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vdaily89 Jun 4, 2006 4:37 PM

I'm looking to get a little more serious about my photography. I'd really like to take better quality pictures and have good/excellent zoom capability. Up to now I've only used point/shoot cameras. What is a good DSLR to learn/begin with that won't break the bank?

thanks in advance,


rey Jun 4, 2006 4:49 PM

Before the Nikon guys (like myself), the Canon guys, Oly guys, etc. give their personal take, I suggest you checkout Steve's Best (Amateur Digital SLR section):

Each has their positive and negative. It'll also help you understand what features are important to you. You can also checkout which ones are in your price range.

For current prices, checkout these sites:
Cameta on eBay:

[email protected] Jun 4, 2006 5:57 PM

There's tons.

But at the lower end of the cash perspective I'd recommend looking at:

Minolta 5D

Nikon D50

Canon Rebel XT

Keep in mind, once you've invested in a few lenses you will have "bought in" to a system ie. if you buy a Canon, and then buy a few lenses, chances are you will want to upgrade to a Canon in the future (assuming the lenses still fit the next cam).


vdaily89 Jun 4, 2006 7:26 PM

Thanks for the replys. 2 cameras I was looking at were the Evolt E-500 and the Nikon D50. Are there plenty of additional lenses for these? I will be using this for family pictures, sports, and I would like to take some good pics of cars/motorcyles.

JohnG Jun 5, 2006 11:59 AM

vdaily89 wrote:

Thanks for the replys. 2 cameras I was looking at were the Evolt E-500 and the Nikon D50. Are there plenty of additional lenses for these? I will be using this for family pictures, sports, and I would like to take some good pics of cars/motorcyles.

Nikon certainly has plenty of lenses available - within it's own ranks and via third-party manufacturers (such as Sigma, Tamron, etc...).

Olympus in the past did not have as much third party lens support as Nikon / Canon but I believe Sigma at least is now making an effort to introduce lenses that fit the Olympus system.

sail978 Jun 5, 2006 8:43 PM

vdaily, sound like we're having the same problem. I'm also looking to decide which of these cameras to get as well. It seems that purchasing with the two lens kit is a good buy.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Can anyone explain which is a more powerful lens - the Zuiko 40-150 f/3.5-4.5 or the Nikkor 550-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED AF-D-DX zoom. I will be shooting mostly sailing and nighttime football.

JimC Jun 5, 2006 9:08 PM


Can anyone explain which is a more powerful lens - the Zuiko 40-150 f/3.5-4.5 or the Nikkor 550-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED AF-D-DX zoom. I will be shooting mostly sailing and nighttime football.
They'll both have approximately the same angle of view when used on the DSLR models they're designed for at their longest zoom setting (same apparent magnification on their long end).

The Zuiko is about 2/3 stop brighter. But, the D50 will have lower noise levels at higher ISO speeds compared to the Olympus DSLR models (so you may need the extra brightness if you're shooting with an Olympus DSLR to make up for higher noise).

However, for night football, I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

You're going to want a brighter lens *and* higher ISO speeds.

If you go with a Canon, Nikon or Konica Minolta DSLR, you'll probably want something like a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG lens to go with one (this is one of the lower priced lenses with this focal range and brightness) The camera manufacturer's lenses with similar specifications will cost you more.

This Sigma lens is approximately $800 at online vendors. But, sometimes you can find a good deal on the used market if you shop around.

The reason you'd want that kind of a lens is to keep shutter speeds fast enough to avoid motion blur. Those stadium lights look brighter to the human eye than they will to a camera.

f/2.8 is exactly 4 times as bright as f/5.6 (which is where you'd be at using something like the 55-200mm kit lens with the D50).

An f/2.8 zoom like the Sigma I'm mentioning is larger, heavier and more expensive. It has to be larger and heavier to get that kind of brightness throughout the focal range. This is typically the minimum lens you want for night sports, coupled with one of the DSLR models with a usable ISO 1600.

Here is a recent thread you may want to read through on this topics (lens choice for night sports in a stadium):;forum_id=65

Now, you may be able to get some keepers using a slower (a.k.a., dimmer) lens.

But, you'd probably need to use a tripod or monopod to help with blur from camera shake, and catch the players when they are relatively still to help reduce motion blur from subject movement. Your best bet is going to be a zoom lens that can maintain f/2.8 throughout it's focal range for night sports, coupled with a DSLR that has a usable ISO 1600.

sail978 Jun 5, 2006 11:48 PM

That's what I was afraid of - Unfortunately I'm very familiar with motion blur when trying to take photos under 'the lights'. I'm leaning more and more toward the Nikon because of the larger sensor and it seems it will perform better filming action although I like the color on the Olympus better. It looks like the Nikon's color is a bit too vivid to me. I'd go for the Canon Rebel XT but it just doesn't feel right in my hands.

Are there any decent telephoto lens (not too expensive that I could buy now and then eventually invest in better lenses) that could be used on the Nikon for sailboat racing. I'm usually in a chase boatshooting video but I would like to dostill images as well.

Thanks for your imput.

JimC Jun 6, 2006 2:25 AM


If you think the images look "too vivid", all of these cameras have some settings that you can tweak to get images more to your liking. As a general rule, most of the entry level models have images with a bit more "punch" (saturation, contrast, sharpening). But, you can dial back these settings if desired.

Most new DSLR owners tend to do the opposite (they want more "punch" by increasing settings like saturation, contrast and sharpening).lol

I'm currently shooting with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, and I've started dialing back some of the settings when shooting jpeg (for example, I'll leave contrast set to -1). By default, the images are a bit too contrasty for my tastes (which can also hurt dynamic range). Dialing back the camera's settings helps this out some.

It's all a compromise in how a manufacturer chooses to process images by default. You can never please everyone. So, they allow you to change some of the settings to "tune" the output more to your liking, to a point.

Also, if you shoot in raw, you can bypass the camera's image processing entirely to give you even more control. Of course, that means slower cycle times after the camera's buffer fills up, and larger file sizes. So, there are cons to that approach. But, raw is a better way to go if the camera you select supports it without too many performance penalties.

As for lenses, any choice is a compromise (size, weight, cost, brightness, sharpness, color, contrast,resistance to flare, AF speed, ergonomics, etc.).

On the budget end, you may want to look at something like the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro. It's $219 at B&H, and they make it in popular camera mounts (Pentax, Nikon, Konica Minolta, Canon).

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro in Nikon mount at B&H

I'd probably avoid the non-APO versions of the Sigma 70-300 (the APO versions are reportedly much better). It's not reallygoing to be suitable for something like night sports, though. You may want to visit the Nikon Lenses Forum here if you decide to go with a D50 and ask for advise from Nikon users that keep up with lenses more than I do.

If you also want the benefit of Anti-shake with a budget zoom, I'd take a look at the Konica Minolta 5D and 7D. Any lens you use on one takes advantage of this feature. They're getting pretty hard to come by now, though. Wal-Mart has some 7Dsat $699 now, including an 18-70mm DT kit lens (it's on their web site). Most vendors are sold out of KM DSLR models. Adorama alsohas a few left, though (at least they did the last time I checked).

I wouldn't ignore the used market either for any camera you choose. You may be able to find a good deal on a brighter f/2.8 zoom more suitable for your night games, and you could always use a 1.4x Teleconverter on a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom to get you a 40% longer focal range (at the expense of 1 stop of light, so it would be like shooting with an f/4 zoom). Note thata Teleconverter is usually not very practical on a dim lens (too much light loss for AF to work). But, it's relatively common to see them used with f/2.8 zooms.

Again, check the manufacturer specificforums here once you've decided on a camera choice to get some opinons on suitable lenses.

My favorite vendors for used gear: (very good vendor with conservative ratings)

sail978 Jun 6, 2006 10:48 AM

Thanks for the imput. I really do like the Konica 5D from what I've read. The problem is I haven't been able to actually get my hands on one to see how it feels. I'm also concerned about warrenty problems. Is Sony handling these?

I see that Sony is coming out with its new DSLR and that lenses will still be made to be compatable with the Konica Minolta. I don't see what the price points are going to be but I assume because it's 'Sony', they're going to be high priced for what you get - usually overpriced.

vdaily - I apologize for hijacking your thread but hopefully there's information here that will help you out as well.

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