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View Full Version : Should I get a Canon Rebel xTi




cleung
Apr 14, 2007, 01:53 PM
My dad is a professional photographer and I used to be much more meticulous about the pictures that I take. Over the years, I've become lazier and lazier with taking pictures. That, however, seems to have changed recently as I moved to Asia and find myself traveling a lot both for work and for fun and wanting to take many more quality pictures.

I recently bought a Canon Powershot G7 thinking it has everything that I need, from full manual to point-and-shoot. It's also "compact" in size that would be easy to travel with. However, after about five months of use, I'm wondering if I should have gotten a Rebel xTi instead (I did consider it when I bought the G7). The G7 seems a bit slow at releasing the shutter both in daylight and at night time. Recently, at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, I noticed I couldn't capture a lot of the shots even at the right settings. In the last week, I have tried to take many night shots and also found the shutter release very slow. I also long for a wider angle lens. I know I can add the conversion kit for the G7 but not entirely sure that's what I want. I know one's a dSLR and one's not, but I still can't decide if I really need a dSLR or if the G7 has what I really need.

Suggestions? Advice?

Thanks!



Westside guy
Apr 14, 2007, 02:57 PM
If you're a Canon person and you've got the cash, I'd say "yes, you should." :D You don't mention what type of camera you used prior to the Powershot. In my case...

I had a film SLR, but wanted to go digital. I figured a nice digital point and shoot (Powershot S30, which was more or less top of the line back then) would work well for me. But almost immediately I found lots of things that just don't work as well on a point and shoot as they do on an SLR (manual focusing in particular). The photos were sharp - the glass is quite good - but it just seemed too limiting.

After several months of thinking and mulling it over, I asked my wife's permission :D and then bit the bullet - and I have never regretted it.

Now if you're primarilly the sort of person who just wants to point the camera at something and get a good shot - a dSLR is probably a waste of money. It'll work well in that mode, but you'll spend much more to get those shots than is necessary. But if you want to grow as a photographer, and try new things (and it sounds like you might), I think you'll be much happier with a dSLR.

One piece of advice (not original to me): Don't get rid of the point and shoot even if you buy the dSLR. It's nice to have a camera with you all the time to capture those grab shots, and there are occasions when carrying your dSLR is quite inconvenient. I'm still looking for that perfect pocket point and shoot camera.

cleung
Apr 14, 2007, 10:00 PM
Westside Guy: Thanks for sharing your experience. I had all sorts of cameras before my Canon G7. Years ago, I had (actually still have but don't use any more) a Contax SLR. My dad got a second hand one for me when I was in college but it was very limiting as I only had a 50mm lens. When I went digitial, my first camera was an Olympus 4040 which I loved. I used that for several years. One year I got a Canon pocket size camera (can't remember the model name but really small and very limited in functions, no zoom, etc) as a gift. I found myself using more and more of that because of the higher megapixels and also for the ease of traveling. When I moved to Asia a few months ago, I found that one just completing not doing the job I wanted so I did a bunch of research and finally settled on the Canon G7. I could have afforded an dSLR (and still can) but I'm also a rather frugal person and only want to spend money on things I really need. Thanks also for the suggestiong for not getting rid of the point-and-shoot. I actually was thinking of using both. I know I won't want to spend the money just yet on a 70-200mm zoom lens if I get a dSLR so the G7 would still come in handy for that and for other occassions. With that said, I've noticed that the zoom on the G7 moves really fast; it's sometimes difficult to get it to the right zoom you want. The reason why I want to stick with Canon is because my dad has dozens of lens he's bought over the years for his 5D so at least I could borrow one or two to test out before I buy my own. Decisions, decisions....

aaron.lee2006
Apr 15, 2007, 06:07 PM
I have the XTi as well. One fine camera. If your looking for a good camera then go for it. I would also recommend the Nikon D70s. I shot one those a few times and it was again a great camera.

Westside guy
Apr 15, 2007, 06:49 PM
The reason why I want to stick with Canon is because my dad has dozens of lens he's bought over the years for his 5D so at least I could borrow one or two to test out before I buy my own.

That makes perfect sense. I know that's what I'd do if I were in your shoes, anyway. :)

When I made my purchase, I went with Nikon because a) I was going to be starting from the ground up lens-wise (my film SLR was a Pentax K1000, which was nice but all manual - so my lenses were all manual as well); and b) at the time the D70 came out it was really a slam-dunk over the original Digital Rebel. Nowadays you can't go wrong with either brand; plus there are additional fine SLRs from other manufacturers. I'm probably lucky I bought when I did, though, because if I were buying now I'd have a really hard time coming to a decision with all the great alternatives. :D

almightyshoe
Apr 15, 2007, 06:53 PM
I suggest you go someplace where you can handle the camera for a bit; the XT/XTi camera bodies are noticeably smaller than some other dSLRs (compared to the Nikon d80/50). You might like it more, you might be able to live with it, but you won't know until you hold it. I REALLY wanted to go Canon, but I have MASSIVE hands with even longer fingers; my pinky clocks in at 3 inches, my middle at 4. It was very cramping and really awkward to hold.

cleung
Apr 16, 2007, 12:45 AM
I suggest you go someplace where you can handle the camera for a bit; the XT/XTi camera bodies are noticeably smaller than some other dSLRs (compared to the Nikon d80/50). You might like it more, you might be able to live with it, but you won't know until you hold it. I REALLY wanted to go Canon, but I have MASSIVE hands with even longer fingers; my pinky clocks in at 3 inches, my middle at 4. It was very cramping and really awkward to hold.

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually did that yesterday. My uncle has a 400D (sames as Rebel XTi) and I played with it for a long time yesterday. I am a woman with average size hands but skinny fingers so I don't have a problem with the Rebel/400D.

cleung
Apr 16, 2007, 12:48 AM
That makes perfect sense. I know that's what I'd do if I were in your shoes, anyway. :)

When I made my purchase, I went with Nikon because a) I was going to be starting from the ground up lens-wise (my film SLR was a Pentax K1000, which was nice but all manual - so my lenses were all manual as well); and b) at the time the D70 came out it was really a slam-dunk over the original Digital Rebel. Nowadays you can't go wrong with either brand; plus there are additional fine SLRs from other manufacturers. I'm probably lucky I bought when I did, though, because if I were buying now I'd have a really hard time coming to a decision with all the great alternatives. :D


Westside Guy: I see you have a 18-200 lens. How do you like it in general (I know you have a Nikon)? That would be my preferred range and Tamaron/Sigman both make such a lens for the 400d. However, my professional photographer father basically won't let me buy anything short of Canon L lens. They take nice pictures but (1) they are outragesouly expensive and (2) I will have to have two separate lens to achieve the range from 18-200. I know, I know, I'm a 35-year-old professional and shouldn't do whatever my dad tells me to but what if, as always, he's right and I regret it? I guess I can always sell it on eBay....

Lovesong
Apr 16, 2007, 01:22 AM
cleung- I'll be be honest with you here. You seem to know enough about cameras and what it is you want from photography to get an SLR. The 400D is great, but if you're short on dough, you can go for the Rebel XT (350D), which actually has lower noise levels.
Look more into getting some decent lenses. The 10-22 is great. You might also want to check out the 17-55 f/2.8. Both of these will give you great images, and a lot more flexibility than your Canon G7.
Good luck.

cleung
Apr 16, 2007, 12:47 PM
cleung- I'll be be honest with you here. You seem to know enough about cameras and what it is you want from photography to get an SLR. The 400D is great, but if you're short on dough, you can go for the Rebel XT (350D), which actually has lower noise levels.
Look more into getting some decent lenses. The 10-22 is great. You might also want to check out the 17-55 f/2.8. Both of these will give you great images, and a lot more flexibility than your Canon G7.
Good luck.

Hey Lovesong: I've actually been giving some thought to the 17-55 f/2.8 although I have to admit I haven't thought too much about the 10-22 because I don't think I need something that wide. What would you recommend for longer than 55mm?

Westside guy
Apr 16, 2007, 01:12 PM
Westside Guy: I see you have a 18-200 lens. How do you like it in general (I know you have a Nikon)?

I like it quite a bit. I wasn't really considering it at first, until I read all the glowing reviews (Thom Hogan's review (http://www.bythom.com/18200lens.htm), for one). The glass is very sharp - seems to be at least as good as my 18-70mm was. No significant issues with distortion, etc. But it sounds like consumer superzooms are generally not as well crafted as this, so you need to shop carefully.

It was only recently that I had any negative feedback about it at all - and that is just over a trait it shares with most non-pro zoom lenses. The 18-200 has a variable minimum aperture that runs from f/3.5 to f/5.6. What I ran into was the way the minimum jumps up pretty quickly to f/4.8 at 50mm. Most of the time this is a non-issue for me; however this past weekend I was taking photos of some backlit apple blossoms, and because I was fairly close I wanted to drop the background out a bit. To get the aperture to f/4 (roughly), I had to back off on the zoom a bit and then use the old "sneaker zoom" to get as close as I wanted. FWIW I did have a 35mm f/2 prime around, but the light was changing so I was trying to get the shot quickly (and indeed I found the light was gone after I'd dashed back into the house to grab the prime).

I have no doubt that, technically speaking, your father is correct - given that he's a pro photographer, it's not like he's spouting off on a subject he doesn't know well (as you well know some of us guys will spout off on most any subject regardless of our actual knowledge level!). In my mind the real question, though, is whether spending all that extra money is going to make a difference in your photos in the reasonably near term. I know in my case the lenses I have (and plan to buy) are not going to be the limiting factor in my photography for years to come. I do think it's worth spending the money to buy technically sharp lenses that do not exhibit large amounts of distortion, frequent chromatic aberration, and the like - so it's important to read what other people say about any lenses you're interested in (at least in the case of zooms).

I hope that helps a little, and doesn't sound like I am spouting off. :D

Lovesong
Apr 16, 2007, 01:26 PM
Hey Lovesong: I've actually been giving some thought to the 17-55 f/2.8 although I have to admit I haven't thought too much about the 10-22 because I don't think I need something that wide. What would you recommend for longer than 55mm?

Yeah- the only reason why I suggested the 10-22 is that you said you longed for a wider lens, and this one in particular is great for landscapes. A thing that you should remember is that the dSLRs (save for the high-end Canons) have a crop factor. The XTi is a 1.6, meaning that a 10-22 lens will translate to a 16-35 mm and the 17-55 will be a 27-88mm equivalent.
For a longer lens, there really are quite a few options (most of them depending on the budget). Some actually prefer the primes, though that certainly doesn't give you flexibility in the field. There is the 70-300, which is OK in terms of image quality and build. If you want something that will give you better image quality you should look at the 70-200 line. There are 4 options- the f/4, f/4 with IS, f/2.8, and the f/2.8 with IS. I have the f/2.8, and it is by far the best zoom lens that I have ever used. For about half the price, you can get the f/4, which is just as sharp optically, but you lose a stop. Hope this helps.

cleung
Apr 16, 2007, 10:18 PM
In my mind the real question, though, is whether spending all that extra money is going to make a difference in your photos in the reasonably near term.

That's precisely how I feel. I'm not THAT good. The only reason why I'd consider getting the L lens is because I see how long my dad and my uncle hold on to their lens (some 20+ years old) and I guess if you depreciate the cost of a nice lens over 20 years then the cost is rather minimal. On the other hand, I can also trade up later.

I hope that helps a little, and doesn't sound like I am spouting off. :D

No, you're not!! Thanks for all your input!

cleung
Apr 16, 2007, 10:26 PM
Yeah- the only reason why I suggested the 10-22 is that you said you longed for a wider lens, and this one in particular is great for landscapes. A thing that you should remember is that the dSLRs (save for the high-end Canons) have a crop factor. The XTi is a 1.6, meaning that a 10-22 lens will translate to a 16-35 mm and the 17-55 will be a 27-88mm equivalent.
For a longer lens, there really are quite a few options (most of them depending on the budget). Some actually prefer the primes, though that certainly doesn't give you flexibility in the field. There is the 70-300, which is OK in terms of image quality and build. If you want something that will give you better image quality you should look at the 70-200 line. There are 4 options- the f/4, f/4 with IS, f/2.8, and the f/2.8 with IS. I have the f/2.8, and it is by far the best zoom lens that I have ever used. For about half the price, you can get the f/4, which is just as sharp optically, but you lose a stop. Hope this helps.

Thanks for suggesting the 10-22 (I'm aware of the 1.6 crop factor)...I think it might actually be a good choice for me. I'm also thinking of just getting the 20mm f/2.8 as my wide angle lens although it's not exactly very wide. I think I'll sacrifice the one stop for now and get an f/4 with IS like the 24-105. Another one I'm considering is the 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 although some of the reviews complain of very soft pictures. It is, however, half the price of the 24-105 and I'm sure you get what you pay for. The question goes back to how much of a difference will it make to MY pictures and whether I want to buy one now and keep it forever or upgrade as my skills progress...

sjl
Apr 16, 2007, 10:39 PM
Thanks for suggesting the 10-22 (I'm aware of the 1.6 crop factor)...I think it might actually be a good choice for me. I'm also thinking of just getting the 20mm f/2.8 as my wide angle lens although it's not exactly very wide. I think I'll sacrifice the one stop for now and get an f/4 with IS like the 24-105. Another one I'm considering is the 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 although some of the reviews complain of very soft pictures. It is, however, half the price of the 24-105 and I'm sure you get what you pay for. The question goes back to how much of a difference will it make to MY pictures and whether I want to buy one now and keep it forever or upgrade as my skills progress...

Be aware that 24mm on the 1.6 crop is FOV-equivalent to 38mm or so on a 35mm body. It's not bad, but it's not particularly wide, either; whether it's adequate for you depends on what you'll be shooting. 28mm is arguably not wide enough, being FOV-equivalent to nearly 45mm, for a standard zoom on a 1.6 crop body; you'll definitely want to complement it with a wider angle lens (like the 10-22mm.)

My medium-term plan (2-3 years) is to replace the EF-S 17-85mm with the EF-S 10-22mm and one of the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L or EF 24-105 f/4L IS. (I'm not worried about the 70-100mm range, because I can always borrow a friend's 70-200mm f/2.8L IS if I need it.) This way, I end up with the range that I want (mmm... 40x optical zoom ... :D), and only one EF-S lens in my collection, should I upgrade to a 5D or similar body down the road. Or I may keep the 17-85mm until I actually get the full frame body, since the wider range at the wide end is useful to have at times; this is something I'll be debating when I'm closer to actually getting the aforementioned L series glass.

BurtonCCC
Apr 17, 2007, 12:08 AM
I'd recommend going for the SLR. Definitely the XT over the XTi though. The better image quality in a cheaper camera seems like a no-brainer to me, unless you need the bigger shots.

I picked up a 28-90mm Canon lens refurbished and a new 50mm prime from Adorama for like $85 and $75, respectively. The zoom is slow at f/4.0, but it hasn't been a problem yet. Also, the prime is quick for so cheap! f/1.8! Definitely check them out. Great deals.

Also, I can attest that buying a dSLR makes you a much better photographer. I used to do 35mm SLR work, then sold that camera and only had a point and shoot for awhile. But now I have a dSLR and I love it. I'm in love with HDR and RAW and such. Just fantastic stuff that's difficult to do or non-existent on other types of cameras.

Daniel.

cleung
Apr 17, 2007, 12:57 AM
Be aware that 24mm on the 1.6 crop is FOV-equivalent to 38mm or so on a 35mm body. It's not bad, but it's not particularly wide, either; whether it's adequate for you depends on what you'll be shooting. 28mm is arguably not wide enough, being FOV-equivalent to nearly 45mm, for a standard zoom on a 1.6 crop body; you'll definitely want to complement it with a wider angle lens (like the 10-22mm.).

Yes, that's exactly my plan -- add either the 10-22 or a prime 20mm or the 17-40. My only concern with the 10-22 is that it's an EF-S lens but I don't really see myself upgrading any time soon.

cleung
Apr 17, 2007, 12:58 AM
I just realized that I totally forgot to mention that I already took the plunge last night and bought the 400d (Rebel xTI). Just borrowed a 70-200 and a 35 to test out. Will be borrowing a 16-35 next week to try.

Westside guy
Apr 17, 2007, 01:55 AM
Hey cleung,

1) Congratulations! I hope you have a lot of fun with it.

2) Do you really only have 1 megabyte of RAM in your Macbook Pro? (per your signature) :D

cleung
Apr 17, 2007, 02:19 AM
Hey cleung,
2) Do you really only have 1 megabyte of RAM in your Macbook Pro? (per your signature) :D

LOL!!! Yes, I was so "cash poor" and I wanted a MBP so I asked Steve to make me a special one with just 1MB of RAM! Good catch!

sjl
Apr 17, 2007, 06:08 PM
Yes, that's exactly my plan -- add either the 10-22 or a prime 20mm or the 17-40. My only concern with the 10-22 is that it's an EF-S lens but I don't really see myself upgrading any time soon.

It's an EF-S lens, but, like the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, it's a high-quality EF-S lens - in a lot of respects, both the 10-22 and 17-55 are L series in everything but name (and the plastic lens construction, but the optics are up there). The image quality out of the 10-22, from what I've read, is apparently better than the full frame 16-35mm (mark 1, don't know about the mark 2); if you don't need f/2.8, the 10-22 on a crop body is arguably a better buy than a 16-35 on the 5D or 1Ds mk 2.

What I'm getting at is that it will hold its value reasonably well, so if you do go to a body that won't take it, you can sell it and not lose too much money in the deal (especially when you consider the value of being able to use the lens in the interim.)

cleung
Apr 17, 2007, 08:13 PM
What I'm getting at is that it will hold its value reasonably well, so if you do go to a body that won't take it, you can sell it and not lose too much money in the deal (especially when you consider the value of being able to use the lens in the interim.)

That's good to know. Thanks.

I've now come to the conclusion that eventually I want a 24-105 but should I get a 10-22 for the wider angle or the 17-40? Decisions, decisions!

GnarleyMarley
Apr 17, 2007, 10:33 PM
I'm thinking about selling my D50 and picking up a 400D. I have small hands and the rebel just feels soo much better in my hand than the D50, although it is a great camera. Am I stupid for even thinking about this?:o

cleung
Apr 18, 2007, 12:25 AM
Ok, new option has entered my mind...17-85mm. I know it's a totally different lens than the ones I've mentioned. Would I really sacrifice a lot of qualiity for the versatility?

sjl
Apr 18, 2007, 01:22 AM
Ok, new option has entered my mind...17-85mm. I know it's a totally different lens than the ones I've mentioned. Would I really sacrifice a lot of qualiity for the versatility?

I don't believe so. I have that lens. People talk about CA - I've never noticed it from that lens (and I know what to look for; I ditched my 75-300mm like a hot potato when I saw what it did to a photograph of an Australian magpie.) Doesn't mean it's not there, but it's not offensively obvious. The only gripe I have with it is that there is a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end. Not offensive, but it's noticeable.

For the money, it's a decent lens, and should serve you well.