0 Not quite sure why you're excluding say Pentax K100D, Olympus E-510, SonyA100 or so forth..
E-510 + two-lens kit (14-42 f/3.5-5.6, 40-150mm f/4-5.6) ain't a bad setup for $900 (B+H) stabilization in body, ~28-300mm (35mm equiv), live view. There'll be stuff that it wouldn't fare well at (lenses too slow to take to a Penguins game Civic Arena lighting and expect good stop-motion shots, and probably too short) but for kit lenses, not bad at all..
Might be noted that since all the various models have to deal with the same basic physics, there's not a huge difference in complexity in fundamentals. The basics of exposure remain the same modulo perhaps slight differences in exposure latitude or color accuracy..
Ergonomics, sure. Viewfinder coverage and usability for manual focus, dedicated controls, placement of controls, size, contours... and some differences in capabilities, ex. whether or not you'll get in-body image stabilization, perhaps a larger buffer in one or the other, different noise characteristics, et al. Two versus one control wheels can be useful if you hate diving into menus..
1 - Depends what you need. Manual focus /can/ be precise. It's usually slow, even if you buy a focusing screen designed to make it easier the stock screens generally do NOT come with split-image / microprism collar setup. They're targeted primarily for AF use, so brightness is important but focusing snap less so..
While MF can be satisfying, given the chance it's difficult to MF fast enough to track action unless you can in advance pick -one- location of interest. So it can make a lot of sense for a posed portrait, particularly if you're shooting a f/2 or f/1.4 lens wide-open and want to ensure focus on the eyes, or other situations where AF might not be necessary or correct... but it's not universally useful..
A lot of Nikkor lenses will provide AF. Some Sigma will. Other 3rd party think a lot of them omit the motors..
2- A lot of users wouldn't think so. Pentax has a good rep for viewfinders in this class. If you want live view in this price range... maybe E-410 / E-510 from Olympus. Price has reportedly dropped on the aging E-330, which offers live view on the flip/twist LCD as well as a (somewhat darker, because of it) TTL OVF..
You may find the control layout of one preferable to the others, but this is personal taste..
3- Given your price range, you may be better off with the D40 and a better lens setup, than a D80 that you might not get as much use out of..
4- They're aimed for pretty basic purposes a lot of the market is primarily interested in economical shots of family, friends, pets, the odd landscape, much more so than the moon or mantids or what-have-you. They're not going to stand up in the rain (nor are the bodies, generally). They're not going to give you razor-thin DOF portraits, nor are they great for sports, or extreme close-ups of insects. But they're satisfying quite a few people..
5- If you want to force yourself to compose with your feet, practicing framing and perhaps paying more attention to the background as you move you start with a fixed-focal length lens or two. Depending on your tastes, 'tho, you may find this all too constraining.
Regarding vendors Pittsburgh is not a great town for finding camera stores. While it'd be a good idea to handle the models you're thinking about, to see if they 'feel' right... actually, given the geekiness of the department you perhaps should check to see if another student owns what you're looking at. There's also a campus photography club, which focuses on film but it would not be entirely surprising if there were members with feet in both camps, or who'd know people who had DSLRs..
For purchasing, B+H is definitely one of the most reputable and well-stocked ones out there. Most of my kit's from them. They're often not the cheapest, but if prices are /much/ lower elsewhere some caution may be warranted see http://www.resellerratings.com for vendor reviews. I've found the occasional deal on Adorama (notably, got a 133x Lexar 8GB CF that turned out to be ~$45 incl shipping due to both low Adorama price and Lexar rebate), but they seem to throw up sudden out-of-stock delays more often. BuyDig / Beach Camera also has a good rep, but I've never used them..
There are even some well-regarded vendors on eBay, like Cameta Camera...
Thanks for your comments. One of my relatives has the Pentax and he let me try it out. I honestly did not like the images it took regardless of what settings I tweaked. This might have been more due to his lens, but I can't say for sure. I think one of my friends has the Sony A100 so there is a possibility that I might get to try it out..
Taking your comment on the D80 into account, I'll probably remove it from the running. It's just too expensive for the body alone when I think about it..
6. My main concern with the AF issue is the possibility of missing out on some good lenses. That and how much added cost does having AF in the lens versus in the body add to the cost over time? If I'm being forced to buy AF lenses all the time, would I have been better off buying a body with it built in? Or am I completely misinterpreting what the lens motor in the body, e.g., of the 400D does?.
Along these lines, the more I think about it, the more it becomes clear that a lot of what will be initially available and what would interest me to photograph will be campus life. This will mainly be things akin to landscape and action shots, so I would prefer something with a fast shutter. Of course, I'm not exactly sure how fast is needed..
I'm always up for more suggestions (although it just may make me more indecisive about this). I'm sure that I'll end up being satisfied with whatever I choose (either through it's performance or through my ignorance), but I'd still like to feel good about what I buy before I ever actually use it..
By the way, I'm pretty dead-set on something that is 10-megapixel. I have a 8-megapixel Sony DSC-W90 and although I know that X-megapixels from a DSLR beat X-megapixels or even Y-megapixels (where X < Y, I'm an engineer through and through) from a point-and-shoot, I'll go to sleep better knowing that the specs speak for themselves..
So now I guess I'm mainly mulling over the 400D and the D40x with the E-510, the K10D, and the A100 coming up in the standings. I'm a little skeptical on the A100 since I don't seem to hear too much about it in other similar threads (could just be missing it), but the E-510 is tempting. I don't really have a need for the LivePreview, but it's a nice feature that I can point out to my friends. Someone really needs to glorify the Pentax to me because the reviews I've read and my own limited experience with it don't make it a very strong contender..
Leejay, I see from your profile that you use an Olympus E-1. How do you like Olympus as a brand? That said, is the E-510 your main recommendation based on brand experience or what?.
Thanks in advance for anymore advice..
AF motor in lens well, say,http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1000&message=20866562has a list of Nikkor AF-S lenses as of last November..
What'd you'd be missing autofocus on are- many lenses from Tamron, Sigma, et al. Some 3rd party lenses do have goodreputations (although Sigma also has a rep for high sample variation)3rd party makers may get around to it. Sigma has the technology ex. allSigma HSM lenses have their own lens motor..
- short-telephoto single-focal length lenses (ex. no 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8 on that list)This... it would be conceivable to me that Nikon would decide it's not worth theredesign for them, as they may think that D40 users would generally prefer zoomswhere possible..
So you'll find it more difficult to get lenses with fast apertures for the shallow DOF or some times of low-light (85mm f/1.8 has been used for gym-sports photography, for instance lighting tends to be bad, but less need for outrageous telephoto than in a baseball stadium)..
Regarding fast shutter, not a problem outdoors under decent light. More decisions to be made if you're indoors or it's night time, particularly if you go with a slower kit zoom and don't want to use flash. Just about any recent DSLR should give you pretty reasonable images at ISO 800 or even ISO 1600 sure, there'll be some visible grain likely at ISO 1600 (or 3200, if you choose to push) but you have much more flexibility exposure-wise than you do in the compact-camera world..
Regarding Olympus, part of the reason I keep the E-1 is the 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5; it's a 'sweet spot' of sorts. Even the E-1 is pretty good for most of what I tend to shoot (*not* much of a landscape guy, so more MP isn't that critical) with the glaring exception of evening softball (which requires fast low-light AF and reasonable noise characteristics at some fairly outrageously high ISOs, if we wish to stop action in the outfield). Curiosity about the E-1's successor's AF system and an appreciation for a splash-proofed body with nice ergonomics (2 command dials, 100% viewfinder, portrait grip provides extra controls, and so forth more concerned about reliability and speed of operation than subtlety or pocketability) and the 50-200mm (respectable-speed telephoto zoom I can shoot wide-open without worrying too much about 'sweet spot' apertures) help to keep me with the brand..
If I -weren't- fairly interested in high-speed tracking AF (note E-510 is reportedly faster than E-1, but still has only 3 AF points), and didn't use two dials + grip, and never got the urge to do anything as crazy as shooting near the spray of a waterfall or in the rain, the E-510 would be pretty interesting to me. There are some system weaknesses, like somewhat fewer lenses available (probably harder to find 'em used hasn't had 20+ years of using the same mount), no crazy wireless flash setups yet, no 45+-pt monster AF module, smaller sensor provides theoretically lower maximum resolution than 1Ds/D3 (or medium-format backs, heh), not pushing the usable ISO ceiling as high as fast (although NMOS in E-400/410/510 is a significant improvement over the Kodak CCD in E-1)...
Welcome... Nikon D40X - Beach Camera on the internet. Nikon wouldn't have created a camera without a lens motor if it was going to negatively impact sales. It makes the camera lighter, there are 43 lenses between Nikon and Sigma with built in motors and if you do go with a lens like the 50 1.8, manual focus is very easy. The camera has better high ISO than every camera except the pro version and the images are great. Metering and focus speed are also exceptional.Good luck with your decision..
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Thanks for your input. I assume that you use a D40x and that is your basis for your recommendation. Assuming this is the case, what is your recommendation for my "first" lens? Is the one included in the kit lens, or something else the way to go? I would like it to be both beginner/learning friendly but be good enough to be useful as I improve my skills. This is of course asking for a lot while considering my budget, but any help would be appreciated..
You mentioned that taking the AF motor out of the body saves weight, but wouldn't putting it into the lens just factor it back in? Also, as an engineer I know that the less complicated a system the better for reliability/robustness. If I tend to go with AF lenses how much does this complicate their construction to the point where it might become a weak point? This is probably a silly question since I'm sure a quality lens is a quality lens in all aspects including AF, but I'd like to hear from those with experience..
Is the 400D's viewfinder poor enough, when compared to the Nikons, toremove it from consideration?.
It looks like the real choice here is between the D80, and either of the others:.
Canon 400D : 0.80x magnification, 95% coverageNikon D40x : 0.80x magnification, 95% coverageNikon D80 : 0.94x magnification, 95% coverage, and uses a prism (not a mirror).
3. Considering that the three bodies I am considering can beconsidered "prosumer" products, does the D80's performance reallyjustify it's price?.
Yes. The things that nailed it for me were the better viewfinder, lens compatibility, and built-in wireless flash control..
But it does depend on how rigid your budget is, and how much you have to make compromises on lenses to get a particular body. Sometimes it can be a good move to go with a less-desirable body if it allows you to purchase more-desirable glass...
Another thing to consider Canon EOS 30D bodies are down to $1,000 (mail-order)..
Compared to the 400D, I believe the 30D offers a larger viewfinder, the option to use ISO 3200, 5 fps shooting (mostly useful for sports), better controls, and a 100K-cycle shutter. It "only" has 8 megapixels instead of 10, but that doesn't matter much...
After hearing back from a few people, I'm probably even more undecided than before, but I'm definitely learning a lot and I'm sure at the end I'll let overall opinion, price, and chance decide for me. However, I want to bring to focus one of my first questions which concerned my initial choice of lens..
Upon further browsing of the forums, I found this thread:http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1031&message=24712389.
It's a pretty good debate about the kit lens for the 400D. What I got from reading through the thread is that there are a lot of dissenting opinions on the overall value of the kit lens. Some say that it's useful for beginners and for even later, while others say it's useful for beginners but you will quickly outgrow it, and others say that it's not worth the cost and it may in fact put beginners off to DSLRs with it's poor performance. I don't want to start another thread on this topic, but I'd like to hear some opinions on how useful the kit lens would be to me considering I have yet to decide on a preferred type of photography. I know that once I do figure out what I want to shoot primarily, I will purchase lenses accordingly, but until then are the kit lenses for these bodies worth it?.
I do have the 40x and the D50. The motor in the lens will add weight but at least you've only got it in the lens and not in both. As for lenses that's a personal choice and I can't comment on those I don't have. I have the 18-70 and 70-300vr whicha are both really good lenses. The 18-55vr is supposed to be very good and if you scrape enough together to get the 70-300 you'll have quite a range covered..
Another camera I hear good things about that is very affordable is the Pentax K100. I don't know too much about the lenses they offer but that would be the determining factor in which manufacturer I went with because lenses last, bodies don't..
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The friend I mentioned before with the Sony A100 let me try it out and gave me a lot of good pointers. One of the most important things to note though is that he started the same way I am planning to and he gave what I consider a lot of reasonable recommendations..
First, he spoke pretty highly of the Pentax K10D mainly for it's IS, weather-seals, and price. Although my experience with my uncle's K10D was not stellar that was probably more a combination of my inexperience and his lens. My main worry with the K10D is the somewhat limited selection of Pentax brand lens and even third-party lens available. How much of an issue is this and do you think it will get better or worse in the future?.
My friend also said that the D80 is a good body too as is to be expected for it's increased price. Its lack of built-in IS and the difference in price are what he points out when comparing the D80 to the K10D. However, the overall quality and features are probably better in both my opinion and his. Now whether the D80's increase in quality and features justifies it's increased price compared the K10D is still debatable..
He showed me a pretty wide range of lenses; pretty much everything from a 50mm prime to a 135-400mm telephoto (he has about 5 lenses of varying quality, but at least one of each of the major types). He showed and explained a lot of the more subtle points of each of the basic types of photography of which I found myself more and more interested in macro and landscape (pretty opposite ends of the spectrum I know). What he really emphasized to me though was that unless the body with the kit lens was only something like $100 more than just the body alone I would be better off just buying a separate lens that might be more expensive but of better quality. This seems like good advice to me considering that I was pretty impressed with his gallery and the fact he is pretty much self-taught..
So I guess now I'm looking at mainly the K10D and the D80 with the 400D still in consideration, but mainly only because of price. The K10D has nice features like IS and weather-seals on it's side along with price, while the D80 probably has better performance and a longer usage lifetime on it's side..
That's where I stand now. Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks in advance..
I suggest getting a used Nikon D50..
D5018-55 kit lens55-200 kit lensSigma 105 MacroSB-600Canon A620..
I'd steer clear of any manufacturer that doesn't offer a stabilised sensor. Canon and Nikon force you to buy very pricey and not necesarily optically great (17-85) lenses with stabilisation fitted to each lens if you want the luxury of being able to take longer exposures than the maximum permitted under the general rule of thumb of 1/focal length handheld..
But with Sony, Pentax and Olympus, the sensor is stabilised, so stick any lens on and the camera will compensate for shaky hands. Saves carrying a tripod 99% of the time..
Oh, and comparsons between lens and sensor stabilisation consistently fail to find any image quality advantages over the former..
Now, had Canon or Nikon thought to introduce stabilised sensors to their models I'd have bought into their system. As it was, Sony was the first to come out with a 10PM stabilised sensor camera, and now I have an A100 plus nice range of lenses. Though TBH the Tamron 18-250 stays on pretty much all the time. Someone on the Sony forum recently compared it to the far more expensive Canon 70-200 and it was virtually as sharp..
FOr shooting in gloomy places where flash isn't allowed like museums or churches you will wonder how you manged without stabilisation. And once you try a systemwith a stabilised sensor you'll wonder why people still bother buying each lens with stabilisation when you can turn all your lenses into a stabilised system..
The other advantage is that in stabilising the sensor, it makes it possible to shake dust off, which is a problem when changing lenses. Oly's dust removal knocks spots off the competitors, but even so the Sony dust removal is pretty good...
Oh, and comparsons between lens and sensor stabilisation consistentlyfail to find any image quality advantages over the former..
Comparisons between lens and sensor stabilization consistently fail to find any viewfinder stabilization with the latter. A stabilized viewfinder makes it easier to compose at long focal lengths...
Oh, and comparsons between lens and sensor stabilisation consistentlyfail to find any image quality advantages over the former..
Comparisons between lens and sensor stabilization consistently failto find any viewfinder stabilization with the latter. A stabilizedviewfinder makes it easier to compose at long focal lengths..
Taking what you both said into account, I'm starting to lean towards an IS body. However, the conflict between what Tom and Dave has me confused. Obviously having IS in both the body and the lens probably would help overall, but Tom's statement implies that having IS in the lens will help with the viewfinder stabilization..
What is the opinion on this? I don't really plan on doing too much distance photography at first, but I'd imagine having a stabilized viewfinder helps in most any situation..
Assuming I go with an IS body, i.e., Pentax/Sony/Olympus, does anyone have a strong opinion about which one to go with? I liked my friend's A100, but I'd like to try something different than his so I can get a different experience. The Olympus is appealling in that you can get it with 2 kit lenses for sub-$1000, but it only has 3-point autofocus among other things when compared to the other two. I am starting to like the Pentax more and more, but the main thing that concerns me is the availability and choice of lenses (either brand-name or third-part). However, this seems to be the case with these three brands when compared to Canon and Nikon. Can someone confirm this is the case, or have I just not looked at all that is available?.
And of course, the 400D is trailing behind these three but within sight. I'm feeling more focused on what I'm looking for, but still somewhat hesitant. Thanks in advance for all the help..
Go to a store and get a feel for all the bodies and viewfinders. When I was looking for a system I found the Olympus' viewfinders were just way too small. It was much smaller than the others..
The Sony has it's problems with noise at high iso and so does the some of the Nikon bodies. Sony is also limited with their lenses compared to Nikon and Canon..
In lens stabilization allows the subject to be shake free when composing a picture. Besides, how many lenses do you think you'll be buying? Does it really matter if you own three lenses with stabilization and have to pay a few dollars more. Everything I've read indicates in lens vr is more effective..
The Nikon D80 has it's share of negative comments regarding the metering system. You can read countless posts about owners who meter for a specific situation and they never know whether the image is going to come out properly exposed or not..
The D40 or 40X are the newest Nikons and the image quality is excellent. I would research the Pentax more if I were you and decide between Nikon or Pentax.Have fun with your search. .
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Good advice, but unfortunately there are basically no good camera/photography stores in the Pittsburgh area (as confirmed by both Google and my friend with the A100). There are a few Ritz Cameras around here which I should hope are better than the typical Best Buy or Circuit City, plus a seemingly better but also very shady place called Bernie's Photography which hasn't exactly garnered the highest of reviews from what I've read..
Regardless it is getting more and more down to the D80 or the K10D. I'm still trying to figure out the lens situation, but I think my friend here will be able to help me quite a bit with that since he's been through and currently has a pretty wide selection of lenses of various makes and quality..
Of course, I would love to hear from some K10D owners about their experience and if I don't within the next few days on this thread, I'll start one over in the Pentax SLR forum. Thanks again..
Well, I think I've settled on the Pentax K10D. Here is a list of what I'm getting:.
Pentax K10D with Pentax SMCP-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF (body and lens kit)Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro AFPentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 AFPentax AF-540 FGZ P-TTL FlashHoya 52mm UV(0) Filter (for the kit lens)Hoya 58mm UV(0) Filter (for the Sigma 70-300mm)Hoya 49mm UV(0) Filter (for the Pentax 50mm).
Total (including shipping) from B&H = $1,569.75.
If anyone has any suggestions (additions/removals/replacements), please let me know. I think this is a good set to start off with, but I'm no expert by any stretch. I'm just going by reviews, your input, and a lot of my friend's advice..
This is definitely higher than what I was planning, but I'm not exactly strapped for cash, I'm just cheap by nature which is why I set my original limit of $1000-$1200. It was my experience with my friend's A100 and all the advice/lessons he gave me over the last few days that really made me sure that photography with a DSLR will become a passion of mine. That said I decided to go a bit further to have more of the standard equipment needed..
There are some rebates on the body, the Pentax 50mm, and the Pentax flash which are somewhat confusing, but I they should at the very least bring the total down to $1,444.75. However, if I'm lucky I might be able to knock another $50 off that number even..
If you're wondering why I'm unsure of the rebate status, here is formhttp://www.pentaximaging.com/...scms_docs//2007_08_Summertime_DSLR_Rebate.pdf.
What I'm unsure of is the double rebate on the flash. Since I'm planning to get the K10D kit, I'm not sure if the double rebate for the flash applies since it pretty clearly states it only applies when purchased with "any K series body only." Of course, then there is the sentence a few lines done which says "If you purchase any K series kit (body and lens) you will need to cut out the original UPC code from the camera BODY box located inside the kit package.".
The product number for the body only is 19091 which is listed on the rebate form, but the product number for the kit is 19092. It almost makes me think that I won't be able to get the rebate on the body is I get the kit, but then that last statement about getting the UPC code from the kit says I can get the rebate..
Regardless, it's still cheaper (by $5, what a saving) with the rebates to get the kit as opposed to getting the body and the kit lens separately to ensure I get the double rebate on the flash. I just might get luck and save another $50 if the rebates work out. I'm planning on calling B&H and Pentax to get the final say on this just so I don't maul any more packaging than I need to..
Thanks to everyone for all your input and help in choosing the right place to start what I hope will be a very enjoyable (albeit expensive) experience. I hope to come back here with some nice photos to show off, and to pick your brains for even more advice and information..
Just worth mentioning that Samsung make their own identical version of the Pentax K10D and call it the GX10, so worth checking whether locally the K10D or GX10 is cheaper...oh, and the Sigma 70-300 is one nice lens. The Pentax/Samsung bodies are water resistant too - just a shame there aren't really any water resistent lenses that fit them!.
No idea how significant the stabilised lens = stabilised image in viewfinder versus stabilised body = image not stabilised in viewfinder issue is in reality. If you are shooting with a very long lens (>300mm say) then you would probably need to use a tripod in any case which completely overides the need for stabilition (indeed you should turn the stabilisation off if you use a tripod). But in terms of image tests, I've seen nothing to suggest that there is any more or less camera shake in images taken on cameras with stabilised sensors than the same images taken using stabilised lenses, and with a stabilised sensor any lens you buy automatically has that benefit. Plus the standard lenses weigh less than if they are stabilised and cost far less..