Finally Getting a DSLR. Need Advice!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tjusafa14, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. tjusafa14 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    #1
    Hello again everyone!
    I have some questions and I ask for your advice on the first purchase of a DSLR. There are three cameras I was looking into in particular the Canon T4i, T3i and T2i. I was set for a while on the T4i because of the HDR capability and the touchscreen but I just can't justify $950+ for my first DSLR. I am kind of wavering between the T3i and the T2i but I have read up and there seems to be almost no difference between those either besides the swivel screen...I was thinking about the possibility of putting the Magic Lantern firmware so I can get HDR, Time-Lapse, etc. I plan on doing mostly landscape photography (in Colorado) and eventually getting a little more specific with subjects such as time-lapse photography and maybe even astrophotography. What would you experts suggest?

    Also memory-wise I was considering getting a 64GB SDXC card because I want to shoot in RAW+JPEG but what would you suggest one big card or a few smaller cards?

    Last thing was with lenses, with whatever camera I decide on I am getting it with the kit 18-55mm lens. I eventually want to upgrade to a higher zoom lens such as an 18-135mm. Suggestions?

    Thanks for all of the help!
     
  2. Pacwell macrumors member

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    May 14, 2012
    #2
    5D user here. T2i as far as I recall does not allow manual controls for video if you are using it at all for video. If its simply for photography then the difference between the t2i and t3i is unnoticeable.

    I have 2 32gb cards, and I shoot pro video and photo. Hardly to i ever fill up one on a single shoot, and I only shoot raw. A higher quality and higher speed beats a higher capacity card anyway.


    THE ONE most distinguishing factors that'll affect your photos, the glass. I wouldn't even recommend the kit. I would rather spend that money towards a single prime lens.
     
  3. mikepro macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2010
    #3
    I'd just get the best deal you can find, T2i or T3i. I have the T2i, and got a great deal on it with the kit lens and a nice Canon bag for about $500 from Best Buy. T3i may be more common these days. Often sites like slickdeals will have good camera deals if you watch it.

    Can't say I've done video yet with the T2i, but I don't recall any differences in video from my research (but this was minor). T2i is super-supported by magic lantern.

    As far as cards, I got a couple of cheap Amazon Basics 16GB class 10 cards. Never came close to filling it, even shooting several hundred RAW photos. I think you're better off with a few cheaper, lower capacity cards. Even out the wear and tear, and always have a backup.

    Also, the kit lens gets knocked a lot, but it is fairly decent for what it is. For starting out, it's just fine. Use the cheap kit lens to get you started, figure out what you like to shoot, and where the kit is letting you down, and go from there. FYI, if you want a cheap package to round out the kit, Adorama has the 55-250mm zoom plus the 50mm f/1.8 II lens for $249, which is pretty cheap to cover all the basic zoom needs for a beginner.
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    If I were you, I'd look into a micro-4/3 camera as well: the bodies are much smaller and you have access to a very large system with many attractive bodies and lenses.
     
  5. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

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    In Hell
    #5
    I wouldn't, the ergonomics of the micro 4/3 are awful. Fine if you're not going to use it much, but if you're intending to use your camera a lot then DSLRs are a much better choice.
     
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #6
    I strongly disagree.
    There are all kinds of m4/3 cameras out there (one of the advantages of the m4/3 system), from dslr-like cameras such as the Lumix GH2 and the Olympus OM-D and more point-and-shoot-type cameras such as the Lumix GF-3. Some of them feature a rather tradition UI, e. g. Olympus OM-D or the Pen-series. I've played with the OM-D for a bit and as a long-time (d)slr user, I found the interface intuitive and clean. Also, m4/3 cameras are significantly smaller, meaning many people will have them with them much more often than dslrs. If there were cheaper Fuji X-mount cameras out there, I'd also recommend one of those, but I guess we'll have to wait a little longer.

    Disclaimer: I don't own a m4/3 camera, my primary camera is a dslr (a Nikon D7000) and as a backup/walkaround camera I use a Sigma DP1 point & shoot.
     
  7. tjusafa14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2011
    #7
    I am starting to lean back towards the T4i because of the HDR capability and the touchscreen. Thoughts?
     
  8. d4rkc4sm macrumors 6502

    d4rkc4sm

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    #8
    i have the t2i. get yourself the t4i, it is vastly improved ( digic v being among them ).
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I think you're overemphasizing the value of HDRs and a touchscreen.

    (1) HDRs, subtly and tastefully done, can be great, but due to the nature of the beast, they're mostly useful for static scenes and you almost invariably need a tripod. So I doubt you'll shoot that many HDRs. Plus, eventually you'll want to use your Mac anyway to create HDRs, you have way more artistic freedom.

    (2) I don't miss a touchscreen on my dslr, quite the contrary. Most settings I change have a dedicated button (e. g. ISO, AF mode, exposure correction) which you can feel without taking your eyes off the viewfinder. With a touchscreen, you need to take your eyes off the subject and navigate through menus to change your settings.
     
  10. someoldguy, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012

    someoldguy macrumors 65816

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    usa
    #10
    Get several smaller SD cards , say 16G or so . In the unlikely event one goes down , there's always the spare in your pocket . My 15MP 50D gets a little over 540 images on a 16G CF card shooting RAW+JPEG , an 18MP body using the same size card and settings would be maybe around 450 +/- . That's a lot of images .
    I'm not so sure that in-camera HDR capability is a plus . HDR all too frequently looks almost cartoonish , almost like those 'paintings' on velvet you sometimes see people selling at fairs and such. IMHO HDR is best left to software where you're controlling what the result is rather than the camera.
    Not a big fan of articulating screens in general , but one with touch capabilities seems to be technology overkill , just something else to screw up,or break. I'd stick with a non touch screen , Canon's menu setup ,and button arrangements are pretty good.
    Seems there's about a 250-300 dollar difference between the T2i/T3i and the T4i . Specs on the 3 being pretty similar , maybe one of the first 2 might be a better choice . If you gotta burn the 250 , put it toward a decent tripod/ball head and cable release.
     
  11. breezie macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #11
    Pick up a refurb T3i through the Canon Loyalty Program (20% off) - a quick google serach will show you how to do it. If you trade in a $5 broken camera off ebay, you'll get the T3i for ~$500 with a kit lens.

    I don't think a new T4i is worth the price difference yet and the CLP price for T3i is only a little higher than the T2i.

    One more thing: 18-135mm is not really a upgrade for the kit lens - it's basically the same quality with a longer reach. Find out what your shooting style is before we start discussing what actual upgrades you should be saving up for.
     
  12. tjusafa14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2011
    #12
    I looked at some reviews and they all said that the HDR was mediocre at best so that is out and I do like your argument about the touchscreen with having to take your eye off the subject. I think I have it down to between the T3i and the T2i. Thanks!
     
  13. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #13
    Even the HDR from my 5DIII is mediocre and very limited. The key is that that images gives you an idea of the possibilities. Then you take the 3 underlying raw files into Nik HDR Pro 2, or similar dedicated HDR app, and create the specific HDR image you want to keep. Only a post processing app will let you select from heavy grunge to light as a feather tone compression and other related settings.

    Don't purchase any camera body based on HDR or multiple exposure capabilities as both can be do in post processing....and much more flexibly. In camera HDR and multiple exposures are just fun conveniences, definitely not necessities.
     
  14. M0cked macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2012
    #14
    In a "nut shell" for what you plan on doing... you're going to need a very sturdy tripod/head, remote, filters, etc... so it starts adding up quickly. I would not even consider a camera with a lens kit. Higher quality of lenses are more important than the body. (Again, I said in a 'nut shell') Putting on a lens kit to something like a T4i/7D/5DmkII is like putting on iron sights to a 50 cal.

    Camera - Buy okay/decent model
    Lens - Buy higher quality
    Tripod - Buy higher quality (Last thing you want is your $1k+ rig falling over.)
    Filters - Buy cheap on ebay Favorite EBAY Store
    Remote - Buy cheap
     
  15. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #15
    Not a crop camera body with kit lenses if you are serious about landscape photography. Put the budget squarely on good glass first. For landscape and wildlife consider
    17-40
    24-105
    100-400

    Put them on a full frame camera if possible. Look for a refurbished or gently used FF body(5D, 5DII) that still has lots of life left in it. Then get refurbished lenses from Canon USA or other source (Adorama). The you will avoid the detour of first buying entry level crop kits only to replace them with FF body and L glass later. Again, this assumes your are serious about landscape photography.

    I can't wait to get to the Sand Dunes in October!!! BTW, Mesa Verde is holding a photo event in October where you will be allowed to photograph at times and places not open to the general public. It might be a great event for you.
     
  16. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    Jul 2, 2009
    #16
    Cheap filters? There's no point in spending on high quality glass if you're going to stick a cheap filter in front of it.

    Fortunately, the OP's type of photography only really needs ND filters, and a Singh-Ray Vari-ND shouldn't be too much of an investment.
     
  17. M0cked macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2012
    #17
    If you take care of those 'cheap' filters they will work just as well as expensive ones and once you find out which style you like, then you can splurge on better ones.
     
  18. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #18
    A good filter can never improve image quality. At best it does not noticable degrade the image quality. That is why you use a filter as little as possible.

    For landscape work you only need a good CPL as that is one of few filter effects that is not easily duplicated in post processing. The other filter to carry is a variable ND. This lets you dial in light loss when shooting flowing water to smooth it out for a milky effect. The Lightcraft ones are decent quality for the cost.

    Leave all other filter effects for post processing where there are easy to apply, mix, and use. Besides, you don't want to pay for filters twice (one in hardware and then again in software post processing tools like PS).
     
  19. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #19
    A cheap filter with poor optical quality and quality control will not work as well as an expensive one.

    I'm not going to pay $2000+ for a 70-200 f/2.8 with IS/VR and stick a $20 Circular Polarizer or ND filter from Best Buy on it. At least go with a good B+W Kaesemann CPL or a multi-coated B+W ND filter.
     
  20. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    #20
    Might I humbly suggest a Nikon D3200 or a D5100? The 5100 is very well priced right now, and the D3200, with its fantastic sensor, is quite frankly a steal at its current price. A general tip would be to spend less on the body and save your money for good glass/lenses. The bodies change, but a good lens will last for decades.

    (Discretion: I own a D3100, with new and old lenses; the oldest is a Series E lens made in the mid-70s and it's crystal clear. :) )
     
  21. tjusafa14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2011
    #21
    Actually I haven't even considered looking at Nikons until now. From the little research I just did it seems like it may be a good choice vs a T3i
     
  22. cvaldes macrumors 68040

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    somewhere else
    #22
    No, you do not.

    Canon and Nikon SLR users have access to the largest pool of used photographic equipment in the world as well as large product lines of currently manufactured lenses (their own lines as well as those from third-party manufacturers).

    This is even more lopsided when you get into the world of rental equipment. Can't afford to buy a 300/2.8 or 600/4 honker, even used? Well, you can rent one from the local pro shop.

    And guess what? Rental shops don't carry other dSLR brands. You have your choice of Canon or Nikon for 35mm dSLRs, nobody else, and they don't rent out Micro-4/3 gear.

    Take your pick: Canon or Nikon. The lens quality is equally great, so pick a camera body style that you find comfortable to handle.
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #23
    m4/3 covers the needs of hobbyists, amateurs and ambitious amateurs. Of course, there are use cases when you prefer one system over another, but then there are good reasons for some people to shoot medium or large format. We're giving advice to someone who is new into photography. I am always bewildered by people who bring up specialty €€€€ lenses like Canon's 85 mm f/1.2 to convince people of going with the mighty C or the awesome N. Most dslr owners have one lens, and that's the kit lens the camera came with. Some may also buy a tele zoom and/or a nifty fifty, and to these people it doesn't matter whether they go Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, Fuji or Nikon. Even the sliver of the market that has a camera bag full of glass is served in most cases equally well-served with either of these brands. The m4/3 ecosystem is kicking Canon and Nikon in the pants, they're the most innovative part of the market right now. The big two have missed a trend and only now Canon has introduced an alternative-to-some with its EOS-M system (the P&S-style body is too much of a toy for my taste) and Nikon has introduced a system with a ridiculously small sensor.
    Who said anything about renting equipment? And renting €5k+ lenses of all things?

    A friend of mine who is a professional photographer (as in he's making a living off photography) has sold all of his full frame Canon gear for an X100, because it was the right tool for him.
     
  24. M0cked macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2012
    #24
    For someone that's just learning landscape they're not going to be able to really tell the difference between a $20 filter and a $40. Not to mention how often you use actually use a filter. So you can argue this till you're blue in the face if you want. Doesn't change the conditions.
     
  25. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Ah, that explains quite a bit. Forget about brands for a second and try to think what you want to do with your camera:
    - Do you want to take your camera on hiking trips and such?
    If you benefit from having a smaller camera, you should look into m4/3 or an EVIL camera, they are markedly smaller. I had to buy a Sigma DP1 (a »serious point and shoot«) for my mountain biking trips and for when I want to go skiing.

    - What do you want to shoot?
    If you want to buy a camera for the express purpose of making landscapes, you are also less dependent on the improved high-ISO noise that current dslrs offer, you will ideally be shooting at base ISO (typically ISO 100 or 200) anyway. Hence, you could start with a camera that is older or has a slightly smaller sensor.

    - How much do you want to invest in total? This total must include a proper camera bag, for instance!
    One of the most important pieces of advice is to invest your money in lenses rather than the body. Lenses outlive bodies by a long shot (the oldest and second-oldest lenses I use are 20~25 years old and still work like a charm). Also, if you want to learn the ropes of photography, get a prime lens (i. e. a lens that does not zoom). Prime lenses are much faster (meaning you can shoot in the dark) and force you to think more about composition.
     

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