D50 or S2?
December 25, 2005 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Help me choose a digital camera: Nikon D50 or Canon S2? I can't decide whether it's worth it to go DSLR.

Here's the situation. I'm a casual photographer--I mostly take photos around town, on vacations, with friends, and so on. But I'm unhappy with the image quality of my long-in-the-tooth 2MP Digital Elph, and, in college, I had a great time developing and printing my own photos in the darkroom, and using a real manual camera (a Nikon F2). So, I'm looking for an upgrade, and these two seem like the best options for me in the prosumer and DSLR worlds, especially for someone on my budget. (I could definitely afford the S2, which is about $450, but the D50 would be a real investment for me.)

What I can't figure out is whether or not someone like me actually needs a real DSLR camera. In college, my F2 had just one lens, and I don't have a lens 'system' and don't imagine myself really developing one. I understand exposure, film speed, and so on, but only rudientarily--not nearly as much as some of the folks who've posted in the other DSLR questions on Ask.Me. At the same time, I want to take the best pictures I can, and I wouldn't want to spend $450 on an S2 only to find that in a few years I've exhausted its possibilities. So which one do I / did you choose? Prosumer or DSLR?

If it helps: my budget is around $500 (for which I can buy a D50 'kit' with only one lens at various after-Christmas sales). The things I miss most about my F2 are a the ability to take shots with no lag, manual controls over focus and exposure, and simply the quality of the photographs. And, although the S2 is an 'ultra-zoom' camera, I don't imagine myself doing much telephoto photography.

I am genuinely stumped; I don't want to spend more money than I need to, but I don't want to buy a camera I'll be unyhappy with. Thanks for any advice you can give!
posted by josh to Technology (42 answers total)
In my opinion, since digital camera technology progresses so fast, buy the most megapixels you need for what your needs are. You should be fine at 5, it sounds like. Spend $300 or so, buy one of a brand that you like, and in 2 years if technology progresses as quickly as it is now and prices drop like they do now, reconsider.

BUT, keep it in good shape to either eBay or gift to a family member or friend.

And no, you don't need DSLR.

PS, I like www.bensbargains.net for good deals!
posted by k8t at 4:08 PM on December 25, 2005

If image quality is the only problem, try a newer PNS like the PowerShot 450/550. This assumes you aren't limited by depth-of-field, manual focus, lens choices like wide-angle (harder on a cheap DSLR due to the FOV multipliers), or multi-flash setups.

If you DO go for a DSLR, be prepared to have two cameras - one to slip in a pocket, like your Elph, and the DSLR, which is generally too bulky for events where your primary concern is not photography.

I was never happy with the prosumer choices like the S2 (I had the PowerShot G2 and G3). Not enough control to justify the size. It's like driving a PT Cruiser because you need to haul stuff for construction projects but you want a small car to autocross: it sucks for both.
posted by kcm at 4:09 PM on December 25, 2005

As a "casual photographer" myself, I'd say don't bother with the DSLR. It's really only worth it if you're going to have multiple lenses, flashes, and other accessories.

Do look to see if the digicam you're interested in can take lens adapters, though. Many can, and it's almost as good as having interchangable lenses. (Often there's at least a zoom lens attachment.)
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:16 PM on December 25, 2005

I'm really just barely over the casual photographer mark anymore, even with thirty years of processing my own Ektachromes in the bathroom behind me. I went digital this year, finally, and quickly went througha couple of Fuji P&S cams to a D50- which has most of the bells and whistles, sure, but also has a number of automatic scene modes and a not-bad onboard flash.

The ease of use of the DSLR over the 'point-and-prays' is *phenomenal*- no more waiting for a crawling zoom or a dead-slow autofocus. Plus, the sensor area is something like 4 times that of a point-and-pray. This allows much higher sensitivity to low-light conditions, faster shutter speeds, and quality lenses have autofocus that rivals your own vision, in comparison.

I guarantee you won't regret it- the only caveat is do not buy a DSLR sight unseen. Go to a store and handle the cameras you are interested in, and see how they fit your hand, how your fingers match up to the controls, etc. I personally found the Canon Rebel XT abysmal as far as fit and finish, and adaptability to my hand, and the Nikon D50 a dream- perfect fit to my hand, controls logical and easy to understand and use. YMMV.
posted by pjern at 4:28 PM on December 25, 2005 [1 favorite]

it depends on how bothered you'll be by a bigger, bulkier camera.
I got a d50 just after thanksgiving, and thus far I love it. It shoots and feels like a "real camera" in a way that no digital I've ever used does. It's fast - you flip the power switch and it's immediately ready to take pictures, it can shoot several frames per second, and it's incredibly satisfying to use. If you like to shoot in dimly-lit settings, it'll perform far better at iso 1600 than the s2 will at 400. The larger sensor size means you'll get more detail than a 6mp shot from a point&shoot.

on the other hand, I looked long and hard at the s2 before I realized how much dslrs had come down in price, and it looks like a great camera too. It's got the image stabiliser, a really sweet video mode, and it's pretty compact, although not nearly as compact as your elph.

Neither one is really pocket-sized, but the s2 is "small bag sized" in a way that the d50 isn't. I say you should go to a shop and mess around with both of them - all the reviews and opinions in the world are useless in comparison to your own personal experience with a camera.
posted by chrisege at 4:30 PM on December 25, 2005

I got a Canon EOS 350D half a year ago as I was unhappy with the picture quality of my Canon A70, and I have never looked back. Taking pictures with a DSLR is fundamentally different from doing it with a compact, so my advice is: if you can handle the weight and size (and I would have second thoughts regarding any of the Nikons because of weight), go for the DSLR. If you prefer smaller size over better pictures, because you know that you will never carry a DSLR around, go for the compact. But do consider the speed. I didn't know what I was missing before I got the 350, but now I always take series of three with auto bracketing, as it takes less than 5 seconds from the moment I get the idea to the pictures are on the Card.
posted by KimG at 4:50 PM on December 25, 2005

I bought a Canon G5 about 2 years ago and while I really like the camera, retrospectively I should have saved a bit more and bought a DSLR. (I'm actually going to be buying a manual 35mm camera in the next week or two to partly solve this.) There are so many more options you can experiment with, not to mention the lack of shutter lag and generally better quality shots you'll get.

You said you're worried about exhausting possibilities with the S2, and I think that's exactly what you may find. The G5 allows a lot of manual control for a non SLR camera, but I still find myself frustrated by the 15 second shutter limit, and the fact I can't change lenses among other things.
posted by sinical at 4:53 PM on December 25, 2005

I've got access to a S2 IS, in fact I took about 100 pictures with it this morning. It's a pretty decent prosumer point and shoot digital. I also have a medium size Nikon 35mm kit. The things I don't like about the S2 are:
  • Shutter lag, it's impossible to time an action event because you never know when the thing is going to fire.
  • flash cycles really slow compared to even my SB400. And first charge is something like 15 seconds which has caused many a lost image for me.
  • Poor autofocus capability, especially in low light or when shooting thru glass, way worse than even the N90 I used for a while 5 years ago. And the manual focus is really painful to use.
  • has a fairly impressive zoom as far as P&S cameras go but nothing compared to a 300mm+1.4TC. The wide angle is barely wide and mostly inadequate for tight interior shots.
  • the s2 only goes to ISO400 and it's pretty noisy at that setting.

posted by Mitheral at 4:54 PM on December 25, 2005

Over the summer I bought a D70, and it just sold on eBay earlier today (very poor auction timing on my behalf).

While it's a fantastic camera, like others have mentioned, a DSLR is a big camera to tote around for casual uses. I'd say that unless that's no concern for you, keep that in the front of your mind when thinking about the pictures you'll actually be taking with the camera.

Personally, the D70 is going to be replaced with the much smaller Sony DSCN1.
posted by jcruden at 4:57 PM on December 25, 2005

also, as far as the d50 goes - I don't like the kit lens at all. I almost immediately replaced it with the $99 50mm/1.8 which is limited in that it doesn't zoom, but it is comparitively very compact. Also, it's very fast and works great as a portrait lens.
posted by chrisege at 5:29 PM on December 25, 2005

If you want to use manual control on the S2 try it out in the store and make sure the useability is good. The manual controls on most of the prosumer cameras I've looked at haven't been all that great.

The optics on the S2 are interesting, but the lens's wide-angle abilities are pretty limited since it only goes to a 36mm equivalent, this will limit your field of view for both landscape shots and indoor photography of groups. On the other hand, it seems to have some strong macro capabilities, if that interests you.

Like most prosumer cameras, the S2 has a pretty broad depth of field, which makes it hard to blur out backgrounds, even if you can open the apreture up.

Others have noted that the camera doesn't have great low light performance.

I already have a compact point and shoot (Canon S400) with decent image quality and I don't plan on giving it up -- I carry it almost anywhere, but I'm keen to get a DSLR. Key selling points for me:

1. Useable full manual control
2. Some degree of control over depth of field.
3. Good low-light performance.
4 More responsive/less shutter lag -- though this has improved greatly in the current generation of P&S cameras
5. Lens flexibility. I'm not going to drop a lot on lenses, but I figure I'll pick up a 50mm f1.8 for indoor low light since they tend to be pretty cheap. Add to that a relatively fast prime in the range of 28-35mm as a "normal lens" (same perspective as the human eye). Later, if I'm feeling flush. I might add a wide-angle lens and then maybe replace the kit lens with a faster & sharper zoom.
posted by Good Brain at 5:58 PM on December 25, 2005

"I'm unhappy with the image quality"

This is the key phrase of your question. You want better quality images: razor sharp, with vibrant colours. A point and shoot isn't going to give you that. You'll need a dSLR. Buy a body and forget about the lousy kit lens. You need something like a 50/1.8 prime lens with it. You can pick these up second hand for next to nothing. Even new they're still pretty cheap. A 50mm is a bit long on a dSLR, so if you plan on doing architecture and landscapes and group portraits, you may eventually need to invest in a wider lens, a 24mm for example.
posted by prolific at 6:08 PM on December 25, 2005

If I may make a specific recommendation, I am utterly happy with my Panasonic DMC-FZ5, which is well within your price range. 12x optical zoon, 5MP, wonderful image stabilization...and you can get as complicated as you like without sacrificing the simplicity of the basic modes. I've enjoyed it so much, in fact, that as long as it keep working (ie. I don't wear out the shutter button), I don't see any reason why I should purchase a new camera ever.
posted by Kickstart70 at 6:18 PM on December 25, 2005

Read some reviews of the S2, especially ones with actual image samples (dpreview.com is always a good stop for that sort of comprehensive analysis). If the image quality looks good enough for you, you'll probably be very happy with the S2 (assuming you can get over the caveats Mitheral raises). Interchangable lenses start to become a big deal once you outgrow the kit lens the camera comes with, but there's also a large investment associated with extra lenses that you may not be prepared to make.

If you can't think of any real reason to go up to an SLR, you might be better off buying the cheaper non-SLR camera now. If you do find you've outgrown it four years from now, you can always pick up a dSLR that will likely have better features/quality than anything you could've bought now for the same price. And I'd echo a lot of people here that suggest possibly buying a smaller camera if image quality is your only concern; I have a chunky three-year-old Sony camera that's quite good and does everything I want, but because I can't easily put it in my pocket it never goes anywhere with me. I used to lust over a D70, but if I had the money now I'd probably buy something like the Fuji F10 instead: very good low-light/high-ISO performance in a compact package. The only dealbreaker is its lack of manual control. But if you're willing to pay a little more, you could try a Canon Powershot S80, which does have the manual controls and is also very good quality-wise.
posted by chrominance at 6:41 PM on December 25, 2005

I looked at the Canon and Nikon slr's, read a lot and then got the Olympus E500, great price. That being said, my favorite digital is still my first, an Olympus D450. It's still alive and kicking and still does some of the best macro's. It is only 1.3 megs, but still my favorite. I have done 1000's of picts with it and yes, it did influence my decision.
posted by raildr at 6:43 PM on December 25, 2005

I second the Panasonic DMC-FZ5. I've had it since May and love it. It was reviewed and highly recommended by dpreview.com, fwiw. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is the same with most cameras at this price range: the low light capability. I did take some concert shots that came out better than expected but that was after I learned how to use the manual controls. If you're leaning in that direction, you can see some samples here.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:43 PM on December 25, 2005

(Actually, I lie. I'd still buy the D70, but I know now that I'd have to force myself to take it with me everywhere I went if I were to get anything out of it.)
posted by chrominance at 6:44 PM on December 25, 2005

My short answer: Most people don't need a DSLR. When you say "around town, on vacations, with friends..." what's more important to you, the image quality/color/grain, or having the picture? If you get tired of toting the SLR around, you aren't going to catch those moments.

I couldn't recommend a P&S model though. I'm constantly impressed by the pictures people put up on flickr from P&S cameras, people who have taken the time to learn to use them well. I've shot DSLRs since the first generation, but purely for lenses, shutter-lag, and easier movement between film and digital shooting.

The P&S camera will always be smaller, lighter, more portable. DSLR technology is still changing quickly, and the entry price keeps dropping. Even if you get something in a year or two, you could keep the old camera as the everyday item, and you won't have bought into a brand yet.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:51 PM on December 25, 2005

Thanks for all the great advice everyone! Please keep it coming...

As it stands now, I'm inclined towards the S2 (or the FZ5), since the photos I've seen on the web look great and I already have a Canon and like the menu system and controls. It seems like the D50 is perhaps more than I need; and I'm finding the 'you can always buy a better camera later' argument compelling. If I'm not seriously into photography now, perhaps it would be better to wait until I am and then to put down the big bucks on a nice camera.

If I'm going to go the prosumer route--has anyone had experiencces with both the Canon S2 IS and the Panasonic Lumix FZ5? And has anyone tried the FZ20?

Thanks so much everyone!
posted by josh at 7:02 PM on December 25, 2005

The FZ20 (and the recently released FZ30) are larger bulkier cameras. The only differences are explained here much better than I could. My friend just got the FZ20 and it is indeed built like a tank but the guts are virtually the same. Good luck with your purchase, whatever you choose!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:11 PM on December 25, 2005

Thanks, Kevin. The FZ20's focus ring is looking mighty appealing....
posted by josh at 7:19 PM on December 25, 2005

The Panasonic FZ5's autofocus is much more responsive than the Canon S2's, especially if you select its high-speed focus setting. While Canon digicams are among the very best when it comes to image quality, shutter lag has always been an Achilles heel for Canon's Powershot series and the S2 is no exception. (It's improved over the old S1, but still sluggish.) The S2 is capable of putting out great photos, but also demands more patience and care from the photographer.

Since you mentioned price, portability and focus speed as your prime criteria, I'd choose the FZ5, which is being priced very aggressively. The FZ20/FZ30 starts to approach DSLR-like price and bulk, IMO -- DPR has a good size comparison, and the difference is even more striking in your hands.

Back in the film days, lots of people owned SLRs but rarely used them. With the high price of digital, doing the same with a DSLR is a much costlier mistake, especially given how rapidly they depreciate in value. I wouldn't pick up a DSLR unless you're sure you're really fussy enough with your photos to be willing to drag one around with you.
posted by DaShiv at 7:53 PM on December 25, 2005

DaShiv: That is a very striking size comparison. Right now Amazon has the FZ20 at $409 and the FZ5 at $449--so that pretty much makes the comparison increased portability (FZ5) vs. lower cost and focus ring. That's a really tough one.

All I can say is.... dude, buying a digital camera is hard!
posted by josh at 8:17 PM on December 25, 2005

My father has an FZ20 that he's very pleased with. The bulk does approach an SLR, and the focus ring isn't mechanical and therefore floats (as in it just continues to rotate once you've hit the focus limits, as opposed to an old-fashioned captive ring that stops). Otherwise, it's a very capable camera.

The FZ5 does lack a manual focus option, but in my experience I've never really found this to be a problem so long as there's an object you do want in focus; just aim, half-depress the shutter, reframe the photo. (I don't know if you can do this with the FZ5, but I'd be shocked if you couldn't.)
posted by chrominance at 8:24 PM on December 25, 2005

I run into problems with poor or non existant manual focus all the time. Want to focus on a baseball player thru a chainlink fence, sorry can't do it. Want to focus on that butter fly framed behind some leaves, sorry not possible. Want to focus on your buddy wearing a black shirt at night, sorry I'm going to spend 30 seconds hunting instead. Want to focus on that scene outside thru your car window, sorry, how about this nice in focus picture of the window glass.
posted by Mitheral at 8:29 PM on December 25, 2005

bestest digicams at the moment: fuji f11 & canon a620 (both under 300$)
posted by suni at 8:48 PM on December 25, 2005

In college, my F2 had just one lens, and I don't have a lens 'system' and don't imagine myself really developing one

This statement strongly suggests that you should stick with a high quality P&S camera. I would look into the Canon S80, as its zoom is among the widest of P&S cameras.

dSLRs are big, bulky, expensive, and draw attention to you. None of these attributes make photography any easier. I can very effectively take candid shots of people with my S30, but stand no chance with my d70s, even when I have the tiny 28mm 2.8 mounted.

Photography is all about the lenses and imging sensor. Since you can't change the sensor in a digicam, the body is more important than in a film camera. In a film camera, the film is the sensor. You can put Tri-X in a Leica or a Zorki and mount the same scremount lens to either, and get almost the same photograph. With a digicam, you have to use the sensor you bought. Fortunately, most P&S sensors are excellent for average photography.

If you plan to take low light photography extensively, P&S flahes are terrible, and their lenses are too slow. You should consider a dSLR.

If you plan to use telephoto lenses creatively, you need a dSLR and a $800+ "pro" 2.8 lens.

If you want to go ultra wide or fisheye, you need a dSLR and a $500 lens.

If you don't plan to push the limits of photography, and want to stay within a budget, you don't really need a dSLR at all.

Finally, the Panasonic cameras with the LARGE and fast Leica glass are amazing, particularly when you consider that most individual Leica lenses cost more than the whole digicam, and then you need to buy a $3k Epson RD-1 or M7 body to go with it.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:06 PM on December 25, 2005

poo, there was more in my post but somebody (me) cutnpasted it into nowhere..

don't get the d50, your budget does not allow it as you need lenses (kit lens sucks)/sd cards for raw files/a bag/..
don't get the s2 cos it's nothing special and expensive (thus keeps you from getting into dslr soon)
posted by suni at 9:11 PM on December 25, 2005

I just received a D50 as a gift and am very happy with it. It replaces my 2 MP Canon Elph. Like you, I wanted better and higher resolution out of my digital images.

Unlike you, I've also spent the past year with the Nikon F100, a film camera. Because I've learned the basics of photography (f-stops, film speeds, etc.) and learned to love the darkroom, switching to a DSLR isn't a big adjustment for me. If all you're used to thus far is a point and shoot, I don't think you'll be happy with the mechanics of a DSLR. Unless, of course, you leave it on "auto" mode which effectively defeats the purpose of the thing.

So, unless you're a photo geek who plans to invest in multiple lenses (the D50 kit lens really is crap, get a 35mm and 50mm - equivalent to 50mm and 80mm thanks to the image sensor - instead ) and tinker with RAW image files, I'd avoid the DSLR route. Get either of the Panasonic cameras mentioned above. Both are close to DSLR in quality, feature fixed lenses made by Leica, and are very portable. If I hadn't already invested in Nikon lenses, this is definitely what I'd have done.
posted by aladfar at 9:13 PM on December 25, 2005

The FZ5 does lack a manual focus option, but in my experience I've never really found this to be a problem so long as there's an object you do want in focus; just aim, half-depress the shutter, reframe the photo. (I don't know if you can do this with the FZ5, but I'd be shocked if you couldn't.)

Me too :) I use it like that amazingly well. If I wasn't transitioning some of my photos this week I'd post something here to give some excellent proof of that.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:59 PM on December 25, 2005

Oh, and there are lenses that can be purchase for the FZ5. I haven't used them so far, but once I catch up on Christmas expenditures I will be.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:00 PM on December 25, 2005

Honestly, I think it's mostly that people who like to make espresso because it's hands-on would approximate the SLR market, while drip coffee people that just want their coffee to drink are the PNS market. Buying a car to enjoy driving it vs. buying a car for transportation. Perhaps.
posted by kcm at 11:04 PM on December 25, 2005

I don't know anything specific about the camera's price, but a frind of the family just bought a Pentax iST SLR with 9.5 Mp. It produces some very nice shots; it's definitely on a par with the Nikon or Canon.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:50 PM on December 25, 2005

Right now Amazon has the FZ20 at $409 and the FZ5 at $449--so that pretty much makes the comparison increased portability (FZ5) vs. lower cost and focus ring.

That Amazon price for the FZ5 is for a "free memory with purchase" package, meaning that they'll sell you shoddy memory at a steep markup. The rock-solid photo-superstore B&H carries the FZ5 for $350, which is about as low as you'll find it without running into scams.

Keep in mind that since your old ELPH probably uses CF cards, it's very likely that you'll need to buy a new SD card to go with your camera, so budget accordingly. The Nikon D50, Canon S2, and Panasonic FZ5 and FZ20 all use SD cards.

The FZ20 did have its price slashed considerably now that the newer FZ30 is on the market, but the FZ5 is still the cheaper buy. The FZ20 does boast having a much more robust build quality and features (such as the focus ring you mentioned) but the electronics inside isn't as sophisticated, especially with respect to its AF performance.

They're both great choices though -- there are lots of great cameras out there!
posted by DaShiv at 4:08 AM on December 26, 2005

I have a Canon 350d (Rebel XT as it's known stateside) and have loved every moment of it.

However, if DSLR is not your bag just now, my advice is to choose a camera brand that is known for it's optics. In my view it's harder for a digital camera maker known for electronics to master the optics than the other way round.

I've always chosen Canon, Pentax ... never Sony Fuji....
posted by jonthegeologist at 4:10 AM on December 26, 2005

bestest [compact] digicams at the moment: fuji f11 & canon a620 (both under 300$)
posted by suni at 8:48 PM PST on December 25

I agree, get one of those.
If you do decide to invest in a DSLR, Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT would be the best choice.
posted by Sharcho at 7:47 AM on December 26, 2005

Thanks for all your help guys. I guess, on balance, I am deciding between the FZ5 and the FZ20. So, I have one more question: which one is better for portraiture?

One of the things I miss quite a lot about my old manual camera is that it allowed me to take some really superb portraits of friends and family members--incredibly sharp, clear, vivid colors with a lot of foreground focus. I'd like very much to do the same thing with my new camera. It seems as though the FZ5 and the FZ20 are effectively equivalent optically and price-wise; the main trade-offs are:

1. size (the FZ5 is smaller)
2. speed (the FZ5 focuses faster)
3. focus (the FZ20 has a focus ring)

Any insights about whether or not the manual focus matters for portraits? Otherwise the FZ5 is the clear winner.
posted by josh at 8:41 AM on December 26, 2005

For portraits, neither the FZ5 or FZ20 will give you the "foreground focus" (i.e. subject-background separation) that you're looking for -- certainly not indoors in any case, though it's possible with enough distance outdoors. Likewise, manual focus at non-macro distances isn't too important with these small-sensor digicams because DOF is simply massive due to their extremely short actual focal lengths (6-72mm for both cameras). You'll really need a DSLR with a fast prime (such as the D50 with a 50/1.8 lens) for the type of portraits you were able to take with your old film camera.

Your "ideal" camera would be something close to a digital Canonet, which many (myself included!) have been waiting endlessly for. The closest approximation is the Epson R-D1 which, I can attest, is a bank-breaking proposition, especially once you slap a Leica lens on it.

Unfortunately, digital photography is still a game of compromises, even more so than with film-based photography.
posted by DaShiv at 10:05 AM on December 26, 2005

I purchased a Canon S2 a month or so ago, after going through a similar decision process. I had pricetagged a DSLR with a couple lenses at around $1000, so the $430 for the S2 hit a good price/performance spot for me. Make sure you budget for a big memory card.

The S2 has 2 great features that I don't think the DSLRs do -- 1) it will take 640x480 30 fps movies (thus replacing the miniDV camera) and 2) stereo audio recording at CD quality.

Overall, I'd say I am happy with the camera -- only caveats are that low light performance is not up to what a SLR can do, and the zoom control is not placed well and tends to move the lens too quickly.
posted by omnidrew at 10:11 AM on December 26, 2005

DaShiv: that Canonet looks exactly like my old Nikon, which was actually a hand-me-down from my grandfather. That kind of camera is exactly what I'm looking for.

Thanks so much for all your help everyone! I was looking to the FZ20 as a possible 'mini-DSLR'--but it looks like I might be better off saving some money and investing it in a D50 or other low-end DSLR that will take the kind of photographs I want.

Thanks again for all the great advice and help!
posted by josh at 11:10 AM on December 26, 2005

I have an S2 IS that I love. Sat looking at specs on the dpreview site for hours. It does not use a proprietary battery. It uses 4 double A batteries which give you a decent amount of time - including if you're like me and use the screen for composing shots. Though for me it is especially because you can zoom during video and it has great stereo sound. The 15 frames per second setting is decent as well as the 30. I find it to be really great for recording acoustic concerts with really decent sound. It can also record about 90-something minutes of sound-only on a gig card if that is something you're interested in (perfect for meetings). Though the mic is great for acoustic loud electric concerts tend to break the sound and I haven't figured a way to tweak the settings.

Records .avi and .wav. oh and the pictures are decent too
: )

Email me if you want a disc in the mail with a sample show.

Personally I'm struggling with question of trading in my Minolta SLR for one of their DSLRs.
posted by terrortubby at 3:16 PM on December 26, 2005

If you're looking for a DSLR and you don't have lenses there are great deals on the Konica-Minoltas that you may not have considered. Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7-D or 5-D.
posted by terrortubby at 3:21 PM on December 26, 2005

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