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-   -   Shopping for my first dSLR (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/what-camera-should-i-buy-80/shopping-my-first-dslr-87718/)

dandcp Apr 24, 2006 2:25 AM

I have been taking pictures since I was in High School (almost 20 years) with my Pentax ME Super, Vivitar 80-200mm, 50mm. Sadly about 2 years ago it was all stolen, and since then I havejust used aSony Cybershotfor basic memory photos. I have just recently been able to afford a new one and have decided to that I want a nice dSLR to get back into photography as I miss it so much. I enjoy taking the nice scenics, landscapes, (Sunsets at beach, mountains, waterfalls etc) and of course my two daughters. I am no professional... yet... maybe I'd call myself a serious amateur.

My budget is $1200-1300.

I have done some researchand am aiming for a 6-8MP camera. I don't know if I can afford the Canon 20D or not, and still get a good quality lens. I have looked also at theNikon D50/D70, Pentax istDS2 and just saw Canon 350D. I would appreciate any feedback or questions.

I would like tomake sure I get a nice telephoto lens too. at least 200mmzoom but maybe 300 or 400, but that maybe out of my $$ range, yes, I am a dreamer.

I have a tripod already. so justfocusing on body, 2 lens, backpack, may wait to get flash later, but doneed one. of course need a nice size memory card. maybe 2GB? what's the deal with batteries? I have readstuff about AA being better than the Lithium kind. Anythoughts?

Thanks in advance for your advice!







dandcp Apr 24, 2006 11:13 PM

No replies yet... Well I finally went out today to Samys and actually took a look at all these cameras. Just wanted to get a feel to see how they all felt in my hands to see them side by side. Well I think I have come to the conclusion that the Pentax ones seem a bit small and sort of cheap feeling. He showed me the Canon 30D and WOW is that ever nice. Ilove the feel of it and it justseems fast and solid too. I just don't know if I should spend the majority of my budget on just the body? I also looked at the Nikon's D50 and D70s which I thought was supposed to beexactly alike with just a few minor differences.But I liked the D70smuch better. It felt better in myhands as it was a bit larger it seemed. They had a deal of D70s with 18-70ED lens, 1GB card, Tripod and case, DVD of something, and 300reprints for $999 then for $200 more you can get a 70-300 zoom and 2 year warranty.

I didn't get to see a 20D but is there much difference from the 30D? Maybe I should be able to find a 20D for much cheaper now that 30D is out.

Any advice for me out there? Or something Ishould be thinkingabout? Am I missing something?

staticrules Apr 24, 2006 11:39 PM

I have a D50 and love it. I think most folks will tell you to spend money on some good glass if you are able to, rather than on the body. I'm still an amateur and have the kit lense which is OK for now since I'm on a budget and still learning.

ellover009 Apr 25, 2006 12:23 AM

The D50 is nicer than the D70S unless you do a lotta manipulating with your computer, the D50 had better noise. I'm having the same difficulty exept I got a $1500 budget and I'll nr my first dslr. Right now I'm aiming at 8mp so nikon is outta the picture and the D200 is out of my budget, If it included a lens at its tag price I would consider it but then id have a body and no lens. I narrowed it down to:
Rebel XT, Hand Grip, 2gb mem extreme 3, and prob a 18-55 IS lens.
Rebel XT KIT, Hand Grip, 2gb mem extreme 3 Save mucho $$
30D kit, 2gb mem extreme 3 Feels much better
+ cleaning kit, a carry bag, and prob a warantee if $$ left

I can get the 30D for $1,350 kit and $1,250 from rob's, heard good from em, authorized canon dealer us warantee.

Additiona Thought
If I had your budget and I 6MP didn't bother me I would get the D50 and 18-200VR lens with immage stabilization, heck of a lens. 2mp is not big but it's 2006 and theres minimal price difference between the two with the canon 100$ rebate on the XT and the D50 lacks Mirror lock up wich is a nice feature.
I've heard from ppl who have bought Battery grips for the 350xt that I weights more with the grip than a 30D non gripped, and that it felt better but a little heavy.
Panasonic is coming out soon with theyr first DSLR 7.9MP CMOS sensor, built in stabilization, ultrasonic lens cleaner, and a leica lens, will cost a bit but is feature heavy and I'll include a new version of theyr processor Venus 3 wich will prob fix theyr noise issues.


dandcp Apr 25, 2006 1:47 AM

Thanks ellover009for your advice. I am still trying to decide on if 6mp is ok or if I should splurge for 8. I want this to last a long time as I don't forsee me getting another dSLR for years. There is a chance I could bump up my budget to $1500 but didn't want to do that if I don't have to.

Where is this robs? "I can get the 30D for $1,350 kit and $1,250 from rob's"

I will have to look into that 18-200VR as well.

Thanks again!

rey Apr 25, 2006 2:13 AM

Quote:

the D50 lacks Mirror lock up wich is a nice feature.
The D50 can do mirror lockup, if you buy the $20 remote. What the D50 doesn't have is mirror pre-release, which is a great feature, and I don't know if the XT has it.

With short supply of Nikon lenses, especially the 18-200VR and Tokina 12-24, I really wish people would stop buying Nikons until the supply can keep up with current demand. Hopefully Canon's rebate helps. :-)


photojazz Apr 25, 2006 12:07 PM

Hi, I was in the same mode last month and did the following:

Read almost every forumon most of the popular websites

Finalized my choices down to the Nikon D70, Nikon D50 . I renetd the D70 for a week and took alot of great photos. I did not test the D50 but made my decisions based upo more reviews and the store I brought it from gave me a week to test it.

In the end I settled for the D50 and plan to use the savings for better glass.

Hope this helps!



mtclimber Apr 25, 2006 4:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I happen to agree with photojazz-

Camera bodies come and go rather quickly. In contrast, good glass retains its value and are the most important element of the the DSLR equation. Here is a photo taken with my D-50 and the Tamron 18-200mm lens.

MT

ellover009 Apr 25, 2006 8:27 PM

http://www.robertsimaging.com/

Don't order online call theyr indiana store and purchase by phone, they sell the 30D's for $1250 non kit $1350 kit and since ur calling the store personally they'll sell it at instore price. When I called no tax for my state MASS, and shipping was estimated to 22$ to my area.
I am still thinking how far to push it, it's a big investement, i'll be my first DSLR, and I want something to last quite a bit, not forever but at least over 2-3 yrs.
If I had more $$ I would defenitely look into the nikon D200, heck of a camera but I'm already stretching the budget. The D50 has mirror lockup but it's designed mostly to clean the sensor, not for long exposures.
Remember you are buying into the equipment, take a look at the prices of the lenses and the accessories it all adds up to your needs and how much you are willing to spend. The 350xt , hand-grip and a nice sigma lens with 18-200 would be nice, but I like the30D a lot, feels nice, but not sure if my wallet can justify almost 2x cost for and magnesium alloy body, a 2.5in lcd, and ISO 3200 (most likely not used much).

peripatetic Apr 26, 2006 3:37 AM

Quote:

Camera bodies come and go rather quickly.
I'm not sure about that anymore.

Certainly digital photography has been through a revolution, but there are definite signs that it's all going to slow down now.

The megapixel race is effectively finished. The high-end DSLRs are now limited by lens resolution and it's fairly clear that the APS-C cameras will have to start trading noise for increased resolution.

Even the smaller digicams are starting to back away from higher pixel counts to improve noise performance. 8Mp models are starting to be replaced with 6Mp models with better noise.

And why should the race continue? The APS-C DSLRs have image quality that is about as good as 35mm film was. For most that is good enough, as it's good enough for A3 prints (with a bit of work) and easily good enough for A4 prints.

I think the Canon 30D will be around for quite some time. Development cycles are going to lengthen IMO. And I would be very surprised to see any replacement for the D200 for at least 3-4 years.

So really I reckon that if you have your heart set on the 30D you could easily consider it an "investment" that will last for 5 years plus. After all why upgrade the shutter on the 30D to 100,000 cycles if they didn't expect people to hang on to the camera for a while?

djkostya Apr 26, 2006 8:09 AM

Yes, I agree.

Sometimes I take pictures using 35mm film with my Nikon FM2. And really like it just because of noise. It gives the feeling of natural picture. But the only problem is the price of those pics. Very high price for all.
I think, film is for professionals, who can predict the result without monitoring, so I'd like using dSLR so far.

dandcp Apr 27, 2006 12:43 PM

Sorry for taking so long to get back... Thanks everyone for their replies and advice not that it is making my decision any easier. :? it seems I am down to the Nikon D50 or the Canon 20D or 30D. I know it is a huge difference in costs.

That is a good idea photojazz to rent. I may have to look into that.

Does anyone have any other thoughts or reviewson the Tamron 18-200mmlens? The seagull photo by mtclimber doesn't seem as sharp as I would think it should be. Or would want my photos to be.

ellover009, thanks for the info. I will call the indianna store and see what I can find out from them.
Quote:

Remember you are buying into the equipment, take a look at the prices of the lenses and the accessories it all adds up to your needs and how much you are willing to spend. The 350xt , hand-grip and a nice sigma lens with 18-200 would be nice, but I like the30D a lot, feels nice, but not sure if my wallet can justify almost 2x cost for and magnesium alloy body, a 2.5in lcd, and ISO 3200 (most likely not used much).

I do need to do a bit more research on lens I think. I do agree with you and I do like the 30D a lot too. The feel etc. But I am in the same boat with trying to justify the 2x cost. what to do... what to do.... Especially afterperipatetic's thoughts on the bodies lasting a while. I tend to agree.Does anyone else have any thoughts on this subject?

Thanks guys.

JohnG Apr 27, 2006 1:08 PM

Dandcp,

I think you're down to the 2 cameras that are the best near your price point:

30d/20d and D50. Overall picture quality, the Canon 20d, 350d and Nikon d50 and d70 will produce the same quality photos. The difference between 6mp and 8 is trivial and I wouldn't base your decision on which body to buy based on that. Base it on 2 things:

1. Which camera has the features that your photographic style requires

2. which body is ergonomically appealing to you

As a sports shooter, the features of the 20D were what made that my camera of choice - ISO 3200, low noise performance, burst rate, etc. - the 20d is still tops in the non-pro category for sports shooting (The Nikon d200 has the feature set but not the low noise performance). For people doing a lot of flash work - I think Nikon still has better flash management than Canon. But, if you aren't going to do the low-light, high ISO work and don't need the burst rate and buffer handling the Canon 20d/30d offers then I don't think the 20d/30d offers a big enough picture quality difference over the Nikon to justify the price difference.

As for buying great glass - that's a true statement, but a $1300 budget won't allow you to do that. You're going to have to compromise - either buy a single quality lens with shorter reach or buy a lens with wide zoom range (which is going to have poorer quality than a smaller zoom range) or buy 2 cheap lenses. I wouldn't set your expectations too high for any lens covering the 18-200 range. My advice on lenses - buy a single quality lens that meets 75% of your needs and add a second lens when you have more money. Usually a mid-range zoom - something like a 24-70 (Sigma makes a nice one) or the Canon 28-135 or Canon 17-85 IS are good starting points. None of them are professional quality lenses so don't expect to match what you see with a $1300 lens but these types of lenses will almost always outperform a 24-200 or 18-200 type of lens.

So, first decide if you need to step up from the Nikon D50 to the features the 20D/30d provides (remember the 2 extra mp really isn't a big deal but some of the other features might be). Be honest about your choice: I bought the 20d because the features were important a friend of mine went with the D50 because he didn't need the extra features - both of us are happy.

That's my 2 cents.

rey Apr 27, 2006 2:55 PM

Quote:

The D50 has mirror lockup but it's designed mostly to clean the sensor, not for long exposures.
This is not true. With a remote, you CAN lock the mirror for long exposure. The remote allows you to lessen vibration. For some reason the D50 doesn't allow you to trigger it with a timer. The only in-camera mirror lock for long exposure is to physically hold the shutter button.


staticrules Apr 28, 2006 12:16 AM

Does the D50 really have mirror lock up? I thought mirror lock up meant that the mirror is put up in the open position first, separate from when the shutter curtain is opened.

Every D50 review I've read says that there is no mirror lock up mode. I can see where the remote would lessen the vibration, but I think the mirror goes up at the same time the shutter curtain is opened. I might be wrong though. I'm going to check my manual again.

rey wrote:
Quote:

Quote:

The D50 has mirror lockup but it's designed mostly to clean the sensor, not for long exposures.
This is not true. With a remote, you CAN lock the mirror for long exposure. The remote allows you to lessen vibration. For some reason the D50 doesn't allow you to trigger it with a timer. The only in-camera mirror lock for long exposure is to physically hold the shutter button.



rey Apr 28, 2006 12:43 AM

Quote:

Does the D50 really have mirror lock up? I thought mirror lock up meant that the mirror is put up in the open position first, separate from when the shutter curtain is opened. Every D50 review I've read says that there is no mirror lock up mode. I can see where the remote would lessen the vibration, but I think the mirror goes up at the same time the shutter curtain is opened. I might be wrong though. I'm going to check my manual again.


I think what you're describing here is Mirror Pre-Release. What it does is lessen the vibration since the mirror slap can happen way after the shutter is opened, thus reducing vibration.

From what I understand the two are different. Mirror Lockup is when you can keep the mirror up for long exposures (ie longer than the built-in 30 seconds). Usually you can trigger this via timer, but with D50, you have to keep the shutter button down with your finger, and if you let go of the shutter button, the shutter (and mirror) will drop. With a remote, you can keep the mirror up (I think up to 30 mins, but I'm not sure since I don't have a remote).

To use mirror-lockup manually, set the camera to M mode and turn the dial to change the shutter time pass 30 seconds to "bulb". When you press the shutter, the mirror locks until you let it go.

See Page 40 and 46 of the manual. (I'm looking at the online PDF manual).


rey Apr 28, 2006 1:44 AM

Okay, after reading more about this, I think my nomenclature is mixed up.

Mirror Lock-up is when you lock-up the mirror independent of the shutter, thus avoiding the vibration from mirror slap. With the D50, mirror cannot be locked except for cleaning, but it has BULB mode for long exposure.

Mirror Pre-Fire is what *some* cameras have, where the camera delays the shutter release, say... by two seconds, after the mirror is up, therefore avoiding the mirror slap vibration.

*Most cameras that have the features above doesn't differentiate between the two.

Bulb Mode is when you keep the shutter and mirror up for long exposure.

So the D50 has Bulb Mode, but it works better with remote. For some reason, Nikon made the bulb mode so that you have to hold the shutter button down, otherwise the mirror and shutter will close and end exposure. I assume in the Rebel XT (and others) you can trigger it to open, let it go and then trigger it again to end exposure.

If you are confused after reading this, then that makes two of us.

Peace.



robbo Apr 28, 2006 2:31 AM

I am just wondering. I have a Pentax *ist DS and know that's not being considered. However, have you discounted he Canon 350D? Some people say it's too small for their hands. Some people don't like the build quality. However, image quality wise, I heard it was very close to the 20D. I doesn't have as impressive a burst mode, but ... it's about 400 bucks cheaper now. You could use that money for lenses. Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose.

woof72 Apr 28, 2006 10:45 AM

I'm in a similar boat as dandcp.

I'm a newbie to dslr but after years using point & shoot, it's time I took the step to dslr.
I've been considering between the D70s and 350D although I'm having second thoughts now. The dilemma is this: Should I buy an older but cheaper body such as a used 300D or D100 and spend more money on at least 2 lenses? Would you recommend buying a used dlsr, assuming it's been cleaned?

If you think that buying a used body is worthwhile, what other cameras would you recommend besides the 2 which I had mentioned?

JohnG Apr 28, 2006 11:02 AM

Woof,

This is just my prejudice, but I personally don't like buying used electronic equipment. Lenses are one thing as the electronics are a bit simpler and not as prone to breakdown. But a DSLR camera body has a lot of electronics and most have only been around a few years so there isn't much knowledge about how long they will last. I would not be personally comfortable buying a used digital device.

I'm still a fan of buying a decent body and a single good quality lens to start with. I don't buy into the 'upgrade' mentality of 'buy this $200 lens and upgrade in a year when you have more money'. Those $200 lenses don't have much resale value - so I'd rather invest in one solid mid-range zoom lens to start with that is highly recommended and that you won't have to upgrade unless you are going to professional quality. There is always going to be more gear you identify as needed over the years. I would rather spend my money buying gear that fills holes rather than buying gear to replace something I already have but is too low quality (with the possible exception of the $50 kit lens that may come with your camera).

As for what body you buy - buy the one that has the features you NEED for your photography. As with a lens, if the body doesn't have the features you need, within a year you'll be wanting to upgrade.

rey Apr 28, 2006 1:34 PM

woof72

I think people here have had good experiences with used body. But I would stay away from 300D and D100. The prices on today's model had drop so much that you can buy them new, or buy them used at a great price. Just make sure the used stuff were cleaned up by the manufacturer themselves.

Personally, I do buy into that "upgrade mentality". Actually it's more like "beggars can't be chooser". I bought my D50 with 18-55 kit lens and 70-300G lens for $680, knowing that that's all I can afford right now. I also know that when cash is better, I'll buy a Tokina 12-24 and Nikon or Tamron 18-200. I've read that others had good experience with the kit lens, and after owning it for a while, I can say the same thing. I did stay away from the 28-80 lens, it is cheaper, but it's not wide enough for what I need it for.

Anyways, just my two cents.

Peace.


JohnG Apr 28, 2006 3:16 PM

rey wrote:
Quote:

woof72


Personally, I do buy into that "upgrade mentality". Actually it's more like "beggars
Rey,

I don't think our approaches are that different - I'm suggesting an upgrade to a $50 investement is not bad (which is why I said - except for the kit lens) - but rather than invest $200 each into 2 lenses ($400 total) that you'll want to upgrade both - it's better to invest the $400 or $500 in a single lens that is of higher quality but doesn't have the total range. Then in a year when you have more money you aren't wanting a 3rd lens and wishing you could replace both your current lenses.

In my case, when I bought my 300d a couple years back - rather than getting the kit lens and a cheap xx-200 zoom I got the body and invested in a well regarded mid range zoom - the 28-135 (the 17-85 didn't exist then). It's not a professional lens, but I've been happy with the lens for 2 years as a walk-around lens and have been able to invest money in filling holes in my lens arsenal and not replacing it. If I had gone with a kit lens and a cheap xx-200 lens I would have spent money on replacing those rather than buying my more niche lenses. So, I'm merely suggesting if you have a limited budget - spend the money on a quality walk-around lens that you'll use for 75%+ of your shots anyway. Again, this only holds true if you're considering buying 2 lenses to begin with - some people can only afford the kit lens. But, in my mind buying 1 good lens is a better investment than buying 2 poor lenses.

Shater Apr 28, 2006 5:17 PM

Guys i really enjoy this post , because your experience will help me decide too

What do you think about

Canon EOS 30D





rritter Apr 28, 2006 6:25 PM

:idea:Consider the Pentax DL. One of the best DSLR's out there and at a price that could give you more for your lens purchases. Probably the best build of your list also. The D series cameras from Pentax are often overlooked because the Canon/Nikon names mean so much to both film and digital photography in today's world. If you owned an ME Super then you know the quality of the Pentax product, it hasn't changed.

woof72 Apr 29, 2006 5:02 AM

Thanks for the tips guys. It looks like I've narrowed my choices to 2: Nikon D70s and Canon 350D. Given the 2 options, what would you recommend as a good but not professionaly-quality lens, sort of mid-range? I have a young family so most of my shots revolve around the kids. My budget would be around $500 for the lens (one).

Cheers

rey Apr 29, 2006 12:31 PM

The D70s kit lens is pretty good from what others have said. For Canon, the 17-85 IS USM is what Canonians like.


JimC Apr 29, 2006 2:31 PM

peripatetic wrote:
Quote:

The megapixel race is effectively finished. The high-end DSLRs are now limited by lens resolution and it's fairly clear that the APS-C cameras will have to start trading noise for increased resolution.

Even the smaller digicams are starting to back away from higher pixel counts to improve noise performance. 8Mp models are starting to be replaced with 6Mp models with better noise.
Someone forgot to copy Casio on the memo: :-)

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/ca..._z1000_pr.html



JimC Apr 29, 2006 3:04 PM

dandcp wrote:
Quote:

I have been taking pictures since I was in High School (almost 20 years) with my Pentax ME Super, Vivitar 80-200mm, 50mm. Sadly about 2 years ago it was all stolen, and since then I havejust used aSony Cybershotfor basic memory photos. I have just recently been able to afford a new one and have decided to that I want a nice dSLR to get back into photography as I miss it so much. I enjoy taking the nice scenics, landscapes, (Sunsets at beach, mountains, waterfalls etc) and of course my two daughters. I am no professional... yet... maybe I'd call myself a serious amateur.

My budget is $1200-1300.
Unless you have any special requirements, most of the DSLR models you'll fnd in our Best Cameras List would make a good choice.

If you need faster frame rates, or better high ISO performance, some are better than others. You'll find a lot of information in each model's Review Conclusion Section (last page before the samples in each review) discussing things like autofocus speed and reliability, cycle times between photos, etc. The Conclusion Section is where you'll find the "meat" of each model's review.

I'd suggest you try out any model you consider in a store. Look at build quality, ergonomics, control layout, viewfinder, etc. Each user will have their own preferences in a camera.

IMO, the best deal going right now in a DSLR is the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D at http://www.adorama.com

This is an extremely well made camera with lots of controls designed to make it a better photographic tool compared to most models. It's gotclass leading build quality, viewfinder and ergonomics, as well as built in anti-shake. Instead of paying a premium to getstabilized lenses from other manufacturers, it's built into the body on Konica Minolta models. So, every lens (cheap zooms, macro lenses, bright primes, etc.) benefits from the technology.

Adorama has this model for an incredibly low $949 right now, including a 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. This lens alone sells for around $400 at many vendors (it's $369 at B&H). Keep in mind that f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as f/5.6 (which is where you'd be at with some of the kit lenses used with other DSLR models if you zoom in much).

This camera body sold for *more* than the Canon EOS-20D when it was introduced. But, because Konica Minolta has exited the camera business, you can get it at a super price while supplies last (and I don't expect supplies to last much longer, as many dealers have already sold out of KM DSLRs). Here is a link to it:

http://www.adorama.com/IMN7DK1.html?...&item_no=1

Sony reached an agreement with Konica Minolta to acquire some of their assets. Part of that arrangment was taking over warranty work. So, you wouldn't need to worry about that part if you experienced a failure.

Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories

Also, Sony is entering the DSLR market (and Konica Minolta will be the OEM manufacturer).

Sony intends to capture more than 25% of theDSLR market within the next few years. They will be introducing DSLR models this summer that can use Minolta lenses. Although nothing "official" has been announced yet, I'd also expect a new line of lenses. So, you'd have an upgrade path if you needed it down the road (and Minolta has already manufactured some 16 Million Lenses in this mount).

Note that I'm biased, since I use a Konica Minolta DSLR (I've got a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5d). I love to take photos in low light, and a KM DSLR is the "only game in town" with ISO 3200, as well as anti-shake with every lens, including bright primes.

Again, make sure to try out models you consider in a store. No one camera is going to be just right for everyone. Chances are, your skill as a photographer is going to be more important than the differences in image quality between these camera models in most conditions. They are all good cameras in the right hands.



woof72 Apr 30, 2006 9:40 AM

JimC,

I live in Australia and the Maxxum 7D is pretty scarce here. I've seen a few 7Ds on eBay but they are all refurbished. I understand that's almost a no-no.

I've cast my search on eBay to include US and there are a few that sell new 7Ds. However, most of them sell just the body without the "standard" kit lens. If so, what is your recommendation for lens and how much would it cost? What would be a decent price to pay for just the body?



JimC Apr 30, 2006 4:08 PM

woof72

Well, if you buy a U.S. Body, you may or may not be able to get it serviced under warranty in Australia. I don't know what Sony's policy is going to be.

Most manufacturers discourage the practice of bypassing the regional distributors.

Some will even refuse to service a gray market camera (one not intended for sale in the region you live in), even if you are willing to pay them for the service. For example, Nikon is pretty tough with their policies about it.

Not many dealers here in the U.S. still have the Maxxum 7D in stock. It looks like it's sellling for between $714 and $977 + shipping at the ones that have them left.

http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-Konica_Minolta_Maxxum_7_Dynax_7_SLR_Digital~S-P~OR-0

The Dynax 7D is the model name in most areas outside of the U.S. The version intended for the Japanese market is the Alpha 7D.

As for lenses, there are many to choose from. The Minolta 28-75mm f/2.8 is a popular choice. It usually goes for around $400 (sometimes a little bit less). I don't have one, but I wouldn't mind having one. It's a well liked lens by KM DSLR owners.

There are many lenses available in Minolta mount. Here are some of them:

Fixed Focal Length Lenses

Macro Lenses

Zoom Lenses

What you need will depend on the subject type, conditions, use for the images, and your expectation of quality. Size and weight can also come into the equation (you may not want to lug around a larger and heavier lens, or multple lenses for a desired focal range, so you may want compromise in some areas)

You really need to take each lens on a case by case basis, looking at things like focal length/range, brightness, ergonomics, AF Speed, resistance to flare, color, contrast, sharpness, size, weight, cost and more.

No one lens is going to be perfect for all uses in all conditions.

So far, I've got the following lenses in Minolta AF Mount:

28mm f/2 (my favorite for low light use, sharp and bright and wide enough for most indoor use). It will behave like a 42mm lens when used on a KM DSLR (lenses appear to be longer on a DSLR).

50mm f/1.7 (sharp and bright) -- a bit long for close quarters since it will appear to be 1.5 times longer from an angle of view perspective on a DSLR (it will behave like a 75mm lens). But, very useful if you're not in close quarters and want a sharp lens.

100mm f/2 (very sweet lens -- highly recommended). Perfectly usable, even wide open. It works like a 150mm lens from an angle of view perpective when used on a KM DSLR. This lens tests better at all apertures compared to the Minolta 85mm f/1.4G according to the MTF tests at http://www.photodo.com

135mm f/2.8 (for when I need something a bit longer). Very Good lens... not quite as sharp as the 100mm f/2 at wide open apertures, but still better than most lenses. This one will have approximately the same angle of view (apparent magnifcation) as you'd have using a 200mm lens on a 35mm camera.

24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 (rapidly becoming my favorite "walk around" lens). After the 1.5x multiplier for angle of view differences, this lens works like a 36-128mm lens would on a 35mm camera.

35-70mm f/4 Macro (sharp and dirt cheap on the used market). I only paid $52 for a working Minolta Maxxum 7000 including this lens at keh.com

18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens with Maxxum 5D) -- Small and light for it's focal range (designed to work only on DSLR models so they can make it smaller). I rarely use it. But, since you have a narrower angle of view with a DSLR, a wider lens like this is a good idea (works out to a 35mm equivalent focal range of around 27-105mm after the 1.5x multiplier).

I've also got some Tamron lenses that work with it (SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5, SP 35-105mm f/2.8 ).

I used the 35-105mm f/2.8 this morning to take some snapshots of some friends and relatives fishing on the banks of the Ogeechee River.

My long end is lacking (I rarely use a longer lens).

I also wouldn't mind having something a bit brighter than my 28mm f/2 for closer quarters indoors. I'm thinking about replacing it with the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC lens for when I want something brighter than f/2 for very low light use.

Each user will have different needs, based on what they want to accomplish with a camera and the conditions they'll be shooting in.




dandcp Apr 30, 2006 5:35 PM

Wow, I am impressed with how many have jumped in on this discussion. I do appreciate reading all of your comments and advice. I hope this helps more than just me!

Thanks JohnG for your thoughts. Yes, I do believe I have it down to either Nikon or Canon.
Quote:

JohnG:30d/20d and D50. Overall picture quality, the Canon 20d, 350d and Nikon d50 and d70 will produce the same quality photos. The difference between 6mp and 8 is trivial and I wouldn't base your decision on which body to buy based on that.
The only thing is that somehow I have overlooked the Canon 350D or Digital Rebel XT as they call it here in the US. I have yet to actually go and see how it feels in my hand. I guess I have a larger hand (I am about 6'2",210lbs) as the one that felt best to me was the 30D. of the Nikon's the D70s felt better than the D50. But I have yet to try the Digital Rebel XT.
Quote:

robbo: Canon 350D? Some people say it's too small for their hands. Some people don't like the build quality. However, image quality wise, I heard it was very close to the 20D. I doesn't have as impressive a burst mode, but ... it's about 400 bucks cheaper now.
I will have to try it robbo.

Now that is just on the feel of it. Regarding the quality or the features that I am looking for. I have been doing some looking at many POTD (Photo of the Day) and other galleries and it seems that the photos that my eyes have been drawn to are majority with Canon cameras. Usually the 20D but also some the 350D. They have been amazing scenics and very sharp stop action sports photos as well as very sharp closeups of wildlife. All areas I enjoy and probably photos I will aim for. Now again not sure if the camera body is what makes it so sharp compared to the lens these photographers are using. The lenses where not often noted.

Quote:

JohnG: But, in my mind buying 1 good lens is a better investment than buying 2 poor lenses.
I also agree with you that and I am realizing that I won't be able to "get it all" with my budget right now. I hope to be able to get a great body and a great lens to start with. I think I will do what you suggest and get a great mid-range zoom. In your opinion what would you suggest the Canon 17-85 IS USM or the Sigma 18-50. As it seems I will have to save up for my long lens to get next year or whenever.

Also thanks to JimC. Thanks for showing me the Best Camera List. I overlooked that one. Also thanks for bringing up the Maxxum 7D. Never even thought of that one. I may take a look see. But I think I am still leaning toward Canon or possibly Nikon.

I hope to go out again today and take a close look at the Dig Rebel XT. Thanks again guys!

dandcp May 2, 2006 2:08 AM

robbo you are correct. I went out yesterday to Ritz and checked out the Digital Rebel XT and yes, it is very small and not comfortable at all in my hands. I was quite sad as I was hoping that might be the one for me. It just won't work for me.

I took a another look at the D50 &D70s and they didn't have the 30D but still the 20D. Of course the Canon 20D felt the best in my hands and I just love how it handles and feels. I also love the super fast focus. The Nikon D70s is next best IMO. Tho the D50 is not bad.

What is the major difference between the CF and SD cards? as I was told that D50 only takes SD and D70s and 20Dtakes CF.

Is there anyone that knows of an amazing deal for a Canon 20D?? I think I am leaning toward the Canons. Also probably would start with a 17-85 lens. Also looking for deals for something similar to that.

Thanks for all your help.


JimC May 2, 2006 2:37 AM

dandcp wrote:
Quote:

Is there anyone that knows of an amazing deal for a Canon 20D?? I think I am leaning toward the Canons. Also probably would start with a 17-85 lens. Also looking for deals for something similar to that.
The best price I see from a reputable dealer for a 20D with a 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS lens is $1,468 from Beach Camera (a.k.a., buydig.com).

Canon EOS-20D with 17-85mm IS lens at Beach Camera

Watch out for their accessory prices (they tend to be quite high on memory cards, etc., compared to some other vendors). But, they usually have pretty good prices on the cameras.

This package is about $1,599at B&H

Canon EOS-20D with 17-85mm IS lens at B&H

B&H has better return policies (7 days with no restocking fee on Digital), with better prices on brand name memory cards and accesories (versus the no name memory cards you see for high prices at some of the vendors using the camera price to lure in customers).

The vendors selling the cameras for less have got to makea profit somewhere. ;-)

Sometimes you see Dell Coupon specials oncameras and lenses. So, if your patient,a deal may pop up (although I try to avoid buying digital stuff from Dell if budget isn't real tight, since their order system can leave something to be desired at times).



dandcp May 2, 2006 11:13 AM

Thanks JohnC..

I forgot to ask about memory cards. Is it usually best to buy all this stuff separately or in a kit? I am thinking I would like to get a 2GB card to start with. Any separate deals on cards? And re cards, does it pay to get those super fast cards. I think they are called Extreme III.

Also is it best to get a kit with body and lens together like you mentioned OR to buy body separately and the lens somewhere else?

regarding the 17-85lens I noticed that it is only f4. are they any similarwith larger aperture like f2 or 2.8? OR is f4 ok?

JimC May 2, 2006 11:46 AM

dandcp wrote:
Quote:

I forgot to ask about memory cards. Is it usually best to buy all this stuff separately or in a kit?
That depends on the vendor. B&H sometimes has some good deals on kits, including good memory cards.

Some of the guys selling cheap cameras sell junk in their kits (that's how they make their profit, since they're selling the cameras for less).

Quote:

I am thinking I would like to get a 2GB card to start with. Any separate deals on cards? And re cards, does it pay to get those super fast cards. I think they are called Extreme III.
A faster card only comes into the equation if the camera's buffer fills up. If you're not shooting sports trying to capture every nuance with a fast frame rate shooting in bursts, you may not need a fast card (since you may not fill the buffer up, and give the camera time to flush it's internal memory to media before you need to take another burst).

If you check out the review conclusion sections for cameras reviewed here, you'll see some information on the number of photos you can take in a burst before a camera slows down (when it's buffer is full). If you shoot in raw, it may be more of a concern shooting events like sports.

You'll also find some tests of some cards in the 20D here, so you can see how fast they can write to media:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...?cid=6007-7303

Quote:

regarding the 17-85lens I noticed that it is only f4. are they any similarwith larger aperture like f2 or 2.8? OR is f4 ok?
It's f/4 on the wide end of the lens. It's f/5.6 on the long end of the lens.

f/2.8 is twice as bright as f/4, and 4 times as bright as f/5.6

For a walk around lens, a lot of people like it. For low light use of non-stationary subjects, it's not going to "cut it" in many low light conditions.

There are always tradeoffs when selecting lenses (for example, focal range, sharpness, brightness, AF speed, ergonomics, size, weight and cost). A brighter lens is going to be larger and heavier for the same focal range. That's why many users have both types.

See my last post in this recent thread for a more thorough discussion of shooting in low light:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=66

Stabilization won't help blur from subject movement if you can't use a flash and light is low.

It's all going to depend on the lighting, the amount of subject movement, and the percentage of keepers you want (as well as what's required from a quality perspective, as enlarging images will make lack of sharpness and other problems like noise from higher ISO speeds more apparent).


woof72 May 4, 2006 9:12 AM

After spending many hours online doing camera research, based on the circumstance I'm in, i.e. a newbie to dslr after having owned a few prosumer-type point-and-shoot, I think I'll buy a relatively cheap body (say D50 or an old 300D) but pair it with good midrange lenses. That way, when my photography skills improve, I can replace the average body with a better camera but still retain the good glass.

Fair enough assessment?

I'm inclined to get an old 300D with a 17-85 IS USM lens. Should I also consider fixed focal length lens?

me2 May 5, 2006 12:33 AM

I did the same thing you are thinking of doing. I bought a D50 with a 18-70 and a 50f/1.8. We've had it for about 6 weeks now. Took it on a 2 week trip over Easter and shot about 600 pictures. Excellent camera. I was surprised how many times we used the 50mm and ISO400-800 in low light conditions and got excellent pictures. Small enough to carry all day. Nikon glass is plentiful and not too expensive. The camera is fast and fairly easy to use.

The jump from a digicam or film DSLR is big. A DSLR just does so many more things or allows you to do so many more things. It takes a while to catch up with the camera. Your picture quality will improve enormously if you are like me.

I'll be buying a D200 as a second body in the future, when the price goes down.

woof72 May 5, 2006 1:08 AM

I believe I've max-ed out the potential of the point-and-shoot. I really struggled when I tried DOF and background-blurring - it's impossible even with a large aperture.

I've played around with a mate's D70 - got some nice pics and decided that's the way to go. I've gone and tried the feel of D70 vs D50 vs 350D. I must say the 350D suits me fine in terms of size and weight. Now I'm considering a cheaper body so that I can spend more on lenses.

ellover009 May 7, 2006 6:10 PM

Main reason I like the 20-30D is controls, love the scroll wheel, tried the d70s in the store felt nice and heavy but the controls had me a bit confused, you have to pressa button to activate the screen, then you have to scroll throught the menu and sub menus to do a simple change, must be me some ppl love the nikon menus, I'll give credit that they include a help button. 20D-30D price is almost same and you get a few upgrades on the 30D.
How bout this 30D kit, $1350, mem card 2gb $100, and a 50mm prime bout $80
An 30D body $1250, a 50mm prime $80 and 2gb stick $100
I would love a D200 but that be pushing the budget a lot $1600 no lens.
350xt, handgrip 2gb, and a nice lens sound like the best balance.

ellover009 May 7, 2006 6:17 PM

Don't even bother with the 300D,or the D100, they have old technology, they technically have no warantee because they are no longer made and brand new they still cost quite a bit. The 300D does not compare to the D50 because it was release ages ago, the D50 compares more the the 350XT, they were released at similar times, they share the newest processors, and on sale you can get em at similar price, and for both companies they are the entry cameras.


woof72 wrote:
Quote:

After spending many hours online doing camera research, based on the circumstance I'm in, i.e. a newbie to dslr after having owned a few prosumer-type point-and-shoot, I think I'll buy a relatively cheap body (say D50 or an old 300D) but pair it with good midrange lenses. That way, when my photography skills improve, I can replace the average body with a better camera but still retain the good glass.

Fair enough assessment?

I'm inclined to get an old 300D with a 17-85 IS USM lens. Should I also consider fixed focal length lens?


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