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Old Nov 7, 2008, 8:50 PM   #1
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Hello,

I've been researching upgrading to a DSLR for quite some time now, and have a budget with an upper limit of $1600 AUS. ( see http://www.teds.com.au for rough idea on aus pricing on cameras)

I have considered many options but I'm still not sure which way to go, so many somebody could help me decide?

One of the things that has been made clear in my reading is that it's more important to choose a brand for their lenses rather than the body, as lenses last a lifetime, and bodies are easily replaced every few years...

Currently I own a F31fd, and I'm generally pleased with the results. However photography has been a longtime hobby of mine and would love the extra features etc. of a DSLR.

I would be interested in macro work, the possibility of portraits and general happy snaps. My son is also involved with sport, so the ability to photograph him from a distance would be good as well, but is not a primary concern.

Canon
I am tempted to purchase a 40D body for $1199AUS, as the features seem very impressive, and the build quality was good when i handled one in store. I have large hands and the body and build quality of the 450D/Xsi was not very good in my opinion.

14 bit processing, 6fps, build quality make this seem a worthwhile compared to purchasing a 450D body new for $1000.

However, that leaves only $450 for lenses and accessories which I don't believe is sufficient? I would need to get memory cards, possibly an extended warranty etc. as well within this price.

The only option I see as conceivable here is that I might be able to get an 18-55mm kit lens and a 50mm 1.8 prime within the budget?

I also know two people who shoot with Canon, so I may be able to borrow their lenses.


Nikon
I have looked at the D40x, D60, D80 and D90 in the Nikon range. I have excluded the D40x and D60 as apparently they dont have an automatic motor focus thing for their lenses, so not all Nikon lenses are compatible (I'm not sure how much of a concern this is)

The D80 body is $1000 and it is now quite old, and doesnt have things such as dust reduction. IF im spending this much on a body then I may as well go for the 40D. However, there are some kits available which make the price seem more bareable, such as the 18-55mm ED & AF70-300mm Lens Kit for $1199 which would still give me money for accessories and maybe a flash or a prime lens. Are the kit lenses worth purchasing at all?

Pentax
I have been looking closely at the K200D and the K20D. The K200D for $700 with the 18-50mm sigma kit lens, or the $899 twin kit 18-55mm sigma and 75 - 300mm sigma for look like good value for money.

The K200D has impressed me generally and felt quite good in the hand (comparable with the 40D i felt). Some things have put me off however, such as the AA batteries, the slow fps (in case I get into sport photog) and people keep saying 'buy canon or nikon for lens availability'.

The good thing about the K200D is that for $700 I'd have a body, and I'd have $900 for an extra lens or two and could get kitted out nicely. I was looking at the 35mm limited edition lens for $699 for macro work?

Second hand is an option, except that I have never used ebay before, and I dont have high confidence in buying second hand electronic equipment (lenses I wouldnt mind buying second hand so much). Second hand 40D bodies are selling for around $800 here in aus.

Overall I'm looking for clarity of image, and a system that will last me for years to come. I can envisage myself buying a few lenses in years to come when money is available, but not heaps...

So as you can see, I'm not really sure what to do...any advice/feedback/guidance/experience with the above cameras or other suggestions would be great, thanks.
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 8:02 AM   #2
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Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
I would be interested in macro work, the possibility of portraits and general happy snaps. My son is also involved with sport, so the ability to photograph him from a distance would be good as well, but is not a primary concern.
The types of sports wouldn't make a difference as far as cameras goes, but would for lenses. For football or rugby in daylight, a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD wouldn't cost much and might cover most of what you want to do. It's a good, inexpensive lens, and it's available for any of the cameras you mention. But for night games, or indoor sports, you'll need a larger aperture in order to keep the shutter speed fast enough to capture the action.

Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
Canon
I am tempted to purchase a 40D body for $1199AUS, as the features seem very impressive, and the build quality was good when i handled one in store....

The only option I see as conceivable here is that I might be able to get an 18-55mm kit lens and a 50mm 1.8 prime within the budget?

I also know two people who shoot with Canon, so I may be able to borrow their lenses.
How a camera feels to you is an important factor in buying a camera, especially one that's as expensive as these.

The newer Canon 18-55 IS is a big improvement over the earlier non-IS version. I'd recommend that you get that one, if you decide to go Canon.

And having freinds that shoot the same brand is an invalueable resource, you can benefit from their knowledge and experience as well as borrow their stuff.

Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
Nikon
I have looked at the D40x, D60, D80 and D90 in the Nikon range. I have excluded the D40x and D60 as apparently they dont have an automatic motor focus thing for their lenses, so not all Nikon lenses are compatible (I'm not sure how much of a concern this is)
I think that the absence of the autofocus motor inthe entry level Nikons is a significant flaw in those products. Only about half of Nikon's own lenses will autofocus on those boduies, and few third party leses will. This significantly narrows down your selection of lenses to the point where one of the major advantage of buying a Nikon is gone:

Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
... people keep saying 'buy canon or nikon for lens availability'.
Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
The D80 body is $1000 and it is now quite old, and doesnt have things such as dust reduction. IF im spending this much on a body then I may as well go for the 40D. However, there are some kits available which make the price seem more bareable, such as the 18-55mm ED & AF70-300mm Lens Kit for $1199 which would still give me money for accessories and maybe a flash or a prime lens. Are the kit lenses worth purchasing at all?
The D80 is also a nice camera, though it is getting long in the tooth. As for the 70-300, if you're talking about the AF-S VR, that is a fine lens, but I think it will put you over budget. If you're talking about the regular 70-300, I think the Tamron Di LD is a better choice.

Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
Pentax
I have been looking closely at the K200D and the K20D. The K200D for $700 with the 18-50mm sigma kit lens, or the $899 twin kit 18-55mm sigma and 75 - 300mm sigma for look like good value for money.

The K200D has impressed me generally and felt quite good in the hand (comparable with the 40D i felt). Some things have put me off however, such as the AA batteries, the slow fps (in case I get into sport photog) and people keep saying 'buy canon or nikon for lens availability'.

The good thing about the K200D is that for $700 I'd have a body, and I'd have $900 for an extra lens or two and could get kitted out nicely. I was looking at the 35mm limited edition lens for $699 for macro work?
The Pentax K200D has the benefit of sensor shift image stabilization, which means any lens will be stabilized. Image stabilization reduces, if not eleiminates motion blur due to camera shake, and Canon and Nikon only have it in certain lenses. Having it in the body means that 20 year old used lenses will be stabilized on the Pentax. Used Canon or Nikon lenses won't be stabilized.

Fior lenses, instead of the Sigma lenses, I'd go withe the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and 70-300 Di LD. They both are superior to the Sigmas you mentioned.

What you'd need fo rmacro work dependsa lot on what you'd be shooting. There are lots ofdifferent tools that vary widely in their effectiveness, convenience, and cost. There's close up lenses, extension tubes, and macro lenses.Why and how you would use one over the others depends on what you wantto shoot.Can you elaborate onwhat you wantto do?

Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
Second hand is an option, except that I have never used ebay before, and I dont have high confidence in buying second hand electronic equipment (lenses I wouldnt mind buying second hand so much). Second hand 40D bodies are selling for around $800 here in aus.

Overall I'm looking for clarity of image, and a system that will last me for years to come. I can envisage myself buying a few lenses in years to come when money is available, but not heaps...

So as you can see, I'm not really sure what to do...any advice/feedback/guidance/experience with the above cameras or other suggestions would be great, thanks.
Second hand lenses are a good idea. I obtained most of my lenses that way, and have been very satisfied. I would bea lot more cautious about second hand cameras though. I'd want a warranty or guarantee of some kind.
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 1:19 PM   #3
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Any DSLR you buy will be "outmoded" in five years or less. Newer cameras will be announced that are more responsive and have better image quality at a lower price than what you are about to pay.

Having said that, it's still advisable to "jump in".

The size and weight of the camera should factor in. I bought a Canon 20D several years ago, and I'm still very happy with my purchase.

The downside of the Canon 20D is size and weight. It's a fantastic camera when I feel all "photography-ish", but if I'm taking a plane flight to go on vacation, and looking for a camera to hang around my neck all day for happy snaps, it's too large and heavy. So I will likely get a really light and small super zoom. Think several cameras over time - lol.

Most people eventually end up with an extreme wide angle zoom, a "walk around" zoom, and a zoom telephoto. Throw in one or two prime lenses and it starts getting very expensive.

The Canon 40D is an excellent camera - you'd be very happy with it for years to come.

You could spend money on lenses over the next few years. Start with the kit lens, then build from there. Enjoy the camera with the kit lens for six months to a year, then add a lens, then enjoy that for a while, then add another lens. String out your pleasure over several years of acquisition.

As for the other brands, they are good. However the Canon XSi is the class leader in the entry level DSLR market, and my opinion is that the Canon 40D is the class leader in the semi-pro market.

-- Terry
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 1:50 PM   #4
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You have had some very good advice given to you. To my way of thinking, choosing the system (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc) is the first step. Then decide on your lenses slowly. Like TCav I purchased most of my lenses used.

And yes, as TCav mentioned, how a camera feels in hand to you is VERY important.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 9:55 PM   #5
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The extra fps of the 40D would definitely come in handy for sports, and I know several pro sports shooters who use Canon cameras. I don't do much sports, and I've only used continuous shooting a couple of times, mainly to see if it worked on my camera.

I do lots of macro, landscape and travel photos and love my Pentax cameras. The weather sealing is very nice to have as I live in the mountains near a desert, so use my camera in dusty and snowy conditions often.

I find the in-camera anti-shake useful for more than just to use slower shutter speeds than I should. You can use any Pentax lens ever made on the digital cameras (while M42 screw-mount lenses require an adaptor, any K-mount lens doesn't need anything). I have some older, manual focus lenses and they don't transmit the focal length to the camera. If you don't use SR there won't be any focal length recorded in the EXIF information. If you do use SR, you can manually put the focal length in, and the camera writes that in the EXIF information.

I'm another one who has bought about half of my lenses used. And a third of the others I originally purchased new for a film camera in 1980 - they are still quite useful. Any Pentax lens with a "*" or Limited in its name is going to be excellent quality.

AF isn't as big of a deal with macro - in fact, it can sometimes be a liability. You can often find excellent older 1:1 manual focus macro lenses for sale on eekbay for significantly less than a new one (that's what I use now). As far as lenses and macro goes - as TCav has pointed out, there's a number of ways you can approach it, depending on your subjects, how much money you want to spend and how much extra work you want to do.

As far as the two lens kit you suggested - from sample pictures I've seen posted, the Pentax DA55-300 is a bit better than either the Tamron 70-300 or the Sigma 70-300.

It's always best to go with a camera you find comfortable to shoot with above all else. Any of the dSLR cameras are capable of taking awesome pictures.
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Old Nov 8, 2008, 11:09 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the wonderful and detailed advice! I wasn't expecting such detailed and thorough answers but it is truly appreciated, thanks!

TCav wrot
Quote:
What you'd need fo rmacro work dependsa lot on what you'd be shooting. There are lots ofdifferent tools that vary widely in their effectiveness, convenience, and cost. There's close up lenses, extension tubes, and macro lenses.Why and how you would use one over the others depends on what you wantto shoot.Can you elaborate onwhat you wantto do?
As for macro, I am interested in nature photos - such as insects and flowers etc., and am also very interested in Australian orchids, so the ability to photograph these on my day hikes would be excellent.

One further question on this...

Some lenses (such as this one: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=3 ) 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO give a telephoto focal length but also claim to be a MACRO lens. Does this mean that I could purchase a lens such as this, and use it for my sons sport as well as macro photography? I assume that this would allow me to be further from the subject?


Thanks to mtngal, tcav, terry and mtclimber!

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Old Nov 9, 2008, 7:13 AM   #7
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Filibuster wrote:
Quote:
As for macro, I am interested in nature photos - such as insects and flowers etc., and am also very interested in Australian orchids, so the ability to photograph these on my day hikes would be excellent.

One further question on this...

Some lenses (such as this one: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=3 ) 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO give a telephoto focal length but also claim to be a MACRO lens. Does this mean that I could purchase a lens such as this, and use it for my sons sport as well as macro photography? I assume that this would allow me to be further from the subject?
The "Textbook" definition of 'Macro' is a 1:1 image (a life-sized image) is projected onto the image sensor. This is the kind of macro capability you need if you want to shoot small insects. Some macro lenses are only capable of 1:2 magnification (one half life-sized). But some 'Macro' lenses only magnify to 1:4, which stretches the definition beyond what many beleive is acceptable.

Both the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO and the Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro have a 'Macro' mode where they can magnifiy a subject as much as 1:2, which makes them acceptable as 'Macro' lenses. While they may not be great for small insects, they should do flowers quite nicely.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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As for your son's sports - you have to keep your expectations realistic. 300mm is NOT a lot of reach. But it depends on the level of quality you want. If you want a photo where you end up with your subject filling the frame then 40 yards is about the working limit of a 300mm lens (note: at 30 yards the subject won't fill the frame but beyond that you won't get accurate focus and good detail). So, for instance, you're not going to sit in the stands (where you may be 20 yards from the field itself leaving you only 20 yards of on-field area covered)and take shots of a soccer match on a full sized field and be able to get those types of shots. Not everyone wants/needs that level of quality though. Some just want snapshots and that's OK too.

Given you mentioned sports work is not a primary purpose for the solution I wouldn't sweat it too much but I wanted to help set your expectations BEFORE you spend the money.
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