SLR help please!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HE15MAN, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #1
    I am stuck in a tough decision, and was looking for some other opinions, views from more experienced people.

    I am looking to buy my first SLR. I would like to shoot mainly wildlife, and sporting events. While I know those are two very tough areas, I never intend to publish these photos, mainly keep them for myself, and to possibly print out for decorations around the house.

    This summer, I am going on quite a vacation, we are going to the Grand Canyon, as well as either Yosemite, or Yellowstone. I feel I need to buy a camera and a lens or two and get as familiar as possible with them to help ensure I get the best photos from my trip.

    I guess the biggest questions are:

    1. Should I get an XSi, or T2i. Video is not a huge need, but would be neat to have.
    2. Will I be able to notice a difference between the two?
    3. Is that difference necessary for my needs?
    4. Is the IS feature a must for noobs? Everyone locally keeps saying "YES"
    5. What lenses should I look into first? My mom has the kit 18-55, EFS-50 255, and is going to be purchasing shortly the Sigma 100-500mm.
    6. I was thinking the EF 70-200mm f/4L would be a great multipurpose lens that I could use almost exclusively. Would it be?
    7. Is it better to have one huge memory card, or multiple smaller ones for redundancy purposes?
    8. How hard is it to get into panoramic photography? What are good medium range lenses for that?

    I am looking to spend at most around $1200 right now. But of course am willing to spend more when I get better! Obviously buying the XSi would get me a lot more financial leeway right now, but I am worried the T2i could be better (If I can find one!)
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Physically they are fairly similar, which is to say "small." Have you handled both of them? If you have large hands, it might be too small for you. The only real differences are in the features, mainly video vs. no video.

    It's helpful. It's one of those things that is "nice to have" rather than "essential" imo.

    The kit lens is pretty good. For wildlife and sporting events you're going to want to look into something on the longer end; see if you can borrow any of your mom's telephotos?

    Depends on your preference. I don't really consider any of the larger Canon lenses "walk around lenses" because they're so bulky.

    You might as well have more than one since they're so cheap/lightweight these days.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    It doesn't matter- wildlife is *expensive* no matter what your intended purpose. Most wildlife is active at the beginning and end of the day when the light is low. Most wildlife is wary of people, so requires either a lot of skill stalking and hiding, or very log lenses- often both. Indoor sports are generally in poorly-lit venues, and outdoor sports again require reach- and depending on the time/weather, speed.

    Most lenses suitable for sports and wildlife require at least a monopod, especially if you're not able to get up a stop or so past 1/fl. Good tripods and heads cost about half your current total budget. So, for a 300mm-400mm lens, you want to be at 1/500th, with 500-600mm, you want to be past that- 1/500th should be good for 500mm, but I find that most folks starting out are better off at 1/1000th.

    The difference in camera bodies image-quality-wise is very little except when the sensor generation changes, and you get better images at high-ISO, where you need it for low light.

    No, IS is good for counter-acting photographer movement- unless you're shooting static subjects like art in bad light, it's not necessary- learning to hold the camera steady and building up the muscles to do so is much better. While it's helpful for action where you must pan quickly like auto racign and birds in flight, it's by no means a necessity.

    For sports, the lens of choice is a 300/2.8, for wildlife, a 400/2.8, 500/4 or 600/4. Obviously, those are all well outside of your budget- but the focal lengths should be a good guideline. Your targets should be a 400/5.6 or 300/4, or one of the Sigma n-500mm lenses. I think the Sigmas other than the constant f/2.8 are all f/6.3 at the long end- so I'd look at the 400/5.6 first- as it's going to give you a bit more light to work with, extending the time you'll be able to capture good images.

    Not for your stated purposes. 200mm is only really useful for indoor sports where you're courtside- and then you're generally in bad enough light that f/2.8 is necessary. Outdoors, I routinely use an 80-200/2.8 as a walk-around lens, but on a crop body you'd have to be someone who shoots long most of the time (I am, most aren't- but these days it's on a full frame body.) Edit: I'm not sure if most photographers these days are small, or if they're just not used to larger lenses- I don't find an old metal 80-200/2.8 bulky or heavy at all, but my primary wildlife lens is a 400/2.8, which I can only hand-hold for about a minute and a half at a time the few times I have to shoot it without a tripod.

    Multiples.

    If you're stitching, focal length isn't that important. I tend to shoot verticals at 35mm-80mm more often these days, no matter if I'm using a full-frame or crop body. I find that anything wider than that tends to add too much sky that I'm going to ditch later. Recently, I've been shooting more with my 60mm prime for stitching, and I'm happy with the results.

    For sports, AF speed/accuracy is important- for your usage, high-ISO quality to use "prosumer" zooms is going to be important- evaluating anything other than those is probably not going to materially affect your images.

    However, I think the lens reach you need is in the $1200 range- so you may want to save up longer or more aggressively try to earn some money in the interim, or consider renting a lens or two for your trip and spending on the camera and support now.

    Paul
     
  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #4
    As others have said, you have picked two of the most expensive subsets of photography. Personally (after having been down the road you are about to go down) I'd recommend buying used. I stopped buying new a few years ago and never looked back.

    Bodies depreciate really really quickly. Let someone else take the huge hit. You can pick up 20D or 30D for ~300 now. This frees up more money for glass (or a tripod). The 40D gets about 1 stop better low light performance (the noise in pictures at ISO 1600 is about the same as the 20D,30D,50D at ISO 800), but you are looking at ~700. It will still depreciate by a few hundred per year. If you buy used glass for your trip, you can sell it when you get back for the same amount you bought it for. Essentially free rental.

    Compuwar had many good points (as usual). I just thought I'd add another option to keep in mind.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    5) All beginners think they need some very long and very slow telephoto zoom. You don't. Save your money. Or at least wait until you have taken 1,000+ images and analyzed your needs. Buy the kit lens first. 18-55 is a good range most of the time. Almost all of the time you are best off using your feet but you never see beginners doing that.

    Buy the kit lens then take about 1,000 images most around where you live. then think about the shots you could not get with that kit lens. Likely you will think you want a "faster" liens like an f/1.8 or f/1.4 and not a longer lens. But look at the shoots you got and think of those you missed and buy a lens that will get the missed shoots. You will not know what that is until after those first 1,000

    6) yes that is a good rang but NO WAY will you use it as much as you think. 70mm is way to long to most uses. The 18-55 will be used more and the 70-200 will be used about 20% of the time. If not then you have that "beginner's problem" of not walking up close, Shots from that longer distance are mostly boring as they don't pull the viewer in. They have that perspective that looks like you are watching the action from across the street rather than being part of it

    7) I've never has an SD card fail. But then I format the card in the camera every time before starting to shoot. I never leave the card in for days at a time. Have enough cards so you can do that.

    8) get the widest lens you can get. even if that is the 18-55 kit lens. 18mm will work fine. Then get a good tripod with a head that has a built in bubble level. Now you are pretty much set. I use Photoshop to stitch the images together. You will need a tripod anyway if you ever buy that big long lens for maybe wildlife

    Other things you will want before the second lens -- A good flash unit that can aim at the ceiling or side wall r even beused off camera with a sync cord on a flash bracket. As said above a good tripod.

    If you are traveling it is very nice to own a Pelican case. These are indestructible and 100% waterproof, strong enough to stand on. If you put your gear in one of these then you don't have to "baby" it. You can put you gear on the bottom of a stack of luggage. I have no problem transporting camera in a case in an open bed truck with tool boxes and scuba tank thrown on top of the camera. You can't always hand cary your stuff and you can't argue with the bus driver say ALL luggage goes in the luggage bin if you don't speak his language.
     
  6. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    Even though there is very little difference between the outputs of the two at ISO 1600, it's also important to remember that that is the max on the 450D. The 550D lets you shoot at a couple of stops higher, while even though it might look bad could be what you need to get the shot at all.
     
  7. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #7
    I went ahead and bought the T2i a few hours ago from B&H, but now I am having serious buyers remorse. I think I should have just spent a few hundred more and bought the 50D. But then I guess I can always use the money I saved towards lenses, and then if I outgrow, or the T2i doesnt do what I need it to do, I can upgrade in the future when the new 50D will be out.
     
  8. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #8
    The t2i is a good choice man. that extra 400 or 500 dollars could easily go towards a glass or flash. Enjoy it man!
     
  9. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #9
    The T2i is a fantastic camera. I just bought one as a backup for my 5DII. I wouldn't touch the 50D at the moment... Canon's X0D range is looking seriously old compared to their other cameras. The 50D does have a nicer body - but the T2i has the newer sensor and astonishing video capabilities. No contest.
     
  10. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #10
    I agree. If bestbuy come out with a Canon t2i and zoom lens bundle I will hoping all over it :D
     
  11. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #11
    I recently went from an XSi to a 50D. I had an XS before the XSi, but that's beside the point. I was content with my XSi, but it felt a bit 'toyish' to be honest. I guess that's just part of the Canon Rebel series, is the fact that they don't feel that sturdy. One thing I did to make my XSi feel a little bit more robust was the addition of a battery grip (was only $62 shipped from Amazon.com, I bought the off-brand Opteka grip), which drastically changed how I handed the camera. I felt much more confident shooting in portrait, and thoroughly enjoyed the extra handling that the grip gives you.

    With all that said, I am in love with my 50D. I love so many aspects about it, even though I truly don't need a prosumer camera, but I do enjoy many of it's perks. To be honest I'd be able to take great pictures with my original XS, rather than needing a better camera (XSi, T1i, T2i, 50D), but it really makes my photography more enjoyable by being able to shoot with a camera that I have no issues at all with.

    I'm sure you'll love your T2i, but if you really convince yourself that you'd prefer the 50D just return the T2i unopened to the reseller, but keep in mind that you would be losing video capabilities. If you end up getting the 50D, don't end up hitting yourself saying you should have just gone for the 7D ;).
     
  12. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #12
    I just bought mine for much cheaper from bhphotovideo.com

    They have pretty much anything you could wish for, and great CS.
     
  13. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
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    #13
  14. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #14
    Doesnt hurt he is using about a $6k lens either :eek:
     
  15. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #15
    Do you have more excuses for not going out and shooting some good pictures? You can get the same low depth of field effects with a $100 50mm f1.8.

    You don't actually need that good of a lens to shoot HD video. It's only 2 megapixels!
     
  16. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #16
    Probably one 'excuse' is that he doesn't have his camera yet. Unless he's from NYC and bought it from B&H there.
     
  17. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

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    Sep 3, 2009
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    #17
    Geez someone is a bit testy? :confused:
     
  18. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #18
    Sorry if it came over that way! :)

    It's just sad that some people seem to be more about what they can't do than about what they can do!

    The point of my post was to point out to you what a great tool the T2i is. If you think you can't achieve great results because you don't have $6k for a lens, then you're mistaken.
     
  19. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #19
    Well like I said, I dont know a ton about cameras, but everyone I talk to makes it seem like that unless you are 100% knowledgeable in what you are doing, and have awesome lenses, you wont get to many great shots.

    Combine that with the fact the last two days my pictures have not been to my liking, and I have taken around 500 or so, and I am kinda in a rut right now. I guess I just need more confidence :p
     
  20. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #20
    It sucks, but it's actually more about skill than good gear. Today's cameras even with a lowly lens like the 50 f1.8 can create stunning images.

    A difficult message for most folks who think they can get anything they want with a credit card.

    Practice, read about photography and look at good pictures (think 'how did they do that'?). Take part in competitions / post of the day here so you can get helpful feedback.
     
  21. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #21
    Here are a few of my better ones. These have not been cropped or processed at all

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  22. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
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    #22
    Look good to me.

    The deer image looks a little soft - maybe a slightly higher ISO (you used 200) would have prevented camera shake.

    The dog is also a little soft. Here's the sort of image where a 50 f1.8 would be great... you shot at 46mm 1/40th sec f5 ISO 800. Shooting speed was a little low - you could have gone up to 1/125 at f2 with the faster lens.

    In general, I would always favour a little noise over camera shake, and be conservative with the 1/focal length 'rule'.
     
  23. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #23
    Thank you, the dog was with the kit 18-55. The others were with the EFS-55-250.

    Where can I read about the 1/focal length rule? I have never heard of that before.

    I just last night read and got a full understanding of iso settings, white balances etc. So I hope my pics improve.
     
  24. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #24
    The longer your lens is, the more that any small shake you make will appear as blur on the picture. The 'rule' has always been that your shutter speed should be faster than 1/the lens focal length to account for this.

    So at the widest zoom of your 18-55, 1/20th of a second might be OK. For the longest end of your 250, 1/250 is more appropriate.

    If you're a beginner, if you have a cropped-sensor camera, if you like sharpness or if you drink too much caffeine then I think halving the shutter speed once more is a better idea. So 1/40th sec on the 18 end of your zoom, 1/500th sec on the long end of the other.
     
  25. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
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    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #25
    Hmmm that makes sense. I am going to have to start playing around with that more for sure. Especially for the hummingbird pictures I was taking yesterday.

    Is there any easy way for the close up lenses to tell which would be better to buy? A lot of people say you have to buy the EF 50mm f/1.8 II. I see it is also pretty cheap. If I do buy that, what advantage does it have over the 18-55 kit lens?
     

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