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Old Feb 12, 2007, 2:40 PM   #1
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I'm a very amatuer photographer with a willingness to learn, but not too much time to do so. It occurred to me recently that I need a better camera than my Nikon Coolpix 3200 when a friend came by with his Canon 20d and shot some really nice photos of my 5 month old son. So now when I look back at all my nikon photos, they look really bad in comparison. I'd like a nice camera that will last me a long long time, and will take great photos. I'm fairly tech savvy, but cameras are fairly new to me. Budget is not a huge issue, but I'd like to stay below $1,500 for sure, and $1,000 preferably. I'll mostly take family photos anc vacation photos etc. This budget should include any lenses that I will immediately need to take great photos.

Any help is much appreciated.
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 3:01 PM   #2
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The 30D is somewhat larger and has (for me) a more comfortable grip. Dollarwise, the XTi is hard to beat. I don't especially like the grip, so be sure to physically handle the XTi DSLR camera. But, the XTi with kit lens and perhaps a telephoto fit your budget nicely.

Have you considered other brands, than Canon? Nikon and Pentax both also have good equipment.

MT/Sarah


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Old Feb 12, 2007, 4:22 PM   #3
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I'm happy to consider other brands, but I only have experience with the canon 20d. I havent used the XTi, but have read reviews, and it seems just as good for a user like me.
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 5:16 PM   #4
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saz-

I was thinking about the Nikon D-40 which is a DSLR camera designed specifically for a person like yourself who is transitioning from a point and shoot camera to a DSLR. The D-40 has received excellent reviews. It might be worth taking a look. It is on Steve's "Best Cameras" List. Here is Steve's recent review of the Nikon D-40:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...nikon_d40.html

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 5:37 PM   #5
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saz_1 wrote:
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I'd like a nice camera that will last me a long long time, and will take great photos.
I think any of the DSLRs on the market will serve you well. But I would offer a word of caution regarding the D40 Sarah suggests - because it does not have a focus moter there are a number of Nikon lenses that are not usable with it. Given your budget of $1000-1500 I think you can afford a more robust camera than the D40 and still buy decent lenses.

I'm not a big fan of the concept of 'buy the lowest end and learn to use it first - then upgrade later'. I'm a fan of buying the BEST you can afford and not having to upgrade until it dies. While the D40 may meet your needs now, in a year you might outgrow some of it's limitations (or not).

In truth, if you can hold off another month, the PMA photo show will start and the major manufacturers will announce their new cameras - including DSLRs. No guarantees of anything from any manufacturer but it might be worth waiting for.

But if you want to buy right now, I would suggest looking at the Canon 400D (XTi) and the Nikon D50 or D80 (d80 is a great camera but a bit pricey). Again, if you like Nikon I'd wait to see if they offer a replacement for the D50 after the PMA show. If nothing else, you may see a drop in one of the DSLR prices you're considering.

With either camera I would recommend a lens in the 17-70mm range for an all purpose lens. I also recommend buying only a single lens to start out with. Figure out where that lens falls short in your photography needs and THEN buy a 2nd lens. You can have a 2nd lens in a week's time from a reputable on-line retailer or same day from a brick and mortar if you prefer. But let your actual needs dictate what the 2nd lens should be and not what someone else tells you that you NEED to have. Just my 2 cents.






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Old Feb 12, 2007, 5:46 PM   #6
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Thanks, JohnG-

There is a lot of good common sense in your reply. Because I am a Nikon D-50 user, I initially had the very same feelings that you did about a lack of AF-S and AF-I lenses. Then I read Steve's review on the D-40 where he lists all the lenses compatible with the D-40 and I was really suprised by how extensive that it really is.

So I have had to re-think my feelings about the Nikon D-40. The D-40 has received really great reviews and it is also on Steve's "Best Camera" List as well. I honestly think it is a very viable consideratiopn for saz-1's case.

Here is the link to Steve's D-40 review:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...nikon_d40.html

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 7:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. I checked out the d40 review, and it seems like a great camera. But I'm also the type of person that likes to get the best available for my budget and use it till it dies.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that I have no REAL clue about some of these camera's, or the lenses, so the lense recommendation is indeed appreciated.

I guess I'm leaning towards the XTi because it seems like I can get the body and a good lense within my budget. The 30d is tempting, but I'm not sure if I would ever have the expertise to be able to make better pictures than the xti would give.

Does anyone mind giving me a shopping list for the Xti? I.e. kit vs body + lens? UV filter? Case? Battery? Anything else?

BTW, I'm taking a trip to San Diego in the 2nd week of March, so I'd like to have the camera ready by then (i.e. not sure if I have time to wait for this show).
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 8:25 PM   #8
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saz-

I understand your choice and willingly admit that the Canon XTi is an impressive 10mp DSLR camera with a lot of up-scale features such as sensor cleaning and 9 point focusing, and the like. my suggestion would be to initially get the camera body and the kit lens. As JohnG mentioned get comfortable with the camera and the kit lens, before adding another lens.

It would be nice to have a spare battery, but even that could wait if you desire. You will need a CF chip right away and a camera case because of your upcoming March trip. When searching for items on the internet I often use search engines such as http://www.pricegrabber.com or http://www.shopping.com, or http://www.dealtime.com. However, before purchasing it is always very prudent to check on a selected merchants using http://www.resellerrating.com to ascertain the merchant's reliability and trustworthiness.

When choosing a camera case be sure to allow room/space for carrying your XTi, as well as perhaps, an external flash, an extra lens or lenses, spare batteries and data chips, etc.

You might also want to check over Steve's review of the Canon XTi. You will find it here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_.../rebelxti.html

Ifany of uscan help further in any other way, please just post a question here in the Forum, and we will be happy to answer.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 12, 2007, 8:27 PM   #9
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There is a decent quantity of AF-S lenses that will focus on the D40. At least 22 from Nikon and another 17 from Sigma. But what's also important is what this list excludes. For one it excludes every prime lens faster (i.e. brighter) than f 2.8. Second, it excludes the only fast third party standard zooms, the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5, Sigma 18-50 f2.8, and the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. This handicaps the D40 for low light shooting at normal focal lengths.

Also excluded is the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8, though there are at least some reasonable Sigma options in that range. But other Nikor f2.8 zooms, with AF-S, start at around $1100.

As for how to allocate a limited budget, I would tend to want to spend more on the lenses I really want than the best body. The lenses will hold their value. Today's latest and greatest camera body, on the other hand, is liable to be aviailable a year from now at half the cost.

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Old Feb 12, 2007, 9:06 PM   #10
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Saz, the Canon Rebels are the only recent DSLRs where I've seen it recommended to buy body only and skip the kit lens.

For a walkaround lens, I'd suggest one of :
Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 $330
Tamron 17-50 f2.8 $430

Useful and very inexpensive:
Canon 50mm f1.8 $70

If you want an inexpensive longer telephoto to start out, one of:
Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 APO $190
Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 Di $180

There is a cheaper version of each of these two available, but the APO (Sigma) or Di (Tamron) are recommeded.

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