Going on trip-need to pick DSLR asap

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Yoursh, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    I'm not one to post 'what should I get' posts, since I research my purchases heavily, but I've run into a bit of a time restraint. At the last moment I have agreed to go on a trip in about a week and a half and would like to take a DSLR with me. I have been planing on upgrading for a while, and was planning on getting an entry level DSLR. Been using an old Powershot for my shooting but it is really showing it's age and limitations. I was waiting till the release of the new Rebel XS(1000D) to make a final decision but this trip is forceing me to make a tough choice. The trip will offer many good outdoor shots and would like to have a good camera for the trip.

    I have been leaning towards either getting a Nikon or Cannon model. I would like to keep the entire setup sub $800. That would include body+kit lens, bag, and memory cards if needed. I currently use SD cards so I would have to purchase compact flash cards if the camera used those. I also plan on getting a 50mm lens not too far down the road so I want to take that into consideration, though I would just stick with the kit lens on the trip. So with this in mind, here are what I think my options are....

    1) Just go the cheapest route and get either a D40 or a clearance Rebel XT.(~$450-$500 for body+kit lens) Basically don't worry about about features, just get something that will work. If I find it too limited I can always upgrade in a year or two without blowing a lot on a first camera.

    2) Bite the bullet and get something a step up that pushes on my budget some.(~$650-$800 for body+kit lens) With a D60 or Rebel XSi(maybe an XTi) I would get a newer camera with more up to date hardware and more features. The drawback is that I may be paying for more than I need.

    3) Just foget about taking a DSLR on the trip and wait till the new Rebel XS gets released. Then compare the models.

    I'm just not sure. I would have to make purchase this weekend or early next week to have one for the trip. As I said, I don't tend to make impulse buys. I have looked at the current models and have been leaning more towards the Cannon's. I'm use to the Cannon UI and do like the live view option on the XS/XSi. But I like the Nikon's feel and lower price points. I'm more curious as to how the stock kit lenses stack up. Since I would be using it the most at first I would like something halfway decent. Any advice would be apreciated, thanks.
  2. seenew macrumors 68000


    Dec 1, 2005
    XTi or XSi and the 50 1.8. I don't care what you say, do not waste your money on that crap kit lens.
  3. M@lew macrumors 68000


    Nov 18, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Since it's a holiday, I would look at the 400D or 450D (Xti or Xsi) and the 17-85. That'll pretty much do you for your whole trip. If you go with just a 50mm f/1.8 you will be really limiting yourself as it is far too tight and not long enough for holiday shots.
  4. jimothyGator macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Pick up a refurb or used Canon 20D or 30D

    For about the same price as the Rebels, you can get a previous generation Canon "prosumer" model, either a 20D or a 30D. I'd go for the 20D. While the current 40D is a big improvement over its predecessors, the 30D is only a minor improvement over the 20D, but the 20D will be appreciable less expensive.

    I give you this advice for a couple of reasons: The build quality of the xxD cameras is noticeably better than the Rebels. The former have magnesium cases, while the latter are plastic. The controls on the step-up models are also easier and abundant, and the cameras, as would be expected, also give you more manual control. But, if you want to put the camera in full-auto, "dummy" mode, they're just as easier to use as a Rebel, so you won't be intimidated.

    The 20D/30D/40D are bigger and heavier than the Rebels, which you might find a draw back, though I prefer the heft. They feel very solid and well made, which they are.

    I suggest going to a store, feel them both in your hands, and see what you like better. A few stores may still have 30Ds in stock, and you'll certainly find the 40D, which will make a decent comparison to the Rebels (though you may be temped to spring for the 40D!). 20D and 30D refurbs are easy to find online.

    The same applies to Nikons, if you choose that route. Pick a D80 over a D40/D40x/D60. If you want to go Nikon and go low-end, pick the D40 over the D60; it's cheaper, and the D60 just adds gimmics. Beware, though, that many prime (non-zoom, fixed focal length) lens won't autofocus on low-end Nikons (including the D60) as the bodies lack the focus screen that these primes require.

    On Canon, there's no such issue about lens compatibility, as all Canon lenses made in the past two decades are EF (electronic focus), meaning the focus motor is in the lens, not the body. Most Nikon lenses also include an AF motor, but some popular primes, like the 50mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 do not, so exercise care on D60 and below.
  5. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    Since I am a Nikon guy I would say go for the D40, it is an excellent camera, and very affordable. It is light, and has excellent image quality. The kit lens it includes is also very good. If you feel like spending a little more, you could consider the D60, tho you might also want to check a D80, not much more expensive than the D60 and it offers more things (like build-in focus motor).

    Canon is also good. But I wouldn't go for a used 30D or 20D, I see no point in buying old technology unless you are in a tight budget.

    I don't know the prices of the Canon line-up, but from Nikon you could get either:
    -Nikon D40 with the kit lens for around $450 USD.
    -Nikon D40 with kit lens and the 55-200mm for around $800. (Not sure about this one)
    -Nikon D80 and the kit lens (18-55) for around $850-900 USD.
    -Nikon D60 with kit lens for around $650 USD.
  6. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    People are always recommending Canons and Nikons here, but never Pentax, who make cameras equal if not better in some respects to Canon/Nikon.

    You could also try looking at the Pentax K100D - they have been replaced by the K200D and you should be able to pick up a good deal.
    They also have built in shake reduction which works with any Pentax Lens.

    Just thought I'd offer another option.
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    All the suggested cameras are good, including the Pentax. You really can't go wrong with any of the cameras, but for the price, I like a lot of things about the Nikon D40x.
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    One thing you should know about the Nikon D40, D40x, and D60: these cameras lack an internal focusing motor, so if you want to use prime lenses of a focal length under 60mm, you will have to focus manually (until Nikon comes out with some new lenses).

    One thing you should know about the Canon XSi: the new kit lens is optically improved and now has image stabilization. It's getting very good reviews, like this one.

    One thing you should know about the Pentax system: it is the only brand that can boast compatibility between all modern DSLR bodies and all vintage lenses. So you can go nuts buying relatively cheap, but optically superb used lenses.
  9. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Indeed, all of these cameras are fine and good. It's really a matter of personal taste (can you go to a shop and test them all?), certainly without you explaining further what you hope to photograph. My preference is for nikon, but as mentioned the 50mm will not autofocus on the low end (40,40x,60) nikons.

    Any of the canons are fine. Pentax are great, the k200d, k10d and k20d have good weather sealing. I'd also see if you can get the samsung version (not sure if they're available in your country) often they're a bit cheaper.

    If you want light weight, for some I would reccomend olympus. The only things that for me mark them down slightly are noise at high ISO and dynamic range.

    If I was starting afresh today I'd have a hard time not buying an olympus. The E-420 and pancake lens is so small I'm sure I'd carry it more. On the other hand the pentax models are genuinely great value and you can use old manual focus K mount lenses if you're so inclined (I am).
  10. hector macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2006
    Cheltenham, UK
    I was in a similar position to you, although my budget was less.
    I went with the Nikon D40, which I absolutely love (although there are some QC issues - mine is currently at the service centre because it won't autofocus). The D40 is small, very easy to use for a first SLR, has a useful kit lens, and offers quite a saving over the D40x and D60, which don't appear to really be all that much better.

    However what I would recommend, and what I would buy (and am considering buying) given the choice again, is that you go for an XTI with the kit lens off the XSI - ie the one with image stabilisation. When I bought mine, I didn't give too much thought to this lack of focus motor which everyone warns about, but i wish I did.

    The fact that you mention you are thinking about a 50mm f1.8 means you should definitely go Canon and pick up the cheap, sharp 'nifty fifty' that I wish I could buy for my Nikon!

    XTI body - $500ish?
    18-55mm is - $200ish
    50mm 1.8 - $100ish

    Total - $800ish
  11. Yoursh thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    First off, thanks for all the replies.

    I had heard about the lack of internal focus on the lower-end Nikon's but didn't realise it limited some lenses to manual focus only. This would be a deal breaker for me, since I plan on buying a few prime lenses(50mm at least). Oh well, the only reason I was looking at the Nikon's were for the low entry cost and I liked the feel of D40.

    This throws me mostly into the Cannon camp then. I've used quite a few point and shoot Cannon's, including my current Powershot. I have had good experience with them, so I will most likely go that direction. Haven't used an SLR for close to a decade, so I don't have any old lenses to sway my decision.

    With all that in mind, it still leaves me with a few choices. Either go with a XSi or XTi now for my trip or skip having a camera and wait for the 1000D/XS to ship later this year. My biggest problem is my limited amount of time to make a choice. If I buy something, I'll have to do it in the next few days to have it before I leave. I guess I'll have to do some looking around in the stores this weekend and get more hands-on with the XSi/XTi.

    Edit: btw, I would be taking mostly outdoor shots on my trip. Including some low light night photos, some water sking, but mostly nature shots. Would be doing landscape+building shots later on.
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Since you're down to the XTi vs. XSi decision, I'll offer up this list which I've posted in other threads. These are the changes with the new model:

    Live View
    Larger viewfinder
    Larger LCD screen (3 inches)
    Spot metering
    Improved 9-point AF system
    14-bit A/D converter
    New processor: Digic III
    Faster burst mode (now 3.5fps)
    Higher resolution (12.2 MP, and with remarkably low noise)
    Addition of dedicated ISO button
    ISO now displayed in the viewfinder
    Multi-shot self-timer mode
    Customizable menus
    New menu system with tabs (no more scrolling)
    New option for Highlight Tone Priority
    New battery that lasts 50% longer
    Slightly larger, but also lighter body
    Slightly improved battery grip
    Uses SD cards
    New and improved kit lens with better optics and image stabilization
    Playback as 4 and 9 image index

    So you can peruse this list and decide if any of these features warrant spending the extra cash. I made the same comparison myself and ultimately decided that three things made the XSi worthwhile for me: the larger viewfinder, Spot Metering, and Live View. I've found Live View very helpful for manual focusing and for tripod shots; I've also used it a few times when I wanted to shoot from very close to the ground (without lying on the ground myself). I also like that the new battery lasts so long; I'm consistently getting about 600 shots per charge. And since my former camera (a Powershot S3) used SD cards, I was happy to be able to make use of them in my new camera.
  13. GT41 macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    So in this rush to get a DSLR have you considered that you likely won't have time to learn your new camera before you go? Is it worth rushing into an $800 purchase to take it on a trip where you are basically going to use it as a glorified P&S because you don't know its features? Might you not get just as good shots with your current P&S and wait and make the right decision and learn your camera before you run off to some trip?

    That's my $0.02, though you did say you have some SLR experience from the past so you aren't going into this for the first time.

    In any case good luck... oh yeah and if going Canon, I suggest forgetting the kit lens.
  14. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    I strongly recommend considering the Olympus E420 with the Pancake lens. I picked it up a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. The size makes it perfect for taking on trips and also a general walk around camera. It is a great step up from a point and shoot and has great performance.
  15. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2003
    The Olympus e510 is an excellent value. It has live view and in body IS. And the kit lenses are pretty good unlike the Canon.

    If you are willing to spend a bit more go for the Nikon D80.
  16. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    Here here - or a Samsung which is basically the same but often costs less and use all those lovely Pentax lenses.
  17. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Whatever you decide, bring the manual with you on vacation and practice as much as you can before you depart.

    Having the "best" camera in the world is useless if you aren't able to use it properly!
  18. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    The D80 is the answer for that in Nikon-land, you might want to try it out to see if it's got ergonomics you like before you go whole hog on Canon.

  19. Yoursh thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    Actually the reason to buy one for the trip is to allow me time while on the trip to work with it. It would give me a good chance to shoot with it in various conditions(day/night/action shots) and work with the different manual settings. The trip would provide a lot of hands-on time with which ever camera I got.

    I would read through it before I left, but would for sure bring it along.

    I've looked at the D80, but unforunately it is a little out of my price range. My limit is about $800USD with lens. I've found I can snag a XSi for about that with the kit lens. Haven't been able to find a D80 below $950 with a lens.

    I had a chance today to handle a XTi and XSi side by side. They both feeel nice in the hand, do like the grip on the XSi more. Roughter texture, feels like it would be less likely to slip. The larger screen is nice but not really a must have. Unfortunately the XTi's battery was dead so I was only able to play with the XSi's controls. Was very similar to my Powershot, was able to figure out the basic navigation very quickly. Will have to track down an XTi to see how much the layout differs, unless someone here has worked with both and could provide feedback.
  20. Yoursh thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    Update plus misc. question

    Well I've been back from my trip for awhile and thought I should update. I ended up not getting a camera before I left. Just didn't have enough time to find one locally at a good price or have one shipped to me before I left. I ended up taking my old p/s with me and good god I really noticed that I need a new camera. I only got few decent shots out of the whole trip. It just reaffirmed to me that the auto-focus sucks on this old Powershot. If it wasn't a landscape shot(focused to infinity) or a 'portrait-style' shot the auto-focus would just whir away for 5+ seconds and then just give up. Sometimes it would be completely out of focus or focus on a leaf in the corner of the image. It may just be that the it's slowly going south on me or I may just be trying to do more than what the thing was built for. Oh well, at least it makes me more comfortable about dropping money on a new camera. Since the Rebel XS finally has a release set here in the US, I plan on waiting till it's out and see how it stands up against similar priced competitors.

    I do have one question though. I recently found out a relative has an old Minolta 35mm setup, an X700 I believe. He has range of Minolta/Sigma manual focus lenses for it. I researched online and it looks like none of them would be compatible with any current DSLR lines. Is this true, or can you use them with some sort of adapter ring? I wasn't able to find a clear answer. Hopefully someone here would know. Thanks
  21. jizwood1 macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Nikon D40 with kit lens and the 55-200mm for around $800. (Not sure about this one)
    Nikon D80 and the kit lens (18-55) for around $850-900 USD
    Canon EOS Rebel XSi Black Digital Camera with an EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens for around $800 USD.
  22. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    I have an X700, and despite the fact that it's not a digital camera, it is one of my favorite tools to go out with and take pictures with (the Canon 5D is a backup :p).

    The Rokkor lenses, despite their antiquated mount are considered to be among the sharpest, and least- talked about lenses (kind of like Zuiko). This means that they are cheap, and some of the better values out there.

    There are a number of people that I've read that claim that the MD 58mm is the sharpest lens ever made. On fred miranda, there is a whole forum dedicated to alternate mount lenses. Unlike most other lenses (Leica, Zeiss, and Olympus), the Minoltas are a pain to adapt (involving replacing the mount on the camera and drilling out a new one, and then carefully dissecting the lenses). In your shoes, I'd skip the x-700. You might fall in love with it, like I did, and start spending your money on film, film development equipment, and expensive film scanners.
  23. NintendoChick macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2008

    On Amazon, You could get that package for $688 and some obscure number of cents...

    I'm thinking about going with that for my purchase...


    It's 13 cents...

    OMG! Reference!
  24. Yoursh thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006

    Yeah, that's what I was getting from my research online(great lenses, but only usable with heavy modifications). I just hadn't found a definative answer. I would have considered going with which ever company made a compatible DSLR body just to have access to a good range of lenses to use. Oh well, it was just a thought anyways.

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