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Old May 25, 2009, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default Canon or Nikon for DSLR beginner ?

I would say I am an advanced P&S user who is about to enter DSLR world. I have been using S5 IS for past 3 years mostly in the full manual mode with relative ease. Been able to produce some decent images.

I am planning to take DSLR plunge now and as usual fundamental question is Nikon or Canon ?

My budget is about $1000 or so. (+/- $200)

I was thinking of the standard XSi + 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS to start with, but luckily I got my hands on a friend's exactly same combo and I got tired of switching lenses ever so often. 18-55 just isnt enough range for my daily usage.

I searched in entire Canon compatible lenses for a decent "walk-around" lens at a decent cost. But couldnt find any.

So I turned to Nikon. Nikon has this great 18-105 VR which seem to satisfy all my needs. and With the D5000 body the package was just about perfect. But..

Couple of flaws I noticed in Nikon Package (D5000 + 18-105 VR)
1. Couldnt find a decent Nikon AF-S telezoom lens. Nikon has 70-300 AF-S VR but it isnt recommended by many people. Is it really that bad?
2. even for $700 odd, D5000 body doesnt have in-build focus motor. how big problem that can be? I dont have any old lenses as such, but even the Nifty-fifty for nikon is an AF lens (not AF-S) so it wont autofocus on D5000 !!

So my requirement are as follows :
1. Nikon or Canon body (not a big fan of others)
2. A decent walk-around lens OEM or third party, both are OK. (preferable close to 18-105 range). Preferably with stabilization. (IS, VR, OS, VC etc etc)
3. A fast prime. (similar to Canon EF 50mm f/1.8)
4. A telezoom sometime in future. But would like to know that there is a decent one available, in case I need to buy for some occasion in a hurry.

Budget for first 3 items which I plan to buy right now is about $1000.
Please suggest.
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Old May 25, 2009, 3:51 AM   #2
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Sigma have an 18-125 OS if you want to stick with Canon.

The non-OS version has received fairly decent reviews.


In your shoes though I would rather have the Nikon D5000 + 18-105 VR.
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Old May 25, 2009, 7:05 AM   #3
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Yeah Sigma 18-125 OS is a lens with good focal length. But it hasnt got such great user reviews, especially for the OS function.

And coming to think of it, I would want to have a better lens as my walkaround lens, as I am going to be using that lens for 90% of the times.

Is there any decent third party telephoto for Nikon, with reach upto 250mm and with stabilization?

My observation from S5 IS days is that, I rarely used the telephoto end of that camera, I am not exactly into wildlife phototgraphy as such.

Why do you recommned Nikon D5000 + 18-105 VR over XSi + 18-125 OS ? Any particular reason?
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Old May 25, 2009, 7:31 AM   #4
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The Nikon 18-105 VR is a nice lens, but it does suffer from a lot of vignetting at all focal lengths. (See SLRGear.com's test results at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1221/cat/13 )

Sigma's 70-300 APO and Tamron's 70-300 Di LD are nice telephoto zooms that, for their price, are better than anything the OEMs have.

What do you want to take photos of?
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Old May 25, 2009, 8:23 PM   #5
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The bottom line is that you have to land on an ideal DSLR body and lens combination that works for you. Perhaps it is time to explore beyond the Nikon and Canon venue??

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 26, 2009, 2:46 AM   #6
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The thing is that DSLRs have fairly big sensors compared to P&S cameras. Making long zoom lenses for big sensors is difficult. The bigger the zoom range the more difficult it is to get the design right. This is why the top-end zoom lenses for DSLRs are usually no more than 3x-4x, and if you want to cover a big range you end up with multiple lenses.

Typically it is also people moving from P&S who want the large zoom range, and they are also usually operating at the lower end of the price range. One more thing is that because they are moving from P&S they don't like the idea of carrying around a very heavy lens. These extra design challenges all point in the direction of very significant compromises in optical excellence.

As you are looking for a wide to mid-telephoto in a single lens you are going to have to accept some compromises somewhere. And as is the often the case with choosing an SLR system, you should really be driven by the lenses before the camera.

Now I happen to think (from reviews not personal experience) that the new Nikon 18-105 VR lens is just about the best wide to mid-telephoto lens you can buy at a reasonable price. A lot better than the 3rd party lenses, and there is no Canon equivalent. The closest Canon being the 17-85 IS, which is not as good optically as the Nikon.

That's why I'd suggest the Nikon 18-105 VR lens. Then you need to choose a Nikon body to go with it. The current generational choice would be the D5000 or the D90.
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Old May 26, 2009, 5:24 AM   #7
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The lack of focus motor is not a huge deal at this point. There are plenty of lenses that will AF from Nikon and from 3rd parties, and since you don't have any old lenses, just stick with AF-S and you'll be fine. You are correct in saying the 50 f1.8 won't AF, however Nikon has a 50 f1.4 (for a lot more money) and a new 35 f1.8 that both will AF. I have a 50 f1.8 and almost never use it on my D300/D80. I find it too long for most indoor use, and the range too limited for outdoor work. Many folks like this as a portrait lens, but I don't find it all that useful.
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Old Jul 10, 2009, 12:08 PM   #8
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Def go with Canon that would be my suggestion very reliable camera as well as parts. I bought a Cannon EOS Rebel XSi and it has been awesome for me and seems to have everything that you need. Also i found this site that has a good discount for the camera as well as the accessories that you need.

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Old Jul 10, 2009, 1:38 PM   #9
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the logical choice with your budget would be XSi 18-55IS and 55-250IS - good quality and decent price. If you don't like the range of 18-55 zoom you can buy
1) XSi body + 17-85IS USM + 50 f/1.8 (around $1000-1100) and later on add a 70-300 IS USM (about $500) and a flash
2) XSi body + Canon 18-200 IS - around $1150

I have 17-85 as a walk around and quite happy with it ( but I got it new for a great price), tbh I prefer it to my 17-50 f/2.8 as a single lens walk around kit.
it gets a lot of bad rep, but it's a great focal range and optically it's very good for a 5x zoom ( some distortions and vignetting at the wide end). at least my copy is sharp with nice colours and saturation and IS and USM are a big bonus.
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