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Old May 8, 2008, 3:04 PM   #1
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I am looking to purchase a new DSLR but am having trouble deciding on a body/lens combination.

Types of pictures: (no particular order)
Landscape/Architecture
Macro (flowers)
Portrait (indoor, low light)
Action (Small children at play both indoor and outdoor)

Choices:

Canon EOS 5D Kit
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
($2,750)

Canon EOS 40D Body
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
($2,100)

Canon EOS XSi Body
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
($1,800)

Planned additions (immediate to 2 years) to the above combinations:
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM or EF 85mm f/1.8 US
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (closer to the 2 year mark)

Any advice? The most immediate need would be indoor low light environment (baby).
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Old May 8, 2008, 3:17 PM   #2
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digid wrote:
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Any advice? The most immediate need would be indoor low light environment (baby).
I don't see a flash on the list, and if you don't want to use an external flash, I'd suggest moving a brighter prime (for example, that 50mm f/1.4) to an item you want iniitially, versus down the road somewhere. You'll want a bright lens indoors if you don't want to use a flash. A flash is still going to be a very good idea to get adequate DOF indoors with some subjects, especially if they're moving much. So, you may want to add a 580EX to your list.

If budget permits. I'd probably go for the larger sensor in the 5D. It doesn't sound like you really need the performance of a camera with a faster frame rate, or the narrower angle of view you'd have for a given focal length using an APS-C size sensor, and the 5D's larger sensor would help reduce noise levels if higher ISO speeds are needed, as well as giving you a bit more dynamic range, with more detail for a given lens quality (except perhaps for the corners).

The larger sensor size also makes it easier to get a wider angle of view for landscapes (without the distortion associated with most of the wider lenses designed for APS-C size sensors for the same angle of view).

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Old May 8, 2008, 3:21 PM   #3
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P.S. We have some members here that have Canon bodies with both full frame and APS-C size sensors. So, hopefully they'll chime in with better informed recommendations.

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Old May 8, 2008, 3:55 PM   #4
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Since my primary goal indoors was to avoid flash, I hadn't started researching them yet, thank you for the recommendation though, I will add that to my list. My initial subject for the next year is not very mobile, sleeps a lot, and is easily disturbed by flashes. The cost of the 5D kit is a bit of a stretch, but the kit lens seems like it is an excellent value for the amount of versatility it offers.

I don't have a lot of experience shooting with primes, the last time I did so was about 10 years ago before I retired my film SLR. I've been waiting for the DSLR's to mature and now seems about as good a time as any to take the plunge.

I am somewhat concerned for the long term viability of the APS-C size sensor, but at the same time it appears that it has been receiving continued attention.

My decision would be a lot easier if the 5D were not in my budget, but since it is and I am not starting out with a current stock of lens, it makes it more difficult.
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Old May 8, 2008, 4:24 PM   #5
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I just looked into the same thing. I decided to go with:

Canon EOS 40D kit with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens
A-DATA Speedy 2GB
SanDisk Extreme III 4GB

I took the kit lense simply because, I figured there may be some outdoor shooting that the extra zoom might be nice for and at $200, it seems a bargain for an IS lens. If I never use it, I can always sell it.

The A-DATA card is a free, throw in.

Got the whole setup from Newegg.

Subtotal $2,753.96
FedEx Express Saver $27.56
Order Total $2,781.52

If you don't want/need the kit lense, you can drop the total by $200

If your budget is around $2700, you can get more bang for your buck with the 40D. I don't have the equipment in my hands yet, so I can't offer anything more.

I skipped the flash for now until I see how it performs. It's easy enough to add it later.

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Old May 8, 2008, 4:33 PM   #6
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You say you're interested in Landscape/Architecture, yet for the 40D and the XSi the widest lens is the 17-55mm f/2.8 (35mm film equivalent focal length of 27-88mm) which isn't very wide. For the 5D, you've picked the 24-105mm f/4L (35mm film equivalent focal length of 24-105mm) which is better, but for indoor/low light, f/4 is pretty dim.
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Old May 8, 2008, 4:49 PM   #7
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TCav wrote:
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You say you're interested in Landscape/Architecture, yet for the 40D and the XSi the widest lens is the 17-55mm f/2.8 (35mm film equivalent focal length of 27-88mm) which isn't very wide. For the 5D, you've picked the 24-105mm f/4L (35mm film equivalent focal length of 24-105mm) which is better, but for indoor/low light, f/4 is pretty dim.
There is the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.


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Old May 8, 2008, 5:18 PM   #8
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I picked the F/4 lens for the 5D because of the general versatility, for low light indoors I would use one of the primes, when the f/4 lens is bought with the kit you save almost $450 off the standalone price so it would seem foolish not to buy it, but perhaps someone has a reason not to, or an alternative?

As smithkt already pointed out the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is always an option for getting a little wider down the road with the APS-C cameras for landscape/architecture. I used to shoot a lot of landscape, but lately I focus more on people or objects.
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Old May 9, 2008, 2:39 AM   #9
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For the type of photography you are interested in I would agree that the 5D is a better choice.

40D very good camera with lots of "features" most of which would not seem important for your photography.

5D is a decent camera with fewer features, but better image quality. If you don't need the bells and whistles go for the image quality.

Plump for the 50mm f1.4 sooner rather than later if you are not keen on flash, wide open at ISO3200 you will be amazed on prints up to 8x12.

But with the 24-105 indoors you'll probably want a flash, in fact the way things are working out for me lately I seldom use my 24-105 without a flash.
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Old May 13, 2008, 10:53 PM   #10
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Well I have eliminated the XSi from my choices and have figured in the tentative rebates that will hopefully be available on Sunday. I have added though the Nikon D300 since it seems to be a valid choice as well, however it is at the very top of my initial budget range. Here are the configurations and my thoughts on each.

Canon EOS 40D
Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Lens
$2,600

Pro(s):
Good IQ
Save $600-900 to spend on lensesor for a new body inthe future.
Con(s):
If I upgrade to a FF camera in the future will have to sell/trade in EF-S lens.

Canon EOS 5D
Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM Lens
$3,200

Pro(s):
Excellent IQ
Con(s):
Very demanding on having quality lens


Nikon D300 DX
Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight Flash
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Lens
Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Lens
$3,500

Pro(s):
Good IQ
Lots of "features"
Con(s):
Most expensive option
17-55mm f/2.8 not available with VR yet
If I upgrade to a FF camera in the future will have to sell/trade inDX lens.



Any further advice you can give? I tend to way over-analyze these things...
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