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Help please. Getting a Digital SLR camera.

I'm getting a camera just because I don't have one and I'm tired of taking photos with my 3 meg cell phone. I've been researching that Best entry-level digital SLR cameras list here on the site and trying to figure out which is the best for me. I guess its gotta be between 500-700 dollars and that's it really. I just want a nice camera for whatever. I'm not a pro or anything... just for fun. Thing is when I watch the videos there's always an upside and a downside to each one... which makes the choice sooo much easier...NOT. Any suggestions? Thanks.

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-prosumer-dslr-cameras/?tag=lnav

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Here is a good start

In reply to: Help please. Getting a Digital SLR camera.

Here are a few DSLRs in your price range to compare features. There are full reviews for most of them. Good hunting.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?method=sidebyside&cameras=sony_dslra200%2Cnikon_d60%2Ccanon_eos1000d%2Coly_e510%2Cpentax_k200d&show=all

Bottom line.. Any of these will be a great camera for you and take excellent pictures. The Pentax, Canons and Sony have a ton of used lenses available at great prices--Sony bought Minolta cameras and the old Minolta lenses work on the Sony bodies. With Nikon, you need to move up to the D80 at least to take full advantage of the old lenses. The Olypus is a new system, so not much if any used stuff.

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caveats

In reply to: Here is a good start

If your doing full auto, which it sounds like your going to do, then I would look at the Nikons or the new Canon 1000D. They ramp up the saturation and sharpness that is what most point and shoot people want.

The problem with buying a DSLR is that you are buying into a system and don't expect to just buy a camera. It can become very expensive. Second, is that a good point and shoot performs better than a DSLR with landscape and does just as well or better in normal to bright light. If you expect to get better image quality straight out of the box, compared to a really good point and shoot, then you might really be disapointed.

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should have point out

In reply to: caveats

That a good point and shoot can match or do better "when a DSLR is used in auto modes". When used the way a DSLR was meant to be used as, it can very much outperform a point and shoot, but not in auto modes(except with frames per second and low noise high ISO). Also, there are live view on many DSLRs, but they aren't very usable except in studios and macro(The Sony's are the only ones that can be used all the time, but they are not good in high ISO).

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Sony at High ISO

In reply to: should have point out

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Hmm

In reply to: Sony at High ISO

The rose in the second column is a really nice picture... but all the others are not very vibrant, kinda dark and ehh... I'm not the pro though... I'm probably missing something. but that's the A200? that's good to know.

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Keep in mind

In reply to: Hmm

Those are shots right out of the camera. They have not been enhanced in Photoshop as are most pics you see posted.

As far as "vivid", you will not see that trait in any SLR(except maybe Nikon and they both use the same sensor, so it is camera processing) unless you set the camera to that mode. Point and shoot cameras are noted for doing more vivid processing in-camera compared to DSLRs. DSLRs will give you a more natural look. All DSLRs will let you set the saturation, sharpness, contrast etc for in-camera processing with JPEGs if that is what you want. I prefer to fine tune my images in post processing.

As far as "dark", you are far better off slightly underexposing an image than overexposing it. You can easily bring out the highlights in the dark areas with post processing, but once you have blown a highlight, it is gone forever.

I shot those images only for the reason of using the high ISO setting. Had I wanted a better picture, they would have been shot at ISO 100 or 200 and edited. What you are seeing are snapshots.

BTW, those shots were with a Minolta lens, not the kit lens. For some reason, I get worse high ISO results with the kit lens than any of my Minolta lenses. If you want to get an idea of how different lenses will perform on that body, here are some comparisons I shot at ISO 200 and ISO 1600. All were shot at 50mm with same shutter speed and f-stop. Examine at full size.

http://fb.esnips.com/web/LenstestImages

Note how much better the 50mm prime lens is than the kit lens at ISO 1600. The kit lens is definately the weakest link in this camera. The good news is that there are tons of used Minolta lenses out there at bargain prices. I was a Minolta 35mm SLR user, so the switch to Sony was a logical choice for me. But, I was willing to change systems if there was a drastic difference in quality between brands. I could not find that there was. If you are already vested in a lens system, stick with it. If not, pick what feels best in your hands. Try out the menus and settings. You can not make a bad choice.

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They look good because

In reply to: Sony at High ISO

From dpreview:

"The A200's noise reduction is pretty aggressive and causes visible smearing of fine detail in the camera's JPEG output. Most of the A200's direct competitors can produce visibly better results in challenging light situations."

With their noise reduction you wouldn't see that much noise, but you lose very valuable information and sharpness.

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I might be disapointed?

In reply to: caveats

Straight out of the box I guess I understand that. But then all I need is to eventually invest in a nice lens and I'll be good? I am actually looking into the 1000D/Rebel XS. If it doesn't get good a review though, then I may go with the XSI... but I'm not sure if I want to pay that much. What about Sony Cameras? That A200? For $499 (Bestbuy) that seems like a good deal but I heard the kit lens isn't the greatest for a kit lens. Still, I figured I would go with Nikon or Canon for their reputation.

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no

In reply to: I might be disapointed?

You'll have a good camera and lens. Here's the way it usually is:

DSLRs give the photographer more creative control than P&S cameras.
with that creative control comes learning and practice, and
post-processing skills as well.

DSLRs are NOT for people who want BETTER photos than P&S with the
same ease. They are for people who find photography fascinating, and
want to learn more about it, and with work, become a good
photographer.

Having said all of the above, the most important element of
photography is the creative eye and brain of the photographer - not
the gear.

Here is a link to a thread of a guy who was/is having problems because "he" takes better photos with his G9 than with his XSI and thought he would get better image quality buy just buying a DSLR.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1031&thread=28688263&page=1

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Gotcha.

In reply to: no

Question. Post Processing is just editing a photo through software on a computer right? And is there a Photography "for Beginners" book out there you guys would recommend? I have a lot of spare time, so I'm quite willing to learn the ways of the DSLR. Like I said before, the only other camera I've had is the camera on my cell phone. I think no matter what, I'll be more than satisfied with this route I have chosen. And it sounds really fun to get into something new, I can't wait. I'm just waiting for that Canon XS review.

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This review?

In reply to: Gotcha.

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I'll give that a read thanks.

In reply to: This review?

but I meant a review by cnet... but the more reviews the better.

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While you are there..

In reply to: I'll give that a read thanks.

Visit the Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus etc forums and see what some of the owners think. Of course it is biased. None of these people would have bought that brand if they felt it was inferior. Also, read the reviews there of all cameras you are intested in. Use Google to find even more reviews of the cameras. Do a lot of research, but do not buy anything before you hold it in your hands and try it out. Remember, all these reviews are just one person's opinion and they too can be biased.

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best new book for basics

In reply to: Gotcha.

The best beginners book for photography is "Understanding exposure".

For software, it depends on the product you plan on getting. Photoshop elements 6.0 is a very good product, and the "Classroom in a book" series are pretty good for teaching you how to use it. There are more advanced books and websites, but the basics will suffice for now.

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