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View Full Version : New to photography - advice???




emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 09:38 AM
I am looking for a dSLR and want to get a good starter kit together. I have decided on the digital Rebel XT due to cost and size, but want to know what else to get to round out my setup.

I have never used an SLR of any kind before and do not want to overlook anything. I will not likely be taking action shots. I anticipate mostly flowers, landscapes, and other nature shots, architectural pictures, and a few portraits here and there. I will likely be printing some myself with an HP 3310 all in one, but sometimes will send out for prints from mpix.com. I just want a place to start equipment wise.

Go easy on me. I am new and want to keep the price reasonable. I do not know were this will lead and can always get new glass later. If I can get a much better basic kit with other pieces, please let me know, but keep the price in the "reasonable" range. At this point I am looking for value, not the best possible lens. If I am being foolish there, please let me know.

I was going to get the Rebel body only and add the Tamron kit that B&H has. It is the 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 and a 70-300 f/4-5.6 and leave behind the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens - unless you guys think it is worth having around.

Is the Canon EF 50/1.8 lens worth having for portraits? I hear it is an excellent value lens to have for the $79.

Add a few 58mm and 62mm Hoya filters like these (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=23731&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation), an extra battery - or two - a bag, lens cleaner, memory card, and lens/filter pouches.

Did I miss anything - obvious or not? Am I shooting too high or too low? Am I wasting any money here?

With the body and the three lenses mentioned, I am sitting at $950. I want to bring this all in under $1200 is possible.



iGary
Jun 26, 2006, 09:40 AM
Is the Canon EF 50/1.8 lens worth having for portraits? I hear it is an excellent value lens to have for the $79

A must-have lens.

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 09:52 AM
I was hoping that you would chime in iGary. Thanks.

Otherwise, am I on the right track - being reasonable and realistic?

iGary
Jun 26, 2006, 09:54 AM
I was hoping that you would chime in iGary. Thanks.

Otherwise, am I on the right track - being reasonable and realistic?

I think so - I'd try and remove something and make room for a battery grip, though. You'll never shoot without one once you have had one. :)

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 10:15 AM
Adding the grip still keeps me close to my $1200 budget. If nothing else, I will keep that in mind for later.

Your general opinion on Tamron lenses? I have checked them out at FredMiranda.com and photo.net and a lot of users seem to have a very high opinion of them - especially for the money.

As far as filters go, am I wasting money on a multi-coated protective filter for these relatively inexpensive lenses? Are the intro kits (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=408014&is=REG&addedTroughValue=389869_REG&addedTroughType=accessory_detail) from Hoya (UV/polarizing/warming) good enough or a waste? I think they are the single coated filters. Should I just get the multi-coated UV/protective ones and be done?

iGary
Jun 26, 2006, 10:19 AM
Adding the grip still keeps me close to my $1200 budget. If nothing else, I will keep that in mind for later.

Your general opinion on Tamron lenses? I have checked them out at FredMiranda.com and photo.net and a lot of users seem to have a very high opinion of them - especially for the money.

As far as filters go, am I wasting money on a multi-coated protective filter for these relatively inexpensive lenses? Are the intro kits (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=408014&is=REG&addedTroughValue=389869_REG&addedTroughType=accessory_detail) from Hoya (UV/polarizing/warming) good enough or a waste? I think they are the single coated filters. Should I just get the multi-coated UV/protective ones and be done?

I have never used them, but ChipNoVaMac here seems to swear by them, and yes, a lot of folks over at Fred Miranda swear by them as well, which is saying something.

I never buy the most expensive filters, but the ones in the middle, and usually Hoya.

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 10:24 AM
Thanks Gary. I appreciate the time you've given to a beginner here.

BTW, love the Rush quote. I always said that if I got a convertible, it would be red and that would be the first song I would play on the stereo.

Anyone else want to add their opinions?

NATO
Jun 26, 2006, 10:36 AM
Don't forget a tripod, especially with low light/long exposure shots, you will really really appreciate one. It doesn't necessarily need to be particularly expensive, having a modest one to start with is so much better than none at all.

When I got my first SLR camera, it was only about a month before I started itching for a tripod, it allows you so much more freedom to set up the shot you really want, rather than having to make comprimises.

ChrisBrightwell
Jun 26, 2006, 10:48 AM
I was going to get the Rebel body only and add the Tamron kit that B&H has. It is the 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 and a 70-300 f/4-5.6 and leave behind the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens - unless you guys think it is worth having around.I have the 18-55 and the wide end on that lens is *really* useful at times. There are times when I realize that I get a shot that would've been completely impossible w/out a lens that wide. I'm gonna buy the Canon 10-22mm lens before too long. :)

EDIT: How well does that Tamron kits review? I've been looking for a decent zoom to 300mm and that kit looks like a great supplement to my 18-55mm kit lens. Anyone?

Is the Canon EF 50/1.8 lens worth having for portraits? I hear it is an excellent value lens to have for the $79.I agree w/ iGary (and others, I'm sure). This lens is a no-brainer.

With the body and the three lenses mentioned, I am sitting at $950.A good tripod or monopod would be a great addition, as would a good external flash.

ChrisA
Jun 26, 2006, 12:02 PM
I am looking for a dSLR and want to get a good starter kit together. I have decided on the digital Rebel XT due to cost and size, but want to know what else to get to round out my setup.....

Do you have any ideas about how you will use the camera, where you will shoot and what subjects? It is absolutly impossable to advise of what lenses might be usful without knowing a lot more about intended use. Ar you buying the camera to record vactions, events a new baby or are you thinking more in terms of fine art, landscapes or macros?

Your $1200 budget is more then enough to get a very usful system unless you have specialized need which could run the price way up.

Not knowing you needs I'd say start slow. Thre is no need to buy more than one lens. Shot 1000 frames with it then you will know how it is limiting you. Many times beginners wil think they want a long telephoto but (1) good teles are quite expensive and (2) only a few specialized types of sybjects require them I think you'd get betteruse with a very wid lens. Pictures taken up close with a wide lens always seems to involve the viewer more then those take from a distance.

I use Nikon equipment so I don't know the Canon lineup to well but I think if you have the money and can aford to upgrade the 18-55 do it. That is a cheap llens and Canon makes better ones.

Depending on what you do you may find you want a srobe and a tripod so don'r blow the bbudget on a set of lenses. shoot for a while first. Then maybe if you are doing a lot of indoor shots of people you will want to spring for an off camera strobe How would you know now?

OutThere
Jun 26, 2006, 12:17 PM
Tamron lenses are great value...a cheap Tamron lens is >>>>>>>> than a cheap Sigma lens of the same type, in my experience. I don't have a ton of experience with Canon lenses, as most of them are out of my price range. :o

I do really like the sound of that EF 50mm/f1.8 though. I'm thinking I'll buy it...

iGary
Jun 26, 2006, 12:19 PM
I do really like the sound of that EF 50mm/f1.8 though. I'm thinking I'll buy it...

You won't regret it...

Josh
Jun 26, 2006, 12:26 PM
I do really like the sound of that EF 50mm/f1.8 though. I'm thinking I'll buy it...

I second iGary.

Having a nice 50mm can really change how you look at photography - even when using other lenses.

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 01:21 PM
I have the 18-55 and the wide end on that lens is *really* useful at times. There are times when I realize that I get a shot that would've been completely impossible w/out a lens that wide. I'm gonna buy the Canon 10-22mm lens before too long. :)

Good point. I have a friend who has offered me his kit lens - for free - but I will check with him if that offer is still on the table. If so, I will grab it.

I was thinking about going wider later also, but not just yet so I will keep that lens in mind.

A good tripod or monopod would be a great addition, as would a good external flash.

Added to the list. Thanks.

tonyeck
Jun 26, 2006, 01:30 PM
I second iGary.

Having a nice 50mm can really change how you look at photography - even when using other lenses.

I third iGary and second Josh... The 50mm is just perfect for portraits, as is the 100mm f/2.8 macro, but it will probably push you over your budget

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 01:47 PM
Do you have any ideas about how you will use the camera, where you will shoot and what subjects? It is absolutly impossable to advise of what lenses might be usful without knowing a lot more about intended use. Ar you buying the camera to record vactions, events a new baby or are you thinking more in terms of fine art, landscapes or macros?

Absolutely correct. As I said in my first post -

"I anticipate mostly flowers, landscapes, and other nature shots, architectural pictures, and a few portraits here and there."

Mostly outdoors. I am primarily interested in general landscapes, travel, and architecture so that is where I will start. Macros? Maybe, but I will see what I can get with the lenses I have selected first - as you recommend.

Your $1200 budget is more then enough to get a very usful system unless you have specialized need which could run the price way up.

Good to hear that I am not being unrealistic and cheap. Thanks.

Not knowing you needs I'd say start slow. Thre is no need to buy more than one lens. Shot 1000 frames with it then you will know how it is limiting you. Many times beginners wil think they want a long telephoto but (1) good teles are quite expensive and (2) only a few specialized types of sybjects require them I think you'd get betteruse with a very wid lens. Pictures taken up close with a wide lens always seems to involve the viewer more then those take from a distance.

Good points. I always tell people to start slow when going into something new, then come back to me and say, "I really want to do this and my setup stops me because..." There is simply no way to know what you need unless you know exactly what you want to do - and I do not.

I want to start off with some basic pieces - the essentials if you will - and move on from there without spending a ton of money. I am really after value here.

At this point, I think I might go with this -

- Digital Rebel with 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens (the lens is free from a friend)

- Tamron 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 and 70-300 f/4-5.6 kit

- Canon EF 50/1.8 lens

- Hoya filters (58mm and 62mm)

- bag, pouches, and cleaners

- small tripod

- battery and 1GB CF card (for now)

That puts me at about $1300-ish, which is fine. The $1200 was never a hard limit. I plan to add a battery grip and flash later as I grow.

Thanks everyone for the input. Keep it coming.

cgratti
Jun 26, 2006, 02:29 PM
As far as filters go, am I wasting money on a multi-coated protective filter for these relatively inexpensive lenses? Are the intro kits (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=408014&is=REG&addedTroughValue=389869_REG&addedTroughType=accessory_detail) from Hoya (UV/polarizing/warming) good enough or a waste? I think they are the single coated filters. Should I just get the multi-coated UV/protective ones and be done?
I would get the UV filter for protection but wouldn't waste money on warming filters or stuff like that now.
Get the grip, you wont shoot without it again, I put one on my camera a year ago and havent taken it off yet... Save the cash and buy good glass, you will have new bodies in the future, but you will have the same glass forever.

Scrap the 2 Tamron lenses and get 1 real sharp lens. Canon 17-40L or 70-200 f/4L are both great lenses. Around $600 each new, but you can find them cheaper used. Another nice lens is the Canon 28-135 IS ($450 new - $365 used).

cookie1105
Jun 26, 2006, 02:35 PM
Well I have had my rebel xt for about four months now. Your post made me think how I would maybe have done things differently. For example, I bought a 75-300 III USM which I thought I would need, but then sold again 4 weeks later. I didn't use it and it was a stupidly soft even compared to the kit lens. I bought the 50mm f/1.4 (refurb.)with the money from the sale (plus a little bit:) )

Anyway here is how I would set myself up to start with, if I could do it again:

-Rebel xt
-18-55 kit lens ( it really is not that bad a lens) + uv filter
-50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 + uv filter + hood
-2 GB CF card
-tripod
-bag
-cleaning kit + blower
-A good book about photography

My next purchases are going to be:

-more memory
-battery grip
-85mm f/1.8
-The Ansell Adams trilogy

But then again, it is my birthday in a couple of months:cool:

Enjoy your camera when you get it!!!

ChrisA
Jun 26, 2006, 04:07 PM
Absolutely correct. As I said in my first post -

"I anticipate mostly flowers, landscapes, and other nature shots, architectural pictures, and a few portraits here and there."


Looks like I missed that.
Then it looks like you will be looking for a wide angle lens. At least 18mm or even wider. architectural shots take a very wide lens because you tend to want to keep the camera level so as not to distort the lines. Also all of the subject above are best done with a tripod. You might want to budget one in

If money is an issue look at the usedlens market. Lens technology has been mature for decades. It's not like buying a computer where a 10 year old model is usless. There is very little to go wrong with a lens. If you are very short of cash very old Nikon lensesare very cheap for subjects like landscapes and macros that don't move a 30 year old manual focus Nikon would do as well as an expensive new lens. Very old canon lenses do not work with digital bodies If you have a limited Lens budget you would do better with used Canon/Nikor then with new third party lens.

sjl
Jun 26, 2006, 06:22 PM
II will not likely be taking action shots. I anticipate mostly flowers, landscapes, and other nature shots, architectural pictures, and a few portraits here and there. I will likely be printing some myself with an HP 3310 all in one, but sometimes will send out for prints from mpix.com. I just want a place to start equipment wise.
[...]
I was going to get the Rebel body only and add the Tamron kit that B&H has. It is the 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 and a 70-300 f/4-5.6 and leave behind the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens - unless you guys think it is worth having around.

Is the Canon EF 50/1.8 lens worth having for portraits? I hear it is an excellent value lens to have for the $79.

From what you've said above, you don't really need the 70-300, and arguably won't use it very much if at all. A few thoughts I have would be, as others have said, a wide angle -- maybe the 10-22, maybe something else -- and almost certainly a good macro. If you can plug the money for a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens (or similar), I'd suggest you do so; a shorter macro can work too, but it limits you to things like flowers that don't move -- no insects, as the distance for a good shot would be close enough that said insect would fly off.

The 10-22 would complement the 28-80 very nicely; the 6mm 'gap' is easily covered with the standard foot zoom (or even with a bit of judicious cropping). It may, however, be beyond your immediate budget.

And I'll add to the chorus: the 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens for the price. I've managed some very nice shots with mine.

My above comments are more or less relating to the Canon brand lenses; I honestly don't know much about third-party lenses, and couldn't advise as to what's good and what's not. There probably are cheaper options that cover similar focal length ranges to those I've mentioned; check reviews before buying (fredandmiranda.com is good; dpreview probably isn't worth the time.)

cgratti
Jun 26, 2006, 07:28 PM
And I'll add to the chorus: the 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent lens for the price. I've managed some very nice shots with mine.

My above comments are more or less relating to the Canon brand lenses; I honestly don't know much about third-party lenses, and couldn't advise as to what's good and what's not. There probably are cheaper options that cover similar focal length ranges to those I've mentioned; check reviews before buying (fredandmiranda.com is good; dpreview probably isn't worth the time.)

Everyone should have the 50mm 1.8, for the price it's a great lens. Sigma makes some good glass, I haev the 105mm macro and it rarely leaves the body of my camera. Sharp and versitile lens.

Cybix
Jun 26, 2006, 07:44 PM
wow, great thread. I bought an EOS 350D yesterday.. with lens kit + paid about $50usd for an extra canon 75-300 lens (some special deal going down)

the same shop wanted $200 (aus) for a 1gig ultra II sandisk card! pfft. So I found a 50x kingston 1gig card elsewhere for $64 aus.. (cheap!)

I've snapped about 10 pics (indoors, last night, boring) so far. cant wait to fire it again!

oops, I'm hijacking this thread... just want to say this thread has given me some idea's on my next purchases... (definately batt grip + 2nd batt)

thumbs up

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 08:38 PM
Sigma makes some good glass, I have the 105mm macro and it rarely leaves the body of my camera. Sharp and versitile lens.

Thanks for the tip on the Sigma macro. I was having a hard time justifying the $600+ that Canon was asking. That is definately out of my budget.

I saw a 50/2.8 Sigma for $269 that might be in the running. It has a minimum focus distance of 7.4" which is considerably less than the Canon 50mm lens, but I realize the Canon will be better for portraits while the Sigma would be used for macros.

However, I am thinking that I would then have too much invested in that range of lenses, so if I were to leave one out - which one? I like the 50/1.8 for portraits, the Sigma 50/2.8 for macros, and the kit lens for a general purpose lens.

You guys are right about the 70-300. I will likely not use it as much as I think I will and I can always add one later if I want.

Revised list -

- Digital Rebel with 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

- Canon EF 50/1.8 lens

- Sigma 50/2.8 macro lens

- Hoya AV filters (52mm, 55mm, and 58mm)

- bag, pouches, and cleaners

- small tripod

- battery and 2GB CF card (for now)

This puts me at just under $1300 which is about perfect. I will add the grip later.

You guys are awesome! I love the ideas that are flowing here.

Did I miss anything, or have too much in lenses?

sjl
Jun 26, 2006, 08:58 PM
- Canon EF 50/1.8 lens

- Sigma 50/2.8 macro lens
I'm not convinced that that would be a good combination. I honestly believe you'd be better off with a 100mm (or near 100mm) macro than the 50mm -- especially if you think you might want to photograph insects, as the 50mm will cause it to fly off before you can focus.

That said, if you're not fussed about that issue, it's your money and your choice to make.

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 09:44 PM
I'm not convinced that that would be a good combination. I honestly believe you'd be better off with a 100mm (or near 100mm) macro than the 50mm -- especially if you think you might want to photograph insects, as the 50mm will cause it to fly off before you can focus.

Good point and something I didn't think of. Thanks.

I was thinking I had too much in a small range of lenses. But if I go with the Sigma 105/2.8, we are back at $400 and that is a little harder to justify for me.

I think I will skip the macro and do what I can with the 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens at an 11.4" minumum focus and the 50/1.8 and its 1.5' minimum.

If I leave off the macro and the 75-300, I can get the grip and maybe a flash, but I am not sure that I will use the flash too much just yet.

Great info guys and more than I would have hoped for.

Thanks! Keep 'em coming. I am looking to buy by the end of the week.

I can always add later.

cgratti
Jun 26, 2006, 10:27 PM
If you want to do macro, the 50mm f/1.8 and a set of extension tubes will do wonders. The tubes cost about $130 for the whole set of 62mm tubes. You will have to get pretty close to focus, but if you want to do a lot of macro the Canon 100mm or Sigma 105mm are the way to go. I can send you sample pics of the Sigma photos if you PM me your email address.

emaja
Jun 26, 2006, 10:37 PM
cgratti, now that is the type of advice I come here for! Not only did I not know about these extension tubes, but they seem to do what I want for a very reasonable price.

We are definately getting somewhere!

A thousand thanks from this newcomer.

The Mad Kiwi
Jun 27, 2006, 02:13 AM
My advise is really boring, just get the camera and kit lens (and possibly the grip (they really are a most useful extra)) and use it for a while.

lucero1148
Jun 27, 2006, 03:21 AM
Canon's 350D is a great camera. AS a Canon user myself (1D-MK IIN) I got a 350D for my daughter 2 months ago and its very intuitive to use. As for what lens you should get the 18-55 is a must as it gives you a lot of flexibility in what you can cover from a short wide angle to short telephoto. As for Tamrom or Sigma as long as you're going for their premium lenses you can get very good quality images at a much lower cost than a comparable Canon lens.

As for the Cf card a 1 Gb card is sufficient and cheaper. For the most part you won't need to shoot large files a medium resolution file size will be good enough for the majority of the shots you'll take and for prints up to 8x10. Usually after I finish a shoot I'll copy my CF files to my Mac, process my images and then save it to a CD. Then I'll clear my CF card and start anew.

For future equipment purchases I'd save up for 10-22mm and the 70-200/f2.8 and if you're serious about Macro photography the 60mm Canon macro is ideal. Additonally even though your 350D has a on camera flash get a off camera flash like Canon's 430 flash. It'll give you more flexibility and better lit flash photos (if you should ever teach yourself how to use the flash effectively) and not use up yor camera battery power as well.
good luck
Patrick