dSLR for beginners (Good AUTO Mode)

dingdongbubble

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Jun 1, 2007
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Hi

I want to know which dSLR cameras out of the following perform well in their auto mode:

1. Canon 350d
2. Canon 400d
3. Sony A100
4. Pentax K100d
5. Olympus E-500
6. Nikon D40

I dont want to move up to a dSLR if they cant even perform well when my family is using them. Because they dont want to fiddle around with the settings. They are happy with P/S cams but not me.

They think that with dSLRs you NEED to know the settings to operate it whereas the Nikon is advertising the D40 on its website with beginner P/S users using the D40 very well.

Are the dSLRs auto and scene modes equal or better than P/S cams? And will this problem be solved if I one uses RAW?

Thanks
 

66217

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Jan 30, 2006
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I am also in a similar position as you, and after reading reviews and user opinions, I have decided the Nikon D40 is a very nice camera at a very good price and worth buying it.

I recommend reading dpreview, there are some very good reviews there.

Now I am just waiting to save some money and buy it.:)
 

dingdongbubble

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Jun 1, 2007
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Well I have already checked out dpreview and numerous other sites. but the problem ehre is whether practically a dslr is better than a p/s for my family?

secondly i would recommend the pentax k100d over the d40.
 

walangij

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Mar 10, 2007
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I think that most of the bottom level DSLRs would do well. That said though, the Canon's seem to be more unfriendly in my experience in Auto, users usually get frustrated that it doesn't turn out like they wanted, but then they usually wise up and sharpen their abilities. From experience, Pentax DSLRs like the *st line and likely the K100D are very good. Some shots I've seen have been like :eek:? "from that kit lens and that camera" in auto? I've heard lots of good things about the D40 too.
 

bousozoku

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Jun 25, 2002
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I'd suggest you replace the E-500, since it's been discontinued, with the E-410 and the E-510. Also, there is a K100D Super that has image stabilisation built into it that would make a better choice.

The E-410 might be a good choice because its exposure controls are quite good, it's smaller and lighter than most, and it has Live View so you can work through the LCD on the back instead of the viewfinder, until you're comfortable with the viewfinder.
 

66217

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Jan 30, 2006
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Well I have already checked out dpreview and numerous other sites. but the problem ehre is whether practically a dslr is better than a p/s for my family?

secondly i would recommend the pentax k100d over the d40.
If you have the money to get a dslr, I would recommend getting one. They are much better cameras. And they aren't that hard to use.

I would suggest reading this review. Where they compare the Nikon D40 and the Pentax k100d.
 

dingdongbubble

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Jun 1, 2007
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Yes yes. I do want a dSLR but its my family. They feel that dSLRs are for pros and that they need to fiddle around with the settings unlike in a P/S. So can you tell me succinctly if a dSLR can perform comparably in auto or scene modes when the user does not want to change settings on his own and just wants to shoot.

It seems from your reply that Canon is not good at it. What about the others? I dont really like the D40 and prefer the K100d and as its price is quite low over here (AED 2200 = ~ USD 600 plus we dont have taxes also:D). The E-510 is out of my budget.:(

BTW when is k100d super releasing? It is $100 cheaper than the k100d (MSRP at release).
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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I shoot in RAW mode, so I don't know how output is like with JPEGs, but are Nikon cameras still made to favour underexposure when set to AUTO mode? Nikons tend to avoid overexposure like the plague.

Anyway, I'd choose a Nikon. If the flash pops up, it won't strobe like crazy, either. ;) I'm just mentioning this because my friend's Canon 350D does this, and his family wants him to turn that "feature" off when they use it with their friends. :eek:

Actually, maybe a Pentax K100D wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
 

M@lew

macrumors 68000
Nov 18, 2006
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Melbourne, Australia
If you think you'll only want your DSLR to use on Auto mode and never to change lenses etc. why not have a look at Pseudo-SLR's like the Canon S5? These are just as good for what you want to do and more "family friendly".
 

JFreak

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Jul 11, 2003
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It's all about the lens you choose.

Camera body is only a tool for capturing what the lens has got to offer. Buy a good lens first and then a matching body to go with it. For example; a Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM lens does not cost a fortune but is very good for portraits. And a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC is good overall lens if you only have one lens and really need to zoom.

Once you have decided what lens to buy, then think about the body. If you decide on Canon format (which I would recommend), then why not buying a 30D instead? It has metal body and will outlast anything in your list while not being very much more expensive.
 

ChrisA

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Jan 5, 2006
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Hi
Are the dSLRs auto and scene modes equal or better than P/S cams? And will this problem be solved if I one uses RAW?
s
Yes the meters in the SLR can be better then those in P&S cameras.

RAW mode is usfull if you want to do some extensive post processing to the image. For example if it is very under exposed or if you just like to change the image some how. Most people do not need to use RAW format

The main reason you buy an SLR is so that you can change the lens to have one the suits your needs. It's realy the lens that makes the image not the camera body. Shop for a set of lenses that you like then buy the body to fit.

The second thing that SLRs have over P&S is a physically larger image sensor. Not more pixels but bigger pixels. This means less noise and geater senitivity to light.

Add the two together and it makes a big difference in quality of the final image.
 

dingdongbubble

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Original poster
Jun 1, 2007
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Well thanks for your replies but I do know all that about lenses making a difference and all. My ultimate question is that are the meters in the mentioned dSLRs as good as those in P/S? Simply put, when my family shoots, can they expect results (from the meters) that are as good as those from P/S cams?

P/S are plagued by the problem of low shutter speeds while dSLRs are better. In a P/S the camera automatically chooses the right settings (aperture, SS etc) according to the setting. Most of the time they get it right but not always. Should I expect the dSLR to go crazy as well with the worst settings you can imagine?

I dont want to go for a S5 because of the price of a dSLR being equal or very very close.
 

dingdongbubble

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Jun 1, 2007
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So the wrong settings(shutter speed, aperture according to situation) thing will not be an issue?
 

Doylem

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Dec 30, 2006
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Hmmmm... wanting a DSLR to use primarily on 'Auto' is a bit like wanting a Ferrari to use for going down to the shops. You're not using the machine's full potential, and you'll be wondering why your pictures aren't quite as good as you want them to be. Just my two-pennorth... :)
 

dingdongbubble

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Jun 1, 2007
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OH my God. Well I in the sense ME is going to use the dSLR as how it should be used. I will be changing its settings and all that BUT what about my family? The d40 is said to be a P/S dSLR for people stepping up from a P/S. It is supposed to work very easily. The k100d has so many scene settings and it is also for people who are stepping up. Considering this do you think that a dSLR's meters on AUTO or in Scene mode will perform worse than a P/S?
 

bousozoku

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Jun 25, 2002
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So the wrong settings(shutter speed, aperture according to situation) thing will not be an issue?
Most people can just put it on the full program/auto setting and leave it there and get good results. Switching it to a certain scene mode will improve results.

I doubt you'll find a situation where the SLR won't do a better job than the point and shoot, unless someone is taking MySpace style photos with the camera in one hand.
 

dingdongbubble

macrumors 6502a
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Jun 1, 2007
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Alright so that relieves me off. I put it in Sports mode and in RAW and hand it over to my family members, and I should most probably expect settings better than a P/S. Right"?
 

JFreak

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Jul 11, 2003
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Simply put: If you use "auto" setting on a dSLR the results will be better than using "auto" setting on a P/S camera. Two strong reasons for this "guess" are:

1) even the crappiest dSLR kit lens is better than P/S lenses
2) dSLR has bigger image sensor --> less noisy images, always

So don't worry, the automatic setting of a dSLR will work just as automatically as point-and-shooters.
 

termina3

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2007
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Nikons tend to avoid overexposure like the plague.
My D70 is usually on -.7 or -1... so it's correctable, easy, but still a point of amusement.

To add to the actual discussion, I too would suggest the D40 because of my own Nikon bias. If Cannon DSLRs have a bad p/s record, then Nikon is the next step because of their professional expandability (which seems to cater to you, if not your family.)
 

annk

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Apr 18, 2004
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If you think you'll only want your DSLR to use on Auto mode and never to change lenses etc. why not have a look at Pseudo-SLR's like the Canon S5? These are just as good for what you want to do and more "family friendly".
Hmmmm... wanting a DSLR to use primarily on 'Auto' is a bit like wanting a Ferrari to use for going down to the shops. You're not using the machine's full potential, and you'll be wondering why your pictures aren't quite as good as you want them to be. Just my two-pennorth... :)
I recommend the Canon S2, S3 or S5. You have lots of the features of a low-end dSLR (like the Nikon D40 or Canon Rebel) but the convenience of a P and S.

Simply put: If you use "auto" setting on a dSLR the results will be better than using "auto" setting on a P/S camera. Two strong reasons for this "guess" are:

1) even the crappiest dSLR kit lens is better than P/S lenses
2) dSLR has bigger image sensor --> less noisy images, always

So don't worry, the automatic setting of a dSLR will work just as automatically as point-and-shooters.
I disagree about the lens - the kit lens sold with the Canon 350D or 400D is not as good as the lens on the S2 / S3 / S5 P and S cameras (or so I was told by a reputable camera store, who could've tried to sell me a more expensive system).

To sum up: A high-end P and S will most likely give you the freedom you want in a low-end dSLR, but won't scare off the rest of your family. I have both the S2 and the 350D, and there's really not much difference if you have the kit lens on the 350D. The S2 actually excels in certain areas, such as macro.