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Which DSLR brand and model

by twowards97 / May 18, 2009 5:00 AM PDT

I have had a Canon point and shoot for a few years and am getting ready to buy a DSLR. I still have my 35mm EOS Rebel with 35-85mm and 75-300 mm EF lenses and filters and a teleconverter, I have really missed having an SLR but have been waiting for the prices to drop. My dilema now is what to get, I would say I am definitely more than a newbie but not quite a pro. I have taken a couple of classes and enjoy playing with all of the settings. Should I lean towards another Canon since I have a lens that I can use already. I know the 35-85mm EF wont do me much good with the focal length factor and the lens that will come with it. Is having the 75-300mm worth sticking with Canon? My children do gymnastics indoors and I would like to be able to shoot that, no flash is allowed though. I also do some shots of baseball and other activities along with the usual family events. I am usually designated as the family photographer. Can I go with the Rebel XSI or should I go to the 40D? Is the extra $300-400 worth the additional ISO stops and buffer times? I see most people rate the Nikon D90 higher, should I just scrap the Canon and go with Nikon. I have been chewing on all the data for a while and have been reluctant to pull the trigger.

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Which branch of D-SLR
by hjfok / May 18, 2009 8:29 AM PDT

If you do indoor sports, you will need a fast lens. Nikon or Canon? It's really up to your preference. There is not going to be much noticeable performance difference, both can handle these shots quite well.
I have the Canon 30D and usually use the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS for indoor and outdoor sports photos for my 4 year old. The lens is much more important for low light action photos than the camera body. You need at least f/2.8 or faster for indoor action shots. Your 70-300mm will not be adequate for indoor action shots. If this is too expensive, then there is the EF 100mm f/2.8, and you can use the 70-300mm for outdoor sports photo. The 18-55mm IS kit lens is usually okay for general purpose use, but will need flash indoor. I have the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS which is a great lens for general and low light use. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS is a better match for the full frame D-SLR. For sports photos, you will typically like to have at least 5 fps but you should do okay with less.

So Canon 40D/50D or Nikon D90 are all good choices. If you get the fast prime tele lens and use the old Canon tele for outdoor, then you can save some money buying the Canon system. But if you are going to get all new lenses and camera bodies, then either one will be good.

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Anyone else having this problem?
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / May 18, 2009 10:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Which branch of D-SLR

I can't see the initial post by the OP on any thread, just see the replies.

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Yes
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / May 18, 2009 2:00 PM PDT
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don't base your decision on the 75-300
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / May 18, 2009 10:55 PM PDT

The 75-300 is the worst telephoto lens that Canon still makes. If you had the 70-300IS USM then it'd be a different story. If you had some nicer lens then I'd stick with Canon, but I think you can look at other brands.

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Think like a Photographer
by drborchers / May 19, 2009 6:31 AM PDT

Think like a Photographer. Put the various cameras in your hand and get a feel for them. How does it handle? Are the menus easy? Are the functions you want accessed by a button push or in a menu? Pop up flash is only so adequate so check out the manufacturers flashes. What kind of lenses do you need? Image stabilizaton is great to have because fast lenses=expensive lenses. What about other accessories?

If your lenses are more than 5 years old, I would consider just starting over with a new camera/2 lens kit. You won't spend much more but new lenses will function much better, especially those designed for digital.

As the old saying from the film era goes "The camera is just a box that holds the lens and the film." That "box" is obviously much more complex than yester-year, having taken the place of the film. Stick with 10+megapixels and a body that feel right for you. Personally I am a Canon person, but I don't think you could go wrong with anything out there.

Find the camera that you will enjoy using, and get out there and use it.

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Agree...
by forkboy1965 / May 19, 2009 12:21 PM PDT

I couldn't agree more with drborchers reply.

I moved from a Nikon 35mm film camera to nothing but Canon digital point-n-shoots, to a Canon 40D, but had been looking very hard at the Nikon D80.

For me the most important aspect was how well the camera fit into my hand and in my instance the 40D was better balanced and arranged than was either the Nikon D80 or D300.

Get out there and try a bunch and see how they feel. The one that most feels like an extension of your hand will likely serve you best as you'll greatly enjoy working with it.

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Don't forget third party lenses
by Mgradyc / May 20, 2009 4:44 PM PDT

Your current lens inventory should have a negligable impact on your decision, since it really won't be that useful in a gym without a flash. And indoors sports is all about the lens.

I currently use a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII XR on a Canon Rebel XTi body for shooting high school winter guard groups in basketball gymnasiums. These groups prohibit flash like the gymnastics groups do.
I primarily do shots of the entire group for the leader to self critique their performances, but also can get in close enough when sitting in the first few rows to get some isolation shots.

This lens has been highly touted and won several awards. It gives optical quality comparable to the equivalent Canon lens typically selling for over twice as much. The focuser is not USM, so it is louder, and it doesn't feel as expensive as the L-series, but the proof is in the performance. In that regard I have been VERY happy with this purchase.

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/289-tamron-af-17-50mm-f28-sp-xr-di-ii-ld-aspherical-if-canon-test-report--review
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-17-50mm-f-2.8-XR-Di-II-Lens-Review.aspx

Since third party lenses are available in a variety of mounts, you can go with whichever body you want to. For indoor sports, I would look at who is currently the leader in low noise/noise reduction at high ISO settings. Not only in camera, but in their processing software as well. When I bought my XTi a while back, Canon was, but the D90 may be a bit better than the XSi. I don't know how the new T1i lines up in that respect but it is about half the price as a 50D and shares a LOT of features with it.

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Indoor action shots
by hjfok / May 21, 2009 6:37 AM PDT

For indoor action shots, the most useful telezoom is 70-200mm f/2.8 with image stablization. The 17-55mm range is too short for close up shots, unless you can get very close to your subjects. I typically stay some distance away so as not to distract the children from their sports. If you use 17-55mm lens, then you will end up doing some significant cropping.
Here are a couple of my photos to give you some perspective, using the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, at 200mm:
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u45/hjfok/CA%20Dodgers%20Team%20Photos/IMG_7819.jpg
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u45/hjfok/2008%20Travel%20Photos/BeijingOperaAcrobats.jpg (this one is cropped and taken at ISO 1600, using an older camera Canon 30D, handheld, so there is some noticeable noise).

If you use 17-55mm lens, then you will need to crop a lot more and end up with even more noise. Here is a photo taken with the same camera at the same ISO 1600 using the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS:
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u45/hjfok/Stage%20photos/IMG_2741.jpg
And after cropping, it has noticeably more noise:
http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u45/hjfok/Stage%20photos/IMG_2741_1.jpg

Nikon has the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, and Sigma has the 70-200mm f/2.8 without image stabilization. Both are excellent.

If these are still too expensive, then the Canon 100mm f/2.8 can be considered. But you should look at fast lenses at 100mm or longer focal length for indoor action, unless you routinely take your shots closeup.

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Buy body for high ISO/Low noise performance.
by Mgradyc / May 21, 2009 1:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Indoor action shots

To "hjfok"- Perhaps you misunderstood my post. I was not advocating he needs the 17-55mm, just giving an example from my own experience of a third party lens that offers comparable performance at a serious fraction of the price of the body manufacturers' own lenses. If you read the post again you will see I use the lens primarily for wider shots of 4-10 performers to show how well they are in sync as well as each girl's individual form. But as I also said, when sitting in the first few rows, tight enough shots are possible with a little cropping. Since these rows are packed at these events, and there is an "official" photographer standing right at the edge of the floor with a full frame body and a huge two foot long, 50 pound, monopod mounted lens there is no additional intimidation factor.

I also use the Canon EFS 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS but getting good shots in a gym at ISO 800 (ISO 1600 gets a LOT noisier on the XTi) are right on the edge of this lens' capability. Even monopod mounted with IS on when zoomed in the f/5.6 aperture requires a shutter speed too slow for the subject. Stationary objects are fine, but the moving performer isn't about 1/2 the time. Even a constant aperture f/4 or f/3.5 would be much better, or a body that could shoot at ISO 1600 or 3200 with no more noise than I can get out of the XTi at 800.

The main point I was trying to make is chose the body with the best low light/low noise performance because there are good lenses on the market for both Canon and Nikon among others.

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High ISO and lens
by hjfok / May 21, 2009 6:32 PM PDT

I understand what you're saying in the post. But the original post mentions interest in taking indoor photos of children doing gymnastics, so the 70-200mm lens is better suited for that purpose. Obviously the 17-55mm lens suits what you need, but not what most people need for a sports lens. Therefore I add a post to address what the original post may need, it is not meant as a reply for your post. And I definitely do not imply you choose the wrong lens. The choice of lens depends on what you try to shoot.
As for the problem of high ISO noise vs getting adequate speed to freeze action, I think most photographers will rather have a photo with more noise and able to freeze the moment of peak action, rather than to have a blurry photo with less noise. You can fix the noise problem using softwares like Noise Ninja. There is nothing you can do to salvage a blurry photo. So don't be afraid to use high ISO, crank it up if that's what you need to get a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster. And if your lens has IS, then turn it off when mounting the camera on a tripod, some IS will act weird and make the photo blurry when mounted on a tripod. Monopod may be okay to keep the IS on since the camera may still be slightly unsteady.
As for the high ISO/low noise performance, most current D-SLR CMOS sensors are pretty close, whether it is Canon or Nikon. Some difference is due to camera processing. Use RAW if you want to maximize image quality. However, as you have stated, getting a fast lens is still the most important.
There are different opinions about third party lens. Using original manufacturer lens will have the best performance. Some third party lenses do not autofocus as fast as the manufacturer lenses even the specifications may look the same on paper (which is the case for the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 when compared to the Canon or Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8). For action photography, that can be critical, and can be the difference between a sharp vs soft image (with a higher percentage of keepers for the manufacturer lens). For landscape and still photography, it may be harder to notice performance difference of a third party lens. So if you can afford it, I will recommend getting the manufacturer fast lenses. But if budget is limited, then getting a third party fast lens is much better than getting a manufacturer slow telezoom.

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Thanks
by twowards97 / May 21, 2009 11:35 PM PDT
In reply to: High ISO and lens

Thanks to all who have replied, I have been struggling with this for over a month now. I am definitely on a tighter budget than a couple of the posters. I was looking at a 40D or 50D, for whatever reason I like Canon, my 35mm SLR took some awesome pics and my current Canon point and shoot does very well too. Like some of you stated, I think Canon and Nikon sensors are extremely close based on the reading I have done. It looks like I may lean towards a Rebel XSI and put the $400 to $500 savings towards a good/fast lens! Any thoughts on a XSI .vs 40D from the Canon users?

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Canon XSI vs 40D
by hjfok / May 22, 2009 2:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

Here is a side by side comparison:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?method=sidebyside&cameras=canon_eos450d%2Ccanon_eos40d&show=all

So the 40D has ISO 3200, faster 6.5 fps, among other minor differences. They both have the same size CMOS sensor (the MP difference is negligible), same image procesor DIGIC III and similar 9 point AF (though the 40D has a slightly better performance).

Getting a fast lens with aperture at least f/2.8 or large will be far more important than the performance difference of these 2 camera bodies. If you have a slow tele lens, the AF will be slower and the camera keeps hunting for the focus, which will eliminate any advantage of a faster fps. The ISO 3200 is noisy, but at least can help to freeze the shot in challenging lighting condition. However having a faster lens will be better than shooting at higher ISO.

For the Canon 55-250mm IS is a kit tele and costs about $255. The next step-up 70-300mm IS lens, a decent but slow mid range tele, costs about $550. The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is much faster and costs about $800. So you can definitely apply the $400-500 savings to get the Sigma fast tele, which is superior to the other two slow teles.

So I will suggest you get the XSI and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 rather than the 40D and a slow tele. And this Sigma lens is also great for portraits. It is not as good as the Canon or Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 but it is still a very good lens, you will not regret it. I will not get the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8, since reviews have reported significantly slower AF, which will be very annoying for action photos (and beats the purpose of a fast telezoom).

Here is a link to the Sigma lens review:
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma_70-200_2p8_n15/page6.asp

And here is some user reviews:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=533555&is=REG&si=rev#anchorToReadReviews

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D50 vs. Rebels
by Mgradyc / May 23, 2009 12:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

In your situation I think I'd consider the new Rebel T1i, as it is running only about $150 more than the XSi. For that you get Digic 4 instead of three, and HD video if that would be something you would use. Also 15 MP instead of 12 which really isn't much difference. The only real advantages I see in the 50D are better noise performance (about one stop- ISO 1600 looks about like 800 in the Rebels), the faster frame rate (6.3 vs 3.5) and the ability to shoot RAW at lower resolutions (increasing burst performance in terms of number of shots before the buffer fills up). If you're happy shooting jpeg both have plenty of headroom.

I concur that in the 70-200 f/2.8 comparison, the Sigma is preferable to the Tamron. The slow focusing problems with the Tamron seem to be body specific. I read one customer review a while back where the Tamron had all kinds of trouble on the reviewer's Nikon D80, but the same lens worked as expected on his D40.

http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-70-200mm-Macro-Digital-Cameras/product-reviews/B0012GLHL2/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R1541K2G7U81K8
see the review by Ismet Utebayev "Ismeticus" about half way down the first page.

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Third party lenses a possibility as well
by Mgradyc / May 21, 2009 10:43 AM PDT

Your current lens inventory should have a negligable impact on your decision, since it really won't be that useful in a gym without a flash. And indoors sports is all about the lens.

I currently use a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII XR on a Canon Rebel XTi body for shooting high school winter guard groups in basketball gymnasiums. These groups prohibit flash like the gymnastics groups do.
I primarily do shots of the entire group for the leader to self critique their performances, but also can get in close enough when sitting in the first few rows to get some isolation shots.

This lens has been highly touted and won several awards. It gives optical quality comparable to the equivalent Canon lens typically selling for over twice as much. The focuser is not USM, so it is louder, and it doesn't feel as expensive as the L-series, but the proof is in the performance. In that regard I have been VERY happy with this purchase.

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/289-tamron-af-17-50mm-f28-sp-xr-di-ii-ld-aspherical-if-canon-test-report--review
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-17-50mm-f-2.8-XR-Di-II-Lens-Review.aspx

Since third party lenses are available in a variety of mounts, you can go with whichever body you want to. For indoor sports, I would look at who is currently the leader in low noise/noise reduction at high ISO settings. Not only in camera, but in their processing software as well. When I bought my XTi a while back, Canon was, but the D90 may be a bit better than the XSi. I don't know how the new T1i lines up in that respect but it is about half the price as a 50D and shares a LOT of features with it.

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Oooops, sorry for the double post
by Mgradyc / May 21, 2009 1:54 PM PDT

When I originally posted my reply, the site was having technical issues and it did not appear my post was submitting correctly. I posted this afternoon before checking again to see if it had. My apologies.

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Thanks!
by twowards97 / May 21, 2009 11:36 PM PDT

Thanks to all who have replied, I have been struggling with this for over a month now. I am definitely on a tighter budget than a couple of the posters. I was looking at a 40D or 50D, for whatever reason I like Canon, my 35mm SLR took some awesome pics and my current Canon point and shoot does very well too. Like some of you stated, I think Canon and Nikon sensors are extremely close based on the reading I have done. It looks like I may lean towards a Rebel XSI and put the $400 to $500 savings towards a good/fast lens! Any thoughts on a XSI .vs 40D from the Canon users?

Sorry for the double post.

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An additional thought - I've been there
by tbweld / May 26, 2009 12:13 AM PDT

I agree with the advice you've been given. I shoot indoor hockey and VBall for my kid's teams and have struggled with this. I recently bought a Nikon D90. Its my first Nikon and I'm very happy with it. The D90 has low noise up to 3200 ISO and I need it indoors. I don't have the 70-200 ISO f2.8 and wish I did. Can't afford it right now. I have a Nikkor 18-200 f 3.5-5.6. I can get the indoor shots but am pushing the limits. If I were going for a 3rd party lens, I'd go for the Tamaron over the Sigma. 70-200 f2.8.

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Tamron Advice
by Mgradyc / May 26, 2009 12:54 PM PDT

The thing to remember about Tamron lenses is that as far as autofocus goes they are reverse engineered for each camera manufacturers bodies. This means they should work well with bodies that were already out when Tamron released the lens. Because they don't actually license the technology from the camera makers, there is no guarantee of 100% compatibility with the newer bodies. I would be careful to buy the lens somewhere I could return it when putting a lens released in late 2003 (the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di) on the D90, a body released less than a year ago. I'm actually surprised we haven't seen an updated DiII version of this lens by now.

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Tameron
by tbweld / May 26, 2009 11:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Tamron Advice

I didn't know about the compatibility but it makes total sense. Thanks for the tip. I'm usually preoccupied with the quality of optics.

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Beware of autofocus inconsistency problem with Tamron 70-200
by hjfok / May 27, 2009 12:23 PM PDT

There are at least 2 reviews that notice subpar autofocus performance of the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. For an action lens, AF accuracy and speed are the most important, but Tamron seems to have the worst performance when compared to Canon, Nikon and even with Sigma. Its still images have high quality but most people bought this type of fast tele for action photos rather than portraits.

Here are two reviews:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-70-200mm-f-2.8-Di-Macro-Lens-Review.aspx

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/tamron_70-200_2p8_c16/page5.asp

And this is a Nikon user opinion about the Tamron lens, again slow focus in low light is the main weakness of this lens:
http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00QfnB

The very reason why people pay extra money and sacrifice their shoulder to get a fast tele to be able to capture low light actions. And the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 seems to have failed this very purpose.

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Depends on the camera body
by Mgradyc / May 30, 2009 7:00 AM PDT

Please note that the bodies used in every one of those reviews was released after the lens in question, which has been out about 6 years. These bodies have been out 3 years or less, with the exception of the EOS 1D mkII, which came out about six months after the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. When reverse engineering a lens, it would be hard to make a lens compatible with models that don't yet exist, and won't for several years. Some bodies, the Nikon D40 for example, don't have the focusing issues with this lens until you're in almost total darkness.

Would I buy the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8? Only if I could return it for a full refund if it proved to be incompatible with my body. If Tamron releases a Di II version of this lens would I be interested? Absolutely.

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