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rey Apr 28, 2006 1:34 PM


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.


JohnG Apr 28, 2006 3:16 PM

rey wrote:


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

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).


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:

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: :-)

JimC Apr 29, 2006 3:04 PM

dandcp wrote:

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

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:

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


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


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.

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

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

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.

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