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Which New DSLR?
Many years ago I had a Practica BC1 slr, but then life got in the way and photography stopped. Recently however I became fed up of my lazy approach to using a mobile phone to capture images, so, I decided a DSLR was for me..

So, like most people, I stared to research, mainly the internet, as most magazines just scream at people to buy the latest and expensive piece of kit. Magazines however are great for technique and how to use the thing. Not being in any way knowledgeable of the digital scene I had to learn some basics..

Reading many reviews and specifications it is all too easy to get caught up in minutiae of detail and to become convinced you need every little feature. I also knew that I wanted a camera that would allow me to develop my technical skill slowly, at my own pace, whilst still allowing great photos out of the box, that all the family could use. I also set a budget of 400.

I ended up with a shortlist of five cameras  the Pentax K10D, the Cannon 400D, the Olympus E510, the Sony a200 and lastly the Nikon 40dx. So, reviews and marketing read it was off to the shop to compare and evaluate them..

The Nikon was discounted owing to it having no dust removal system. The Olympus went next owing to small size and lack of features that I might need in future use. The Cannon went for three reasons. First it had a CMOS sensor and low ISO, and rightly or wrongly, I deemed it unsuitable for night photography or astronomical photos via my telescope. The second reason was, for me anyway, it's poor ergonomics. Lastly, it was about to be replaced with a newer version, so it's technology was a little old, although it's well proven in taking great pictures..

That left the Pentax and Sony. Again the Pentax is about to be replaced, but I liked the fact of the weather proof seals. However it was heavier than the rest which may have been a problem for others in the family. Also it was feature rich  too many for me  I felt it would have taken an age for me to understand and use to it's full capacity. It is I feel a camera for the knowledgeable enthusiast..

That then left the Sony. Knowing it had Minolta pedigree helped convince me it was a serious contender with the other brands. I also suppose it helped that I am not a brand snob. I immediately liked the ergonomics  larger than all but Pentax, all family liked the comfortable and light way it fitted in the hands. The feature set was wide and I deemed enough to develop with my skills. Ease of use was for me, way ahead of the others, and the resulting pictures on the LCD screen, to my eye, appeared a lot crisper than the others.



Mairtin..

Comments (5)

Yes; http://www.friedmanarchives.com/ebooks/index.htm They are good.If he hasn't written an Alpha 200 yet he's working on it!.

Regards Michael.

Http://www.pbase.com/michael73..

Comment #1

Silversaxman wrote:.

I ended up with a shortlist of five cameras  the Pentax K10D, theCannon 400D, the Olympus E510, the Sony a200 and lastly the Nikon40dx. So, reviews and marketing read it was off to the shop tocompare and evaluate them..

All good and popular with many happy users....

The Nikon was discounted owing to it having no dust removal system..

Not a significant issue. The consensus on this forum is that dust removal is largely a marketing tool of dubious value. Some work better than others but at some point you will have to clean the sensor, which takes about half a minute. I've had to do it twice in a year. This shouldn't be a make-or-break issue; it's like choosing a car on the basis of whether or not you like it's windscreen wipers..

The Olympus went next owing to small size and lack of features that Imight need in future use..

The Olympus E510 is pretty well featured for a camera in it's price bracket. What size camera body you like is of course a personal issue. Most people who choose not to buy Olympus do so on the strength of the smaller sensor (and consequent slightly higher noise, especially at higher ISO settings) compared to the rest of the cameras at that price point, although the difference in image quality is marginal unless you are using expensive lenses and making huge prints..

The Cannon went for three reasons. First ithad a CMOS sensor and low ISO, and rightly or wrongly, I deemed itunsuitable for night photography or astronomical photos via mytelescope..

?? Not sure what you mean here. The 400D is considered to have good high-ISO performance... read the review on this site..

The second reason was, for me anyway, it's poor ergonomics..

Several people have said the same....

Lastly, it was about to be replaced with a newer version, so itstechnology was a little old, although it's well proven in taking greatpictures..

All cameras are about to replaced with a new version. If you don't want to buy a camera that will be obsolete in 12 - 18 months, you won't buy a camera at all! Those that have reached the end of their product cycle (like the Canon 400D and Pentax K10D) are very good value at the moment. For the same reason, also consider the Nikon D80 which might be just about within your price range, and is compatible with a much wider range of lenses than the Nikon D40x..

That left the Pentax and Sony. Again the Pentax is about to bereplaced, but I liked the fact of the weather proof seals. However itwas heavier than the rest which may have been a problem for others inthe family. Also it was feature rich  too many for me  I felt itwould have taken an age for me to understand and use to it's fullcapacity. It is I feel a camera for the knowledgeable enthusiast..

Your assessment of the K10D is fair, but your logic is a little odd... you rejected the Oly E510 because it is small with not enough features, yet you also don't like the K10D because it is large with more features. Exactly what size and what set features are you looking for...? the K10D is very good value at the moment, possibly the best 'bang-per-buck' around. But I can see that people with small hands wouldn't like it..

That then left the Sony. Knowing it had Minolta pedigree helpedconvince me it was a serious contender with the other brands. I alsosuppose it helped that I am not a brand snob. I immediately liked theergonomics  larger than all but Pentax, all family liked thecomfortable and light way it fitted in the hands. The feature set waswide and I deemed enough to develop with my skills. Ease of use wasfor me, way ahead of the others, and the resulting pictures on theLCD screen, to my eye, appeared a lot crisper than the others..

You can't judge the output of the camera from the little LCD screen, it can be completely misleading....

Yes, the a-200 is a fine camera (they all are). Just bear in mind that availability of lenses for this is more limited. Not a problem if you just want a standard zoom and a tele zoom, but if you want anything more esoteric (ultra-wides... wide aperture long teles for sports / wildlife...) there are far more lenses available in Nikon / Canon mounts. (I speak as a Pentax owner so I'm trying to be impartial!).

I got the impression reading your post that you have found something you are happy with - which is great - but you've attached a lot of weight to several rather trivial (or incorrect) issues, and missed many important ones. But if you and your family are happy with the Sony, excellent - you will enjoy it, whatever means you used to make the decision!.

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

I was in exactly the same position just a week ago and also decided on the A200. It was the only A200 in the store at the time and I took it home in anticipation only to find out that all my pictures were out of focus when using the AF. Took it back and the store owner confirmed that there was something wrong with the auto-focus system. Needless to say I was bummed since I liked the features of the camera very much..

The store owner was nice enough to give me a E-510 as a loaner until I decided if I wanted to order another A200 and much to my surprise, the E-510 works great and produces fine pictures right out of the "box". I now have decided to keep the E-510 and will be getting a second lens soon (42-50mm f/3.5)..

As you can see, and as others have said before, all the above cameras work fine eventually. The slightly higher ISO noise of the Oly is really a non issue since I can't see any noise even at ISO1600 when printing 4x6...

Comment #3

There are many lenses available for the Sony Alpha 200 due to it's Konica Minolta heritage. While the Sony Alpha camera is the newest camera manufactured for the DSLR market, it is backwardly compatible with the Konica Minolta lenses that are designated "A-Mount" lenses..

I was very happy to find this out when my Sony A700 arrived. I had a K-M 50 Macro Lens for a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and this lens is GREAT with my A700..

Check out the Sony SLR Forum on this website, there are a lot of posters talking about the various K-M / Sony / Tamron / Sigma lenses that are available and how they produce beautiful photos..

Congratulations on choosing the Sony A200..

Mike703 wrote:.

Yes, the a-200 is a fine camera (they all are). Just bear in mindthat availability of lenses for this is more limited. Not a problemif you just want a standard zoom and a tele zoom, but if you wantanything more esoteric (ultra-wides... wide aperture long teles forsports / wildlife...) there are far more lenses available in Nikon /Canon mounts. (I speak as a Pentax owner so I'm trying to beimpartial!).

Mike.

Matt..

Comment #4

Dennis Bingham wrote:.

The store owner was nice enough to give me a E-510 as a loaner untili decided if I wanted to order another A200 and much to my surprise,the E-510 works great and produces fine pictures right out of the"box". I now have decided to keep the E-510 and will be getting asecond lens soon (42-50mm f/3.5)..

Hi Dennis,.

Glad to see you finally got a working dSLR now. Good luck with the Olympus it's a really good camera too and I'm sure everything will work out well for you.  .

Alex.

From the minds of Minolta to the imagination of Sony, Alpha, like no other..

Http://www.pbase.com/lonewolf69..

Comment #5

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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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