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DSLR I have read lots of threads - still need help to choose!!
In the past few months I have read many threads about entry level DSLR cameras. I have learned that all DSLR will take good pictures as long as I take the time to explore and learn how to use my camera. In film times I had a Minolta X700 with a 50mm Rokkor lens and a Tamron 28-200 zoom. I know the basics of photography but thats about it..

My needs - I am looking for a good alround camera with a good kit lens (with a reasonable wide angle) as it is unlikely in the short to medium term that I can buy more lenses or accessories. I would like the camera to be very good for indoor use with and without flash (built in flash only) (usually pictures of famil;y etc), some macro and general holiday/tour/family pictures. I have a 200mm reflector telescope and maybe I might play around with pictures with it, but this would be the least of my priorities.I don't see that I have much need for sport/action use.I feel image stabilisation is important for me. My main use of manual controls from past SLR use would be for DOF and to control shutter speed. I know there are many, many more features I can learn to explore..

I have extensively explored the net for camera purchases in Australia. I have a maximum budget of ~$700AU. This search has revealed as follows:.

Olympus E420 14-42 kit - $650 ($750 with dual kit)Olympus E510 14-42 kit - $640 ($ 780 with dual kit)Olympus E520 14-42 kit - $720 ($850 with dual kit).

Nikon D60 18-55VR kit - $660.

Canon 400D 18-55 nonIS kit $750 (kit lens poor?).

Sony Alpha A350 18-70 kit - $734Sony Alpha A300 18-70 kit - $680 Query quality of sony kit lens?Sony Alpha A200 18-70 kit - $540.

Pentax k200 with sigma 18-50 or pentax 18-55kit - $700 (best lens?)Pentax K100 with 18-50 & 70-300mm Sigma Lenses - $620.

I have been to my local camera stores and have held all the above except for the Pentax cameras. All cameras feel OK in my hands. the Sony view finder is not as good but I could live with it. I found it difficult to form a view about the menus and general use as after a while I became overwhelmed..

I don't see myself as being a regular changer of lenses so the basic kit lens would be on the camera much of the time. Although maybe if I had a larger zoom I would learn to use and love using it..

Of these cameras what opinions do any members have about what camera/s may be best for my needs..

Would the old lens from the Minolta be usable with a Sony and would it be a worthwhile consideration?..

Of these cameras what opinions do any members have about what camera/s may be best for my needs. I thank you in advance for your assistance.

Regards Terry..

Comments (16)

The FOV for the Olys are tighter then the other cameras due to the sensor. If you are shooting indoors without flash you would generally need a faster lens then what is supplied on all the kits..

The best value is probably the Oly 520. However it's focus assist with the indoor shots will drive you nuts because it strobes the onboard flash. The next best value would be the Pentax..

If you are as you said looking for interior shots without flash and wide angles without buying accessories then I would go with the Nikon or Canon line..

Also read this thread.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=28644700.

JimOlympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #1

Visit PBase.com and Flikr.com, do a search by camera and work out just how 'bad' YOU think the kit lenses are judging by what people in the real world are posting..

Remember that a mediocre 18-70 easily trumps a 'good' 18-55 when you want that little bit of extra reach. If shooting indoors towards a stage, you can get great results with a bright 28-75 Tamron mounted on a Sony or Pentax/Canon/Nikon..

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

Comment #2

Thank you for your replies..

Can I take it that for best quality images in low light or indoors that the Nikon D60 is the best bet for me from the list???? Is the Nikon also good for macro with the kit lelens? It appears all the DSLR's take good quality images in outdoor settings??.

Thanks for you help and patience,.

Terry..

Comment #3

Maddogmd11 wrote:.

The FOV for the Olys are tighter then the other cameras due to thesensor..

Huh?.

The Olympus cameras do have the smaller 4/3rds sensor, but they also have the shorter 4/3rds lenses. How do you conclude that the FoV is "tighter", somehow?Regards,Baz..

Comment #4

G'day,.

Twodoh wrote:.

Can I take it that for best quality images in low light or indoorsthat the Nikon D60 is the best bet for me from the list???? Is the.

I would re-phrase that..

The primary determinant of image quality is you. And your bonding to the camera. The second determinant of image quality is the camera..

Of course, you can choose between cameras but you can't bolt on a new you, so you want a relevant camera..

Now, about the camera - you want one that performs indoors well. Are you going to shoot with flash or without flash? If you are going to use flash, are you going to exceed the distance that the inbuilt distance flash can give you, are you going to try bouncing off the ceiling or the walls. In which case, you want to budge for an external flash unit. If you get an external flash unit, then the pulsing that the Olympi do is no longer relevant - they use that for helping focus but do not do that if you use an external flash..

If you are not using flash, then you want a camera that has good ISO 800 or ISO 1600 performance, and you may want to buy a lens that is f/2.8 or f/2..

It is pointless buying a good body when your lens cannot offer f/2.8 or f/2.

So you see, when you buy a DSLR, you are buying a system - lenses, flash, rather than one item like a point and shoot camera..

Which means you have to recalculate your budget and assign priorities on what to spend..

Nikon also good for macro with the kit lelens? It appears all theDSLR's take good quality images in outdoor settings??.

Macros are fair on point and shoot cameras (except I tried an earlier Sony that didn't) - because that is the only lens the camera can use. With DSLR, the lenses are removable, so macros on DSLR don't usually get very close. The Oly tele zoom kit lens gives me more magnification than the Oly standard kit lens. I would assume the other brands are similar..

To take macros on a DSLR you can:a. buy close up filters (just like point and shoot cameras)b. mount the lens on an extension tubec. buy a macro lens (one that focusses to 1:1 magnification).

All reasonable modern digital cameras shoot well outdoor. Even compact point and shoots. However, some of the DSLR have in-body shadow lightening for those bright and harsh lit days..

Thanks for you help and patience,.

Terry.

Anandahttp://anandasim.blogspot.com/http://olympuse510.wikispaces.com/http://picasaweb.google.com/AnandaSim/http://www.flickr.com/photos/32554587@N00/..

Comment #5

FOV results from "crop factor". The OLY crop factor is 2.0 the Canikon is 1.5..

There given equiv focal length lenses the olys FOV will be smaller then any other dslr..

Please seehttp://digital-photography-school.com/blog/crop-factor-explained.

JimOlympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #6

I'm no expert, but I think that either of the Pentaxes might be a good deal, especially the 6mp K100, as it has good high-ISO performance AND built in stabilisation. If you opt for the K100D, most would suggest looking for the "Super" model. It's clean ISO 800, coupled with shake-reduction, probably can carry you pretty far in the dark....

I, too, have a Minolta X700, by the way and I can tell you with complete certaintly that you would NOT be able to use the lenses from it on a Sony, as the Sony's use the mount developed originally for Minolta's "Maxxum" line. It is a mount that is frustratingly incompatible with the "MD-mount" on your X700. A pity, as there are some primo Rokkors out there that are as good as any of the top brands. (There may be a very rare MD to A adapter out there, but I think it had a lens in it for infinity focus and added a 1.4x multiplier to the effective focal length. The lens in it would degrade image quality and might well have reflection issues with a DSLR's image pickup device.).

With a Pentax, you could use most of the M42 and K-mount lenses of the past 30-40 years, too. The widest old-lens compatibility (using manual focus and stop-down metering) would be with a Canon, though, via various and divers adapters. Oddly enough, still no Minolta MD compatibility on those!.

I think I recall reading somewhere that there is an MD adapter for Olympus DSLRs, but you would have a 2x crop factor, making that 50mm in effect a really nice 100mm. As you seem to imply having only the two MD mount lenses, though, I wouldn't even use them as a factor in buying your new system. Keep them on the X700 and occasionally use that rig to shoot some black & white or slide film..

Customer...

Comment #7

I'm a Nikon user and very happy with it, a D80, the 18-70mm, plus a couple of primes (35 f/2 and 105 Macro f/2.8)..

You should look at the D60 plus the 16-85 VR zoom, it covers a bit more than the the 18-55, sure more expensive, but the wider range wll be very helpful in many situations..

Regarding IQ, all these cameras will show similar results, to get he most you'll have to learn a bit about exposure and post-processing..

If you are not interested to learn them, maybe a superzoom would be more useful, a dslr is not going to produce much better results unless you learn how to use it properly. If you do, the difference is like night and day.Regards, Renato.http://www.flickr.com/photos//..

Comment #8

Maddogmd11 wrote:.

FOV results from "crop factor". The OLY crop factor is 2.0 theCanikon is 1.5..

"Crop factor" compared with other format sizes has virtually no relevance in 4/3rds photography, and it is my opinion that you are confusing matters by suggesting that it does..

The lenses made for 4/3rds are appropriate in focal length for the FoVs they provide on the reduced format, and are not usable on any other larger formats. This takes relative crop factors out of the picture and means that.......

The fact that the appropriate lenses happen to be 1/2 the f-length for any given Field of View on full frame is of minor interest only.....

.... as is the fact that those same 4/3rds f-lengths happen to be 1/6 the length of 5x4" sheet film lenses providing a matching view..

Or, put another way, who gives a damn WHICH fraction the length lens we use happens to be of some other format's f-lengths, if we are NOT USING that other format.... what ever it is!!! It is nothing we need know..

What we DO need is a full range of decent affordable lenses in the f-lengths appropriate for the format we settled on... and 4/3rds does provide that .... as do the other formats..

Conclusions:-.

The whole question of cropped formats and crop factors only really comes up if....

You have cameras of more than one format size, and some lenses that are able to be swapped between them,.

Or have previous experience with a different format size, and want to carry over some of the experience .... or some of the lenses, (if they fit)..

There given equiv focal length lenses the olys FOV will be smallerthen any other dslr..

If I am understanding you correctly, you are quite wrong here. If the lenses are of truly "equivalent" focal lengths, then the Fields of View will, by definition, match..

Which brings us back to the reason for my posting, where you wrote.....

The FOV for the Olys are tighter then the other cameras due to the sensor..

Sorry, it just isn't true..

Indeed, for any given horizontal Field of View the 4/3rds cameras actually provide MORE vertical field to compose a picture in, because the 4:3 ratio means the image is less cut-off-at-the-top than APS and full frame types....

...... or have you not compared your own 510 with the view through the other more common dSLRs?.

I'm sorry to witter on at such length on this. However, when we a try to help beginners, I feel we should get our facts straight AND present them with the right emphasis..

Thank you.Regards,Baz..

Comment #9

As an old 35mm SLR user and most recently a Minolta Maxxum owner, I went with the Sony Alpha because my Minolta lenses fit. Unfortunately, your old lenses will not work without an adaptor and then you lose the autofocus..

My biggest disappointmant when I bought my Maxxum 35mm SLR over my old match-needle SLRs was the loss of low light photography with the slow kit zoom lens and the same holds true with digital. If you want to shoot indoors with available light, you will need a faster lens on your digital. I use a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 for low light. You will find it similar to the 50mm lenses that used to come standard on 35mm SLRs. The difference being that on the Sony, it behaves like a 75mm lens due to the 1.5x crop factor due to sensor size vs 35mm film size. There are a lot of these lenses out there and if you avoid eBay, you can get one in great shape for about $80..

I am very happy with the Sony and there are a lot of used Minolta lenses you can pick up for it. If you are being critical, the kit lens that comes with it is the worst lens I own, but it is still a pretty good lens and takes very good pictures. Not a bad walkaround lens with it's extra zoom range over some of the competition. There is a little loss of sharpness at the extreme edges, but that is the part you crop off anyhow. If you do not need live view, the A200 is cheaper and the viewfinder is quite a bit brighter than the A300/350...

Comment #10

Twodoh wrote:.

My needs - I am looking for a good alround camera with a good kitlens (with a reasonable wide angle) as it is unlikely in the short tomedium term that I can buy more lenses or accessories. I would likethe camera to be very good for indoor use with and without flash(built in flash only) (usually pictures of famil;y etc), some macroand general holiday/tour/family pictures..

My main use of manual controls from past SLR use would be for DOFand to control shutter speed. I know there are many, many morefeatures I can learn to explore..

Olympus E420 14-42 kit - $650 ($750 with dual kit)Olympus E510 14-42 kit - $640 ($ 780 with dual kit)Olympus E520 14-42 kit - $720 ($850 with dual kit).

No comment on the Oly's - their kit lenses are supposedly good. The E-420 does not have stabilization..

Nikon D60 18-55VR kit - $660.

55mm doesn't quite get you into normal "portrait" length, so 18-55 is ok, but I would not want this to be my primary lens..

Canon 400D 18-55 nonIS kit $750 (kit lens poor?).

The new IS kit lens is supposedly excellent; at least some older version, not so good, I don't know if there are in-between versions. With 1.6X crop, it's not quite as wide as on the Sony/Nikon, but 55mm gets just slightly closer to portrait range..

Sony Alpha A350 18-70 kit - $734Sony Alpha A300 18-70 kit - $680 Query quality of sony kit lens?Sony Alpha A200 18-70 kit - $540.

Not sure if you looked at all of them; the A300/350 have smaller VFs to get "fast AF live view" while the A200 should be no worse (VF) than the other cameras in your list. The 18-70 kit gets mixed reviews from surprisingly-bad to surprisingly-good. But it has a range that's better than the rest (including the Oly 14-42, though your prices included a 2-lens kit)..

You mentioned DOF preview - the Sony's do not offer this..

Of these cameras what opinions do any members have about whatcamera/s may be best for my needs..

I'd definitely make sure you pick a kit with IS based on your desire to shoot in low light (be aware that IS doesn't prevent subject motion blur) ... mainly because there are enough good choices that offer IS that there's no reason to not get it..

You'd have to investigate to see which (if any) of the kit lenses offer better maximum magnification than the others; none of them will do nearly 1:1 magnification, but you can add a simple filter or a better Raynox magnifier to focus closer..

Would the old lens from the Minolta be usable with a Sony and wouldit be a worthwhile consideration?..

No. It's only usable via an adapter that costs money and comes with compromises..

Of these cameras what opinions do any members have about whatcamera/s may be best for my needs. I thank you in advance for yourassistance.

I'm a Sony A700 user (and a Minolta user for 20 years). I think the A200 is the best deal going right now and the A300 is great for away-from-your-face shooting with live view (I sometimes shoot kids with my camera away from my face to keep them engaged and without LV, I have to just hold the camera steady after composing and hope the subject doesn't move too much). But I have the A700 which is a step up; there are a few things I don't like about those cameras; the kit lens is mediocre IMO (but offers good range) and they don't offer DOF preview (which you mentioned in your post)..

I just have this feeling that if you want to shoot primarily with one lens, and want to shoot indoors, that you're going to find any of these lenses lacking (in tele reach, quality and/or max aperture). The Oly 50/2.8 pancake lens or a used fast prime for Sony or Pentax might give you a cheap, compact lens that you can shoot in low light. I just don't know enough about the other models to comment on the relative strengths of the cameras..

- DennisGallery at http://kingofthebeasts.smugmug.com..

Comment #11

The Rokkor lens was made for the MD mount rather than the A mount used by the newer Minoltas and modern-day Sonys, so you might not be able to use it at all on the Sony DSLRs. However you may be surprised to learn that you may actually be able to use it on the Olympus, for there are MD-to-FourThirds adapters available, as far as I know (try AltaVista or a search on the Olympus SLR Talk Forum on this site). Since the FourThirds sensor is smaller than a frame on 35mm film, the effective angle of view will be halved and be equivalent to that of a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera, and you will have to manually stop the lens down to the working aperture, but metering will work, and image stabilisation too, if you get the E-520 (or the E-510 with the newest firmware) and manually enter the focal length of the lens..

By the way, most cameras you mention have been reviewed here. The E-520 hasn't but you can read a review here: http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews_olympus_e520.php..

Comment #12

Maddogmd11 wrote:.

The FOV for the Olys are tighter then the other cameras due to thesensor..

For a given actual focal length, yes. But since the shortest focal length of the Oly lens is 14mm instead of the 18mm of the others, the FOV will be about the same...

Comment #13

Thank you all for your responses. I probably have now too much food for thought..

Having considered the replies and my needs the main strength I want in the entry level DSLR I choose will be to take indoor or low light pictures with or without flash. I will have to live with kit lens an onboard flash for some time but in that time I can learn much about the camera..

Of the cameras in my list what will do the bgest job as a camera for me?.

Choices are with kit lens:.

Oly 510Oly 520Nikon d60Sony A300Sony A200Pentax K200D.

Canon 1000d (within $50 of my price range).

Thak you all and kind regards.

Terry..

Comment #14

From your post history, it's clear that you have been researching far too long to be so indecisive. Seriously, if after 4 months of consideration your current list contains 6 possible options (with some being from the same brands) you should rethink whether you really want a dSLR. Its a long enough time to understand all photography basics and make up mind on your own..

The reason I am saying this is that if you waste so much time debating over the choices, you might feel so drained that you loose the sheer excitement and fun when and if you do finally purchase a dSLR..

Twodoh wrote:.

Thank you all for your responses. I probably have now too much foodfor thought..

Having considered the replies and my needs the main strength I wantin the entry level DSLR I choose will be to take indoor or low lightpictures with or without flash. I will have to live with kit lens anonboard flash for some time but in that time I can learn much aboutthe camera..

Of the cameras in my list what will do the bgest job as a camera for me?.

Choices are with kit lens:.

Oly 510Oly 520Nikon d60Sony A300Sony A200Pentax K200D.

Canon 1000d (within $50 of my price range).

Thak you all and kind regards.

Terry..

Comment #15

Twodoh wrote:.

Thank you all for your responses. I probably have now too much foodfor thought..

Having considered the replies and my needs the main strength I wantin the entry level DSLR I choose will be to take indoor or low lightpictures with or without flash. I will have to live with kit lens anonboard flash for some time but in that time I can learn much aboutthe camera..

The kit lenses are all similar in speed; all do a reasonable job at high ISO and all have image stabilization (at least if you buy the right kit lenses). The only thing I can throw into the fray here is if you buy a camera with in-body stabilization, you can add an inexpensive fast prime for low light if you find the zooms too slow. Your options are limited with Oly; with Sony, you can pay a little too much (a tad over $100) for a used 50/1.7 (because Sony doesn't currently make a 50/1.7) or maybe a 28/2.8. I'm not sure about Pentax offerings, but you can probably find a few more inexpensive fast primes..

Also, if you want to 'upgrade' from the kit lens in a few years to a lens that will do low light better, lenses like the Tamron 17-50/2.8 or 28-75/2.8 are stabilized on Pentax/Sony. (Of course, you have to consider that stabilization helps you shoot slower, but shooting slower can result in shots with motion blur, so it's helpful sometimes but not always)..

Of the cameras in my list what will do the bgest job as a camera for me?.

Who knows !.

Make a list of major pros & cons, features that one camera or another offers ... and *ONLY* include features you think may be important to you. You can come up with 30 different attributes that set these cameras apart, but only a few probably matter to anyone ... price is one, how the camera feels in your hands might be another. Is it important that the kit lens gets into portrait range ? If so, include it, else skip it. In-body stabilization ? After reading my previous paragraph, you might be able to decide if it's important to you.

Sony implements a neat system on the A300 that works like a point & shoot with very fast autofocus, but the optical viewfinder ends up being the worst of the bunch and the camera ends up not being very good for manual focus (smaller VF, LCD doesn't magnify the image and no DOF preview); the other system is main sensor live view where if there's AF, it's slow, but it can be useful for tripod shots where it does allow magnification of the image. I wouldn't worry too much about image quality differences; they won't show unless you push the system. You might put down perceived lens quality differences (the Sony has a nice range, but may be softer than others; the new Canon IS lens is nice, the Oly's are supposed to be good). Really, at this point, aside from major features, how the camera feels to you, how responsive the AF seems with the kit lens, how you like the view through the viewfinder, should all be overriding factors..

- DennisGallery at http://kingofthebeasts.smugmug.com..

Comment #16

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