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06-25-2009, 08:06 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Pentax K20D with 16-45mm lens - $1040 @ B&H
Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 - $249

Portraits and scenics are covered with these 2 lenses.

Total: $1289
That's certainly one option. What about (all used) a K200D, a kit lens (version II), and a 50-200? Or a K200D, a kit lens, a 50-200, and a 70/77?

06-25-2009, 09:30 PM   #17
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My advice to my daughter

My daughter asked me for advice on moving up to a DSLR. Here is what I wrote her. Plagiarize as much or as little as you want. BTW, she bought a K200d with 18-55 II from the recommended store. Substitute the store of choice in your area.

Each of the brands has its good and bad points. I have dealt pleasurable at the McBains Camera in Lethbridge - HQ is in Edmonton. good people, and on the web. I personally prefer to pay a few more dollars for good service and hands on before buying.

Crop Ratio
  • As the crop ratio number increases, the difficulty for designing wide angle lenses also increases. The 28mm lens you used in Europe with Mom becomes a 36 - about the same as your P&S. You need 18mm to get the same wide angle view of a 28.
  • Telephotos get longer. My 400 is a 600 on the k10d. This is just cropping, so is meaningless but has resulted in a great advertising gimmick.
  • As a sensor gets smaller, for the same number of photosites (Megapixels) each photo site is smaller. It needs more signal amplification. Even more amplification is needed when using higher ISOs as you will in building where flash and tripods are not possible. The downside of this is digital noise. That's a fancy word for the digital equivalent of grain in film cameras. High ISO is grainy or noisy. 4/3 sensors are smaller, and are therefor worse. The new "full frame" sensors are much better in the dark.
By Brand
  • Pentax, Nikon, Sony is 1.5X - the sensor is about 16x24 mm, 2/3 the size of the 24x36mm 35 mm frame.
  • Canon uses a slightly smaller sensor with a 1.6X crop ratio
  • Olympus and the other 4/3 cameras have a 2X crop ratio. The 4/3 compares to the 3/2 of the others, and refers to the relative length of the sides of the rectangle. Your P&S is a 4/3 ratio.
  • Nikon, Sony and Canon have also come out with 24x36mm sensors. A 16x24 sensor of 10 Mp or more will print to 24 x 36 inches. You don't need "full frame", the extra weight or the extra dollars they cost.
If on occasion you would like to use Daddy's lenses, or buy a used (even manual focus) lens, Pentax (Samsung is rebranded Pentax) would be the choice. They have the best "retro" fitting system of anyone out there. You can use old lenses with a a few compromises. If you have friends with Canon or Nikon or Sony bodies, and want to borrow lenses, then their brand would be the best choice.

Pentax gets knocked for the frames per second (3 fps) for sports, but I never shoot sports in burst so it doesn't bother me. Pentax gets knocked for slow AF in low light. They use a "check back" focusing system - the lens grabs a preliminary focus, and then refines it which takes more time than the Canon and Nikon cameras that use a "Close enough" philosophy. Coming from a P&S, you will find any SLR has fast AF, even the slow ones. Chasseur d'Images (A French photo mag) finds Pentax AF just fine. I found shooting David in the hockey rink, and Les Gauloises indoors at high ISO and low light not all that bad. Good enough for me.

So any way, here's some ideas for you. I'm hitting the five top brands, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony. Sony bought Konica/Minolta's camera business.
  • Batteries. Some models use AA's, others use proprietary rechargeables. In the depths of Africa, 100 miles from the nearest electrical outlet, AA's will power the camera in an emergency. This is somewhat overrated, because standard alkalines really don't hold up for long, but in an emergency when you want to take David's picture as the Thai elephant handler loses control you can get the shot with AAs.
  • Lens Stabilization allows shooting at longer shutter speeds without camera motion blur. In body stabilization works with every lens you put on the camera. In lens can give maybe an extra stop of stabilization, because it moves elements in the lens rather than the sensor. In body shake reduction includes dust removal that shakes dust off the sensor. The bete noire of the digital SLR is dust on the sensor. Any brand, any make, any model.
    • Canon - IS (Image Stabilization) in lens only
    • Nikon - VR (Vibration Reduction) in lens only
    • Olympus - some models in body, some lenses.
    • Pentax - SR (Shake Reduction) in body
    • Sony - in body
  • Autofocus, in order of speed in low light, better to worse. We are talking 0.5 sec to 2 sec tops. You can also manual focus any of them.
    • Canon
    • Nikon
    • Olympus
    • Pentax
    • Sony
  • Kit Lenses - I cannot understand Canon's poor showing here.
    • Pentax
    • Olympus
    • Nikon
    • Sony
    • Canon
  • Image Quality is a toss up. They are all really very, very good.
  • Weather proofing
    • Canon - only the top pro models
    • Nikon - only the top pro models
    • Olympus - top models
    • Pentax all models except KM/K2000
    • Sony - top models
  • Live view
My pick: a Pentax K200d with 18-55 and 50-200 mm kit lenses.
  • The camera is weather proof (rain and dust). Not the lenese, though.
  • The 18-55 kit lens is very good.
  • I have read a review where one pro used the 50-200 as his mid range zoom. I find this surprising, myself.
  • The camera uses AA cells. Li-ion rechargeables have a decent life. Alkalines about gtwo rolls of film equivalent.
  • The pick by Chasseur d'Images in this segment (Les Economiques)
C d'I "L'avis de la Redaction"
  • On aime
    • Qualite generale et qualite des images
    • Stabilization, antipoussiere
    • Alimentation par piles ou accus.
  • On aime moins
    • L'appareil est plein de qualites mais il est aujourd'hui avantageusement remplace par le K-m: legerement plus petit et moins cher.
The k2000 does not seem to be less expensive in North America. The weather proofing is worth a few dollars, too.

My best advice: go to McBains and try them all out. You might like the feel of one more than the other. Make sure to test how awkward or easy it is to change settings that would commonly be used by you. I find Canons took their control design from Microsoft - everything is eight levels down in the menus. The others are similar to Pentax.
06-25-2009, 10:21 PM   #18
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