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Old Oct 25, 2007, 3:28 PM   #1
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Hi, I am new to the forum. Thanks for such a great place.

My previous camera was a Canon S50, and we did not get along. For a point and shoot, I could barely ever get a pic in focus. I've unhappily had the camera for 4 years.I tried to learn digital photography on the S50, and it never worked out for me. Probably my fault, I don't know. I finally decided to upgrade. I thought an inspiring camera might help me be a better photographer. I've been looking at the Canon 400D and Nikon 40DX. The Canon seems like the better camera, even though the model is a year older than Nikon's. It felt sturdier in my hands. I also know it has more lens choices if I ever need them in the future. So, my two questions are:

1) Do you think the XTI 400D is a good camera for a beginner? Is the D40x better, or is there something else I should be looking at?

2) I have been looking to buy the camera at BH Photo or 42nd St. Photo, but the deals at Ebay are AMAZING! The deals seem way too good to be true. Camera kits with 10-20 accessories, 2-3 Canon or Tamron lenses, etc...all for only $150-$200 more than the XTi kit with 18-55mm lens at BH or 42nd. I called one ebay seller and he said the cameraswere brand new, USA cameras, USA warranty, etc... Are the ebay sellers too good to be true? How can they sell so much, so much cheaper?

Thank You.
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Old Oct 25, 2007, 8:41 PM   #2
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First of all, yes, the 400D is a very nice camera. You like the feel of it so that's very important. With any camera the feel is important - some people like the feel of a given camera, others don't. If you don't like how it feels you won't use it. It is absolutely capable of letting you learn and grow.

And while I am a big fan of Nikon I'm not a big fan of the d40/d40x. Stripping down the focus system and removing the focus system (forcing you to buy the more expensive lenese at every future point and removing 99% of all prime lenses from your use) really cripples this camera from a growth standpoint. IMO, it's an inexpensive HOOK. People buy it for the price then nikon makes the money back on the more expensive lenses.

Here's the thing about the camera store KITS - they're almost always complete JUNK. The extra lenses they include are JUNK. The accessories are overpriced and low quality. THAT's how they make their money - selling you that JUNK. You see "wow I'm getting all this extra for only $200 more" - meanwhile they sold you $70 worth of junk and made $130 in profit.

Also, I'm not a big fan of ebay stores unless it's a trusted name. Always check resellerratings.com - if a company doesn't appear there I would never buy from them. If they don't have a few hundred reviews I wouldn't buy from them. And don't waste your money on the junk kits - even reputable online retailers will try to sell you on junk kits - it's how they make their best profit too. About the only 'kit' I would buy is something like B&H will often include a high quality memory card along with the camera and kit lens. Note I say high quality - like a Sandisk Extreme III or similar. And there are quality third-party lenses you can buy but those aren't the lenses in the kits being offered. So save that money and put it towards future quality purchases instead.
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Old Oct 25, 2007, 9:42 PM   #3
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Thank You,JohnG.

I never liked the feel of my S50 from the get go, so I know what you mean. The 400D feels like a 'real' camera to me, the S50 felt like a hard to hold toy.

At the store, the Nikon D40x felt like a toy to me too. I know it's built pretty much exactly like the Canon, but it felt different. It's funny, because I've read some online reviews that say the opposite. I guess it's all a matter of opinion. Because of my experience with the S50 I was a bit reluctant to get another Canon, but the 400D seems like a great camera.

I know not to buy the kits at the genuine retail stores. I plan on buying my CF Card at Newegg.com anyway. If Newegg has a better price than the retailers. The ebay offers are tempting, because they are including Canon and Tamron lenses. Like you though, I just know it has to be too darn good to be true. I don't think I could buy from them if I wanted too, but I really wanted some other opinions on it...just in case. Anyway, I know you're right. 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is'. I kind of tried, but I know I am too practical to buy a camera on ebay. Thanks.


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Old Oct 28, 2007, 3:28 PM   #4
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I recently bought the Canon XT350D. It's only a step down from the Canon you are thinking of purchasing, but from the reviews I've read and the specs..it doesn't really seem like there is too much of a difference between the two except for the 350D is 8mp and the 400D is 10. But anyways, going on that assumption..I would have to say I really enjoy the 350D.

I was looking to upgrade to a starter SLR, from my smaller, Kodak P-series camera. I pondered over the Nikon D40 kit, as well as a Sony kit too. I picked up the display cameras and played with them, held them up to see how easily I could find the buttons without looking at them, and how they felt in my hands. I'm small, and have small hands..so I wanted something that felt solid but that I wasn't going to be stretching to find buttons or that felt too cumbersome in my hands. The Sony was actually my first choice, but as luck would have it..they didnt have any in stock so I moved on to the Canon.Although it was technically an impulse buy, I'm glad I picked thiscamera.Myboyfriend has a small pocket-sized Canon elph, whichonly has one moreMPthan my Kodak, but takes better pictures when you compare them. The camera was on sale for $595 at the BX where I'm stationed. This included the standard "kit" lens which I believe is 18-55mm. I find it to be a good starter lens for someone who, like myself is new to the world of SLR cameras and interchangeable, manual zoom lenses. It's got a moderate range, but works well for an entry level photographer like myself. I find the features easy to navigate, altough its alot easier to work them out yourself than to try and read the manual.

I would reccomend just purchasing the camera with the kit lens and try it out first before you decide whether or not to spend a bunch of money on other lenses. I know some people like to stock up on lenses because they find good deals..but I prefer the other way around. If you're in good with the local camera store..you could probably get them to let you try different lenses out before you decide to buy them, and then find that lens cheaper online. I know alot of people go that route. Amazon.com sometimes has good deals. I do alot of my shopping there

The long and short of it is, I would reccomend either the Canon 350D or 400D. I know I've been happy with mine in the short time I've hadit and cant wait to take it out and stretch its legs. Good luck with your decision. Let us know what you decide and come back and show pictures with whichever camera you pick up

Dani
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 10:18 AM   #5
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Thank You, afdani1984.Thank You for your impressions of the Canon 350D and 400D. I think I have 99% decided to go with the Canon 400D. Please let me know which Sony you were looking at though. I'm not sure what BX means? I have heard of PX, although I don't know what that means either, *lol*. If you are stationed in the U.S. services, I just want to say "Thanks."

Here is the thing, I called one of the shops I wanted to buy the camera at.Hesuggested getting rid of the kit lens and going for the Sigma 28-300 f/3.65-6.3 Aspherical Super Compact AF Lens. This lens goes for $799.00 separately, but he is offering it as a kit with the Canon 400D camera body for $999.99. He said I'll never need another lens. What do you guys think? I am a beginner, and I have no idea about lenses...yet, but it also seems like a good idea to get something that will last. On the other hand, spending $350 more and $1,000 total is pretty huge for me! So, please give me some opinions on this lense and this $999 option. Thank You.


Update: Hey wait,I think I found the same lens at the other store for $279.00, so it doesn't seem like much of a bargain.They use different number id's, so I am not sure it's the same lens, but it looks like it. The other store recommended either the Canon 28-135 or the Tamron 28-75. He said the 28-300 was not good. Maybe I should just stick with the 18-55mm kit lens, *lol*.

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Old Oct 29, 2007, 10:56 AM   #6
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You've encountered one of the problems with stores (either online or brick and mortar) and their own kits:

Usually the 'stuff' in the kit is junk.

The Sigma 28-300 is not a good lens. It sells on-line for about $250. So you were being given a load of BS - both in terms of the price and in terms of the quality.

The other store gave you some pretty good advice. The 28-135 is a very good lens considering the focal lengths it covers and it's price. You won't find a better lens that covers the same focal length - there are better lenses to be sure but they cover a shorter focal length.

The Tamron 28-75 is also a decent lens by all accounts.

But with either lens you risk the fact that they aren't very wide - not when you factor in the 1.6 "crop factor" of the camera. That 28mm becomes 45mm

So again - stay away from kits, it doesn't matter if it's an ONLINE STORE KIT or a BRICK & MORTAR kit. Most of the time they're selling you junk!!
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 12:25 PM   #7
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That is precisely why I went with the canon body and kit lens. It gave me something that I knew was going to be relatively good..since it was by the maker of the camera, and something to use with the camera to learn the features while I researched other lenses. When I went back and did some research later..I discovered I only paid about $100 more for the camera and kit lens than if I had bought just the body.

Dani
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 2:27 PM   #8
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Okay John G, so say I buy the body separately at BH for $585.95, what lens do you think I should buy? The Canon 18-55mm 'kit' lens would bringit up to $659.95, and the other lenses vary so much.

afdani1984, I think you're right about learning on the kit lens, but at the same time I want to make sureI have something I can grow with. Why spend even $100 more now, if I'm going to spend more on a lens that makes the 18-55mm obsolete? If a new lense is good in its own right, and I'll still use the 18-55mm, then I have no problem with it. I guess I am just worried about having a useless 18-55mm lens next year.

I am probably over thinking now...
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 2:56 PM   #9
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Ok, so at B&H the kit lens will cost you another $74.

The next two lenses up in the canon line are the other two they offer in kits:

17-85 EF-S or 28-135 IS USM.

The 28-135 was built for film but has stood the test of time asa very good all-around lens. Are there better? Sure, BUT with less focal range.

The 17-85 was intended to be the equivelent of the 28-135 on APS-C sensor cameras. It's gotten mixed results. Optically it's about even with the 28-135. But, for some reason canon has switched to marketing the 40d and 400d with 28-135 and not as much the 17-85. I have no idea why.

Those are both $400 lenses and they're better than the standard kit lens but they're not perfect. The 17-85 is too short for some people and the 28-135 isn't wide enough for some people. And both are 5.6 aperture lenses.

The next step up from there gets into more specialized lenses with shorter focal lengths. 16-35 2.8, 17-55 2.8, 24-105, 70-200 f4, etc - all around $1000. There are some third party lenses from Tamron & Sigma that are optically pretty good but not necessarily fast to focus and still plastic build quality.

The problem is - you want something to "grow with" but you don't know which direction you are going to grow into. You also say that $1000 total cost is a lot of money for you. So you're not going to get the $1000 lenses. That leaves lenses such as the 17-85, 28-135 and Tamron 28-75. I've never used the Tamron so I can't speak to how good it is. But 28mm isn't very wide on a 1.6 crop body. So you would be limited in regards to shooting wide angle.

I still think the $74 is a very small price to pay - especially if you don't know yet what aspects of a lens are important to you yet (do you need wide angle, do you need telephoto, do you need wide apertures, do you need IS).

But that's the beauty of a DSLR - you DONT have to buy all the lenses up front. If your shooting requirements were better defined I could give you a better answer for a good walk-around lens but with the imformation so far it looks like you haven't gotten to the point yet where your shooting style is defined. That's exactly why they invented kit lenses.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 4:12 PM   #10
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I don't know...

IMO Nikon made a pretty bold move with the D40/D40x - This camera made a lot of lenses obsolete but at the same time forced the manufacturers to follow... Just check the six recent releases from Sigma: Theses lenses all have the newer fast and silent ultrasound autofocus but for the D40/D40x only including the 10-20 EX HSM, 18-50 f/2.8 EX Macro HSM, and the 18-200 OS HSM
-> The Canon versions are still stuck with their noisy non-HSM AF motors!
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