So Many Choices

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MadDoc, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. MadDoc macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

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    UK
    #1
    As I've mentioned in another thread - I am going to take the leap into dSLR photography. I want to put more effort into making photography my hobby.

    I just can't decide what camera to go for. There are a bewildering number of brands and models to choose from in my price range it would seem.

    I have read lots of reviews, etc on the cameras (largely thanks to dpreview.com - great site!) but I'm not really much closer to picking the dSLR that's right for me.

    I am looking to spend no more than $1000AUD (preferably less) to get a camera body and at least a "general purpose" lens. The type of photography I am interested in is panoramic landscapes and people portraits (as well as many other things). I will be working with RAW+JPEG, will use Aperture to manage my photos and am looking for at least 10MP.

    The cameras that seem to come up time and time again are the following three:

    Canon XTi
    Nikon D80
    Pentax K200D (newly released upgrade to the K10D).

    The Pentax seems to tick more boxes than most (it wins largely because of in-body image stabilization) however I am hoping that this hobby will last me a lifetime and anybody who is anybody seems to use Canon or Nikon. Are Pentax going to be around in 20 years do you think?

    I'm also a little confused regarding autofocusing with the Canon - if I understand correctly, you can only autofocus with them if you have special lenses - I'm sure I'm mixed up about this so I would appreciate any clarification.

    Does anyone have any recommendations as to what might be the most appropriate camera for me? Perhaps a camera I haven't listed here already?

    I appreciate any help people can offer.

    Thanks,

    MadDoc,
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #2
    The K200D is not an upgrade to the K10D.

    K200D upgrades K100D Super.
    K20D upgrades K10D.
     
  3. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #3
    Autofocus on any* Canon EF or EF-S lens works fine with the XTi

    You may be confusing it with Nikon, which does have the issue on entry level bodies. So you may not have an issue with the D80 as it's a more advanced model. Something to do with the entry level bodies not having the autofocus motor in the body, so you have to get certain lens which have the motor builtin. I don't know much about Nikon, so others would have to advise. But I know canon has no compatibility/autofocus issues.

    * except the 24, 45, 90 TSE and 60 MPE lenses, but these are manual focus lenses anyway!
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #4
    Canon does have compatibility issues. Pre-EOS lenses are incompatible with EOS cameras.

    There are restrictions on Nikon body/lens combinations, but the basic compatibility goes further back.
     
  5. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #5
    You're talking about lenses that are over 20 years old. Canon redesigned the lens mount with the EOS system back in 1987. All EF lenses will work on all EOS bodies. The question was about lack of autofocus on certain lenses, which the OP thought was Canon.
     
  6. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #6
    I't not a problem for lenses to be old. One can find very good and cheap manual focus lenses for Nikon that mount and can be used in manual mode on any Nikon DSLR. To meter and use aperture priority mode one needs D200 and up or D1 and up.
     
  7. techie4life macrumors 6502

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    Georgia
    #7
    Those three cameras were my exact choices. I had a hard time deciding, but I eventually settled on the D80, because of its overall feel in my hands, as well as the ability to use older lenses. I've got the kit lens and the 50mm f/1.8. Both are wonderful, but the 50mm stays on the camera most of the time.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    I literally just used a K100D. It feels fantastic. I don't know what the XSi feels like or operates because they changed the size and capabilities a bit. The D80 feels like the most advanced camera, but you need to decide whether or not that's true.

    Between the 3 cameras, I'd choose the D80. The XSi and K200D are a tie. The XSi probably a slightly better camera than the K200D in terms of image quality and such, but in-built stabilization is sooooo soooo useful. I just used it in a dark restaurant, and I couldn't believe I could hand-hold shots at 1/6 seconds and still have them come out decently well. The white balance was off considerably, but there's a chance the lighting could have fooled any DSLR camera.

    Does your $1000 AUD budget include the price of Aperture?


    I don't know where you're going to buy a D80 and lens for $1000 AUD. Sorry, but it's not going to happen unless you buy used. If you go HERE, they have an awesome reputation. They sell "grey market" goods that lack the official Canon and Nikon warranty, but they'll fix the camera for you if there are problems. It sounds dodgier than it actually is.

    Personally, I'd either look for a Nikon D60 with 18-55 mm VR kit lens for $969, or the Canon 400D with 18-55 mm kit lens for $769. The Canon kit lens for the 400D doesn't have the image stabilization like the Nikon does.

    If you go to another store, you'll likely find the Pentax K200D for a similar price. DCW has the Pentax K200D and Sigma 24-70 mm lens (is this the f/2.8 lens!!!?!?!?!?!?!) for $939. Wait......phone them and ask them if that's true. They're seriously including the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 (constant aperture) EX DG macro lens for that price? IT'S A STEAL!!! (or a mistake they made)
     
  9. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #9
    I was debating between the XTi and the D80.

    I blogged my decision details if you care to read it:
    http://splashofstyle.com/archives/2007/08/03/d80-vs-xti-vs-xt-vs-d40/

    And here is my actual review on the XTi
    http://splashofstyle.com/archives/2007/11/15/canon-rebel-xti-400d-dslr-updated-review/

    Yes, even now (almost a year later) I still get a twinge about the beautiful D80, but I am glad I got the XTi. It was lens cost that did it for me.

    Take a look at some of the lenses that you think you will like for the future, and compare prices. For me, it was cheaper to go Canon because the lenses I wanted (or thought I wanted) were less expensive.

    I know you can always go 3rd party, and I don't have anything necessarily against 3rd party, but I really like brand lenses because I don't want to chance any compatibility problems when I upgrade my camera in a year or two. But that's not saying I would not purchase another 3rd party. I just think if the price isn't that far off, the brand lens is a better choice.

    Good luck with your decision. I know how you feel. The confusion is mind-numbing. Just wait until you start deciding about new lenses, it's the same thing all over again!!!!
     
  10. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #10
    Although I had a slightly different budget than you I was still looking at the XTi, even the XT. I had already determined that I was going with Canon as my friends also use Canon so I would have access to extra lenses.

    In the end my decisions were based on how I wanted to spend money and whether or not I was comfortable buying a cheaper body and then upgrading and taking a $$ hit if I then sold the older body.

    We all talk about saving for the glass which is true, but don't forget buyers remorse for getting a body that you are always wanting to replace :).

    I ended up buying the 40D with kit lens and the F1.4 50mm. My trade off was that I will be delaying the purchase of a telephoto lens. Though, thanks to the folks on here, I can look into spending $35 for an adapter ring for Pentax lenses on a Canon body so I can hopefully use an older Sigma zoom lens for a period of time.

    Don't forget you can look at used lenses/bodies to save some $$.

    One thing you didn't mention which may help us a little bit, what will you be focusing on initially? Portraints? Landscapes? General use? We might be able to help you focus on a few items to get the best use of your $$$ at the start.
     
  11. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    I'll make a big vote for the Pentax K200D. It's going to be the most durable out of the three you have on your short list.

    The K200D has a weather-sealed body with rubber gaskets in all the body seams to make it able to handle inclement weather. Even the Canon 40D (which is the cheapest of either Canon or Nikon) isn't sealed as thoroughly as the K200D. Pentax has a library of absolutely fantastic prime lenses, and they are currently fleshing out their pro line of lenses with some weather sealed Primes and Zooms (the DA* series). All with at least an f/2.8, some of the primes are even faster. Pentax has been making SLR cameras since the mid 50's when they were known as the Asahi optical company, their DSLR's have been well received and the K10D won a whole bunch of awards. I have no doubts that they will be around and stronger than ever in 20 years.

    If you can find it, a better bet might be the K10D. It's essentially the same camera, but it has some more advanced features that won't be present in the K200D. It's also weather sealed, and has the same sensor and a much better viewfinder. They should be about the same price, perhaps the K10D may cost a little less than the K200D since it's on it's way out. I've got the K10D and I'm thrilled with it! Though that camera+lens combo that abstract brought forth is very very nice!

    I can't recommend them enough!

    SLC
     
  12. MadDoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Wow, so many suggestions! Thanks guys :)

    @Abstract: Thanks for the Aussie links - much appreciated and really good value prices (for those of us who are in two minds whether or not to risk ordering from the US and having customs charge us a heap load of tax).

    I've just been down to the camera shop and handled all of the cameras I mentioned. Straight away I decided that I disliked the Pentax. That surprised me as on paper it ticked all the right boxes. The store clerk also suggested the D60 and I really liked how it felt - it seems to mould to my hands exactly and is a lot smaller than the D80. What are people's opinions on the D60?

    As far as lenses go - I need a general purpose one and a wide angle one. Any suggestions for the Nikon?

    BTW, my $1000 budget is for the camera/lenses only (i.e. excluding Aperture and PSE).

    Thanks again for everyone's help.

    MadDoc,
     
  13. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Central Ohio - USA
    #13
    FWIW - I had an XTi and I really liked it. Easy to use and great shots. I returned it when I found out the XSi is coming out. It's been a long couple of months, but the XSi should be out in a couple more weeks...
     
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #14
    The D60 is fantastic. It's an improvement of a fantastic camera, which is reassuring.

    If you want a wide lens, the D60 kit lens (18-55 mm VR lens) is actually quite wide, and has vibration reduction (VR) as well, so that's handy. It's also a good general use lens. ;)

    The problem is money, and your budget. :p If you wanted a wider lens, you'd have to get something like the Sigma 10-20 mm, which is supposed to be a fantastic lens as well. However, it's $555 at D&D Potographics (which I gave you the link to before). Maybe you can get the D60 and save some money to get the Sigma. It sounds like a good option.
     
  15. MadDoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

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    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Thanks again Abstract for your advice.

    I'm almost set to plunge for the D60 but I have just read that it has only 3 AF points compared to 9/11 for the Canon and Pentax models - is this true? Is this a big deal? I've decided that I'm not too fussed about having to buy AF lenses since the kit ones are AP as are any new lenses I am likely to buy.

    It's good to know that the kit 18-55mm is a reasonable wide-angle lens (it was hard to tell in the quick play I had in the small shop!).

    MadDoc,
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    All Canon lenses made in the last 20 years are autofocus.

    in-body image stabilization is a compromise. In the long run it costs less because you pay for it only once but in-lens image stabilization works better.
     
  17. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    Care to explain this. I've been under the impression that it was just as effective for many users, and that it was simply a more cost effective approach to stabilization as well as a more effective one when one considers that all images may be stabilized with this method rather than only the ones shot with whatever stabilized lenses a person has for their C**** or N****

    I'm not trying to have a go, I'm just wondering why you feel sensor shift stabilization is a compromise. I find it to be just the opposite based on personal experience.

    SLC
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #18
    You are correct the the in-body system works for all lenses.

    An easy way to visualize the advantage if putting the system in the lens is this: Stand a foot away from a wall and aim a laser pointer at it. See the the beam shakes a little. Now stand back 100 feet. the shakeing beam sweeps over 100 times wider area but also the speed of the been over the wall is 100X faster too.

    If you want to make the beam steady you can move the wall the folow the beam or put some sort of stabilizer in the pointer. If you move the wall you might be able to make it work if the beam is only a few feet back but this becomes impractical the futher back the point is.

    The same thing happens with IS. If it is in-lens it can scale and will work even with 400mm lenses. In-body IS will have some maximum speed and will be less and less efective as the lens gets longer. But as it turns out you don't need IS with short lenses. The need for IS incresses with the length of the lens. You can always prevent camera shake induced blur by shooting at 1/(focal length) so for the most part IS isn't needed with short lenses.

    That said, there is nothing to stop Pentax from comming out with an IS lens or from puttig IS in all there over 200mm lenses

    Another arument is to simply read the specs. IS systems are rated in "stops". That is the number of EVs that you can shot below the 1/(focal length) rule.
     
  19. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #19
    OK, admittedly I've only shot with a max focal length of 300 mm. But I've not seen a problem with sharpness so far as long as I use good technique and have the SR feature activated. Without the SR feature it's very difficult at less than 1/300 sec. But I've been able to shoot at 1/60 at 300 mm pretty reliably with SR, and there are published reports of testers of the K10D being able to get a consistent 3.5 stops advantage. The most I've heard from in lens IS is 4 stops to 4.5 stops (maybe there's an account of more somewhere). I'd say that they're relatively even and when cost is considered, I think in body SR has the advantage. Time will tell I suppose.

    Also, I've been operating under the assumption that in lens IS is still around because it's a film era technology. It came about before digital and it would be impossible (if not impractical) to try and move the film inside the camera the same way that sensor shift SR does. I imagine that Canon and Nikon had a large installed base of IS and VR shooters when it came time to go digital and they didn't want to alienate that group who had already paid a premium (some of them many times over) for lens based IS systems. Believe me, from what I gather from the message boards I frequent, the Canon and Nikon name are one of main things keeping them with such a large lead in sales. Many newcomers to DSLR's come in expecting Canon and Nikon entry level DSLR's to have body based shake reduction like Sony Pentax and Olympus do; at least on the message boards I frequent.

    Also I don't buy the argument that the sensor can only be moved so fast as an advantage of lens based implementations. Would I be incorrect in assuming that in the long lenses you mention to benefit the most from lens based IS the lens elements that have to be moved during IS operation would be more massive than a sensor. And would I also be incorrect in assuming that the mechanisms to move a lens element would be at least largely similar to the mechanisms that move the sensor in a body based camera?

    Again, I'm just wondering and I suppose I should do some good reading into the subject.
     
  20. MadDoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

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    UK
    #20
    Hi guys,

    Just an update. In the end I settled for the Nikon D60 kit with an 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens. I've taken around 400 shots so far with it and am really pleased with my choice.

    Thanks again for everyone's advice.

    MadDoc,
     
  21. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

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    New England USA
    #21
    Oh that is wonderful!!! Have fun with the new toy!!! I hope you really enjoy it!
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #22
    A stop is a significant amount (half/double) of light, and often the difference between making the shot and not, or getting a shutter speed that freezes subject movement or not. It's like saying a 300/4 and a 300/2.8 are relatively even when cost is considered. If you need the 2.8, no amount of cost difference is going to get you the shot. I've yet to see a full 3.5 stops on a long lens from an independent test group though.

    Frankly, if you're hand-holding at 300mm, you're not getting the sharpest shot you can anyway, and as you go longer stabilization is more useful for panning shots where you have the luxury of a relatively low shutter speed.

    Nope, it's still there because at the long end it makes more of a difference, and if you look at how the 200-400, 300, 400, 500 and 600 stabilized lenses are selling, you'll see that it's the right answer for that part of the market. I've seen early tests where stabilization didn't win over a tripod when results were gotten through stringent testing, so the predicate that stabilization is always better isn't one that I necessarily buy into anyway. What are the failure modes for in-body stabilization? If they can be "sensor is out of plane of focus" then there are some folks who'll prefer in-lens stabilization anyway.

    Frankly, newcomers aren't the reason for in-lens stabilization. While C/N are adding it to downmarket lenses to appease the larger market share such users represent, the real value is at the telephoto end where in-body stabilization just doesn't perform as well. While either may elect to add that checkbox to their bodies, it's not exactly like sales are hurting because of it- if one of the also-rans ever comes up with more than ~5% of the market, it might be a major issue- but so long as the market is growing and they're growing market share, I think it's not so much of an issue. Besides, all the others are feature-equivalent and I still don't see any of them with anywhere near an equivalent long lens line-up.

    Probably not a bad idea.
     

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