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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:38 pm 
Hello!

I'm looking for a DSLR camera for beginners, not very expensive. The camera must have these features:
    Live View
    >=12 MP
    Continuous shooting >= 4 fps
    ISO 3200 and above

The following features are wanted, but not necessary:
    Stabilizer
    Video recording
    Supports both RAW and JPEG


Preferably Nikon or Canon.

Any ideas?

Thank you very much!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:02 am 
Live view is a joke on dslrs, one of the big advantages of a dslr is how fast you can take a photo, wiht live view it's as slow as a point and shoot, and using live view i find creates a bit more camera shake.
Megapixels don't mean much imo, the d40 (6mp) beats canon's xs (10mp) in Image quality imo.
It's going ot be hard ot find 4 fps continuous in an entry level dslr. the t1i has 3.4 i believe and it's more then fats enough for my uses.
iso 3200, most dslrs have that, unless your looking at the XS which goes up to 1600, but most cameras just because they go so high doesn't mean they do it well. the t1i doesn't do 3,200 iso all that well, the d5000 does it not to bad. Stabilizer if you want that on camera I believe your stuck Olympus.
Video shooting is a joke (in my opinion, zooming and focusing is much better on a proper camcorder). All dslrs that I've seen support both Raw and Jpeg.
Just find the camera that's the most comfiest and easiest to use, as it'll get more use then one that cramps your hands but has a ton of features.
If you are just looking for a solid entry level dslr, the canon rebel xs is a good choice,only 10mp, 3 fps continous( i think it's 3 fps), and only 1600 iso. The t1i isn't too bad either, 15mp,3.5 fps, 12,800 iso (although that's a joke.) 3,200 iso performance isn't too great either, it does video too. The d5000 and the d31000 by nikon are good cameras too but i fine the ui too sluggish. Now onto stabilization, Sony and Olympus (i think it's olympus) have in body IS, where as canon and nikon but stabilization into the lens.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:15 am 
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If you really want usable live view...than I don't think Canon nor Nikon is a good option, to be honest. I'd look at the A550...or the new A580 if you really want video, more megapixels and the larger buffer. Pretty much any DSLR I know can save images as RAW or JPEG (or both at the same time).

Live View: check.
>=12 MP: check.
Continuous shooting >= 4 fps: check (7 fps in speed priority (AE and AF locked at first frame), 5 fps in OVF mode and 4 fps while using live view.
ISO 3200 and above: check (up to ISO 12800).

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My photos on Flickr...


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:53 am 
Joris those are mid-range dslrs though, they are nice cameras except for one issue which breaks it for me and that's the ghosting that they have with some shots.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:58 am 
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I don't think so :). These are cameras with a conventional mirror and OVF - unlike the A33/A55 which have a pellicle mirror ('translucent mirror') and seem to be prone to ghosting. They also have the possibility to mount a vertical grip for even better battery life (rated for 950/1050 shots, respectively), which cannot be done with the DSLTs :).

Then again, according to some reviews which include information on the ghosting issue, the ghosting on Sony's DSLTs is far from a major problem :).

Oh, and the A580 is not significantly more expensive than, say, the T2i in the UK (at least when I looked at Warehouse Express a couple of days ago).

_________________
Sony α77V/VG-C77AM/α350/18-70/70-400 G SSM/NEX-5/18-55 OSS/Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW/CompuTrekker AW/Nova 140 AW/Street & Field gear/Toploader Pro 75 AW. And a huge wishlist...

My photos on Flickr...


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:06 pm 
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Yeah...just to back up and confirm - the A500, 550, 560, and 580 are not the cameras that have any reported ghosting issues - they are full traditional DSLRs, not 'SLT' fixed mirror cameras. And Joris is correct re Live View - if it is something the OP wants, and intend to use with any regularity at all, then really Sony is the only DSLR that can give that. The mirrorless cameras can as well - such as the EP1, GH1, and NEX...but those aren't DSLRs and may not be what the Op is looking for.

To the OP,
I've had an A550 for a year now, my photography is all over the map as far as subjects and style of shooting - wildlife, travel, landscape, architecture, night, candid, scenic, architectural...the camera would easily exceed all of the requirements you listed except video - and that's something the A560 and A580 that are just debuting have added.

Eagle is right about video in DSLRs though - while it has the image quality to deliver cinema quaility, it doesn't do so with the convenience and ease of use as video cameras do - they require lots of manual input, deliver short clips, generally are manual or fixed focus as AF is either slow or non existent, and can't shoot overly long without overheating the sensors. All of the hype about such-and-such a show was filmed on a DSLR is just that - hype...too many people are deceived into thinking the DSLRs will work just like a camcorder, but deliver better quality. Those shows were filmed with cine lenses by trained cinematographers and camera operators, synched to monitors, mounted on steadycams and tripods, fixed mounts, and multiple cameras at various angles, then professionally edited with studio equipment and professional editors. Not the same as just grabbing a camcorder, and filming your son playing in the yard, knowing the focus, exposure, etc will all be handled automatically and reliably.

If you just don't want another brand, then lessen your expectations for video and live view, and Canon & Nikon are fine cameras. If willing to consider other brands, the Sony cams mentioned above are well within your price range, exceed every requirement you listed, and have some other strong perks too for the money, and have a good lens selection available to them with the entire Minolta AF lens line as well as new Sony lenses...and all are stabilized, old and new, primes and zooms.

A gallery of all the shots I've posted from the A550 for the past year, if interested in browsing - there are around 1500 thumbnails in there of all types, exif included for each:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg/sony_dslra550

I didn't need video, but my list of requirements was similar to yours - this camera checked every box perfectly. The new A580 replacement adds the video, if that's something you'd consider necessary.

The A33/55, the two cameras with the pellicle style mirrors and reported ghosting issue, also seem to be good little cameras that meet many of your specs...and like Joris said the ghosting seems to not be as much of a 'problem' as was initially hyped - but it is a different type of camera and might not be what you're looking for (to be honest, it isn't my cup of tea either - too small of a body, don't like the loss of an OVF, battery life too low).

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:49 pm 
InGale - When you say "preferably Canon or Nikon" - did you pick those brands because you intend to go on to their Professional Full-Frame high-end DSLRs?

They do indeed do those extremely well, but are a long way above the needs of most hobbyists or general purposes enthusiasts.

If that's not your intention, you might look at Pentax. At present you'd get a model-runout K-X at a good price.

That's replaced by the K-R, which is an upgraded and slightly larger camera than the K-X.

The K-X has been the best "low-light" DSLR in the Entry to Lower Midrange DSLRs, and is also good at high ISOs.

The K-R continues those attributes, with improvements.

The K-R's ISO range is Std 200-12,800, and Expanded, 100-25,600. It does 6fps Continuous. The sensor is 1.5 crop, 12.4Mpix CMOS.

The LiveView has a 3" LCD with 921,000 pixels.

Being a DSLR it of course does JPEG, RAW, and RAW+JPEG.

It has Std HD Video at 1280 x 720 / 25fps. (Also 640 x 480.) The Video is MJPEG format / *.avi - which some find easier to convert-edit than H264/MOV.

Like all Pentax bodies, it is internally stabilised - that is, any lens attached is stabilised, without needing stabilising made into the lens.

That also allows the stabilised use of the large selection of K-Mount (and earlier M42 screw-mount with adaptor) - Film-SLR lenses that are available.

The K-R comes standard with Li-Ion power-pack - but allows use of 4 x AAs with an optional adaptor. (Internal, where the power-pack inserts, not a join-on "grip".)

Dave.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:33 pm 
First of all thank you all for your replies!
I apologize it took me quite some time to reply, I wanted to review all the mentioned cameras and to weigh various options.

As I mentioned, the video isn't a necessity for me. It's just a nice option to have available in case you got no camcorder near you and you really need/want to shoot some video.

I think that Sony Alpha A550 (or A580) may just be the right camera for me. I think its specifications just answer my needs and it's not very expensive. I also saw the images made by zackiedawg and I really liked them, great job! I'll have a few more questions regarding this camera in the end of this comment.

2 oldwarbler:
I'm not sure about Professional Full-Frame high-end DSLRs, but eventually I'd like to move on to a professional (or semi-professional) level camera. I've been latching my eyes on Nikon D300s, but I realize that right now it's beyond my level and, frankly, waaaaay beyond my budget. And by the time I learn to work with DSLRs it'll probably be outdated.

2 zackiedawg:
Again, great photos! Well done!
I also like to shoot wildlife and travel. I also like to shoot sports. And occasionally food. I think that A550 really may be just the right camera for me.
I have a few more questions about this camera, hope you don't mind to answer them:
I saw that you took your photos with various lenses. Do you have some photos made with the kit lens?
Can I mount a philter on A550 kit lens?
How often do you recharge the battery?
Is it compatible with battery grip?
I understand that A550's body made of plastic and not metal; is it really important?

And last question, not about the camera... What does OP stand for? :oops:

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:07 pm 
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Have you thought of the D90? The price is at an all time low, it's giving the T2i a run for it's money!

It has live view, a 12MP CMOS sensor, 4.5FPS shooting and it can go up to ISO 6400 if I'm not mistaken, giving you pretty clean results. It also records video (In fact, it was the first DSLR to feature video mode), it shoots RAW and JPEG (Although that's pretty much a given on most DSLRs) but it doesn't have a stabilizer, but most Nikkor DX lenses have them.

Just wanted to say that I agree with Eagle, Live View is a joke, AF is slow and it's not a good choice for a primary shooting mode. The Viewfinder is always better.

Also try the Pentax K-X, a VERY good entry level cam. But remember that if one day you're going to move up to a full-frame pro camera, you'll want to pick a good brand, because once you buy your first lens, you're pretty much stuck with that brand forever. So for example, if Pentax makes good entry level cams but their full frame cams aren't as good, and Nikon has good full frame cams but the DX format ones aren't as good, don't go for either. Now say that Canon has decent entry level AND full frame, then perhaps they'd be your best choice. (By the way, I'm not saying which brand is better. That was all an example.)

_________________
-Evan

Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:51 am 
You have already learned that neither Canon nor Nikon have body-based IS -- they both use lens-based IS systems -- so all you need to do is think through your lens purchases. BTW -- you won't need stabilization on everything. Two other advantages of the D90 at present over other cameras are the top-mounted LCD, and the screw-drive mechanism making it compatible with older Nikon AF lenses which used the body-based AF motor.

Truly usable ISO above 3200 is a ymmv (your-mileage-may-vary) thing - and everyone has their own opinions based on what they can or can not tolerate in noise levels.

Live view definitely has it's uses, but I wouldn't necessarily make is a deal-breaker -- but again, ymmv on that.

Any DSLR will give you RAW + JPG -- as already noted earlier as well -- heck, plenty of P&S will give that to you.

Not sure why video recording is on your list - but it narrows down your selection within the two brands to high-end entry level and above -- ie, Nikon D5000 and up, or the Canon T2i and up.

Now - if you were open to other manufacturers, again, as previously noted - Pentax has an option or two to consider, but you won't get the shooting speed - which is often dependent on the size of the camera buffer, and capacity and speed of your memory card.

Have you had any cameras in hand yet? You should be doing that right away -- hands on in a camera shop is irreplaceable when shopping for a camera. You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive would you?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:01 pm 
Yes, I definitely take D90 into consideration. Canon 50D too.
I was thinking exactly the same thing about the lenses, that's why I still weighing so many options and that's another reason I mentioned Nikon and Canon as a preference earlier.

Regarding the Live View... Here's something that's probably gonna sound completely amateur, but hey, I'm a DSLR amateur... 8)
Here's the thing: I'm wearing glasses and I worry it'll be very uncomfortable for me to use VF. That's why I give LV such an importance.

I held a Canon 50D in my hands once and it felt pretty comfortable (though I must say I didn't use it for a long time, just for a few minutes). Is the difference between, say, 50D and D90 so significant (ergonomically speaking)?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:16 pm 
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I wear glasses and I use the VF often, I still think that it's pretty comfortable.

In fact, yesterday I was out shooting in the forest behind my house with the 50mm Micro, a Nikon FM and a roll of 400 ISO/ASA film. I used the VR the entire time (Well, not that I had a choice! :mrgreen: ) and I only withed that I had LV for one uncomfortable shot, on the ground, next to a flower. You get used to using the VF, try picking up a film body and old lens, it will force you to always use the VF, not to mention, there's something special about using film that no photographer should miss out on.

Regarding the feel of the 50D, like I said, it's a personal choice. I think that even Nikon's D7000 is going to do better than the 50D, so spending the extra money isn't worth it, and it certainly isn't worth it when buying a D90. I've never actually picked up a 50D, but it looks like a fine cam. I love the grip with the little display that you can buy! I really like the feel of the D90, so I'm not sure of the difference. Although, I do know that the button placement is very different.

_________________
-Evan

Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:22 pm 
To assist eyeglass wearers, look for a DSLR with a diopter adjuster -- this allows the vf to "adapt" to some eyeglass wearers.

Where vf vs lv is concerned -- be aware that no live-view camera is near as fast as a through-the-lens experience right now. This is because live view uses a different method of focusing than a viewfinder does. My advise would be to not think about buying a DSLR for liveview as your main picture taking mode -- because you will surely be disappointed -- it isn't even close to the speed of through-the-lens autofocus.

It's impossible to really describe how "different" the D90 feels to the 50D. When we talk about ergonomics, understand that we not only mean the physical camera body itself, but also things like the positioning of controls, menu system, etc. --- Anything that has to do with a photographer interfacing with the camera counts as ergonomics - so take that into account when you go back into a camera shop to do some hands-on testing.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:50 pm 
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jwnrw wrote:
Where vf vs lv is concerned -- be aware that no live-view camera is near as fast as a through-the-lens experience right now. This is because live view uses a different method of focusing than a viewfinder does. My advise would be to not think about buying a DSLR for liveview as your main picture taking mode -- because you will surely be disappointed -- it isn't even close to the speed of through-the-lens autofocus.

I disagree. Sony has used the same method on its conventional DSLRs since their first DSLRs with live view were available: a second sensor near the viewfinder. I.e. the camera uses the phase-detection AF used while looking through the optical viewfinder. Other brands use contrast-detection AF which is slower.

An A550 for instance will do 4 frames per second continuous shooting with AF. Its successor, the A580, seems to have sacrificed a little speed (3 fps in LV, same speed- 5 fps - in OVF mode). It does have some noteworthy improvements: HD-video, larger buffer, more megapixels, MLU, DOF preview, new lay-out,...

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_ ... lens.shtml

About the diopter: even on my two year old A350 I can adjust that. And it's just an entry-level model :)...I'd be surprised if that wouldn't be possible on a D90/50D, D7000 etc.

_________________
Sony α77V/VG-C77AM/α350/18-70/70-400 G SSM/NEX-5/18-55 OSS/Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW/CompuTrekker AW/Nova 140 AW/Street & Field gear/Toploader Pro 75 AW. And a huge wishlist...

My photos on Flickr...


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:58 pm 
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InGale - Thank you for the comments...hopefully we can help you get the right camera for you...there are lots of great ones out there, so by no means do my answers to your questions mean that I think this one is the only one that would be good for you...I just wanted to directly answer your questions, as well as add a little information to correct some comments that have been made that are a bit incorrect, at least with this camera.

Quote:
I saw that you took your photos with various lenses. Do you have some photos made with the kit lens?


I don't, unfortunately - I bought my A550 as a body-only camera, forgoing the kit lens since I already had the 18-250mm Sony zoom lens purchased with my A300 previously. The quality of the 18-250mm lens is about the same as the kit lens, with the difference being that the 18-250mm has significantly more reach at the long end. From 18-70mm they would be about the same speed and optical quality.

Quote:
Can I mount a philter on A550 kit lens?


Absolutely...the kit lens comes with normal threading on the end to attach filters as needed.

Quote:
How often do you recharge the battery?


Not often at all - the battery life on this camera is extremely good - it is CIPA rated at nearly 1,000 shots - and that's with viewing, flash use, etc. In normal daytime shooting, I'll typically charge my camera once every 3 weeks, running off around 3,500-4,000 shots a charge. One definite perk of the Sony cameras using this battery is the Infolithium system which gives you an accurate battery percentage remaining meter, rather than a little 4-bar graph...so you can reliably run the battery down to 10% or 5% in the field without worrying about the camera dying any moment. I charged my camera last week on Oct 1, shot with it on Oct 2 &3, then again yesterday and today, for a total of around 1,800 shots total, and as of now, it's still reading 41% remaining.

Quote:
Is it compatible with battery grip?


It is. Sony makes a battery grip for the A500 & A550, which is capable of taking two FM50 batteries.

Quote:
I understand that A550's body made of plastic and not metal; is it really important?


Well, it isn't to me - what's most important to me is build quality and ergonomics. I've got no problems with the build - as the camera is solid and meaty, and can take some bumps - I've shot very heavily with mine for a year now, in tough conditions and it still looks and feels like new. It does have a metal chassis, as do almost all DSLRs...it just uses more extensive plastics on the body. I don't know that I'd drop it from 6 feet onto a rock - but I would try not to do that even with a full mag camera!

Just a quick comment on EvanK and jwnrw's comments re: live view - they are right as it applies to every DSLR made by all manufacturers...except Sony. Sony's live view system is entirely unique and those who have never used it or seen it don't know its abilities...so they might not realize that Sony's live view system doesn't have the same compromises that the other systems do. First of all - paired with the tilting LCD, it does make it a viable alternate to using viewfinders, for example, using it with waist-level medium-format style shooting, candid shooting, tripod mounted shooting, etc. And it is also good for when you need to get at funny angles or shoot from ground level, where you may not want to lay down on the ground to get the shot. Secondly, Sony's live view system continues to use the phase detect focus system, same as when using the optical finder. It focuses identically fast as when in OVF mode - with no focus performance degredation at all. The switch between optical and live view is 100% seamless and identical in usage. Third, there is no shutter delay or half-press delay when using live view to shoot. Other live view systems must perform a series of mirror maneuvers and focus maneuvers before taking the shot, where you can press the shutter and wait as long as 1 second to get the shot. The Sony live view system has no shutter delay, shooting instantly at shutter press, and capable of even firing bursts at 4 frames per second. It is entirely unique in the DSLR world. Fourth, the A550 uses a dual live view system - it offers the quick live view mode mentioned above, and it also offers a second system which works like that of the other DSLRs...it is slower, and uses the main sensor to provide the view - the reason one might occasionally use this mode is for accurate manual focusing or framing a shot in extremely low light, as it can be zoomed in as much as 14x for accurate fine focusing, and can gain up the view significantly allowing you to see a scene well enough to focus and frame when the viewfinder would otherwise be of no help.

That said - I must confess - I am an eyeglass wearer, and I use the viewfinder probably 80% to 85% of the time I shoot. Most DSLR users do use the viewfinder...it does allow for better stance and stability, and makes it easier to track and pan with moving subjects. Still, I specifically went the route I did because I wanted a camera with Sony's live view option - it comes in handy enough to make it high on my list of must-haves - for odd and low angle stuff when shooting wildlife, and for tripod and night shooting when I use the live view exclusively working off a tripod.

And by the way...OP means 'original poster'...usually used to refer back to the person who posted the original thread!

As many have mentioned, and it can't be mentioned enough - ergonomics is a biggie - handle the cameras if you can and make sure the ones you are considering feel good in your hands. And feel free to ask any other questions you may have!

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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


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