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My buying odyssey - first time dSLR
Hi everyone, I wanted to write this in the hopes that my experience would help others new to the dSLR buying process and also give me a little closure so that I can get back to my life after spending way too much time doing research and perseverating over what to buy. At the risk of enduring flames for my frivolous decision criteria, here goes:.

I am stepping up from a Fuji S9000 "bridge" camera. It is almost as big as an slr but it is still a compact camera at heart. I bought it because I hoped it would perform nearly as well as an slr and allow me to take pics of the (fast moving) kids, do natural light portraits, and take short movie clips - all in one package. I'm sure my technique is partly to blame, but I quickly found that low light pics were grainy and frequently out of focus. What really got me was the slowness of the focus - frequent hunting, especially in low light even with the annoying green assist lamp on. I should have bought a real SLR..

After trying my friend's canon 40D I was hooked and started doing my own research. One thing that bothered me about the canon was the zoom ring turned in the opposite direction of what I was used to. I know many are unaffected and can switch seamlessly between the two, but with so many choices out there I decided I should stick to what felt familiar. This ruled out Canon and Olympus - with their lenses you turn counter clockwise to zoom in..

I also figured that the over-1k price range cameras were too much for me. I read somewhere here that it is better to invest in good glass as the camera bodies change so frequently it doesn't make sense to buy more body than you can really use. When I am ready for semi-pro there will be even better models out there..

Another important bit of advice gleaned from these forums was to go out and try the cameras. I checked out the Nikon D60, Sony A300/350, and Pentax 200D and the Nikon didn't feel as right to me, so was down to the Sony and Pentax..

I REALLY liked the Sony's live-view implementation. The second sensor to allow live view with phase-detect AF is genius, and I suspect other manufacturers will follow suit in due time for their own entry-level offerings. What ultimately swayed me away from the Sony was dpreview's writeup and my confirmation that there is a noticable delay between shots. I'm looking for quick reflexes in my camera to keep up with the kids..

I liked the Pentax's weather sealing, solid reputation, and fast response time. Plus my dad's got Pentax. It's a true classic dSLR, and I kept thinking back to my purchase decision on the Fuji - if I needed an slr I should buy an slr. The Sony represents a major leap and I think in a generation or two it will really be seamless, but until then I think I'll go with the tried and true. Finally, I was swayed by the current rebate that Pentax is offering, and I think I got a pretty good deal. I splurged on a lens upgrade, which I think will improve the low light performance even further, and a flash for family portraits..

I picked up (all from Beach Camera through a link on dpreview of course)K200D body only ($100 rebate)smc 16-60 F/2.8 ED AL(IF) SDM lens ($100 rebate)af-360fgz flash ($50 rebate).

I look forward to learning how to use it and actually take some photos. My advice to new buyers is to think hard about what you really need, try it out in person, and don't waste too much time. You can make endless comparisons, read hundreds of reviews, and get unlimited opinions. In the end if you find you made the wrong decision on a camera it's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. More than likely, however, any dSLR is leagues better than a compact camera and you will be quite pleased with your decision and won't look back. Have fun and good luck!..

Comments (7)

You picked nice gear. One thing I want to say though....are you talking about the direction of the manual zoom ring on the Oly? Because you can chose which direction you want in the camera menu....Sony DSC-H50 P&SOlympus E-510 w/ dual kit lenses (28-84mm/80-300mm equiv. 35mm)Canon XTi 400D w/ dual lenses (28-88mm/120-480mm equiv. 35mm)..

Comment #1

Dennis Bingham wrote:.

You picked nice gear. One thing I want to say though....are youtalking about the direction of the manual zoom ring on the Oly?Because you can chose which direction you want in the camera menu....Sony DSC-H50 P&SOlympus E-510 w/ dual kit lenses (28-84mm/80-300mm equiv. 35mm)Canon XTi 400D w/ dual lenses (28-88mm/120-480mm equiv. 35mm).

The focus direction is changeable since it's by wire. The zoom ring is physical and not changeable..

If you think that makes sense, then you must have read someone else's post!..

Comment #2

That's what I meant, sorry..

Sony DSC-H50 P&SOlympus E-510 w/ dual kit lenses (28-84mm/80-300mm equiv. 35mm)Canon XTi 400D w/ dual lenses (28-88mm/120-480mm equiv. 35mm)..

Comment #3

I applaud you for looking at all the choices and not wearing CaNikon blinkers. However, I don't recognise the delay between shots issue with the Sony. My recently arrived Sony A200 is anything but slow in this respect..

Malcy.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/malcy/setshttp://picasaweb.google.com/lumachrome..

Comment #4

I think you did a real service to all the new DSLR searchers. The most important part of getting a DSLR is knowing what is comfortable for YOU!!..

I love my Oly but if it isn't comfortable you shouldn't buy it. All the DSLRs out now for the entry level are excellent cameras. I can argue about the kit lenses but that is for another thread..

I'm glad you got what you are comfortable with and that you enjoy the camera. If you spend the time with it to get past the "auto" settings I think you will find it a really rewarding effort. Now get prepared. Your next post will be "Which of these lenses should I buy next?" LOL.

Welcome to the world of DSLRs!!.

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

Comment #5

For beginners to read. SOOOOO Bump.

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

Comment #6

Hi Malcy,.

Thanks for your applause. Regarding the shot delay I'm only referring to the sony a300/350 in live view. I don't think it applies to the a200..

IKB wrote:.

I applaud you for looking at all the choices and not wearing CaNikonblinkers. However, I don't recognise the delay between shots issuewith the Sony. My recently arrived Sony A200 is anything but slow inthis respect..

Malcy.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/malcy/setshttp://picasaweb.google.com/lumachrome..

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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