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First DSLR Camera
Hello, I am looking at getting my first DSLR camera. I am interested in taking pictures of landscapes and possibly wildlife here and there and some night-time photos. I am looking at the Pentax K100D and the Nikon D40, they both seem like very good cameras and are the only ones I can really afford, under the $500 mark. I am completely new to DSLR cameras and have no lenses and just enough money to get the basic camera and lenses kit. I was leaning for the Nikon d40 until I found out about the Pentax K100D with the SR and the availability of lenses. But, I have heard that some people having problems with the viewfinder and sensor not being aligned on the Pentax K100D, is this a big deal, or really noticeable at all in the photos? As far as being on a really tight budget, which camera would you all recommend for the first time user, taking pictures of mainly landscapes, possibly some night-time photos as well. With either of these cameras, how low could I get shutter speed without a tripod do you think? Have a fairly steady hand, and could always lean up against something if I needed.
Thanks for any input! Big Grin

I have a steady hand. I have never spilt a drop of the amber liquid in 65 years, but you will need a tripod or solid base for night shots, sometimes a prop is not good enough. (Somewhere you can let go of the camera while it take the photo.)
e.g. I had some wooden posts at chest height where I watched some night illuminations. These were roped together to form a barrier. Further along a few children were playing tarzan on the ropes and the poles moved a little. Oh dear.Sad
The Canon 350D or 400D are similar pricewise options. For wildlife, you may find you need a lens of 300/400 mm to get close enough to it.
Which is best????? Go to a store and see which feels good in your hands first and then look at reviews. Say on 'fredmiranda' Looking back I am happy with my choice, but everyone is different. It is rather like buying a new car, There are sooo many choices and all will do the job if in a slightly different way.
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
Pentax is a good choice, due to the backward compatibility with practically all Pentax mount lenses for 40 years. Although old lenses won't necessarily give you mindless operation, being able to pick up a fisheye used for a hundred or less (for example) is a big benefit, especially if you live near any pawn shops.

I'm in the process of ordering a K10D for the weatherproof feature, specifically for outdoor and animal photography. The new 6-direction anti-shake system is also supposed to rock (literally). Whether the K100D has the same feature I can't say, but Pentax have been making SLR's since the beginning, and every one I've had has been a quality piece of equipment, from my first in about 1969. I expect the DSLRs to meet the same standards.

As the previous writer said, quality low-light work demands a decent tripod, or at least a bean bag, especially at the resolutions you can get with a DSLR and a long lens. The additional weight helps some, however, and with a good anti-shake system you should be able to hand-hold a normal (40-50 mm) lens down to 1/15 sec. with decent results. A remote is a help with a tripod, BTW, although you can use the self-timer for landscapes and other stationary subjects. With longer lenses your ability to shoot at slow shutter speeds depends on the lens, the weight, your resistance to muscle shake, the wind and any other sources of possible vibration, in addition to the shutter speed. Don't expect miracles.
Sorry. That should have been 30-40 mm lens. My mind was in a different format.
Khaasta Wrote:With either of these cameras, how low could I get shutter speed without a tripod do you think? Have a fairly steady hand, and could always lean up against something if I needed.
Welcome to Shuttertalk.

I haven't tried either camera you're considering, but based on my experience with a pair of Olympus cameras with sensor-shift image stabilizers, I can say that it's a really useful feature but it has its limits. I don't know for certain that the Pentax system will work the same way, but I can't see why it would be fundamentally different.

Using normal-to-telephoto lenses, you probably will be able to hand-hold 1/10s or 1/30s, depending on the focal length of the lens. For wildlife photos in the early morning or evening IS will help a great deal, but that means shooting at 1/125 instead of 1/500. But remember that much below 1/125 you may still have blur if your subject moves. For wide angle or night photography I have yet to get consistently good results below 1/4 second no matter what I do, even when the focal length of the lens and the manufacturer's claims suggests that it should be possible. For night photography you're much better off disabling it and shooting from a tripod at a lower sensitivity (iso100 or 200).

Without an image stabilizing system, the guideline is that you will be able to hand-hold a shutter speed equal to the length of your lens in its 135-film format ("35mm") equivalent. So if you're using an APS-C camera, with a 300mm lens for wildlife photography, you should expect to need a 1/500s shutter speed to avoid camera shake blur. (300x1.6=480, rounded up to 1/500th of a second.) Every photographer and camera/lens combination is unique, but this is a good starting place. • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •
I think I am leaning towards the D40, seems like it is getting better reviews and is more user friendly, specially towards the newer people, plus the battery life. Will the SR make a big difference with the 18-55mm lens kit, or will I not even notice much of a difference? I will probably be using a fast shutter speed most of the time anyways, but if for some reason I do need a slower shutter speed, and don't have a tripod with me, is there a way to work around it without SR? Which ever I go with, I don't really plan on getting any other lens other than the 55-200mm lens, and that will cover probably most of anything I will be doing. Don't really plan on doing much of any wildlife to start with, just mainly landscapes, which probably mainly involves a fast shutter speed I would guess anyways?? So probably SR wouldn't matter to much...then again, I could be wrong... I am basically a total newbie to the DSLR world.
Thanks Guys, you all have been a great help, and I can wait to get my first DSLR camera!!

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