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turin39789 Jun 17, 2008 12:05 PM

I got my first digicam last year, a Pany Fz7 megazoom. I like the camera, but it's not great in low light. I picked it up right before a trip to Ireland and got some great shots and loved the ability to zoom in tight for a shot.

I'm getting married and going to Argentina in October, and I wanted to step up to the "real" cameras anyway. Or at least the low end intro noob real cameras.

I've been focusing on the d40/d60 or rebelxt/xti . With the new models coming out it has become possible to pick up the cameras with a kit lens for pretty cheap, and I'm hoping they will drop some more by the end of July when I'm thinking about buying.

At the same time, I'm finding a number of cameras that I don't even recognize for sale used on craigslist. There's a d50 with 28080 and 70-300 tamron lenses and some accessoriesfor $700, a 30d(body only I think?) for $590.

What models should be on my radar screen. I'm leaning towards the Xti, but now im worried that a slightly older higher end model might be around for the same price.

Anyone feel like pointing me in the right directions?:mad:

TCav Jun 17, 2008 12:46 PM

The low end Nikon dLSRs (D40, D40X & D60) have slow autofocus (comparitively) and a limited selection of lenses (again, comparitively).

Among the cameras you mentioned, the Canon XTi has the fastest autofocus and it has a 10MP image sensor, like the D40X & D60, and unlike the XT (8MP) and D40 (6MP).

The Sony, Pentax and most of the Olympus dLSRs have sensor shift image stabilization in the camera bodies, while Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in certain lenses, making them bigger, heavier and more expensive. Image stabilization reduces (if not eliminates) motion blur due to camera shake.

But Sony, Pentax and Olympus have smaller selections of lenses than Canon and Nikon (except the D40, D40X & D60. These camera bodies don't have a built-in autofocus motor, so most lenses for Nikon cameras won't autofocus on these cameras.)

You haven't said what kind(s) of photography you like or want to do, and different brands and different models may be well suited for some things and not so good for others. Perhaps you could tell us how you plan to use your next camera.

turin39789 Jun 17, 2008 7:10 PM

I'm definetly leaning towards the XTi, just wanted to know if there were other models to consider if they popped up for sale used.

I'm also planning on picking up a compact pocket camera that I will actually carry with me everyday/everywhere on my trips.

Otherwise my big camera tends to get taken with me on large trips. Mostly nature photos/landscapes. I'm interested in learning macro as well, and I'd also like to be able to do some low light family photo's, so I'll probably hang on to a kit lens and pick up a zoom that goes up to 300mm.

The Xti kit has fallen below $500 a few times, but isn't regularly available for that.

turin39789 Jun 17, 2008 7:55 PM

[img] xqpxQPoQxPQGxPPJxv8uOc5xQQQG0aQaQJlPlqpfVtB%3F*KUp 7BHSHqqy7XH6gX0QQ0Q%7CRup6lQQ%7C/of=50,590,442[/img]
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turin39789 Jun 17, 2008 8:00 PM

These are a few of my favorite photos I got with my Fz7 on our trip. Granted I was shooting in auto most of the time. They are all uncropped/untouched. I like the zooms ability to get in close like that, I suppose the real benefits of the slr that I want are A. The cool factor B. more sensitive in lower light C, more incentive to learn/understand photography. D. Versatility.

Now that I see these I've almost talked myself into sticking with my megazoom, but there were also a lot of pubs where I couldnt get good pics indoors, or anytime I tried to take a shot of something motion and ended up with a blurry pic.

[img] xqpxQPoQxPQGxPPJxv8uOc5xQQQG0aQaPn0aQqpfVtB%3F*KUp 7BHSHqqy7XH6gX0QQoa%7CRup6lQQ%7C/of=50,590,442[/img]

TCav Jun 17, 2008 8:25 PM

turin39789 wrote:

... Mostly nature photos/landscapes. ...
The kit lens would probably do well for this to start, but you might want something wider someday.

turin39789 wrote:

... I'm interested in learning macro as well, ...
You can do this with the kit lens and close-up lenses or extension tubes, but one of the probelms people usually encounter when doing macrophotography, is insufficient light, and close-up lenses and extension tubes don't help with that. So a popular lens for macrophotography is a medium telephoto with a large aperture. Tamron makes a 90mm f/2.8 and Sigma makes a 105mm f/2.8. Both are popular macro lenses and are available for most brands of dSLRs.

turin39789 wrote:

... and I'd also like to be able to do some low light family photo's, so I'll probably hang on to a kit lens ...
Uh. No.

A kit lens will not do low light without a flash.

You can go with the built-in flash, which might be barely enough.

You can go with an external flash for $200-$300.

Or you can do available light photography with a large aperture lens like a 50mm f/1.8 or so, for about $100. There are brighter lenses for more money, but this is usually a good start. Canon and Nikon have 50mm f/1.8 lenses for $100 or less, but Nikon's won't autofocus on its D40/D40X/D60. There are lots of used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lenses available for the Sonys. Pentax has a 50mm f/1.4 for $200 new. The closest Olympus has to a lens in this category is the Sigma 24mm f/1.8 for $329 or the 30mm f/1.4 for $399.

And if you gowith a 50mm f/1.8 lens, you can use it with extension tubes for your macrophotography, and save the cost of a macro lens.

turin39789 wrote:

... and pick up a zoom that goes up to 300mm.
Sigma and Tamron both make good lenses in that category, for less than $200, that are available for most brands of dSLRs.

So, I think we've ruled out Olympus, the inexpensive Nikons, maybe Pentax, and maybe Sony unless you don't mind getting used lenses.

JohnG Jun 18, 2008 7:00 AM

I'd like to add a few comments to TCAv's advice:

Macro: TCAV mentioned light being a problem. This is true. But if you check with people that really do a lot of macro photography you won't find many of them shooting at 2.8. Much more common to use apertures like f8 or narrower to ensure sharpness and enough DOF for the subject (remember you're focusing very close - f11 from 12 inches away isn't a lot of DOF). Tripods and flashes are very common.

low light family photos: A good external flash is your best bet here. Wide lenses and high ISOs can be good for some available light shots BUT you still need a good amount of available light, your subject better not be moving and because of the shallow DOF at wide apertures you aren't going to get multiple people in focus unless it's a very carefully posed shot. I love available light photography and as a sports shooter I use it extensively. But for family shots you are just way too limited. A good external flash gives you much more capability. Having both is great but if you had to choose out of the gate between a 50mm 1.8 or an external flash the flash will get you better results in more instances of general family photos. The fast lens will, however, get you some nice available light, shallow DOF portrait type shots.

mtngal Jun 18, 2008 9:22 AM

I'll offer a different point of view when it comes to macro photography. I do lots of close-ups and macro, as well as landscapes, the occasional bird and travel pictures. As far as macro goes - my dedicated macro lens is an f2.5, but I rarely use it at anything larger f8, usually using f11 or sometimes smaller, especially for flowers. The other thing is that you don't really need AF for macro - the depth of field is so small that leaning in and out a bit is how I focus. My first macro lens was AF and I found that it was almost a liability, when I upgraded it I bought an older, well thought of manual focus lens and have been far happier. Extension tubes will work quite well with a sharp lens, but is less convenient.

If you are a budget you might want to look for a Pentax K10. They've been discontinued but some retailers are still selling off their stock at close-out prices (they are getting harder and harder to find now). This camera offers weather sealing (nice to have for travel) is an advanced camera and can use any Pentax lens ever made, retaining whatever capability that lens had when it was made. That means that you can find manual fast prime lenses, for not much money - say $30-50 for an M50mm 1.7. You have to push a button for metering and that one is manual focus, but the camera beeps at you when it thinks you have focus.

The K200, which is Pentax's new entry level camera, has the same sensor as the K10.

I'd second the recommendation to get a flash - the in-camera flashes on any of the cameras are limited in what they can do. Flashes also come in handy with macro photography, too - especially if you can get the flash off-camera.

turin39789 Jun 18, 2008 10:47 AM

Thanks, the macro is probably something I will do once in a while, more often will be travel photography, group photos etc. I keep thinking of random scenarios, I might want to try to get a picture of a motorcycle in motion, and in that case I'll need a fast lens, but mostly travel/landscape and group/family/kids/dogs stuff.

I'll lookup the k10, still leaning to the xti though

TCav Jun 18, 2008 11:21 AM

The Pentax K10D might be hard to find, and the Canon XTi is a fine camera.

BTW, here are some indoor available light shots I took recently.While flash lets you do things you can't do with available light, available light lets you do things you can't do with flash.

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