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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:52 pm 
Hi - new to the site, but it looks like some great information here, and I've been very impressed with the insight of the reviews.

I'm currently using a Ricoh Caplio R4 - bought it for something small with a decent zoom/wide angle range and I really enjoy it, and have started to carry it with me most times that I go out.

But... in the last few months I've started to really love taking candids of people, mostly when I travel. After taking more than 1000 pics, I've started to realize that the R4 is great for carrying with me, but I need more zoom (the Caplio has 7x), less noise, and better stabilization/focus at the far end of the zoom, which is where I'm taking almost all of my pics of people.

You can see web-res samples of what I've been doing here:

I'm optimistic about the Sony A100 with the anti-shake technology... it seems that very few DSLRs have it. Are there advantages one way or the other to get it in the body or lens (other than the fact that if you use multiple lenses you pay for it multiple times)?

Second, what about lenses? I plan to keep the Ricoh for general purpose pictures, and want the DSLR for telephoto only. I don't do this professionally, and don't want to spend more than I have to, but I would like to get a good lens in the 400+mm range (35mm equivalent). It doesn't need to have huge range, so a 200-400 that's sharp and quick would make me happier than a 50-400 that's not.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Darryl, thanks for your message and I'm glad you're enjoying our reviews!

There's a lot of debate about whether in-lens stabilisation is better than in-camera, although mostly from the manufacturers.

Sony (and KM before them) (and I guess now Pentax too) would say the main benefit of in-body stabilisation is that it it works with every lens you attach - so it saves you money.

Canon and Nikon, who build stabilisation into lenses, counter this by saying they can optimise the stabilising motors and optics for each lens. So longer lenses which suffer from greater shake, will have more powerful motors etc. In contrast, the in-body systems can only counteract shake by the same amount, and it may not be enough for very long lenses.

They've got a point in theory, but I've used a 300mm on an older KM 7D and the in-camera stabilisation worked just fine. I've also used long Canon lenses with IS and they too were very effective. It's hard to say which is better, but if I were to shoot mostly with 300mm plus lenses, think I'd go with Canon and Nikon. I guess you'd have to ask a pro sports or wildlife photographer though!

As for a lens for candid shots, you're right to go for something which focuses quickly. So far I'm afraid I've only tested general purpose Sony lenses, and a handful of KM models, so am not best placed to advise there. The forthcoming 70-200mm f2.8 looks like it'll be a great one, but it has a list price of over 2000 US.

If you're after a more 'affordable' system with that kind of range and stabilisation, you might want to consider a Canon body with a 70-200mm f4 lens (equiv to 112-320mm on a 400D / 30D). This is much cheaper than the f2.8 model but still focuses very quickly and delivers great quality. The latest model has stabilisation too. It costs about 1200 US.

You should definitely try it and the Sony version in a shop to see what you think...

Let us know how you get on,


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