DSLR options - your opinions welcomed

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by OG, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. OG

    OG Guest

    Rather out of the blue, my wife has suggested that it might be a good idea
    to move up to a DSLR as our joint Christmas present this year. The main
    benefit we're looking for is the better dymanic range for DSLRs, and
    generally better performance in low light conditions

    In the past we've been a Pentax family, having started with a K1000 almost
    30 years ago, and later getting an ME-super and a P30 before we moved to
    digital (mainly Fuji) about 5 years ago.

    Having already had Pentax SLRs, this means that we have a couple of lenses
    that we're no longer using - 28-80mm KA mount and 75-205mm K mount.

    As far as starter DSLRs are concerned, there seem to be 3 main contenders,
    the Nikon D40 (6MP), the Canon EOS 350 (8MP) or the Pentax K100D Super

    The big question we have is how much of our decision should be based on the
    fact that we already have compatible lenses? They aren't top end lenses, but
    they will extend the available zoom range if we went with the Pentax. If we
    bought either of the others we would probably be looking for a longer
    telephoto at some point anyway.

    We know that we wouldn't get AF on either of these lenses, and we wouldn't
    be able to use shutter priority auto mode on the longer telephoto, but these
    aren't major considerations.

    From reading around the subject, the anti-shake chip mount on the Pentax
    seems to make a real difference in low light conditions.

    At present, it seems that going for the Pentax sounds like a good idea, but
    I would value the opinion of people on the group as to whether I'm
    'over-rating' the value of the existing lenses.

    Any thoughts?

    OG, Nov 18, 2007
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  2. OG

    Woody Guest

    If you have Pentax kit and you like Pentax then stay with Pentax.

    Having said that you have to live with the camera that you buy and as
    there are two of you it is more important that you go to a camera shop
    and hold and play with the cameras in your budget. No matter how good it
    is and how many bells and whistles it has, if it is not comfortable to
    hold and the right weight and balance then it will quickly fall out of
    use - and that's an awful lot of money sitting in the corner doing

    As for the others, the D40 and D40X are best avoided as they need HSM
    lenses which are the moment are a bit rare and expensive. The camera
    body does not have the motor to operate the iris lever on mechanical
    lenses, so the HSM (HyperSonicMotor) lens with the motor in the lens is
    mandatory. If you can afford it the D80 is a much better buy and I think
    comes with an 18-140 lens or something like that. Nikon do not have an
    anti-dust capability.

    The EOS350D has long been superseded by the EOS400, both of which are
    good cameras, but the 18-55 lens that comes as standard leaves much to
    be desired. There is now the EOS410 which has live view.

    Don't overlook the Olympus E410 and E510, the latter especially. It is
    small, light, and Olympus lenses have long been regarded as sitting at
    the better end of the market. Only catch is that lens mount is plastic
    which may wear more quickly than metal.

    I'm a Nikon D70s owner with the 18-70 lens which is a cracker and I
    delighted with it. Next step up for me would be the D200 or new D300 but
    I can't afford either!
    Woody, Nov 18, 2007
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  3. OG

    Dave Guest

    Is there an EOS410 ?

    Dave, Nov 18, 2007
  4. OG

    Woody Guest

    Woody, Nov 18, 2007
  5. OG

    Chris Savage Guest

    Chris Savage, Nov 18, 2007
  6. OG

    Chris Savage Guest

    The D40(x) works with older lenses, but you lose autofocus (and
    metering?). The _AF-S_ lenses that the D40(x) require are neither rare
    nor expensive. There's a good choice of cheap kit AF-S lenses. There are
    also expensive AF-S lenses, but they're not rare either. I had no
    trouble buying two of them a year ago.
    You're confusing autofocus and aperture. The D40(x) lacks the screw
    drive in its lens mount to drive a non-AF-S lens's focus mechanism.

    'G' lenses lack an aperture ring, but they still have the lever to
    operate the iris. The D40(x) has the motor to operate the iris lever.
    The D80 comes with any number of lens options, it is indeed a better
    camera, whether it's a better buy depends on one's requirements and
    Does anyone? A number of cameras have mechanisms intended to minimise
    dust adhesion to the AA filter surface, among them the Nikon D300.
    There is the EOS40D which has live view. No EOS410D that I ever heard
    The other only catches are the 4/3 sensor size, terrible noise
    performance and Olympus's generally lacklustre commitment to the DSLR.

    I've been helping a friend make the same decision. He's a long-time
    Pentax user looking to buy a DSLR. After trying my D200, then spending
    half an hour in Jacobs yesterday afternoon I think he's deliberating
    between a Pentax K10D and a D80. Canon barely got a look in. The 400D is
    a flimsy little thing (as is the D40(x))and the 40D was too confusing
    even for the assistant (a Canon owner) to be able to immediately work
    out its intricacies.

    The investment one already has in glass has to be taken into
    consideration, but try a few cameras in your hand and you may find that
    the features you gain with a new outfit outweigh your attachment to
    existing gear.
    Chris Savage, Nov 18, 2007
  7. OG

    Dick Bowman Guest

    That's one view of Olympus - there are others who view them more
    Dick Bowman, Nov 19, 2007
  8. OG

    Peter Guest

    I bought a Pentax *DL in 2005 and it's absolutely brilliant. Have
    taken about 20GB of pics with it.

    I wanted a compact DSLR because of having previously used Olympus OM
    SLRs which are light and compact; most DSLRs were (and still are)
    Peter, Nov 19, 2007
  9. OG

    Mark Dunn Guest

    There are plenty of good reasons, but don't kid yourself that digital
    cameras have a better dynamic range. They don't.
    Mark Dunn, Nov 19, 2007
  10. OG

    OG Guest

    Thanks for the opinions.

    I went and had a trial at Jessops this afternoon - compared the K100D and
    the Canon EOS400D.

    I reckoned I would be happy with either; and it would be useful to have the
    use of my existing lenses.

    I thought the flash was more effective on the Pentax - a couple extra on the
    guide number makes a fair difference.

    Personally, I like the idea of being able to run off AAs if needed - we have
    a battery charger in the car, so we won't ever be reliant on mains power to
    recharge the batteries and we can always keep a pair of CR-V3s handy in the
    camera bag for emergencies.

    Thanks again for the opinions
    OG, Nov 22, 2007
  11. OG

    Peter Guest

    That is an excellent point and has proved to be a huge advantage to my
    Pentax DL DSLR when going on holiday.

    For all other cameras etc I have had to buy a second battery, usually
    at some silly price, and carefully charge up both batteries.
    Peter, Nov 22, 2007
  12. OG

    tinnews Guest

    Yes, I always think that running on AAs (or AAAs) is a big plus. I
    have a lot of rechargeable AAs now which run cameras (3), radios
    (several), toys when children arrive, etc. I have a couple of fast
    chargers that can, in an emergency, charge NiMh AAs in 30 minutes or

    A camera that uses a dedicated battery is just a nuisance.

    It may be though that LiIon batteries will take over in the next few
    tinnews, Nov 22, 2007
  13. OG

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Is this such a problem on a DSLR though?

    My E-500 is good for at least 600 shots, on the stock LiIon, even out in
    colder weather it keeps going. A 2GB card hold 140 RAW images, and I
    have 5 mixed CF cards (and some xD cards as backups), so I could fill
    all the cards on a charge.

    I have a couple of spares, but for an enthusiast this is enough, you
    should be able to take almost a couple of thousand shots with three
    batteries in the bag. Some of the newer models are even better, but I
    can only comment on what I have here.

    Check for adapters. The E-system also has available a little holder that
    can take the CR-V3 batteries if needed, I'd be surprised if you couldn't
    get similar for the others too.
    Andy Hewitt, Nov 22, 2007
  14. OG

    Peter Guest

    (Andy Hewitt) wrote
    I guess much depends on how much the camera is ON for between shots.

    Flash also trashes batteries fast.

    There have been some right scandals with lithium batteries - google on
    the huge Sony cover-up on their DSC cameras. I got caught by that; one
    reason I won't buy Sony unless I have to.

    Nikon, incidentally have crap customer service. I used to have a
    '5700' camera (a self contained sub-DSLR, or whatever it's called) and
    it kept switching itself on when being carried in the backpack, and
    burning out the lens extending motor. Nikon's head of customer service
    said this is fine and that if you change gears in your car without
    using the clutch you will break the gearbox so don't expect the camera
    to be any different. He got quite aggressive. I paid £160 to get it
    fixed and sold it on Ebay. Won't buy Nikon again. OTOH e.g. Casio are
    a model of good customer service.

    I would buy another Pentax DSLR. My DL (6 megapixels) takes great
    shots and does exactly what it says on the tin.
    Peter, Nov 22, 2007
  15. OG

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Of course, to some extent. However, I have walked around with mine ON
    for extended periods, and still get somewhere near the expected level of
    Indeed. Mind you, I tend not to do much flash photography anyway, I
    haven't even got an external flash. If I'm going somewhere where that's
    likely, such as a a party, I usually take the compact.

    Even when I did have a full kit back in film days, I hardly ever got the
    flash out, and usually found batteries failing because of lack of use.
    They made the exploding laptop batteries too didn't they.

    I would never buy Sony anyway, I have a friend in the electronics line,
    and he hears from various suppliers that Sony have the highest warranty
    returns of the big names.
    I like Casio stuff, it can look expensive at times, but in general it's
    well made kit.
    Aye, that's why I get Olympus, I've used their stuff for 23 years now,
    and none of it has performed badly.
    Andy Hewitt, Nov 22, 2007
  16. OG

    tinnews Guest

    Yes, that's why I made the LiIon proviso, they seem to be getting
    pretty good now. One fully charged and a spare sounds enough. How
    long do they take to charge?

    A set of AAs slip in the pocket easily though.
    tinnews, Nov 22, 2007
  17. OG

    Peter Guest

    Not that; they made batteries which would say they are fully charged
    when they had about 10% in them, so they were basically useless. They
    owned up to it, with a statement on their website, but only after all
    affected cameras were out of warranty.
    They do indeed, but their very top stuff is still good. Most 3 digit
    priced Sony stuff is crap made under contract in China.
    I've used OM since the 1970s but last time I looked at DSLRs (2 years
    ago) they offered nothing light and compact. Maybe this has changed -
    I haven't looked.
    Peter, Nov 22, 2007
  18. OG

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    That's becoming such normal practice now though.
    Which I guess is a large majority of it.
    Blimey, you haven't have you. The E410 is now the smallest and lightest
    DLSR there is available.

    For me I like something larger to handle, which is why I got the E500,
    the EOS350 just didn't fit my hands.
    Andy Hewitt, Nov 22, 2007
  19. OG

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Mine take about an hour or so usually. But of course with LiIons you can
    top them up more without suffereing the performance degredation with
    older rechargeable technologies.
    Hmmm, four AAs is more space than a LiIon in my E500. Even more so with
    my Mju500, the battery in that is about the size of a CF card, and lasts
    about 300 pics. I never got much more than about 100 shots with AA based
    Andy Hewitt, Nov 22, 2007
  20. OG

    tinnews Guest

    The 'degradation' you speak of really doesn't exist with NiMh either
    if you use a good charger (delta V) which are very cheap nowadays.
    tinnews, Nov 22, 2007
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