Student Photographer looking for first D-SLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thinkband, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. thinkband macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #1
    Hello,

    I already am pretty set that I will buy a MBP once a revision comes out, now I am looking for a Entry Digital SLR. I have taken a class on black and white photography where I learned about Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO, Noise, etc. All the basics. I bought a Rebel K2 35MM for this class.

    Now I am learning more and I want to upgrade to a Digital SLR. Some brand names that come to mind are Canon, Nikon, and Sony. I would like to choose form those. The Canon Xti looks the most favorable to me because Canon has a pretty good name. I heard Canon's kit lens sucks so I may want to get a lens that is around $200 and can take a variety of shots from portraits to landscapes. I heard the Nikon 40x is pretty good as well, though I do not know about the lens. I do not know much about Sony, only that it's camera got the lowest review of the three on Cnet. (Sony 7.3 Canon - 7.7 Nikon 8.0).

    Since I am just a student, I want an entry level camera, but I would like to take some nice shots and I want the camera to be able to stay with me as I learn more so this can be my main camera for some good years. If you know what I mean, I do not want the instructor to say "you could make this shot excellent, but you need to have the Canon ___ or Nikon ____."

    I have been looking at peoples' pictures of the day and I would like to join this tradition. Any help is highly appreciated. Thanks for the attention fellows :)
     
  2. Sir Pancakes macrumors member

    Sir Pancakes

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #2
    As a pro photographer who shoots up to 5000 images a week, I would recommend without hesitation the Canon Digital Rebel. The kit lens is actually decent, and I had to use it a time or two after dropping my L-series lens on the pavement.

    I would totally stay away from Sony, Pentax, or Panasonic. They dont have good lens options, and really aren't taken that seriously by most full time photogs.

    With Canon you can continue to upgrade lenses and bodies as your needs arise. I have a rebel I use for family stuff and it is a great camera.

    My opinion at least. :D

    p.s. You will find that your pics have 80% to do with you as the photog, and 20% to do with the camera you are shooting with (once you have arrived at the level of a camera like the rebel). Good equipment is important, but soooo much of it has to do with your ability to shoot and edit great pics. Start with the Rebel, and move up when your budget allows.
     
  3. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #3
    The XTi was just discontinued and replaced with the Canon XSi, which looks to be a formidable camera. Ships with an Image stabilized kit lens, as well. Not out until April, I'm afraid :(

    This should drive XTi prices down if you don't need the latest and greatest. A good price for a new XTi is around $500, DON'T BUY FROM A BIG-BOX STORE.

    Good luck with your new camera!
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    Canon and Nikon make good gear (big understatement), but Pentax is also worth a look. I would make a pilgrimage to your favorite camera store (a real camera store!) and try both. It's much more important that you like the camera, the way it feels in your hands and the way the user interface appeals to you. This is nothing you can put in reviews or numbers, but something you have to experience first-hand.

    Other than that, most Canon people will recommend Canon, most Nikon folks will tell you to get a Nikon.
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #5
    Ain't that the truth! Unless they review cameras for a living, the people who know a lot about all the different makes of camera have generally spent too much time buying and selling cameras... and not enough time actually taking pictures. :)

    My recommendation: pick the camera that 'feels right' - and fits your budget - from either Nikon or Canon. People disparage 'kit' lenses, but the 18-70 that's on my Nikon D200 90% of the time takes great pix (as long as you obey the number 1 rule in photography: point the camera at something interesting).

    If you take a great shot, nobody says "What fantasic resolution!" or "Wow, look at all those megapixels!"... they say "Great shot!"...

    People who have to have the latest gear are useful in one sense: you can buy 'as new' lenses and accessories from them at knock-down prices. :)
     
  6. timtam macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    BaLi
    #6
    Seconded from above, just go to your near camera dealer, try out couple slrs (Nikon, Canon, Pentax), ergonomics is important.

    I will recommended Nikon :D
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #7
    Canons feel unnatural to me, and it's not just because I'm a Nikon user. I have played around with way too many cameras, and other brands don't phase me like Canons do. I can pick up a Pentax K10D or K100D and understand how to use it because it's logical. I have poked around with a 40D numerous times (the guy I share an office with has one and brings it in all the time), and that line of cameras is, in my opinion, the lowest level Canon camera I'd consider. I'd avoid the 350D, 400D cameras. Actually, I "would have". I don't know what the Canon 450D/XSi feels like, or how well it takes photos. The 400D upgrade was so incredibly minor that the flaws of the 350D were simply passed onto the 400D. :eek:

    I'd go to a store and try the 450D. If I were you, I'd also consider the brand new Pentax K200D. If you have ever held a K100D, you'll know how much better it is when compared to el cheapo Canon 400D, and the Nikon. I personally never liked the way things were laid out on an Olympus (E-500 and E-410 models only. The E-3 feels VERY natural), but that may just be a quirk of mine, not the camera.

    No instructor would ever say that. At this level, the camera doesn't really make much of a difference. If anything, I can imagine an instructor telling you, "If you HADN'T chosen the Canon, and you used spot metering on a Nikon D40X/Sony A-100/Pentax K100D, you would have gotten the shot." What camera doesn't have spot metering? Oh yes, that's a Canon 400D/XTi....the one with the cheap feel and small hand grip. So don't just go for Canon and Nikon just because they're Canon and Nikon. ;)

    I'd honestly look at the brand new Pentax K200D, or even the Sony A-200. If you actually look carefully at the Pentax rather than buying Canon because they're big (ie: like buying Windows computers because it uses Windows :p ), the Pentax should tempt you.
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    What lens do you already have for that Canon K2?
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #9
    Ditto, I've had an Olympus SLR before which was intuitive to me, I've tried Sony's new Alpha 700 which I immediately understood, but when I take a Canon in my hands, it feels awkward. An acquaintance of mine had bought a Canon 30D, and I asked him, whether I could try his camera. That day, I didn't have my camera equipment with me, so he must have thought, I had no idea of slrs: he looked really worried when I tried to change some settings :D

    People often underestimate ergonomics: you can't take good pictures with a camera that you're not comfortable with.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
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    #10
    Yeah, I'm glad someone understands. However, I must add that I don't completely agree with that last bit. You can use any camera because if it's yours, you'll get used to it.

    However, my D300 fit like a glove once I picked it up. This was coming from a D50, which has an entirely different body and button layout. Even my friend, a Canon user, needed a week to fully get comfortable with his new 40D, and he was a 350D user before! He's also a PhD engineering student and an amazing photographer, and I really don't think he had trouble adapting because he's not good with gadgets. ;)

    I don't know, but my camera just feels like a natural extension of my arm. I can learn to use any Canon camera, but I doubt it'd feel as good as using my D300.

    People usually consider image quality to be everything that's important in a dSLR body. They're probably right, but one of the reasons I take photos is because I enjoy the process of actually taking them. I recently came back from a 3 week trip to Japan, and it took me 10 full days to bother moving all my photos to my computer. I enjoy looking at them, but the process is important for me. The D300 is perfect for this process, although I'll admit that a K20D, K200D, A700, or E-3 would feel very natural as well (if I bought them).
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #11
    You get used to many things. Of course I can take decent pictures with a Canon: composing pictures works just the same, but I cannot take `good pictures', because I cannot fully focus on taking pictures. So perhaps your formulation is more suitable.
     
  12. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #12
    :confused:

    Indeed. If you have a quality lens or two already, it may be in your best interest to stick with Canon. Also, I never used the 35mm Canon, but if the layout is similar to that on the Digitals, you'll avoid the issues Abstract points out.

    If you plan on starting from scratch, more input on what types of shots you plan to take may yield suggestions on mfrs whose lenses excel especially in that situation.
     
  13. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #13
    The XTI was NOT discontinued. It will still be around for quite awhile. Heck Canon is still making and selling the XT
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    Does your school have lenses available for check-out? If so, what brand?

    You should search all the "which camera should I get?" threads here. You're not really buying a single body, but a system- the new body will be good for 2-5 years, by which time you're going to want a new body. In that time, you'll have gotten lenses, flashes, remotes and other accessories that fit one brand (or body) or another. That's one reason you should spend some time fondling- er handling several bodies from each manufacturer, it'll give you an idea of the common ergonomics for the brand.

    Nikon's flash system and kit lenses have traditionally been better than Canon's. Canon's lens selection and pricing at the extra high-end have traditionally been better than Nikons.

    A $200 lens really isn't going to be very flexible or fantastic, so you should really concentrate on the kit lens- you'll get acceptable shots with one and not spend too much doing so- but you'll need to be shooting in relatively good light. Adding a fast 50mm will give you a nice low light lens with less flexibility than a zoom, but compliment a kit lens.

    You'll never hear those words out of any photography instructor worth their weight. It's the photographer who makes the shot- most comparable cameras (and heck, unless you're regularly going above 20x30" prints most dSLRs in general) are pretty much the same. You get better corner-case performance (High-ISO/low noise, extreme crops, etc.) with higher-priced models, but in a line, they'll all take the same lenses.

    Spend as little as you can on your first body and as much as you can on lenses, the lenses will last you much longer and make much more of a difference than the body does.

    Beware advice from fanboys/fangirls of any particular brand who evangelicacize that brand without any real "meat," or who don't shoot with entry-level cameras if that's what you're looking at. The real truth is that any brand works well these days, but there are trade-offs in sensor size, 3rd party equipment availability, features, etc. Personally, I'd go with either Canon or Nikon because you'll have the widest range of choices for lenses, bodies, rental equipment, and 3rd party equipment. Between the two, you'll get equivalent results from either one. Going with Pentax or Sony will give you more features in a particular body, especially at the low end, but less choices in bodies down the road if you decide a particular type of photography is more attractive to you and it requires specialized equipment. Pentax has the best backwards compatibility for lenses, followed by Nikon if you have or want to buy used lenses.

    If you've got friends or family with one particular system, don't overlook the value of being able to borrow lenses.

    Off-camera flash and a good tripod will do more for your photography than any other two accessories once you've got the base kit, so start budgeting for those pretty quickly.
     
  15. marclapierre13 macrumors 6502a

    marclapierre13

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    #15
    You're going to get beat up saying something like that ;)

    Seriously though, thats just a fanboy talking. There are several different option available for entry level cameras. I personally like Pentax, with their K100D. I find it more affordable than the XTi, and I like the way it works better. Also, if you can spend a little more, the Nikon D40X is a beautiful camera as well. I personally dislike Olympus's cameras (e510, e500), I find them bulky, and not that great quality.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    one thing to remember. You are buying into a brand. Switching later will be expensive. Buy a brand that you can live with for the next 10 or 15 years. This is why everyone recommends Nikon or Canon. You can trust those two companies to still be in business 20 years from now and they will both have what you want, whatever that may be. So... pick a brand first then pick a model to suit. If you already have Canon equipment and you like it then all you need is a body for the lens you have. Of course there is that 1.6x focal lenght multiplier effect so you existing lens may not be wide enough to be of much use.

    This is also a good time to think about switching to Nikon. Look at the lenses you might buy ove the next 5 years and see which brand you like. Just remember switching is not easy later.
     
  17. amik macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #17
    Good advice. Take a look around some forums (Nikonians, dpreview, some canon forum) and see what people are saying about the lens offerings. There are inevitable "I wish Nikon/Canon made a pro-quality 17-300mm f/2.8 for $500" threads, just ignore those and read people's actual experiences and look at some of their photos.

    I personally use a D50 which I very much enjoy, and since I have invested in a few lenses, I'll probably be with Nikon for a good while. My 50mm f/1.8 is my favorite lens and it is pretty inexpensive.
     
  18. Sir Pancakes macrumors member

    Sir Pancakes

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #18
    Not true. Thats a PRO PHOTOGRAPHER talking. I make my living taking pictures, and of the 100+ other pro photographers I know, NONE of them use anything other than a Nikon, Canon, or Hasselblad. So why buy a camera that doesn't have a very upgradable path, when you can get something that will expand as your skills expand.
     
  19. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    May 9, 2006
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    around/about
    #19
    You guys are making me feel bad for having ordered a new Pentax.

    The primary motivator, I think, was that my father has some quite-decent K-mount lenses for his old Pentax Super Program that I'm planning on appropriating. Should save me a bit of money as I learn to use the thing.
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #20
    Don't!
    I obviously haven't seen the K20D and the K200D, but I quite like the K10D. Pentax offers a nice set of lenses which are mostly designed by Tokina. Tokina and Pentax are owned by Hoya, the largest Japanese manufacturer of optical glass -- they know how to make good lenses. For the average photographer, they have a rather complete set of lenses. Ditto for Olympus and Sony (which uses Minolta's lens mount).
     
  21. Sir Pancakes macrumors member

    Sir Pancakes

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #21
    Not to say that Pentax and the others can't take good pics. They can take just as good of pics as the Canon Digital Rebel. But if you are looking to ever take pics as more than a hobby, you will need to be in the Nikon and Canon world. The lens, accessory, and pro options for the other brands just aren't there.
     
  22. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #22
    I just bought a Canon 350D last spring and I've been enjoying it quite a bit. I don't think it feels unnatural at all like others have said. If you get the Field Guide for the camera it explains how to use all the settings and menu options.
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #23
    It's not about that. Even if you master all the settings and buttons, it still won't fit like a glove. It's a personal thing, though -- that's why people should try cameras before they buy.
     
  24. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #24
    *shrug* If you're talking about ergonomics, I think it feels fine in my hands. I never thought that it felt awkward.
     
  25. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #25
    That's what I was saying before: it's something personal, try it, then buy it. :)
     

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