Looking to buy a D-SLR Camera.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by andrewfee, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #1
    I've had an interest in photography for some time now, and have been planning on getting a new camera for a few months. (I'm stuck with a cheap 3.1mp camera right now)

    I had initially been looking at something like the Powershot G6 or the Powershot Pro1, but I think that if I bought one of them, I'd end up wanting to buy something better in 6 months time, which is why I'm thinking of getting a D-SLR.

    Admittedly I don't know a huge ammount about "proper" photography right now (I've been reading up on it lately, and have just read all of Canon's "Digital Learning Centre" which helped) and it looks like I could pick up the basics pretty quickly.

    I'm wanting to get something that will be able to expand with me as I learn more about using the camera, which is why I don't like the idea of buying a fixed-lens camera. (or one with a very limited selection)


    I'm thinking of saving for a month or two and spending a max of around £1000, and was wondering what was the best way to spend my money would be? (if something cheaper is recommended, I would be able to get it sooner, which is why I'm asking now)



    What I'm currently looking at is to buy the new Canon EOS 350D Kit (£800, only £50 more than the body) with a "Sandisk 1GB ULTRA II Compact Flash" card (£90) and I'm sure I read somewhere that as a starting lens, other than the kit one, the "Canon EF50mm f/1.8 ll Lens" is the best money you can spend, at £80.

    From looking at various sites, it seems that the 350D is perfectly suited for someone like me who wants to get started with an SLR, as it has full-auto settings, partially auto settings, and a full-manual mode.



    Is this the best option for me to go with, or (within that budget) could I be spending my money better?
     
  2. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    the 350D sounds like a kick ass camera i'd go for it.

    :)
     
  3. qzak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    #3
    great timing, i'm taking an intro to digital photography next semester so i'm looking into gettin a digital slr soon to (next month).

    same as you i guess i'm looking for a good d-slr that is good for beginners but will not hold me back when i begin to learn more and more.

    does anyone have a good site for d-slr camera reviews or anything like that?
     
  4. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #4
    The 350D looks to be a great camera by the specs, though I would wait until some full reviews are available before making any decisions. The PMA has just started, which is the photo equivalent to MacWorld. Lots of new cameras coming out right now. And according to www.dpreview.com (which is a site I HIGHLY recommend, that and www.luminous-landscape.com), they expect a lot of new DSLRs to be announced, if not during the PMA than shortly after. The only other camera I'd really recommend without spending too much money is the Nikon D70, which you can get with the 18-70mm kit lens and 1GB sandisk extreme CF card for $1099US after rebates (check out www.bhphotovideo.com). It's an amazing camera, and both Nikon and Canon have a huge list of lenses to use (especially canon). If you want to spend a bit more, I'd say either the Canon 20D or the Minolta 7D (which adds image stabilization to all your lenses).

    But, again, from the specs the 350D really does look amazing for the price. Of course, I recommend you stop by a local shop once the 350D is available and play around with the cams before making your decision. How the camera feels to you is VERY important. The better it feels in your hands, the more likely you are to use it. (For me, the Nikon D70 beats any Canon cam hands down in terms of comfort and "feel", but that's obviously a subjective view)

    As for the 50mm f/1.8 canon lens...this lens has been highly revered in 35mm photography, but you have to remember that DSLRs have a field of view crop. On the 350D (1.6x FOV crop) it would be an 80mm lens, quite a bit different. Whether that matters is up to you. 50mm is considered "normal", and is the most popular range for portrait work. I believe you can get ~31mm lenses that would equate to 50mm on the 350D
     
  5. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #5
    I would definitely go for either the 300D or the 350D, obviously the 350D is the better bet. But a few months ago I was looking for one and I might have just gone for the cheaper option just to get into the DSLR world. As for your choice of lens, I hear the 50mm is a great lens, I would probably go for the kit lens too, you can't beat it for 18mm, and if you get into macro you can reverse that for a kick as 1:6 easily. If you're looking for a medium zoom, I've read around and people really really like (I have one too) the Canon EF 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 USM, which is a really well built lens for the money (~150USD on ebay). For something longer (which is where I'm looking) the EF 100-300mm USM mkIII is a decent lens especially with a tripod. There are quite a few of the 100-300mm 5.6L lenses floating around on ebay, but no USM and not the fastest lens ever.

    Just remember with a quick firmware hack you can have practically all the features of the 10D for much much less than one would normally cost. Including flash exposure compensation, mirror lock up, assigning a button for quality, and flash assisted focusing without firing a flash. Just to name a few.

    In my personal opinion, for prosumers like us, the Canon bodies offer better features for the money like low noise. When I sat and looked at the differences I decided on the 300D over the Nikon D70 for price and for features. Also on feel, the D70 seems huge to me. The 350D is so cute, I love the new knob on it.
     
  6. dhracer88 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    #6
    Another site I would reccomend is http://www.kenrockwell.com.

    I'm also going to be looking for a DSLR, probably a Canon 20D (when it's updated--I can wait) because I have a few Canon lenses already, but I like the looks of the 20D in addition to a few other features over the Rebel XT/350.

    I also heard the Lexar CF cards offer a data recovery system too, just in case the card is corrupt etc. But in my experience, San Disk has never lost any pictures for my Olympus.

    JM
     
  7. andrewfee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #7
    Ah, thanks for that tip. :)

    I was sure it was to go with the 300D/350D I had read about it, but perhaps whoever was recommending it had forgotten about the 1.6x FOV crop.

    As it will be a month or two to afford something in the £1000 price-range, I'll wait and see what else is available then, and I had fully intended on checking out the cameras if I could find a local shop selling them.
     
  8. cemorris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    #8
    I think your setup would be perfect. If you are planning on using iphoto 5, then wait until you can confirm RAW photo support for this camera. Sometime camera manufactures will change the RAW format and it takes a little while before 3rd party software is available to read it. I have a 300d with the 50mm lens you mention and I love it. I don't shoot much RAW, but when I do, it is nice that iphoto can now import and view the photos. But for RAW photo editing I prefer Photoshop Elements 3 (or Photoshop CS if you have that). One drawback I have heard is that Photoshop Elements is not in the list of included software for the 350d (Elements 2.0 was in the 300d package). I am not sure if they will include an equivalent program, but Elements 3.0 is $90. I think this part of the cost savings to bring the 350d $100 lower than the 300d.
     
  9. andrewfee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #9
    I currently have Elements 3.0 (90% of CS' features for 1/10th the price :D) so was planning on using that to edit the RAW files, and then saving the edited ones as TIFF files to be put into iPhoto. (I hear that editing RAW from iPhoto edits the original, not a duplicate like it does for jpeg)
     
  10. dhracer88 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    #10
    Isn't Adobe releasing the "Digital Negative" that would be a RAW-standard for all camera companies? Or is the DNG only for archival purposes?

    JM
     
  11. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #11
    I think you need to ask yourself a few questions first.

    1. What type of use do you plan to put this camera through? The Rebel is a plastic body. Though quite sturdy, it will not stand up as well to constant abuse like a magnesium alloy body like the 20D or 10D will. My camera is in and out of the bag, shoved into the back of small airplanes, it gets bumped...my Rebel just didn't stand up well to this.

    2. What type of shooting do you plan on doing? Although the new 350D has a slighly higher FPS rate and a larger buffer, it is still a little slow for sports, wildlife (birds) or action-type photography. But again, that depends. If this is a hobby thing for you, then perhaps you dont need the 23-image buffer of the 20D or the 5 FPS shooting rate. I shoot birds sometimes and it requires me to follow them in flight and just hold the button down.

    3. The dial and interface of Rebel is a pain in the butt, although I see they have gone away from the recessed menu buttons (to raised ones), which were really difficult to navigate with quickly. If you are looking at Canon, the 10D and the 20D have a wonderful iPod-like scroll wheel, which makes menu navigating a lot nicer, no, immensely nicer.

    4. Do you ever plan on dong any professional-level work? You might consider the 20D with some of the advanced features, which may come in handy in the future, if you plan on making a part-time or full-time living out of this. Nothing earth-shatteringly different from the Rebel, mind you, but some nice stuff. Keep in mind that the aforementioned Wasia hack for the 300D voids your warranty. Period. The 350D has a firmware patch that locks this out. The 20D has some really advanced custom features, including a wicked-good WB feature controlled with a joystick, and it has a full B&W mode complete with filters. But again - you gotta figure out if that is stuff you need.

    5. All in all the Rebel does take some nice pictures, and the 350D will probably do nearly as well image quality-wise with the 20D

    The only thing i would warn against is under-buying, which was what I did. It's always said in these forums "Buy the most computer you can afford for your needs." I think the same is true with cameras. I bought the 300D, looking to save money, when a 20D was really what I needed.

    Good luck! :D
     
  12. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    I don't think the crop would be a bad thing on that 50mm, it woul still be very useful as a portrait lens, you just have to get farther away from building you want to shoot normal, but thats what the 18mm on the kit lens is for.
     
  13. Ambrose Chapel macrumors 65816

    Ambrose Chapel

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #14
    i'm in the same boat, and right now i'm leaning toward the 350D. as vtprinz said, i'm going to wait for the reviews just to make sure it's as good as advertised. i've considered the 20D (particularly wrt the 300D), but now compared to the 350 the 20 doesn't have much that i'd miss. my cousin, a pro, has been pushing me to get the 20 but agrees the 350 looks good, at least for my hobbyist needs.

    now let's see dpreview, dcresource, et al get those review up!

    :)
     
  14. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
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    Randy's House
    #15
    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/canoneos350d/
     
  15. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #16
    The 350D has this now too :D
     
  16. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #17
    If you're interested in either infrared photography or astrophotography, Canon just announced a modified 20D, the 20Da (I assume the "a" stands for astro). The IR filter that's built into all cameras has been removed in this cam. You can get an external filter that does the same thing (blocks IR light). With this filter on you can use the camera like a regular 20D. Then you can get a filter that blocks visible light but allows IR to pass and get some great IR shots :D

    ...of course, you'll have to wait a long time, as it's only available in Japan right now...
     
  17. Ambrose Chapel macrumors 65816

    Ambrose Chapel

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    Jul 24, 2002
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    Massachusetts
    #18
  18. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #19
    yes, and probably asap as it's sure to be in high demand. Though, they do have a LOT of new cams to review, so be patient.
     
  19. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    Since they have the camera (I think they have posted samples and hands-on stuff), I think we can expect a review when the camera goes public or shortly their after.
     
  20. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #21
    If you are interested in the Nikon D70 theres a cashback offer on if you buy your camera before 31st march.

    If you buy the D70 no lens, or with the 28-80mm you get £50 off, or if you buy with the 18-70mm lens you get £100 off..

    I'd recommend the 18-70 as its better glass, and you get more of a wideangle. Its £659.99 inc rebate and free postage from Best Cameras online.. bargain. Then u just need a large mem card (ebay) and a bag (jessops).

    Nows a good time to buy it, but if you can wait, i'd see what Nikon come up with to compete with Canons EOS350..
     
  21. andrewfee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #22
    I don't see it getting a lot of abuse; I take a lot of care with my electronics, so I think the plastic body should hold up well.

    It's really a hobby thing, and I can't think of much where I'd even need the 3fps shooting, let alone 5fps. According to the preview and the review of the 20D, the 350D can take more RAW shots in 30 seconds. (32 vs 27)

    It is something to consider, but I don't think it's something that would make me choose one over the other; from reading the preview, it looks like it'd be fine on the 350D

    I don't think I'll really be doing any professional level work, it'd be nice to be able to sell a print or two, but I don't expect to even be doing that for some time. (as I'm pretty new to all this)
    I'm not sure if there's a difference, but I thought I had read somewhere that if I want a black and white shot, I'm better to shoot it in colour and then use an image-editing program to do it? This way if the shot turns out differently from what I was expecting, I can keep it in colour.
    The same goes for white-balance; I thought that (with raw at least) I can easily adjust the white-balance via Photoshop?

    Well I see that DPReview has got some sample pictures up, and they're fantastic quality, better than I was expecting, so I think I'd be happy with either camera, and the quality looks pretty comparable.

    This is something that I'm worried about; I've had it happen in the past with other things that I've bought, and ended up selling and buying the more expensive one in the end.

    I'm just not sure if the 20D is really worth the extra £350 over the 350D, especially at the level of skill I'm at right now. The kit alone is more than I was looking to spend, and I'd still need to get a CF card, and would like to have another lens.

    Hmm, that is a great price, but I think I should wait and see if Nikon come out with something to compete with the 350D. The other thing is that it's of course a rebate, so I may not see the £100 for quite some time, so it's still £759.99 out of my budget really. Presumably they have this offer because they're just about to update.



    Thanks for the help so far everyone. :D
    I think that, unless Nikon release something better than the EOS350D in that price-range, I'm probably going to stick to the 350D, and I just can't see £350 of things that the 20D has over the 350D really.

    If the price difference was smaller, I would be seriously considering it, but it's just too far out of my budget. (£1150 kit, £1050 body from what I've seen)


    Edit: It looks like "Best Cameras" is a bit cheaper; they have the "Canon Eos 350d + 18-55 + 55-200 Canon lenses" for £850. The 20D (body only) is £999
    which is a better price, but when you add in the cost of lenses, it's still a bit much.

    I assume the 55-200 lens they're adding is the "Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM" lens, as it's the only 55-200mm lens they sell. It goes for £200 on its own, so I think I might just have to go with that, seeing as it's only an extra £50.
     
  22. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #23
    Andrew, it sounds like you really have done your homework. Congrats, in the end I think that you will make the right choice.

    Another factor to consider is how a camera feels in your hands. A camera that is priced right, but not comfortable might not be used as much as one that does.

    Keep in mind that the 350D feature wise (excluding the 8mp sensor) beats many "pro" level DSLRs from just in the last two or three years.
     
  23. Benj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #24
    Check to make sure it is not some horrible Tamron or something. I suspect it is a Canon though. They recently resucitated it to dovetail with the kit lens - it was originally designed for the APS SLR bodies. Not a fantastic lens by all accounts (I have never used it). I would steer clear personally. Use the £50 saving on a hood for the kit lens (most underrated and ignored item of photographic equipment) and part of the way to the 50mm.

    The 50mm 1.8 lens should be a compulsory purchase for all EOS owners. At £80 it is criminal not to own it. It looks and feels cheap but takes very good pictures and is a bargain, particularly compared to the 50mm 1.4.

    If you really want to improve your photography stick this one on, or any prime, leave the rest of the kit at home and go to work. Many photography books and teachers recommend shooting one body with one lens for a year. Really makes you think and work harder.
     
  24. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    #25
    Best in low light?

    I'm in a bit of a similar boat as the original poster. I've got a Canon S400 which is truly a remarkable camera for outdoor use. I've gotten some amazing panoramas (you can stitch together photos and use the included software to make a Quicktime VR file you can pan & zoom) and macros of wildlife up close.

    Where it's really disappointed me was in lower-light situations. Anywhere it's even remotely dim, the picture becomes grainy and I have to try to correct it with software. I know that part of the problem is that the flash is so close to the lens, making flash photography challenging. But more what I'm interested in is photography in lower light that wouldn't require a flash.

    Anyone use any of the higher end digital cams in a low-light situation without the flash (e.g., weddings, indoor shots of people, shots in caves, etc.)

    thanks

    --d
     

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