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 Post subject: New to DSLRs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 5
Location: USA
I have been reading cameralabs.com site and forum for awhile now but this is my first post. (love the site btw!!! :D)
I recently purchased a Panasonic ZS7 and as i used it and read more about photography i feel like i want a bit more control over what i am shooting. So i am thinking of returning the ZS7 and buying a dSLR. i have about $700 to spend so i am thinking of a few different cameras.

I am really leaning towards the canon T1i kit as i would like it also to take some video on the fly but some others i am looking at are the Nikon D5000 and the Pentax k-x (although i am not crazy on the fact it takes AA). what do you guys think would be best at this price?
If anyone could give me some insight on these cameras that would be great and thanks in advanced.

EDIT: or should i stick with the ZS7 for now till i learn a bit more?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
Posts: 2173
Location: The Netherlands
I think you should learn the photography rules. Could you make nice photos? You really cant make ''more beautiful'' pictures by buying a more expensive camera.

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:31 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:07 pm
Posts: 799
Location: Ottawa, Canada
I am with Reuben here. I know some people who can take incredible pictures with just about anything -- including a camera phone. It's all about technique and skills first, rather than the hardware.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 5
Location: USA
How about the Canon S95? How would that compare to the ZS7. would that give me for control over the aperture with out really spending to much more money?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 812
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
I think you need to ask yourself a few questions, and that might help narrow down the selection a bit.
1. What types of photography do you most want to pursue? Portrait, landscape, candid, studio, macro, architectural, scenic, travel, night stills, night movement, sports, wildlife, etc.
2. What can't you do with your current camera that you want to do? You mentioned controlling aperture...to what extent? Do you want full manual controls, priority controls, etc.
3. Is there a type of photography you find your current camera simply cannot do to the degree you want it to?
4. How willing are you to learn? Buying a more advanced P&S model will allow you some experimentation with manual controls, a DSLR will go much further with significantly more to learn. And while you can buy a DSLR and use it mostly automatically, you won't be getting out of it what it's capable of delivering.

Once you go through those questions, you can start to figure if you're better off sticking with what you have now, and learning more about photography - especially exposure...or whether a more advanced P&S model might allow you to learn a bit more manual control, understand shutter/aperture relationship, and maybe take a wider range of photographic styles to determine which interest you. Or whether to go with a DSLR, and really devote time (and money) to learning all about exposure, manual control, and manual settings, understanding lens differences, depth of field control and differences, and explore into areas of photography that the P&S models cannot.

If you decide to go the DSLR route, I wouldn't worry about brand or class of camera at this point - most people just learning photography could shoot for years with an entry-level DSLR before they'd learn enough to run into the limitations of the camera...take that time with an entry-level body to learn and grow and start building some lenses...as you can always move up to another advanced body down the road once you find yourself limited by your camera's abilities. Brand is certainly a low concern at this point - Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, and Panasonic are all making interchangeable lens large-sensor cameras which will all be far more advanced and capable than you need and with plenty of room to grow and expand.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 5
Location: USA
Thanks for the detailed reply @zackiedawg. That was very helpful I think that the Panasonic p/s is going to be enough for now.
The one thing that really bothers me about it is it doesn't seem to have the same control over DoF and really focusing in on one subject and blurring the rest out (which was something i thought it would be able to do) it all just seems to be in focus. Plus the low light isn't the best either but i think i can work around it.

thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 812
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Gotcha. Low light isn't going to be a strong suit for sure...for high ISO work like shooting moving subjects - but as you said, you might be able to work around it.

The depth of field option is definitely one of the limitations of small sensors - or one of the benefits, depending on how you look at it. Small sensors = big depth of field...so it is hard to get a shallow depth of field look on a typical small-sensor P&S. However, you do have a big optical zoom on yours, so there are ways to get the blurred background...it just takes some technique. There are a few ways to do it - first off, the bigger the aperture the better - so if you use your camera's Aperture Priority mode, and make the aperture the smallest F number available, you will get the best chance to reduce the depth of field. Second, try getting as much distance between you and your subject, and as much distance between the subject and the background, as possible. By increasing these distances, you increase the chance of the background being out of focus. Third, use the zoom to get closer to the subject - with big telephoto lenses, the more you zoom, the shallower the depth of field will get. So by standing farther away and using the zoom to get closer, you can increase those distances and shallow the depth of field.

A quickie example I shot years ago with a camera similar to yours - a Sony H5 with a 12x zoom - I used maximum telephoto, wide open aperture, and shot a subject that was a good 10 feet from the background, which was enough to get that soft out-of-focus area:

Image

Another way to get that shallow depth of field and subject isolation is to use the macro mode, get really close to the subject, use any zoom you can...macro modes are designed for very close focus and the depth of field will often narrow considerably even with a P&S camera.

Same idea used here with the old H5 ultrazoom - macro mode, got up close to the subject, didn't need to zoom very much, kept the aperture as open as it would go, and even with only a few feet to the background, the close-focus of the macro mode gave the softer background blur:

Image

It's all possible with a P&S camera like yours...it just takes some learning, honing your technique, and a little bit of a work-around. DSLRs will make it easier to get such shots, or to do so without as much distance or planning...but it will still require the same basic knowledge and technique...so better to learn that first!

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 5
Location: USA
wow thanks a lot! :D

I will try what you said and work with what i got.
thanks again!

btw the pictures on your site rock!


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