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$500 camera: Powershot G9/G10 or ultra-entry-level DSLR?

I'm looking for a new digital camera, and to be honest anything could improve upon my 3.2mp Powershot A75.

I'd like access to full manual controls and preferably RAW mode. It must be $500 or less. I was originally looking at some entry-level DSLRs (almost all reputable brands, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Olympus seemed to have a camera kit available for roughly $500, though some were a year or two old).

However, it seems like I've got a choice between a truly top-of-the-line, well-reviewed, well-featured point-and-shoot and a cheaper-quality, low-featured DSLR. I'm also concerned that with a DSLR, it would be difficult to carry around and I'd ed up not taking as many photos.

So: is it worth it for the DSLR, considering I probably won't be buying new lenses anytime soon? (Although I do have a couple 40-yr.-old Pentax lenses).

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depends

It really depends on you and not the camera, though the size is something you will have to consider. If you plan to add lens in the long run, learn about photography, learn how to use manual controls, and do some post processing on each photo then I'd say the DSLR. The bad thing about the DSLR is that the kit lens will not be that much better indoors compared the G series cameras. Another problem is that you'd have a focal range of 28-72mm with a DSLR where the G10 has a focal range of 28-140mm. You can zoom twice as far with the G10, it's somewhat pocketable and can take very nice photos right out of the box.

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Try Powershot + CHDK software add-on

In reply to: $500 camera: Powershot G9/G10 or ultra-entry-level DSLR?

Since you're already looking at Canon Powershots, you could consider one of the models that support the CHDK software add-on. http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK - function for function, a lot cheaper and easier to carry around than a DSLR (and includes raw output). There's one of many magazine reviews here http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2329392,00.asp .

In fact, you don't need anything too expensive. This photo http://www.s3users.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10181 was taken with a plain S5IS.

A teleconverter (plus adapter) will get you even closer to the action for a reasonable price.

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Two different answers

In reply to: $500 camera: Powershot G9/G10 or ultra-entry-level DSLR?

You really have two questions here, and they require two (potentially) different answers.

The question of "is a dSLR worth it" is a resounding "yes" even if you stick with the "kit lens" that comes with it.

Even a 2 year old dSLR will give you better picture quality than a "modern" point-and-shoot because they have bigger and better sensors.

Now whether that is the right choice for you since you are concerned about weight and carrying it around is another question, and one that really only you can answer. No matter how good the sensor is, you won't get good photos if the camera is sitting home in the bag rather than out with you where you can use it.

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