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Old Aug 24, 2008, 2:15 PM   #11
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I wanna shoot family gatherings, nature and historical structures.

I'll take the advice and invest in great lenses as the Nikon 18-200 & 17-55 .

And because the D300 is so dificult to master for a beginner, then another option should considered.But what other options do I have??

Will the above lenses fit into future Nikon releases or they might end up obsolete one day.


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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:14 PM   #12
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First, ...

Greatestboss wrote:
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I'll take the advice and invest in great lenses as the Nikon 18-200 & 17-55 .
When ...

JohnG wrote:
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A camera is, in most cases, only as good as the lens you have on it. To that end, a Nikon d80 with Nikor 24-70 2.8 and Nikor 70-200 2.8 will outperform the D300 with 18-200 (assuming the same knowledgable, competant photographer using both).
..., he was pairing the 18-200 with the D300 as an example of what not to get. And when ...

rjseeney wrote:
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In terms of lenses, the 18-200 is a great lens, and probably one everyone should own. It's great to travel with, or when you want to go light. But, you can do better at every focal range it covers, ...
He wasreferring to it as an excellent compromise, and conceded that there are better choices if you aren't necessarily willing to compromise.

You don't strike me as someone who wants to compromise.

If you want one lens to do everything, the Nikon 18-200 is a good choice, but it's more expensive, not as sharp, and has more optical distortion and chromatic aberration than lenses with less ambitious zoom ranges. So I think it's early in your decision making process to commit to a lens, and it also seems to me that you don't really have a clear reason to commit to a brand either.

So I'll start from scratch.

There are five major manufacturers of dSLRs: Canon Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony. There are lesser brands, like Samsung (who just rebrands Pentax dSLRs) and Fuji (who buys Nikon dSLRs, makes some changes to them and sells them under its own name for special purpose applications) but I'll stick to the 5 big names.

Canon has the largest selection of OEM, third party and usedlenses and accessories, followed closely by Nikon. Next are Pentax and Sony, with Olympus trailing. Another consideration is that Nikon's entry level dSLRs, the D40, D40X and D60, don't have internal autofocus motors, so many of Nikon's own lenses, most third party lenses, and almost no used lenses will autofocus on them. That puts the entry level Nikons behind Pentax and Sony. Olympus is bringing up the rear because when they went digital, they abandoned their existing film lenses and accessories in favor of a new mount, and there aren't many products available for it yet.

There are several features that distinguish one brand and model from another. For image stabilization, Canon and Nikon use optical systems in some of their lenses to stabilize the image. This makes those lenses bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Pentax, Sony and most Olympus dSLRs use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera bodies, so any lens will be stabilized.

'Live View' is another attactive feature that is interspersed within every manufacturers product line. It lets you compose your shot using the LCD Disply on the rear of the camera body, like a P&S digicam. Implimentations vary as to their impact on other camera features and systems.

Canon has the best autofocus system for sports/action/wildlife, followed by Nikon, Pentax and Sony, then the entry level Nikons andOlympus.

The best lenses in the world are made by Canon, Nikon, Zeiss and Leica. Canon and Nikon lenses only fit their own cameras. Zeiss makes lenses mostly for Sony but they also have a few that fit other cameras as well. Leica makes a few excellent lenses for Canon and Nikon, and for it's own dSLRs and those from Panasonic and Olympus, but it is not a major player in the market for dSLR lenses.

You haven't given us much info about what you want to shoot. When you say "family gaterings" do your relatives play softball or volleyball at these gatherings? Will you want to capture some of that? If so, you might be better off with the Canon's autofocus system. When you say "nature", do you mean wildlife or landscapes? One requires long lenses, while the other requires wide lenses.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 11:43 AM   #13
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Thanks for the great info. As you have noticed, I'm a novice to the world of DSLR. My Sony R1 is the closest thing to a real DSLR that I've owned. Photography to me is a casual hobby rather than a full time profession.

I'll need it when we go visit my parents at home and when all the family gathers. just gatherings without much activities. Also to take photos of my nieces and nephews.I'll use it when we go campings, travel to Europe, sight seeing. Nature photos animals as well as mountains, lakes...etc

All the recommendations I got from the shops I visited is that Canon and Nikon are world leaders and pioneers and in a class of their own compared to Sony and other brands. In addition, 60% of them favoured Nikon over Canon. I don't know why? Some said because Nikon are more specialized in Cameras and lenses while Canons are into cameras, printers, camcorders...etc

Now your detailed description of things have clarified most ofmy Q.

Having known what type of photographer I'll end up to be. I need some advice for an entry level or mid level SLR with a good lens (something like the Nikon 18-200 lens). Will it be stupid to mount the 17-55 on the D80 or D90mwhen it comes out.

Now I'm sure that I'll need to start with a Good SLR even if its not top of the range. However I wouldn't want to compromise on quality for the price and at the same time avoid a toooooo complicated body for a first timer. ( Apprently everyone agreed that the D300 is extremely dificult to master for a first timer).

Therefore I'm back where I started. What brand and what lens. My heart and gut feelings tells me to go to a Nikon. Shop Managers recommend it as well.

So let me know your pick for an enthusiastic SLR first timer who looks at quality first, financial aspects second.

Finally does it make a great deal of a difference if the Nikon is made in thailand and the Canon in Japan. (Sony's are made in Japan but are considered by some to lack behind the big two)

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Old Aug 25, 2008, 12:36 PM   #14
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I think I can say without fear of contradiction that what you've heard from salespeopleis unfounded bias. They clearly don't know much about Canon or Nikon as companies.

Much of what you want to do can be accomplished with a kit lens (the lens that comes with a dLSR body.) Landscapes require a wide angle lens, and wildlife requires a long lens. Lenses can only get so wide, but they can get really long, and what you need determines how long you need to go. For instance, for birding, you'll need a longer lens than for pandas at the zoo.

What youwant to do can be accomplished with any dSLR. Tamron and Sigma make lenses that would do well at supplimentingany kit lens, though perhaps not as well as OEM lenses. Canon and Nikon have good lenses that should suit you. Sony has a few very good telephoto lenses but they can be very expensive. Pentax doesn't have a great selection of telephoto lenses. Olympus has apoor selection of lenses and the ones they do have are very expensive.

If you can be clearer about what types of wildlife (and if this is a major consideration), and how much you have to spend, I think we'll have a better idea what to recommend.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 1:32 PM   #15
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there is absolutely nothing wrong about going with nikon d300 even if you are a beginner.

if i could afford it i would too. but a huge deal of the quality is dependent on your lenses as well.

but if you ask me if its a good choice to start with as the first time dslr. hell yeah... if i had the money i would go full frame and wouldnt even worry a bit about how difficult it might be learning how to shoot with it.


sooner or later everyone gets used to their camera :-)
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 2:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Having known what type of photographer I'll end up to be. I need some advice for an entry level or mid level SLR with a good lens (something like the Nikon 18-200 lens). Will it be stupid to mount the 17-55 on the D80 or D90mwhen it comes out.
Absolutely not. The lens is really where the rubber meets the road, and quality lenses will do more to improve your photography than a high end body. If you can't have a top end body with top end lenses, then it's best to get the best lenses you can afford and a cheaper body. If you're set on Nikon, and can wait, I'd wait on the D90. Although the D80 is great, it is 2 years old and a bit long in the tooth. The D90 will likely incorporate many D300 features, and get this, is rumored to have video capability. Some are expecting an announcement this week, and for the camera to begin shipping by mid to late September.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 3:57 PM   #17
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Definetly not zoo photography. I mean wildlife stuff. I'm off to a safari around March so it is a major consideration for such a trip. And of course the usual stuff for everyone to photograph at home or on different trips.

So you don't agree that Canon and Nikon are on a class of their own?

To answer your question, I'm willing to spend a maximumamount of $2500 for my first DSLR. As all have indicated, a great lens should be a priority for me. But I'm concerned about a good body too. Someting that would match a great lens.

I was told that Nikon and Canon lenses were the best. though Zeiss and Leica were among the best too but wouldn't fit on a Canon or Nikon body

So based on the above figure, any recommendation on the lens and body. Live view would be welcomed option.

Does it make a difference in picture quality whether the image stbilization is on the lens or within the body. I mean which option is the ideal one.

Thanks again


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Old Aug 25, 2008, 4:55 PM   #18
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Greatestboss wrote:
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Definetly not zoo photography. I mean wildlife stuff. I'm off to a safari around March so it is a major consideration for such a trip.
So we're talking about wildlife that is big enough to be seen with the naked eye, but that you want to zoom in on. I think that would be out to about 300mm (on a 1.5 crop factor dLSR.) There are lots of lenses in that category, and even a few good ones.

Greatestboss wrote:
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So you don't agree that Canon and Nikon are on a class of their own?
I think that Canon and Nikon produce excellent dSLRs, but aside from their full frame models, I wouldn't say that any of their products are 'head and shoulders' above the rest of the market.

Greatestboss wrote:
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I was told that Nikon and Canon lenses were the best. though Zeiss and Leica were among the best too but wouldn't fit on a Canon or Nikon body
Canon and Nikon do make very good lenses, but they make some consumer grade stuff as well. And some other manufacturers have some very good lenses as well. And Sony has a pretty good collection of Zeiss lenses, which makes them a force to reckoned with.

Greatestboss wrote:
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Live view would be welcomed option.
That narrows down the selection quite a bit.
  • Anything Olympus [/*]
  • Sony A300 and A350 [/*]
  • Pentax K20D [/*]
  • Canon XS, XSi, 40D, 1D Mark III [/*]
  • Nikon D300, D700, D3
Greatestboss wrote:
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Does it make a difference in picture quality whether the image stbilization is on the lens or within the body. I mean which option is the ideal one.
No, it doesn't.

Greatestboss wrote:
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To answer your question, I'm willing to spend a maximumamount of $2500 for my first DSLR. As all have indicated, a great lens should be a priority for me. But I'm concerned about a good body too. Someting that would match a great lens.

So based on the above figure, any recommendation on the lens and body.
For ~70-300 lenses, PhotoZone.de says this about the new Sony G:

"The Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SSM G is high quality lens and possibly the best of the breed (70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 class). The resolution figures are very good across the zoom range. Lateral CAs, vignetting and distortions are generally well controlled and not really field relevant."

(For the entire review, see http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-a...ony_70300_4556 )

They give it higher marks than any other lens in the category.

If that's important to you, that puts the Sony A300 and A350 at the top of the list.

To go along with a Sony dLSR, you might consider the Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5, again arguably the best lens of its kind.

(For the entire review, see http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-a...w--test-report )

So, for the best lenses in their respective classes, plus a 'Live View' dLSR that will work with them:

[/*]
  • Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SSM G ($800) [/*]
  • Zeiss ZA 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT ($700) [/*]
  • Sony A350 body only ($700) [/*]
  • Total: $2,200[/*]
That kit would be hard to beat.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 5:21 PM   #19
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Dear Greatest Boss,

I envy you your camera purchase budget and admire you for your determination to get a top rate DSLR as your first.

I haven't owned a Nikon or Canon DSLR. although I considered them. I got two Pentaxes. However,perhaps I could share a few observations.

1. (As everybody has told you) - lenses have a greater influence on picture quality than camera bodies. Although Pentax has a better than average kit lens, I saw a significant improvement in image sharpness after I bought better lenses.

2. Camera body based image stablization varies in effectiveness. Some cameras with it seem to have a one stop advantage while others have two or three stop advantages. I think than the lens based IS may be slightly more effective, BUT it is much more expensive most of the time.

3. The D300 is not a small camera.Coupled with a good telephoto lens, it may seem heavy. If you want a lighter alternative for telephoto shots, you may consider buying (in addition) a bridge camera like the Panasonic FZ18 or FZ28. They will not be as good in low light, but they will probably be decent in daylight. They provide coverage from 28mm (wide angle) to a telephoto max of 504mm (27mm to 486mm for the newer FZ28. Plus they have video capability.

Iam not trying to dissuade you from buying a D300. If I could afford it, I would get one. But if you can afford a D80 or D90 with a great lens or two, I think you will be happier than you will be with a D300 and a mediocre lens.

Just to throw another idea out, have you considered a Canon EOS 40D? It's not entry level, and not quite professional grade either. But it seems like a great camera for action shots and it appears be built like a tank.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 5:45 PM   #20
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Im not as experienced as many here on what the sony or nikon offerings are, but olympus has the 50-200 f2.8 f3.5 swd lens which can be had for a little under $1000, is trully excellent, weathersealed and would give you a 100-400mm range in full frame equivalency. That would still leave you with plenty left over for an e-3 and a reasonable lens to complement that range.

With Nikon, the closest thing to that that I can find in terms of range, price, quality and speed is the 80-200 f2.8, which is faster at the long end but does not have quite the same reach as the 50-200 has, but, as I said, others know more about nikon offerings than I do.




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