Entry Level DSLR, "Higher End" P/S, lenses, oh there is so much!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nbs2, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #1
    I know I've already posted a kind of related thread on this before. I know that I already met with Chip and had a long chat about what I really need vs. what I think I need. I think I've bled the internet dry in my search for truth - now I am after the minds that fuel available data. If you will bear with me, I will try and explain what I would love to hear from many of you.

    After looking at a variety of cameras, and getting advice from the sages here, I thought I was going to be happy with an superzoom like the S3 or FZ7. Well, after going to Penn Camera for a second time, I've begun to look at the D50 and the K100D.

    When I tried out the S3, I was looking at a photo that I took zoomed in with the IS on, and the picture was still fairly shaky. I have only futzed around with the FZ7 a little - does anybody with experience with it have an opinion?

    But then I think about the idea of getting a DSLR. Now, from what I can tell here, Nikon and Canon have the best lenses. Additionally, many here have pointed out that lenses will far outlast the body. My primary interest in the K100 is the IS is built into the body, rather than being related to the lens - meaning that I don't have to worry about paying 700 for a 70-200 VR. But, if down the road I decide that I want a better body, it looks like the K100 is currently the best Pentax makes, while I have plenty of room for expansion with the D50 (i.e. the best Pentax is equivalent to the baseline Nikon - if that continues, how much more is available for me).

    I've currently got a Canon A70 (3.2MP) that is still pluggin along - great build quality - and I plan on keeping that camera until the day it stops working.

    I figure I need a camera that travels well, but will capture with high quality. I take a lot of landscape style shots when I travel, but with the impending kid, it also needs to be quick enough to get pictures of "those moments" witht he kid. I've realized that without having a kid, I don't know how much low light shooting I'm going to be doing - I imagine that there will be a lot of "look at the kid sleeping," but I just realized that will be during nap time and such during the day - I plan on sleeping at night.

    Someone mentioned elsewhere that full frame cameras are coming down in price - and will continue to do so - and they are serveral times better than the non-full frame bodies. So, that makes me wonder if I should go with a P/S for now and then get a DSLR later. But, with about a 2.5 sec startup time, how much will I miss of the kids? But, with the DSLR, how much more crap am I going to be carrying (even if I just make do with a 18-200 or a 18-75 lens for general use)?

    Its funny how with my bigger purchases (i.e. PB, Lori's ring, my car) I never hesitated, but with this relatively smaller I've put in upwards of 80 hours of research....:(

    If anybody has any opinion regarding my confusion, I would be much obliged.
     
  2. maxi macrumors regular

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    #2
    IMHO, if you are really interested in photography a DSLR is the way to go. It will let you snap pics without thinking and also try and be a better photographer everyday, thinking the shots and all that.

    As for quality in the bodies... I'd rather have a D50 with some really good lenses than a D200 with a crappy 3rd party lens. the difference between bodies is more related with the application of the camera than with the real quality. If you are a journalist, you need a tank (aka D2) that you can jerk around without problems, if you shoot sports, you need high fps, etc.
    A D50 is more than enough for enthusiasts, save some money and buy a 18-200VR and don't look back.

    As for portability, you can carry your P&S everywhere and take the D50 when you think you need it. There's no worse picture than the picture you didn't take because you didn't have the camera with you.
     
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #3
    Just to add to your confusion.... :) I'm a Nikon girl so I'm gonna talk Nikon stuff..... I don't have a D50 so can't really talk about actual usage of it but there are others on here who do and who I'm sure will chime in with their experiences using that camera.

    As you may have heard by now, Nikon is coming out with the new D80, which has some features above and beyond the D50 and yet is around the same size (I think) -- ie, a bit smaller and lighter in weight than the D200. It is supplanting the D70/D70s, which had a good and very successful long run. Less expensive than the D200, too, coming in at just around $1000 body-only. It's more expensive than the D50 but it does offer many more features. With either the D50 or the D80 you would use SD memory cards. You would have all of Nikon's vast array of lenses available to you (except some of the older ones, which would not work well due to metering issues). The D50 has received a lot of praise from its many owners, and I expect that the D80 will be also greeted with enthusiasm because of its feature set and its larger number of megapixels.

    Image stablization (on the Nikon, called Vibration Reduction, or VR) is nice to have but it is not always the end-all and be-all and there are instances when it will still not make a difference. The best way to control blur is to hold the camera rock-steady (preferably on a tripod) and to make sure that the shutter speed is enough to freeze movement. There are times when the artistic effect one is after won't work with a fast shutter speed or a particular aperture, and that's when the tripod is a valuable tool.

    Low-light shooting? Well, in the beginning you won't want to be flashing bright lights in your new baby's face, so a faster lens will be valuable to you. Some of the nicest mother-child photos I've seen are those taken in soft ambient light by a window as the mother gently rocks her new baby....

    For that kind of shooting, Nikon's 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 are outstanding, and the good news is that both are relatively inexpensive. I think I paid around $250 - 300 for my f/1.4, but the f/1.8 is in the $100-range.

    That same fast lens will be your friend as you snap photos of those elusive smiles and cute expressions that flit across your baby's face....and it will be right on the money to capture your wee one's first crawls or first steps....

    For a good all-purpose, all-around walkabout lens, you can't beat the fantastic and surprisingly reasonably-priced 18-200 VR. It is not as fast as some of the other lenses in Nikon's line but it does very well nonetheless, and the VR does mean that there are times you can capture something at few stops less than you might have been able to do otherwise. The remarkable zoom range gives you lots of opportunities to photograph different images without needing to swap out the lens.

    The 18-200 VR does well with landscapes, too, for travel -- I took that lens and the 12-24mm out to San Francisco with me last January and the 18-200mm was the one which lived on the camera most of the time. I was very pleased with the images that came from it. If at some point down the road you really get into landscape photography, there is the excellent 17-35mm, which many use for this purpose, or the 17-55, which is also excellent for shooting people.

    If you decide on the D50 (or D80) I would definitely recommend that you purchase body-only, skip the "kit" lens and go with the 18-200 and pick up a 50mm f/1.4.....
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    The K100 and D50 are both supposed to be great cameras. THe K100 not only has IS, but a lot of other features as well. You really should read up on this camera, or any Pentax camera before you buy it. I mean, read an article about it if you can find one. The K100 and D50 aren't really that comparable other than in MPs.

    Nikon and Canon have the "most" lenses. ;) That means they're likely to have a lens you want if you want to do something very specific. However, I think all these companies will offer you the lenses that will let you do the most common things, including landscape, macro, lenses for low light, portrait lenses, etc.

    And full frame isn't necessarily better. If you want a telephoto lens for full frame, they're all bigger and heavier, and because of this, you may just not take them out as often, making them less useful to you. However, they're better under low light conditions since each pixel is larger and can pick up more light.

    I'd go with the D50 anyway, and for yourself, I'll also recommend the 18-200 mm VR for your needs. Also, the 50 mm f/1.8 is so cheap, you may as well pick it up. It wouldn't be bad for portraits, I'm sure, and it's great under low light.
    You're not going to be one of those guys who switches lenses often, and with the 18-200 mm, you won't need to. You're interested in getting shots of your kid when he/she is born. I know your interests may get more diverse, but that doesn't mean the 18-200 mm VR lens won't serve some of those purposes either.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #5
    In camera Vs. In lens IS. The in lens version works better. At least a stop and a half better. But the in-body IS works with every lens ad saves money in the end. You get what you pay for. It's a trad off.

    Full frame vs. smaller "DX" or APS=C size frame. Ye the FF DSLRs are comming. Expect to pay four figure prices untill the end of this decade. Why wait? Buy the D50 now and some lenses and then replace the body later. Notice that all of Nikon's expensive glass coers the full 35mm frame. The $1,800 70-200 VR lens will wrk with a FF DSLR or a 35mm film body or a lowly D50. No need to wait

    How much stuf to carry? My 18-70mm lens does 80% of what I need.
    I still use my canon A80 and I'll keep it till I flood it (it's mostly used in a housing) and then I'll buy another medium sized P&S

    Why spend all the time researching a SLR??? The car you buy does not determine the brand of the next car you buy. But the brand of SLR will determine the brand of lens and replacement/upgrade bodies you will buy over the next many years
     
  6. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #6

    Except the 17-55mm DX, 12-24mm DX, and 10.5mm DX...
     
  7. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    #7

    thats because its DX glass...
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    ^^I think you missed the point, unless you don't believe the 17-55 mm to be expensive.
     
  9. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    #9
    it isnt bottom dollar, but i would hardly say it is prohibitive either.
    point is, you cant include dx glass in a discussion of FF when obviously it isnt designed for FF.
     
  10. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #10
    "Expensive" is dependent upon each individual's definition of such. To you, a $600 lens might be "expensive." To someone else, a $1500.00 lens might be expensive......
     
  11. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    This isn't a 35mm frame size only thread. We are talking about digital (D50), which includes DX sensors. He also said "all expensive Nikon". The 17-55 and 12-24 are both over $1000 and for most people would qualify as expensive (unless you have money flowing out of your pockets). Plus, it is also safe to assume that he is not doing this professionally and so $1000+ purchases can also qualify as expensive for a hobby.

    The 17-55 is very expensive considering the price difference between it and th 18-70 is $1000 while the image quality is similar. You are paying alot for the 2.8 and metal body. Smae goes for the Nikon 12-24 f/4 and Tokina 12-24 f/4. Again similar image quality, but the Nikon is twice the price. Paying alot for the Nikkor name.
     
  12. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #12
    That is the problem. With the impending child, entering the housing market (for the first house), looking for permanent (instead of temp) work, making sure to set aside enough for a rainy day, and saving for retirement all come before any hobby - including this or buying an MP. This makes $600 expensive.

    I mean, if I had the $12-1300 to spend, a D50 body and 18-200 VR lens would be in my home right now. Instead, I'm trying to convince myself that I can afford to make the jump from the $399 FZ7/S3 to the $700-800 D50/K100D. Chip mentioned that a lot of announcements and offers come up during the holiday season, and the D80 is probably just the tip of the iceburg, so DSLR is becoming something I can more easily consider.

    In the poll thread, someone mentioned a refurb D50 from sigma can be had for 450 (I think). That would get me to 1400 with the 50/1.4 and 18-200 VR. I don't know how much a Tamron 50 would go for - I struggled to find a price, but I can't imagine it would lower my total by much.

    Chris mentioned that the in lens IS is better than an in body IS, but I could swing a K100 and Tamron 18-200 for under 1100. I am not sure how much a 50 would go for.

    So, I'm faced with choosing between a D50 (1150/1300 refurb/new)/K100 (1000)/Rebel XT (why not?) or FZ7 (399)/H5 (499). It's a big jump in price, but I think justifiable. Now, if I do get a DSLR, which way do I go....
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    With the D50 + 50 f/1.4 + 18-200 mm VR, get the 50 f/1.8 instead of the f/1.4. For most intents and purposes, it's as good optically. I mean, if you were to give me one or the other, I'd take the f/1.4 version because it IS better in almost every way, but I'd never buy it because the f/1.8 is cheaper and 98% as capable in almost all situations.
     
  14. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #14
    I think it is a bit risky to purchase a used/refurb camera body; you're better off with a new body, and then maybe looking for some gently-used lenses. Again before you buy ANYTHING, handle the camera bodies and lenses, see how they feel in your hands, see how you like the menu setup, the arrangement of the various controls, etc.....

    Yeah, sounds like you're going to have a lot of demands on your funds, what with a new baby, new home, etc..... all the more reason to make your camera decision carefully and wisely! With a DSLR you definitely will have more flexibility in terms of low light and specific shooting situations. I would opt for the 50mm f/1.4 rather than the f/1.8 because there ARE differences and there will be times when you'll be glad to have that extra f/stop.
     
  15. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I have never been in a situation (I shoot plenty of low light) where the extra half stop mattered, now that it is easy to change ISO and how good the D50 handles noise. The 1.4 isn't as sharp as the 1.8 at wider apertures either. The wider aperture won't be missed 99.99999% of the time.
     
  16. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #16
    I've fiddled with the D50 and the K100 enough to feel comfortable with them. I also know that the Sony Alpha feels horribly horrible.

    As for a refurb, I guess I've been very pleased with my PB refurb, and thought it would be the same everywhere. But, the more I think about it, with the number of threads from people nervous about getting refurbs, there must generally be an issue with refurbs...

    The 1.4 vs. the 1.8 doesn't seem like a big difference to me, but I really don't know a whole lot of technical information about photography - I just know "that looks nice" and "that looks bad." If the price difference is big enough, it might be worth getting a 1.8 and selling it later to get a 1.4, if need be.

    Maybe I should just set up a poll and let everybody else make the decision for me...:eek:
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #17
    The Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 is $279.95 and the f/1.8 is $109.95 (this is at B&H, but I think Penn's prices are about the same).
     
  18. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #18
    And that, my dear lady, is a big difference. :)

    But, that makes it possible for me to get a D50 with both lenses and still make the 1300 range. Still expensive (considering we originally planned to spend under 500), but maybe still doable.

    If I hold off on the VR lens and get the kit and 50mm (and later selling the kit lens and buying the VR), how disappointed would I be?

    Going back to the K100D - there is one piss-poor review at ephotozine. Even the guys at the Laurel Penn know almost nothing about it. Do you have any idea who here might be able to help me?
     
  19. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I'm confused about your pricing. ~$700 for the D50 with kit lens plus 50mm 1.8 is about ~$850 shipped from B&H. Where is the other $500?
     
  20. macdaddy121 macrumors 6502a

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    #20

    I think the above person is getting a certain VR lense....which will obviously cost more....but I'm not 100% positive.
     
  21. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #21
    Exactly - I'm pricing out a D50 body, 18-200VR, and a 50/1.8. I just wondered if I would be disappointed with the performance with the kit lens and the 50/1.8, since it would drop my initial costs by (as you point out) $500.
     
  22. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #22
    I know nothing about the new K100D so can't really answer that, and I haven't seen a lot of comments about it here or elsewhere, either....

    I'd go with the 18-200mm VR lens -- it's a remarkable lens at that price point and I think you will be very happy with it. As for the 50mm f/1.8, I don't think you'd be disappointed in it, as you should be able to get some nice low-light images with it..... and at some point down the road, as you mentioned, if you were disappointed with it, you could always sell it and buy the f/1.4 or even the f/1.2.

    That 18-200mm lens is really something....there is a guy on the Nikon Cafe who had a bunch of lenses, bought the 18-200mm, loved it and found it fulfilling all of his needs, so then he sold off most of his other lenses. I was surprised by his move but he is really enamored of that 18-200mm VR!
     
  23. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #23
    You probably won't be disappointed by the kit lens except for reach. It is a very good lens for the money. I had a D50 + kit lens and was pretty impressed by it. You can always upgrade later. Plus, if you decide to upgrade your body, it is nice to be able to sell a kit lens with it as well. The 18-200 does seem to be an impressive lens, but I would be concious of "Jack of all trades, master of none". That is why I haven't bought one.
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #24
    And you'd miss the 18-200 VR dearly. I mean, you're most concerned about taking quality photos of the little one who's coming in a few months, and the 18-200 mm VR is so good for these types of situations that you're really not going to have to worry about switching lenses and such, which is good considering all the other stuff you need to worry about. :)

    And like Beavo said about the 18-55 mm kit lens, the one thing you won't like is the reach. To give you an idea, it's like how far you can zoom in using one of those small thin point and shoot cameras with 3x optical zoom. This may be good enough for you. I don't know. The other thing is that it's made out of a plastic outer casing, but that doesn't affect photo quality. It just feels cheap. ;)

    In terms of whether you'll be happy with the results from this lens, I think you will be. It's capable of taking some really nice photos.
     
  25. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #25
    The interesting thing about this lens is that it takes surprisingly good photos in spite of its relatively inexpensive cost and construction. It's no "pro" lens by a long shot but it does a remarkable job nonetheless.....and there are many shooters who have this lil' goodie in their camera bag on or on their camera body even as they can claim ownership of a lot of expensive "pro" lenses as well.....
     

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