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Old 11-10-2012, 05:19 PM   #1
dkhillerud
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Which DSLR? or get a Sony RX100?

Hello!

I am hoping for some help, I am having trouble making a decision. I was orginally looking at the new sony RX100, but am now thinking a dslr would be a better choice.

Here is some background info, I have four kids that are involved in sports/activities and would use zoom. (Dance, marching band, football) I love to take photos at disney, specifically at night. I like the artistic aspect of photography more so than the technical aspect! So would like the camera not to be too difficult to learn how to use. I am looking to stay under $1000.

I have been doing a lot of research online and so far am leaning towards a nikon. Have looked at D3100, D3200, D5100, D7000, D90.

Wondering if I would be better off getting a body only and then upgrading to a better lens. Disney tourist blog had a great review of the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

Or would I be better have getting a more expensive body, lens kit?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:41 PM   #2
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The 5100 can be had for 600 with the lens and 550 without....

There is a replacement coming out soon that will drive the prices even lower perhaps..
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:50 PM   #3
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Wish I could give you an easy answer. I love my RX100, but it does not totally replace my dSLR.

The RX100 has really only 1 advantage over current model dSLRs. The size. I'm not going to carry a dSLR everywhere. But on weekends, whether I am taking the kids to a park, or Tae Kwon Do, or grocery shopping, I have the RX100 with me 24/7. (I only leave it home when I go to work). At Disney World, it was a pleasure to walk around without the big heavy load of a dSLR weighing me down.
So at any moment, I can capture a picture, with image quality that can match or sometimes surpass a mid level dSLR.

But there are plenty of times I still want to pull out a dSLR.

Lets start with zoom. For my dSLR, I have a 70-210 zoom lens, creating an equivalent of 105-315. The range of the RX100 is equivalent to 29-104. That range covers most shooting. But for capturing wild life, candids of the kids in the distance, etc, nice to have the flexibility to change lenses on the dSLR. (To note your thoughts on the Tamron 2.8 17-50 -- sounds like a great lens -- but it would leave your zoom range even more limited than the RX100 unless you add a second telephoto lens)

Beyond zoom:

While the RX100 has a sensor bigger than other compacts, still smaller than a dSLR. Which gives it some limitations.
For example, for nice portraits with bokeh -- the out of focus background -- a dSLR works better than the RX100.

Finally, the RX100 focuses and shoots fast. But many good current dSLRs focus and shoot even faster. A big advantage when shooting sports, etc. (big zoom can help here too).

Truthfully, in the long term, it's nice to have both.

The plus side -- you can get a very good dSLR body fairly cheap if you look at the clearance rack, discontinued models, or even used on eBay.
I bought a Sony A55 slt that way, for just $400. (Loved shooting Tae Kwon Do pics at 10 frames per second). You can pick up a used Nikon D5000 on eBay for under $300.

Another option for you could be something like the Sony Nex system. dSLR quality and flexibility, in a smaller package. Still bigger than a compact, but smaller than a dSLR.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:45 PM   #4
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Rats, here I was hoping you would have the easy answer for me! I've been looking a lot at different threads on this board so have seen many of the photos you've taken with your RX100, they are impressive! Wondering how much that has to do with you knowing what you are doing and how much is the camera! Not sure I could/would get results even close to that. All I have ever used is a point and shoot.

Not that I'm not willing to learn how to use something different, I am, just don't know where to start. Thinking you are right in saying there is a need for both a dslr and the rx100. So if you were me which would you get first? We are taking another trip to disney in March so I would like to get something in the next few months in order to be comfortable using it. Would I start with the rx100 in auto mode and then work my way into shooting in the other modes? Or, would it make more sense to start with a dslr?

Thanks the help!
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:16 PM   #5
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No one can answer this for you. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of each and make the decision that's right for you. Consider the features you want. Do you plan to buy additional lenses or do you just want a one time investment? And go to the store so you can play around with the cameras to make sure you're good with size, weight and all that fun stuff.

As far as needing a point and shoot and a DSLR... I don't feel that need myself. I use just a DSLR. If I need to travel light I put a small, light lens on or I just use my smartphone. I'd rather sink $700 into another lens than a high end point and shoot. But we all have different needs and you have to find what works for you.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:20 PM   #6
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Tough call.
My history -- I used film SLR, Minolta. Sony took over their systems, so I got the first Sony dSLR around 2006. Brought it to Disney in early 2011. Took a ton of good pics, but it was a hassle -- big camera bag, always changing lenses.
Returned in early 2012 -- somehow, the camera felt even heavier. And the camera was getting old. In good lighting, my wife's mid-level p&s was getting good results, much faster than I could pull out my camera, etc. so I skipped a lot of photo situations. And when I got home, and realized how few photos I took, it saddened me.
So over the summer, I got the RX100. In most situations, it was out performing my 6-year-old dSLR. Brought it to Disney. It was light, on my belt, always ready to go. It could even photograph dark rides. I took a thousand pics (literally).

But as the weeks and months went by -- while I LOVE te RX100, I was starting to miss some of the things about a dSLR. So decided it was time to update my dSLR body.

I know this is only leaving you more confused.

Compounding it -- the RX100 and dSLRs have equally easy, high quality, auto modes.

While I suggest learning how to move to manual modes to get even more, you will get good results fairly consistently on auto.

Purely for Disney -- if taking just 1 camera, I would take the RX100. Mostly because of its size. Nice not to be weighed down by a camera. The only time I would really miss a dSLR at Disney, is Animal Kingdom safari, where a big zoom lens would be nice.

The RX100 *CAN* also be a better learning instrument, in the sense you can keep it with you at all times. Thus, you can practice ANY time, without setting aside time.

But if you prefer to only take your camera out for specific photo ops, the dSLR may be preferable. Just holding a dSLR in your hands, looking through the viewfinder -- it encourages you to put more thought into your photographs.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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For sports, you're not going to want the RX100, nor will you want the Tamron 17-50.

Get a DSLR, and add a 55-200 (or similar) lens to start.

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(The dude who wrote the review you referenced in your OP)
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
The RX100 *CAN* also be a better learning instrument, in the sense you can keep it with you at all times. Thus, you can practice ANY time, without setting aside time.
I'm going to disagree here just because this isn't true for everyone. I have my DSLR with me pretty much all the time. I think amount of time you'll carry a camera with you, and if that camera would be a DSLR, is going to vary greatly from person to person.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:52 AM   #9
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Go for the dSLR. And yes, get a fast lens or two if you're going to shoot sports.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #10
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Have you looked into the mirrorless interchangeable lens offerings such as the Nex and Pen series. The new Nex(5r and 6) series has phase detect as well as contrast detect focus for a little better tracking in good light. Its also the same IQ as a dslr and you can carry it in a pocket with the right lens. I use the Nex and love It.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photo_chick View Post
I'm going to disagree here just because this isn't true for everyone. I have my DSLR with me pretty much all the time. I think amount of time you'll carry a camera with you, and if that camera would be a DSLR, is going to vary greatly from person to person.
Did I say it was true for every human being on the face of the planet?
But it's certainly true for most people.
Most people who have jobs, would not be able to walk around their place of work with a dSLR around their neck all day.
Outside of work, most people would not find in practical to have their dSLR camera bag with them at all times, even when they have no intent of using the camera.
I decided I wanted some good action shots of the kids, so I chose to pack my dSLR. But I didn't bring it into the supermarket with me.

And I notice you're contradicting yourself. In another post, you said sometimes you only have your smartphone with you. No smartphone camera is going to compete with the RX100.

Certainly, not every person needs to own both. But my point was, they each have different distinct advantages. Just as 2 different lenses may have different advantages.
A person with a dSLR does not NEED to own multiple lenses, but different lenses can satisfy different situations.
Same with having a dSLR and a high end compact. Switching to the compact is no different than switching lenses -- it's just using the right equipment for the job.

Last edited by havoc315; 11-11-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:27 AM   #12
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Certainly agree with Tom that the RX100 is less than ideal for sports. It can shoot 10fps which is great for sports -- better than many dSLRs, but its important to have more zoom and phase detection autofocus for sports.

Truthfully though, as you have always been a p&s shooter -- I'd try to get the "feel" for both options in a store. Many people fall in love with a dSLR in their hands, the substantive feel if it. Other people may feel it as cumbersome. And if you don't like carrying it for hours at a time, then it will spend too much time in a closet, and not enough time taking pictures.
Know that quality will be similar (at about 29-50 mm, the RX100 will out perform most dSLRs with kit lenses, but dSLRs will certainly be preferable in some situations and certainly with upgraded lenses). So put aside quality for the moment, and see which camera feels better in your hands. Also consider adding the NEX series into the mix.

I'd give a tie to the dSLR. Get the kit lens and add a basic zoom lens. And down the road, you can consider adding the $500 tamron lens or $650 RX100. (The RX100 lens would actually perform similarly to the Tamron. At wide angle, the RX100 is a bit faster, and at zoom, the Tamron would be a bit faster, but for example, I'd give the Rx100 the advantage on Disney dark rides).
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:18 AM   #13
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I normally don't recommend a specific camera or system, but if you are on the fence between DSLR and something else, you might want to look at the Pentax system. They just drastically dropped the price on their mirrorless model K-01 ($346.95 without lens). It has the same 16 mp sensor as the Nikon 5100, 7000, Pentax K5 and the Sony cameras. It is a Sony sensor that for the past two years has received rave reviews. The upside to the K-01, is that it can use all the Pentax lenses including third party offerings without an adaptor. It has similar controls and interfaces as its bigger brother, the K5. That way if you desire to later upgrade to a DSLR, all your lenses will work. Like all the Pentax cameras it has in-body stabilization, but does not have the weather sealing of its bigger brothers. The problem is finding them! They have been selling like hotcakes with both Adorama and B & H selling out. They have promised more are coming. I think I saw Amazon had one for $330. If you add the 40mm pancake lens, it will be about another $100. The Pentax consumer zoom lenses (18-55, 50-200 and 55-300) are also reasonable and are pretty good. They are also readily available, especially a used 18-55 (I have three because everytime I buy a camera it has come with it!).

This is just a thought and remember when you start down this road that you are buying into a system that once you get invested is hard to change. Make sure that the system you buy into matches your needs.

Edit: I almost forgot that like many of the mirrorless cameras it does not have a viewfinder, but uses a 3" rear screen and does shoot at 6 fps.

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Old 11-11-2012, 02:18 PM   #14
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Those are 2 fairly different camera types and prioritizing you needs will make a difference in your selection.

Because of interchangeable lenses a DSLR system will give you the best flexibility for shooting the sports and also other night type scenes you describe. Or a mirrorless system (with a viewfinder) will be smaller and I think would easily accommodate the type of sports shooting you have described and be a smaller system if that matters. The DSLR is a larger system and you should consider if you are willing to carry the weight and size.

The Sony RX100 is a great P&S - I've had one for several months and it is extremely versatile. The issue with it would be for the sports shooting and the fact that it is restricted for reach. It will work for almost all situations at Disney.

But - for the DSLR and sports the Tamron lens isn't going to do any more (actually less in most cases) than the RX100. In order to get close ups you will want to be considering a lens of at least 200mm reach so with the DSLR or mirrorless systems you'll be looking at the camera plus 2 lenses in order to also have the wide view for the Disney shooting.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
Did I say it was true for every human being on the face of the planet?
But it's certainly true for most people.
Most people who have jobs, would not be able to walk around their place of work with a dSLR around their neck all day.
Outside of work, most people would not find in practical to have their dSLR camera bag with them at all times, even when they have no intent of using the camera.
I decided I wanted some good action shots of the kids, so I chose to pack my dSLR. But I didn't bring it into the supermarket with me.

And I notice you're contradicting yourself. In another post, you said sometimes you only have your smartphone with you. No smartphone camera is going to compete with the RX100.

Certainly, not every person needs to own both. But my point was, they each have different distinct advantages. Just as 2 different lenses may have different advantages.
A person with a dSLR does not NEED to own multiple lenses, but different lenses can satisfy different situations.
Same with having a dSLR and a high end compact. Switching to the compact is no different than switching lenses -- it's just using the right equipment for the job.
Not contradicting myself at all. I said I carry my DSLR with me pretty much all the time. On the rare occasions I don't or at places I'm not allowed to bring it in I use my smartphone. Never said it could compete with anything. Just that it's what works for me. There is no situation that I have ever encountered when I had my DSLR and went "gee, I wish I had a point and shoot because it would do this better." And the only thing I've wanted when I had my smartphone was my DSLR. But that's me, and not you. That's my personal preference, and not yours. And I know not everyone will feel the same as I do.

You seem to be pushing your philosophy here as the approach of the masses, as I've noticed you often do. And I totally think you should do what works for you. But we're all really different in what we need and use. You make these blanket statements about what most people would do... and you really have no clue what most people would do. You only know what you would do.
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