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Old Sep 21, 2005, 10:53 AM   #1
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I really do enjoy photography and have taken thousands of shots with my Canon A95, most of which I've been pleased with. However the more I use this camera, the more I long for the good old days of my hand-me-down Minolta 35mm SLR. I can't remember the model off hand, but it was 60's or 70's vintage with a crank! It would rattle off shots as fast as my thumb could pull that lever.

I really want to go back to a camera with the ability to set the depth of field (without going back to the menus all the time - ie with the f-stop ring and something akin to the shutter speed knob on top) so I am pretty sure that a dSLR is the way to go for me. Also I just learned that my girlfriends minor in university was photography, and while it seems she remains ignorant of most of the hardware side of photography, her portfolio is really nice, which indicates that i will be begging a long series of framing tutorials (don't ask why i JUST found out her minor... lets leave it thats I'm an unobservant and bad boyfriend :P)

However, I have reached the end of my internet research ability, as I think I've read all the reviews, and I still can't decide between the Canon 350d (or Kissn...) and the Nikon D70s.I'm shopping for a dSLR in the "affordable" price bracket. I don't have a huge amount of money to throw at the camera, so I would ideally like to get a body and a single lens that will last me for a while (or even indefinitely, as unfortunately a sore shoulder from lugging lenses seems a heavy price to pay for avoiding foot actuated zooming most of the time) Unfortunately here in Korea there is not much of a try before you buy atmosphere, so getting as far as asking to try out a camera is akin to signing off on it >.<

I did talk to one store about the 350d with a tamron 28-200mm lens (unfortunately i didn't really know too much about the lenses at the time, and so i don't know its f stop or whether it has whatever Tamron's equivalent to USM is... though it did also say MACRO on thefront)which seemed pretty nice... it was 1200$ with a 1GBcf card, extra battery, and a bag, which is pretty good for here, as Japanese goods usually run a little high imho

I should also say that the 350d might be marginally bigger than my old Minolta was... it had NO right hand grip, and I never found it particularly uncomfortable, as I usually supported most of the weight with my lens bearing left hand... though i will admit that the d70s does look a little beefier, though a little strange with is smaller sized lens socket... of course I am new to dSLR, so I guess that using buttons on the back with your thumb might really require the more securely grip-able finger ridge

So now my background aside, the question becomes:

considering that I want a camera with fast startup, auto-focus, and shot to shot times with the ability to regulate depth of field well and still have a friendly manual focus on the lens for when I'm feeling nostalgic:

Which body is for me? 350d, D70s, or even the 5D (IS sounds nice... but I don't know that I want to wait for the camera that much...)

What lens would be a good all around, and optically sound, preferably fast lens for me? (I hear that the kit lens from canon is poor, and know little about Nikon's glass)

Should I abandon the whole idea, and use my pitiful budget to get my dust gathering old Minolta shipped over the Pacific? (A shame, as I much rather show a slide show or post photos than have prints... and something inside me rebels from the whole 1hr photo machine... I did in fact develop prints during my single photography class, and the adjustments required leave me leery of anything but hand processed?)
Like I said, I'm working on a budget, and would like to come out around 1200. I could stretch and buy a 20D, but i think i would be uncomfortable with the added price (If I'm carrying 3000$ + of camera, I think I'd likely tuck it safely in its bag and thats no good for taking pictures.)

I'll appreciate anyadvice - I really do need the help!

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