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dSLR recommendations?

by JuniperJenny / November 2, 2009 2:12 AM PST

I've been urgently wanting to purchase a dSLR for about a year now, and have recently begun to do my due diligence. I'm not a photography expert by any means, but I have narrowed down my options to three dSLRs. It would be great if anyone could point me in the right direction with their advice on which of the following would be a great starter SLR with ease of use, excellent photo quality and good zoom features (I will probably get a lens kit once I get better at using the camera).

* Canon EOS Rebel XSi
* Canon EOS Rebel T1i
* Nikon d5000

Also, I don't think there are any newer models coming out so I should probably make the purchase right now or duing the holiday season and snag a good deal?

Thank you!
-JJ

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Any of them
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / November 2, 2009 3:33 AM PST
In reply to: dSLR recommendations?

The differences between them are so small that you wouldn't be able to notice the difference. If you don't plan on doing video, which is pretty difficult with a DSLR, then choose the XSI over the T1I. Really, just go to the store, play around with them, check out the menus, and choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

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thanks
by JuniperJenny / November 2, 2009 4:20 AM PST
In reply to: Any of them

thanks kalel33... I was leaning towards the XSi but read mixed reviews that the T1i had better overall features? And the Nikon d5000 also has great cnet reviews.

I was (still am) at a standstill.

I agree.. I should go to a store and get a feel for each of them!

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Yes, better overall features
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / November 2, 2009 5:44 AM PST
In reply to: thanks

If you need the slightly better screen or HD video. The extra megapixels only matter to people that crop like crazy. In reviews, there's no difference in performance and image quality. The only thing that is a negative for the D5000 is the lack of a focus motor, but for most people that won't matter. If you just plan on buying a few lens and aren't specializing in a certain area then you'll never notice.

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D-SLR choice
by hjfok / November 2, 2009 10:04 AM PST
In reply to: dSLR recommendations?

When shopping for D-SLR, it is important to know that you are buying a system of cameras, lenses and accessories. D-SLR needs different lenses and accessories to get the best results. So you should not just concentrate on one particular camera body/model. The basic accessories that one will need usually include an external bounce flash, a few lenses (wide angle, tele, etc), remote release, flash diffuser, etc, depending on what you shoot. This will add to your budget, so don't spend everything on the camera body. More features on the camera don't usually give you better photos. An additional lens, lighting, backdrops, etc will enhance your photo much more than some nonessential additional features on the camera body.
I spent more money on the lenses and accessories than the D-SLR camera bodies.
Also invest in some postprocessing softwares and learn how to use them. Digital darkroom is as important as the traditional darkroom in getting the perfect print. If you want the best print, then you still have to do it yourself (unless you send them to some hi end pro custom print shops). Make sure your computer has enough speed and storage space for these new high MP cameras, especially if you shoot HD videoes on SD cards or hard drive.
So you should budget your camera body price to be half your total budget or less.
Nikon and Canon are both excellent, buy the one that fits your budget and your hand. The entry level D-SLR grip can be a little bit small for some people, but most people do learn to adapt and how to navigate the menu pretty quickly.

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Wow..
by JuniperJenny / November 2, 2009 11:38 AM PST
In reply to: D-SLR choice

That is a wealth of information, thank you.. I find it really helpful. It is no wonder a friend of mine got a lens for more than the actual camera body (or in the same ballpark)! With all this information, I will make a wiser purchase. That said, do you think it would be a wise idea to get the body without the 18-55mm lens (in reference to Canon XSi), and then just purchase a separate lens.. I would then just have one lens. If this is a smart idea, do you know what lens I should get? I enjoy powerful zoom features.

And, great tip on my computer having enough storage space; I do need to upgrade my hard drive or just get a new desktop for that matter!

I am a complete greenhorn. Thanks for the help all.

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depends
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / November 2, 2009 12:07 PM PST
In reply to: Wow..

You can get the 18-200IS lens, but the 18-55IS kit lens will be optically superior. Large range zoom lens are for convenience, but give up image quality and sometimes speed for the sake of that convenience. The 18-55IS kit lens is great to start out with until you can find out what you like and dislike about it. That'll give you a much better understanding to what lens you want to get later. You can always sell the 18-55IS lens for more than you paid for it, kit vs body only.

The new 15-85IS lens seems really nice, but the price is at $650, I believe. It just came out and it'll take awhile for the price to drop. You might even find that you'd want a larger aperture lens, such as the 17-55IS F2.8, but that'll run you $1000.

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Basic D-SLR setup
by hjfok / November 3, 2009 7:01 AM PST
In reply to: Wow..

This varies with different needs. If you have definite ideas about your special needs, then you can skip the kit lens and go for the specific lens you need. But if you are not sure about what you like to shoot or need, then getting the kit lens will give you a good start. You should play around with the kit lens 18-55mm IS for a while, get familiar with the different functions, depth of field, focal length, shutter speed, metering, exposure control and compensation, etc. Then you may figure out what is missing from the kit lens, and go and buy the second/third lens. Perhaps you will need a fast tele (f/2.8 or faster) for night sports actions, macro for the little critters, soft lens for special portraits, superwide angle for landscape, tilt/shift lens for architectural studies, etc.

In general I will suggest to avoid the superzoom lenses. If you like superzoom, then consider the fixed lens superzoom. You decide to pursue D-SLR with interchangeable lenses, so you should take advantage of the changeable lenses. Superzoom lenses always have lower quality and compromises. If you just slab a superzoom lens on a D-SLR, you will not get too much more than a fixed lens ultrazoom camera. Many people will eventually discover that they need a fast lens with wide aperture for a nice bokeh effect or for handheld night photos. Superzoom lenses are all slow lenses, especially at the tele end.

I also strongly suggest you to consider getting an external bounce flash. This will help you a lot in learning how to control your lighting (using fill flash, second curtain flash, adjust flash output, etc). If you are interested in portraits, then also consider getting some studio lightings, reflectors, softboxes and backdrops. Green screen or chroma key is another really fun fantasy portraits that can be done easily at home, and wow your family and friends.

And of course you should have a tripod sturdy enough to hold the camera and lenses. Tripods will let you take some very fun long exposure night shots and keep you photos sharp.

There are also a lot of softwares that can make your postprocessing a snap and save you hours of painful editing.

There is a lot of fun and things to learn in photography, but you often have to spend some extra money to get the right accessories to make it more fun and enjoyable, and to expand your creativity. So don't dump all the money in just the camera body and one superzoom lens. You won't have as much fun.

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I made up my mind..
by JuniperJenny / November 3, 2009 10:37 PM PST
In reply to: Basic D-SLR setup

All,

With the arsenal of helpful advice from you, I think I've made up my mind. I am going to go with the Canon Rebel XSi and the 18-55mm IS lens. I found a great deal at us1photo.com for the body and the lens at under $600 (a real steal if you ask me).

As many of you advised, I first need to wrap my head around the use and feel of the camera and and learn all the technical terms and bring them to life in the development of my photography knowledge before dumping a lot of money on zoom lenses. I've briefly played with a few SLRs but really have no knowledge base to get ahead of myself right now.

These forums are amazing because of helpful folks like you all.

One last question before I make the purchase. If the description is as follows "Canon EOS Rebel XSi (450D) Black + 18-55mm IS Lens, 12.2MP Digital SLR" with all the below items included in the box, does that mean the "lens kit" you referred to is included, or is that only the lens? What is missing here?

- EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Autofocus Lens for Select Digital SLR Cameras
- Front & Rear Lens Caps
- Battery Pack
- Battery Charger
- IFC-200U USB Interface Cable
- VC-100 Video Cable
- Ef Eyecup
- EW-100DBIII Wide Neck Strap
- EOS Digital Solution Disk and Instruction Manuals on CD-ROM
- "Great Photography is Easy" Booklet and "Do More with Macro" Booklet
* 1-Year Limited Warranty

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Online retailers
by hjfok / November 4, 2009 4:20 AM PST
In reply to: I made up my mind..
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CNET certified..
by JuniperJenny / November 4, 2009 5:08 AM PST
In reply to: Online retailers

Their website did in fact appear suspect, so I ran a google search and came upon someone's blog which included a number of extremely negative reviews on this website! I think the best route to take is to go with a CNET-certified online retailer (B&H was on the list), but I will go with the most competitive offer.

I have now narrowed down my options to two different retailers that offer slightly different packages. Since I'm not certain which items are more vital than others, it would be immensely helpful if you (or anyone) can shed some light on which bundle is the better bargain?


1) BeachCamera.com (and BuyDig.com), both at $599 includes:

Rebel XSi Body (Black)
EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens with Optical Image Stabilizer
Eyecup Ef
Wide Strap EW-100DBIII
Video Cable VC-100
USB Interface Cable IFC-200U
Battery Pack LP-E5
Battery Charger LC-E5
EOS Digital Solution Disk and Instruction Manuals
"Great Photography is Easy" Booklet
"Do More with Macro" Booklet

* With this, does it make sense to get the add'l 55-250 IS lens only b/c there is a special offer ($200 instant rebate)?


2) Abe's at $665.17 includes:

EOS Rebel XSI Digital Camera w/ 18-55mm IS Lens Kit - Black Deluxe 3 Piece Lens and Camera Cleaning Kit
58-mm Multi-Coated UV Filter
8GB High Capacity SD Memory Card
LP-E5 Extended Life Lithium Ion Battery for Rebel XSi/ XS
CR325 SLR Digital Camera & Camcorder Bag


THANK YOU VM!

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I'd go with buydig at the cheaper price
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / November 4, 2009 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: CNET certified..

It'd also definitely be worth it to get the 55-250IS lens if you're getting a $200 rebate with it. The 55-250IS is a good consumer telephoto lens. Like with the kit lens, if you decide you want something better then you'll definitely make more money back by selling the 55-250IS later since you're getting a $200 rebate.

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