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Old Dec 26, 2006, 6:29 PM   #1
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Hey all, first I'd like to apologize for making 3 posts asking for seperate things in 3 days. I just started taking pictures again and am curious to see what is out there. Feel free to ignore this if you don't want to help me again, I will take no offense:blah:

Anyways, I am thinking my next upgrade might be to an SLR (although I doubt I will upgrade for at least a year, this is mostly curiousity) and would like to know the absolute cheapest I could get an SLR and a set of lenses that would cover 30-300mm. And by cheapest, I mean cheapest that isn't a complete waste of money because it will break in 10 minutes. Any suggestions?
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 6:50 PM   #2
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How's it goin', Morag2? If you aren't really planning on becoming a serious shopper for a year, the way the market is evolving, any suggestions made now would probably be useless. Also, cheapest sort of depends on the vendor and the cheapest price might not always be the best buy. There have been many posts in these forums of experiences with dealers offering the lowest prices that have turned out to be misrepresentations.

If I were you, I think I'd investigate the major DSLR players that have the lowest MSRP's. Pick a few that have the kind of features you value most and then look at the general cost of the lenses for those cameras. That should narrow the field down to two or three cameras. Then, just keep your eye on the current selling prices for those models every so often and keep an ear cocked for new players coming onto the market.

Who knows -- if you do your homework now, you might run across a great deal on one of your choices and be able to upgrade earlier than you think!

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Old Dec 26, 2006, 6:52 PM   #3
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Actually, the cheapest will be a film SLR.

The cheapest DSLRs (digital SLRs) would be the Pentax K110D & K100D, Olympus E-500, Nikon D40 & D50, and Canon Rebel, and Rebel XT. You might also find some disconinued models like the Olympus E-300 or E1, or the Pentx *istD.

You can get a K110D right now for about $399 after rebate right now with the kit lens. Add a Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 DG APO lens for another $185 and you'll have pretty good coverage out to 450mm equivalent, about what your used to with your superzoom, for under $600 total.

Then maybe you can save up for something like a 135-400mm lens which would cost another $500.

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Old Dec 26, 2006, 9:27 PM   #4
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Hmm, I guess I have to agree with the evolving market bit. Perhaps right now I should just try and find a good brand and keep my eyes open. I should note that I'm 16 years old and so a DSLR is a HUGE purchase especially with the price of gas and car insurance right now.

I do like the sounds of these Pentax cameras, but I would like to know the particulars of each brand, so could anyone recommend which maker I should go with?

I shoot mainly nature, like wildlife (hence the need for telephoto), I also like macro's. I generally avoid photographing people at all, so sports I don't need to worry about, I like Canon, but I would also like in-body IS, any suggestions from that?
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 11:03 PM   #5
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Well if you are interested in in-body IS, the best brand is probably Pentax, with the K100D, or the K10D. The K10D is more expensive, and maybe out of yuor budget now, but it's nice to know they have a more intermediate DSLRs on the market in the event you have a need to move up. The K100D is exactly the same as the K110D I mentioned earlier, except is has ithe in-camera IS, and costs $100 more.

The other one with in-body IS is Sony, with the A-100 (Alpha). Some of their newly lenses seem a bit pricey right now, but some of that might just be due to them being new. They may come down in price after they've been out awhile longer. And there should be some good Konica Minolta lenses out there on the used market. And the camera itself has come down to a reasonable price of around $700 with the kit lens.

You should also consider Olympus. The main drawbacks of the E-500, and E-330 cameras have been that they aren't as good at high ISO shooting as Canon, Nikon, and Pentax. "Noise" is low at ISO 400 and below, but a bit worse than others at 800, and significantly worse at ISO 1600. The other main drawback is that they use less autofocus "points", so the autofocus system isn't as good at tracking motion. Autofocus also won't be as quick or quiet as it is on Canon and Nikon systems which support lenses with ultra sonic motors. It does tend to be very accurate though.

With all that, they don't tend to be the best cameras for sports or low light. They may be right for yor purposes though. The main reason they aren't as good as far as "noise" at ISO 800+ is that they use a smaller sensor. The tradeoff here is a smaller camera and smaller lenses. They have a 2x focal length multiplier, compared to 1.5x on Nikon, Canon, Sony, and 1.6x on the Canon Rebels. So a 200mm lens, which gives a 300mm equivalent field of view on most DSLRs, will give a 400mm field of view on Olympus.

But while there is a pretty good selection of standard short-medium telephoto zooms, up to 200mm, available, there aren't enough affordable options yet for focal lengths beyond that. There are a couple of good Sigma lenses due to be released that might be enough to make this a good choice for birding. One of them is the 135-400 f4.5-5.6 lens I mentioned above for Pentax, which is about $540, and should be in stores very soon, but doesn't seem to be in stock yet. There's also a 50-500mm for $999 expected to arrive in January.

Long telephotos can get very expensive. And long telephotos with bright lenses get even more expensive. A 300mm f2.8 will generally run over $3000. The good news for most wildlife shooting is that you normally are shooting in bright enough light outdoors that you don't necesarilly need the widest possible apertures. Still, when you have then same lens available for all major mounts, like that 135-400, and on the Olympus it's givign you an effective length of up to 800mm equivalent, instead of 600mm equivalent, that can be a big advantage.

Unfotunately, while ther are a number of reasonably priced budget 70-300mm or 80-300mm type of lense available in the $200, there are none of these yet for Olympus. So you are at a disadvantage here until that changes. If you aren't buying now, but are watching the market though, this could be one to watch.

Other than those, you have the market leaders, Canon and Nikon. Canon is #1, and you really can't go wrong there, as there are alot of lens and body options available, and they are likely to be around a long time. If your photographic interests change over time, there will likely always be a lens available that fits your needs, for a price. Nikon is generally very competitive with Canon, with somewhat similar offerings head to head. My impression is that Nikon gives a bit better value right now on the camera side of things, whereas Canon seems to have a bit better value when it comes to lenses. Canon seems to have at least a few affordable lenses with their IS, for example. At the entry level I think you do pay just a bit more for Canon or Nikon, but it could prove to be worth it in the long run.

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Old Dec 26, 2006, 11:36 PM   #6
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Thank you very much for the explanation!

How much would I likely save on a telephoto lens with the in-body IS? I do like Canon as I know it to be a very reliable brand.

I have a question about the Olympus however, you said it has a smaller sensor, does this harm image quality? I know that a bigger sensor is generally considered better (hence the upgrade from prosumer to DSLR), so would the Olympus lose quality with their smaller sensor?

I am finding both the Nikon D50 and the Canon Rebel XT (and XTi) appealing, so I might end up passing on the in-body IS and going with one of those. I like the look of the cameras and the ISO performance is nice. Although I take mainly wildlife, I do like the ability to shoot indoors with no flash, and ISO 800 just doesn't do that for me. So perhaps Canon or Nikon would be a good choice for that reason?
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 1:02 AM   #7
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Of course, you should get what you want. However, I think the Pentax K110 and K100 do pretty well at ISO 1600. I would say spend the extra money and get the K100.I owned a *ist DS and liked it quite a bit. I haven't owned one of the Canon DSLR's, and I believe that they generally have very fine image quality. However, you should pick up these camera with your own hands and find out how they feel. For me, the Digital Rebel XT just didn't quite feel right.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 9:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
I have a question about the Olympus however, you said it has a smaller sensor, does this harm image quality? I know that a bigger sensor is generally considered better (hence the upgrade from prosumer to DSLR), so would the Olympus lose quality with their smaller sensor?
Yes, that is the main reason IQ isn't as good above ISO 800. IQ is just as good at ISO 400 and below, though, and if you are comparing with kit lenses, maybe better because of the quality of the Olympus kit lenses. The sensor is still alot bigger than those on digicams.

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I do like the ability to shoot indoors with no flash, and ISO 800 just doesn't do that for me. So perhaps Canon or Nikon would be a good choice for that reason?
Yes, Canon, Nikon or Pentax would be best for that. The Sony really isn't any better than Olympus at ISO 1600. The other thing to look at there is lenses. All three offer a good affordable 50mm prime. If you can shoot at f/2.0, for example, that's twice as bright as f/2.8. So you would get the same results at ISO 800 as the less bright lens at ISO 1600.

Quote:
How much would I likely save on a telephoto lens with the in-body IS?
In many cases you might do without the IS instead. Canon and Nikon have a limited number of affordable lenses with it available.Here is what's available from Nikon:

24-120mm f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR $490.00
18-200mm f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR $900.00
80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AF VR $1370.00
70-300mm f4.5-5.6 AF VR $600.00
105mm f2.8 AF-S VR $850.00
70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR $1550.00

The first four are long zooms most of which tend to be best stopped down to about f8. You would probably be interested in the 70-300mm as an affordable walk around compromise for nature shooting. Most lenses beyond that focal length are going to be big and heavy and you will need to shoot off of a tripod anyway in many cases. The latter two are the only ones I see offering VR along with wider maximum apertures .

Here are the offerings I see from Canon:
17-55mm f2.8 IS $970.00
17-85mm f4-5.6 IS $480.00
24-105mm f4.0 L IS $1049.00
70-200mm f2.8 L IS $1700.00
70-200mm f4.0 L IS $1030.00
70-300mm f4-5.6 IS $550.00
70-300mm f4.5-5.6 DO IS $1070.00
100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS $1350.00

The 17-85 is a good general purpose lens. The 17-55 gives a wider maximum apperture, but a similar quality lens without the IS can be had from Tamron for under half the price. Other than that, the only option for under $1000 is a 70-300 similar in size, capabilities, and price to the Nikon offering.

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Old Dec 27, 2006, 5:53 PM   #9
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I think that Canon or Nikon would be best for me. I like the large lens selection, and I don't like the idea of a small sensor on an Olympus (If I'm paying DSLR prices, I want DSLR IQ).

Now from that list you just gave me, Nikon seems more affordable. Many of those lenses probably don't need IS at low zooms. Like with my Kodak I would be just fine with no IS until I hit 250mm or so assuming the light is okay. And the high ISO would pretty much counter the lack of IS, because I could shoot at such fast shutter speeds. (On my Kodak P850 I am uncomfortable shooting at anything above 200 ISO because the grain is pretty bad by then... and judging by sample pictures, I could find a cheap camera with usuable ISO 1600. So that makes up for my 3 stops gained by IS right there.

Thank you very much for the help, I think I will just keep my eye on Canon/Nikon for now, maybe I'll wait until they announce an upgrade on their current entry-level cameras and then buy that (I still do need to wait quite some time to get the money for a purchase like this).
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Old Dec 30, 2006, 11:05 AM   #10
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Also take a look at these Sigma lens, they suit Nikon/Canon/Pentax

Sigma 17-70 F2.8 - 4.5 DG (Macro) $324
Sigma 70-300 F4 - 5.6 DG APO (Macro) $175

The 17-70 has good reviews.
The 70-300 is a good lens for the price.
Both these lens will cover the focal length you're looking for (30-300)
They won't break in 10 min.
They both have macro capabilities.
Mounted on a Pentax K100 you also get IS.



Morag2 wrote:
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Hey all, first I'd like to apologize for making 3 posts asking for seperate things in 3 days. I just started taking pictures again and am curious to see what is out there. Feel free to ignore this if you don't want to help me again, I will take no offense:blah:

Anyways, I am thinking my next upgrade might be to an SLR (although I doubt I will upgrade for at least a year, this is mostly curiousity) and would like to know the absolute cheapest I could get an SLR and a set of lenses that would cover 30-300mm. And by cheapest, I mean cheapest that isn't a complete waste of money because it will break in 10 minutes. Any suggestions?
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