before hitting the checkout lane =)



And totally understood Man-Fai. I'm in a similar situation to Aaron, I'd rank myself as a intermediate amateur who wants to have nice gear as I work on the skills to get better. The 20d is definitly what I'm looking at with a small selection of the lower end L's and hoping to trade up as time goes by to the ones with wider aperatures and IS.



The Rebel is an amazing bargain right now but I think that the vast majority of people who are considering Ls are going to want to either wait for the Rebels replacement to be announced (Rumor is early January, when triple rebates run out of course) or the 20d. It's easy to casually recommend a $1500 lens or glass to someone. =)



Of course cost is always a problem, which is why I've been saving up for a nice upgrade since the rebel was first announced. I'm soooo close right now, if I hadnt gone on the HTF california vacation it would be in my hands...
 

ManW_TheUncool

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So have we scared off Seth now?
biggrin.gif
Don't see him following up anymore.

The one thing about lenses is that the swapping process and really drag you down if something cool comes up. You definitely need to have a feel for a good shot.


About this concern, well, you need a feel for a good shot no matter what you get.
biggrin.gif
And while it does take longer to swap *good* lenses than just zooming a superzoom (whether an SLR superzoom or a digicam superzoom), once the right lens is on the body, it will typically work much faster than any digicam. And of course, you can still use a superzoom on the SLR too for less critical situations and/or demands -- that's what a "walkaround" zoom lens is good for.

One other thing. If you'd rather get a better camera, particularly for shooting sports/action, than saving the extra on the D-Rebel deal, then you should also give consideration to a Nikon D70. The D70 generally handles much better/faster than the D-Rebel and don't have some of the quirks that *will* hinder shooting sports/action among other things. It's not quite as good as the Canon 20D, but it is a good step up from the D-Rebel and essentially falls right in between the two in terms of pricing, features and speed. And if you want the very best telezoom either way, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR does cost a bit less than the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L nowadays. For the walkaround lens, you can go w/ either the very nice D70 kit lens ($300 when purchased w/ the body) or the popular Nikon 24-120 VR (~$500), if you prefer a longer walkaround w/ image stabilization built-in.

And oh, if you care about such things, Nikon does also offer 5-year warranties on lenses vs Canon's 1-year (even for their expensive L series lenses). FWIW, Sigma also offers 5-year nowadays. And both Nikon and Canon are running rebate deals although Nikon does not require buying multiple items to get the good rebate amounts -- and also seems to be running their rebates for more regularly than Canon.
_Man_
 

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