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Old Jul 6, 2011, 5:13 PM   #1
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Default What interchangeable lens camera and lenses should I buy?

For some years I have been using a point and shoot after many years using a film SLR with Yashica, Pentax and Canon. For a number of reasons I have decided that I want to buy a DSLR and zoom lenses that will cover (in old-fashioned terms) 15mm to say 250mm, although I have no objection to going wider or longer if need be. I want to be able to take landscape and building and wild life as and when I encounter them on my travels.
I am old so I want lightness of equipment, but not at the expense of quality. I want to use JPEG not RAW and will blow up images to A3 but not much bigger. I am not enamoured of live view and I will have no need of bloated speeds as I shoot indoors, but rarely. I will consider anything except full frame (bulk and cost). My budget is 1750 ($2500) max for body and lenses and I am happy to import from USA if it is worth it to do so.
I would welcome any suggestions as to what body and lenses I should buy.
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Old Jul 6, 2011, 5:36 PM   #2
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You will not find something that covers that much range in a single lens. You will be looking at something the covers the 35mm eq of 28-400 or more. You can look at a canon with a tamron 18-270. With 2500 dollars, you have many options in bodies.
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Old Jul 6, 2011, 6:11 PM   #3
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250mm, even on an APS-C sensor, isn't really long enough for most wildlife shooting. A 70-300mm zoom lens from any of the major manufacturers will be as short as you should probably consider. Tamron makes a nice SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD for Canon, Nikon and Sony, that's reasonably priced.

The tough part is the wide angle lens for buildings. Ultra-wide angle lenses tend to suffer from a lot of distortion, and that will make your buildings look funny. Canon's 10-22, Tokina's 12-24/4 (for Canon and Nikon), and Pentax 12-24/4 are good in that respect.

Canon has an excellent AF system in it's entry level dSLRs, so that would be a good choice for action/wildlife, but it's got a narrower angle of view which would be a minor disadvantage for your landscape/cityscape shooting.
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Old Jul 6, 2011, 6:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joka View Post
For some years I have been using a point and shoot after many years using a film SLR with Yashica, Pentax and Canon. For a number of reasons I have decided that I want to buy a DSLR and zoom lenses that will cover (in old-fashioned terms) 15mm to say 250mm, although I have no objection to going wider or longer if need be. I want to be able to take landscape and building and wild life as and when I encounter them on my travels.
I am old so I want lightness of equipment, but not at the expense of quality. I want to use JPEG not RAW and will blow up images to A3 but not much bigger. I am not enamoured of live view and I will have no need of bloated speeds as I shoot indoors, but rarely. I will consider anything except full frame (bulk and cost). My budget is 1750 ($2500) max for body and lenses and I am happy to import from USA if it is worth it to do so.
I would welcome any suggestions as to what body and lenses I should buy.
If I had that budget and wanted to cover the 35mm equivalent range of 15-250mm with light but reliable equipment, I would get a Nikon APS-C camera. The crop factor will make the focal range you want on a DX Nikon 10-165mm. In all honesty, 165mm will be a bit short on a DX body, so I'd keep the focal length 250 or more on the zoom end.

I would opt for the very light-weight D5100, which is a stunningly good camera. The Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 will take care of the wide end; the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is a light-weight but well-built lens of exceptional optical quality that will cover the standard range; and for the long end you can choose between a variety of lenses. The Nikon 55-300 f/4.5-5.6 is a decent inexpensive lens that is about as light-weight as you are likely to get. Alternatively, the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR or the comparable Tamron lens will give you better optics at the expense of a bit more money and a lot more weight (about 2.25 pounds instead of half that). Any of these combinations will come in under your budget, even buying everything new. They would all be wonderful kits.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 3:48 AM   #5
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Do you really need to go as wide as 15mm equivalent?

My recommendation for you:

Nikon D7000 (888) + 16-85 VR (455) + 70-300 VR (440) = 1783

or

Canon 60D (795) + 15-85 IS (600) + 70-300 IS (420) = 1815

Or if you really need the ultra-wide angles drop the body down one level to a D5100 or 600D and add in one of the ultra-wide zooms. But you might need to compromise on the quality of your main zoom there and go for something cheaper to stay in budget.

Nikon D5100 (570) + 18-105 VR (225) + 70-300 VR (440) + 10-24 (670) = 1905

Canon 600D + 18-135 IS (840) + 70-300 IS (420) + 10-22 (660) = 1920

Unless you plan on doing a lot of ultra-wide photography however, I would recommend sticking with the higher-quality lenses for your main zoom. They are actually fairly wide - the Canon 15-85 for example is equivalent to 24-136mm, the Nikon is equivalent to 24-128mm. Also carrying two lenses is a lot easier than 3 and the ultra-wides are quite expensive so you end up with an inferior camera body too.
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Last edited by peripatetic; Jul 7, 2011 at 4:03 AM.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 11:28 AM   #6
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Morning, First of all you really can't go wrong with just about anything thing from the major makes - Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic. There are differences among them that may optimize your selection for your particular use. For what you want to do, your budget should be more than adequate.

The standard lens focal lengths generally range from 18-300mm

In my mind there are a couple capabilities that are handled slightly differently across the brands that may make a difference to you.

  • Image Stabilization - Nikon, Canon and Panasonic places the image stabilization in their lenses, resulting in larger bulkier lenses which are more expensive. Pentax, Sony and Olympus put stabilization into the body, the bodies are not any larger or bulkier, however the main advantage is that any lens mounted is automatically stabilized - even a 40 year old lens.
  • Cropped Sensors - All the brands have cropped sensors, which does reduce the bulk of the bodies. Generally there are two sizes - APS-c (crop factor of 1.5) [Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony] and the 4:3 (or micro 4:3) which has a crop factor of 2 [Olympus and Panasonic]. The crop factor can be thought of as a angle of view limitation. The 2x crop factor helps on the telephoto end, but limits the wide angle end in terms of lens selection. The APS-c bodies tend to be slightly larger, while the 4:3 bodies tend to be slightly smaller to substantially smaller (the mirrorless varieties). The 4:3 or u4:3 lenses tend to be smaller and lighter than the APS-c lenses.
  • Mirror vs. Mirrorless - This is a trade across having a mirror within the camera body or removing the mirror box and essentially having something like a large point and shoot with interchangable lenses. Obviously the Mirrorless is going to be smaller and lighter, versus the more traditional dSLR design. The problem is that the camera makes are just starting to bring out their mirrorless designs, so its early in their maturity curve.

So there are the major characteristics that may matter to you as they relate to size and weight. So what does it mean when you start to look at specific camera makes and models.

Since peripatetic laid out Nikon and Canon, I'll just address Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic.
Pentax - The K5 kit is their top of the line body and comes with a 18-55 weather resistant sealed lens (thus body and lens are sealed - weather resistant). IS is in the body. Body is all metal - but very small and light weight. Pentax is known for their small size bodies and lenses. Additionally Pentax's kit lenses tend to be a higher grade that the other makes.

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/l...lens-club.html

Going with the K5 with the DA 18-55 WR lens plus the DA 55-300 lens. K5 Kit runs $1,275 + DA 55-300 for $360 totaling $1,635

Olympus - Olympus has 2 lines of cameras - the traditional dSLR using the 4:3 (2x crop factor) which keeps the body and lens small. They also place IS within the body. Olympus does not bundle their bodies and lenses together in packages. Plus Olympus offers multiple grades of lenses which can become very expensive. Also, with the 2x crop factor, wide angle (or anything below a 28mm 35mm equivalent is also expensive). Olympus E30 at $1,100 + Zuiko 12-60 $950 + Zuko 70-300 $380 = totaling $2,430

Olympus also has their PEN line - which is mirrorless and thus smaller bodies, but still takes the smaller 4:3 lenses. It also has IS built within the body. You could go with the PEN EP3 body and kit lens with the above lenses. Olympus EP3 at $800 + Zuiko 12-60 $950 + Zuko 70-300 $380 = totaling $2,130 I believe that peripatetic has a PEN body and could provide more details here.

Panasonic - Panasonic has their GH2 body that uses IS within the lenses. GH2 body - $1000 + Zuiko 12-60 $950 + Zuko 70-300 $380 = totaling $2,330 Some time would need to be spent looking at IS lenses here.

Sony - Sony has 2 lines of cameras - the traditional dSLR using the APS-c (1.5x crop factor). They also place IS within the body. Sony offers multiple grades of lenses which can become very expensive - both Sony and Zeiss lenses. Upgrading the lenses to a DT Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom $700 + Sony G 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom - $780 + A55 body only at $700 = totals $2,180

Sony also has a new mirrorless body which is smaller - the A NEX. Using the same lens package as above. DT Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom $700 + Sony G 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom - $780 + A NEX body only $580 = totals $2,060
________________________________

So there are some models, price points and feature overviews.

The mirrorless 4:3 (Olympus and Panasonic) are the smallest and lightest, however you would need to add an additional wide angle lens to really go wider than about 24 to 28mm (35mm equivalent)

The mirrorless APS-c - Sony are the next smallest due to the slightly larger lenses.

The standard dSLRs the Panasonic and Olympus have the smallest bodies, but are again lens limited in wide angle.

The Pentax is probably the best dSLR body, however the zoom lenses are not quite as good as the Sony combination (Zeiss + Sony G lens combination). Pentax is somewhat Zoom lens limited, however they are very good for mid level lenses.

The best lens package is the Sony with the Zeiss and Sony G lens pairing. That coupled with the A-NEX mirrorless body may be the best small body high quality lens combination available.


Last edited by interested_observer; Jul 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 7:10 PM   #7
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You mention that you want lightness in the camera. Have you looked at the EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lenses) style camera? They use similiar (or in the case of the APS-C the same) sensor but replace the mirror assembly with an electronic viewfinder allowing you to get a smaller body.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 8:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by interested_observer View Post
Sony also has a new mirrorless body which is smaller - the A NEX. Using the same lens package as above. DT Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom $700 + Sony G 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom - $780 + A NEX body only $580 = totals $2,060

________________________________
The NEX series cameras use a totally different lens mount system that Sony has coined as their E mount.

The E Mount design is optimized for the mirrorless NEX Series bodies with lenses offering fast and quiet Contrast Detect Autofocus. Sony is also adopting this new lens mount in some of their video cameras like the NEX-VG10 and NEX-FS100, and I expect we'll see more using it as time passes.

If you want to use Minolta or Sony A Mount (a.k.a., Maxum, Dynax mount) lenses on one of the NEX series cameras, you'd need a Sony LA-EA1 Adapter:

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...rtNumber=LAEA1

This adapter allows you to mount them and have aperture control. You'd also have Autofocus with lenses that have built in focus motors (Minolta and Sony SSM lenses, Sony SAM lenses). But, AF is going to be slow in comparison to the E Mount lenses designed for the NEX Series cameras, and many lenses won't have AF at all (for example, the DT Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 mentioned would not Autofocus via an Adapter, since it doesn't have a built in AF motor).
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 5:05 AM   #9
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Thanks for all those suggestions. I have a preference for a C sized sensor preferably with a good, bright viewfinder - so that means the only real advantage of a 4/3rds is size. The real question is, I feel, whether I plump for canon, nikon, sony or pentax will depend very much, I suspect, the quality of lens I can get for my money.

So far as the lenses are concerned I really find that the wide angled end of the spectrum is used far more than the longer and I note the suggestion that 70-300 might be best suited to he occasional wide life shot. How does the quality stand up against say a 100% crop?

Life would be so simple if there was always a clear winner!

Thanks again
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 7:11 AM   #10
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In truth, for what you want to do, there is no clear winner. Every company has some really good lenses and some really (not so good) lenses, so you can't really base your decision on lenses alone. Currently, Canon has the best 70-300 (~$1,500), then Sony (~$850). Next is another Canon along with a Nikon, followed by a Tamron (for Canon, Nikon and Sony.)

The selection is a little tougher for the wide end, especially since you want to shoot cityscapes and need to avoid distortion.

I think you should narrow your choices based on ultrawide lenses, and pick your system by how the camera feels in your hands.
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