Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 19, 2008, 10:10 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3
Default

I've mastered point-and-shoots, and finally convinced my parents to buy me a DSLR. This isn't just a hobby, I'm planning to pursue photojournalism.

Anyway I've done my research&narrowed down my choices (because i have a strict budget) to either the Canon XTi, the Canon XS100D, the Nikon D40, or the Sony A200. I'd go into a Best Buy or Circuit City to actually try out each camera & see which one I'm most comfortable with, but unfortunately I live in a rural-country area of Washington and can't drive yet...so that's not an option.

I'd be shooting mostly portraits, macro, and some sporting events. I understand the fact that the lens is the most important feature to a DSLR and that pictures depend on the person behind the camera, but i need a good foundation--body--because i can't just buy a new camera every year or so, which is why I'm so indecisive.

I'd much appreciate it if anyone out there'd give me their two cents.
izzayyy is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 19, 2008, 11:03 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 617
Default

Don't bother with the Canon XTi - it's been replaced by the superior XS.

As among the Canon XS, Nikon D40 and Sony A200, the Canon is the only one with "live view", which lets you frame the shot with the LCD, like a point and shoot camera. The Sony is the only one with image stabilization in the body (Canon and Nikon put image stabilization in their kit lenses and other lenses, but not all of them). All three have excellent image quality, though I think Canon has the best. The Canon and Nikon are smaller than the Sony.

As to which is better, that's a tough call. My preference would be the Canon XS, followed by the Sony A200 and then the Nikon D40.
AndyfromVA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 9:14 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,543
Default

I agree with AndyfromVA, but there are a few other things I'd like to point out.

First, the nikon is 6MP, while the others you're considering are 10MP. Plus, the entrry level Nikons (D40, D40X & D60) don't have an internal autofocus motor, so the selection of available lenses is greatly reduced. Only about half of Nikon's own lenses will autofocus on it, very few third party lenses will, and almost no used lenses will.

The Canon XSis an improvement over the XTi, but the XSi is 12MP vs the XS' 10MP. They have the same list price, but the XSi is more popular and so is more often discounted, so if you do some shopping around, you might actually find an XSi cheaper than an XS. Plus, the XS and XSi both come with an improved, stabilized lens that the XTi doesn't. Stabilization reduces, if not eliminates motion blur due to camera shake. This is relatively new and is only available for about half of Canon's lenses , very few third party lenses, and almost no used lenses.

The Sony has image stabilization in the camera body, so any lens will be stabilized. While the Sony has a narrower selection of new OEM and third party lenses, there are more used lenses available for it than for the Canon or the Nikon, and they will all be stabilized.

You've got a tough choice, but because of the wide selection of used (read: "inexpensive") lenses for the Sony, and your limited budget, I'd suggest the Sony. You'd be able to build up your arsenal of lenses more quickly with the Sony than with the others, and for some of what you want to do, you'll need some different lenses.

izzayyy wrote:
Quote:
... I understand the fact that the lens is the most important feature to a DSLR ...
Let me correct a simple, but major point you made. The lenses are the most important feature of a dSLR.

You can't judge a dSLR by the kit lens, or by any single lens. You judge a dSLR by its ability to take you where you want to go. Where you want to go will take more than a few lenses. You should consider what lenses you need, and then buy the dSLR that can use those lenses.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 2:18 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,052
Default

Photojournalism brings up a couple ofissues that aredifferent than some other pursuits (like my landscape/macro). I don't try photojournalism-type photos much - I just don't see the world that way. The closest thing I come to it is occasional street scenes. And it's based on my very limited experience that I offer a couple of thoughts.

I'd look first at the size/weight not only of the camera but of the lenses I plan on buying (not necessarily right away). I'd probably put a high priority on image stabilization since photojournalists aren't usually shooting under controlled conditions, using a tripod. So the Sony might have an edge there- I shoot Pentax and love having in-camera stabilization. Nikon and Canon put their stabilization in their lenses, making them both larger and heavier as well as more expensive. And the Nikon D40 would require you buying a lens with the focus motor init, which also usually means larger.

On the other hand, I really like the 6 mp sensor that's in the D40 - I still love my Pentax K100 which has the same sensor. I always thought it had better dynamic range than the 10 mp sensor that would be in the Sony (and was in the K10 that I sold) as well as having less noise at higher ISO.

The next thing I'd want is an accurate auto focus system. I wouldn't necessarily choose one that had a large number of focus points over one with only 3. I'd also avoid using the mode where the camera chooses the focus point based on what IT thinks your subject is - you wouldn't have a chance to re-shoot if the camera chooses the wrong "subject" and focuses on the building behind the person you want to shoot. I think I'd tend to use just the center focus point, so I can aim the camera at my subject and fire away. The point being to capture the action correctly rather than have a perfectly composed shot with the subject on the third lines. I'll defer to the various on-line reviewers to establish which camera system you are shooting has the most accurate AFsince I shoot Pentax and it didn't make your short list (some reviewers give the nod to acamera with more focus points eventhough it might not bemore accurate at the center point than a camera with fewer points).
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 7:46 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3
Default

Thanks everyone, your all making my decision a lot easier.

I think I'm leaning more towards Canon, might be more expensive when it comes to buying extra lenses, but they're one of the best manufacturers out there.

I have one more question, should the age of the camera matter so much to me? For example, the XTi is four years older than both the XS & XSi so does that automatically make it inferior?
izzayyy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 8:21 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,543
Default

izzayyy wrote:
Quote:
I have one more question, should the age of the camera matter so much to me? For example, the XTi is four years older than both the XS & XSi so does that automatically make it inferior?
It's not so much the age of the camera as it is the advanced features that the older camera lacks. By getting a later model, you have the benefit of better image processing and better autofocus. I'd love to drive around in a '57 T-Bird, but then I wouldn't have an FM radio or seatbelts.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 8:31 PM   #7
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Yes and no. There have definitely been advancements since the XTi. The XSi has a better focus system (not just more points but also better overall system), improved high ISO performance and new processor. But the Xti is still a decent camera. Part of your challenge though is you have a very wide range of subjects you want to shoot - photojournalism, macro, sports. That's several different lenses right there. So you have to take a pragmatic approach to all this. you're not going to be able to accomplish all your goals right out of the gate - not on a tight budget. But it sounds like you're still young - not in college yet? Which means you have time. The xti is fine to start out with. The important thing is getting a good educational background if you want to pursue this as a career. Get a job while you go to school and sock away money to add lenses as you go. Your several years away from doing this for a living so you have time. In those 4 years you'll likely replace the body anyways.

So, yes the xti is a good starter camera. But it won't hold up to the demands of professional work (just not built well enough for it) and because of it's older AF system, limited ISO 1600 capability and noisier high ISO (compared to the current generation of canon cameras) it's not going to do well for sports. Of course, to do well at sports you need the right camera but also the right lenses - depending on the sport you may be looking at $560 for a good consumer grade field sport lens, $1000 for bottom tier pro grade (like a 70-200 2.8) and the prices keep going up. So, set your expectations before your parents spend their money. A DSLR isn't a magic P&S. Their are multiple tiers of DLSRs and certainly multiple tiers of lenses (think $200-700 for a quality 1:1 macro lens depending on focal length)

And by the way - once you get to quality lenses, it's expensive in every system. The zeiss lenses for Oly get very expensive as do the Sony pro grade glass (Sony 70-200 2.8 costs $600 more than the Canon non-IS does).

The nice thing about Canon and Nikon is they dominate the professional photography market when it comes to photojournalism and sports. Your major media outlets and major dailies primarily shoot one or the other (or both). So they're good systems to get into if those are your interests.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2008, 9:57 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3
Default

JohnG wrote:
Quote:
A DSLR isn't a magic P&S.
Haha, don't worry, I'm definitely not expecting that. And maybe i shouldn't have stressed my aspirations for photojournalism, because really, all I'm concerned with at the moment is gaining experience as a photographer. BTW, yes I'm still in high school, I've always had a passion for photography but haven't taken it seriously until now.

Anyway, I think I'm ultimately going for the XS. I'm getting a job soon (little tired of depending on my parents), until then ill do with the kit lens then just buy the right lenses as i progress. So later when I've mastered this entry-level DSLR I'll invest in a semi-pro cam.

Thanks everyone!
izzayyy is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:23 PM.