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chopper123 Dec 1, 2009 1:04 PM

Canon xsi T1i 50D
I "believe' I have narrowed down my choices for my 1st digi SLR. Am hoping that I can get some help-much needed is making my decision.

First I am not an expert, not really a newbie either. Have been using a Panasonic FZ3 for the past 5 years and in the 80's used a Minolta SLR. In between basically P&S. Got out of the film slr because was tired of wasting film trying different settings and such-did manage to get some pretty nice shots. Now with digital that wouldn't bother me anymore:D

I enjoy taking shots while on vacation-scenery,etc., my family-2 legged and 4-legged, birds, macro, kids sports-Varsity softball and 12-15year old boys baseball. Most of the above is during the day. Night shots or bad lighting would include family birthdays, get togethers, and Junior High basketball smaller gym and can get fairly close-about 5-6 ft away from the court.

The canon cameras that I picked all have different rebates and of course different features. In camera video doesn't really interest me-although I would not necessarily dismiss it(thus the T1i in my choices). Thanks for reading this far and here are the packages:

1) The Canon XSi with EF-S 18-55 IS lens 569.95
EF-S 55-250 IS lens 269.99
INSTANT REBATE for above lens -200.00

2)The Canon T1i with EF-S 18-55 IS lens 689.95
EF-S 55-250 IS lens 269.99
+ Canon Pixma PRO 9000 printer 465.98
- Mail in Rebate for above -400.00
- Probable resell value -250.00
Final Price $575.92

3) The Canon 50D with 28-135 mm IS USM lens 1,129.95
Above printer rebate and resell - 184.02
Final Price $945.93
Not sure about the 55-250IS lens with this outfit.

The 50D is a little out of my price range, but am wondering if it would be a good camera to grow into-or should I look for one further down the road.
Based on final prices the T1i seems like the no brainer-could I be missing something?
I believe I would also get the 50mm f1.8-to help with indoor shots-good idea?
What are the pro's and cons of my choices.
Thanks again for reading and for your answers!!

TCav Dec 1, 2009 1:30 PM

The 18-55 and 55-250 are both very nice lenses, especially for the price. But the 18-55 isn't very bright, so you may need another lens or an external flash to shoot indoors, the 55-250 might not be long enough for shooting softball, baseball and birds. And, of course, neither of them is fast enough to shoot indoor sports.

The 28-135 IS USM isn't a remarkable lens, and it's too long to shoot scenery and too dim to use indoors.

And, of course, none of the lenses you mentioned will do Macro.

For indoor sports, you'll need something like Canon's 85/1.8 or 100/2.0, and shooting at higher ISO settings will help with that as well. Unfortunately, the XSi doesn't go very high.

I suggest you spend your money on lenses to shoot what you want, not on the camera body. The XSi is out, unfortunately, because of it's low maximum ISO setting, so the T1i would be my choice, but you should try them out to see which one you like better.

JimC Dec 1, 2009 1:34 PM

I'd probably cross the XSi off of your list if you're interested in indoor sports. You could use it. But, you'd be limited to ISO 1600 with it, and you may want to use an f/2.8 zoom later at higher ISO speeds for indoor sports. So, the T1i or 50D would give you more flexibility in that area, with higher usable ISO speeds. The T1i and 50D will also have better Autofocus with faster frame rates for sports.

As for the 50mm f/1.8, you will need a brighter lens (as compared to the kit lenses you're looking at) for indoor sports. So, you could use it. But, keep in mind that you're probably going to be limited to shots within around 10 or 15 feet from where you're standing if you want relatively accurate Autofocus. So, it's probably not the best lens for that purpose.

In a prime, the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM is the preferred choice by our sports shooters for basketball, and is sharp with fast Autofocus. Of course, you can't expect to cover the entire court with that one either. But, it's usually considered a great choice in a fixed focal length lens for sports like basketball. In a zoom (so that you'd have more framing flexbility and would be able to capture more photos), I'd look at 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, or perhaps the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM II (making *sure* to get the latest II version of it, since some of the earlier lenses had AF issues requiring rechipping by Sigma). But, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 is selling for around $749 right now and that sounds like it's over your desired budget (and the better 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses will cost you more).

As for the 50D, it's a better camera (viewfinder size, control layout, build quality, continuous shooting speed and more). But, the image quality from the T1i should be very comparable. You'll have to decide if the extra money is worth it or not. As fast as cameras are changing anymore, I'd lean towards spending more on lenses instead on a limited budget if you're comfortable with the T1i ergonomics (and I'd try them out in a store to see what you think).

JohnG Dec 1, 2009 3:08 PM

Jim made some great points on the camera bodies. I'll talk about lenses.

For baseball, the 55-250 is going to be too short. It's also not incredibly fast to focus so not ideal for sports in general, although baseball/softball are a bit less demanding focus-wise than other sports like soccer/football. BUT, with the current $200 rebate you're getting the lens for $50. That's just too good to pass up. Realize though that you'll eventually want to upgrade that lens but you're going to have to spend about $600 to get a better field sport lens so I'd stick with the package deals.

As mentioned, none of the lenses you are considering are going to meet your needs for basketball. I think the 85mm 1.8 offers the best bang-for-the-buck out there. The sigma 50-150 Jim mentioned seems to be a decent lens BUT it's too short for any outdoor low-light work. And for the basketball it will force you to shoot at ISO 3200-6400. The problem with a 70-200 2.8 is it's just too short for much outdoor work - it's biggest benefit is it's the lowest entry point for nighttime sports - soccer or football. So it isn't great field sport lens where you want 300mm plus for older kids which is where you're at. To get started, option 2 plus 85mm 1.8 lens offers you the best starter kit. Option 3 doesn't provide any lens capable of sports shooting for any of your needs.

chopper123 Dec 1, 2009 8:15 PM

Thanks for the replies and for the extra lens info!!
Also, thanks for the T1i remarks. Looked at the lens that were recommended and all have great reviews and are all in the $350-$400 range. Also looked at the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens at $375-any input.
What do you think of the Canon compatible lenses? Will have to research that a little more.

TCav Dec 1, 2009 8:36 PM


Originally Posted by chopper123 (Post 1024347)
... Also looked at the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens at $375-any input. ...

There are no bad macro lenses, and the Canon 60/2.8 is very good. But your choice of a macro lens should depend on what you want to shoot.

A longer lens will allow you to keep your distance so you don't block your own light and so you don't frighten skittish subjects. Tamron's 90/2.8 and Sigma's 105/2.8 macro lenses are also very good, cost about the same, and will let you keep your distance.

On the other hand, if you shoot inanimate objects in a controlled environment, a longer lens can be a problem.

Hards80 Dec 1, 2009 8:55 PM

yes, i have the 60 2.8 macro. it is incredibly sharp, works great for inanimate macro work.

this is one lens where i try to find reasons to shoot it, the image quality is quite outstanding.

but as previously mentioned, if you are serious about macro only, especially anything that moves, something a little longer will give you more working distance.

chopper123 Dec 3, 2009 8:28 PM

You never cease to amaze me with your information and your willingness to share it:).
Hadn't thought about the little critters being scared of a "big old photographer", but thanks for pointing that out. Will definately keep that in mind when macro lens shopping.

chopper123 Dec 14, 2009 10:04 PM

Just wanted to update and thank you all for your input. I got my T1i this afternoon:D. Haven't been able to play much-been procrastinating with my Christmas cards-I make my own and include a family pic. Have to get that done by tomorrow:eek:.
Take care,
I will be back to pick your brains!

Hards80 Dec 14, 2009 10:05 PM

Congratulations Norma! Have fun with it and we'll be here to answer questions as they arise.

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