Camera Recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Teh Don Ditty, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Teh Don Ditty macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #1
    Hello all. First off I'm a complete n00b to all this stuff, so be gentle :)

    I currently have a point and shoot camera and I'm looking to upgrade to a DSLR. I use the P&S at sporting events and for basic general use. (I try to get creative every now and then now)

    I have no preference in regards to manufacturer (Nikon, Canon etc).

    With that said, I have been looking at the Nikon D40 (with lens) and the Canon EOS Rebel XTI (with lens). I am obviously open to suggestions as you guys/gals are better at this than I am.

    I'm looking to keep the total purchase no higher than $650.

    Thanks in advance for all your help.

    TDD
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    You say "with lens". Which lens? Both Canon and Niokon make dozens of lenses. Also do you plan on buying only one? What about speedlights (flashes). What you need to do is think about the total kit of gear you might want to buy over the next couple years. Reason is that once you select a DSLR body you choise of lenses is restricted to that brand. So if you really like that Nikon 10.5mm lens don't buy the Canon or maybe you like the 80-200 f/4.0 canon zoom then don't buy Nikon.

    There are other features to look at that you might have missed. Take a ook at the light meters in the camera both for ambient light and flash. Nikon has a great meter they call "RGB". Canon might have better autofocus. There are more lower priced used lenses available for Nikon.

    You are really choosing a brand not a camera. In four of five years you will replace the dslr body but your colloection of lenses and so on will grow. You are buying a "SLR System" not a "camera".

    I'm sure some people will tell you not to overlook Pentax and Olympus. Take a look but the reason most peoole go with Canon or Nikon is because ofthe huge number of bodies and lenses available
     
  3. macgruder macrumors 6502

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    #3
    The D40 with lens kit is a fine buy. Very light and versatile. A good first DSLR. It's not so expensive so you don't need to worry about it impacting future choices. If you find it's not expandable for you in the future it doesn't matter , just sell it or use it as a second fun camera.

    If you can get the D40X. The extra pixels are in effect 'extra zoom' that you can crop and it is tad better for noise. But the D40 is still a very fine camera and some would say the difference is not significant.
     
  4. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #4
  5. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I would spring extra for Digital Rebel XSi (with significantly improved EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens). At $900, it may seem pricey, but that is the retail price and street price will fall in coming months to much more reasonable level. Although price difference between XSi and XTi seem significant, you get significantly better lens (although you can do the same by getting XTi body only and lens separately), spot metering, improved image processor, 14-bit RAW, better viewfinder, bigger and better LCD with live view, longer battery life, and more.

    And ditto for Nikon with D60 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR kit lens, if only for new image stabilized lens and image sensor cleaning system.
     
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    My suggestions:

    - pick up a used Canon 10D body (should be able to find one for roughly $350-400, with grip included at the higher end of that range...you might even be able to find a 20D w/o grip for around that)
    - buy the Canon EF 50/1.8 mkII ($79 if you look around)
    - save the remainder until you can buy either a EF 17-40 F4L or a 70-200 F4L, depending on whether your immediate need is for a wide zoom or a telephoto zoom (the 17-40L can be had for $500 used, the 70-200 for a bit less, both with lens hood included)
    - buy the other L lens when you can afford it

    This setup will give you a very nice, fast prime, along with a very high quality wide-angle and telephoto lens. I don't know your specific needs, but this should hold you for a good number of years.

    The moral of the story: buy used if possible; you'll get a lot more for your money. Oh yeah, and with a few notable exceptions (the 50/1.8 from above, the 50/1.4, 85/1.8, and 100/2.0), if you go with Canon, stick with L glass. I know that sounds elitist, but they're really that much better.
     
  7. Teh Don Ditty thread starter macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #7
    Thanks everyone for your recommendations! I obviously got some more reading and research to do before I decide on what I want to purchase.

    If anyone else has anything else they'd like to add, jump right in!

    Thanks again!

    TDD
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    "Hey, they all have different noise reduction settings, let's compare the defaults!" seems a little disingenuous to me. At least DPR's tests are only incomparable over time- and their noise reduction tests seem to be much better performed. FWIW, that article doesn't have the Nikon in the direct comparison.

    The dynamic range of the E-510 and K10D cameras are seem a little sub-par compared to 400D and D40x in DPR's testing- I'm not sure the noise differences are all that much below ISO 400- I have preferences, but it's more based on overall look and is subjective. The dynamic range differences are objective though.

    In the link below, if you scroll down to the comparison step wedges, you can see that the Nikon and Canon have about the same overall DR, with the D40x going about two steps down into the shadow detail and the 400D going about one step up into the highlight detail. Both the E-510 and K10D have the same DR, 2 steps less shadow detail and 4 steps less highlight detail than the 400D and 2 steps less highlight detail and 4 steps less shadow detail than the D40x.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse510/page19.asp

    Looks like the Olympus 510 gets 7.3EV of useful dynamic range at ISO 100 (which at least in the case of DPR's sample was actually ISO 125- oops!) versus 8.4 stops for the Canon and 8.5 stops for the Nikon at base ISO (actual ISO 100.) As you go up to ISO 1600, the difference goes as far as 6.1EV (O) to 7.5 (N) and 7.8 (C) respectively.

    Obviously, a lot depends on the contrast and light range in what you shoot, as well as how large you're going to print and what's important to you in your images, but one stop is halving or doubling the amount of light, so at least as I evaluate things, it'd be higher on the list than a lot of things given the relative parity in other areas.
     
  9. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #9
    @Edge100, I agree on the glass statement but the guy is on a budget, so what's the use? He isn't a professional and he isn't likely to print his images on A3 or A2 paper where the Canon L glass is worth the asking price.

    I say go for the Olympus as the link illustrated it can compete in the midrange against Canon and Nikon at a cheaper price. Great for a beginner because the camera offers so much.
     
  10. Teh Don Ditty thread starter macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #10
    @CrackedButter

    You are correct. I am farrrrr from a professional and I don't usually print my pictures (unless they are really good). My P&S is good, but I'm look just to step it up to see where I can go with it. I obviously have a lot to learn and I'm not expecting to became this awesome photographer over night.

    I do want/require a decent lens though. :) See, I learned something.
     
  11. jampat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 17, 2008
    #11
    As people have said, you are buying a system and that system is way more important than your initial camera. Sony Alphas are very nice and incorporate image stabilization into the camera body to theoretically save you money on lenses, however, in most cases, these savings do not exist. I know someone that has an Alpha and loves it, but regrets not going with Canon or Nikon now that he has a significant investment in lenses. Personally I chose canon as I found it's autofocus worked much better for me. You say you are shooting sports, so it probably does not make sense to spring for an image stabilized 18-55. As other people have suggested, you would probably be a lot better off with a 70-200. The f4 may be a worthwhile investment for you. The 2.8 is nicer to shoot with, but way out of your budget as are flashes for now unfortunately. Another option if sports are your primary goal is to buy a body and 70-300 lens. I'm not sure if it will be fast enough for you though, I don't have any experience with it.
    If you are planning on acquiring multiple lenses in the future, I would try out canon and nikon and pick one of the two. If you think you will be happy with the camera as it comes in the box, then buy whatever you want. The suggestion of buying a used body is a great one. Things like extra batteries quickly increase the price of a new camera, a used body may come with a couple for you. I would rather get a used 10D with a 17-85IS than an new XTi with an 18-55.
    To people that get upset by my comments, I am not bashing Sony or any other manufacturer, all of the DSLR's I have played with can produce great pictures, I just feel it's safer to stick with Canon or Nikon as they will not pull out of this market any time soon.
     
  12. RedHook macrumors newbie

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    Jan 18, 2007
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    LA, CA
    #12
    Since you are venturing into the SLR world for the first time, many of the technical differences between the bodies probably won't be noticed. Visit a local camera store and handle each camera that's in your budget. All of the bells and whistles that are on a body won't make much difference if it doesn't feel good in your hands.

    I agonized between the Nikon D40x and the Canon XTi for months, trying to figure out which tech specs were more important. All of that work went out the window immediately when I handled them both. The Canon just fit better.

    Honestly, they are both fantastic systems. You'll get a great camera whichever way you go. Good luck!
     
  13. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #13
    My concern is that you will be paying for glass which you will not really take advantage of. Any SLR is going to be better than the P&S you own.
     
  14. SRSound macrumors 6502

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    #14
  15. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #15
    No worries man, but just remember that Pentax has been in the SLR business from the beginning, they made the first SLR. They aren't going anywhere so nobody needs to worry about that with them!

    SLC
     
  16. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Nikon or Canon. They are the most likely to be in it for the long haul. I still remember my bag full of Olympus gear and Zuiko lenses from years ago when they decided to get out of film SLRs. I'm gonnal minimize the chances of repeating THAT scenario and stick with the major players -- I opted for Nikon. Canon is good too.

    Pentax...? don't know much about 'em, but I'd still stick with the major players.
     
  17. joytime365 macrumors newbie

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  18. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Fair enough. Just saying that, if you're in this for the long haul (i.e you think photography could become a serious hobby), your best bet is to invest in good glass. The XTi takes up a big chunk of budget, so I'd recommend (and I do!) going for an older body (the 10D or 20D), which can be had for less money (but offers nearly equivalent features, and definitely equivalent quality), and free up some money for the glass. Even if the OP only goes for the body + 50/1.8, I still think you come out ahead vs. XTi + kit lens.

    And if you're going to buy lenses in addition to the kit lens anyway, it makes sense to save for quality. Zoom with your feet until you can buy better lenses. The lenses I mentioned are the two cheapest L series lenses Canon makes (most because of the F4); they are both fantastic performers, for not much more than you pay for a consumer zoom.
     
  19. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #19
    Again, I'll inform you that Pentax has been making SLR's since the late 50's. They are probably #3 as far as the leaders of the SLR industry and they are not going to dump their DSLR program. They've been small but consistent for well over 40 years now! They aren't the huge company that Canon is (canon makes way more printers and calculators etc than cameras), but they are owned by the company that makes all the glass elements for everyone's lenses except Canon themselves.

    SLC
     
  20. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #20

    Again, I'll tell you, best to stay with the major players. If you think that Pentax is a major player, stick with them and good for you. There are many people who don't, which is why they are a (very distant) #3.
     
  21. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #21
    I think you have to define what is a serious hobby first, it makes a difference.

    I have a 5D and I have tons of friends who love Canon, we're all studying photographers. I understand the importance of L glass but I'm also tired of talking about it with my friends.

    Whatever camera Teh Don Ditty chooses its going to be better than anything Henri Cartier Bresson would have been able to use. So what does it matter what camera you have?

    One of the reasons why I'm selling my 5D and going with Olympus is if I produce a wonderful image, nobody who is anybody will care I took it with a Canon lense or a Sigma or just a Tamron.

    It could explain why for the most part when looking at images online from the big photo agencies like Magnum or even VII they don't mention what they use, it isn't important and only serves as a distraction. I use to care but now I don't.

    The image will speak for itself. Money is also an issue and more important to me at the moment. Hence my participation in this thread, money is an issue and I'm trying to relate. I'm not saying you're wrong, you're right and that's my problem because of the cost! :)

    With a 17-40 F4 Canon L, I can buy a cheaper but reasonable SLR for the price. I have to remember that I'm only a student, what do I need L glass for? Not to sound derogatory but Teh Don Ditty, isn't even a photography student so it matters even less.

    If i had no money issues I'd buy Canon without a doubt.
     
  22. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #22
    @Hmac

    No, it's just that they aren't sold in Walmart and Shopko; you can only get them from dedicated photography retailers. Canon and Nikon are #1 and #2 (sales wise) because they sell an XTi or D40 to every soccermom with too much money to blow on a point and shoot camera. Even though those DSLR's end up getting used exactly like a P&S and never see anything but the kit lens and "P" mode.

    Pentax hasn't aimed a camera at the Professional market since the 90's when they had the "LX" which is still considered by many to be the best 35 mm camera of it's time. Since then they have marketed to the enthusiast segment with products that are professional quality but midlevel price. They aren't going anywhere, but don't count on them mass-marketing or opening up a pocket calculator division any time soon!

    SLC
     
  23. Teh Don Ditty thread starter macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #23
    No offense taken. :D

    I'm just a guy that like to take pictures of things I find interesting. Some people can make it in life with that and I applaud them.

    Photography is an art form: some people study it, some are just naturally good at it and the others are just regular people who just like to take pictures (aka hobbyists, and some are more serious than others). I obviously fall in that last category.
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #24
    The problem with #3 in the dSLR market is that you're talking single-digit market share- good when everyone's buying, bad if the global economy dries up. Minolta couldn't stay in, and they were also in that single-digit market share category- and the same argument could have been made of them- if Sony hadn't decided to enter the market, they'd be like Yashica/Contax in the film SLR days. With the new price pressure from the 33-49% share leaders, margins aren't great for the "also rans," who have to put more features into their bodies to gain sales.

    If things were bright and rosy, Pentax wouldn't need to partner with Samsung and wouldn't have needed to be taken over by Hoya. How much long-term effect losing the CEO and entire board of directors will have is something we'll probably see this year- could be good, could be bad.

    Furthermore, from IDC's 2005 and 2006 numbers, Pentax was actually #5 behind both Sony and Olympus in dSLR sales.
    The market is still expanding- and a high tide raises all ships, but if Nikon's making near the strides hinted at, with Olympus's growing market share, someone's going to start losing when the tide starts to go back out. About the only company I can think of who isn't mentioned is Fuji, but their dSLR bodies are made by Nikon- while sensor costs are the highest single component cost, the rest of the camera gets economies of scale help.

    It'll be interesting when the 07 numbers hit, still a growth market, but lots of pressure at the low end from Nikon. The 08 numbers are going to be even more interesting if we have a drawn-out recession.

    YMMV.
     
  25. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #25
    I disagree, but I see your point. To me, it makes little sense to invest in cheap glass. Most of the current bodies (since 2004, at least) are capable to top notch images, though there are clear leaders in IQ (5D being amongst the best), or speed (1dmkIII) or noise (Nikon D3), or other features. So buy the body you need to get the job done; dont worry about IQ unless you're really finicky (you're getting good quality from all DSLRs).

    But the glass is different. The CA, sharpness, and contrast from most consumer glass is simply poorer than top quality (i.e. L) lenses; you will notice. The exceptions are most Canon non-L primes, which are fast and of high quality.

    So my advice remains: if you're going with Canon (and you don't have to), skip the XTi, buy a used 10D/20D, a 50/1.8, and save for good glass. Avoid Canon consumer zooms (the only exception to this I can see is the EF-S 17-55 F2.8, which deserves to wear the red stripe).

    BTW, are you really going from a 5D to an Olympus? You might find the difference between FF and 2x crop (i.e. four-thirds) to be very large.
     

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