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  1. #1
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    Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Hi,

    Thank you for reading my cry for help. I’m going on a two week pilgrimage to Portugal and Italy and I’m going to have an opportunity to take some great indoor and outdoor photos. I currently own a Canon G2 and I don’t think it’s going to do my trip justice.

    I’m looking to buy a D-SLR that has growth potential and at the same time is inviting to a novice; can someone please recommend a camera? I’ve read a ton of reviews and I know less now than I did a week ago on which camera I should buy. I’m considering the following:

    Nikon D70S, D50
    Minolta 7D, 5D
    Olympus E-500
    Canon 350XT(whats the different about the Silver?), d20, d10

    Could someone recommend a lens (es) that I should buy? I plan on taking a lot of still shots (churches, paintings, and people) but still would like to be able to take action shots as well. My total budget is $1,500 (camera, lens, memory card).

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Pragmatic personal view

    Quote Originally Posted by edsav
    Hi,

    Thank you for reading my cry for help. I’m going on a two week pilgrimage to Portugal and Italy and I’m going to have an opportunity to take some great indoor and outdoor photos. I currently own a Canon G2 and I don’t think it’s going to do my trip justice.

    I’m looking to buy a D-SLR that has growth potential and at the same time is inviting to a novice; can someone please recommend a camera? I’ve read a ton of reviews and I know less now than I did a week ago on which camera I should buy. I’m considering the following:

    Nikon D70S, D50
    Minolta 7D, 5D
    Olympus E-500
    Canon 350XT(whats the different about the Silver?), d20, d10

    Could someone recommend a lens (es) that I should buy? I plan on taking a lot of still shots (churches, paintings, and people) but still would like to be able to take action shots as well. My total budget is $1,500 (camera, lens, memory card).

    Thank you,
    I would say forget Olympus and Minolta. Nothing wrong with the cameras but they're niche players. Stick with the top two, Nikon and Canon. Forget the 10D - outdated. Forget the 20D - for your needs a 350XT will do the same job for much less money and its just about to be replaced anyway. So we come down to the following, in decreasing cost:

    Nikon D70S with 18-70: add a couple of memory cards and a decent flash (SB600) and you've gone over your budget but you have a camera + lens with semi-pro potential that is as easy to use as a point-and-shoot. Starting to show it's age, however

    Canon 350XT with 18-55: More pixels than the D70S, more recent processor, inferior lens, cheaper but it feels it.. Still a great choice, especially as you already have a Canon. The difference between the silver and the black ones is just the colour of the plastic

    Nikon D50 with 18-55: Simplified D70S with inferior lens but cheaper than the 350XT. A lot of my friends have suddenly jumped into DSLR's with this camera. Expect Canon to come out with an equivalent real soon.

    The best thing is to go into a store, take these three cameras in your mighty hands, and see which one you feel best with.

    Charles

  3. #3
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Quote Originally Posted by edsav
    I’ve read a ton of reviews and I know less now than I did a week ago on which camera I should buy.
    Knowledge is a burden, isn't it?


    Charles laid it out pretty well. The Nikon D50 and Canon Rebel XT/350D are the obvious choices. I happen to like the Olympus digital SLRs, even though they are, as Charles said, a niche player. The E-Series cameras are very compact and powerful. I think they're really onto something with the Four Thirds format. I've used the E-1 enough to appreciate it.

    That said, unless you are already leaning toward the Olympus, I'd still steer you to Nikon or Canon. They both have more robust systems and since you have a Canon G2, you should feel right at home with the Rebel XT/350D. If you decide to go with the D50 or 350D, I'd recommend buying only the body and buying a different lens than the kit lens - especially since you're taking the camera on an important overseas trip. You will never regret investing in a good lens.
    Photo-John

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  4. #4
    Liz
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    It sounds like a wonderful trip! I went on a pilgrimage to Italy - to Rome and France and had a wonderful time. At the time I had a Canon 300D and used mostly a 50mm/f1.8 lens.

    Important: Canon is offering incredible rebates on many lenses - the link is below to the list and the 350XT is included. If you purchase one item, you get a rebate - 2 items, a double rebate on each item - 3 items you get a triple rebate on each item. So you might get some very good deals here.
    NOTE: Rebate for purchase ends Jan 15th - and post marked by Feb 6.....

    http://www.bobatkins.com/photography...l/rebates.html

    Now for my suggestions:
    I now have the 350XT and love it. I would strongly suggest this camera. It's relatively easy to learn for a beginner (relatively meaning it has a lot of features that you won't need right away). You can actually take it out of the box and use it on "auto" if you are limited on time - and it does a good job.

    For lenses I would suggest you might want to get the 17-85IS lens which has good reviews. IS = Image Stablization - this helps immensely with camera shake so you can get a sharper picture - but not for moving subjects. It also helps in low light situations due to the IS. B&H has this "kit" - the 350XT and this lens - with a $75 rebate which brings the cost to $1175 - a great deal IMO. Then you have $325 for extras.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

    Or you might consider the body only and get other lenses, which is basically a personal choice. For action shots you are better off with some of the following which is still possible to purchase within your budget.

    Body only
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

    Canon 50mm/f1.8 which is great in low light situations - very light weight - gives you a nice light camera/lens combo on those days you want to go light. It's probably the least expensive best lens you can get. It's a good walk around lens. About $70.

    Canon 85mm/f1.8 - A little over $300 - excellent sharp lens - great for low light (included in the rebates).

    430EX flash - if you will be doing any night photography - Check B&H but I think it's about $300.

    CF cards
    Be sure you have plenty of memory - a few 512's - 1G or 2G cards. You most like have some from you G2.

    Check out the review section here if you want to see reviews on the camera/lenses.

    I also graduated from a G3 to the Rebel.

    When are you leaving btw?

    Good luck.

    Liz

  5. #5
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Thanks all, for your advice,

    I'm leaning towards the Nikon D50 kit with the 18 -55mm lens. Photo-John please explain why I should get a different lens. Is it:

    -Physical quality of the lens?
    -Durability?
    -Picture quality?

    I’m confused about lenses; Ken Rockwell seems to feel the kit lens Nikkor 18 – 55mm is very good. I quoted Ken Rockwell; please read a portion of his review listed below and if you have time refer to the full review at the link below:

    Quoting: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/1855.htm

    “It's cheap and works great. It's sharp, doesn't have much distortion, zooms easily to any exact setting focuses silently, closely and reasonably fast. Nikon never ceases to amaze me with cheaper and cheaper lenses made with more and more plastic that outperform older designs that look tougher and cost more. Nikon's been making Nikkor lenses since 1932 so they know a trick or two.

    It's half the weight of the 18 - 70 mm kitted with the D70, about the same size and half the price. Nikon consistently offers better and better optics at lower and lower prices.

    The bayonet mount is plastic. This is OK since people change lenses on digital cameras as little as possible to keep out dirt. Complain if you want, just remember that the USA version is covered under a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty. Mercedes and BMW only offer a 4 year warranty which has a mileage limit. If you wear out the 18 - 55 after 5 years you can just throw it away (or dump it on eBay), buy another and you've still only paid as much as you would have for the 18 - 70. I'm picky on my $1,500 lenses and quite happy with this on a $150 lens.”

    Please recommend,

    Edsav


    Quote Originally Posted by edsav
    Hi,

    Thank you for reading my cry for help. I’m going on a two week pilgrimage to Portugal and Italy and I’m going to have an opportunity to take some great indoor and outdoor photos. I currently own a Canon G2 and I don’t think it’s going to do my trip justice.

    I’m looking to buy a D-SLR that has growth potential and at the same time is inviting to a novice; can someone please recommend a camera? I’ve read a ton of reviews and I know less now than I did a week ago on which camera I should buy. I’m considering the following:

    Nikon D70S, D50
    Minolta 7D, 5D
    Olympus E-500
    Canon 350XT(whats the different about the Silver?), d20, d10

    Could someone recommend a lens (es) that I should buy? I plan on taking a lot of still shots (churches, paintings, and people) but still would like to be able to take action shots as well. My total budget is $1,500 (camera, lens, memory card).

    Thank you,

  6. #6
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Liz,

    I'm leaving the last week of April 2006.

  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Ken Rockwell's opinion is confirmed by the reviews I've read on this lens. As usual, Nikon has come up with a lens that will delight the casual snapshooter that the D50 is aimed at.

    But you aren't a casual snapshooter. You are intending to use your system more intensively. It's a tool that you will have often in your hands in the coming months and years.

    And there's the problem. Plastic lenses just don't feel good and they get worse as time goes on. You may find that you become frustrated with the 18-55 and you regret that you didn't go for the 18-70 which is a really nice piece of work. Still not as nice as the f2.8 constant zooms but they cost 8 times more..

    Charles

  8. #8
    Erstwhile Vagabond armed with camera Lionheart's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    I don't mean to be contrarian, but the G2 is a very good, if somewhat dated camera. I had one myself and I kick myself for having given it away to a staff member when I bought my Panasonic. A DSLR is nice, very nice indeed, but a light P/S as advanced as the G2 will do very nicely indeed if you don't get a new camera for your trip. Make sure you give yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the new camera when you get your new DSLR
    Seek the Son and the shadows fall behind you.

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  9. #9
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Franglais,

    Point taken on the 18-70mm lens; I will make sure I included it. Now as far as the camera goes will I be OK with the d50 body and the 18-70mm lens as apposed to the d70s with the 18-70mm lens? Which is a lot more money. I am a D-SLR newbee and if I can save a few hundred dollars and put it towards memory cards all the better. What do you all think? Will I be losing that much camera?

    By the way I really appreciate all the help and advice I have been getting. Camera people seem to be very pleasant and helpful, especially too repeated topics.

    Thanks again,

    edsav


    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais
    Ken Rockwell's opinion is confirmed by the reviews I've read on this lens. As usual, Nikon has come up with a lens that will delight the casual snapshooter that the D50 is aimed at.

    But you aren't a casual snapshooter. You are intending to use your system more intensively. It's a tool that you will have often in your hands in the coming months and years.

    And there's the problem. Plastic lenses just don't feel good and they get worse as time goes on. You may find that you become frustrated with the 18-55 and you regret that you didn't go for the 18-70 which is a really nice piece of work. Still not as nice as the f2.8 constant zooms but they cost 8 times more..

    Charles

  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Help me decide on a D-SLR for a beginner.

    Quote Originally Posted by edsav
    Franglais,

    Point taken on the 18-70mm lens; I will make sure I included it. Now as far as the camera goes will I be OK with the d50 body and the 18-70mm lens as apposed to the d70s with the 18-70mm lens? Which is a lot more money. I am a D-SLR newbee and if I can save a few hundred dollars and put it towards memory cards all the better. What do you all think? Will I be losing that much camera?

    By the way I really appreciate all the help and advice I have been getting. Camera people seem to be very pleasant and helpful, especially too repeated topics.

    Thanks again,

    edsav
    The essential functional differences between the D50 and the D70S are:

    - No depth of field preview button
    - Can't use the built-in flash to pilot other flashes in i-TTL mode
    - No light source behind the LCD panel on the top plate
    - 450 pixel exposure meter is less accurate than the 1005 pixel one on the D70 + others
    - Only one control wheel instead of two

    Hmm. None of these are showstoppers to start out with. I would say go with the D50 kit - even with the 18-55. And get a SB600 flash - essential if you want to do pictures of people inside or in bright sunlight. I would find the D50+18-55+SB600 much more useful than the D70S+18-70, for the same price.

    In a couple of years you may have grown out of the D50 but then you'll be wanting a D200 anyway.

    Charles
    Last edited by Franglais; 01-12-2006 at 12:54 AM. Reason: Added the flash

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