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  1.  (10068.21)
    When faced with this decision about 5 years ago, I went with the Pentax. I nearly went with the Sony, because my mother had a few Minolta lenses. However, the Sony is (or at least was at the time) rather notorious for making noisy shots. I have shaky and unsteady hands, which was another concern. While Canon was bragging about it's anti-shake lenses, Pentax had anti-shake built into the body of the camera. The Pentax lens thread is the same as it has always been, so any Pentax lens from any point can be used on a modern DSLR, and still get the advantages of anti-shake. The Canon stabilization is in the lenses themselves, and is quite expensive.

    The thing is, being that Canon and Nikon are so popular, it's far easier to find second hand items on craigslist and ebay.

    However, when last I went into a photo store, the fellow behind the counter oogled my Pentax; said "The Pentax gets no love!"

    What limits my camera is it's age more than it's brand. When I bought it, it was but a hair behind the Canon/Nikon, and I think it still is.

    I second the recommendation for Dpreview.com
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2011
     (10068.22)
    Photography has got a lot easier over the years, what with all these automatic and semi automatic cameras out there with live view so you can see what all the twiddly bits do before you take the picture. Understandably some of the people who spent a lifetime learning the arcane skills required to take good pictures get a bit miffed when they see clueless idiots snapping away at random and getting decent results.

    Tough. Technology moves on. It still comes down to what you point it at.

    Someone much cleverer than me once said 'The best camera is the one you've got with you' or words to that effect.

    Take camera, go out, take pictures, have fun! That's the way to do it!
  2.  (10068.23)

    I second the recommendation for Dpreview.com


    And once again the Tyrell demonstrates her amazingly good taste...

    @William George

    no offense met, btw. Comment was based on personal experience. Although the initial investment to try the FM film route was relatively small, $20 for camera, another $25 for film and processing, currently the film camera sits unused and my immediate feeling was '50 bucks gone that could have gone towards a digital'. Mind you I plan on picking the thing back up when I feel my understanding of ISO, shutter and aperture goes up and I'm not burning so much on film. There are some things digital can't touch for quality and uniqueness...
  3.  (10068.24)
    Whatever you buy I recommend that you check your local Best Buy store for open-box specials. People constantly buy DSLR cameras and then return them, and Best Buy then sells the opened items at a discount, often $100 or more. Buying a mid-range Canon or Nikon at a discount and then buying a nice lens will do wonders for your photography.
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2011
     (10068.25)
    I love using vintage lenses on my modern DSLR body, it was a habit born of necessity when I bought my first digital camera. I had been shooting with the pentax system since high school and had a ton of lenses, all manual focus primes. That informed my decision to go with Pentax when I went digital and I would have stayed with them if it seemed likely that they would ever produce a full frame offering but Pentax continually hamstring themselves by aiming for a strictly consumer / amateur market. When I felt like I had advanced beyond the possibilities offered by the Pentax K10 I moved to Canon. I got a great deal on a second hand 1DS MKII with a 24-70mm L series lens and while I would have liked to be able to continue to use my set of old lenses by going with Nikon I ended up in the Canon camp. Now I will likely be here forever because I am invested in the lenses. Bodies come and go but lenses are for at least 10 years.

    On that note, get an M42 to Canon adaptor. M42 was the worlds most common mount before the mid 70's and there are amazing offerings out there. I have been told that you can Pentax Lenses on Canon bayonet mount but that the metering pin needs to be cut off and it can never be used in a Pentax again. I have too afraid to try it out, anyone know anything about that?

    Using manual focus and aperture will help with the learning curve, you will understand better what you are doing with the camera. When you see one of your shots that works and you really like it, check the EXIF data to see what settings you used and file it away in your head so that the next time a situation similar arises you know what to do to get the best results.
  4.  (10068.26)
    Here's a stupid question: if I use a manual focus lens with a DSLR that has live view, will i be able to find the focus by looking at the digital view screen, or would I still have to look through the viewfinder? My camera is old and has no live-view, so I use the viewfinder, and with this current process I cannot make the switch to manual focus - my vision is kinda crap, and I can't tell when I'm focused on. The security of having the ability to center on what I want to auto-focus and then frame the shot as I like is indispensable. Of course, there are those times where that random plant just int he foreground is in focus instead, and I hadn't noticed (gah!), but that happens infrequently enough.

    @ Bankara - But what about the Pentax medium format DSLR? (droool)
  5.  (10068.27)
    @ Val A Lindsay II- None taken.
  6.  (10068.28)
    Bankara : I have no EF to Pentax adapter but from what I've read it's non-destructive, just like M42 or OM. Maybe some specific lenses need that ? There are a couple of forum dedicated to this kind of things, such as this one : http://forum.mflenses.com/. Maybe check there ? Anyway, this sounds weird as the metering pins are usually just pressed fully in the adapter as the body does not need them anymore, that's what happens with M42 lenses for example.

    Rachael : Live view is indeed particularly useful with manual focus lenses in some situations. Both viewfinder and live view work perfectly, at least on my Canon. Should be the same for any other maker I think.
    •  
      CommentAuthorphotomagex
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2011
     (10068.29)
    I bought a Nikon D60 and over all I am happy with it except for one thing, and you may want to check this out on any camera you are interested in but, you cannot view the image on LCD screen before you take a picture. You have to put your eye up to the viewfinder to compose the shot.

    I had a cheaper point and shoot digital that you could compose on the screen and I found that it really helped me with my composition. Probably because I could see it on a flat screen and it gave me a better understanding of what the finished print will look like.

    Next time I buy a DSLR I will make sure it has this feature.
  7.  (10068.30)
    @Rachael: oscillateur beat me to it, but I'll second: Yes on manual focus through live view. I use it all the time on my D7000, because sometimes what I'm trying to focus on is so small through the viewfinder that I can't trust my eyes to focus it properly. You can even zoom in the live view if you're being really picky about the focus (at least with Nikons. Can't speak to Canons).
  8.  (10068.31)
    Yep, you can do the same with any Canon with Live View (i.e. any model from the past 2 or 3 years). Really, any DSLR sold now will have these features now. It wasn't the case a few years ago but it is now.