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Do I Need an SLR?
I currently have a Fuji Finepix F20, and while it takes good quality snapshots, we would like a camera that takes great quality detailed pictures of my daughter as she grows up. I'm not sure if that means I'll need an SLR, but I'm not really looking to spend more than $500. What are some cameras that take great pictures under $500?..

Comments (16)

This might sound as a cliche, but it's actually true. The most important aspect of a camera is the 6 inches behind it. In other words, if the user knows what s/he is doing (not in the sense of being omniscient - nobody is - but in the sense of being willing to learn and develop) then any camera can help produce great pictures..

Of course, a DSLR is a much better tool, in the sense that it allows you to take pictures without limitations in lighting conditions, speed, etc. It makes your work easier, in a sense..

BUT (and this is a giant "BUT"), you must be willing to put some effort into it. If you expect to get a DSLR and start immediately making great pictures relying solely on the camera, you will be thoroughly disappointed. In DSLRs, photos "out-of-the-camera" are usually more flat, less contrasty, less saturated, less edgy overall. Well, not necessarily, but my point is that you must be able to tune the camera correctly before you start getting results..

So, my advice is: If you're willing to learn, a DSLR will be a whole new world for your photographic needs. If you don't have the time or you're simply interested in taking casual snapshots without much fuss, I'd say stick to a good quality point & shoot.

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Http://www.flickr.com/photos/96953368@N00/..

Comment #1

You probably don't need a DSLR, but a good choice for a compact one that takes great photos would be a Nikon D40 with the 18-55 kit lens. With the recent arrival of the D60, the D40 kits are being sold for as low as $400..

Here's Ken Rockwell's opinion:.

Http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm..

Comment #2

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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Comment #3

Dnamertz wrote:.

I currently have a Fuji Finepix F20, and while it takes good qualitysnapshots, we would like a camera that takes great quality detailedpictures of my daughter as she grows up. I'm not sure if that meansI'll need an SLR, but I'm not really looking to spend more than $500.What are some cameras that take great pictures under $500?.

Probably not.There are some fantastic P&S cameras out there producing great quality pics and they are only going to get better.I love my DSLR but I also love my P&S.Check out the top end Canons and FujisOne of them will fit your bill perfectly.PJT..

Comment #4

A DSLR has so many more features than a P&S. It opens the door to be creative and do things not possible with a P&S. If you don't expect to take photos that take advantge of these possibilities then the P&S will be more than sufficient...

Comment #5

I'm not sure if I need a DLSR, but I read that they are a step above for quality. I don't really know much about this, so it's possible that a high-end point-and-shoot camera might suit me fine..

Any opinions on the Canon S5 IS 8MP (for $329)? For that price, how does it compare to the Nikon D40, which I see for $479 with the 18-55 lens?..

Comment #6

Dnamertz wrote:.

Any opinions on the Canon S5 IS 8MP (for $329)? For that price, howdoes it compare to the Nikon D40, which I see for $479 with the 18-55lens?.

Both are fine cameras and both will take "good quality pictures of your daughter as she is growing up." But they do have different strengths and weaknesses..

The Nikon D40:- Costs more, and weighs more- Comes with a slower lens with less zoom (3X f/3.5)- Has 6MP of resolution- Lacks image stabilization (unless you buy more expensive lenses)- Has an optical viewfinder- Has a much more powerful flash- Can capture in RAW.

- Has a MUCH larger sensor, which means better quality photos in low light or at high ISO settings..

The Canon S5-IS:- Costs less, and weighs less- Has 8MP of resolution- Comes with a faster lens with more zoom (12X f/2.7)- Has built in Image Stabilization- Has a flip and twist LCD.

- Due to the smaller sensor will produce poor results at high ISO, or shooting in dim light.

You really need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each, and decide what suits your shooting needs best..

My own opinion is that the S5-IS is a first rate camera for most of what amateur photographers need. But it does have limitations..

The D40 is a better tool, but it has limitations too. It is pretty much a stripped down entry level DSLR, which cannot use legacy Nikon lenses. You need special "new DX lenses" for this camera. It lacks IS, and you have a pretty small zoom range unless you buy more lenses. The price sounds tempting, but I know if I bought one, within two weeks I would be wishing I had a D80 or D200..

If best image quality is your goal, then get the D40 and prepare to spend more money on at least one more lens. And when you factor that cost in, the D40 is no longer just $150 more.... it then becomes $300 dollars more. But, without a doubt, it will take better quality images than the S5-IS will..

If good quality pictures, and optimum convience is your goal, then get the S5-IS..

No matter what you do, three years from now you will be shopping for another camera. Because the technology moves very fast, and after three years of experience you will want something "better."Martyhttp://flickr.com/photos/7735239@N02/Panasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2.

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Comment #7

You only 'need' a DSLR if you are a perfectionist (dedicated to photography as a technical hobby), want to make very large prints or get a good chance of getting your work published..

The most important factor by FAR is having a camera that you will be happy to take with you at all times. The S5is would be a nice compromise. But what if a pocket camera is what you need?? (look at G9, Ixus870 etc).

Flash is another important issue as it can be so harsh and make truly horrible photos from a P&S. It is better if it pops up and much better still if you can mount a separate flash with bounce head on top of the camera when you need it for important portraits (Canon G9 or DSLRs). Using simple white reflectors with matural ambient light is another option with any camera..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #8

Hi,.

I'll go along with the rest of them but say look at something like a Pentax or Panasonic P&S..

As the others have said you can get great pictures from a dSLR but you have to work for them and a P&S can turn out pretty good to excellent pictures with far less effort. For children, being able to grab the camera and use it quickly is a big, big advantage. And ask a few people with dSLR's and P&S's which are used most....

DSLR's and film ones for that matter, tend to lead sheltered lives. Carefully put away with all the bits and pieces but a good P&S can be carried around in a shirt pocket and taken out and used almost anywhere and anytime. So you chances of getting more pictures are with the P&S. And that means children as they are around the house and so on, in a word: informal..

Hope this helps..

Regards, David..

Comment #9

Dnamertz wrote:.

I currently have a Fuji Finepix F20, and while it takes good qualitysnapshots, we would like a camera that takes great quality detailedpictures of my daughter as she grows up. I'm not sure if that meansI'll need an SLR, but I'm not really looking to spend more than $500.What are some cameras that take great pictures under $500?.

If you're satisfied now, then no. I think a some people want the latest and greatest without first having reached the ceiling on what they have. A relevant question to ask is this: Is your current camera limiting what you can do? Have you stretched your photography to where the only thing that will improve your images is a "better" camera. I have not used the model you have but I have a Tele-zoom (point and shoot) Canon (with Image Stabilization) that has enabled me to make some pretty nice images even some better SLR images taken by another photographer under the same lighting conditions (at the same time). I also have a digital SLR (a fairly nice one) and there are images that I could not get with the P&S. I would spend time learning exposure, shooting in modes (other than Program) with your current camera.

Then you'll answer your own question.....Good Luck..

Comment #10

Philmar wrote:.

A DSLR has so many more features than a P&S. It opens the door to becreative and do things not possible with a P&S. If you don't expectto take photos that take advantge of these possibilities then the P&Swill be more than sufficient..

What features does a DSLR have that a high end P and S such as an fz50 does not?..

Comment #11

Dnamertz wrote:.

I'm not sure if I need a DLSR, but I read that they are a step abovefor quality. I don't really know much about this, so it's possiblethat a high-end point-and-shoot camera might suit me fine..

Any opinions on the Canon S5 IS 8MP (for $329)? For that price, howdoes it compare to the Nikon D40, which I see for $479 with the 18-55lens?.

The S5 is cheaper, lighter, less bulky, is less demanding to learn, and has a broad zoom range unless you are willing to spend even more money than just what it costs for the basic D40, and has a nice bright LCD that can be used from just about any angle (get the S5 over the S3 simply for the LCD - the extra two megapixels are meaningless)..

On the flip side, it is less versatile, performs far worse in low light, zooms slow, zooms less precisely, is incapable of manual focus, focus slower, doesn't focus as reliably, suffers from shutter lag. Basically, the performance can fall off steeply the more your subject is moving, or if in poor light. You'll really need to use the flash in poor light..

Having used an S3 extensively on loan, I was happy with it in outdoor shots in good light, but the fact that I bought a D40x should tell you my ultimate opinion. But I started with SLR film camera quite a while ago, and am familiar with photoshop elements and don't have a problem tweaking pictures, so the extra effort wasn't a barrier for me. The S5's weakness in low light, and slow responses (I'll be at the Long Beach Grand Prix this weekend) were killers for me, but these may not be problems for you. Hope this helped..

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Comment #12

The difference between a "snapshot" and something else isn't the camera that's used. I have 8x12 prints made five years ago and the quality is fine. How many people want a 11x14 or 16x20 print of a picture they've taken..

Patrick T. KellyOaxaca, Mexico..

Comment #13

For about $500, the Canon Powershot G9 will give you most of the control you get with an SLR, along with fantastic image quality..

You're more likely to get great images straight out of this camera than you would with a DSLR unless you really know what you're doing..

This sample image below can be found on Canon's site, and was obviously taken by someone who knew what they were doing. I'm sure you'll find that if it can take an image like that one, it'll probably give you good shots of your daughter. And it's durable enough to last a few years!.

Http://www.usa.canon.com/...ages/PowerShot_2007/PS_G9/samples/sampleimg_1.JPG.

Amy..

Comment #14

Looks like you have a nice CCD on the camera you have now. 1/1.7 and 6 mp. I would look into a camera that has a bit bigger lens and more zoom. There are a number of them out there BUT most have smaller CCDs and more MP hence maybe more noise..

So if you want to say in the Fuji line then check out the camera database on this site and go from there..

For myself I wating for an Panasonic FZ30 and see what I can do with that and with luck and a few more years I hope to move onto the DSLRs..

Good luck with your search...

Comment #15

No one needs an SLR! It just makes some things easier, that's all. If you doubt you'll ever want to do those things - fugedaboutit.STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.

Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..http://www.photo.net/photos/GlenBarrington..

Comment #16

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