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Old Nov 1, 2008, 11:56 PM   #1
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One very helpful thing I have learned on this forum is to really evaluate what kind of lenses I want to use, and to allow that to be a driving force in my camera purchase.

That being said, I want to get great portrait shots of my kids, and I understand a 50mm 1.8 would be a great (and economical!) fit. So, I've put that lens on the top of my list.

Now...

Nikon D60 was in the running for me, but since the 50mm won't autofocus on that camera, I'm considering a D80. Is it worth the bump for that lens? I'm also wondering if the Canon version of this lens will autofocus on the xsi, because if so, the choice could be xsi or D80.

While I'm at it, I'll throw another thing in the mix for anyone willing to comment. Bumping up to a D80 would reconfigure my lens plan altogether. With the D60 I planned to do the tried and true 18-55 and 55-200VR combo. With the D80, I think I would go 18-135 and 50mm to start, with hopes of adding a 70-300 in the near future.

Anyone care to applaud that plan? Or run screaming in the opposite direction? Thanks to those of you willing to lend an opinion.
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Old Nov 2, 2008, 6:08 AM   #2
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Actually, if you go with the d80, I'd stick with the 18-55vr/55-200 plan. The 18-135 is sharp, but is prone to flare, and not stabilized. You really have to watch technique on the long end without stabilization (although you should always be aware of your technique). And although I own the 70-300vr, I rarely use it as I find it really bad on the long end, and sometimes slow to focus.
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Old Nov 2, 2008, 7:48 AM   #3
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First, Nikon now has a 50mm lens that will autofocus on the D60. It's the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S, but it's not one of your more affordable lenses. Sigma has one also, theSigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, but again, it ain't cheap.

Second, between the Canon XSi and the Nikon D80, I'd go with the Canon. It's 12MP versus the Nikon's 10, it's got a better autofocus system, and it's got 'Live View' (in the unlikely event that I might ever use it.)

Third, if image stabilization is something you intend to have, perhaps you should look at the Pentax and Sony offerings as well. Sony has a 50mm f/1.4, but it's expensive, and Sony dSLRs can use the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 that is widely available on the used market (eBay, CraigsList, KEH, etc.) And Pentax has a very nice 50mm f/1.4that is reasonably priced, and would let you limit the depth of field even more.
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Old Nov 2, 2008, 8:27 AM   #4
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I shoot Pentax and would second TCav's suggestion - the in-camera stabilization is priceless to me.

The Pentax FA 50mm 1.4 is a very well regarded lens, especially for the price. The kit lens is quite good. I've been impressed with pictures people are posting taken with the new DA55-300 lens - I'll probably buy it next year (I blew my lens budget for the year this summer).

If you want a smaller, lighter camera for chasing after kids, then the new K-M (or K1000, same camera different countries) sounds like a really good buy, and it comes in a kit with an external flash (I've found I'm starting to really appreciate a separate flash now). If you are going to be outside in all weather/dusty conditions, you might prefer the larger, heavier weather sealed K200.
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Old Nov 2, 2008, 9:33 AM   #5
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Another advantage to the sensor shift image stabilization in Pentax and Sony dSLRsis that your 50mm lens will be stabilized too.

That's something the Canon and Nikon solutions can't do.
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Old Nov 2, 2008, 8:20 PM   #6
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I find the Pentax solution fascinating. My Dad, who lives in another state and knows I'm in the market, called this week to inform me that Consumer Reports just rated the Pentax the "best" in entry level DSLR cameras. (I have not seen the article myself.) Now, I live in a good sized city, and I have been to three stores and can not get my hands on one. The "Mom and Pop" camera shop doesn't carry them, nor does my local Best Buy or Wolf/Ritz. What in the world?? The camera gets an amazing rating on amazon, but I can't imagine buying one without holding it first. Also, it makes me wonder if lenses will be readily available? If it is as good as they say, why isn't this little sleeper storming the market?




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Old Nov 2, 2008, 8:52 PM   #7
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One of the reasons that certain camera stores don't stock them/sell them much is that they get a higher commission/mark-up from other camera manufacturers than they do from Pentax. And I certainly agree that one should not buy a camera blind, without handling it.

As far as lens availability - I haven't seen a couple of the really expensive lenses in person, but know I can always get them through one of the major mail order/internet camera stores (B&H, Adorama etc.). I'm hoping to hold those lenses sometime this month - a store that's local to me always hosts an expo that a number of camera/lens reps attend. Pentax has done well at this event - I've ended up buying a flash and two lenses because of being able to handle/test them.

The other place I keep an eye on for Pentax mount lenses is KEH, eekbay and other sources of used lenses. Every so often a real treasure comes along that gets overlooked by others, but it helps to know what you are looking for. If you don't mind manual focus/manual exposure, you can usually pick up an M50mm 1.7 is excellent condition for around $30-50. They were kit lenses back in 1980 (I know, I got one with my first dSLR) and are very common.
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Old Nov 3, 2008, 7:15 AM   #8
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I am a long time supporter of Consumer Reports. Among other things, they perform the most comprehensive survey of the general population, second only to the US Census, and they do it every year.

But there are threetopics I know enough about to knowthat Consumer Reports doesn't know enough about them. They are audio equipment, computers, and cameras. Occasionally, they get lucky and get one or two right, as is the case of the Pentax K200D, but I suggest that you not give their opinion a lot of weight in this area.
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 9:54 PM   #9
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I agree with TCAV about consumer reports. Some things they are clueless about and that includes cameras. Pick out a stabilized body if you want to use a low light prime or get set to pay a lot more. I shoot with a Sony A700 and a Minolta 50 1.7 for low light. I had 3 of these lens at one time before I sold one on Ebay. They were all great and 2 of them I bought at a pawn shop for $20 apiece. You can usually find several on Ebay for $80-$120 and they are a bargain at that price. I,m sure the Pentax 1.7 is good and probably cheap as well. Both the Pentax and Sony cameras have stabilized bodies so these cheap 50mm lens are fully stabilized as well. This is not the case with Canon or Nikon. I'm not saying they are not good cameras but for stabilized lens you will pay more and i personally don't think you'll get better pictures even if you do. C. W.
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