new to DSLR's, old or newer models? Advice please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rusty2192, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    Hi everyone, i thought i would ask for some advice.

    I'm starting to get really interested in photography as a hobby. Currently i have a really nice point-and-shoot (Canon PowerShot SX210 IS) but am really thinking about stepping up to a DSLR. I've picked up a couple old film SLR's and they have really captivated me. One is a Yashica TL-Electro with three lenses (28mm, 50mm, 128mm) and the other is a Canon EOS Rebel (the original film one) with the kit 35-80mm lens.

    OK, enough background. Like i said, i would like to step up to digital for the instant gratification of knowing whether or not what you're trying is actually improving your shots and also, the time and cost of film processing is driving me nuts. I am kind of partial to Canon cameras since i already have the one Rebel and the 35-80mm lens, and my aunt has several pieces of Canon equipment that i could borrow. However, I am not entirely locked into the brand, since i have a whopping $35 tied up in Canon SLR equipment.

    I don't want to spend a whole lot of money, basically as little as possible to get a decent camera. If buying new, I have been looking at the Canon EOS Rebel XS at around $500-$550 for the kit. I have also been checking eBay, Craigslist, and the B&H Used Store for this and other models. Currently, there is a Rebel XTS (350D) in the B&H store for $239 and a Rebel XS (1000D) for $400 (kit lens on each).

    Basically, for me, a very amateur photographer not looking to spend a lot of cash, would the older DSLR's be good enough for half the price, or should i just pony up and drop the money on a decent newer model?

    One more quick question, Would the 18-55 IS lens be worth the $100 extra or would i be ok just using the 35-80mm lens that i already have?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. sprtnbsblplya macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    #2
    Pony up the cash and get a newer one.
    I was in the same spot as you awhile back, bought a 10D about 4 or 5 years ago with a few cheap lenses. Got my feet wet with it.
    However, the newer models have some significant technological advancements. They all have either Digic III or IV, which is very fast at compressing the photo and putting it into the storage card, as well as some other advancements you can find on the web.
    Also the newer sensors in the cameras designed in the last several years have more sensitive CMOS chips which make less noise at higher ISOs than the older models, which will become more important the more you push your camera.
    And not as important, but I felt it was significant, my new T1i vs my old 10D, the screen is amazing on it. More clear, high pixel density, I love it. The older models have tiny, cheap LCDs.

    Thats my take and why I upgraded, I'm sure other more experience members will have something to add.
     
  3. a.jfred macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    I'm going to give you the same advice I gave someone else: if at all possible, wander into (several) stores and play with the different makes & models of cameras. Don't let the sales people pressure you into making your decision right then & there.

    I looked at Canon, Nikon, and Olympus when I bought my DSLR a few years ago. I *hated* the Canon (XTi, I think was what I'd been looking at, at the time): the menu system was horrible - mostly, because changing things like exposure compensation, white balance, aperture, and ISO were all through the menu. The Nikon (D40x) had the best manual focus on their lenses, but was outside my price range at the time (and I needed something sooner). I'd decided on the Olympus (e500), but I spent a good month to month and a half before finally buying the camera - because I wanted to be 100% sure. During that time frame, every time I went into a store, I still played with every model they had available, for all the brands. For me, the Oly just felt right in my hands.

    And after 4 years, it hasn't let me down. Cost of lenses is high, but it also makes sure I buy what I know I want/need versus buying on impulse.

    That said, I do know Canon has improved their menu system vastly from what it was several years ago, and prices on all of them have dropped considerably (not to mention, we're way past the models I was looking at). I've eyed some of the newer Olympus DSLRs, BUT from what I've read in reviews, my e500 is *still* the best option for me (unless I can come up with about $1200 to pony up for the E3, which I drool over; I have other obligations first).
     
  4. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #4
    I would go with older. there hasn't been that much improvement in image quality, just more features (and pixels).

    I suggest staying away from the older Nikon cameras, though - the D50/80/200/2. they were utterly useless beyond ISO 400. the newer ones (D3000/5000/90/300/700/3) are fine.

    any Canon since the 20D or 350D/XT will work just fine. they redid the menus in the DIGIC III cameras (1DsIII, 1DIII, 40D, 450D) back in 2007 or something, so they're much easier to use.

    in the last year or so, there's been rapid improvement in reducing high-ISO noise. that's about the only significant image quality change since 2005, and it's not like cameras then were useless at ISO 1600 (well, at least for Canon). basically cameras went from topping out at ISO 1600 to ISO 6400.

    feature-wise, there's been lens microadjustment, Live View, and video. complex AF systems and algorithms previously reserved for the flagship models have trickled down to more inexpensive models in a slightly water-down version. oh, and moving from 1.8" to 3" rear LCDs. beyond that, there hasn't been much besides improved Jpeg processing.
     
  5. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #5
    A good photographer can take a good picture with a point and shoot,
    a bad photographer can't take a good picture with a DSLR.

    I went shopping for a DSLR, and was going to get a newer one, simply because it had the video capability that the older ones didn't have. But unless you have a real need for a specific feature, older DSLR's can still take good pictures.

    note: I don't currently own any SLR's.
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #6
    The D50 was absolutely not useless beyond ISO 400. I think Phil can testify to that.

    Remember that you're buying into a system, even if you go with an older model.

    The Canon XSI is a very attractive used option right now.
     
  7. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #7
    If you're not 100% sure about Canon, you can pop into a Best Buy or Murphy's Camera (assuming the drive to Louisville/Lexington is a short one) to play with a few different brands.

    As far as newer vs. older, just take a look at the specs and decide what you want (particularly if you want video - dpreview is a good resource). Newer ones will have better high-ISO performance (shoot better in darker conditions), but otherwise don't differ greatly in picture quality. The models you're looking at seem just fine.

    Be warned, photography can get pretty expensive.

    FWIW, I also didn't find the D50 to be useless beyond ISO 400, although I definitely tried to avoid pushing it past 800.
     
  8. a.jfred macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    Also, don't be tempted by larger megapixels - Unless you're going to be getting prints above 16x20, you'll do just fine with anything 8MP and above (says she, eyeing the 16x20 print having on the wall behind her, taken with her 8MP camera ;) ).
     
  9. rusty2192 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #9
    Thanks for all of the responses so far. I live in Lexington and actually stopped by Murphy's today to drop off a roll of film and play with the cameras a bit. I think i'll do a bit more research and continue to look around at used cameras.

    One more question to throw out there: How often do modern DSLR's break? I was looking at the Canon Refurbished store and could save $100, but it only comes with a 90 day warranty as opposed to a 1 year on a new one.
     
  10. pdqgp macrumors 68020

    pdqgp

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    #10
    I've been shooting professionally for years and will tell you that I would never waste money buying the most recent version of the newer DSLR's. The technology comes and goes every 12-18 months and as a pro there's zero chance anyone would even know what gear I shoot with when looking at my prints or images. I shoot mainly events and print 13x19 and larger.

    The above is especially true for someone just getting into them. Buy excellent glass as you'll keep lenses for years and years to come.

    Refurb'd Canon ? 50D? Excellent body for you. Refurb'ds are solid with Canon. I've owned them and would buy them again.

    Enjoy the hobby.
     
  11. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #11
    That's not always true, and I wish people wouldn't say things like that.

    There are a handful of cameras in the world that can match what my D700 gives me in terms of high ISO performance, and Nikon makes two of them. The other two are the Canon 5D Mark II and 1D Mark IV.

    It depends on what you're looking to do. My old D300 couldn't have come close to delivering the results I've gotten from my D700. I was reminded of this yesterday, as I was going over old RAW files from it.

    Of course, I regularly shoot at 6400 and up, so I have a reason to get the D700. If you stick to low ISOs, it doesn't matter so much.
     
  12. Nostromo macrumors 65816

    Nostromo

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Deep Space
    #12
    It really depends on your budget.

    But generally it's not a good idea to buy a camera that's older than two years.

    To the risk of damage and poor handling you get outdated technology.

    The exception would be a well-maintained pro camera like a 1 Ds mark II or the 5D mark I, both perfectly viable cameras and still very usable today.

    From what I have seen on craigslist, the cameras there are ridiculously overpriced.

    B&H is definitely a better source if you have to get something used. At least you get a warranty.

    Look at the high end compact with optical viewfinders. Nice cameras, used as a smaller camera even by pro photographers (not on the job, though). I think one of those is the G10. Price range about $450.
     
  13. tunerX Suspended

    tunerX

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #13
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/

    Read some of his reviews and comparisons. Unless you are planning on taking ultra high def, super action, high velocity, mega, super photos, with a billion ISO then he will usually point you to a non professional model that can deliver you, your requirements and not break the bank.

    There isn't a reason to get a Nilkon D700 when a D300S or D90 can deliver a non-professional photographer the same perceived quality. Those cameras offer similar results to someone who is not years experienced and also offer the same options for control. The same holds true for Canon's product line.
     
  14. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #14
    You are wrong about having to use the menu to change everything on the XTi. For example, even on the older XTi, the Rebel XT, you don't have to use the menu to change all the camera settings. Well, you will eventually have to look at the menu, but the buttons by your thumb as you hold the camera allows you to change the following: WB, ISO, AF, and a couple of other things. And at the same time, you can see the changes in the viewfinder. The center button is the SET or return button. Again, I am talking about the Rebel XT, which is even older than the XTi you talked about.
     
  15. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #15
    Unless you are very knowledgeable and able to tell between reality and the b.s., avoid Ken Rockwell. A much better source for a Nikon shooter is Thom Hogan, at www.bythom.com.
     
  16. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #16
    All depends on how the old camera has been used. Used Canon 30D's is still being purchased by a lot of people. In fact, I know this guy in Anchorage who has used his 30D for years of taking simply amazing photos. Take a look:
    http://www.eddiefisherphoto.com/

    A 40D or 50D in good condition could provide years of good performance. In fact, I will probably use my Canon 40D for two more years before I upgrade to a maybe an 8D.
     
  17. tunerX Suspended

    tunerX

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #17
    There is nothing wrong with Ken rockwell. But thanks for the opinion

    The OP is interested in Canon and Ken Rockwell has good comparisons of Canons with Canons and Canons with other manufacturers. Ding-Dong Hogan only compares Nikon to Nikon.
     
  18. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #18
    I suggest you try bodies from different manufacturers yourself. The user interface is probably the most important aspect of the camera you're going to buy. Don't shy away from brands other than Canon and Nikon.

    Also, another thing you may want to consider is getting a used semi-professional body. If you want to stick to Canon, a used 30D or 40D may be an option. Some people prefer the added weight and heft to a more plasticky entry-level body. I certainly do like my cameras heavier, but YMMV.

    A few other things: many noobs try to invest as much money as possible into the body when they should be spending on lenses and a good flash. So right now, I wouldn't try to stretch your budget too much, but instead, get a 30 mm f/2 or 30 mm f/1.4 Sigma later. This focal length corresponds to roughly 50 mm on film and comes in very, very handy. The very large initial aperture will give you creative freedom you haven't even thought of before.
     
  19. Nordichund macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #19
    Photography is very subjective. Most importantly it is you who is going to take the photographs. There is some good advice in this thread about which models might suit you and where to buy them. I would say the most important factor apart from being an able camera, is that the camera has to feel comfortable in your hands and if you are going to buy glass for it, you will be able to use the same glass on your next camera.

    As for the Ken Rockwell thing, like everyone giving advice, they have their good points and their not so good points. Reading Ken's web pages I have found some very useful information, and read what I think is a lot of garbage. It is important to form your own opinion through your own experience. Web sites like Ken's can help you, as can many forums who have many experienced photographers only too willing to help and share their knowledge.

    As you know the great thing about digital is you can experiment by taking as many photos as you like to find a way that gives you the results you are looking for. Follow some of the advice available on the net and if it works use it, if not lose it :D

    On another note I am impressed how Ken seems to appear at the top of almost every Google search when searching for camera reviews. I don't know who he is photographing to achieve that.
     
  20. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #20
    Ken Rockwell's approach is equal parts provocation, entertainment, and information (and unfortunately the latter is colored by the other two). It's a very clever recipe, ensuring a high degree of viral internet promotion of his site via threads like this one, which generates a lot of income for him. Without the provocative, often inflammatory comments, reviews of products he has never even touched, and comparisons of apples with oranges, he would be just another guy comparing specs and spewing opinions. His guy-next-door aura is very appealing to beginning photographers, and this is his target audience--people who are less informed, easily persuaded, and rather sympathetic to his pleas for help in supporting his growing family. Of course much that you can find on his site is straightforward information and reasonable advice, but the readers he is targeting will not always be able to sort it out from the misinformation, nonsense, and sensationalism. He purposefully injects those angles into his reviews to generate a buzz; more experienced and knowledgeable readers come across those bits and post about them on forums in exasperation, inadvertently directing a whole lot of traffic to KR's site. You have to hand it to him; the formula is brilliant.

    As for the OP's question: I agree with those who suggest you buy a camera body that is used, but not more than about three or four years old. Your money is best invested in good lenses. Good quality lenses will provide you with the most noticeable benefits in image quality, have the potential to make your camera more versatile, and will serve you well for at least a decade. A brand new camera body comes at a real premium and will shed much of its value in about three years' time; then it will plateau for a while, so there isn't much point in getting one much older than that.
     
  21. a.jfred macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #21
    I should be able to see all changes in the viewfinder, and NOT have to hit another button to "set" the changes. On my camera, I push a button, move a dial, let go of the button, and voila - it's already set. I don't even have to take my eye from the viewfinder to make said changes.

    Again, it's a YMMV thing - different cameras feel different in people's hands, and "usability" is completely subjective ;) It all goes back to my original comment: play with different cameras and see what works best for you.
     
  22. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #22
    Following Ken Rockwell's advice is an interesting mix of:
    (1) get a D40, because it's way better than a D700.
    (2) get an M9, because Leica lenses are the best investment ever.
    (3) get a MF film Mamiya, because it can resolve better than any digital camera on the market.
    (4) resolution doesn't matter.
    (5) large format is the way to go for serious photographers.
    (6) large format is terrible because the cameras are too heavy.
    (7) don't spend frivolously, take it from Ken Rockwell because he has nice things on a tight budget.
    (8) donate to Ken Rockwell because he is poor and his family is starving.

    I would be less bothered by him if people didn't actually take him seriously. He's the Glenn Beck of interweb photography advice.
     
  23. likeavaliant macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    #23
    A Nikon D50, while doesn't have that great of ISO handling is a very low price entry level option that takes great photographs. Spend your money on that body along with a couple decent lenses and a flash and you'll be on your way to learning DSLR photography with the option to update bodies later on. As people have said before, it's more about the glass than the body. At least for now!

    You could also get away with a Nikon D70 or even D80 (Both cameras' ISO are just fine, IMO)
     
  24. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #24
    I'd stay away from the D80. It remains one of Nikon's worst DSLRs, partly because the metering system is flawed. It is biased toward the active autofocus sensor, which I think is unique among all Nikon DSLRs. They rightly junked that for the D90. The D70s is a hidden gem, well built and possessing the full 1005 pixel color meter found in the F5/6 and all their pro DSLRs.

    He's the Glenn Beck of interweb photography advice.

    Terrific analogy and probably the best one I've read. Also a great summation of Mr. Rockwell.
     
  25. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #25
    Nobody can see all the changes in the viewfinder, just a few. But on my camera I push a button, move a dial, and voila-it's already set. For custom settings where I want more control of the camera's functions, I can use the same buttons, and LCD screen, and the menu. Not only that, but I can also create up to three custom modes, and then save them on the camera. My point was that it seems that you din't know the controls of the XTi you mentioned before. That's all. Both Canon and Nikon have excellent camera controls or button layouts. I prefer the Canon's because that's what I am used to, but I am certain that the Nikon layout is just as easy to learn.
     

Share This Page