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  1. #1

    RiDE's Avatar
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    Digital Camera help???
    Ok... So I'd like to get more into photography... I am wanting to get a new camera. I know that it is about personal prefs, types of photo's etc... I need some help and recommendations.

    I currently have a Canon Powershot A40 (I think?). It's just a little pocket point-n-shoot.. it takes okay pictures, but not a ton of detail.

    I am interested in getting a DSLR... I like taking picture of People, landscapes, and macro (close-ups)... I am a novice (understatement). What would you recommend?

    Is this a good deal? HERE

    It has:
    # Neck strap EW-100 DGR
    # Video cable VC-100
    # Interface cable IFC-400PCU
    # Battery pack BP-511A
    # Battery charger CG-580
    # EOS digital solution disk
    # EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
    # Canon 75-300 mm III USM Compact Tele-Zoom Lens
    # Canon 30D Digital SLR Starter Kit with additional battery pack, UV haze filter and camera bag
    # 3 Toshiba CompactFlash® Cards, 1GB

    For about $1600.


    Thank you for reading my 1000th post!

  2. #2

    MBasile's Avatar
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    yeah, the canons are pretty good cameras, and having two lenses is a good head start. 8.2MP is also pretty good, some are getting up to 10MP now, but 8.2 is still pretty awesome

    and congrats on #1000...maybe I'll make it to 100 someday

  3. #3

    RiDE's Avatar
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    Thanks MBasile...

    What about the Rebel Xti or the Nikon D40?? Anyone have anything good or bad to say about these?

  4. #4

    Reel1's Avatar
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    Check out this site its a pretty good resource.


    http://www.dpreview.com/

  5. #5
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    Agreed, DPreview is excellent. Once again I'll recommend Kenrockwell.com for those who haven't checked it out.

    Like you said, it comes down to personal preference. I've handled both the xti/400d and D80 before deciding on the D80. Really disliked the way the canon is set out and the D80 seemed a lot more intuitive and I have a nikon 35mm SLR so that suited me better. I also prefer the top screen (Like the 30D you linked to) for displaying aperture/shutter etc. apparently the "main" viewer screen is difficult to view in bright sunlight. The D40 is very much a beginner SLR, there is a D40x now which is basicly the same but with more megapixels. As usual your decision shouldn't be on spec alone but by going and handling the ones that meet your minimum requirements and then choosing. If you go Nikon I'd suggest skipping the D40/x and going for the D70/80. If canon then go for the 30D. Just looking at the pics of the 30 D it looks a lot more comfortable to hold than the xti, which I found a little small.

  6. #6

    Odin_aa's Avatar
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    Some negatives to the D40 are flash sync of only 1/200th second, fastest shutter speed 1/4000th second. The body is (From what I hear have not held/seen one) very small.

    If you have the cash get a Canon 5D
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  7. #7


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    I don't know if that is a good deal in terms of price because pricing is very different in the US compared to how it is in the UK, basically you guys get it all a **** of a lot cheaper than we do but just looking at what you get for the money I'd say that the main thing you have to realise when changing from a compact to a DSLR is that a lens can make or break a camera.

    The 30D is a lovely camera (I own it too) and is capable of producing excellent results but to get the best from it you need good glass. The two lenses you get with that package are basic ones. They aren't bad lenses but then again they aren't that great either, one way to think of it is that, relatively speaking, they are no better or worse than your compact camera's lens (remember I'm talking relatively).

    Both of these lenses will allow you to take nice pictures but there is an argument that says that if you either don't want to or can't afford to spend a 'reasonable' amount on lenses than why not buy a slightly lower spec camera, in this case the 400D (not sure what it's called in the US) and then put the extra money towards better glass.

    As a 'ready made' kit that camera with those two lenses means you can start shooting virtually everything from wildlife to landscapes, portraits to sports but as you get more and more into it you'll start to realise and notice the short comings of these lenses. If you only want to dabble in photography you may never reach the stage where you feel you need to replace those lenses but if you want to get a bit more into it you may reach that stage in a year or so.

  8. #8


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    Quote Originally Posted by Odin_aa View Post
    Some negatives to the D40 are flash sync of only 1/200th second, fastest shutter speed 1/4000th second. The body is (From what I hear have not held/seen one) very small.

    If you have the cash get a Canon 5D
    An x-sync of 1/200th is hardly slow when you consider that the average prosumer camera has and x-sync of 1/250th and don't forget you can also use Focal Plane Flash Mode with all Canon and Sigma Speedlites.

    As for the Canon 5D, that's one **** of a jump from a compact don't you think? The 5D is a very good camera but it does have it's own 'problems' like being full frame you can't buy the cheaper digital only lenses and also this camera really shows up poor glass so you need to spend a small fortune just to get a basic kit together. Then of course there is sensor cleaning, for some reason it appears that Canon have assembled their sensor and filter in a different way to previous cameras which shouldnt have been a problem except that popular sensor cleaning solutions which never caused any problems on other cameras can now destroy the sensor leaving you with either a very expensive repair or a very expensive paper weight.

  9. #9

    CarlConti08's Avatar
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    digitalcamerainfo.com is also a good resource.

  10. #10

    Odin_aa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peakoverload View Post
    An x-sync of 1/200th is hardly slow when you consider that the average prosumer camera has and x-sync of 1/250th and don't forget you can also use Focal Plane Flash Mode with all Canon and Sigma Speedlites.

    As for the Canon 5D, that's one **** of a jump from a compact don't you think? The 5D is a very good camera but it does have it's own 'problems' like being full frame you can't buy the cheaper digital only lenses and also this camera really shows up poor glass so you need to spend a small fortune just to get a basic kit together. Then of course there is sensor cleaning, for some reason it appears that Canon have assembled their sensor and filter in a different way to previous cameras which shouldnt have been a problem except that popular sensor cleaning solutions which never caused any problems on other cameras can now destroy the sensor leaving you with either a very expensive repair or a very expensive paper weight.
    Never shot a D40, but the write up I read did not mention an FP sync availability.

    Yes, the 5D is a jump but to me all the cameras below that are apples to apples. Very minor differences between any of the low end SLR's from either manufacturer. First I heard of the sensor cleaning issue, that would suck big time to be one of the people to have found that out the hard way...I did say "if you can afford it" which means about 2K more than their low end stuff.
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  11. #11

    Odin_aa's Avatar
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    Also, If money is an issue buy used. You can get more camera for less than buying a new low end model. Look at older D100's or Canon 1D's, for myself I would be happier with the older high end technology than lower end new stuff.

    Nothing like buying a new SLR, then finding you wanted a better one so selling it for a loss and buying a model or two up...then doing it again. Depends on your personality and aspirations for photography.
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  12. #12

    RiDE's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info!!!
    As far as my aspirations in photography... I would just like to take some great frame worth photos... I spent about $2,600 on Family Photos/Portraits last year, and thought to myself... "c'mon, I should be able to take some really great shots of the kids and wife muyself" <----Not trying to take away from the photographer... he was great, and I had no problem spending the money as to me, it was worth it.

    As far as my personality goes... well, I tend to want the "next best thing"... to a point though.. I'm not ready to go from $400 point-and-shoot to the $3,200 D5... But the 30D seems like a "happy medium".

    Now... I'm sure the 2 lenses the come with the "kit" are the cheap lenses... But to an ametuer (though I am very picky when admiring photo's), am I going to look at say a 8" x 10" photo taken with these lenses, and see that the lenses are not all that great???

    Thanks again.

  13. #13

    Odin_aa's Avatar
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    Lenses are the more important part of the equation.

    What you get with more expensive lenses:

    Larger aperture ability. This is what allows you to take photographs in lower light and separate the subject from the background using a more shallow DOF.

    Better glass/build. The build will generally be more water/dust tight as well as give less CA/Distortion as well as provide better color, contrast, and clarity. If you study the OOF areas, better glass provides more smooth/pleasing OOF areas as well.

    Instead of getting two cheap zooms go with the kit lens and a 50mm f/1.8 so which you can find cheap but they are nice pieces of equipment.
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  14. #14


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    Quote Originally Posted by RIDE View Post

    Now... I'm sure the 2 lenses the come with the "kit" are the cheap lenses... But to an ametuer (though I am very picky when admiring photo's), am I going to look at say a 8" x 10" photo taken with these lenses, and see that the lenses are not all that great???
    Actually the problem with cheap lenses comes before seeing their results in print.

    Let me give you an example.

    Let's say you are trying to capture a bird of prey in flight, a fast moving subject requires a fast shutter speed and the chances are you will be using a focal length in excess of 200mm, this means that you are probably looking at using a shutter speed of 1/500th to avoid camera shake and too much motion blur. However the conditions are a little cloudy and your lens largest aperture is f/5.6 at that focal length. This means that with the available light you are unlikely to get a fast enough shutter speed so you could miss the shot and not have a 8" x 10" to look at.

    Okay, yes you can of course increase your ISO but the higher the ISO the more noise that is introduced. So lets say that at ISO 100 and using your lenses largest aperture of f/5.6 your camera told you the fastest shutter speed you could get was 1/125th. If you had a lens that could go to f/4 than the shutter speed would be 1/250th and if you had a lens that could go to f/2.8 it would be 1/500th.

    So basically better lenses will help to increase your hit/keep rate and reduce your miss/delete rate but that's not the complete picture either.

    The way a lens works is by focusing all the light rays entering the lens to a single point on the film or sensor, however as light enters the lens it gets picked up by the various lenses and parts of the light are defracted. If the lens defracts too much then you get what's called chromatic aberrations which typically shows up as a purple fringe to for example a tree's branches against a bright sky. Aberrations like this are more obvious in high contrast areas and although some of this can be corrected in software it is a bit of a pain and not ideal.

    So will you look at a 10" x 8" shot on either of your lenses and think "I wish I had better lenses"? Possibly. However what is more likely is you will eventually wish you had better lenses whilst you are actually taking the photos in the first place.

  15. #15

    Odin_aa's Avatar
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    And again...used.

    KEH is a great resource
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