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Old Nov 6, 2005, 11:55 AM   #1
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I'm a novice photographer looking to get into the world of dSLR photography. I have owned a non-digital SLR and multiple higher-end digital point & shoot cameras in the past. I'm looking for some advice on a new dSLR setup/package. My budget (for the whole package) is in the $2K-$2.5K range (could spend a little more if the extra $ is justified). I'm looking for the camera body, 1 or more good lenses, and recommended accessories (flash, tripod, remote, etc).

I've read several reviews of the 350D and 20D, and I have pretty much narrowed my search down to these 2 cameras, but I am open to alternate suggestions (D70s, etc). I'm looking for advice as to which of these 2 cameras will better suit my needs, and which items should I purchase with the camera (e.g., 1-2 lenses, flash, remote, tripod, etc).

My primary usage of the camera will be -- pictures of my wife, pets, and small children (primarily indoors); small group (5-12 people) portraits (indoors, using a tripod + remote/timer); candid holiday photographs (indoors); candid wedding photographs. 90% of my photography will be indoor photographs of people in various lighting situations. Good lighting, focus, and exposure are very important to me. (This is the main reason for my upgrade from the digital point & shoot - I want better quality photographs of people indoors.)

So, any advice? I was looking at some of Canon's IS lenses - would one of these be a good idea for me?
Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old Nov 7, 2005, 10:31 AM   #2
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Blimey - low light is really important for you eh?

As a complete alternative also have a look at the KM 5D & 7D.

But I'm a Canon person myself andI reckon for $2500 you can put together 2 packages which will give you what you need. (Prices all from B&H website.)

A few points to keep in mind...

First, I recommend the 20D over the XT:

* ISO3200 v ISO1600 (and ISO 3200 on the 20D is better than ISO400 on most P&S cameras).

* 5fps is actually quite useful for shooting kids.

* It's going for a good price atm and is solidly built and will last for years.

Second, keep in mind that IS is mostly useful for static subjects and kids move a lot. Having said that however, I still find it useful indoors with kids.

Third, you are going to need a good flash - there's just no way around that, even though you might try to avoid it as much as you can, there are occasions when you will have to have it. So get one that you can bounce and use a good diffuser.

Fourth, you will want a fast prime for some of your low-light work.

Fifth, you must have fast AF motors on your lenses for the kind of work you are thinking of. That restricts you lens choice to Canon or Sigma.

So here are two kits - broadly similar except for the lens manufacturer.

All Canon:

1. 20D + 2GbCF + EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM ($1850)

2. EF 28mm f1.8 USM ($385)

3. 430 EX Flash E-TTL2 ($260)

Total = $2495.

Sigma lenses:

1. 20D + 2Gb CF ($1350)

2. Sigma EX 18-50 f2.8 HSM ($500)

3. Sigma 500 DG Super Flash ($240)

4. Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX HSM ($450)

Total = $2540

Buying the Canon 17-85 as part of a kit saves a good amount on a good lens, it's slower than the Sigma zoom, but you get more range and the IS.

There's little to choose between the primes, the Canon is a touch wider - which I prefer, but the Sigma is 1/2 stop faster.

There's little to choose between the flashes, the Sigma has more power and features, but I have one and have found the operation to be fiddly and un-intuitive. The Canon will "just work" with the 20D.

In your shoes I'd probably choose the all-Canon option because both would do the job well, and frankly there is an advantage in sticking with Canon when buying a new set of kit - if something isn't working right you know which company to blame.

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