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Old Nov 19, 2007, 10:58 PM   #1
hmm
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I was looking into asking for the canon 40d for Christmas and then getting a standard 18-55 mm lens with it until I could afford (it would be awhile) to purchase a nicer one but then a friend suggested I get the canon xTI body which is significantly cheaper and spend my money on a nice lens (17-55mm/ 2.8 IS) which runs about 1000.00. He said they body is important but to really invest my money on the lens which is the key to image quality. thoughts?
I would be using the camera for trips, kids, life....but I really want to learn how to use it and produce quality images.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 12:24 AM   #2
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He's right.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 2:19 AM   #3
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He is right, and yet it might be possible for you to make a compromise on the lens...

40D + Tamron 17-50 f2.8 => $1750
40D + Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 => $1690

400D + Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS => $1570
400D + Tamron 17-50 f2.8 => $1050

The conventional wisdom is that lenses last for a long time and digital bodies have a shorter life span. My experience (and it is too small a sample to be statistically significant I admit) from my own and friends' Canon non-L lenses is that the build quality isn't brilliant, and that in fact the lens is unlikely to significantly outlast the body (I have seen a number of broken 17-85 lenses for example). Which makes the 17-55 f2.8 a very expensive lens indeed despite its optical excellence.

My personal choice in your shoes would be to handle the bodies and see whether you like the 400D well enough. The image quality between the 400D and 40D is near enough identical, though of course the 40D is a far better and more versatile camera in many ways.

The image quality of the Tamron 17-50 is close enough to the Canon 17-55 that I personally wouldn't spend the extra money on the Canon.

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/355/cat/23


So unless you are really into action (sports/wildlife) photography I would say that starting out with a 400D + Tamron 17-50 would give image quality that is usually indistinguishable from the more expensive options at a very good price.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 6:08 AM   #4
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peripatetic wrote:
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He is right, and yet it might be possible for you to make a compromise on the lens...
I agree here as well...

Don't neglect Tokina as a brand either... Theses folks are from Hoya fame and build very durable all metal lenses that are unlike the EF-S series (plastic). If I'm in the market for a lens in this focal range I would definetly pick the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 over anything else

The differences at the long end between 55 and 50 is small and can be cropped to match; Howver the difference between 16mm vs 17/18 is huge and can approach a 24mm in effective focal lenght.
-> The thing you loose is IS, but then again if you can compromise on the body as well, you can get a dSLR with built-in IS (practically everyone except for Canon and Nikon make one) then you can have everyrthing... :lol::-):G
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 8:23 AM   #5
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I agree as well. You can spend your money on a bettercamera and get more features. or you can spend your money on a better lens and get better photos.

You won't find a lot of people praising the standard 18-55, so the 17-55 f/2.8 would be a greeat improvement, but it is very expensive.

The Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina lenses are better and brighter than Canon's 18-55, and almost as good, and less expensive that Canon's 17-55 f/2.8.

I've got the Tamron and like it a lot.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 9:43 PM   #6
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thanks so much! I will definitely look into your suggestion and the ones below- I appreciate having advice from people who have been there already.
h
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 11:38 PM   #7
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does the IS matter that much in the lens? I've looked into all the lenses and read A LOT of reviews from different people and the IS factor seems to be an issue sometimes. Would you recommend another body that has the IS built in or stick with the Canon? Otherwise it seems I can't go wrong with any of the 3rd party lenses (tamron, tokina, or sigma).
Thoughts....
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 5:26 AM   #8
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It depends, IS is quite good with still subject at slower shutter speeds in low-light to prevent camera shakes, but IS is ineffecive with action shots when the subject is motion instead because a higher shutter speed is required here to freeze the action. When you use the faster shutter speeds then IS is no longer required since a high-speed shutter will also stop the camera shake!
If I had to pick between IS and faster lenses (i.e. lenses with large aperture of f/2.8 or smaller) I always pick the faster lens - The benefits are two folds:
1. Faster lens allow for higher shutter speeds because they collect more light
2. Faster lens have shallower DOF which also help to isolate the subject from their background

The only area where IS in the body have an advantage is you'll get IS in every lens especially shorter fast primes where most of theses lenses can not be bought with IS - A 28/35/50/85 of f/1.8 or smaller for use in low-light for example... without a tripod

-> and it goes without saying all your 3rd party: Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina now have IS as well if it's built-in to the body! :lol::-):G
IMO the handwriting is on the wall since Nikon just came out with a super low cost 18-55 VR to counter this treath!
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 6:51 AM   #9
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The Canon isa fine camera, and it can be argued that IS is most benificial when using longer lenses handheld.

But motion blur due to camera shake does rear its ugly head at various times. In fact, any time the shutter speed is long, such as indoor/low-light situations, IS will help, regardless of the focal length. My first digicam wasa Nikon CoolPix 880 and I was plagued with motion blur due to camera shake, so when I upgraded to a dSLR, I picked the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (the immediate predecessor of the Sony Alpha 100), and, with its sensor shift image stabilization, I've never looked back.

Fast lenses can help to decrease the exposure time, but often not enough to help much. I also don't like to use flash, which also has the effect of freezing motion, so I'd say that IS is important for available light photography.
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 9:53 AM   #10
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Some really good advice here. The truth is EVERY piece of equipment plays a part in achieving overall success. The key is to determine what your NEEDS are and what equipment gives you the best chance to succeedd given constraints such as money, size, weight, etc.

Sometimes the correct answer is spending the money somewhere else. For instance, let's say you like to take a lot of photos at family parties (birthday, christmas, thanksgiving). In that instance, a bouncable flash is the right place to spend your money. You'd get better results with 400d and kit lens PLUS FLASH than you will with any 2.8 lens on the market or any pro DSLR without an external flash.

Also, an expensive lens doesn't guarantee success. It has to be the RIGHT LENS FOR THE JOB. So, your style as a photographer needs to drive the lens purchase. While the 17-50 and 17-55 lenses being discussed are all optically very good - that doesn't do you a BIT of good if you like to shoot a lot of photos that require more reach. If you spend a lot of time shooting at the long end, it might make more sense to have a kit lens for the few times you need wide angle andd invest your money in a better quality LONG lens. So you have the right tool for the job YOU want to accomplish. For instance I would find 55mm WAY too limiting as an all-around lens but for others it's perfect. There's no right or wrong - just different styles. The important thing is for each individual to choose the lens that best fits THEIR style.

If you don't know what your style is yet I would STRONGLY advise against spending $700-$1000 on a lens right off the bat. In those cases it can often be better long-term to save the money and start off with the kit lens (which usually sets you back < $100). Then you figure out over time what you like and don't like about the kit lens and can make a more accurate selection for what a good lens is FOR YOU. It may be a replacement for the kit but it may not. You may end up being OK with the kit lens and decide the $900 you saved is better spentt on a different style of lens - or multiple things - that $900 could buy a 430ex flash and a 70-300 IS USM lens. Or, depending on where your photography takes you it could be spent on a tripod/head or an ultra-wide lens or various combinations. Any of which might benefit YOUR needs more than a single expensive lens will. So, when you know precisely what you want from a lens - yes you get a great ROI by buying a quality lens with the needed specs. But if you don't know what you need yet you could end up with a $1000 paper weight that never gets used and you end up buying other gear down the road because it is better suited to helping you achieve your results.

So, before you plop down $$$ on an expensive lens - be sure that's the best way to spend your money. Sometimes it's OK to not empty the wallet on the initial purchase but to save som $$ and spend it when you know a little more about what your individual needs are.
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