Considering move to DSLR's some basic questions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mojohanna, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. mojohanna macrumors 6502a

    mojohanna

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Cleveland
    #1
    Hi all. I did some searching on these topics and I am still at a loss as to which direction I should consider. I thought it might be a good idea to let you know how I would use a DSLR. Maybe there is a "perfect" camera out there for my situation.

    I currently have a nice little P&S from Canon, the PowerShot SD400. It takes nice pictures, but last fall in Hawaii, my wife and I discovered is limitations. Although great for everyday use, it does not handle scenery well (distances with the digital zoom) nor does it really capture motion that well.

    We are planning a trip to Europe in Sept. Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna. I would like to get something for that trip and beyond. Not withstanding the obvious needs for this trip, I also have two kids, 7 and 4 who are getting more and more in to things like soccer, baseball, dance etc.

    Here are my basic wants:
    1. Simple use, similar to point and shoot, but with the ability to easily adjust to more complex modes for the action shots of sports dance etc.

    2. something with rechargeable battery as I prefer to not carry around a bunch of additional batteries.

    3. I would prefer something that uses SD media as I could then use it interchangeably with my P&S Canon.

    4. built in flash (at this point in time, I don't think I will have the need for a separate flash)

    5. I have read some about lenses. I would like something that I can get a normal lens (I think they are normally 18-25mm or so) and a decent telephoto lens (unless you have suggestions for something better) Also, I have read that cameras such as the D40x use lenses with motors in them which will speed up the AF time. I don't know that this is a must for a beginner or just an added expense that is better saved or spent elsewhere.

    6. How much do the MP make a difference (other than the obvious)? My P&S is 5mp. Am I going to notice a big difference between 5 and 10? Is it worth spending the additional $$ for a greater number of pixels? Most likely, the largest we would print a photo is 8x10.

    I would like to stay in the $500 -$600 range. I have been keeping my eye on the Rebel series and I have heard a lot of good things about the D40 from Nikon.

    I really appreciate the help. Cameras to me have always been about something that you can toss in your pocket and go. I have never really put that much thought into it beyond that.
     
  2. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

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    #2
  3. mojohanna thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mojohanna

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    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Cleveland
    #3
    I am ok with not taking movies. I have a separate video camera for that.

    Although the camera is an SLR style camera, it does not seem to have the interchangeable lenses. I am really trying to avoid digital zoom. I think it makes pictures look too grainy.
     
  4. maxi macrumors regular

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    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    #4
    This Nikon D40 w/ 18-55 and this 55-200 VR lens
    Will give you a very decent combo for exactly $700 bucks.

    Once you get the hang for photography you can invest in faster, sturdier and more expensive lenses.
     
  5. mojohanna thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mojohanna

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    #5
  6. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

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    Mar 6, 2007
    #6
    This Canon has a 12 X Optical zoom to give crystal clear pictures. There is also a 4 X digital zoom to increase the total zoom to 48 X. You can buy a telephoto multiplier lens to attach to the camera's lens to increase the optical zoom.

    I have a SLR film camera, but found it to be very frustrating to lug around all the extra lenses. Then I missed a lot of good photo opportunities because I did not have the correct lens installed.
     
  7. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    #7
    Stay away from them. Check out resellerratings.com if you have any doubts. Buy only from reputable sources, Amazon, Ritz Camera, B&H Photo Video, etc.

    As for the Canon S5 IS, I'm not sure how to advise you. For an all-in-one superzoom, they're decent. I had a Sony DSC-H1, which was a similar kind of camera. I loved it, but once I moved to a DSLR (a D40x) I never looked back. The photo quality from the D40 is amazing, and it's just all around easier to use, nicer to handle, and has much better quality.

    I definitely advise going with the D40 with the kit lens, and the 55-200VR. I don't think you can go wrong with that combo.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #8
    I think, for what you want to do, the kit lenses (on the Nikon, Canon, or any other brand of camera) will do well for you. You won't have quite the zoom range you had with the point and shoot; but you've already discovered the quality trade-offs with that setup.

    One advantage of dSLRs is their significantly larger sensor (as compared to a point and shoot) - you will tend to get better photos, especially indoors, just based on that.

    Lenses with motors in them are indeed faster than relying on your camera body's screw drive. Pretty much all of Canon and Nikon's newer lenses incorporate in-lens motors.

    Let me echo what epicwelshman said - only buy from reputable sellers. Cameras aren't cheap, and there are a lot of scam dealers out there trying to take advantage of people who want to save a few bucks. B&H Photo, Adorama, Beach Camera are all good (and all will have pretty much the lowest legit price on the gear you want). Your local stores can also be a good bet, because if something goes wrong you know where to find them. :p
     
  9. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #9
    A 5MP dSLR would take much better photos than your 5MP P&S. What matters the most is the size of the image sensor. Now, between dSLR cameras, for example, the D40 (6MP) and the D40x (10MP), the D40x would give you larger print size. But for your needs I think the D40 is excellent.

    Well, dSLR cameras are not small, and you would find yourself carrying a relatively big bag to carry your camera and extra lenses, but the D40 is so light that you won't really notice it that much.
    I have a D40x, and I take it easily everywhere I go.:)


    Just one more thing, go to a store and try the cameras. There is the Nikon D40/D40x, the Canon Rebel XTi, and the Pentax K100. At least those are the ones I would recommend. And see hou you like them, then buy the one you like the most.
     
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    But will never give you as good of photos as a DSLR can.

    Who buys an SLR to make movies?

    Still can't compete with a DSLR. Sensors are too small, and digital zoom is irrelevant, since it can be done in pp - and with better results with an image from a DSLR.

    Missed shots because of the wrong lens isn't the fault of the camera, it's the fault of the photographer.
     
  11. Airforce macrumors 6502a

    Airforce

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    Jan 12, 2006
    #11
    My E410 is plenty small. It's not an elf, but small enough :D

    If size matters to you, check out the Olympus E410. It's a great DSLR :)
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #12
    To play devil's advocate, I wouldn't let the SD cards sway you too much away from CF card cameras. Cards are pretty cheap. I recently got 2 SanDisk Ultra II 2GB CF cards for like $30.

    That said, the Nikon D40 is a nice camera. I'd definitely try to go to a store and see what feels right to you between the main offerings (Nikon D40, Canon XTi, Pentax K100, Olympus whatever, Sony A100). I'd also wait a week or two to see what comes out at this month's big photo expo.

    dpreview.com is a great place for camera reviews too. I'd read through each of the reviews of the cameras you're considering. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and are all really good cameras. Once you've done that, start weighing what's important to you. The Pentax K100, for example, uses AA batteries, which you said you didn't like. But, it has in-camera image stabilization, which you may decide you like more than Canon / Nikon's approach of lens-based image stabilization. And so on and so on. The basic arguments seem to be Canon has the best image quality, Nikon the best ergonomics, Pentax and Olympus best price, and Sony best dynamic range. Or something.
     
  13. KidneyPi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #13
    Sure it can. A decent photographer can take great pictures with a single use, throw away camera. I've taken great pictures with my Canon S70 that were better than many of the pictures from my Canon 20D. It doesn't matter what the camera is. What matters is how you use it. Sure, the 20D makes many things easier, so I prefer to use it more, but by moving around and tweaking settings, I can make great pictures with my P&S. Remember, the camera doesn't make the picture, it only records it. The photographer makes the picture.
     
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    Perhaps I should clarify for you: All things equal, a DSLR will give a better image than a P&S at equivalent mp. It's physics.
     
  15. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #15
    I just mentioned the movie info in case he does not know it.
    No question about the quality of DSLR.
    My 12 X optical gives very good results even without a tripod. The 4 X digital info I just gave for info, I seldom use it.
    Missed shots because of a wrong lens attached is because I cannot change to the appropriate lens quick enough each time the action dictates.
    I am not advocating using my current camera over a DSLR, rather I am pointing out how it differs from a DSLR.
     
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #16
    My 11x zoom does, too. But the image is recorded on a 22.5x15 mm sensor.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #17
    I have the 18-200 as well - but the OP did say he hoped to stay in the $500-600 range for the entire kit. :D
     
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    Yeah, it would take $800 to get a nice DSLR with an 18-200 stabilized lens.
     
  19. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #19
    I have traveled the world taking pictures, and my camera experience went full circle. I started with a 35mm Argus C3 with a flash attachment that used flash bulbs. Of course, there was a separate light meter. Then I bought a real nice German 35mm with a built in light meter. What an improvement! Then I drooled over the SLR camera display case. So I bought the SLR camera, 4 lenses, a strobe flash attachment and a huge gadget bag. I was really enjoying my SLR for a time. But the size and weight of the camera bag caused me to leave the camera at home most of the time. Ironically, I bought a very small 35mm camera with a built in light meter and Flash that fit in my pocket. Naturally, it went everywhere with me, and my SLR was relegated to dust catcher, and I have not used it since.

    When I was ready to substantially upgrade to my third digital camera, I strongly considered a DSLR. Then I remembered my original SLR experience, came back down to earth and bought the camera I have. Cave Man, do not take me wrong. I am not putting down DSLR cameras, I am only relating my experience.
     
  20. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Location:
    London
    #20
    I think most of us who have and use a DSLR also have a smaller P&S camera to take on occasions where the full-on kit is not desirable.

    I think your post showed off one of the largest changes from film to digital: back in the days of film SLRs and cheap-o P&S cameras all had the same sized imaging sensor: a 35mm piece of film. Nowadays in digital it's simply not the case: P&S cameras have ultra-tiny high noise sensors, SLRs larger, up to 35mm sized for a price.

    Ultimately if you need to take great pictures under certain conditions (low light, higher shutter speeds etc) then a P&S simply won't work. Otherwise a P&S will be fine.
     
  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #21
    No worries. There are advantages to each. My 35mm gear is collecting dust, too, not just my SLR bodies but also my 35mm P&S. I have an older digital P&S that's collecting dust. For me, the advantages of DSLRs far outweigh their detriments. OP will make his decision and I'm certain it'll be right for him, either way.
     
  22. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #22
    Get what you want for those special trips. Maybe not another chance. You could splurge on an expensive lens like the 18-200 VR and then sell it when you get back.

    A DSLR is going to be a lot nicer than a P&S in every way. 6 MP and a kit lens is just fine.

    You should check on whether the battery charger works where you are going and on storage ideas for downloading your many photos. You might want an extra battery and SD card(s).
     
  23. mojohanna thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mojohanna

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Cleveland
    #23
    Ok, I spent some time today at a local Ritz. Boy were they helpful. I appreciate all of your input. Here is what I learned and I think what I am shooting for.

    1. Canon Rebels tend to be more of a manual set up out of the box. Seem to be for somewhat more familiar or advanced users.

    2. Pentax is good, but the newest ones take AA batteries, and I don't really care to carry around extras or a set of rechargeables and an extra charger.

    3. Olympus is good, but slower than the Nikon and the Pentax.

    4. I was talking to the manager at Ritz and she did not even mention the Sony.

    I think I am leaning toward the D40x. Here are the reasons.
    1. Slightly faster than the D40 (3fps vs 2fps) Which would be better for action shots of the kids during their activities.
    2. 10mp. Although I was told that the 6mp would be fine for pictures as large as 16x20, I was told that if I did any cropping or zooming on the photo before printing, I would run in to a problem of not enough pixels and the photo quality would suffer.

    Here is the set up I am considering (slightly more than the budget, but I have some time to save up)

    D40X with 18-55 nikor
    55-200mm G Nikor
    Nikon bag with "gadgets"
    Nikon School DVD's (I guess these are a bit more in depth than the manuals)
    Lens filter(s)

    The cost without tax is around $750. And as others have said, from a reputable dealer. I think I am still going to shop around, but I would love to have some input from you all about the value of such a package.

    Thanks again everyone, you have been very helpful. If any of the information I received today is a bit off, by all means, please correct my thinking.
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #24
    This is a common misconception. Basically this argument assumes you're actually capturing 10MP worth of photo detail, which is more often than not a false assumption. Usually peoples' photos are limited by their technique rather than the number of pixels in the sensor.

    Also, a higher-res sensor means smaller photosites in the sensor, which means (all other things being equal) in a low-light situation it won't handle noise as well as a lower-res sensor.

    But in any case there's nothing wrong with the D40x, and it is a newer sensor than the D40 so the noise argument is somewhat ameliorated. I'd say go for it.

    Hopefully I'm not creating confusion here... ;)
     
  25. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #25
    :eek::eek:

    That's the most shocking thing I've read all day! ;)

    Not that there are really very many brick & mortar camera shops left, but Ritz/Kits is definitely the McDonald's/Radio Shack/Wal-Mart of the crowd. Mostly in malls, anymore, and carry a lot of overpriced, cheaply made "house" stuff. Typically most of the employees are not camera people, but retail types, so if you found a good one, keep that resource! Thankfully, most of their margin is on processing, so they may have exactly what you're looking for at a reasonable price, no worries. Just beware the upsell.
     

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