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Old Apr 26, 2007, 6:53 PM   #1
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My wife as decided to purchase a Canon XTi. She loves taking pictures of ATV Cross Country Racing Events. She is moving up from a Lumix FZ7. The Lumix has server her well but she is ready for more.

My question is about the lens. We are trying to keep the overall cost reasonable since she is an amateur and the camera is always used in the elements (dust, rain, mud, cold, extreme heat, wind etc...)

I am considering the Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC Lens. She needs a zoom, although not a really powerful zoom.

Her main concern is speed. Things happen fast on the track and she wants to get lots of action shots. She uses the burst mode on the Lumix quite frequently.

Would the above Lens do a good job? How does is fit in as far as speed is concerned. I was also wondering what the 35mm equivalent zoom would be for this lens. I thought I read that with the XTi you could multiply the lens by 1.6 to get the approximate 35mm equivalent.

Also, as far as speed is concerned, what kind of improvement could we expect going from the Lumix to a true DSLR such as the XTi?

I know the questions seem elementary, but I am not a photographer, but I want to make sure my wife get a good piece of equipment. She enjoys photography so much!

Thanks in advance for the responses.
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Old Apr 26, 2007, 8:22 PM   #2
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The Sigma 18-125 is a good walkaround lens for general purpose photo. The next popular longer zoom is the Sigma 70-300 mm APO, $200, these two lenses are good enough for her to start base on her skill moving up from p&s. Don't worry about cross country action shots, the XTI can handle much faster than that, you can look at the pictures we took from the threat Another XTI... and 400D, where you can see the camera can capture real gun blast, the calvary charge, sword fight...in single mode one shot one kill not in continuous shots bust mode. The XTI is a quality compact camera it doesn't need weather seal, so you can take it anywhere you want to, I already tested it in all those condition you mentioned, I wait until the summer time to bring it closer to Death Valley in CA where the temp could reach above 130F.

Moving from p&s to dslr your wife needs time to learn the basic camera control in manual and semi manualmodes like drivingwith stick shift car, it takes only one hour to learn the concept after that is just practice. Digital is easy to learn, any mistake she can delete the shot not as costly as film processing. To speed up the learning process I recommend the basic Sekonic flash meter $200, it's the most useful tool in any photographer's camera bag.

Find a good dealer to buy the camera avoid unknown vendors. General electronic stores Circuit City, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics... after you paid you can open the box to check everything should be there unused before you leave, you can also buy 2 yrs insurance $100 if something fails you just bring to the store they send it to Canon for repair no receiptrequired, show them your ID they have your purchase record in the system, without that extra insurance you have to do the contact with Canon and pay for shipping & handling charge up front.

No, your question is not elementary or plain boring, yourquestion creates another question:you're a good husband, are you just married?Me,I always point my camera across the Berlin wall hoping to see the grass is greener.:-)

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Old Apr 27, 2007, 8:00 AM   #3
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You're wife should see a very noticable increase in responsiveness from the XTi. The servo tracking system on the XTi is probably the best of any consumer level camera (same system as the more advanced 30D). It also turns on lightning fast and the shutter lag (time from pressing the button to the picture taking) will also be much better.

So, with any lens the DSLR will be noticably faster. However, there are degrees of focus speed. If your wife wants true focus speed, lenses with their own focus motor perform much better. In the Sigma line of lenses those that are designated with HSM (stands for hyper sonic motor) will focus faster. So, the answer is - the camera & lens will be faster than what she's used to but by action shooting standards the lens isn't that fast. You are correct on the 35mm equivelent calculation - multiply the lens by 1.6. So the 18-125 is equiv. to 29 - 200mm. Which makes it a very nice range indeed for a walk-around lens.

My advice is, get the single lens only - don't bother yet buying a better sports shooting lens at this time. If your wife is happy with the results from this lens then great. If not you can always buy another lens at a later date. Typically sports lenses don't make great walk-around lenses because they don't have a wide zoom range and they're heavier. So I wouldn't get hung up 6on trying to find another walk-around lens that will also be a better sports lens.

I'm also going to respectfully disagree with coldshot on a few points. I'm not saying he's wrong and I'm right - just that we have a difference of opinion:

First, I would not consider a light meter to be an essential tool to the everyday photographer. With the ability to display a histogram after a shot it's really very easy to adjust exposures on today's dslrs. That is really going to be good enough for 90% of consumer level shooters. If your wife eventually wants to get into that 10% area where she wants the added benefit an external meter can buy her she can get the meter at that time.

I'll also disagre with needing to buy from a local store just so you can open the box - as well as buying an extended warranty for $100. Buying a camera from a legit on-line dealer like B&H, Adorama, Buydig.com etc is going to get you a quality new camera - often for 20% less (especially if your state has sales tax). A $700 camera kit turns into $750 when you add tax. I've never had a used or damaged item from a reputable dealer like the above. I'm not saying don't support your local store - that's your decision. I just disagree with the argument that doing so provides a better guarantee you got what you paid for. As to the warranties - they're just that. You're paying a large premium in a gamble that their will be an equipment failure after the dealer warranty gives out. These warranties don't cover you breaking the camera, dropping it in water or it getting stolen. They are a money-maker for the stores. Again, just a difference of opinion on these subjects - don't think one of us is wrong and the other right.


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Old Apr 27, 2007, 9:01 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

Your replies has prompted another question. When searching for a good general lens for the XTi, I have paid special attention to the f-stop range. My thinking was that a lens with an f-stop range of say, f/3.5-5.6 or similar would be quicker than one of f/4-5.6 or similar. Is my assumption correct? I notice that the lens with the f/4-5.6 f-stop is generally cheaper than the f/3.5 lens. Maybe someone can clarify that for me.

Once again, thanks for the replies. Please keep them coming.
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Old Apr 27, 2007, 9:17 AM   #5
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The meter is the most useful tool in photography, it gives you instant set of numbers to set your camera especially for outdoor shots in tricky lighting situations, a combination of hightlight shadow backlit scene, it can give you instant exposure value about your camera meter differ from the meter and with different lenses you use, it stay with you for the rest of your hobby with any future camera you buy. During free time you can use the meter to learn how to expose your shots without the camera, try it with a camera which one is fasterif you use the histogram?

The hidden problem with any electronic merchandise is when it's shipped from it's original manufacturing plant it has to go thru many stops from stockroom to stockroom, it can be dropped accidentally or intentionally by stockroom employees, intentionally the guy was just given an unfair review he is upset and kicks the box around or starts to play volleyball with it, your camera, dvd, tv, microwave... could show that damage when you first use and some will show the problem later in one month, one year, two years...for camera go to the store and see what's the most common failure in digital cameras? The onboard flash won't close or open properly, at home you accidentally hook up the lens the wrong way in a hurry, the cf card pins can break at anytime if your not careful enough, they'll fix it for you, multiple users, you and your wife may share the same camera, so a $100 insurance for two years is not that expensive compare to your car insurance, how far or how longcan you go with this current high gas price on a $100 tank? Plan your shopping trip to save gas you'll have that saving for the insurance, drive defensivelly avoid a traffic tickect that's another saving.

Those are the two lenses you need to learn how to handle zoom lenses steady by going from p&s to dslr, you are a husband and wife team, try to see who can hold the lens steadier, there is a difference in male and female physical built on the arms and hands, both stand with your back facing the miror, strecth and spread your arms to the ground turn your head look into the miror you'll see the difference at the elbows. When her photo skill improves she know what's her next lens she needs.
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Old Apr 27, 2007, 9:22 AM   #6
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3.5 vs 4 in and of itself isn't a big difference. And, it's only 3.5 at it's widest zoom. At full zoom both types of lenses are 5.6. And you aren't going to be shooting a lot of action at 18mm

To see a noticable difference in focus speed you'd need a constant f4 or 2.8 aperture and/or lens focus motor (true USM on canons or HSM on sigma). But then your price point jumps up to $560-$1000 range and you're going to have a more limited focal range (typically 24-70, 70-200, 70-300) so it's not a good walk-around lens.

Also, you really have to look at each lens on a case by case basis. Some 5.6 lenses focus faster than others. Also, image quality is important. You'll pay more for a given lens that has better image quality (especially wide open - meaning widest aperture).


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