Best SLR around £400?

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Geoff Berrow, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    See subject. My sister in law wants to know.

    Ideas, comments?
    Geoff Berrow, Jul 17, 2007
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  2. £399 Sony Alpha 100 with kit lens - 10 megapixels and image
    stabilisation, moderately small body, kit lens range 18-70mm rather than
    the usual 18-50mm/55mm and thus much better for close-ups, animals,
    flowers, butterflies, kids.

    David Kilpatrick, Jul 17, 2007
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  3. Depends what you want really. No such thing as "best" just the nearest to
    ideal for what you want. Without knowing what you want then we can't say.
    Richard Polhill, Jul 17, 2007
  4. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    Well its not for me but one of my main reasons for buying an SLR was the
    'instant' take. Not sure if any non slrs do this. After that I'd be
    looking at picture quality, followed by ease of use and value for
    money. Anything over 6 megapixel would be fine.

    I'm pretty sure my SIL will not be too bothered by non interchangeable
    Geoff Berrow, Jul 17, 2007
  5. Megapixel? So you want a DIGITAL SLR? That makes a lot of difference.

    Go to a shop and try them. Seriously, if the only reason you want an SLR is
    the instant response, go and try some compacts that have fast response.

    Most dSLRs will still pause if they are struggling to focus, esp in low light.
    Yeah they're pretty instant at focusing in good light, but you can still find
    yourself waiting for the thing to refocus if it isn't sure. And that is just
    as frustrating with a £400 SLR as with a £200 compact.
    I still say you probably want a good compact. No point in having a big bulky
    and expensive SLR if you're not a photography enthusiast. The best camera in
    the world is one you have with you when you need it.

    So... Canon compacts are pretty fast to respond. Avoid Nikon and Olympus as
    they're slow. I'm sure there are other suggestions.
    Richard Polhill, Jul 17, 2007
  6. Geoff Berrow

    Chris Whelan Guest

    Whilst agreeing that the OP's SIL may well be best advised to get a compact,
    a Canon dSLR is way faster to focus than a Canon compact, and of course you
    have the opportunity with the dSLR to switch to manual focus.

    The one thing I regret about changing from a digital compact to a dSLR is
    that I didn't do it sooner...

    Chris Whelan, Jul 17, 2007
  7. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    I'm pretty certain that you're right. She'd probably just leave the
    damn thing on auto and that would be a waste. What people fail to
    realise is that an SLR or DSLR usually gives you many more ways to take
    a bad picture.
    Useful information.
    Geoff Berrow, Jul 17, 2007
  8. Geoff Berrow

    Chris Whelan Guest

    ....and more here:

    Chris Whelan, Jul 17, 2007
  9. Geoff Berrow

    Paul Giverin Guest

    Paul Giverin, Jul 17, 2007
  10. Geoff Berrow

    Rv! Guest

    From what I've read in the thread...
    I'd suggest not going DSLR and getting a Fuji S9600
    for about half your budget and getting the essential
    accessories to take good photos. No matter what camera
    you end up with, you'll buy all these bits anyway!

    Rv!, Jul 17, 2007
  11. Richard Polhill, Jul 18, 2007
  12. Geoff Berrow

    harrogate3 Guest

    Don't be so quick to judge. The delay in taking a picture is in the
    main due to the focus system - if you press the shutter half way to
    prefocus then when you press further to take the picture it is
    essentially instant. The focus system can take different times to work
    under different lighting conditions - for instance taking a view on a
    sunny day will usually be very quick, but try taking a picture in low
    light, or especially a contra jour shot (sun behind subject) on a
    bright day and it will take longer.

    When I went to digital compact originally I missed this point, so when
    I upgraded I took particular notice of it. From my own research and
    tests I have found that the quickest seem to be Casio and Canon, with
    Fuji and Sony (W range) not far behind. Much the slowest are Nikon and

    Also don't get caught in the race for pixels. To print a full frame
    picture to A4 only requires 3Mp, anything above about 6Mp will start
    to run into thermal noise problems, so for general use and to allow a
    little cropping 5-6Mp is about the optimum.

    I have three digitals: an Olympus C5050 (5Mp) which is horribly slow
    but has probably the best lens, flash, and metering system by far
    (compared with a compact) bar a little barrel distortion at the widest
    setting; a Nikon D70s SLR (6Mp) which I love; a Canon Ixus 60 (6Mp).
    We have just come back from holiday in France where between us my wife
    and I took nearly 1200 shots (the beauty of digital!) - I didn't take
    the Olympus. Generally speaking it is almost impossible to
    differentiate between snapshots taken with the Canon and the Nikon (in
    jpg mode.) I say snapshots as the one thing you can do with any dSLR
    but NOT with a compact is to catch a moving object successfully. No
    matter how fast a compact responds it will never match the near
    instant reaction of a dSLR.

    As a photographer for over 40 years man and boy I would give the same
    advice as I did when people used to ask me which (film) camera to buy.
    You have got to live with the thing: no matter how many bells and
    whistles it has if you cannot hold and use it comfortably it will
    rapidly fall into disuse, or it will be blamed for poor pictures when
    a poor picture is solely the responsibility of the idiot taking it! (I
    have fairly large hands and so could never get on with the Olympus OM1
    film SLR as it was too small, but the Minolta XG2 or XD9 was no
    problem being about the same size but just a few mill thicker to get
    may hands around.) Take your SIL to a good camera supplier - Jessops
    or Jacobs nationally - on a quiet day and have them get out the
    cameras that are in her price range or thereabouts. She should hold
    them, play with them, and take some pictures. (If the shop doesn't
    have a charged battery - as Currys and PCW probably won't just walk
    away. If they can't be bothered to provide that facility do they
    warrant your business?) As sure as eggs is eggs one camera will feel
    right - that is the one to buy. If more than one feels right then look
    at facilities against price and ask if most/any of those facilities
    will ever be needed.
    harrogate3, Jul 18, 2007
  13. I second everything you say.
    Richard Polhill, Jul 18, 2007
  14. Geoff Berrow

    Mark Dunn Guest

    David Kilpatrick's opinion carries a lot of weight for me. That, and it's a
    Mark Dunn, Jul 18, 2007
  15. Geoff Berrow

    Trev Guest

    Spelt S o n y = Minolta. I still have a soft spot for them but my brain says
    Nikon Which shall win Hart or Brain And My MC/MD lens will not fit on
    Trev, Jul 18, 2007
  16. Hah I have a stack of lovely FD lenses which'll never fit anything.

    I prefer the Nikon to the Sony just for the build quality.
    Richard Polhill, Jul 18, 2007
  17. If I may say so, that looks a pile of rubbish.

    Presumably the timing is based on an 'auto' setting (but doesn't say
    so), and therefore includes the time taken to focus (but doesn't say

    Presumably it doesn't take into account the delay on the viewfinder (or
    screen) (but doesn't say so), which IMHO is the major problem with
    digicams, and adds significantly to the delay between
    *what is seen on the screen* AND *what is captured as image*

    So in short, it is really measuring the time the autofocus takes (given
    that the exposure is being set within that time (but doesn't say so).

    If like me you focus while composing the picture and leave the camera to
    assess the exposure, the delay is more likely to be in the region of 0.1
    and 0.25 seconds on many of those cameras. (Of course those supposes
    that the cameras have manual focus capability.)

    The five photo times are presumably based on setting the camera in
    continuous setting (but doesn't say so), and are thus more a function of
    the time taken to store the picture. If the table is based on the user
    pressing the exposure button five times (but doesn't say so) then the
    delay introduced by the user is likely to be significant.

    So my advice to the OP is to find a camera for his SIL that has manual
    focussing - if shutter delay is his main criterion.



    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Jul 18, 2007
  18. This is a bit like comparing chalk & cheese really - the 9600 has a very
    small sensor crammed with a crazy 9 mega pixels which is going to give noise
    quite badly at much over ISO200

    check out the comparisons with a basic pentax DSLR to see how noisy the 9600

    The only "essential accessory" I have purchased so far has been a 2GB CF
    card for about £20 (unless you count a lens as an accessory!)

    cheers adrian
    Adrian Boliston, Jul 18, 2007
  19. Geoff Berrow

    Trev Guest

    Well its smaller then a APS-C but twice as big as most compacts at 1/1.6th
    but its very good on Noise levels at much higher then 200 asa and very
    usable at 800 asa.
    Not saying a Pentax or any other dslr is no better but there is £300 more to
    pay, at least.
    Trev, Jul 18, 2007
  20. A D40 Kit at £329 is £76 more than the Fuji9600 (using amazon as a ballpark)
    Adrian Boliston, Jul 18, 2007
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