Starting to shop for my first SLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iRhyknow, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. macrumors member


    I am in the very early stages of getting my first SLR camera (I do way to much research) :D . Photography is completely new to me and is a bit confusing as there are a lot of new terms to learn. I have a few questions for you all to see if I'm at least on the right track for what I want to do.

    There are a couple types pictures I am intrested in being able to take well, initially at least ;) . My kids playing little league sports, very close up animals/plants, and landscapes.

    So far I have looked at a couple Camera bodies from Canon and Nikon in the $600 price range the Canon EOS 400D / Digital Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80. From the reviews I have seen for the $250 difference in price and my budget the Canon seems to be the way to go, but I see tons of people here who use Nikons also.

    Lenses seem to be the more important issue and also the more confusing :eek:, so I have kinda looked at two the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens.

    I would really like to know your opinions on these as far as if they will work for me or are there far better choices for me? I would like to be around $1500.

    Please keep in mind I could be waaaay off and thats why I'm here :D. Thanks
  2. macrumors 65816


    I have the Canon 350D and its amazing. My friends have various SLRs but we all agree the raws from the Canon appear consistently better than theirs.
  3. macrumors 68040


    There are ~88 different threads with numerous opinions and real-world examples of useage. :rolleyes:
  4. macrumors 68040


    Is it not common usage to say the following:

    SLR - single lens reflex 35mm

    dSLR - digital single lens reflex

    Whenever I see SLR i always think analog 35mm or another film format.

    Maybe im just too old school, but in this case I was also still thinking 35mm because there ARE tons of threads about this kind of thing. But far less for 35mm.
  5. macrumors 65816


    ye olde ***!!!! :p

    But no your bad....i should have said dSLR
  6. macrumors 68000


    Yes, and I have the D50 and I believe it produces far better results with the standard kit lens than any entry level Canon dSLR.

    TO the OP, this is what you will get by asking this question. If your really want to read lots of different people's opinions on which entry dSLR is right for you, do a SEARCH. I think everyone else is bored with the subject.

    You could also check out a photography website like for your answer.

  7. macrumors G4

    #1) Don't look at the camera bodies. All beginners do this and it backwards. Look t the LENSES first. With specialized needs like youre (macro and sports) you do have need for specialized lenses. Those lenses will cost more then the body and you will wn then for a longer time. You will keep the lenses and upgrade the body three times. Optics don't become obsolite, bodies co and very quickly. So,.... Pick out the set of lenses you would like to own and then buy what ever body fits the lenses (if you like the Nikon lenses buy a Niokon body. For example you may just find you can afford an older model Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 zoom and a 60mm macro with a 18-70 "kit" lens but the Canon 80-200 would break your budget. Or you might just decide you like the Canon lenses so much that you don't care about the price and so you'd have to buy a Canon body to go with them.

    In the end the body contribute little to the final printed image all it does is record the image the lens makes and saves it to a memory card. I used to say "all the body des is hold the film flat" but not it IS the film.

    In short: You really ought to be thinking about lenses. Those bodies are totally useless without them and the lense is the major cost item and makes the most difference

    As for budget, Sports photography is the second most expensive type of photography after wildlife photography. You are going to want a long and fast lens. That combination of charagteristics is not cheap. So with your budgt you WILL have to seriously compromise. You mmay have to settle for one of those slow f/5.6 lenses and hope for bright dayllight. Bu bright daylight makes for poor photos, overcast is much nicer light

    If you are doing any kind of close up macro work you are going to want a good tripod too. One that is sturdy, very ridgid and many adjustments on it. these start at about $100 and go to about $250 with te mid range being about what most people use.

    Quite frankly, you will not be able to get a DSLR body, a "sports lens", macro lens amd a "normal range" zoom all for $1500. You will ned to make some compromise and defer some purchases
  8. macrumors 65816


    And i have 3 friends with the D50 that would all disagree with you......ho hum
  9. macrumors member


    GREAT information for a newbie :eek: , thanks.

    Sounds like I'm going to start my shopping over. :D

    If I really want to be able to take those photos, I really need 3 different lenses.

    What attributes should I look for when shopping for the two more specialized lenses? You said a slow f/5.6 would be less than ideal for sports for example. I would rather spend more and not be put into specific situations for good photos. What price range is more realistic for me?

    Thanks again.
  10. macrumors 65816


    Well it really all does depend on what you want. I bought a nice lense for my 350D and it cost me just short of £500 ($1000). It has a good range of 'zoom' but its not good in low light its ideal for outdoors scenery shots. For low light/indoors i got the 50mm prime lense (£70 ~ $140) which i think is f/1.8. It takes great pics in low light but is fixed to 50mm and is therefore more specific.

    It's horses for courses and the lenses you get that take a wider range of pics without changing lenses will IMO not take as good a picture as more specific lenses.
  11. macrumors member


    Scroll down to lens recommendations...decent website for finding lens for your purposes listed above...

    If I were you I'd definately pick up a 50mm f/1.8 prime (my is on the way and its only a 70 dollar lens with excellent optics) which lets you shoot in low light. As for sports really need a nice zoom depending on what kind of sport you are following...but cheaper alternatives are getting a fixed 100mm f/2, something along those zoom lens are very expensive. There is just no way around that. A great fast zoom lens like 70-200 f/2.8 L from Canon is a little over 1k. That is almost your whole budget. The fixed 300mm f/2.8 L is about 4k I think. Many times your budget :)

    I am basically in the same boat with you. I opted for Canon equipment because I have heard their lens are great...also had the chance to try my cousin's XTi and it was awesome. But really, my understanding is you can't go wrong with Nikon or Canon they are both excellent camera systems.
  12. macrumors 68000


    I was in the same boat as you back in the Summer. As others have said, most newcomers are more interested in the camera itself, as I was too. The thing was though, I took a variety of shots (with the exception of sports) and wanted a general purpose lens. For that reason alone, and until I became used to my camera and found my favorite type of shots I just stuck with the stock 18-55mm lens. I got amazing pics from that alone. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to try to do more macro photography (without spending too much $$, as I am a student). I purchased a prime f/1.8 and a set of extension tubes, which really works great for me.

    Oh and because I forgot, I ended up purchasing a like new EOS 300d Canon Rebel off eBay for $420 w/ the kit lens. I'm not a pro by any means but this camera is amazing. (as I'm sure the new(er) models are)

    Now for choosing a body. I was in an electronics store not that long ago and had a chance to try out the XT & XTi. I hate them. They are way too small for my hands, and feel to light. My 300d is much larger. If I ever do upgrade to a new body, it might have to be something higher up on the scale than the Rebels because I really dislike the new models.

    I've seen the results from the Nikon D50 and the my Rebel and they really aren't *that* different.

    Bottom Line: You will be happy with any camera, trust me. Again, as others have said look at your lenses first. (which the people here including me can help you with)

    Good Luck! (And be sure to post in the daily picture thread once you get your camera!)
  13. macrumors 68040


    When it comes to macro lens, you want it to be able to go to a higher aperture than a lower one.

    i.e. the f1.8 for a macro is freaking terrible, the depth of field would be less than a centimeter!

    a good macro has at least f22, giving you almost NO light but a great depth of field.

    Macro = DoF = $$$

    extension tubes are a great accesory, but nothing beats a 100mm macro lens. well, maybe a 200mm one!
  14. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    From the lens listed below (70-300) you're talking about outdoor sports? If so, then the 70-300 IS USM is about the entry level for such activities on Canons if you want fast focussing and decent optics.

    I would discourage you from buying the 17-40 for a crop sensor camera. Although it is an exceptional lens, I found it quite limiting in range. It's also only an ultra-wide on the full-frame body (which is what it was designed for). On a crop camera, it's really a wide to normal focal length lens. I sold mine for the Sigma 17-70, which is an outstanding lens.

    Well, for that budget and the XTi, I'd go with:

    XTi body = $675
    Sigma 17-70 = $320 (macro to half life size, 1:2)
    Canon 70-300 IS USM = $550
    Hood for 70-300 = $45 (yes, you'll really need this)
    Total = $1,590

    A bit over your budget, plus you'd need a CF card ($25) and monopod ($50). Oh, and a carry case, such as the Tamrac Superlight 5 ($25). This brings you up to almost $1,700. If you could swing another $250, I'd forego the 70-300 (and its hood) for a Sigma 100-300 f/4. It's a much better lens, optics and construction, that has hypersonic focussing and comes with a hood and tri/monopod collar, and with the monopod you won't need IS (it's a bit heavier, too). In addition, if you end up getting a 1.4x TC, this lens remains extremely sharp one stop down (effective f/8, 140mm-420mm) and won't lose autofocus, unlike the 70-300.

    I've not owned the 70-300, but I have both the 17-70 and 100-300. They are very well-bulit and optically excellent.

    You might also consider buying the Rebel XT instead. That'll free up about $185 more dollars and get you closer to the 100-300. There is really no difference in image quality (8mpx vs. 10mpx); I made many 13" x 19" prints from my XT (before I bought my 30D). With the XTi, you basically get the better focussing system (that ws developed for the 30D) and a bit larger LCD (which is still useless except for monitoring exposure and histograms). I don't think this self-cleaning sensor business is all that useful from my personal experience.

    Just my $0.02 (ok, more like $2,000) worth.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Yeah i agree with this....the larger screen and self cleaner also reduce the battery life by a noticeable amount.
  16. macrumors 68040


    Go Canon. Nikon is an excellent brand, but I think you can take better pictures easier on a Canon.
  17. macrumors G4

    Not to argue but maybe you could give an example of some photos that would be easier to take with a Canon than with a Nikon.

    I can think of examples where one company makes some helpful device or lens the other does not. I guess you could argue that X is easier to use because you already know X and would have to learn Y. But starting frim scratch both X and Y are even.

    I think you decide based on the available lenses and accessories you might want later.
  18. macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    I over-researched before I bought my D70 a couple years back, and have watched the trends since then. If you look at what people who aren't decidedly into one camp (e.g. not "Canon rulez, Nikon drools" fanboys) or the other say in reviews... when it comes to the lower-end dSLRs, they seem to be playing leapfrog. Going with whichever company has released a camera most recently is probably your best buy. If you follow the review history, whenever Nikon releases a new one the sites tend to say "it's worth the price difference over the Canon". Then Canon releases a new one which is praised as "upping the ante".

    That's assuming you're starting from scratch lens-wise of course. And if you have a buddy that has one or the other, you might want to lean that way - it's a good way for both of you to gather more lenses faster.

    Seriously though - you are NOT going to regret whichever path you choose.
  19. macrumors 601


    Your experiences bear this out *how*? Your in-depth experience with each manufacturer's *complete line of* offerings is what?
  20. macrumors 601


    Depends a lot of the sensor site size- f/22 will have diffraction issues on many digital bodies.
  21. macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    1. Make a short list of possible cameras.
    2. Go along to your local camera shop and see how the cameras feel.

    It is vital to handle before you buy. A friend of mine bought a Nikon (sorry can't remember the model) on line and now doesn't use it much because he says it is uncomfortable to hold. :eek:

  22. macrumors Penryn


    ^^I'm sure that is one of the exceptions. Nikon and Pentax cameras seem to be very comfy.

    Exactly. It's easier to take a decent photo with Canon? With the 400D's menu based system, I doubt it's faster than my Nikon D50, which is slower than the Nikon D80. My Canon fanboy friend even admits that Nikons are "quicker". We both shoot concerts sometimes (him more than me), and it's obvious that I can do things quicker than him (although he generally takes more photos than I do).
  23. macrumors 68000


    Pity the search function doesnt work:rolleyes:
  24. macrumors 68000


    Me too! I <3 Canon:)
  25. macrumors 68000


    the DOF for a 1:1 macro lens at f1.8 would be virtually non-existent :p

    While extension tubes are a good way to make a "macro" lens out of regular lenses, they are no substitutes.

    For shooting your kids playing sports, I'd recommend a fast tele lens. And if you insist on having your say on the camera body, then go with one that has a decent FPS. I've captured many moments/expressions that way that would have been almost impossible to capture by taking a single pic. Good high ISO performance is also a plus for indoor candids :)

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