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06-23-2011, 11:01 AM   #1
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what to focus on?

I bought a canon sx20is P&S (20xzoom) a couple years ago. I am now wishing I had just bit the bullet and gotten an SLR! It takes fine pics overall, but would like to be able to do a couple things better:

1. get shallow depth of field with pics of my toddler (I can with the sx, but ONLY in sunshine light)
2. take pictures inside the house without use of flash (would I get this with an slr?).
3. also want to continue to take my camera hunting with me and pics of wildlife, scenery, etc. also videos here & there.
4. I take more pics of my 2 year old than anything else! Want to be able to get good action shots indoors.

I do like the swing-out viewfinder with the sx20, but probably not absolutely necessary.

I have also been told that I probably need to look harder at the LENS (need a fast lens) than the camera body.

Basically my wants:
1) shallow DOF pics
2) video capability
3) fast enough to get action shots (now and as my child grows and likely plays sports - outdoord and indoors)
4) good indoor pics without having to wait for the flash to cycle every 2 seconds like with a P&S
5) good sequential pictures (more than 2-3 pics/second)?

any thoughts on replacement for my camera?
is the lens more important than the camera for my want list?

thanks.
No, I don't have a specific budget set yet at this time. I'm still in the looking at stuff & getting infromation phase - but budget WON"T be unlimited

06-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by mhdick Quote
Basically my wants: 1) shallow DOF pics 2) video capability 3) fast enough to get action shots (now and as my child grows and likely plays sports - outdoord and indoors) 4) good indoor pics without having to wait for the flash to cycle every 2 seconds like with a P&S 5) good sequential pictures (more than 2-3 pics/second)?
I think to take care of your wants at the moment, if you wanted to go Pentax, a K-r or K-x (to satisfy wants #2 and #5) would suit your needs quite nicely, along with the kit lens, a DA 55-300 lens and tripod (for want 3 and hunting as you stated), and a FA50/1.7 or FA50/1.4 lens (for wants 1 and 4). The total kit would run about $1000-1300.

Lenses are probably more important than the camera, true, but the sensitivity of the sensor will help for low light pictures.
06-24-2011, 02:44 PM   #3
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I just took a look at your camera's specs from dpreview and you can do everything except for number 5 on your want list. It's a matter of learning how to use your camera's own capability instead of looking over the fence thinking about how and why the grass is greener on the other side.

Shallow DOF pics; shoot in Aperture Priority AE mode and set the aperture to f2.8. Your camera has variable aperture as focal length increases, keeping the aperture wide open at any given focal length will give you the shallowest DOF possible.

Action shots; shoot in Shutter Priority AE mode and set the shutter speed to 1/125 and higher. Faster your toddler move, use faster shutter speeds.

Indoor pics without flash; set your camera's ISO high to 800 to 1600 range, depending on the lighting condition in your locale. Set aperture wide open to get best possible shutter speed to stop movements.

Having an articulated LCD monitor for video is a definite plus, you can shoot video with the camera held at waist level instead of at eye level and shooting down, or physically crouching down to get the best shooting angle.

Don't simply dismiss your camera as a mindless P&S camera, learn how to shoot in the various modes the camera is set up to do. Don't buy a DSLR thinking that you are going to start shooting better pictures with it right out of the box, you buy it to gain even more control over these various settings, which in turn will lead to better quality pictures as you gain better control over your camera.

Welcome to the Forums,
06-24-2011, 04:26 PM   #4
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Get the Pentax Q. Fits the bill.

But to be more serious the Kx and Kr both work which will price you around $700. As for lens over body its not alway the case anymore for low light the advancement of high iso performance has given bodies an advantage over aperture of the lens. Yes f2.8 will never be replaced by 6400 iso for isolation and creaminess. If your more adventureous then the k7 or k5 also works. In terms of Pentax models. But you should keep in mind that even though the pentax cameras have the smallest form factor they are still pretty big. Meaning they are not pocketable nor light when on a very long hike.

06-24-2011, 07:30 PM   #5
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For what you want, you need a fast lens and a good sensor. Fast is f2.8 or better. However, depth of focus becomes very narrow at f2 or f1.4 and you will have many missed shots because of that. If your Sx20 is like mine, even ISO 400 is pretty bad, so I would never use 800 or 1600 with it. However, with just about any DSLR body, that is fine.

I would suggest the 35mm f2.4 lens and a K-x body, even used. Relatively cheap, good hi-ISO performance, decent indoor focal length, good image quality.

I told myself the next body will have a rotating LCD, but that was one body ago...
06-25-2011, 05:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
I just took a look at your camera's specs from dpreview and you can do everything except for number 5 on your want list. It's a matter of learning how to use your camera's own capability instead of looking over the fence thinking about how and why the grass is greener on the other side.
...

Welcome to the Forums,
thanks so far to ALL of you.
without quoting ALL of your post, excanonfd, I'll reply simply that just because the specs say I can do those things doesn't mean I can (or most other photographers, either). Not to say that AT TIMES those things work, but not usually.
I've tried to do all of this, and only really in direct sunlight is most of it possible for me.

I'm not too worried about a small camera. (sx20 isn't small either).
thanks again!
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