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Old Jan 29, 2010, 10:22 AM   #1
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Default Making the jump from phone camera to DSLR

That's right, I don't own an actual camera, I take all my pictures using my phone and it is that fact that has brought me here. I was browsing the photos that I had of my kids and realized I could never get prints made, so I started browsing P&S cameras on the egg, then I went to DSLR's and from there I made it to these forums. Hi, I'm Mike, very first post but I've read thousands here now, very greatful for this forum full of information.

What do I intend to shoot? Well, my kids are just at the age where they can play sports now, outdoor soccer, football, softball/baseball. I also love taking pictures of the family events, birthday's and now that I've decided to make the leap into something as fullfilling as photography I'm planning on taking my camera with me many places, pulling over and maybe taking a picture of a rusty old oil well, who knows? My brother-in-law is an amateur, he has the canon 50d, with several lenses, I had asked him about cameras after I had done some research on my own, while he was leaning towards the 50d he didn't say that was the end all be all but he did throw out there that if I did go Canon we would be able to share lenses, which may be very advantagous for me starting out.

My budget somehow went from $500 to now I'm looking at spending at the absolute max $1100-$1200 (somehow that works the 50D with kit lense in there.) So for starters, most of the shots will be in daylight, with sports into consideration I would prefer a setup that will allow me to freeze the action, portraits as well as just taking shots of the kids and places around town. What I don't know is if i should invest in a good body and use a kit lense and learn my way around that way, or get a "starter" body with a better lense and then upgrade the body later on. I was originally looking at the Nikon D3000, then the D5000, moved up to the D90 and thus I was contemplating between the Canon 50D, N D90, but then after last night looking at the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens I kinda got geeked ont he idea of getting a better lense and a cheaper body now but I don't know what the best intial investment would be (obviously that lense it out of my price range right now but I could see in year or two investing in some quality lenses, maybe sooner).

I want something that right out of the box to a complete "noob" will take excellent pictures (to a noob) but that in time with practice, classes, researching, more practice and post-process work has the potential to take excellent stills. I understand I have a lot to learn, I'm also not in any rush so there may be some near gear coming out in the next couple of months that I may be interested in or waiting to drop gear that is already out down in price. Thank you for your time in reading this and any advice that you have, I will summarize what I have just said.

-Daylight photos mainly
-Young Sports - soccer, football, softball/baseball
-Portraits - built in flash - daylight
-Landmarks - daylight
-Still deciding on what software I should get/use to post-process pictures.

- In the future i would like to be able to take low-light photos, so maybe the camera needs to have the ability to grow to this (also by getting a better lense with a larger apeture)

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Old Jan 29, 2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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The 50D is a great camera, but it is a bit heavy for my taste. It would be a great sport camera, but I would save the money on it and use the saving to get a better lenses.

Since you want to take sports, I would go with a Canon T1i it has the best Auto Focus in its class of camera's. But the key with sports is the lens, I would not get the 2 lenses kit, I would get the t1i with the 18-55 lens only, and get something like the ef 70-300mm IS USM lens instead of the ef-s 55-250mm. It will focus faster then the zoom in the 2 lens kit, which will be important for your sport shots. The t1i uses the same sensor as the 50D, with the same low light performance of 12800iso. It is one of the best low light camera in the "entry level" market, only the pentax k-x rivals it in low light.

Right now the T1i is selling for 729 dollars with the 1 kit lens, and the lens I mention sells for 550. So it is right in the ball park of your budget. This would be a good setup for your needs. The kit lens is very sharp, and 18mm wide in would let you take your old oil wells and stuff. Also the camera is allot lighter the the 50D which makes it a better travel companion.

I am pretty sure the sport shooter will weigh in on this.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 10:47 AM   #3
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Unless you are dead set on buying the body new, and since this will be your first DSLR, I would try to grab a used body. You can go back as far at the 10D and are going to get excellent printable images however I would try for a 20D or higher. You can also grab one of the Rebel bodies. You can find the bodies I mentioned in the area of $200 to $500 depending on which one it is.

I think your on the right track investing more in the lens and since you are shooting daytime sports you could even go with the slower 70-200 f4 IS although the 2.8 would be best. The L lenses hold value very well. I would not count out buying the lens used as well.

If you go to fredmiranda you can find lots of bodies at more than fair prices and they have a seller rating system. I purchased my first 1 series body there, the 1dmkii as well as a 10D and 20D. Just at glance the 20D there is going for $300 and less. Stay away from ebay.

Last edited by Widowmaker; Jan 29, 2010 at 11:31 AM.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 10:50 AM   #4
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Hi there, Mike-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

Yes, the entry level DSLR cameras have come down a lot in price, so your budget is tight, but you can do it.

Have a good day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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Just know that the 70-200mm L lens also is 1000 dollars all by itself.

I would not get a used body. But a used lens is something I would get.
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Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.

Last edited by shoturtle; Jan 29, 2010 at 12:05 PM.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:00 AM   #6
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I would not argue against the T1I; it's a very good camera at a great price. I will just suggest you consider the Pentax K-X, which is selling online from at least one reputable etailer for $750 with two lenses, 18-55mm and 55-300mm. I have had it for over two months and like it very much. I think its low light capabilities at least match those of the T1I. It may be harder to get some of the top grade zoom lenses later on. It may be harder to find in a retail camera store. However, for the money, it is a great deal. You can read a review at dpreview.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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I would definately urge you not to buy a used dSLR. There's no way to know how much it's been used or in what environment. Even if you get a money back guarantee and it fails, you're still out all the money you spent on lenses and accessories. A refurbished dLSR is ok; at least you get a warranty, such as it is.

It seems your requirements include a lot of sports/action photography. The Canon T1i and 50D would be better at that than anything else within your budget, except the Nikon D90 and the Sony A700 (if you can find one.) And given the variety of your requirements, I suggest you get the less expensive T1i, leaving you more money for appropriate lenses and accessories.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:35 AM   #8
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as mentioned above, the canon's t1i and 50d, as well as the nikon d90 and sony a700 would all meet your needs quite well.

however, with your brother-in-law shooting Canon and the ability to share lenses to try out, or borrow for a specific encounter leans makes for a compelling reason to go with the canon system

while I would not advise against the 50D per se, as it is what I shoot, and have been very happy with everything. just starting out, i would probably get the T1i with the kit lens, and then spend the remainder of your budget on another lens and/or accessories such as an external flash.

i am not sure what your brother in law has as far as lenses go. but you could purchase the t1i kit first. get to know the focal length of the kit lens. borrow a few of your bro in laws lenses and try them out. figure out what focal lengths you will need, etc. more than likely the kit lens plus a nice telephoto would be a great choice, with an external flash for when you are shooting your kids indoors.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 11:41 AM   #9
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Welcome to the wonderfully frustrating world of buying a DSLR!

The Pentax K-X Robbo mentioned is an outstanding camera. Best entry level camera out there right now IMO. IF you weren't interested in sports. Sports shooting is one of the most demanding on equipment. High ISOs are beneficial but that's only part of it. You need focus capabilities and a selection of lenses that are up to the task of fast-accurate focusing. Unfortunately as great as Pentax is in many regards they don't compete well in this regard. While the K-X is better than prior pentax models at focus performance - I have yet to see any evidence it is on par with Canon and Nikon. And the lens selection for sports use definitely isn't on par. It's just not their strong suit. No one manufaturer is the best at everything and sports work just isn't their thing.

I agree the T1i offers a lot of bang for the buck - probably the best low level sports capable camera on the market. Especially when you consider lens options you have. For example, if your kids are small and playing on smaller fields, the Canon 70-200 f4 (non-IS) is a professional quality lens - pro optics, pro build and most importantly pro AF. It's $630 though. The 70-300 mentioned is $550. A fine consumer lens but lesser build quality, lesser focus system (though still better than any non-pro lens from third party or the 55-250 from canon).

If you want to shoot sports you need to know - NOT ALL LENSES ARE EQUAL. You can't judge lenses just by the focal length - "Oh, I can get a 2 kit lens in system A for $700 that will be better". That's not the way it works. The focus systems in Pentax, Sony and Oly at this level just aren't at the same level of quality. And you need to buy even more expensive lenses in those systems to get the fast focusing motor in the lens (like a $750 sigma 70-200 2.8). Canon makes poor lenses too - the 75-300 sells for less than $200 but it's a poor lens - especially for sports use because it isn't fast focusing.

I would definitely suggest a T1i over 50d because you'll need money for the sports lens.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 12:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
I would definitely suggest a T1i over 50d because you'll need money for the sports lens.
I am in roughly the same boat as you and I have decided (although it still nags at me a little) to go with T1i. The reason, just what John G said above. I started adding up the stuff I need to go with the body and I was way, way above my intended budget if I went the 50D route, not just above it as I am with the T1i. For me there was bag, card, flash, and long lens (I will be getting the 70-200F4), not to mention the little thing that many hint at, software.
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