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New SLR Help
Hello,.

I really need some help choosing an SLR. I've been reading and reading for months now and just when I think that I have figured out which will work best for me I learn a new piece of information that leads me in another direction. So finally I have come to my favorite place to get information on the net to ask for assistance as I am ready to make the plunge into the SLR world..

First off let me say that I have what you would call an "advanced" point and shoot and have learned how to adjust settings such as aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc. for different situations and am ready to advance to a SLR..

Mainly what I enjoy doing is landscapes. I'm an avid hiker and travel quite a bit. I also have a chance to see a good bit of wildlife on my treks. To a smaller extent I enjoy shooting architecture, but the main goal of mine will be landscape and wildlife. Some of my favorite moments to shoot are at sunrise and sunset. For me it doesn't get much better than capturing the first light of the day and the colors of the clouds as they burst to life over snowy mountain tops..

Now to the cameras. I have overloaded my brain with the pros and cons with quite a few models and have narrowed it down to these: Pentax K10d, Nikon D80, and Cannon D30, and the Sony Alpha A100..

I admit that I can be over analytical when researching things like this, but I just need that little extra boost of confidence from people who know what they're talking about so that I can finally make that purchase and get out there and start shooting and learning.Thanks!..

Comments (7)

Any of those cameras will be good choices. On the whole, landscape and scenery is not so much a demanding type of photography, and all can do it equally well..

The Pentax K10D has weather-sealing, unlike any of the rest, so this may be a plus depending where you travel. On the other hand, the jpg output is supbar, but if you shoot RAW the results are superb..

Amongst the other three, all perform similarly in my book - the D80 is a bit more feature-laden, but there's nothing in particular that stands out for your usage. The Pentax and Sony have in-camera stabilization, which may help you take scenery shots hand-held, instead of toting around a tripod..

I'd just go down to a local camera store and play around with the bodies, see what 'feels' best to you...

Comment #1

Any of those will be fine as you know - I'm a Nikon shooter, I find my D200 too heavy for hiking but your choices are all lighter..

I would favour Nikon and Canon above the rest on your list, especially over the Sony, which I think may only be there because of the image stabilisation. I have IS on all my small cams but never miss it on the D200. The A100 is a perfectly good camera but I can't see why anyone would favour it over Nikon or Canon, on spec grounds..

But the Pentax is an excellent camera, though perhaps they don't have the lens range of the big companies..

Lenswise in terms of landscapes/architecture, both Nikon and Canon have plenty of their own - I know Nikon's range and there's the 12-24, 10.5 fisheye, plus their new wideangle. I have the Sigma 10-20 (available in Nikon and Canon fit) which is cheaper and wider, so that could be a lens for you..

But the clincher has to be when you handle all of these cameras - if you like the handling of the Pentax or Sony then get them, but make sure you sample any camera before you buy..

Maybe take a card and fire off some shots, then view at home..

I looked at the D80 when sampling the D200 and preferred the ergonomics and build of the D200, but the D80 has the same image quality of the D200, it's a great camera..

One thing in favour of Nikon is the flash system, especially the new little SB-400 flash which is great and cheap..

Good luck - don't spend too long on your decision now - just make it and buy the camera, then enjoy it!.

Alex..

Comment #2

Ensau wrote:.

Pentax K10d, Nikon D80, and Cannon D30, and the Sony Alpha A100.>.

They're all good cameras, and only if you might want to build up to a pro system do you need to stick to either Canon or Nikon. For me out of those it would be the Canon 30D that I'd select - it handles a little better than the Nikon; subjectively, something to do with the second wheel on the back of the camera and nicer eye relief..

But do you need anti-shake? I have it on my old Minolta DSLR but even so I'll still use a tripod (sometimes a mini one that fits in a pocket) for landscapes which - to encompass the dynamic range - inevitably require bracketing and merging in Photoshop when sunrises and sunsets are on the agenda. You can fit Cokin or similar brand ND graduated filters on the end of your lens if you don't want to bracket and merge. This to my mind is the real DSLR/DSLR-style camera advantage for landscapes..

If size/sweight for backpacking is important, then put Olympus DSLRs on your list. The others plus a decent lens will be on the way to weighing 1kg. The Fuji 9100 slr-style camera I also use weighs in at about 700gms with it's fixed 28-300 lens, and that I feel is heavy enough..

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

Comment #3

Alex Leach wrote:.

Any of those will be fine as you know - I'm a Nikon shooter, I findmy D200 too heavy for hiking but your choices are all lighter..

I would favour Nikon and Canon above the rest on your list,especially over the Sony, which I think may only be there because ofthe image stabilisation..

And I'm a Canon shooter and I agree - Nikon or Canon is the way to go. I don't get into piszing matches over which is better - they both offer excellent systems and are industry leaders..

I have IS on all my small cams but nevermiss it on the D200. The A100 is a perfectly good camera but I can'tsee why anyone would favour it over Nikon or Canon, on spec grounds..

Not to mention that the lenses are REALLY expensive. The A100 may be a resonably priced camera, but when you add those Sony lenses the cost advantage of the body goes away in a hurry..

But the Pentax is an excellent camera, though perhaps they don't havethe lens range of the big companies..

And when you buy a camera, you buy into a lens system. Plus the feedback on the Pentax IQ seems to indicate it lags behind Canon and Nikon..

But the clincher has to be when you handle all of these cameras - ifyou like the handling of the Pentax or Sony then get them, but makesure you sample any camera before you buy..

Agreed - feel is very important. I have a D60 and 40D and I would never consider the Rebel cameras because they are too small in my hands..

Ensau - if you do go with Canon - go with the 30D, not the D30 - the D30 is an older model, only 3MP and very slow. The 30D is the newer 8MP version. I know that's what you meant, but make sure you pay attention to that if you buy off eBay or anything like that..

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Comment #4

Thanks for the advice..

IMac, therefore iAm :.

You are correct on referring to the 30D, not the D30. Made a mistake typing in the Nikon and Canon models back-to-back..

I was about ready to pull the trigger on the Pentax, mainly because of the build quality, the built in vibration reduction, and the dust removal system. I know that shooting JPEG's is a problem with this camera if you shoot them out of the box, but I have read that you can make some adjustments that will help correct this. I also know that the quality of shooting in RAW with this camera is supposed to match the Nikon and Canon's abilities in RAW. The problem is that I have never shot in RAW, but I know it will be fun learning..

The things that stopped me from pulling the trigger with the Pentax is of course the limited lens selection along with speed problems for wildlife shooting, and then I read that it does not perform as well as the Nikons and Cannons in poor light (I know that the photographer has allot to do with this). The poor light problem could affect me as I love shooting sunrise and sunset landscapes..

Then again I've read that this camera gives you the best "bang for your buck" as they say..

I know the quality of Nikon and Canon is outstanding and that when comparing the two it gets real nit-picky..

Does the performance and lens selection of these brands outweigh the value, build, and dust-removal aspects of the Pentax?..

Comment #5

You will be buying a system, not just a camera. Therefore, you should consider the lenses you will need as you decide on a camera body. In this regard, landscapes and wildlife require markedly different lenses, a wide angle for the former and a telephoto for the latter. Although lenses exist that will cover these extremes, they tend not to be as good as lenses designed for those purposes. Both the Canon and Nikon have excellent lenses in the ranges you will need to consider..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #6

Ensau wrote:.

Does the performance and lens selection of these brands outweigh thevalue, build, and dust-removal aspects of the Pentax?.

I would totally negate the dust-removal thing - it's more gimmick than anything (and I say that even though my 40D has it). Can't speak for Nikon, but I can say the Canon's are very stout - I seriously doubt Pentax would have much - if any - advantage there. In the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself, but here's something else to consider: Pentax was recently bought out by Hoya - IMO it's really up in the air as far as where they're going to be a couple years from now. Remember a few years ago Sigma made their own DSLR, but you don't hear much about that any more..

Also think long and hard about the low-light abilities - if that's important to you, do you really want to skimp in that dept? Sure some of it lies with the photographer, but the camera has to pull it's fair share too..

Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #7

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