Digital SLR Cameras Forum

Digital SLRs Forum Discuss digital SLRs, lenses, RAW conversion, or anything else related to digital SLRs. You may also want to see the Nikon, Canon, and Sony camera forums.
Digital Camera Pro Reviews >>
Read and Write Digital SLR Reviews >>
Digital SLR Buyer's Guide >>
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4

    Choosing the Perfect Camera

    Greetings!

    I am looking to buy my first DSLR soon and I need your help! First off, let me apologize for writing a book, when I really just want your advice. But I have a feeling Iíll get the best advice if I tell you exactly where Iím coming from. I have always been a photography enthusiast and I have gotten great results from my point-and-shoots, but now Iím thinking itís time to get a DSLR. This is why:
    • I would like to learn all of the manual controls and master the semi-automatic modes
    • I would like to get a narrower depth of field
    • I think it would be fun to play around with the creative options different lenses offer
    • Better quality in low-light environments
    • I feel as though if I want to be taken seriously as a photographer, I need a SLR (stupid reason, I knowÖbut there is validity to that, no?)
    • I think having a DSLR would inspire me to go out and shoot more

    Here are things I would like in a camera:
    • Approx. $1,000 budget for everything (give or take; Iím a working student, but I want a camera that will last me a long time)
    • Nice selection of lenses (So either Canon or Nikon)
    • I prefer SD over CF (I already have a good collection of SD cards)
    • A quality body build would be nice (I just donít want it to break on me)
    • Iím a feature geek, so fancy things like Live View are a plus, but not a requirement

    Here is what I plan to do:
    • Iíd like to get it before I go on vacation this Summer, so I plan to take artsy photos of the places I visit
    • Good-looking people pictures and landscapes
    • I want my artsy shots to look professional
    • Not sportsÖat least not right off the bat (no pun intended)

    I currently use a Canon SD750 and all I have ever owned have been Canon point-and-shoots. The quality is great and they have all the features I would ever expect from any compact camera. Also, Iím somewhat familiar with Canon lenses (even though I donít own any). So, I already have a Canon bias, but Iím certainly open to Nikon for DSLR.

    Iíve been looking at the Canon XTi and the Nikon D40 for low-end (they donít support SD, though), and Canon XSi and the Nikon D80 for high-end. Iím not sure what kind of lens I would want: 35mm or 50mm prime, a normal kit lens, or a zoom lens? Iím thinking a prime lens would give me the best results for cheap, but would I be too limited without the zoom? What's a good starting lens that I will want to use for a long time, but also won't break the bank? Should I avoid buying the lens with the body (kit lens)?

    So, what do you think? And where to buy?

    Thanks SO MUCH for any advice! A special thanks to anyone who took the time to read all of the above nonsense.

    -Kyle

  2. #2
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    wa state
    Posts
    11,195

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    a thousand dollars including lenses?
    Keep Shooting!

    CHECK OUT THE PHOTO PROJECT FORUM
    http://forums.photographyreview.com/...splay.php?f=34

    Please refrain from editing my photos without asking.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    3,430

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    "* I would like to learn all of the manual controls and master the semi-automatic modes"

    Just learn what aperture, shutter, and ISO are - that is key to mastering manual modes.

    * I would like to get a narrower depth of field

    Get a fast lens, they are expensive though. For my particular needs, a prime 50mm 1.7 sufficed, 1.7 is very fast and very narrow aperture - they can go as low as 1.1 though (for well over a thousand $). If you want the narrow aperture in a zoom lens though, it will not be higher than 2.8 and lots of $$$. For the fastest lens you will have to stick with a fixed focal length.

    * I think it would be fun to play around with the creative options different lenses offer


    absolutely. Also, make sure that the lens you get caters to the creative applications you envision using on your camera as well. It makes no sense to get a macro lens to take pictures of landscapes, for example.

    * Better quality in low-light environments


    Again, great with SLR, you will be able to use significantly higher ISO's with better results in image quality - a high ISO and good noise performance on such are key to low-light shooting. As it stands, CMOS sensors will typically yield best noise performance at higher ISO's. All Canon's use CMOS, Nikons D300 uses CMOS, and the Sony A700 uses CMOS as well.

    * I feel as though if I want to be taken seriously as a photographer, I need a SLR (stupid reason, I know…but there is validity to that, no?)

    SLR's will give the best image quality and offer the most dynamic creative potential for shooters, the difference is significant enough to demand that proffesionals take advantage of it. People want solid resolution when they buy prints, and the lens is just as important as the sensor - point and shoot simply doesn't deliver in this aspect.

    # Approx. $1,000 budget for everything (give or take; I’m a working student, but I want a camera that will last me a long time)"


    That is pushing this very tight, if you could expand it a little bit more and deal with a small range of lens for the time being, its doable. Also - stick with used film lens, they offer a GREAT quality, often better than modern digital lens at a significantly better price. The only downside is a slice in available focal range and slightly slower autofocus (though still very good).

    "Nice selection of lenses (So either Canon or Nikon)"


    I wouldn't count out their competitors, Sony has Zeiss glass which is world class and legendary, I assure you the Zeiss glass will compete with the best of Canon and Nikons line. In addition to that, Minolta has some of the best film lens available on the market, and Minolta is all now carried over to Sony, any Minolta AF lens will fit the sony bodies.

    "I prefer SD over CF (I already have a good collection of SD cards)"


    With as cheap as flash cards are any more, I wouldn't even factor this in to your decision - there are significantly more important factors to be considered than memory input type.

    "A quality body build would be nice (I just don’t want it to break on me)"

    That puts you over $1000 as it is, magnesium alloy/polycarbonate bodies start at about $1200-$1300 with Canon's 40D and Sony's A700

    "I’m a feature geek, so fancy things like Live View are a plus, but not a requirement"


    Live view is overrated, it adds a whole lot more very small, fragile moving parts in the pentaprism which are just begging to be broken, then of course, all modern ones detract from the size of the optical viewfinder which is a big negative as well for me. For some people live views functionality weighs out in their favor, sometimes it doesn't - this is another thing for you to consider your self, how will you want to use it most.

    "I’d like to get it before I go on vacation this Summer, so I plan to take artsy photos of the places I visit"


    Get it and practice practice practice.

    "I want my artsy shots to look professional"


    f8 and be there ;).

    As far as which lens to get right off the bat - the kit lens are not that great, but are usually paired with the body for a good price. Sometimes they offer more advanced kits with much better lens for a discounted price - I would keep my eye out for one of those. Sony's great A700 kit - click link Puts you quite over budget, but still a great deal and the perfect lens to start you off with incredible range. Or if you cant push the budget quite that far, but maybe just a little bit further you could get a good 40D kit at $1100 - link.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    3,430

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    oh wow, and welcome to the forums!

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    Frog: $1000 (maybe $1100) for body and one starting lens...I will expand in the future, but I'm uncomfortable spending much more at the moment.

    Thank you so much, Anbesol! Your advice is gold! I'm so glad I found this forum.

    I like the idea of shopping for used film lenses. I'm not sure exactly where to look, but I hadn't thought of that!

    I have a friend offering me a silver XTi with some kit lens and a few accessories for $400. The price is appealing and I would be able to spend more on a nice lens, but I'm not sure how long I'd be happy with an XTi body. I'm stuck trying to decide how much a quality camera body is worth to me. Would you spend more on the body or on the (first) lens?

    Also, I will look into Sony/Minolta and Olympus. I trust that they have great quality stuff, but concern is that it would just be easier to have a Canon/Nikon in a Canon/NIkon world (easier to find parts, deals, support).

    That 40D kit you sent me looks like a pretty good deal!

    Again, thanks so much! I'm going to do some more research and read some more of this forum. :-)

    -Kyle

  6. #6
    Color me obvious dumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    CNY
    Posts
    257

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by kjkjava
    Frog:

    Also, I will look into Sony/Minolta and Olympus. I trust that they have great quality stuff, but concern is that it would just be easier to have a Canon/Nikon in a Canon/NIkon world (easier to find parts, deals, support).

    I have an Olympus E-510 and I have to say there is a good amount of glass for it and what I've used, I have found to be fantastic. I've only bought the moderately priced stuff and the kit lenses too.

    That being said, I have found other accessories to be tough. For example, there is only one battery grip available for my camera ( a third part one) and one macro tube (Olympus), not even a set, but literally one tube. Thats it. Service and support haven't been a problem for me yet. Deals, the Olympus cameras (and a lot of the glass) are a steal to begin with.

    I will also say that most of the Olympus DSLRs are a bit noisy at higher ISOs, this may have been corrected with the 520, but I'm not sure. So if high IS) performance is crucial, I will steer you away. I'm pretty sure Nikon is the best in this area.

    As far as Sony is concerned, I do not know too much about them other than it is Sony (huge company with lots of dealers) and Minolta (tonnns of used lenses out there) together. I think you may see a really big push from these guys in the next few years.
    Please ask before editing my photos, I'll say yes



    I like to take the pictures...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    3,430

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    That 40D kit you sent me looks like a pretty good deal!

    Especially for staying tight around that $1k budget, great range on that lens - its not fast or wide, but its sharp and a great zoom.

    EBay is a great place for finding old film lens, theres also other online shopping places like KEH.com.

    Would you spend more on the body or on the (first) lens?

    It depends on how you want to invest in more camera equipment in the future - if you plan on accruing a decent collection of lens over time - I would go for the solid body. Keep also in mind - the XTI and other cheaper bodies - because they are lighter, will feel awkward carrying along with some of the faster heavier lens - particularly the more telephoto ones. I had been using a Minolta 5D for some time, a lighter smaller body, and carrying my 70-210 on it was cumbersome and awkward - it sits a lot more comfortably on my new A700 body, and lets me be a little bit more focussed in field as its not distracting me. Vertical grips will also help make things a lot more comfortable. Another option for you might be picking up an old sturdy body camera, BHPhoto is offering the Canon 30D used for $650, same solid build as the 40D, not quite as feature filled but a solid great camera nonetheless. Then you could look into maybe an 18-200 or a set of two lens that give you ~ that range.

    Also, I will look into Sony/Minolta and Olympus. I trust that they have great quality stuff, but concern is that it would just be easier to have a Canon/Nikon in a Canon/NIkon world (easier to find parts, deals, support).

    Sony is making plenty of room for their line in the market. They have a massive inventory of compatible lens from minolta's film line, all the way from 1984-1999, most of which are incredible performers. They also have a massive assortment of digital lens available now - all of which are incredibly easy to find online - the best spots - ebay, bhphoto, adorama...

    thanks so much!

    Not a problem! The guys here help me out a lot too, so happy to do whatever I can to give back to the community ;)

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    Sorry I haven't been on the forums for a while, but thanks to everyone for their advice! I finally purchased my camera... the Canon 40D! I played around with numerous cameras in different stores and I spent weeks researching my options. When I was on a cruise in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands), an electronics store (Boolchand's) had the camera with the kit lens (28-135mm), tax free, for $1095... including a bag, a 2gb CF card, and some cheap UV filter. I decided to go for it. I knew I wouldn't have buyers' remorse and I'm confident I got a good deal.

    So far, I absolutely love it! The lens is great for a lot of things, but I'm already looking at some wider lenses. I could not be happier! I'll have to post some of my photos here once I get some favorites.

    Anyway, thanks everyone - I though I'd drop by with an update.

  9. #9
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
    Posts
    15,422

    Congratulations!

    You can't go wrong with the EOS 40D. It's definitely an excellent camera. Most of the product shots you see in our digital camera pro reviews here are shot with the Canon EOS 40D

    Please share some photos with us and don't hesitate to ask for help if you have questions. And when you feel like you know the camera well enough, please post your own review for your camera and lens. User reviews are the foundation of this site. Don't feel you need to be a pro or any kind of expert, either. You're the expert on your own experience. And that's all we want to know about.

    Canon EOS 40D User Reviews >>
    All Reviews >>

    Looking forward to seeing what you do with your new camera!
    Photo-John

    Your reviews are the foundation of this site - Write A Review!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    3,430

    Re: Choosing the Perfect Camera

    Great choice! I am surprised they have such competitive pricing down in the virgin islands.. Nice!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •