Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 26, 2007, 8:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Default

Hello,

I'm planning to supplement my wife's Canon A620 with an SLR, and hoping for advice. Indooruse will include dance recitals, Christmas concerts, birthday parties,etc. Outdoor use will include slow and fast activities like hunting, camping, sledding and beach trips. We won't do formal portraits, will doa fewmacros and nature shots. We like flashlessChristmas tree shotswith only tree lights on,and occasionalflash off daylight indoor pictures. We will do occasional enlargements,8x10 being the usual top end, but the top priorities are low light and autofocus speed and accuracy.

As our budget isunder $800we plan to use the kit lens with a low-mid cost zoom being added later (not incl. in $800). We don't need proquality and won't begetting an external flash,replacing the kit lens etc.

I've spent a couple days reading reviews like Steve's and browsing forums. :? I'm thinking anti-shake would be an important feature for my shooting needs? Originally I was set on another Canon as we like the A620 but I've found these to be the attractive suggestions:

Olympic E510, 14-42mm Kit (maybe also40-150mm)

Nikon D-40X, 18-55mm kit

Canon rebel XTi, EF 18-55mm kit

rebel XT, EF 18-55mm kit

Wehave a chance for a new rebel XT for $400 Cdn with the EF 18-55mm kit lens,roughly 2/3 (or less)the price of the others. Are there enough real world gains to justify the rebel XTior others for my type shooting, considering that the lens kit will be used, and one low-mid cost zoom lens added later?

I'm leaning toward the rebel XT because of the price, with the Nikon a strong contender because I read the kit lens is better and because of the anti-shake. The Oly is a close third for the same reasons as the Nikon, I just trust Nikon more for some reason, probablymarketing. Lens changes wil be very rare and never in a dusty environment. I don't mind spending a bit more, however,if it will do a significantly better jobavoiding troubles with the tricky shots, because that why I need better than the A620

thanks,

Mike
mikepos is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 26, 2007, 9:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Any of the dSLRs you've mentioned will do 8x10s without a problem.

Unfortunately, I don't think any of the kit lenses you're looking at will serve any of the purposes you've mentioned, except "sledding and beach trips".

"Dance recitals, Christmas concerts" will require a telephoto zoom with a maximum aperture of f/4.0 or better.



"Birthday parties,etc" & "won't getting an external flash", and "flashlessChristmas tree shotswith only tree lights on,and occasionalflash off daylight indoor pictures" means a short lens with a large aperture (f/2.8 or better.)

"Hunting, camping" would be well served by either of the two lenses I've already mentioned.

And since you say "the top priorities are low light and autofocus speed and accuracy",the first thing I'd dispense with isthe kit lens.

Unfortunately, the cheapest telephoto zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0 at it's longest focal length is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM, at ~$540 US, which doesn't leave much for the camera.

... unless you don't mind used lenses ...

Minolta used to make a 70-210mm f/4.0 telephoto zoom lens, affectionately known as the "Beercan" by its many fans. It is quite a good lens, and many are listed on eBay, often going for about $150 US. But that means you'd have to go with a Sony A100 to stay within your budget. It seems you haven't considered the Sony, but it is a fine camera, worthy of your consideration, and would be unbeatable when matched with a "Beercan". (The photo of the concert, above, was taken with a "Beercan" on my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D.)(1/60", f/4.0, ISO 1600, at 120mm)

You can use the kit lens for a while until you can get a Tamron 17-50/2.8 or a Sigma 18-50/2.8 for the indoor/low light stuff. I have the Tamron and like it a lot. I used it on my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, on Christmas Eve to take photos of the decorations for our community newsletter. The only illumination is the decorations. (1/13", f/2.8, ISO 1600, at 30mm)
Attached Images
 
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 12:14 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

The only camera on your list that has in-camera image stabilization is the Oly E510, both Nikon and Canon put stabilization in their lenses. You mightwant toconsider Sony and Pentax, as both these manufacturers also put stabilization in-camera.

You state that low-light photography is important for you. There's several things to consider when you talk about taking available light photography - are you going to be taking pictures of moving objects and are you going to be using a tripod? If your subjects are moving or if you are going to be handholding the camera, then you have to worry about shutter speeds. Image stabilization helps control camera shake, and will allow you to handhold the camera at slower shutter speeds than you would be able to without it. It does nothing to stop action - motion blur can only be controlled with faster shutter speeds.

One way to help control both motion blur and camera shake is to use a faster shutter speed. One way to do that is to raise your ISO setting - but noise becomes an issue as you raise the ISO levels. I happen to have both the Pentax K100 (a 6 mp camera) and the K10 (a 10 mp camera). The 10 mp sensor in the Pentax has more noise than the 6 mp sensor, and from what I've seen of the other cameras that are reported to use the same sensor (Nikon D40X and Sony A100) are also noisier than the Nikon D40 (which is supposed to use the same sensor as the Pentax - at least that's what I've read, I have no way of verifying that). It might be a good idea to compare the high ISO pictures from the Nikon D40 & Pentax K100 versus the Nikon D40X and Oly E510 (which uses a different sensor, but seems to also be noisier than the 6 mp cameras in my opinion).

TCav has already pointed out the need for a faster lens than what you would get with the various kit lenses (another way to get faster shutter speeds). That will be another important consideration - fast lenses are always larger, heavierand more expensive, something else to take into consideration.

Have you handled the various cameras? They are different sizes and that might be important to you. You mentioned hunting and camping - the Oly is a bitlighter than the Nikon or the XT, so that might be significant if you are in the field for a long time. It also might be a reason to consider a much heavier, more expensivecamera like the Pentax K10 (B&H has it for sale for $699 before the $100 Pentax rebate), which has weather sealing. I've hiked while it was snowing with the K10, keeping the old, non-weather sealed lens covered under my jacket and having the camera body back exposed without problems (I would not do the same thing with the non-sealed K100).

It is very important to actually handle the cameras you are considering - if you have small hands you might prefer one camera while someone with large hands might prefer another. You might prefer where one camera manufacturer's menu and control location more than another one. The best camera in the world can't take pictures if it is sitting in your closet because you hate to carry it.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 12:44 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
dr_spock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 879
Default

You may want to get a more powerful external flash with whatever camera you choose. With sufficient light the kit lens works fine. Kids are fast moving objects. IS will not stop action in slower shutter speeds such as low light conditions. But a flash can freeze the action.

The $399.99 is a great deal for a brand new XT at that Canadian electronic store chain. Money saved can be used to get an external flash like a 430EX and a tripod or a faster lens.
dr_spock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 4:53 AM   #5
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

The good news is that any DSLR will do a much better job than a P&S for all of the tasks you mention.

The bad news is that $800 isn't nearly enough of a budget to get you to great quality results for the uses you mention.

In your shoes I would definitely go for the Olympus E510 + twin lens kit 14-42 + 50-150. (around $660) then add the Olympus FL36 external flash (for around $180). That brings you up to $840 from B&H.

You say you don't want an extra flash, but I strongly urge you to reconsider; with low light and slow lenses you don't really have a choice, and on-camera flash is no better with a DSLR than with a P&S. Adding the external flash will make an enormous difference to the quality of results possible.

Makes a nice versatile family outfit.
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 7:02 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

There are lots of good reasons to buy any of the dSLRs in your list, but a common mistake people make when shopping for dSLRs is that they buy the camera they want, and then go shopping for lenses. That's when they often discover a major shortcoming in the camera body they bought. The solution is to shop for the lenses first, and then buy the camera body that can use the kinds of lenses they want.

An obvious preference of yours is available light photography. (I, too, am a fan of available light.) While a good external flash may make some things easier, it won't help with "dance recitals, Christmas concerts", and "flashlessChristmas tree shots" (not to mention "autofocus speed and accuracy".)

There are three things that will help: Fast Lenses, Good High ISO Performance, and Image Stabilization. If you can get all three, GREAT, but you should try to get at least two.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 7:31 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Default

Thanks everyone, I'm going to update post again but wanted toacknowlegde the help and thankeveryone. I have to get off the computer, was up at 4am this morning to get in the line early for the camera, been either driving around or researching points noted this string and possible lensesmost ofthe day... as you've observed I'm a newb and there's a lot to learn quickly, been researching heavily for only a couple days :?
mikepos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 2007, 9:09 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Mr_Saginaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 552
Default

One thing I've always liked about the Canon DSLRs (on my 3rd one) is their high ISO performance... I have been forced on occasion to push ISO 3200 even with a 2.8 lens...

Here's an ISO-3200 sample from my 20D... I realize you're looking at the Rebel...



so while a high ISO may be noisy, a good program (l use Neat Image) can give you a very descent picture...


Mr_Saginaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 28, 2007, 2:16 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9
Default

The new Digital Rebel XTi camerais really cool,compared to the previous Digital Rebel XT, there are someimportant improvements and also appeal to a wide variety of users.I just got one for my parents for $590, The camera focus fast and quietly. Camera operations are quick and easy to locate and use. Pictures also look great. I think it's a good option for family.
caf120 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 28, 2007, 3:40 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 200
Default

The rebel XT does sound an attractive option. I would strongly endorse the views of Dr_spock and peripatic that an external flash (to allow bounced light) is a great addition for low light. I have both a F1.8 and an external flash, and find it much easier to get good images indoor in low artificial lighting with the external flash on my DSLR than with the fast lens and no flash. The attached picture is an example of bounced flash - there is not the harsh lighting of direct flash, no shadows and everyone is in focus. With a fast lens and no added light by flash, the large aperture gives a narrow depth of field - great for subject isolation, but no good for multiple subjects. The flash also freezes subject movement.
Attached Images
 
1eyedeer is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:54 AM.