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Old May 10, 2010, 8:22 AM   #1
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I'm looking at DSLR for the first time and I know nothing, but I'm reading up. Some of the mid-range cameras I'm considering don't have AF in the body, which means I have to buy a special lens at more $$$ to get it. I've read that the AF is quicker on the lens than in-body. I've read that your real investment is in the lenses, so be sure that what you get leaves you with lenses that are compatible with future body upgrades. What happens if you buy a mid-range body that doesn't have built in AF, but your future camera does? Can you turn off AF on the lens? If you didn't, would it over-ride camera body AF? How does that work?
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Old May 10, 2010, 8:33 AM   #2
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In general, AF in the lens is better than AF in the body, so you wouldn't want to turn it off in the lens. But there are some great lenses that don't have AF in the lens, so if you get a body without an AF motor and you need one of those lenses, you'll be MFing.

But there are other reasons to buy one body instead of another. Perhaps you could talk about what types of subjects you want to photograph.
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Old May 10, 2010, 8:36 AM   #3
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Okay,

There is a little misconception. Canon has the AF motors in the lens no body, and they have some of the fastest AF lenses on the more market with their USM lenses. Nikon has in body lenses, for their D90 and above cameras. But they can use the lenses with the motor in the lenses also. No conflict there.

Now it is true with the nikon d5000 and d3000 that you can not use lenses without motor in them if you want the camera to auto focus. They limit you to AF-i and AF-s series lenses. So some macro and prime lenses that will work on these bodies are quite a bit more money then the no motor lenses.

Both Nikon and Canon have crop body lens, Nikon are DX lenses and canon are EF-s lenses. Nikon full frame cameras can accept the DX lenses, but you will need to set the camera to crop the sensor. Canon EF-s lenses will not work on their full frame cameras. But also remember the least expensive canon full frame camera is 2500 dollars just for the body. And to get the most out of a full frame camera, you want really high grade lenses.

Between getting a fancy body or better lenses, putting the money toward the lens will do more for your photos.
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Old May 11, 2010, 1:08 AM   #4
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A camera is a box upon which you hang lenses. When I researched my first dSLR a couple years ago, I first decided which lenses I wanted and could afford, then checked user ratings to see which cameras got the most gripes. Even though I leaned towards Sony or Olympus, cold logic took me to Pentax. Good Canon and Nikon gear just cost way too much.

AF (AutoFocus), and SR (Shake Reduction) or IS (Image Stabilization), are modern wonders. Sony and Pentax put SR in the camera body; ANY lens you use is stabilized. Pentax AF lenses use in-body motors. Nikon and Canon put IS in the lens, which means more weight, more stuff to break down, more cost. They also put AF motors in the lens - same problems. Pentax has some in-lens AF motors (called USM), and they aren't perfect. A non-motorized lens can last many decades. What is the life span of a motorized lens?

I really like that on my Pentax, all lens enjoy SR; AF isn't perfect but it works for me; the cameras are rugged; I don't feel like I'll need to upgrade anytime soon. I have a K20D, which gave the most bang-for-the-buck when I bought it. The new Kx is rated as one of the best bodies available now, with greatest low-light performance. Yes, AF can be turned off from the body.

What lens(es) you'd put on a body depends on what and how you want to shoot. For a first dSLR, it's good to start with the kit lens -- learn how to use it, its strengths and weaknesses. Then you can decide: do I need ultrawide, ultralong, ultrafast, macro, anything special? Good new automated lenses can be expensive; old manual lenses, rather less so. If you don't KNOW that you NEED specific lenses, the kit lens is a good start.

Ask me about my major gripes with Canon and Nikon.
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Old May 11, 2010, 1:34 AM   #5
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I have to disagree with the in lens motors issue. I have some eos lenses that are 16 years old and they work as well as when they were new. And the in lens motor lenses are not heavier then some non motor lenses. canon ef 50mm 1.8 weighs next to nothing. Also the current kit lens form the canon is almost as light as the kit lens in the pentax k-x. I have taken them out together to compare them side by side.

With canon, all their current zoom lenses have IS in them. Only their primes lens do not. But with short range lenses IS is not as effective. You are taking very little performance gain in low light. But it is still a gain. shutter speed of 1/16 or 1/25 is better then 1/8. Also the pentax IS system is not as good as the canon lens base system. But again it is not a huge difference. 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop is about the avg difference between the different systems.

I shoot canon, pentax and olympus. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. But Lens motor reliability is not one of the draw back of any system. The IS debate is a bit over rated, as I am a prime shooter most of the time, and none of them have IS with the canon. And I still have very little with camera shake, and I shoot low light allot as it is something I really enjoy.
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Old May 11, 2010, 11:04 AM   #6
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Interesting Shoturtle but I don't think 100% true ! It just so happens that whilst my computer HD was having CPR today, and the HD was rebuilding, the IT guy brought out his 30D and lenses and we chatted cameras and compared lenses.

The Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, CZJ & Takumar lenses I have were very noticeably smaller and lighter than his motorised lenses - even his 50mm was huge in comparison ! I had never really thought about the difference until this afternoon.

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Old May 11, 2010, 3:25 PM   #7
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Which 50mm does he have, the 1.4 is allot heavier then the 1.8. The 1.8 does not weigh anything.
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Old May 11, 2010, 3:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
Which 50mm does he have, the 1.4 is allot heavier then the 1.8. The 1.8 does not weigh anything.
Sorry Sho I don't remember - except to say it seemed to have a huge focus ring on it ? Actually not true - I remember he had two amongst his collection (we were in his office), one considerably larger than the other so maybe both of those. He had a 135 / 2 that was very heavy !
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Old May 11, 2010, 3:58 PM   #9
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canon has 3 50mm lenses, 50mm 1.2L it is huge, then the 50mm 1.4 which is larger then the FA50 1.4, and the 50mm 1.8 which is about the same size as the FA 50mm but lighter. If it had large focus rings it will be the 1.2 or 1.4. The 1.8 has a tiny one.
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Old May 11, 2010, 5:38 PM   #10
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A couple of issues here: AF, and SR/IS. I have about 75 lenses to use on my K20D, of which exactly SIX (6) are AF: 3 DA's, 2 FA's, and a Lil'Bigma. The rest (which all cost rather less) I focus manually, often with trap-focus aka Catch-In-Focus. Someone selecting their first outfit should ask themselves: how much will I depend on AF, and for which lenses, and why? AF isn't really needed with ultra-wides and fisheyes, and for portrait and macro and landscape work. Sharp manual primes have the edge in those areas. And even with moving and complex subjects, I get excellent results with a manual prime and trap-focus.

Stabilization: Sony and Pentax bodies incorporate shake reduction, so EVERY lens used is stabilized, and that can make a huge difference. AFAIK Canon and Nikon don't have IS in short lenses. With my Tokina 21/3.8 lens (<US$25) set to f/9.5 on my K20D and hyperfocused to 2m, my DOF is 1m to infinity; I can safely shoot handheld to about 1/10 sec, with sharpness that would require 1/30 sec or faster without SR. All glass of any focal length gets the same benefit.

Now my gripes: Over the past few decades I've used serious film and digital cameras made by Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Graflex, Yashica, Zeiss, Minolta, Sony, others... and most recently Pentax. The K20D is my first dSLR. I've trained as a systems analyst; I put those skills to work when analyzing my purchase options. I crunched numbers, built charts and spreadsheets... and read user ratings. Pentax got fewer gripes than other brands. Canon and Nikon especially got MANY gripes about their sub-pro cams, and many comments from owners desiring to upgrade, soonest. I don't want and can't afford regular upgrades. From what I learned about comparable / affordable systems, the K20D looked like it would keep me happiest longest.

IMHO entry- and mid-level Canon and Nikon cams seem designed to make the owner want something better, now. It's almost like their superb pro cams are enticements: Gosh, if I buy that d999d for US$479, maybe *I* can sell pictures to Sports Illustrated and National Geographic and Hustler and Time too! Oofta oofta! Sorry, I don't believe in entry-level dSLRs; they're thus the first step on the path to eternal upgrades.

Make no mistake: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, all make fine professional gear. Pro gear implies top quality, and pro support, which ain't cheap. Pentax has non-cheap gear also, but I don't have to depend on the newest costliest lenses to get the most out of my cam. And if I were buying my first dSLR now, it would probably be a Pentax Kx, with a basic lens kit: ultrawide, superzoom walkaround, superfast prime(s). And then accumulate a batch of good cheap manual primes, much as I have now. But that's just me.
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