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Old Mar 15, 2008, 5:51 PM   #1
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I am looking into moving up from my Canon Power Shot A710 to a SLR. I am overwhelemed by all the options out there. I basically want to take good pictures of my daughter. My budget is around $500.
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 5:56 PM   #2
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I'd lean towards the XTi out of those 3 choices. But, you'll spend a bit more than $500 for one with a lens.

The lowest price I see right this second from a reputable vendor (versus one of the better known scam artists that are advertising prices "too good to be true") is $589 for the Canon XTi body with the 18-55mm kit lens from buydig.com:

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.a...u=CNDRXTI1855B

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Old Mar 15, 2008, 6:02 PM   #3
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Is there a reason why you suggesteed the Canon? Is it more beginner friendly? I'm just trying to get as much info as I can before buying.Thanks
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 6:15 PM   #4
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The Nikon D40 does not have a focus motor built in. So, it can't use the vast majority of lenses on the used market designed for Nikon models (because most lenses in this lens mount don't have focus motors built in either), unless you want to struggle with manual focus using a small viewfinder.

If you want Autofocus, it also can't use many of the popular new lenses in this lens mount (again, because many of them do not have focus motors built in), including popular primes like the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 105mm f/2 and more.

Nikon left out the focus motors in their D40, D40x and D60 models. No other Nikon bodies have this restriction. So, these models require lenses with motors built in (for example, Nikon's AF-S lenses and Sigma's HSM lenses). They also "dumbed down" the Autofocus Sytem to 3 focus points. IOW, they probably cut costs to make them more competitive and try to sell more lenses (by cuttting out many popular third party alternatives by leaving out the in body focus motor).

As for the E-410, this particular Olympus model has lower Dynamic Range (ability to capture a greater range of light to dark) than virtually any other DSLR model, and also has "finnicky" metering from most reviewer comments I've seen. In addition, it's less senstive than set for ISO speed at it's higher settings from tests I've seen from a reputable reviewer (i.e., it's ISO 1600 setting is actually ISO 1250). Autofocus Lens choices will also be more limiting with it (since unlike other popular DSLR mounts, the 4/3's system is new to Olympus DSLR models, with no 35mm equvalent lens mount).

The Rebel XTi is going to have a much better Autofocus system (faster, ability to focus in lower light, better tracking algorithms), as well as lower noise levels, more available lens choices, more features, better dynamic range, etc. That's why I'd personally lean towards the XTi out of the choices you mentioned.

But, you'll need to decide what's more important to you in a camera, taking things like size, weight, ergnomics, lens choices/costs into consideration.

You may also want to look at the new Sony DSLR-A200. It's almost the exact same price as the Canon XTi kit now. It's now selling for $599 for the Sony DSLR-A200 body with a Sony 18-70mm lens from many vendors (and all lenses used on it would be stabilized, with the ability to use any Minolta Autofocus lens ever made).

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Old Mar 15, 2008, 6:29 PM   #5
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I hate to rain on anyone's parade!

However, before you jump ship and head towards a DSLR camera, please give some consideration to the REAL cost in terms of cameras and the needed lenses, and the weight that is going to be added suddenly to your camera bag.

There are still some digicam alternatives out there that might save you $$ and take a lot of weight from your camera bag.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 15, 2008, 6:32 PM   #6
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I'd also let members know what you mean by "pictures of my daughter" for better responses.

It sounds like you're finding your existing Canon A710 IS limiting in some conditions (and you may want to mention any issues you have with it). If it's not something you can correct via settings or technique, you'll need to decide what lens options would give you best results in the condtions you're using the camera in. Again, out of the 3 camera choices you mentioned (Olympus E-410, Canon XTi, Nikon D40), the Canon XTi would be more flexible in this area (more lens choices available to suit more shooting conditions)

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Old Mar 16, 2008, 9:53 AM   #7
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Thank you for the info. As for "Pictures of my daughter" I have a 5 year old that is extrememly active and I miss a lot of good pictures with my current digital. She also does gymnastics and I can't catch most of her actions until she is done . I guess I am looking for the speed aspect of the SLR.
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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For Gymnastics, you'll need a DSLR with a bright prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) on it for best results. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of blurry photos.

Out of the choices you've mentioned, the Canon would be a much better fit for that purpose.

On a tighter budget, get a 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus lens to go with it for indoor sports use. The preferred lens choice with Canon shooters is the 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. It's a faster focusing lens, and lets you fill the frame a bit more without being quite as close as you'd need to be using a 50mm.

The 50mm f/1.8 can be found for under $100. The 85mm f/1.8 will run you around $350.

You'll need to be relatively close to use either one (not up in the stands) for best results.

If budget permits, I'd move to the next notch up in the Canon liineup (go with a Canon EOS-20D, 30D or 40D instead). These models have an available ISO 3200 setting, and for sports like Gymnastics, you may need it to get a higher percentage of images without motion blur, even using a bright prime like an 85mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8.

It's much tougher to capture that kind of thing than meets the eye. You'll need high ISO speeds, and a brighter lens to do it (wide available apertures to let more light in, represented by smaller f/stop numbers). You'll want f/2 or brighter lenses (smaller f/stop numbers are brighter) for that kind of shooting.

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Old Mar 16, 2008, 10:14 AM   #9
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jenm wrote:
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She also does gymnastics and I can't catch most of her actions until she is done . I guess I am looking for the speed aspect of the SLR.
Jen,

let me help set expectations. There are a lot of options on the market to get general photos of your daughter. But gymnastics is a VERY, VERY tough thing to photograph. If you want to capture her 'in action' you're talking about a good bit of money. Gymnastics is one of the more difficult things to photograph. So, being able to shoot gymnastics 'in action' for $500 is not realistic. I don't say this to discourage you, but to save you some money. How much money you need to spend depends on what the lighting is like in a given gym and how close you can get. More often than not, you're not likely to have access to get close enough to the aparatus to get good shots without very expensive lenses (think $1000 - $4000 just for the lens).

Now, with a DSLR at ISO 1600 or 3200 anda good quality lens you can get some very nice shots at 'lulls' (poses on beam or floor, jumps on beam etc) because you can get by with 1/200 shutter speeds. But for swings on the bars or tumbles on the mat or advanced vaults you'll need faster shutter speeds and that often means ISO 3200 and f2.0 which means expensive gear - think $2000 for camera / lens rather than $500.

Again, I only say this so you can adjust your expectations before you spend your money. I would also caution - sports shooting is more difficult than people think. So if someone tells you a $500 solution will get you good stop-action gymnastics shots I would ask to see their photos using the equipment suggested.

My advice - concentrate on the other types of shots you want unless or until you can really bump up your budget for gymnastics.

and yes I have some experience shooting gymnastics:






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Old Mar 16, 2008, 10:16 AM   #10
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
On a tighter budget, get a 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus lens to go with it for indoor sports use. The preferred lens choice with Canon shooters is the 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. It's a faster focusing lens, and lets you fill the frame a bit more without being quite as close as you'd need to be using a 50mm.

The 50mm f/1.8 can be found for under $100. The 85mm f/1.8 will run you around $350.

You'll need to be relatively close to use either one (not up in the stands) for best results.

It's much tougher to capture that kind of thing than meets the eye. You'll need high ISO speeds, and a brighter lens to do it (wide available apertures to let more light in, represented by smaller f/stop numbers). You'll want f/2 or brighter lenses (smaller f/stop numbers are brighter) for that kind of shooting.
You need to be VERY VERY close. For 50mm you better be within 10-15 feet. For 85mm you better be within 20 feet. That isn't just down at floor level it's also freedom to move about the floor and get that close to each aperatus.
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