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Old May 15, 2007, 12:24 PM   #1
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I'm a point-and-shoot (Been using Sony since i was around 11 or 12)photographer looking to move into the world of dSLRs (seems to be many of us these days).

Maybe just abit of background. I like taking pictures of nature, be it in macro mode or in /landscape/far distances. Also, being a student, i have alot of classmates who love to get their pictures taken. And lastly, i guess with alot of photographers, I take pictures of anything that catches my attention (be it patterns/ patterns with odd-one-out; Signs; just about anything really)

Anyway, being an amatuer, i only want an entry level dSLR. Entry level in a sense that, i don't want to be buying something which has functions that overwhelm me. But not "too-entry-level" in a sense that, when i do get better at manual settings, i don't want to get a better body just so i can explore more.

Funds is of course a factor for me (I'm not a rich college student XD)

Anyway, i sort of narrowed it down to 2 cameras, the A100 and the Rebel XTi.( i was also considering the Nikon D80, but, money played a big part in saying,"forget it!" hehe)

So for me, its here where it starts to get complicated.

After reading the reviews from this site, from dpreview, from cnet and from other photography blog (Oh, if anyone can point me to other great review sites, I'd be very grateful), I still find it difficult which one is "better"(if such a term can be used)

One big reason for that is, this is my first dSLR purchase, so i have no experience whatsoever in dSLRs or to be precise, Canon Cameras. And the other is, Sony's jump to dSLR is still quite relatively new(Konica/Minolta aside). Not many shops do recommend Sony as of yet (From my experience, they "try harder" to persuade you in buying well known dSLR brands like Canon or Nikon)

dSLR being an investment, i'd like it to have features that i would like to tinker with in the near future. And by just reading reviews, it's not really easy to tell which is better. I say this because different camera's have different names for their features/technology. Like for example, there is a (*) "Star" Button on a Canon Camera, but it is not found on a Sony. So, what does that function do? And does Sony have such a function as well, with a different name to it, etc?


Lastly, choosing the lenses would be the next question. I don't know if it's ok to also ask for advice (based on the type of photography i do above) in this same thread, or would it be better asked somewhere else?

If i were to choose base on biasness, i'd opt for Sony hehe. So what i'm really looking for is for someone to be able to persuade me(be it due to feature/lenses/overall performance,etc) that the Rebel XTi is still far ahead of Sony.


So, i guess that's about it for now, any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old May 15, 2007, 3:56 PM   #2
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Both the Canon Digital Rebel XTi and the Sony Alpha 100 are fine cameras. They both are capable of taking very good photographs, and have a wealth of quality lenses, as well as more affordable lenses, and are both well supported by third party lens manufacturers.

The only significant difference between them is that the Sony has "Anti-Shake" built into the body, while Canon has "Image-Stabilization" only in certain lenses, and those lenses tend to be on the expensive side. From what you say about your intended uses for the camera, I'm not inclined to suggest that you would see much benifit to it, except for the ocassional macro ordistance shot.

The only reason I can give for selecting one over the other is that, since you already have a Sony digicam,you may be familiar and comfortablewith how Sony writes its manuals.

But asside from "Anti-Shake" in the body vs. "Image-Stabilization" in the lens, there isn't much that distinguishes them. That may be why you're having such a tough time making the decision. All I can say is, whichever one you choose, I think you'll be happy with it.
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Old May 15, 2007, 7:03 PM   #3
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There are minor differences between the cameras but both will take great pictures. If finances are a consideration, you might also look at the Pentax K100 - it is another excellent camera and not very expensive. It used to be that used lenses (anything Pentax has ever made will work on the K100) were very inexpensive and you could get some great glass for not very much. Unfortunately, the Pentax cameras have become very popular and the price of used lenses has gone through the roof.

Best thing to do is go to a camera store and handle both cameras. Ergonomics will make a bigger difference than image quality (general use) with these cameras (some people don't like the size of the Canon,while others love it).

The Canon's main edge would be if your intended use is indoor sports - it's supposed to have less noise at higher ISOs (that's the way it seemed to me looking at some of the review photos). There's probably more selection of lenses with Canon (especially new lenses), though many KM lenses have excellent reputations and can be found cheaper on ebay.
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Old May 15, 2007, 9:54 PM   #4
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Appreciate the help so far.

While i was browsing, i noticed one question asked.

"Is it better to get the Sony A100/Rebel XTi with a kit lens or am i better off with just the body, then choosing my own lens?"

I've heard that Sony's kit lenses are quite ok compared to Canon's? Am i right on this?

And lastly, Sony has lenses made by Carl Zeiss. Are they that good? for the long run, can those lenses compete with Canon's higher end lenses?

I know, i keep looking to the futrue, something quite unpredictable.


@mtngal

Yeah, i can't handle them at the moment, but will do once i get back to Singapore. I noticed one member in the forum saying the Rebel has "toy-like" body. I guess i do have to check it out myself.


@TCav

About the image stabilization/anti-shake, How useful is it? I mean, is it really that bad that if i don't get those lenses or the body, then alot of my pictures will be blurred?



I also wanna ask about lenses, given what i said above, i would like to take pictures in macro mode as well as landscapes. At the moment, i think i'm content with not zooming so much into the landscape. But with the move to dSLR, and having to understand newer terminologies, i don't quite know what is a good lense for such shots.

So far this is what i got (By all means, correct me if i'm wrong):

50mm = good for portraits?

Actually, that's about all i know haha.

What would be good for macro and landscape? Would it be better to get zoom or prime lens?


Granted, i haven't quite look at any tutorials which could explain this. So i don't mind just being pointed to a link.


By the way, all questions are for everyone!
Thanks again




ps: if the question on lenses need to be moved to another section, please advise)


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Old May 15, 2007, 10:50 PM   #5
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Ah, the image stabilization debate! It can go on forever, but in my opinion, the bottom line is it depends on the photographer, and what they are trying to do. How steady are you? My first dSLR was a Pentax DS, a camera without any stabilization (Pentax calls it Shake reduction, SR). I took lots of outstanding pictures with it, though I noticed a bit more camera shake at 200mm (telephoto, but not extremely so) than I had seen back in my film days (I once was able to reliably get shots with that same lens and shutter speeds of anything over 1/125 sec.). I bought a Pentax K100 when they came out because it has a similar SR system to Sony's (in-camera, rather than in the lens, like Canon). It made a noticeable difference, and I now often use a 300mm lens (fairly long telephoto) with excellent results, far better than I would have been able to manage without SR.

So what does that mean? For me (at my age)and the fact I use long telephoto lenses, SR is important. If I were in college, probably SR wouldn't mean all that much - I was much steadier back then. If my main purposeis architecture outdoors/wide angle outdoors, I'd definitely wouldn't care - SR is useful only for slow shutter speeds (i.e., 1/focal length of lens - for a 200mm lens, anything slower than 1/200, for a 300mm lens, 1/300 etc.). SR lets you push the shutter speedenvelope but it isn't the end-all some make it (even with SR, I still can'thandhold a 1/6 sec. shot with a 300mm lens). It can help with macro shots if you are shooting in fairly low light (my macro lens is a 100mm prime and SR really helps me).

If SR is very important to you, then the Sony would work out less expensive - you only pay for the stabilization once. If you get a Canon you can still get stabilization, but it is in specific lenses, which cost more.

Conclusion - for many people image stabilization should be something to think about butnot be a deciding factor. It could be that it won't make any difference to you at all.

P.S. Forgot to add - for information about what you would see at various lensfocal lengths (such as what is the difference between a 24mm and a 300mm lens), check out this website - http://www.tamron.com/lenses/learnin...comparison.php. A good place to start learning about lenses and photography in general is a library. Photography principles haven't changed that much with digital cameras, there's just a couple of different "wrinkles."
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Old May 15, 2007, 11:21 PM   #6
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DKCN wrote:
Quote:
I've heard that Sony's kit lenses are quite ok compared to Canon's? Am i right on this?
The concensus seems to be that the Sony 18-70 is a little better than the Canon 18-55, but neither is great. If you'll be doing a lot of wide-angle shots, you might be better served by the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, or possibly the Zeiss 16-80 (but only for the Sony.)

DKCN wrote:
Quote:
And lastly, Sony has lenses made by Carl Zeiss. Are they that good? for the long run, can those lenses compete with Canon's higher end lenses?
There are four companies that make the best lenses in the world: Canon, Nikon, Zeiss, and Leica. You can't pick a Canon over a Sony, or vice versa, based on the quality of the lenses. They're both that good. But remember that we're talking about lenses that cost several thousands of dollars. If that's in your eventual budget, fine, but if not then don't concern yourself about them.

(If I bought my KM5Dso I could have a 35mm f/1.4, an 85mm f/1.4, a 135mm f/1.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 300mm f/2.8, I'd be so frustrated at not having them that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.)

DKCN wrote:
Quote:
I know, i keep looking to the futrue, something quite unpredictable.
Making predictions is easy; being right is tough.

DKCN wrote:
Quote:
TCav

About the image stabilization/anti-shake, How useful is it? I mean, is it really that bad that if i don't get those lenses or the body, then alot of my pictures will be blurred?
It depends what you'll be shooting. Generally, you'd get the most use out of it when shooting at longer focal lengths and/or longer shutter speeds, where the efects of camera shake will be most obvious. If you think it's a good idea (I DO!) then buying it once in the bodymight make more sense than buying it ineach lens that you'll need it with (once for a telephoto and once for a macro, at least.)


DKCN wrote:
Quote:
I also wanna ask about lenses, given what i said above, i would like to take pictures in macro mode as well as landscapes. At the moment, i think i'm content with not zooming so much into the landscape. But with the move to dSLR, and having to understand newer terminologies, i don't quite know what is a good lense for such shots.
Landscapes generally require a wide angle, while macro usually requires a medium telephoto. Your intended uses will require you to get at least two lenses. I might even go so far as to say that the kit lenses would not serve either purpose very well.

DKCN wrote:
Quote:
So far this is what i got (By all means, correct me if i'm wrong):

50mm = good for portraits?

Actually, that's about all i know haha.
That's not a bad start.

DKCN wrote:
Quote:
What would be good for macro and landscape? Would it be better to get zoom or prime lens?
In general, fixed focal length lenses are brighter, sharper, and have less distortion than zoom lenses, but zoom lenses are MUCH more convenient, and one good zoom is cheaper than two or three mediocre primes.

That's one ofmany compromises you'll have to make. Welcome to the wonderful world of SLRs.
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Old May 16, 2007, 9:56 AM   #7
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I guess there are quite a few moret hings i have to consider. Thanks again for all the help. Now i know what i'll be looking for once i go back to Singapore.
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Old May 16, 2007, 10:28 AM   #8
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I have owned the A100 for about six months. The items I like about the A100 are:

1. Fits well into my hand

2. Controls are easy to use

3. Large LCD screen for viewing

4. Image stablization built into the body

5. picture quality and color are excellent

6. continuous shooting, starts a 3fps but will continue till the card is full

7. you can view photos of a wedding at www.pbase.com/philgibson click on Kelly_Brian gallery The shots were taken with 18-70 kit lens

8. I have shot over 400 shots with a single battery. The battery is rated at 750 shots. It is amazing battery

Good luck in your decision


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Old May 16, 2007, 11:18 AM   #9
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I also am a fan of the Sony Alpha, but both are excellent cameras. The Canon feels a bit too light for me.

gibsonpd's strengths of the camera were well lain out. with respect to the battery, i once took 800 shots at a concert on one charge.
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Old May 17, 2007, 5:33 AM   #10
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@Dr. Mr. Vandertramps & gibsonpd3620

Some have said that the lens mount is loose? What are your experiences on that?


@mtngal

I haven't checked the K100 but when i checked out the K10, Pentax suddenly became quite appealing
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