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First DSLR

by smashley1985 / November 20, 2007 7:00 AM PST

Hi all,

I am looking at getting a DSLR. I am going back to South Africa early 2009 and want to get my DSLR soon so that I can be reasonably confident with it when I get to Kruger National Park.

I don?t have a lot of money, but know the importance of getting a good lens over a good body.

I've settled on Canon I think (but can be swayed to Nikon because this is my first serious camera so I really have no idea which brand is going to offer me a better short-term / long-term option).

Here is what I am thinking:

Canon EOS 400D with EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at RRP AU$3097 or eBay ~AU$2000 (includes 4GB memory cards (2), filters (3), USB card reader, Lowepro bag, hard case, tripod, cleaning kit)


Canon EOS 40D with EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at RRP AU$3898 or eBay ~AU$2500 (includes 8GB memory card, filters (3), USB card reader, Lowepro bag, hard case, tripod, cleaning kit)


Canon EOS 40D with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and a EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM through eBay for ~AU$2900 (includes extra batteries (2), 4GB card and Hoya UV filter)

I?m not sure what to buy. Given this is my first DSLR, will I benefit from the Canon 40D compared to the 400D? Am I a little more ?future proof? buying the 40D given it has recently been released? Do I get the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens or step up to the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and get a cheaper third party (say Sigma) lens for when I need something wider (the Sigma 17-70?). Are the lenses I have chosen okay for learning how to photograph wildlife, landscapes and nature? Also, I've read there is a rumored Canon 450D on the way. Is this worth waiting for if it is due in February (only really a couple of months away which gives me more time to save). What about the Nikon D300 in a few months if the price comes down?

Also, what are the problems with buying off eBay? Obviously the AU$2900 option is an amazing deal. RRP that would set me back AU$5097. Are there big issues with warranty? Has anyone had experience with eBay? I'm in Australia so will a product from Hong Kong or USA cause problems if there is a Canon error with the product?

Ideally I would want a better telephoto zoom, but to step up to something with IS because I will be doing mostly handheld shooting is too much of a jump right now in price for me. I will try and add either a better telephoto zoom before my trip (maybe save for the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM) AU$2500 is my max budget, but I will stretch to the AU$2900 if the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is really worth it.

Anyway, if anyone has any advice or suggestions I would really appreciate it - I know this is a long ramble, but I want to make sure I'm getting this right because I doubt I'll update the body for a few years and probably won't be able to add a lens for a while (maybe a telephoto just before I go on my holiday).


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Have you checked out the....
by Papa Echo / November 20, 2007 7:34 AM PST
In reply to: First DSLR

...Olympus E-3 and E-510 ? (to add to the dilemma ! )

The E-3 has "live view", and both has IS (in camera), so all your lenses are IS-ed .

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IS better in lens?
by smashley1985 / November 20, 2007 8:01 AM PST

Isn't IS in the lens better ala the Canon and Nikon setups?

(I'm so confused! Too many choices and too much money but I'm ready to go up from P&S)

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by pooky5333 / November 20, 2007 9:08 AM PST
In reply to: IS better in lens?

i think that the 40d is a great camera but to top that for 100 dollars there is the sony alpha-700 which is great. It also has dual memory card slots to save more pictures in

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Yes, IS in the lens is the better method, and the 40D
by Kiddpeat / November 20, 2007 3:20 PM PST
In reply to: IS better in lens?

is a top notch camera. Check its recent review at DPReview.

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by Papa Echo / November 20, 2007 5:38 PM PST
In reply to: IS better in lens? the lens is more effective, not necessarily "better". If it is "in camera"( actually built-in to the sensor), you have it all the time, what ever lens you use. Not every lens is IS-ed.

I would say that "IS" is more of a gimmick to help sell the cameras than an aid to photography. By the time and conditions where you need IS, and you cannot "workaround"- e.g. increasing shutter speed or zooming lower, (make shutter the 1/x of focal length)you really need a tripod. Anyway, it is nice to have it.

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Yes.. Canon 40D is the right choice...
by jump1127 / November 20, 2007 10:45 PM PST
In reply to: First DSLR

But, for the lenses, no ultimate answer. Don't haste to get them all at once. Find out what's your budget and what you really shoot most. Otherwise, you'll end up with many unused lenses. Tripod and flash are also the must. Don't just select IS lenses. In fact, many IS lenses tend to have more flare and ghostly effect when shooting against the strong light. Any way, it's good to have IS system if you'll be shooting under the dim light condition and more zoom. Good luck.

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IS questions and eBay
by smashley1985 / November 21, 2007 3:58 AM PST

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I'm looking at IS lenses for my first DSLR lenses because I think I'll rarely be doing tripod shots - more walking around trying to take interesting photos so I can learn about my camera. I have been told that IS is really great to have when shooting wildlife which will be one of my top uses for the camera.

If you can't use a tripod with a non-IS lens, how do you minimise hand shake? Faster shutter speed and lower stops (sorry, I might have got the terms mixed up, still learning).

Does anyone have any experience buying cameras or lenses off eBay?


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If you are looking for new lenses, don't use eBay.
by Kiddpeat / November 21, 2007 9:33 AM PST
In reply to: IS questions and eBay

You will always pay more than the item is worth. If you want used equipment, eBay is one place to look.

If you are looking for the lowest possible prices, you will wind up paying prices that are too good to be true.

To minimize hand held camera shake, you need shutter speed. You get shutter speed from larger apertures, such as an f2.8, and from higher ISO settings. Larger apertures reduce depth of field, and higher ISO increases noise. That's one reason the 40D's low noise performance is important. You can also try to brace the camera against something solid when you shoot.

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Canon camera and lens
by hjfok / November 22, 2007 2:09 PM PST
In reply to: First DSLR

Canon and Nikon are both great choice.
Canon 40D not doubt is a better camera than the 400D.

Lens wise, the 24-105 f/4L IS is a better fit for the 5D than the 40D, because you won't have wide angle on the 40D. The best general purpose lens for 40D is the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS which costs about the same as the 24-105 f/4L IS but it has wide angle and a wider aperture f/2.8. This lens is good for general purpose, landscape and barely enough for portrait. If this is too much, then consider just getting the kit lens 18-55mm which is good enough for general purpose and landscape. The main advantage of the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is its better low light performance when not using flash, and its f/2.8 aperture when doing portraits. The 17-85 mm IS lens has IS and a longer reach but overall image quality is similar to the 18-55mm kit lens.
If you like to shoot photos of wild life at a distance, then you need a good tele lens. The 70-300mm lens is not so good, especially poor in the 200-300mm range. You'll be happier with the EF 70-200mm f/4L lens, which is good for portraits and wild life. The IS version is even better and the IS is a great feature for tele lens to decrease blurring from camera shakes. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS is a classic but it is expensive and hefty, and it may not fit your budget. The 70-200mm f/4L should fit your budget, similar price to the 17-85mm IS lens, and is probably a better investment than the 17-85 mm IS lens. Its optical quality is similar to the classic 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in good outdoor lighting.
For wild life at a greater distance, you will likely need the EF 100-400mm IS L lens. And for shooting bird photos, you will need 600mm lens. But you can also consider buying a 1.4x (or 2x) extender to extend the reach of the 70-200mm or 100-400mm lens.

My suggestion is to get the 18-55mm kit lens and 70-200mm f/4L lens if your budget is a little tight. Third party lens are generally not as good. You go to the store to handle the 400D and the 40D to see which one you like better. The 40D feels better in the hand than the smaller 400D.

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