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Old Apr 15, 2009, 7:59 AM   #1
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Hello all,

I am in the process of buying my first dslr camera and I have narrowed it down to either Canon 450D or 40D – here in Denmark I can get 450D for about 700 dollars including the 18-55 lens or 1100 dollars including the 17-85 lens and I have gotten the impression that the 18-55 lens might be a bit on the cheap side, right?

And if I'm going for the 17-85 lens then actually I can get the 40D with that for only 1.250 – only 150 dollars more than for the 450D, which makes me think I should choose the 40D.

I work as a journalist and will use the camera in connection with different assignments like travels (including landscapes), interviews, concerts etc. no sports, though. It is primarily the fact that the 450D is lighter that appeals to me (and of course the price difference which however is only relevant if I go with the 18-55 lens) but I don't know if the 250 grams in weight difference will really matter… Any advice here?

I've been to a shop to try holding the cameras, a 450D and then a 50D because they didn't have the 40D but they should be the same size. However the 50D had on a heavier lens than the 17-85. It felt as though the 40D might be a bit easier to hold still and to control – the 450D did feel quite light (even though I'm only used to a P&S Canon Ixus 70).

I would really like to be able to use only one lens – at least for the foreseeable future.

So what do you suggest I do – buy the 450D with 18-55 lens? Or with 17-85? Or buy the 40D with the 17-85 lens?

Thank you in advance for your help – I really appreciate it as this dilemma is starting to drive me nuts!



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Old Apr 15, 2009, 10:48 AM   #2
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Feature set wise there isn't a big reason to go with 40d over 450d for your uses. It's a matter of weight vs. durability. The 450 is lighter but the 40d is better built. But, I have to ask - you say this is for journalism. Is it your own blog or a print media run by someone else? The reason I ask is a single lens is going to be VERY restricting. If you're in control over what you have to shoot that isn't an issue. If someone else is in control over what gets shot then it is.

Take concerts for instance - if they're indoors than neither lens you're considering is going to fit the bill. If it's your blog then you can choose not to shoot those or choose to live with the poor results. If this is for a true publication they're unlikely to want to live with the quality those lenses would provide.

So, what type of publication,blog, etc are you doing journalism for? That might give us an idea of what your lens requirements are likely to be.

For all-purpose journalism a minimum kit IMO would be:

Wide angle lens - either lens you're considering is a good start (assuming this isn't full-time journalism work we're talking about)

A mid range telephoto of good quality - the 70-200 f4 is a good budget option, the 70-200 2.8 IS would be the lens of choice.

An external flash. 430exII is a budget start but you may need the power,reach, refresh capabilities of the 580

Low light lens for when flash is not allowed. Focal length would be driven by what situations you would reasonably find yourself in as it's impracticle to buy all ranges.

But the above is just a guideline. It should be need driven and the needs will be determined by the type of publication/blog , the types of assignments you will be doing and the level of quality expected.
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Old Apr 15, 2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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Hi John

Thanks a lot for your reply. It is forthe newspaper I'm writing for (as well as for my own enjoyment) but it is only when I am out of the country on assignments or other special occations (though I will probably be out up to a year from this autumn) and I would have no obligation to take any pictures - it would just be an extra thing I could offer the newspaper. So I want to be able to take good shots - but I won't be dependent on it so it would be ok to not be prepared for every imaginable situation, though I will probably have to buy a lens or two more (I just won't have the money for it anytime in the near future).

Regarding lens - are you saying that the 17-85 isn't that much better than the 18-55?

Thanks again,

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 9:42 AM   #4
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Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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Any lens choice is going to be a compromise in one area or another (size, weight, cost, focal range from wide to long, brightness, color, sharpness, contrast, distortion, flare resistance, focus speed and more).

Personally, I'd probably go with the 17-85mm between those two lens choices. You'd get stabilization (not in the standard 18-55mm kit lens shipped with the XTi, although they offer an updated IS version now), as well as a more usable focal range from wide to long. Just don't expect it to handle all of the conditions you want to shoot in. You'll need more lenses for that.

No choice is perfect. For example, you may be able to get much better image quality in some conditions from a brighter lens that has wider available apertures (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) so that you can achieve faster shutter speeds in lower light (or isolate your subject more with a shallower depth of field).

Ditto for a lens with a less ambitious focal range from wide to long (as lenses with more range tend to have more complex optical designs with more compromises in image quality as a result).

If you limit yourself to only one lens, you're going to run into compromises, limiting the conditions that you'll be able to get good results in.

As JohnG mentioned, make sure to include a flash in your kit purchase. You'll need it in many conditions, especially with dimmer lenses.

As for one body versus another... I'd personally go with the 40D over the 450D. It's got higher available ISO speeds (ISO 3200 which can come in handy in a pinch), with better build quality compared to the entry level models.

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