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Author Topic: Hold that pose! (Looking at getting a new camera)  (Read 1140 times)
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Arkon
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« on: October 08, 2013, 06:58:26 PM »

So on our family vacation this summer, my wife managed to drop our cheapo point and shoot camera into the sand on the beach which has since made it that the camera can not zoom (sand has gotten between the "lens" and the body so it can't twist out.  We have talked for a long time about getting a nice camera so as to better capture memories as the kids grow up, and with my new job it seems now is as good a time as any to jump in.  I am looking at going with a DSLR.

Any recommendations out there on brand/model?  I am a huge fan of Costco and their return policy, so I am looking at their bundles and am expecting to come in between $800 and $1,000 (This is also a late birthday gift for myself).

I was considering one of the following but am open to suggestions:

Pentax k-50 Bundle
Canon EOS Rebel T5i

Obviously stepping up from a simple point and shoot means learning, but to be honest I could use a hobby, and something to push me to do more than just sit in front of my computer playing games.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 07:21:46 PM »

Nikon and Canon are the big players, and they'll have the largest selection of lenses and accessories.  Can't go wrong with either one; it's all just personal preference.

Pentax makes great cameras, too.  You'll have a smaller selection of lenses, but if they have the lenses you want then it doesn't matter. 

If you can find a way to get your hands on the camera options in person, that'd be a great move.  The feel of the camera, the location of the controls, and the way the digital menus navigate are all things that can make you like one model over another.

The only potential downside I see to the Costco bundles are the lens choices.  Pretty much every package I see has an 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens.  That can be fine and dandy, but it's really up to you and your taste.  The 18-55 is a good range for landscapes and close range stuff, but it will not feel like it zooms as much as a regular point & shoot camera does.  The 55-250mm lens will give you great telephoto reach, but it will be hard to use at shorter ranges or indoors, except for shoulder-up portraits.

If you think you can handle those restrictions, and doing lens swaps, super.  There's nothing inherently wrong with that lens pair, and you can always buy more lenses down the line.  But if you're on the fence about how much you'll be on board with swapping lenses for different situations, you may be better off starting with a single "do everything" lens that goes from ~18mm to at least ~200mm.

Personally, I have the most fun shooting with fixed lenses that can't zoom at all.  A 50mm fixed lens only runs $100 or so, and gives better quality for the buck due to the obvious disadvantage of having no zoom.  A 35mm fixed lens runs a bit more, but can be easier to use in tight spaces.  If I must have more flexibility for a shooting event, I bring my 18-200mm zoom instead.  I typically just choose one of those lenses to bring with me and leave the rest at home.

As for shopping locations, I can't fault you for going with Costco if they have what you want, but if you want to compare options the main online places are adorama.com and bhphotovideo.com .  There's also a new store by the review site DPReview that looks really promising, gearshop.dpreview.com .   Their philosophy is to have a smaller, but more hand-picked selection, which may help prevent being paralyzed by choice.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 08:02:58 PM »

I don't know which camera brands to recommend. I went in looking at Nikon and walked out with Cannon but that was only after a sales person told me the similarly priced Nikon's video quality wasn't as good as the Cannon's. I don't know it that's true. What I know is that our picture quality has increased significantly since we got the T3i last year. I can put it on dumb mode and snap pictures like a pro. Seriously, the images are amazing when you get in this price range.
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rshetts2
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 11:23:42 PM »

I was going to tell you basically the same thing as Wonderpug.  For DSLR its either Canon or Nikon.  Theres a great selection of lenses for either one and they are priced well.  If you choose Canon look into getting the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8,  its a fast and very clean lens that runs around $100.  You can get great portrait pics with it and the price is unbeatable.   
 I have a canon set up myself and love it. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 02:44:41 AM »

My wife and son both have cameras from the Sony NEX line. They are very small, take amazing pictures, and are easy enough to use to be a good "step-up" camera. The 5r runs about 600 with an 18-55 zoom lens. They also have an 18-200mm lens available, but it is rather expensive (more than the camera). Take a look at some reviews. They won't give you quite as much fine control as a DSLR will, but is much smaller, lighter, and user friendly.
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 08:10:17 AM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on October 08, 2013, 11:23:42 PM

I was going to tell you basically the same thing as Wonderpug.  For DSLR its either Canon or Nikon.  Theres a great selection of lenses for either one and they are priced well.  If you choose Canon look into getting the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8,  its a fast and very clean lens that runs around $100.  You can get great portrait pics with it and the price is unbeatable.   
 I have a canon set up myself and love it. 

This is everything that is wrong with photography these days. DSLR is not always where its at now or just Canon or Nikon.

You have CSC, cameras now, compact system cameras that are half the size of dslrs but with the same size sensors so picture quality is as good.

You have point and shoots with massive sensors that take slr quality pics as well.

Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Olympus are the go to for these. Nikon and Canon have not managed anything decent in these.

The main thing with a camera is you use it, bring it with you as much as possible. Slrs are big and a large portion of people end up leaving them at home becUse of size and weight.

If all you are going to use is the lense that comes with the camera, kit lense then you also miss out the best slrs have to offer, apprently 90% of dslr users only have the kit lense.

I will point you to a topic on Octopus Overlords that is all about photography that is really worth a look at and can help with choice.

Personally i would go in a camera-shop or two and try some out, its all about feel and weight, comfort and finger grip and spacing and really how it feels.

Saying Nikon or Canon is like saying when buying a car get a Ford or GMC as if the is nothing else out there. There is a massive choice to fit need and the quality of some of the stuff out there is amazing.

http://www.octopusoverlords.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=58356&start=2560

To add i use a Sony Nex 7, myndext step will hopefully be the Nex A7 which will have a full frame sensor.

To add cost varies greatly but for $300 you should be able to get something decent. It may also depend how
You wish to spend, the more you spend the better choice you will have.
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Arkon
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 01:50:47 PM »

Thanks for the advice and differing opinions, it gives me a lot to think about.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 01:55:42 PM »

Yikes.

rshetts said "for DSLR its either Canon or Nikon."  He didn't say anything about DSLRs compared to other camera types, and while I disagree that Canon & Nikon are the only two options for DSLR cameras, you can't deny that they're the two biggest players.

The part I'll agree with though is that Arkon should definitely also consider the options for mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses.  I'm not too up to speed about what the best options are currently, but I'm pretty sure the biggest players are still the Sony Nex, the Olympus PEN, and whatever Panasonic calls their line.  Reemul mentioned Samsung, but I'm not familiar with how they're doing in this market.

These mirrorless cameras give you most of what's awesome about SLRs in a much snazzier, small package.  The biggest things they're behind on are lens selection, autofocus ability, and the lack of an optical viewfinder.  Battery life too, I suppose.

The lack of an optical viewfinder is one of the biggest issues for me, personally.  It's hard to convey in words, but looking through the optical viewfinder on a real SLR still feels like I'm viewing real life.  When I take pics of my kids, for example, if I'm capturing something through my iPhone screen or my point & shoot camera screen, I feel a little conflicted about watching the event on a tiny TV screen instead of seeing it myself.  But when I'm looking through my SLR, I don't feel like I'm missing out.  The image is just so bright and lagless in a way even the best OLED screen can't compare, because you are indeed actually seeing the world through your lens.  But of course, this is also what makes SLRs so bulky, and Reemul is right that if you always leave your bulky SLR at home then you probably would be better served with a mirrorless.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2013, 02:02:44 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 01:50:47 PM

Thanks for the advice and differing opinions, it gives me a lot to think about.

It can be intimidating, to be sure.  But what kind of photography are you hoping to do?  That can really help hone you in on the right option.  You mentioned capturing memories of the kids better, is that the primary purpose?  Or do you want to get more into the 'artsy' side of photography?  If the latter to some degree, what kind of artsy stuff interests you?  Portraits?  Macro pics of flowers or bugs?  HDR? Landscape? Wildlife?  Are you just looking for "something that will take better pictures?"
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Arkon
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2013, 02:11:57 PM »

So I am doing some reading, but would love some more feedback...Can anyone help explain the sensor types?  I see on the Cannon models, they use APS-C sensors, where as I have seen reference to Full Frame, and then on Nikon they don't give it a name just says a size for example 23.5 mm x 15.6 mm CMOS Sensor.
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Arkon
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2013, 02:20:46 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on October 09, 2013, 02:02:44 PM

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 01:50:47 PM

Thanks for the advice and differing opinions, it gives me a lot to think about.

It can be intimidating, to be sure.  But what kind of photography are you hoping to do?  That can really help hone you in on the right option.  You mentioned capturing memories of the kids better, is that the primary purpose?  Or do you want to get more into the 'artsy' side of photography?  If the latter to some degree, what kind of artsy stuff interests you?  Portraits?  Macro pics of flowers or bugs?  HDR? Landscape? Wildlife?  Are you just looking for "something that will take better pictures?"

I would say it is a pretty broad range, for example I love trying to take pictures of flowers and butterflies which with my point and shoot meant trying to get the camera just a few inches from the "subject".  I was able to go to Costa Rica for a week for work, and sadly I could never get the wildlife into focus, everything was just too far away for my point and shoot, or the camera would focus on the wrong portion of the image, such as a branch that was closer etc.  My wife loves taking all kinds of pictures of the kids.  We love going to the zoo and the wildflower reserve.  We went to Disney and while we got some OK pictures, it was the kids first time and we just missed so many of the memories because the pictures just didn't turn out.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2013, 02:38:47 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 02:11:57 PM

So I am doing some reading, but would love some more feedback...Can anyone help explain the sensor types?  I see on the Cannon models, they use APS-C sensors, where as I have seen reference to Full Frame, and then on Nikon they don't give it a name just says a size for example 23.5 mm x 15.6 mm CMOS Sensor.



Don't worry about sensor types, every maker is going to have their own terminology.  By and large, the most important thing is just the size of the sensor.  A bigger sensor means you capture more light, which means everything gets better.

The tiniest boxes you see in the pic above are what most point & shoots cameras have.  It's astounding how good their image quality has gotten with those tiny sensors, but the tiny sensor directly ties to a lot of drawbacks: low light capability, ability to get that blurred background look, image noise, and more.

The "APS-C" or "DX" format, which is roughly 2/3 the size of full frame.  It's basically what every digital SLR sensor size has been if it's not full frame.  Most of the new mirrorless cameras now have this size sensor as well, which is awesome. 

"Full Frame" means the sensor is as big as the size of a negative with traditional 35mm film cameras.  Full Frame is awesome, and it's the future, but it's expensive and only just starting to get into the price range reachable by normal human beings.  You'll also see this called "FX" format.

If you use a full frame lens on a compatible DX camera body, the lens will work just fine but the edges of what the lens captures will not be used, since the light falls beyond where the sensor is.  This also gives you an 1.5x 'zoom' effect, meaning a 50mm DX lens acts more like a traditional 75mm lens. 

For your needs, full frame will be too expensive and you shouldn't settle for anything less than the APS-C / DX size sensor. 
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Arkon
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2013, 02:49:05 PM »

One other issue/concern...I need something that can help with hand wobble...I don't have the steadiest of hands.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2013, 03:18:30 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 02:49:05 PM

One other issue/concern...I need something that can help with hand wobble...I don't have the steadiest of hands.

A tripod is king for helping with that, or at least a monopod, but if that avenue isn't feasible or desirable for you or your situation, next in line is image stabilization, wherein the camera tries to hold the image steady despite your jiggling.  This goes by a variety of names, "image stabilization" for Canon, "vibration reduction" for Nikon.

Most of the time, this is done through the lens, which means if it's a key feature for you, you have to be sure every lens you buy has it.  But this is one place where Pentax stands out a bit.  The image stabilization in the K-50 you were eyeing is done inside the camera body, meaning it's a feature you always have with every lens you put on it.

I'm not familiar with how mirrorless cameras approach this, but a quick Google shows me that some are in-body and some are in-lens. 

When you're comparison shopping for this feature, look for "the camera/lens offers X stops of stabilization," with higher numbers being better.
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2013, 03:28:15 PM »

One more morsel of food for thought: in the SLR world, the lens matters more than the camera body.  A fantastic lens on a really old, outdated body is without a doubt going to take better pictures than a top of the line body with a bottom barrel lens.  That's a big part of why Reemul turned his nose up at SLR users who never venture beyond the kit lens that came with their camera.  A lens like that is an ok place to start, but it does mean you miss out on a lot of what your camera can do.
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Arkon
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2013, 03:36:57 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on October 09, 2013, 03:28:15 PM

One more morsel of food for thought: in the SLR world, the lens matters more than the camera body.  A fantastic lens on a really old, outdated body is without a doubt going to take better pictures than a top of the line body with a bottom barrel lens.  That's a big part of why Reemul turned his nose up at SLR users who never venture beyond the kit lens that came with their camera.  A lens like that is an ok place to start, but it does mean you miss out on a lot of what your camera can do.

I am noticing this when looking at add on lenses where they often cost more than the camera itself.

I am really starting to lean towards the Pentax, I know it may seem trivial, but the weather sealing is attractive to me...another question, how big of a deal is it that the Pentax is 16 Megapixels versus 18 on the Canon and 24 on the Nikon?
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2013, 03:47:17 PM »

For the most part, megapixels don't matter unless you know you want to make gigantic sized physical prints out of your pictures.  You only need like 2 megapixels to print a high quality 5x7, and 3 or 4 megapixels to print an 8x10. 

A 16 megapixel camera will let you print at ~16" by 11" at the highest quality if you don't crop the image too much.
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Arkon
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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2013, 04:34:54 PM »

Largest we would likely ever do is 8x10.

Online reviews for the Pentax are actually pretty good, now to read reviews on some of the other options in that price range.
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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 05:14:52 PM »

Hey Reemul, chill, man!  icon_wink
 Arkon stated in his op that he wanted a DSLR, hence my focus on DSLRs and not other options.  My opinions on p&s and "step up" cameras would definitely be different but then thats not what he asked about, so I didnt go there.  And yes there are plenty of other excellent options for DSLR but none have the pedigree and lens section available from Canon or Nikon and since there is not a huge difference in price, in my opinion, unless there is some major mitigating factor in going to another brand, youre pretty safe going with Nikon or Canon. 
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Arkon
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« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2013, 05:59:09 PM »

To be honest I had no idea there was anything between a point and shoot and a DSLR when I asked the original question.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2013, 06:14:38 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 05:59:09 PM

To be honest I had no idea there was anything between a point and shoot and a DSLR when I asked the original question.

Take a really good look at the mirrorless camera options like the Sony NEX series.  I love SLRs but this mirrorless stuff is really fancypants, and very much in line with your use needs.

Personally, I can't get by with a single camera to meet all my needs.  A) I have an SLR for when I'm willing to carry it, when I want to do artsy stuff, or when I am setting out intentionally to take some high quality pics of the kids or something.  B) I have a nice point & shoot for when I know I want to take pics of the kids but I don't want the bulk of the SLR.  I very rarely use my point & shoot though, because C) I have an iPhone.  My iPhone is responsible for 90% of my kid photos and kid videos, because it's always right there in my pocket.

A mirrorless camera couldn't replace my SLR for my needs, but if I had the money to spare I could see it replacing my point & shoot.
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« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2013, 07:16:47 PM »

Honestly, point and shoot cameras have improved tremendously in the last few years. If anything, if capturing memories of your children are the main concern, I'd go with P&S as they're more likely to stay with you wherever you go, and there are some models that offer benefits of DSLR if you go with some of the more advanced models. About a year ago, my Brother had a wedding, and while we have a Canon 7D, we opted not to bring it as it's quite bulky, and we later regretted that decision as most of the pictures were from the bride's side of the family and once we knew we were going on a long roadtrip, we started talking about getting a P&S, but with DSLR-like benefits. We looked at both Canon and Nikon and several other makes, and we settled on the Sony HX30V, a fantastic camera that has an amazing auto mode and also a very good manual mode, plus a bunch of other cool goodies such as an awesome panoramic mode. This camera gives the best of both worlds that fits in your pocket.
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rshetts2
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« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2013, 07:37:56 PM »

Quote from: Rumpy on October 09, 2013, 07:16:47 PM

Honestly, point and shoot cameras have improved tremendously in the last few years. If anything, if capturing memories of your children are the main concern, I'd go with P&S as they're more likely to stay with you wherever you go, and there are some models that offer benefits of DSLR if you go with some of the more advanced models. About a year ago, my Brother had a wedding, and while we have a Canon 7D, we opted not to bring it as it's quite bulky, and we later regretted that decision as most of the pictures were from the bride's side of the family and once we knew we were going on a long roadtrip, we started talking about getting a P&S, but with DSLR-like benefits. We looked at both Canon and Nikon and several other makes, and we settled on the Sony HX30V, a fantastic camera that has an amazing auto mode and also a very good manual mode, plus a bunch of other cool goodies such as an awesome panoramic mode. This camera gives the best of both worlds that fits in your pocket.

+1   I have both a DSLR and a very nice P&S camera as well.  Theres a lot of instances where a full on DSLR kit is too much to carry and p&s cameras are pretty darn nice these days. 
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Arkon
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« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2013, 07:55:09 PM »

Most of the photos I am looking to do aren't spur of the moment.  They would be intentionally planned...like next week when we take the kids to the pumpkin patch.  The point and shoot we had was one of the Nikon Coolpix series.  Many photos would turn out very dark, or blurred when the camera would invariably focus on the wrong object in the picture even though it looked correct on the viewscreen.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2013, 09:16:24 PM »

For family pics like your upcoming pumpkin patch shoot, how important/desirable is it to you to have the blurry background look like this:
Spoiler for Hiden:

Rather than having just about everything in focus like this:
Spoiler for Hiden:
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Rumpy
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« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2013, 09:28:42 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 09, 2013, 07:55:09 PM

Most of the photos I am looking to do aren't spur of the moment.  They would be intentionally planned...like next week when we take the kids to the pumpkin patch.  The point and shoot we had was one of the Nikon Coolpix series.  Many photos would turn out very dark, or blurred when the camera would invariably focus on the wrong object in the picture even though it looked correct on the viewscreen.

Yeah, that was the case with older cameras, specfically with smaller sensors. Nowadays though, they're advanced well enough to have features that help prevent that kind of thing from happening. For example, the HX30V's auto mode will let you know what it sees by having different symbols, for example it can distinguish between flowers and people, or landscapes, and it will always use the best setting for the purpose based on what it sees, and it will engage a backlight mode if it feels the subject is underlit and take three consecutive shots to counteract that.
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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2013, 10:31:43 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on October 09, 2013, 09:16:24 PM

For family pics like your upcoming pumpkin patch shoot, how important/desirable is it to you to have the blurry background look like this:
Spoiler for Hiden:

Rather than having just about everything in focus like this:
Spoiler for Hiden:

I much prefer the first, although could see times where I would want the second.  The problem with my old camera would be that somehow it would have picked the tree in the background to focus on and everything else would have been blurry.
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« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2013, 11:09:32 PM »

The second picture you can achieve with any camera, but depending on how much you love the blurry background of the first I may start trying to ward you away from those bundled lenses. 
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Arkon
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« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2013, 12:19:24 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on October 09, 2013, 11:09:32 PM

The second picture you can achieve with any camera, but depending on how much you love the blurry background of the first I may start trying to ward you away from those bundled lenses. 

What sort of lenses would I be looking at for that?  I am willing to buy an extra lense.
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« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2013, 01:39:07 AM »

Out of curiosity, this is a picture taken with a P&S I had taken earlier this year:

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Arkon
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« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2013, 01:51:14 AM »

Quote from: Rumpy on October 10, 2013, 01:39:07 AM

Out of curiosity, this is a picture taken with a P&S I had taken earlier this year:



Very nice, how far away were you from that bird?
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Rumpy
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« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2013, 01:56:04 AM »

Several feet away. It was quite curious and tried to get as close to us as possible. Taken at Yosemite smile
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wonderpug
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« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2013, 04:32:13 AM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 10, 2013, 12:19:24 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on October 09, 2013, 11:09:32 PM

The second picture you can achieve with any camera, but depending on how much you love the blurry background of the first I may start trying to ward you away from those bundled lenses.  

What sort of lenses would I be looking at for that?  I am willing to buy an extra lense.

Disclaimer: You seem like you're new to photography as a hobby, so I'm going to keep talking like all this terminology is new to you.  If I'm getting too basic with my explanations, just poke me with a stick.

The real name for a blurry background is 'shallow depth of field.'  Depth of field is how you describe how much of your scene is in focus.  A very narrow or shallow depth of field means that only a very small range of distances will be in focus.  A very wide or large depth of field means that lots will be in focus, whether it's just a few feet away or off in the distance.

There are three ways you can affect your depth of field, and this chart I just found explains it very well.  The three ways are distance, aperture (how much light your lens can let in), and focal length.  For distance, you can only do so much because if you're standing 50 feet away with a 35mm lens your subject is going to be tiny.  Focal length you can control, and zooming in a bunch is one of the only ways you can hope to get a blurry background with a point & shoot, but it also means you have to be standing far away from your subject to get more than just a nose in your frame.  That leaves aperture, and that's one of the places SLRs (and mirrorless cameras to a large degree) really shine.... if you have the right lens.

You seem to be soaking in this stuff, so I'll keep going into detail on the educational stuff, but if this is getting too detailed too fast just poke me with a stick.  I love talking photography so it's no skin off my back to explain a lot if you find it useful or interesting.

Aperture represents the size of the opening in the lens, i.e., how much light it lets in.  Counterintuitively, a lower number (the "f-stop") means more light.  To make things more confusing, you can't just subtract two numbers to know the difference.  Here's the sequence anyone who's ever taken a photo class had to memorize: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32.  The numbers are what they are because MATH, but each time you go left one number on that sequence you let in twice as much light.  The smaller apertures numbers (bigger openings) also give you a shallower depth of field.

So now to the tl;dr part.  The 18-55mm lens in that Costco pack has an aperture range of f/3.5-5.6, which means that when you're wide angle at 18mm it's f/3.5 (kinda ok) and when you're zoomed in all the way to 55mm it's f/5.6 (meh).  It really depends on your shooting situation, but using a gigantic GENERALLY, I'd say at f/2.8 you're starting to have a pretty good aperture for shallow depth of field, f/2 or f/1.8 we're really starting to talk, and at f/1.4 your depth of field is awesomely narrow but also almost too narrow.

Bottom line, I'm not super familiar with Pentax's offerings, but from some quick & dirty online shopping:

If I was buying a Pentax, I would get this 50mm f/1.8 lens.  (The Nikon and Canon equivalents are $50-80 less, FYI.)  This lens will give great image quality for the price, and about as wide open an aperture as you can find.  I love fixed (or "prime") lenses for this.  BUT, it will not zoom at all.  You want your picture framed differently?  Walk forward or walk backward.  I personally love this limitation.  It makes me more creative.  I am not alone in feeling this way, but it is very much not for everyone.  Prime lenses are also very nice and compact.  Other caveat: 50mm on a dSLR becomes ~75mm, which can make you feel cramped shooting indoors.  Nikon has a really sweet 35mm f/1.8 lens for a crazy reasonable $200, and that's a lot easier to use indoors, but the Pentax equivalents seem out of reach more expensive.  Actually, I just found a 35mm f/2.4 Pentax, that's probably the one to go with if you think you'd enjoy a fixed lens.

If I was buying a Pentax and wanted a single "do everything" lens, I'd look at something similar to this third party Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.  I wouldn't have an easy time taking a picture of a bird way far away, but the zoom range  would be good for most of my needs and a f/2.8 aperture that doesn't vary with zoom is snazzy.
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Arkon
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« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2013, 11:45:07 AM »

Wonderpug, let me just say thank you very much for the detailed information, this is really helping me to make an educated decision.  So now looking back at the Costco bundles, I see why they may not be the best options.  Looking at the Canon bundle, the lenses have the same aperture as the Pentax, so while you are getting two lenses with the body and some nice accessories, the lenses are very run of the mill "generic" so to speak.
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Arkon
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« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2013, 12:58:08 PM »

So after looking further at the Pentax lenses, they really are much more expensive...my biggest concern is the stability of my hands, and once I factor in that with Pentax it is built in to the body that changes the "picture".  For example Neither Canon or Nikon seems to have an image stabilized fixed 50mm focal length lens.  Now how big of an issue that is I don't know...I do know that on our old camera, any time I was taking a picture there was a 50% chance or more that the hand shake icon would show up.

Now if I am understanding aperture correctly...would it make sense that at long focal lengths it is just natural that the aperture is higher?
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rshetts2
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« Reply #35 on: October 10, 2013, 01:13:06 PM »

Ill leave it to some of the experts to explain the technical stuff, Im an amateur. But Ive often heard that image stabilization on a 50mm lens is overkill,  IS is generally used on telephoto lenses.  Of course if shaky hands is a major issue for you, perhaps a nice tripod would be a good solution.  A good tripod can solve a whole lot of problems, especially when taking portraits, landscapes, etc.  BTW if you are going to go with Canon or Nikon, you can find recent but older model kits for a much better price, with a bit of searching. Might save you a couple hundred bucks.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2013, 02:11:17 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on October 10, 2013, 11:45:07 AM

Wonderpug, let me just say thank you very much for the detailed information, this is really helping me to make an educated decision. 

Super, glad I'm hitting the right level of detail.

Quote from: Arkon on October 10, 2013, 12:58:08 PM

I do know that on our old camera, any time I was taking a picture there was a 50% chance or more that the hand shake icon would show up.
Generally, that hand shake icon doesn't mean that your hands are shaking too much; it means that because of the low light in the scene, the shutter speed has gotten slow enough that even a steady-hands surgeon may have trouble holding the camera still enough to not introduce extra blur.  The icon really should be a flashing tripod, because what it really means is that you want to use a tripod or brace against a solid object (or turn on your flash).

Quote from: Arkon on October 10, 2013, 12:58:08 PM

Now if I am understanding aperture correctly...would it make sense that at long focal lengths it is just natural that the aperture is higher?

It is harder to have a wide open aperture with a long telephoto lens than with a wider angle lens.  (Imagine looking at the world through a cardboard tube instead of with the naked eye.)  Those gargantuan lenses you see on the sidelines of a football game?  That's because they want both telephoto reach and a wide open aperture, which means both the lens and the lens pricetag need to be gargantuan.

But back to shaking hands and image stabilization.  Do you have an actual physical condition that makes your hands shake, or are you mostly just basing this on that shakeyhands icon from your camera?  If your hands literally shake, there's only so much even image stabilization can do for you, but if we're just talking about the normal difficulty in holding a camera steady, that's fine.

For normal handheld wobble, if the shutter speed is fast enough it will take the picture quick enough to freeze any motion your hands will introduce.  And the more telephoto your lens is, the faster the shutter speed needs to be to freeze your hand wobble.

This gets limited by the interplay between shutter speed and aperture.  A faster shutter speed means you're letting less light in, so to keep the light levels the same you need to make your aperture open up more to compensate.  But if you've opened up the aperture as far as you can go, the only way to get more light is to increase the ISO (the "film sensitivity", but high ISO starts hurting image quality) or to slow down the shutter speed.  When you slow down the shutter speed too much, that's when it's difficult or impossible to hand-hold the camera.

And that's where image stabilization comes into play.  If a 1/120th of a second shutter speed is what you need to freeze hand wobble, image stabilization can compensate enough to let you slow down to 1/60th of a second or 1/30th of a second shutter speed and still freeze your hand wobble.

That's why you don't see image stabilized fixed 50mm lenses.  One, it's not all that long telephoto-wise, so it's innately easier to hand-hold.  Two, since they have such wide open apertures they already have an innate ability to let in more light and allow faster shutter speeds. 
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Arkon
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« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2013, 07:31:52 PM »

So much to consider, I guess it is all pros and cons now.  The one thing I am seeing is that most everywhere if I want any lenses with the base body they seem to be the same lenses that Costco offers, but Costco has a better pricepoint.

I think the route I want to go is to get one of the bundles and then grab a fixed lens to round out the bundle as a starting point.  Now just a matter of picking a brand, I am still really tempted by the built in image stabilization and weatherproofing on the Pentax, but then feel like in the long run that could really limit me now that I am looking at the lens options out there.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2013, 02:44:53 AM »

I can't recommend highly enough that you go to a local brick & mortar camera store and try to hold these things in person.  If you hold one and fall in the love with the way it feels compared to the other options, go for it. 

And I don't know if you've heard of dpreview.com, but that's the place to go if you want to read more detailed reviews of the cameras you're considering.
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« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2013, 04:13:38 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on October 11, 2013, 02:44:53 AM

I can't recommend highly enough that you go to a local brick & mortar camera store and try to hold these things in person.  If you hold one and fall in the love with the way it feels compared to the other options, go for it. 

Yep, agreed. It's one thing to look at them online, but it's really a good idea to get a feel for them. Don't know how any of the stores work over there, but one store over here frequently has sales on the different brands. Like for instance, one month might be Nikon, another Canon, and so on. Also a real camera store will have knowledgeable people who are trained to know the cameras they sell, vs a big box store like Costco, and you'll be much more comfortable taking it into a camera store for questions and any repairs.
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