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Old Oct 6, 2008, 7:21 PM   #1
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I am new to the DSLRs, currently have the Canon S5IS. I am looking to upgrade and would like a camera that will take me a long way into the future without upgrading until I am very good, when that happens....lol.

I want a body, and two lenses to start, and a CF tripod. I have been looking at the 50D and 5D and a few others.

Primarily I will use for landscape, travels, and wildlife. Those are my initial interests. Any suggestions would be helpful as I am new to this, and renting a camera probably wouldnt tell me alot due to inexperience.

Thanks....and appreciate the forum
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Old Oct 6, 2008, 7:53 PM   #2
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How much is your budget?

Do you have a preference for Canon?

I have just an entry level Pentax DSLR, but I would probably go for the successor to the 5D, the 5D Mark II, which, has added resolution, and video capabilities. It's also cheaper than the 5D was when it first came out. They have it on pre-order at Ritz.

The 50D seems to me to be better for a person interested in sports photography with its 6.3 FPS burst mode.
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Old Oct 6, 2008, 8:08 PM   #3
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inthemoment wrote:
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I want a body, and two lenses ....

Primarily I will use for landscape, travels, and wildlife. ...
Landscape usually calls for a wide angle lens. Travel photos are usually accomplished with the kit lens. Wildlife usually calls for a telephoto. That's three lenses.

The Canons you mentioned are both very good, but you haven't mentioned anything that would eleminate any dSLR.

There are lots of reasons to selection one brand over another, so I'll start there.

Canon has the best autofocus system for sports/action/wildlife, followed closely by Nikon (except their entry level models), then Sony and Pentax, then the entry level Nikons and Olympus.

Canon also has the best selection of OEM and third party lenses and accessories, again followed colsely by Nikon (except their entry level models.) Sony and Pentax don't have as good a selection of OEM or third party lenses, but the selection of used lenses for these brands is quite good. Sony has a better selection of telephoto lenses, but they tend to be expensive. Pentax has a better selection of fast prime lenses. Nikon's entry level dSLRs don't have internal autofocus motors, so many of Nikon's own lenses won't autofocus on them, and few third party and almost no used lenses will. Olympus has the smallest seleciton of OEM and third party lenses, the ones it does have can be very expensive, and there are very few Olympus lenses in the used market.

There are four companies that make the best lenses in the world: Canon, Nikon, Leica, and Zeiss. Leica makes lenses primarily for Panasonic cameras, but also makes some for Olympus. Zeiss makes lenses for Canon, Nikon and Pentax, but by far most Zeiss lenses are for Sony dSLRs. And some of Sony's own lenses are some of the best in their classes.

Olympus has the smallest and lightest dSLRs, and for equivalent angles of view, the smallest and lightest lenses as well.

Image stabilization is a popular feature of modern cameras. It reduces, if not eliminates motion blur due to camera shake. Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive, and there are very few stabilized lenses in the used market. Pentax, Sony and most Olympus dSLRs use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, so any lens will be stabilized, including lenses made for film cameras over twenty years ago and are now availabe used. The Olympus E-410 & E-420 don't have any image stabilization.

I believe those are the biggest distinguishing characteristics among the brands, and hope this can help to narrow down your choises.
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Old Oct 6, 2008, 8:09 PM   #4
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Yes, budget is important.

Also, you have to understand your requirements: landscape, travels and wildlife can be somewhat at odds.

The two biggest issues are landscape vs. wildlife because they often require very different focal lengths. Landscape often requiring a wide angle lens and wildlife often requiring telephoto and supertelephoto lenses (think 300mm plus on crop cameras and 400mm plus on something like the 5d).

Also, travel is important in that - how important is size/weight? The better quality the lens the heavier/larger it is - this is true at most focal lengths. So, an 18-200 type lens is great for travel but they typically suffer heavier distortion at wide angles and aren't long enough for wildlife.

So, let us know your budget and how serious you are about wildlife (and what types of wildlife you wish to shoot).

And, of course the tripod - the tripod is only half the equation - a head is the other half. With the tripod, you pay a steep price for lightweight especially if you still want quality. Head depends on the type of activity you want to use the tripod for. For landscape, a 3-way can be fine, a ball head gives a lot more flexibility but at a steeper cost. And finally, ifbirds in flightis the passion then something like a wimberley is of great benefit.

I'll caution you at the forerfront - the benefit and curse of DSLRs is that you are entering into a more specialized realm. you buy the camera/lens/tripod/head that fits your specific requirements. It's not like a digicam where you make one purchase. There is no single solution that fits your described needs. There are many solutions - each with benefits and drawbacks. And unless you have an unlimited budget it measn making some sacrifices at the outset. But that's the beauty of SLR SYSTEMS - you build on them. As long as the system you buy into supports all the types of photography you're interested in you don't need everything up front. You can add over the years.
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Old Oct 6, 2008, 11:18 PM   #5
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An additional thought for landscape/travel - the PentaxK200 and K20are weather sealed, which comes in very handy if you get caught out in a shower, are shooting in the snow or in dusty conditions.

As far as lenses go - you may or may not want a lens wider than the kit lens for landscape. Are you a person who wants to capture wide vistas or details? If you are more of a detail person, get the kit lens and something to cover your telephoto needs, then add a wide angle later. The nice thing about dSLR systems is that you don't have to get everything all at once, you can gradually add lenses as your budget allows.

Another thing to consider is how does a camera feel to you? Do you have small or large hands? Can you reach all of the camera's controls comfortably? What about the viewfinder- you will be spending a large amount of time looking through it so make sure you check it out (the Sony cameras with live view have a smaller viewfinder. I personally didn't like it at all, but others don't find it as much of a problem as I did). Remember, a camera that's sitting in the closet because you find it uncomfortable to carry and use can't take that once in a lifetime picture.
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Old Oct 7, 2008, 2:55 AM   #6
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Many things are possible and it all comes down to how much you are willing to spend.

Just to echo a couple of things said above, it's pretty easy to recommend a good general purpose standard zoom; most manufacturers have them for most cameras.

Wildlife is a whole different story. Are you trying to take pictures of hummingbirds, elephants or dragonflies? The equipmentyou needis quite different depending on the answer.

But lest you despair I would suggest that you could start out with a good standard zoom, covering 28-80 focal length equivalent (travel, portraits, landscape, etc) and add a good telephoto zoom, taking you out to around to at least the 400mm equivalent mark (wildlife in good light).

You clearly want to go mid-range, so on your shortlist of cameras I'd put:

Canon 50D, Canon 5D, Canon 5DMkII, Nikon D300, Nikon D700, Sony A700, Pentax K20D, Olympus E3.

My inclination is to stick with Canon or Nikon for all the reasons that make them the market leaders, but there's nothing wrong with the others.

And as a starting point consider the question "Is there any reason I shouldn't get a Nikon D700?"





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Old Oct 7, 2008, 9:14 AM   #7
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peripatetic wrote:
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And as a starting point consider the question "Is there any reason I shouldn't get a Nikon D700?"
Well, the real "drawback" is the $2700 body only pricetag. If money is no object no doubt the D700 is the best prosumer DSLR on the market.

The real challenge is - is it worth the extra $1000-1500 over some of the other cameras to the OP. These decisions would be so much easier if money were no object. :G

But if money WERE tight I might suggest one of the "lesser" cameras with better glass will outperform the D700 with consumer grade glass.
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Old Oct 7, 2008, 10:53 AM   #8
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peripatetic wrote:
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And as a starting point consider the question "Is there any reason I shouldn't get a Nikon D700?"



Another reason for not considering the Nikon D700 is the weight. At 995g it's signficantly heavier than the 5D (810g). The 50D is no lightweight, but much more manageable at 730g. There's no way I could manage either camera at all (I once tried a friend's 5D).
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Old Oct 7, 2008, 11:08 AM   #9
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robbo wrote:
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How much is your budget?
inthemoment:

I've got the same question. What's your budget?

Members will need to know that in order to give you better recommendations.

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Old Oct 7, 2008, 11:19 AM   #10
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To all of you, first thanks for the great response.

As for importance, it would be every day photography including travel which is alot of landscape photography. For wildlife, Id like to photograph deer behind my home, and then eventually to do big game photography on a trip to Africa (future goal). Mostly I am looking for a body that would allow me to achieve all this through adding great lenses.

Someone mentioned comfort, I am 5'10" so have larger hands for a woman.

As far as budget, I am willing to spend approx. $3000-$5000 for body, two lenses and good cf tripod to start. Then I can add from there.

Lastly, anyone in southern California who knows a good photography group to join?

Thanks again for all the help......
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