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  1. #1
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    Question Good first timers dSLR?

    Firstly, hello to everyone here, hope you are all well!

    It is my birthday on the 3rd, and I am planning on buying a dSLR with any money i receive. I have been doing a lot of research into the cameras in my price range (up to about 550/$1100 for the whole kit) but I would like to ask you all for advice before making the purchase. I have narrowed my options down to 2 cameras:

    Sony Alpha A200 - 400/$800 with 18-70 lens
    Solid looking camera, well know name (although not necessarily in this market), in-built image stabilizer, 10.2 MP sensor with 1.5 crop factor.

    Canon EOS 400D - 400/$800 with 18-55 lens
    Very well know brand, 10.1 MP sensor with 1.6 crop factor, large selection of lenses from Canon and 3rd party companies, self-cleaning sensor to remove dust.

    I went to my local camera store last weekend where the lab technician sung Canons praises, but if I don't look around and get the first camera I see I know I will regret it.

    I want to use the camera for a hobby, starting using automated settings and gradually working towards manual usage. I want to do landscape pictures, as well as family shots. I would like to have the ability to enlarge photos without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

    Any help you guys could give would be greatly appreciated, as I really want to make a wise, educated investment and get many great pictures out of it. If i have over looked a camera, please feel free to point out my error!

    Thanks again guys, and I hope you have a good easter!
    Zars

  2. #2
    Canon 1DmkII Shooter rylan's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Welcome to PR Zars, you will find lots of information on here, i know i did

    what i would do is go with the canon, you cant go wrong with a canon.
    and im not just saying that because it is what i use but all my friends that have them have had nothing but positive things to say about canon.
    even if you went with the 350D it is a great starter camera and cheaper then the 400D
    with canon as you mentioned there are tons of lenses out there for your camera (canon, sigma and all those)
    but either way 400d or 350d you wont be buying a bad camera!
    good luck with your search
    Canon EOS 30D | EF 70-200mm f/4L | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 10-20mm f/4 EX | Strobist gear galore

  3. #3
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Dorset eh?
    Another candidate for one of our UK get together photo sessions !

    Right, either will be fine. Not the answer you wanted?
    The advantage to the Sony is the image stabilisation is built into the camera, that means you don't have to buy expensive IS lenses.
    They technology worked in the Konica cameras I have, and Sony bought them out for some reason

    The advantage to the Canon is the self-cleaning and dust protection.
    They are introducing less expensive IS lenses in their kits too, perhaps to challenge the Sony/Pentax/Olympus models with stabilisation in the camera.

    Remember you're buying into a system, not the camera you buy today.
    More lenses, dedicated flash units, remote releases, remote control software - all of that is manufacturer specific.

    The only way to tell is to use Jessops and get your hands on the cameras
    You don't have to buy it there, just use their handy high street shop as a demo centre !
    Get your hands on the two cameras, try the controls, feel the weight, and the size.
    Decide which one suits you.


    For me, it was Canon over Nikon.
    The Nikon lens focussed the wrong way - well opposite to any lens I'd used before.
    The control wheel on the Nikon was in an uncomfortable place, Canon felt right.
    Even though the Nikon fitted my small hand better, I couldn't get used to the controls.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  4. #4
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Thanks for the speedy reply!

    Indeed the Canon does seem to be the fore-runner between the two, however the lack of anti-shake is my main concern. I suppose however that, should the time come that I need IS, I could just buy a IS lens, but the prise is a bit of a downer. I like the way the Sony A400 effectively has IS with every lens.

    Plus, according to the Jessops website, the Sony A200 also has an anti-dust system, by coating the sensor in anti-dust...coating and by shaking it. It was a Jessops store I went into recently, and I did hold the Canon EOS 400D, but it was slightly too small for my over-sized hands.

    Is shaky imagery a major problem? Does the Super Steady shot really work? I suppose whatever I buy will have its pitfalls.

    Thanks again, and any more opinions welcome!
    Zars

    PS Photo get-together sounds great! And I have a mate who (I suspect) would love to come along too!

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Pentax - I've used them all. And all the current entry-level DSLRs blow away everything that was available a few years ago. I do like built-in image stabilization. And if that's something you want, Sony isn't the only game in town. Olympus and Pentax also offer it. And like SmartWombat said, Canon and Nikon are both offering image-stabilized kit lenses with their newest entry-level DSLRs (Canon XSi / 450D and Nikon D60). Take a look at the Olympus E-510 and the Pentax K200D if you want an alternative to the Sony. I don't think you can go wrong with any current camera. Like SmartWombat said (again) it's more about the system you're buying into than the camera itself.
    Photo-John

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

  6. #6
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    I notice that the Olympus E-510 has a crop factor of 2, should this be something I should be worried about? If I want to do landscape photography, should I be looking for a bigger sensor?

    And the main differences I could see between the Canon EOS 400D and 450D is the megapixel, and bigger LCD with Live View, as well as the IS lens. Im not fussed about Live View, or the extra 2 MP, so its just the lens that appeals to me. Is shaky imagery something I should worry about?

    Thanks
    Zars

  7. #7
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Shaky images are something to worry about if you shoot hadnheld in low light. If you always use a tripod, then there's no need to concern yourself. Image stabilization also means that you can use lower ISO settings and improve your image quality. For more on the benefits of image stabilization, read our Image Stabilization Guide.
    Photo-John

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

  8. #8
    Member SpeedingSphere's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    I just want to make a note on built in IS.

    The ability of the IS unit varies between focal lengths and while it may work excellently at say 35mm or 50mm, using a longer telephoto will cause the image to seem to wobble quite a bit more. I'm not familiar with Sony's IS, but if I were buying new, I would choose the Canon over Sony once again. Having the IS built into each lens lets the IS help correct each lens individually instead of having one unit working over a whole range of lenses. I think that if you see yourself buying more lenses in the future and taking up photography, you may want to invest in the individual IS systems like Canon uses in their lenses.

    I also suggest what SmartWombat said. Head down to the camera shop and give them a feel. See if the IS is different compared to either built in or in the lens by taking the two cameras and setting them to equal focal lengths and fooling around a bit.

    Hope you get a camera soon so we can see some of your photographs! Hope this info helped too. :-)
    -Mike
    -------------------------------------------------------
    | Canon EOS 40D | Canon EOS 350D
    | Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5
    | Canon EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS | Sigma 8mm EX DG Circular Fisheye
    | Sigma 30mm F/1.4 EX DC HSM

  9. #9
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Thanks for all the advice! I think i have decided what to do, but I still would like one piece of advice...

    What I intend to do is buy the Canon EOS 400D, with the kit lens (18-55), and a Lowepro TopLoad bag, a 4gb CompactFlash Card, UV Filter, spare lens cover, and screen protectors. Then this is where I need you guys help...

    Am I more likely to use a 18-55 Lens, or should I invest in a zoom lens?

    • If I am more likely to use the 18-55 lens, then I'll invest in the Canon EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS Lens .
    • If I am more likely to use a zoom lens, I'll invest in EITHER the Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS Zoom Lens or the Tamron 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro (Canon AF), depending on my budget.


    (I intend to buy from Jessops as they have some good buddles that the guy said were 'flexible'. Plus, if anything goes wrong, it's easy to take back )

    I'll looking to use the camera for landscape (as previously stated ) and to take shots of family and friends. So if anyone can help me with my choice of lens, I would be very gratefull!

    Thanks again,
    Zars

  10. #10
    Member SpeedingSphere's Avatar
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    Re: Good first timers dSLR?

    Congrats on the decision! You wont be disappointed with that body.

    I would say go with the kit lens for now and then figure out what you really feel you need. You can always sell the kit lens on ebay for a good price(I got $75 for mine) and put that towards the upgrade. Maybe jessops will even take the kit lens for a store credit exchange, im not sure. I was fine with the kit lens for a few months and then upgraded when I found myself limited.
    -Mike
    -------------------------------------------------------
    | Canon EOS 40D | Canon EOS 350D
    | Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5
    | Canon EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS | Sigma 8mm EX DG Circular Fisheye
    | Sigma 30mm F/1.4 EX DC HSM

  11. #11
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Curious

    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedingSphere
    The ability of the IS unit varies between focal lengths and while it may work excellently at say 35mm or 50mm, using a longer telephoto will cause the image to seem to wobble quite a bit more.
    Is this based on experience with sensor-based image stabilization or only on theory? Because I've used both systems and think they both work very well. I have yet to find myself in a situation with a sensor-based IS system where I wished I had optical image stabilization. I know the common belief is that optical is better because the systems can be tailor-made for the lens length. However, you could also argue that sensor-based systems are better because the sensor is so much lighter and can therefore be moved more quickly and efficiently.

    Maybe someone has done a real comparison of the two types of systems. If so, I'm not aware of it. But I'm not yet convinced that one is better than the other.
    Photo-John

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

  12. #12
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Excellent!

    I think you're going to be very happy with your decision. Like I said earlier, I don't think you can buy a bad DSLR now. But I've been using a Canon EOS 400D for about a year and a half now and it's been wonderful. And I even think the kit lens is decent. Just use it until it starts getting in the way. At that point you'll know enough about how you shoot to make an informed decision about what to replace it with.

    Congratulations! Please make sure to post a review for your camera and stick around to learn more and share your photos with us. We like pretty pictures
    Photo-John

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

  13. #13
    Member SpeedingSphere's Avatar
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    Re: Curious

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Is this based on experience with sensor-based image stabilization or only on theory? Because I've used both systems and think they both work very well. I have yet to find myself in a situation with a sensor-based IS system where I wished I had optical image stabilization. I know the common belief is that optical is better because the systems can be tailor-made for the lens length. However, you could also argue that sensor-based systems are better because the sensor is so much lighter and can therefore be moved more quickly and efficiently.

    Maybe someone has done a real comparison of the two types of systems. If so, I'm not aware of it. But I'm not yet convinced that one is better than the other.
    Partial theory and a small test by somebody on POTN. I'll see if I can find the thread..

    *I've looked since I've originally posted this thread and I can't find what I was looking for. If anybody has seen the post and can find the link, please post it. It had about 3 photos comparing a Sony A700 w/ 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6(D) and a Canon 30D w/ 24-105mm F/4L IS lens, both at 50mm. I did find this wikipedia link which does show some pros and cons about built in IS vs in lens.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_s...e_image_sensor
    Last edited by SpeedingSphere; 03-24-2008 at 09:10 PM.
    -Mike
    -------------------------------------------------------
    | Canon EOS 40D | Canon EOS 350D
    | Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5
    | Canon EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS | Sigma 8mm EX DG Circular Fisheye
    | Sigma 30mm F/1.4 EX DC HSM

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