Digital Rebel XT setup recommendations

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
After thinking about it for several months, I finally decided to take the jump to a Digital SLR camera. Today I sold my Kodak P&S and I'll buy the new camera in a couple of weeks.

So far, I'm thinking of buying the following setup:
  • Canon Digital Rebel XT with EF-S 18-55mm Lens Kit
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
  • Still undecided on a bag, but will probably go for the Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home
What do you guys think of this as a first-time DSLR setup?
Given that my budget is around $700, what other recommendations would you make regarding the camera, lenses, bags, etc?
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
So I'll beat everyone else to the punch... Of what will you be taking pictures? ;)

The standard comments are that the 18-55 is not the nicest lens in the world, but the 50/1.8 quite possibly is. :) For what it's worth my current setup is a 300D (not a 350D) with those two lenses*. I'm a very beginner.

(EDIT, sorry, I was doing too many things at once when I wrote this... I have a 50/1.4; the 1.8 is still very nice).
 

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
So I'll beat everyone else to the punch... Of what will you be taking pictures? ;)
I like to take pictures of landscapes and buildings (architecture) when I travel. You can check out a sample of pictures I took on a recent trip to spain here.

That, of course, is not the only thing I take pictures of... but they are the main reason why I am upgrading to a DSLR.
 

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
I am also considering these other options (all of them under $750):

Option 1: Add the 50mm lens to avoid using flash as much as possible:
- Canon Digital Rebel XT with 18-55mm Lens Kit (~$590)
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens (~$80)

Option 2: Get an inexpensive telephoto lens. I have concerns about the lens quality, though. Has anybody used this lens?
- Canon Digital Rebel XT with 18-55mm Lens Kit (~$590)
- Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens (~$140)

Option 3: Ditch the kit lens and get another lens with a larger range. Will lose at the wide end, though (18 vs 28 mm)
- Canon Digital Rebel XT Body (~$500)
- Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM (~$240)

Any suggestions on those options? Does anybody has experience with those lenses?
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,072
28
Washington, DC
I don't think 28 is going to be wide enough for you. Two more options:

Tokina 19-35 (~$140) and Canon 50 f/1.8 ($80)

or

save for Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 Macro ($390)

Also remember that you'll need at least one CF card, if you don't already have one. Kingston has rebates, so you could get 2 1GB 45x cards for $38 - $20 rebate, so $18, at bhphotovideo.com
 

form

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2003
187
0
in a country
You could very possibly buy the Sigma 17-70 for under $300 used. 28mm(44.8mm after 1.6x crop factor) will not be wide enough for architecture.

Sigma's 70-300 is probably a little better than Tamron's.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is a great, inexpensive lens.
 

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
I don't think 28 is going to be wide enough for you.
I agree that 28mm won't be wide enough. I checked the EXIF data on a bunch of pictures I took during my last couple of trips, and I noticed that I took a lot of pictures at 38mm - the widest setting on my current camera (which goes from 38-380mm - 35mm equivalent). That means that I'll definitely get the kit lens to be able to take those kind of pictures.

Two more options:

Tokina 19-35 (~$140) and Canon 50 f/1.8 ($80)

or

save for Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 Macro ($390)
You know, this isn't such a bad idea. I could get the 50 f/1.8 in addition to the kit lens for indoor shots (and avoid using a flash, which I hate), and save up to get either the Sigma you mention or the Canon 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS later on (probably with my end-of-year bonus :D), depending on my usage pattern with the camera and the kit lens.

Also remember that you'll need at least one CF card, if you don't already have one. Kingston has rebates, so you could get 2 1GB 45x cards for $38 - $20 rebate, so $18, at bhphotovideo.com
I used to have an old Kodak CF-based camera (DX3900, I think), so I have a 1GB Sandisk Ultra II CF card that I will use with XT. I'll buy additional cards later on.
 

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
You could very possibly buy the Sigma 17-70 for under $300 used. 28mm(44.8mm after 1.6x crop factor) will not be wide enough for architecture.

Sigma's 70-300 is probably a little better than Tamron's.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is a great, inexpensive lens.
Thanks for the tip, I'll consider the Sigma. And it isn't that expensive either.
I'm thinking of buying the telephoto lens later on, though - once I am comfortable with the camera.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,072
28
Washington, DC
I think that sounds like a good plan. Included in with the body, the kit lens is only, what, $100? Realistically, you're not going to get something more useful for a comparable price. The Tokina comes close, but it's more expensive and covers a less useful range. That said, it's probably sharper and definitely more solidly built. Still, if you plan on updgrading eventually, go for the kit lens and 50 for indoors and you'll be well set. You can eventually sell the kit lens for $50-70, probably. That's what they seem to go for on eBay.

1GB is a good amount if you shoot JPEGs. It'll hold 200-250 shots.
 

jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
I just ordered the Digital Rebel XT Kit, the 50mm f/1.8 lens and the Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home. I'll start adding lenses once I'm comfortable with the camera, and have a better feel for what I'll need.

Thank you all for your help and your opinions!