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Old Feb 9, 2007, 1:15 AM   #1
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Hi everyone. This is my first post in this forum (I guess it's my second - I don't remember the first). I love to take pictures and I love to play with Photoshop. I am in IT for a living so the computer part of photography is lots of fun for me.

Currently I only own a Canon SD700 IS P&S. Actually I love it quite a lot. It fits into my pocket and takes great pictures, especially after I've played with them a little in PS.

However, I would like to learn more about photography and the SD700 IS is not going to provide me that opportunity as it doesn't support much manual operation.

OK, I said there was a twist. Here it is: The corporation I work for has an awards program. I have been with the company for many years and over time have accumulated a lot of these award points. Now I want to use them to get my first DSLR. The two important things to consider are:

1. I can only choose from among those offered in the program
2. For me it will be COMPLETELY FREE! Price is eliminated from the consideration (how's that for a twist).

Here are the cameras that I could get:

Canon Rebel XTi with standard 18-55mm kit lens
Nikon D50 with standard 18-55mm kit lens
Sony A100 with standard kit lens
Olympus E-500 with standard kit lens

Agreed, I am only a beginning amateur in photography. But I like to have quality technology and I would like to be able to grow with the camera for a while instead of having to buy another one.

With these parameters in mind, I would like to hear some opinions of which camera you think I should get (remember, it's for free so price differences are not interesting).

Thanks everyone in advance for helping me figure out what to do here.

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Old Feb 9, 2007, 6:35 AM   #2
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Goldberg96 wrote:
Here are the cameras that I could get:

Canon Rebel XTi with standard 18-55mm kit lens
Nikon D50 with standard 18-55mm kit lens
Sony A100 with standard kit lens
Olympus E-500 with standard kit lens

Rob, first off - congratulations. It's always nice when you get something for free. From a BODY standpoint, I'd say these cameras are in roughly the order of quality - the XTi being the best and the Olympus being at the bottom. The only real benefit to Olympus is the cheap price of the body and nice kit lens, IMO. Since you're not paying I would remove them from the running. The Sony Alpha had a lot of fanfare when it was released but that quickly subsided when every other manufacturer released new cameras after it.

I think the choice comes down to the Canon or the Nikon. The Canon is 3 years newer than the Nikon and is probably the better camera. But, a lot of people (me included and I own a Canon) don't like the small plastic feel and small grip of the Canon XT & XTi. The D50 definitely has a better feel to it and that can be important. The Nikon lens is also a little better although not by much. Now, the other thing to consider is you are buying into a system. The other nice thing about Canon or Nikon is that they have the largest selection of lenses and accessories available although they can get pricy. Nikon has the benefit of a better flash system, but Canon has the benefit of slightly less expensive lenses and better high ISO performance (if that's important to you). So either system is a good investment.

I would suggest going to a local store and handling both cameras to see if one appeals to you more. How the camera feels and operates is an important (and often ignored) consideration.
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Old Feb 9, 2007, 7:55 AM   #3
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It's free ride free choice right?

If you're good in math, if you want to play with the number's game, if you're a businessman....take the XTI real quick, turn around and sell it, take the money and laugh or keep the camera for your photo hobby after you get tired of it sell it, you still make some money easy.

The XTI has some Canon latest technologies 10MP camera, easy to use, appeal to all ages either for amateur first camera or pro second body, 10MP pictures can crop at will, CanonXTI has free basic raw software included in thebox.

You have no problem to sell it, as soon as you put it in the paper, it'll be gone the same day.

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Old Feb 9, 2007, 9:49 AM   #4
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I agree with JohnG-

However, the choice is yours. Before you do make a decision, be sure to physically handle the DSLR cameras in question. See how they feel in hand and how comfortable the grip is for you.

With your technical background, there will be a learning curve, but it is probably very do-able.

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Old Feb 9, 2007, 10:11 AM   #5
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i agree with the others, make sure you physically try out the camera. I owned the Rebel XT for 6 weeks and returned it coz it was too small even for my small hands. I returned it and got the D50. That said, the others are right that these cameras are not all in the same level.

If I were you I'd get the Rebel XTi. If you find that it's too small for your hands, then get the battery grip, to make it bigger. Then, at least you got the most expensive and best of the free cameras!

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Old Feb 9, 2007, 2:34 PM   #6
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I agree with everyone else that the XTi is the best of the group. The handling seems to be the biggest complaint, but that's a very individual thing. Give it try out first.

I would put the Sony A100 in second place. It's a higher end, more recent model than the next two, with some advantages in it's features. In camera stabilization would be the most significant difference. I have some doubts about how committed Sony will remain to the DSLR market if it is as competitive as I expect over the next year or two and they find the profit margins aren't there. Comparing just the cameras, this is actually close to the XTi for me. The Canon lens lineup makes the XTi first choice.

The last two would be very close for me. Olympus has some major drawbacks in terms of noise at higher ISO, the worst viewfinder of these, and only 3 AF points. But I think build quality is equal, and it has a small edge in handling, and features. And I like the quality and value of the intermediate Zuiko lenses, though Nikon would offer a wider range of available lenses and accessories. For either of these, they would probably have to offer the two lens kit for me to consider it against the A-100.

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