About to buy my first DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Schnebar, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Schnebar macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I have been doing some research on a new DSLR and trying not to make tons of posts here asking questions that have been asked tons of times before.

    But now that I have narrowed it down to what I think is what I am going to get I will run it through you guys to make sure it is a good idea.

    I am 18 and going to take a photography class next semester and want to get into it.

    I heard that you should get the body based on a lens you want. I like Macro photography so I found out that the best Macro lens for the price is the Canon 100mm.

    I went to Sammy's cameras and looked at the XTi and the 40D. The XTi felt better in my hands and I don't think I need to spend twice as much on the 40D for my first DSLR.

    I don't think I will ever use the kit lens that comes with it.

    So my main question is would it be ok if I just got the XTi body, a Canon 100mm Macro lens and a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens with accessories.

    I am thinking that if I have a Macro lens and the 75-300mm one I will not need the kit lens. Am I right?
     
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #2
    Skip the kit. Cameta are good people, and usually buying from amazon will be fine. The kit they are offering is just not worth it. The 75-300 is about the same quality optically as the kit lens (the 18-55), which is to say- utter crap.

    I would agree with your choice to go for a cheaper body and better glass, and the XTi should offer you more than enough to start. One thing you might want to think about, however, is the viewfinder, especially since you want to do macro. The viewfinder in the Rebels is OK at best, while the one in the 40D is awesome. Macro photography requires quite a bit of manual focusing, so you will be dependent on how well you can actually see things. I'm sure you've already tried it out and determined it to be fine for your needs, but I just thought I might mention it.

    Now, about that glass... why are you so sure that you won't use the kit lens? Is it the optical quality of it that bothers you, or is it the focal length that you feel you won't use? For most photographers, the WideAngle to short telephoto is the bread and butter. On my 5D, the most used lens is my 24-70 L, because that is the focal range that best describes what I can see with my eyes (well more like 50-70, but you get the point). All the kit lenses (from every manufacturer) are designed in that range for a particular reason. Now, if you're worried about the quality of the kit lens, there are other options that will allow you to shoot in that range. For one you can go the best route for quality and learning about your camera- the primes. Pick up a $75 50mm f/1.8, which is optically excellent, and then (after some time) think about something wider- 35 or 24 perhaps. Then go with a longer lens- 135 perhaps. By then you should have a good idea of how your camera works, what each lens can and cannot do, and when to use what. The other option is to get a decent zoom. Though this is significantly more flexible, it will also cost more. Look at the 17-40 L as an awesome kit replacement lens. It runs about $600 though.
     
  3. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #3
    I would be very surprised if you'd be happy only having a 75mm minimum focal length - especially on a crop sensor camera. That's going to preclude a LOT of shots.
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    The EF 75-300 is generally regarded as Canon's worst lens. You'd be better off getting the Sigma 70-300 APO. Better optics, less expensive and it includes a hood. The Canon macro is also a very good lens, but its engineering almost requires a lens hood (an extra expense) because the front element is so far forward. It also has internal focusing, so its length does not change, and a USM focusing mechanism. Optically, all the macros are going to be just about the same (i.e., Tamron, Tokina, Sigma), with excellent edge to edge sharpness. The question is whether you want to spend the money for the extra features of the Canon.

    I suspect there'd be times you would miss the walk-around range. 70mm is pretty long for a minimum FL on a crop camera. Perhaps you should consider the new kit lens with IS (18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS). It is optically-superior to the non-IS kit consumer kit lens.
     
  5. colinmack macrumors regular

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    Feb 25, 2006
    #5
    Personally I would get the kit anyway - hard to beat for the price, it's a decent lens (quite reasonable stopped down to F8), and you would be surprised how much that range helps when you just want to take normal 'snapshots'. A wiser overall choice might be one of the dual 18-55/55-200 kits (inexpensive but gives decent quality from wide to long)...assuming that you'll never want to go wider than a cropped 75mm might not be very realistic.

    Also, I would be cautious about buying a body for only one lens - your needs will likely change over time and you'll be locked in, better to buy a body for the overall system. Although I shoot Canon currently, I've had both - and if I was starting from scratch today it would likely be Nikon...in my opinion they currently have more of an edge and Canon has become complacent (but you'll rarely hear a balanced discussion there, Canon/Nikon debates tend to be more like religious wars).

    Oh...and the Nikon 105mm 2.8 is great and recently had VR added for image stabilization, the differences between that and the Canon 100mm Macro are really down to the photographer, not the hardware (Fred Miranda lens reviews rate them both extremely high at 9.6). I wouldn't choose Canon over Nikon simply based on the merits of that (or any) lens.

    Good luck...

    Cheers, Colin.
     
  6. colinmack macrumors regular

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    #6
    Great advice...
     
  7. Schnebar thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Thanks for the input.

    Yeah I have been reading more that the 75-300mm is bad and I don't really even need a zoom lens now anyway.

    I just have that everyone says that the kit lens is bad in my mind.

    I am going to get the 100mm Macro for sure and the Canon XTi.

    But I want to have at least one other lens because in the class I wont be able to use the Macro lens for everything.

    I like the idea of not getting a telephoto lens now and just waiting a while. So between the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens and the 50mm f/1.8 what would be the best for me?

    They would cost about the same but one has a little zoom I could work with. But maybe a 50mm would help me learn how to use the camera a little more, not worrying about the zoom and focusing on the other stuff.


    PS: the thing about the Nikon 105mm 2.8 is that it is like more expensive then the Rebel XTi and the Canon 100mm Macro put together. My parents are getting this for my for my birthday/christmas so I want to get some what of a good price.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #8
    The prime versus zoom debates are almost as vociferous as the Canon versus Nikon debates. :D My personal opinion is that, on a crop-sensor camera, a 50mm lens is too long to be your only lens. If you were going to go with a single prime, it'd make more sense to get a 30mm or 35mm - but those are more expensive.

    For flexibility's sake, get the 18-55mm (preferably the new IS version). It's a decent lens - I'm a Nikon shooter, but I have shot the original Digital Rebel with the original version of the 18-55. It's certainly not a pro lens, but when people call it "terrible" they're being very silly. This latest version is certainly quite sharp; and while it's not perfect, it's certainly at least as good as any other comparable consumer zoom. You're really not likely to notice any of its shortcomings; only the very nice images you get with it.
     
  9. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #9
    The 75-300 is cheap and not recommended. If you need a telephoto zoom lens, buy the 70-300 f/4-5.6 or the 70-200 f/4 instead.

    I recommend buying the 50 f/1.4 or 50 f/1.8.
     
  10. Schnebar thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I have been reading about those 50mm lens and everyone says that they are good portrait lens but I also was under the impression that the 100mm Macro which I am getting was also good for portraits.

    I am leaning towards the Cannon 18-55mm IS lens.

    That is a little better then the kit lens but not too expensive.

    Then I will have that lens, a Macro and I can always get a telephoto lens later if I want one.

    How does that sound?
     
  11. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #11
    You should not need a 50 mm prime lens if you are buying the 18-55 IS. Many lenses that are 50 mm or longer can be used for portraits. Which focal length do you need? I like using a 300 mm lens for portraits, but that is not often practical because of the long focusing distances required. If you're still learning how to use the camera and lenses, don't worry about trying to buy what everybody else seems to be using. Focus on practising and improving your skills.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    Unlike everyone else, I'm going to say that if you're just going to do head and shoulders shots, the 50mm prime will be just fine. I rarely used anything wider than 50mm for the first three years I had a digital camera- though I didn't do a lot of people shots, and those I did were telephoto to get the compression look that's vogue in the fashion industry.

    If your parents will expect you to do holiday/family snapshots, I'd say keep the kit lens for that though- it'll give you more options and make them happier about the camera. Razor sharp portraits aren't flattering, so a little softness is a good thing when you're related to the subject! ;)
     
  13. colinmack macrumors regular

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    Feb 25, 2006
    #13
    If you get the 18-55 IS and a Macro lens, it sound like you'll be fine for now (18-55 is a fairly useful range for most other shots). If you find you want to shoot longer, you can always add later - I've seen 18-55/55-200 kits, but if you get a longer zoom separately the 70-300 IS is optically really nice and not too pricey.

    The 50mm 1.8 is great though - people call it the 'plastic fantastic', and most consider it a no-brainer to buy and throw in your bag. It's outrageously sharp, makes a great indoor lens when you want to take low light shots without a flash, and with 1.8 you can take some great creative shallow DOF photos as well...

    Cheers, Colin.
     
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #14
    Do they come with the new 18-55 mm IS lens? That lens is supposed to be as sharp as L series lenses. Sure, there's faults, but even the 17-55 mm has the same faults (although less extreme).
     
  15. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #15
    2nd that 50mm f/1.8 lens! For the price, it cannot be beaten (though it's rather long standard lens for crop sensors). But if you're mainly interested in tele and think that you need a zoom, then why not take a look at Sigma EX 50-150mm f/2.8
     
  16. Schnebar thread starter macrumors 6502

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    California
    #16
    No they come with the EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 USM Standard Zoom Lens but I would get the body only and then get that lens separate.

    So half the people are saying that the 50mm ($71) is the lens I should get and the other half is telling me to go for the 18-55mm IS ($172).

    I will use it for taking spontaneous pictures of friends and assignments in my photography class.

    I think the 18-55mm is the way to go because I wont be able to experiment with changing the f in the 50mm.

    I can see if you have a lot of other lens that the 50mm would be a good one to get but for me I think the 18-55mm IS lens is the right choice.

    And thanks for the input.
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #17
    If you're planning to take a photography course, it might a good idea to talk with the instructor and get his or her recommendations about lenses which would be best and most versatile for the class. Also make sure that you will be able to do all manual functions, various kinds of metering (including spot metering) and that there is a way to preview and check DOF. Not all camera bodies have all these capabilities.

    Actually, the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 gives you extra speed, which is often an asset in low light situations and such. You could learn a lot with this one lens, as unlike a zoom, it will force you to think about the subject and your approach to it, so that you'll be needing to do "foot zoom" and needing to carefully consider composition and cropping in the viewfinder to get the desired results. Another option is the 35mm lens, which is closer to the old "standard" 50mm FOV in 35mm film photography. Again, as with the 50mm prime you will learn a lot about composing your shots. In your photography class you will be given a variety of assignments -- you won't be just shooting portraits and macros. Assignments will be strategically issued to provide you a learning experience and a way of putting to work in a real-world situation what you have just learned in the class.

    Talk to your future instructor or to other people who have already taken the class and get a better idea of what will be needed and expected before you plunk down any money.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    You can adjust the aperture on the 50mm, it's a prime, so it's maximum aperture size is constant. You can't change the focal length, though you may be able to zoom with your feet about the same pretty easily...
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    "Zoom with your feet" works for some types of shots, but not for others. Trying to get candids of children doing fun stuff is an example of the latter. It's much easier to be unnoticed using a zoom, as opposed to moving back/forward trying to get the right composition - as soon as they see you with the camera, you've missed the shot.

    Shooting indoors you are also constrained at times by the space you're in - especially with the zoom factor of a 50mm on a crop sensor body. It's easy to argue that you can get closer to most anything you want to shoot; but moving backward through a wall doesn't work as well, at least based on my personal experience. :D
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    With an f/5.6 lens indoors, you've likely missed the shot anyway.
     
  21. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #21
    Hmm, i thought i saw the EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS kit at B&H, but now I can't seem to find it :confused:
     
  22. Schnebar thread starter macrumors 6502

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    California
    #22
    Ok I talked to the photography teacher and he said that it would probably be better to go with the 18-55mm IS lens for his class.

    So I got my Amazon cart ready this is what is in it.

    Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Silver Body Only)

    Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Zoom Lens + Canon Digital SLR Gadget Bag + (2) Spare NB-2LH Battery Packs + Battery Charger + Accessory Kit for Canon Digital Rebel XT and XTi SLR Cameras

    Lowepro Transporter Camera Strap

    Tiffen 58mm UV Protection Filter

    SanDisk 2GB ULTRA II CompactFlash Card (SDCFH-2048-901)

    I read some stuff about having a hood for the 100mm Macro to protect it but someone else also said that a protection filter will do the same thing. And the Tiffen one comes free with the camera.

    Or is the $39 piece of plastic worth it?

    I already have a tripod so I think that list sums up everything I need.

    If anyone has any comments or suggestions they would be appreciated before I make the purchase in the next few days.
     
  23. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #23
    I'd go for the black, it looks more professional. If you decide to get more in to photography in a year or two, and shoot an event for a friend/client, you will look professional. ;)

    IDK About the accessory kit, the batteries and charger are cheap knock-offs, which may, or may not perform as well as the genuine models. You may want to consider the SanDisk Ultra III memory card, as the Ultra II is right at the peak of the XTi's max output. (You may see slightly faster write times, and longer bursts w/ the Ultra III)
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #24
    I'm confused - doesn't Canon ship hoods with their lenses?
     
  25. Schnebar thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Ok good points. My friend got the black one so I thought I would get the silver one just to be different but I guess it does not really matter. Black looks better because all the lens are black and such.

    Is this the Sandisk you are talking about? It is only $3 more.

    About the kit. You make a good point about the batteries maybe being cheep. The lens and case are Canon so they should be ok. I dont know if I want to spend $80 on batteries and chargers if I can get them in this kit. But if there is truly a difference and those knock off batteries can ruin the camera maybe I will go for the Canon ones.

    Do batteries and a charger come with the camera?
     

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