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  1. #1
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    A question for the photography-types. . .

    So, I'm ready to jump in to the digital age. About time, huh?

    My current "main" camera is a Canon EOS 500n (aka Rebel XS here in the states, I think). I have a handful of lenses and other junk for it, which has been the main reason I haven't switched earlier. However, I recently added up my film and developing bills for an average year and I coulda barfed. Shooting 50 - 60 rolls of film a year, then developing them onto CD and prints, isn't cheap. I could have picked up a nice camera long ago and saved money.

    That said, here's the dilemma. Do I make the jump into a digital SLR, or wimp out and go for a point and shoot? I'm a cheapskate, which means I'd go for the cheapest of whichever option I picked. For the DSLR, that would probably mean an EOS Rebel XT at maybe $300 for the body (prices for DSLR's seem to be all over the map online, the cheap places seem kind of suspect.) If I go point and shoot, who knows? Seems like there are a billion choices out there.

    So, can someone give me some advice on the following:

    1) What point and shoot cameras are there around $300?

    2) What will I loose if I do switch to point and shoot? I'm no super-serious photographer, but I do feel pretty attached to my Canon, and I'm not sure if I would like being restricted. I probably shoot in full auto mode 70% of the time anyways, but being able to switch lenses/filters is a big draw for me.

    I'm attracted to point-and-shoot because of the lure of a teeeeeny tiny camera I could carry anywhere. I suppose I could get something like that, then keep the film SLR for when I'm feeling "artsy" - but I don't really want to have two primary cameras. I kind of already tried that a year or two ago, but just bought a junky low-end $100 digital point and shoot camera, and I hate it with a passion.
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  2. #2
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Go big or don't go at all.

    I have a Sony Mavica. Good camera, but it's just missing so many features that my trusty 35mm SLR's have. No hot shoe, or flash sync port are my big gripes. There's just sometimes doing macro work when I don't want on camera flash, but would rather it be somewhere else... and it just pisses me off.

  3. #3
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    That's just the sort of thing I'm talking about!

    How do you deal with it? Do you switch back to the film cameras to do the macro work, or do you just "deal" with the Sony?
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  4. #4
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I cheat.

    I use a couple of layers of white facial tissue taped over the flash to cut & soften the light. Something I saw on the Mavica Owners forum a while back showed how to bash a ND filter holder using plactic chanel from the model railroad shop and used ND gels cut to size.

    The tissue method isn't scientific but it works for me.

  5. #5
    explody pup
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    Your lenses are EF mounts right? Go for the 350D.

    By going to a P&S, you'll lose good lens quality (especially at the $300 level). The sensor noise will be bad, much worse than the 350D. ISO settings usually top out at 400 on P&Ss. Low ISO plus the slow lenses you usually find on 'em mean blurry photos unless you use the crappy on-board flash. And then that 30% of the time you want manual or want to be artsy, you'll be s.o.l. w/ a P&S. Plus, if you get a P&S, I won't go to the prom with you.

    Only downside, as you mentioned, is size. You can't really walk around w/ an SLR in your pocket. And your focal length multiplyer for the 350D is 1.6. So, if you're using a 50mm lens, it'll wind up being an 80mm (which, by the way, is in the good range for portaits).
    Last edited by explody pup; 03-07-07 at 02:14 PM.

  6. #6
    explody pup
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    Oh yeah, and boo on digital. Until the dynamic range of a sensor matches or surpases that of film, it's like saying your high quality mp3 copy of Bethoven's 9th is as good as a high quality analog version.

    Sorry. Had to get that out of the way.

  7. #7
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Hey, I'm all about the quality and artsy-ness of film, etc. And I'm definitely keeping my film cameras (the ones I haven't sold off in the last year or two) for when I wanna do that whole scene. It really just came down to economics, though. If 50% of my shots are purely "casual" in nature - i.e. just something to stick in a scrapbook or email to friends who were at a birthday party - then I don't really want to pay for the film and developing. As it is, I'm spending $500+ a year on film and developing, so if I can take a big chunk out of that by going digital for the times it makes sense to be digital, I'm all for that. I'll make my money back in a year. . .

    Yeah, lame excuse, I know. At least I still have my turntable to play that analog version of the 9th I have on vinyl. (no, really!)
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  8. #8
    I play in the street. nobrainer440's Avatar
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    If you go for the point and shoot, go for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX07. Great camera, very small, and the Leica lens is killer.

  9. #9
    explody pup
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    My pressing of the 9th was an old garage sale find. The original owners didn't take good care of it.

    Anyway, if you're leaning toward the P&S side of things, I'd still recommend Canon. The Powershot series is pretty good. From what I've seen messing around with them and reading reviews, they have lower noise than similarly prices P&Ss, slightly sharper lenses, and focus a lot quicker (a big gripe I have about P&Ss - my Olympus sometimes takes a couple seconds to focus in low-light). You could go big and get something like the G7 (ISO up to 1600 and a reasonable amount of control) for around the same you'd pay for the 350D body. Not super compact, but you'd certainly be able to fit in your pocket.

    EDIT: Just read through the review of the Canon G7. It's a turd. Nevermind. Then again, it is rated highly on dpreview. Then again, they love Canon there.
    Last edited by explody pup; 03-07-07 at 02:52 PM.

  10. #10
    hide not your essence TRACKMAN's Avatar
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    I opted for an inexpensive SLR digital by Fuju. 3800:
    no huge mega pixels here but they (Fuji) have always
    been on the leading edge of CCD technology.
    I too still have my Nikon 35m, prolly never give it up.. :O)
    May you find the joy and peace you long for.
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  11. #11
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    I was pretty much in the same boat and chose to go with the Rebel XT DSLR. Great camera, takes wonderful pictures and will feel pretty familiar to you. I love being able to print only the shots I want, but so far I've only gone as big as 8 x 10, and they were wonderful.

    I have bounced it out of my trunk rack at a little under 20 MPH, onto pavement. Yes, I got the dip**** of the day award, but the camera came out fine. Picked up some scuffs, but no operational harm.

    Memory cards are getting cheap, so that's no problem. The stock battery lasts well on a charge, I've taken in excess of 150 shots, mostly with flash (built in, my Vivatar that works with my film Rebel doesn't work with my digital) between charges.
    Tom

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  12. #12
    aspiring island dweller spinninwheels's Avatar
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    If your lenses are good quality, go for the 350D (or whatever your lenses will fit). If you shoot 50-60 rolls of film per year, I would imagine you have a discerning eye. A quality lens is almost more important than the body. Crappy lens equals crappy pictures.
    Life is either a wild adventure or nothing - Helen Keller

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    Your lenses are EF mounts right? Go for the 350D.

    By going to a P&S, you'll lose good lens quality (especially at the $300 level). The sensor noise will be bad, much worse than the 350D. ISO settings usually top out at 400 on P&Ss. Low ISO plus the slow lenses you usually find on 'em mean blurry photos unless you use the crappy on-board flash. And then that 30% of the time you want manual or want to be artsy, you'll be s.o.l. w/ a P&S. Plus, if you get a P&S, I won't go to the prom with you.

    Only downside, as you mentioned, is size. You can't really walk around w/ an SLR in your pocket. And your focal length multiplyer for the 350D is 1.6. So, if you're using a 50mm lens, it'll wind up being an 80mm (which, by the way, is in the good range for portaits).
    +1 to all of this except I have to take my sister to the prom.
    A SLR is more to carry around but you are already are used to carrying one around, so go with a Digi Canon. The 350D is a great body.
    There is so much more you can do with a DSLR, where a point & shoot will leave you frustrated if you want to take more than "stand up in front of the camera" portraits and simple landscape.
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen
    I believe that in this case "solid meh" means "so 'meh' that it could never be anything more than 'meh', and yet also no less than 'meh' -- in a word, exactly 'meh'"

  14. #14
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Funny that you posted this. I'm planning on getting a 400D (Rebel XTi) soon.

    There are a lot of scam shops out there. The two shops I'm considering buying from are www.bhphotovideo.com and www.newegg.com. Also look at www.sigma4less.com.

    I've been using www.photography-on-the.net as a resource. It's a Canon-specific photography forum.
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    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  15. #15
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    If you want to split the difference, look at something like Panasonic DMC-FZ8. Great lens and 12x optical range, image stabilization that works pretty dmn well, lotsa nice features. More cumbersome then P&S, but way easier to carry then SLR. Pretty nice camera to learn the digital ropes and go on from. Good review here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz8/
    Like someone else said, if your current lenses are border line quality, the current crop of SLR CCD's will let you know pretty quick.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    B&H has everything photographic.
    Calumet is the nicest company to deal with. When you call there is a short wait and you get to talk to a real live human who knows your purchase history. I recently purchased a film scanner from them which did not work. The response to my first call was "Oh, that's not right. We have another on it's way along, you will have it tomorrow." I did not have to have the broken one back to them before they sent the new one. They also sent a packing slip so all I had to do to return the broken scanner was call UPS and say pick it up.
    Great folks to deal with.
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen
    I believe that in this case "solid meh" means "so 'meh' that it could never be anything more than 'meh', and yet also no less than 'meh' -- in a word, exactly 'meh'"

  17. #17
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    Buy both. The DSLR because anything less will result in frustration. And a very thin, high resolution P&S just to carry around in a picket to grab that very elusive shot.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Well, the type of senson in the p&s cameras is usually different. The dslr's have a higher quality sensor. They also not only have higher available ASA's but have much lower noise levels at higher ASA's. Canon is especially good at this, and sense you have canon lenses already really a Canon is a no brainer if you go DSLR. (if it weren't for the lenses I'd recommend the Pentax K10d pretty strongly though).

    Panasonic has some good all in one cameras. There's one that looks like an slr but isn't. Can't remember the model number right this sec, but it has a to die for leica lens. Some of kodak camera's use Schneider lenses which are top notch too. Really though, if you're not going DSLR and can shoot at lower ASA's only I think that Panasonic is the best deal going out there right now.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member warrenl's Avatar
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    I ended up with a Nikon Digital SLR. Lenses made the change worth while. If you have a few lenses then a Canon Digital SLR body would be the way to go.
    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~Jim Ryun

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  20. #20
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG
    +1 to all of this except I have to take my sister to the prom.
    A SLR is more to carry around but you are already are used to carrying one around, so go with a Digi Canon. The 350D is a great body.
    There is so much more you can do with a DSLR, where a point & shoot will leave you frustrated if you want to take more than "stand up in front of the camera" portraits and simple landscape.
    Agreed. The portability is hard to give up on the one hand, but so is the quality and versatility on the other.

    However, are most of your photos snapshots or do you put a fair amount of effort and thought into them? If you're doing a lot of snapshots and value the portability, I'd say get a quality point and shoot and hold on to the film camera for nicer shots. You can always get a digital SLR body later.

    I've looked at the P&S market pretty close and I very highly recommend the Canons. The Powershot A710IS is a fantastic compact camera that just dropped below $300. The Canon S3 is a little spendier and bulkier but closes the gap between P&S and SLR a little.

    If you do go with an SLR now, definitely stick with the Canon since you have the lenses.
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  21. #21
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    Oh yeah, and boo on digital. Until the dynamic range of a sensor matches or surpases that of film, it's like saying your high quality mp3 copy of Bethoven's 9th is as good as a high quality analog version.

    Sorry. Had to get that out of the way.
    +1 (my beef is more with music but the point is valid for both imho)
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  22. #22
    Videre non videri
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    I can't help reading P&S as PoS, as in Piece of ****!
    Sorry!

  23. #23
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    As far as the whole film vs. digital thing - I haven't looked up tech specs or whatnot but I've gotten several prints now from my Canon a630 point and shoot and my Nikon D80. Tonal range looks pretty darn good to me. The biggest prints were 8x12 but they looked great and I really couldn't tell much difference between it and a film print just eyeballing it. And I've been doing this since '89. I have to admit, the fuji DSLR's deliver the most film like performance I think. Wedding photogs use them almost exclusively because they don't blow out the highlights of the wedding dress - they maintain incredible detail in the highlights. But yeah, my Nikon and even Canon digital point and shoot are right there with film IMO.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Oh, and the new Sigma DSLR's produce some incredible images due to that very unique sensor they use. But thats a whole other matter - I wouldn't recommend those cameras for several reasons, esp. if you're not an advanced hobbiest or pro.

    I've got some examples from my D80 up here on the board. My "Incredible Views of my Laptop Bag" thread was the most recent. I also posted a bunch of pics from the first day I had the camera.

    To be honest, if you can, I'd do both a DSLR and a compact point and shoot. There are times I want to take a camera but don't want to lug a ton of gear (such as when I'm bike riding). But I also appreciate the power, finesse, and versatility of a DSLR to serious image craftsmanship.
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    Mean people are like slinkys. They're really not worth much but still are rather entertaining to watch tumble down the stairs.

  25. #25
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    please don't say 'very unique'. It hurts my brain
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

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