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Old Jan 29, 2007, 11:53 PM   #1
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Hi there, I am planning to upgrade to a dSLR system and I have the Canon EOS 400D & EF 17-40mm F/4L USM in mind,are theygood choices? I do not really have aspecific budget in mind, but I prefer not to spend unnecessarily. I think Ishall not exceed US$2000 for the requirements I need. I shoot almost anything fromactions to landscapes although I would really like toachieve shallow DOF effects as well. What is your advice?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 1:13 AM   #2
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I don't suggest your first DSLR lens should be a wide zoom for your shooting preference, get something like Sigma/Tamron 28-300mm, later add a wide or super-telezoom to your collection. If you decide to get the Canon 400/XTI, get the battery grip for a well balanced camera plus extended shooting capability.The CanonAF tracking system is very impressive.

Here is a completemodification of the XTI,the lens hood is painted with flat black inside out. The LCD screen is covered with 3M Scoth self laminating acrylic film. The battery grip uses two NB-2LH 950mAh Li-ion.



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Old Jan 30, 2007, 2:06 AM   #3
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Ulysses'_1111 wrote:
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I shoot almost anything fromactions to landscapes although I would really like toachieve shallow DOF effects as well. What is your advice?
Well, depending on the specifics, you won't find any single lens that allows you to do all 3.

The 17-40 is a fabulous landscape lens but there are a sea of other lenses out there as well in that category.

The lens required for 'action' depends entirely on the type of action and your distance from that action. So, some more specifics would help us give recommendations.

shallow DOF - well, DOF is controlled by several factors: First, the sensor size of the camera - since you're considering Canon non-pros the sensor size is all the same.

Second is the aperture value used - the lower the f-stop the more blur

Third is the focal length you are shooting at. 400mm 5.6 is drastically shallower dof than 28mm 5.6.

Finally there is the distance to your subject. That same 400mm 5.6 lens at 15 feet vs 100 feet produces very different DOF results. So, you're shooting preferences will dictate what focal lengths are required - and depending on that info, it can be determined if a 5.6 lens will provide shallow DOF or if a 1.4 lens is required.

One other factor that affects shallow DOF shots is the distance between your subject and the background behind it. While this doesn't affect DOF, it does affect how that DOF looks. Again, if DOF is 3 feet behind your focus point and an object is 5 feet behind your subject, the resulting photo will look drastically different than if that same object were 100 feet behind your subject.

So what types of action shots do you want to take (be specific - little league baseball is different than MLB from the upper deck)

And, what types of shots do you want to have shallow DOF in?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 3:12 AM   #4
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Hey guys, thanks forthe quick responses. I am often limited by my 3xzoompoint & shoot camera when ever I triedto shoot birds. I often have to use the digital zoom to frame a tighter shot, and that also reminds me now that I also like tophotograph birds too. I would also want to get a dSLR with the right lens to freeze birds in flight while also filling up the frame nicely. My P&S is always disappointing when it comes to capturing birds in flight..thefocal lengthis always never long enough. Believe me, the 3x zoom often still leave the bird subject as a tiny patch in the center of the frame. I really want a longer lens for birding. Any suggestions so far? About shallow DOF, I would reallylike to blur the distractingbackground of a portrait some 300cm orfurther away. I can hardly achieve the shallow DOF effect with my P&S camera. Actually I alsotravel often, and I also like to take photographs of airplanes taking off and landing, and once again my current P&S will disappoint me in the lack of focal length, or zoom. I want more zoom to frame the airplanes tighter, orfill up the frame withone satisfactorily. (about at least 1/2-3/4 of the frame) I am beginning to think that I may have to select a different lens already after typing all this. But the 17-40mm L from Canon is so nice. In fact it is that L lens from Canon that is making me want to go Canon. Is there a longer zoomlens that is just as good optically as the 17-40mm L? I don't mind if the lens starts longer. I guess I have to select another lens if I want to achieve all my dreams. Recommendations?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 6:42 AM   #5
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Good news and bad news.

The good news is we now know what types of lenses you need. The bad news - you'll need more than one. For birds in flight you'll want at least 400mm. Two of the most popular Canon lenses for this are the 400mm 5.6 prime and the 100-400L. Since you're not buying the lens for strictly birding I would suggest the 100-400 for versatility. Both wonderful quality but neither is going to get you landscape shots.

Unfortunately you're not going to find a lens wide enough for landscape work (17mm or wider) and long enough for birding and still get quality.

For portrait work, an 85mm 1.8 lens would work great for torso shots or head shots

But see what's happening? 3 different lenses already. If you were into more action shooting than bird shooting then a 70-200 2,8 could serve as both action and portrait lens. But to be any use at birding you'd need to throw a 2x multiplyer on the lens and your focus speed and sharpness will suffer.
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 6:56 AM   #6
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Thanks for trying to help me out. I think it looks like I have to sacrifice the birding part a bit since it certainly seems torequire a monster zoom lens on a dSLRfor good results. Perhaps I should concentrate on the action part like shooting airplanes and nearby birds only, then try to be so ambitious. What do you think? Any lens suggestions for nice portraits that at the same time can also be used to zoom in on low flyingairplanes and birds?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 7:07 AM   #7
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Sorry, I forgot to say that I also like to shoot cultural showsthat goes on atnight where there are many actions going on. My P&S camera is often very bad at this area. Any suggestions on this area together with the above?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 8:27 AM   #8
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Set aside a separate budget for at least two lenses, a good lens will easily exceed your $2,000 mark with a new DSLR plus accessories. Lens shopping is very addictive, you always want more, relax take one step at a time, coming from PS to DSLR is a challenge, get to know your camera first.

You are very daring to take pictures of aircraft take off and landing with a long zoom, the best place to do that is at the air show.
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 8:53 AM   #9
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True, I think I wouldn't want to spend all my money on L lenses alone as I noticed that there are some fantastic third party lenses out there, like the Tamron 18-50mm F/2.8. Do you think getting the 18-50mm Tamron and then add on a longer zoom will be a good idea? Is the Canon EOS 400D a good choice to makesince I find it quite vulnerable to scratches? There is a Nikon D80 that the salesman introduce to let meuse for a while, he seems to be very enthusiastic about the camera..he said that the 18-135mm that comes together with the body is a very good lens. Is getting the Nikon D80 with the 18-135 a better idea? The 18-135mmseems to be quite a long and shallow DOF lens from my experience since I was able to blur the background of a portrait easily. What is your advise?
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Old Jan 30, 2007, 8:31 PM   #10
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Looks like you want to stick withthe most popular names. I live in Nikon and Canon country, at any important event I see only Canon and Nikon guys, local camera storescarry more of those two brands for customers, I can go to the store and ask to see the accessory I need before I make a purchase. I recommend youvisityour local camera store to see what they have before choosing a system because some of the gadgets you need to try on your camera first before buying, you don't want to order online something is new to you and deal with the return process nightmare when you realize that it's not what you want.

The D80 is the camera I intended to buy but changed my mind at the last minute because I shoot outdoor most of the time during the summer time the temp is way above 90F in the afternoon, I need a small body on my neck. The strong point of the current Canon series and the Nikon D seriesis ISO 800, both have battery grip option. If you ask me what camera XTI or D80, I'd say buy both, again if you're not convinced, turn both cameras upside down, what you see there decide for yourself. :-)

Personally I wouldn't pick the short zoom 18-50mm f2.8 unless I know I can make money from a specific shoot, so it's not my first choice, I'd buy something like 18-135mm and later add another one in the range of 100-400mm that's very much reach my a little above $2,000 limit include the body, battery grip, memory card, hopefully a nice bag.
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