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  1. #1
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    seeking first dSLR advice

    Hi,
    I have decided to make a jump into dSLR land and have a hard time committing to a camera. a the moment my heart is 99% set on a Canon XSi, but i am open to suggestions. The choice rests on the fact that is seems to be the most used entry-level dSLR with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
    The main focus of this camera will be my 3 year old daughter who obviously wont sit still for nice pictures, so I am hoping that this camera can take nice action photos of her.
    with that said, i realize there is much more to a great picture than just the camera body.
    I would like to know if the 18-55mm kit lens will be good enough for now for the pictures i hope to take of her. I intend eventually intend to get the 55-250 Canon lens, but right now that choice is not set in stone since i am still trying to learn about these things (brands, mms etc)
    any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    thx

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    I can state that the XSi is a good and cheap SLR, so much that I just bought one...no camerafrom this price range have the pixel per pixel quality. Your other options that I might suggest from what I think you a re looking for is the Nikon D5000 or if you want to go a step futher go for the D90, but again the Canon XSi is damm fine pice of camera.

    The canon kit lens (18-55) is well.. OK, small, light, cheap and you will get nice looking pics out of it. Other lens you might want to check out is the 50mm f1.8...great detail, small, light and inexpensive.

    As for the longer telefoto you might want to change that 55-250 to a 70-300 IS USM...a bit more expensive but better all around.

    Canon XSi
    Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM
    Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS
    1. "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."Ansel Adams
    2. "Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art."Ansel Adams

  3. #3
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    The XSi is a great little camera. I've heard that the 70-300 is supposed to be better than the 55-250 in image quality, which is probably why it's a few hundred more. The 55-250 is more lightweight though (less than a pound). For a long time it was my walk around lens, and did the job very well.
    --Cara

    Canon 60D
    Canon XSi
    Canon 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS
    Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS
    Canon 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS
    Canon 100mm 2.8L IS Macro
    Canon 300mm F4 L IS
    Canon 50mm F1.8
    Tokina SD 12-24mm F/4 DX

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  4. #4
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    first of all thank you for the responses.
    As I am trying to learn more about the lenses, would you be so kind to explain to me the Canon 50mm F1.8 lens? I have seen a lot of recommendations for this particular lens, but i have no idea for what type of shots would this be for (closeups, something else?)
    I apologize for the ignorance on the subject, but i am trying to learn as much as i can
    once again thx
    Last edited by ronin2307; 02-23-2010 at 08:36 AM.

  5. #5
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    I'm a Nikon guy but the 50mm is pretty much the same for both.
    50mm used to be what was considered the :"normal" range of view of the human eye.
    Thus, when you looked through the viewfinder of the camera, you would see close to what
    you'd see normally. The f/1.8 is the aperture opening of the lens and is quite a large aperture, letting in more light which lets you get shots in lower light situations. It also gives a shallower depth of field.
    The reason the 50 is so highly recommended is that it is the least expensive prime lens you can get. Prime lenses are ones that only have one focal length and do not zoom in and out. They are generally the better lenses. The 50's ability to shoot in low light, and its depth of field control, and its being a very good prime for around a hundred dollars make it the best deal on the market for any brand. With the crop factor it becomes the same as a 75 mm lens on a 35mm film or full frame digital camera.
    Keep Shooting!

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  6. #6
    Liz
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    I agree 100% with what Frog said about the 50mm/f1.8. Here is a link where you can see 5+ pages of what this lens can do. It's great for indoor, low light - and it's fast (works better with moving children/subjects).

    Another 50mm f1.8 Thread

    You can check the specifications here. I have personal experience with this lens so would recommend it highly - especially for the price.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...0mm_f_1_8.html

    Liz

  7. #7
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    thank you very much for that response. it helps clarify what i am reading online.
    so this is sort the bottom line question: since budget is always an issue in the real world, would i be better of buying the XSi kit (with the 18-55mm lens) and the 50mm prime lens, or maybe just the body with the 55-250mm lens?
    I understand the differences to a degree, but as any rookie i am trying to get most for my buck and the ability to take decent pictures of my little one in most situations.
    once again thx for any advice.

    PS: one more question: since this is a camera that came out in 08, how safe is it to buy it in todays world where tech changes by the hour. I dont want to buy something that is going to be obsolete, but have no idea how relevant those things are in the photography tech field.

  8. #8
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    i dont know jack about photography yet, but even i can tell that these shots are good IMO. thank you very much for the link. that helps a lot with the decision


    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    I agree 100% with what Frog said about the 50mm/f1.8. Here is a link where you can see 5+ pages of what this lens can do. It's great for indoor, low light - and it's fast (works better with moving children/subjects).

    Another 50mm f1.8 Thread

    You can check the specifications here. I have personal experience with this lens so would recommend it highly - especially for the price.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...0mm_f_1_8.html

    Liz

  9. #9
    Liz
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Here is another older 50mm/f1.8 thread if you'd like to see more images. I'm glad I found this thread as it was fun viewing it again.

    50mm f/1.8 Lens War Thread

    Liz

  10. #10
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    so here is what i intend to buy:
    XSi kit with 18-55mm lens
    55mm 1.8 lens
    spare battery
    canon 200EG SLR backpack

    amazon has everything, newegg does not. any other suggestions where i may look (reputable and possibly cheaper)?
    thx again

  11. #11
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Here is a link to our recommended dealers and dealers to avoid.
    Happy shopping! Recommended sites and sites to avoid
    Keep Shooting!

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  12. #12
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin2307
    so here is what i intend to buy:
    XSi kit with 18-55mm lens
    55mm 1.8 lens
    spare battery
    canon 200EG SLR backpack

    amazon has everything, newegg does not. any other suggestions where i may look (reputable and possibly cheaper)?
    thx again
    I'd check out b and h photo video and adorama. You may also want to check keh to see if there's a used version of the 50mm 1.8 that you could get slightly cheaper.
    --Cara

    Canon 60D
    Canon XSi
    Canon 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS
    Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS
    Canon 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS
    Canon 100mm 2.8L IS Macro
    Canon 300mm F4 L IS
    Canon 50mm F1.8
    Tokina SD 12-24mm F/4 DX

    My stuff on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35592266@N05

    My photo blog: http://adventureswithnaturephotography.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    well it is done my new friends. ordered the whole list. once again thx to everybody for their advice and dont mind me posting a lot of dumb questions in the forums from now on

  14. #14
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin2307
    well it is done my new friends. ordered the whole list. once again thx to everybody for their advice and dont mind me posting a lot of dumb questions in the forums from now on
    You would be surprised how much we learn from the questions of others. - TF
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  15. #15
    Liz
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin2307
    well it is done my new friends. ordered the whole list. once again thx to everybody for their advice and dont mind me posting a lot of dumb questions in the forums from now on
    Congratulations Ronin! Good choices! Drum Roll: :7:

    Let us know when you get it - we're here to answer any questions. I began my photography life right here - and all I know today is mostly from the help I got here.

    Good luck.
    Liz

  16. #16
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    Congratulations Ronin! Good choices! Drum Roll: :7:

    Let us know when you get it - we're here to answer any questions. I began my photography life right here - and all I know today is mostly from the help I got here.

    Good luck.
    Liz
    thx. the 18-55mm lens is IS

  17. #17
    Liz
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin2307
    thx. the 18-55mm lens is IS
    Yes, I realized that since you purchased the kit. I went back and re-read your post. Much better lens! In the meantime, I had edited the post - we must have posted at the same time.

    I'm really happy for you. We all know around here what it is like to get a new camera - especially something that is such a big change!

    You wil love it!

    Liz

  18. #18
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    yup...keep asking questions. OldClicker is right. We learn a lot form others questions.
    And post photos, even if they are bad. Somebody will know why.
    Keep Shooting!

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  19. #19
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    here is a quick question: I have been reading different opinions on needing a filter for these lenses. Some seems to think it is crucial to protect the lens, other say not so since the lenses are not that expensive anyway and with some care, most damage can easily prevented.
    Any thoughts on those or any other accessories (lens cleaning kits etc)?
    thx

    PS: i meant the lenses I will own. I realize there are much much more expensive lenses
    Last edited by ronin2307; 02-24-2010 at 10:19 AM.

  20. #20
    Active Amateur havana_joe's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Congrats on the new camera!

    I personally like having a clear or UV filter on each lens, only because I photograph outdoors a lot, so I’d rather wipe dust and dirt off a filter than risk scratching the actual lens. That being said, neither a clear or UV filter will do much to improve your pictures, and some feel that it can actually degrade them, as a really good filter will still only allow about 98% of the light through (the other 2% is reflected). A cheap filter may let even less light through.

    A filter will not help prevent a lens from being damaged if the lens is dropped or poked with something sharp, as something with that much force will likely go through the filter and into the lens regardless. A filter is very thin; it won’t absorb a lot of shock if hit directly, and even worse, if the filter shatters that glass can damage the lens

    If you use a filter, be careful about cross-threading it, as that can ruin your lens if/when you go to take it off.

    If I were to buy a used lens I’d rather buy one that had been filtered than one that had not, as the lens itself should not have any scratches from cleaning.

    Keep in mind that polarizing and neutral gradient filters can certainly alter your picture, which is why they are used. These filters are generally used and removed as needed.

    Just my humble opinions!
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  21. #21
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    The uv or clear lens gets some friendly debate. Joe has chosen to use them and after a bit of reading, I have chosen not to. But I don't shoot in dusty situations.

    Circular polarizers and neutral densities are necessary if you are shooting outdorrs.
    I found out after buying several fairly expensive circular polarizers that I really only needed to buy one for my biggest lens and then just use adapter rings to mount it on the others.
    Don't skimp when you buy them. Remember you are buying something that will go in front of some expensive optics so you want something that hopefully won't degrade the possible quality of the images. Plan to spend around a 100 or more for a decent cp filter.
    B+H, Hoya pro filters, and others I can't remember right now make good ones.
    Nd filters aren't as expensive but you may need 3 or more to cover different situations.
    I have the Cokin P filter holder which I use with their neutral density filters. They will fit on any of my lenses that way.
    I won't go into what cp and nd filters do or the Coking system but there is plenty of info out there if you google or bing them.
    Keep Shooting!

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  22. #22
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    The uv or clear lens gets some friendly debate. Joe has chosen to use them and after a bit of reading, I have chosen not to. But I don't shoot in dusty situations.

    Circular polarizers and neutral densities are necessary if you are shooting outdorrs.
    I found out after buying several fairly expensive circular polarizers that I really only needed to buy one for my biggest lens and then just use adapter rings to mount it on the others.
    Don't skimp when you buy them. Remember you are buying something that will go in front of some expensive optics so you want something that hopefully won't degrade the possible quality of the images. Plan to spend around a 100 or more for a decent cp filter.
    B+H, Hoya pro filters, and others I can't remember right now make good ones.
    Nd filters aren't as expensive but you may need 3 or more to cover different situations.
    I have the Cokin P filter holder which I use with their neutral density filters. They will fit on any of my lenses that way.
    I won't go into what cp and nd filters do or the Coking system but there is plenty of info out there if you google or bing them.

    since i am in infant stages of dSLR i think i will opt for ND filters, due the the price diff and the fact that i have no idea what I am doing.
    Related question is how do i know which size filter i need for my lenses?
    I found this:
    # 52mm. Used on the small primes, such as the 50mm 1.8 mark 1 and the 28mm 2.8, and on some earlier consumer/midrange zoom lenses.

    # 58mm. Used on the vast majority of Canon’s midrange zooms.

    but am not sure about it, since it came from a website that is a bit dated.

    the other lens is the kit lens 18-55mm...

    thx

    PS: never mind. found out that both lenses take a 58mm filter
    PSS: wrong again. one is 52mm the other is 58mm...its a learning process
    Last edited by ronin2307; 02-24-2010 at 01:54 PM.

  23. #23
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    The uv or clear lens gets some friendly debate. Joe has chosen to use them and after a bit of reading, I have chosen not to. But I don't shoot in dusty situations.

    Circular polarizers and neutral densities are necessary if you are shooting outdorrs.
    I found out after buying several fairly expensive circular polarizers that I really only needed to buy one for my biggest lens and then just use adapter rings to mount it on the others.
    Don't skimp when you buy them. Remember you are buying something that will go in front of some expensive optics so you want something that hopefully won't degrade the possible quality of the images. Plan to spend around a 100 or more for a decent cp filter.
    B+H, Hoya pro filters, and others I can't remember right now make good ones.
    Nd filters aren't as expensive but you may need 3 or more to cover different situations.
    I have the Cokin P filter holder which I use with their neutral density filters. They will fit on any of my lenses that way.
    I won't go into what cp and nd filters do or the Coking system but there is plenty of info out there if you google or bing them.

    stupid question: with CP or ND filters, what is the effect on indoor shots? do they have to be removed, will they have a negative effect on shots, or no side-effects?

  24. #24
    Active Amateur havana_joe's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    My experience is that CP and ND filters are really for outdoor use only. A CP can reduce sunlight reflections from some surfaces, and it can be used to deepen blues, especially when the sky is in the picture.

    A ND is usually used in bright sunlight to essentially darken every color. Think of it as putting sunglasses on your camera. The darker the filter, the less light gets through. This is a good way to make a very bright scene look more accurate instead of beeing too bright and washed out.

    These filters are generally not used indoors, since there would normally be no bright sunlight or blue skies indoors. The CP would likely do nothing, while the ND would make the subject too dark with standard indoor lighting. However, photography is an art, and you can always try different things with different filters and lighting to see what effects you get. I suppose if the building had a lot of windows or an atrium there could be bright sunlight and blue skys.

    I personally don't use ND or CP filters indoors.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: seeking first dSLR advice

    The polarizer will reduce the reflection off of any thing that polarizes the light. Note the windows on the right in these two - one with a CPL, one without. Also note that the reflection from the wood floor hardly changed at all. - TF


    seeking first dSLR advice-dsc02911.jpg



    seeking first dSLR advice-dsc02891.jpg
    -----------------
    I am no better than you. I critique to teach myself to see.
    -----------------
    Feel free to edit my photos or do anything else that will help me learn.
    -----------------
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