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Old Oct 12, 2005, 12:03 AM   #1
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I am looking for the Swiss Army Knife of amateur DSLR.

I want a camera that can do it all: low light, portraits, sunsets, fireworks, action shots--everything--and I want to be in control.

Here is my plan: I want to go beyond just point-n-shoot. I want to truly learn photography, and I want a camera that I can study with, grow with, and count on for years to come.

I am sure that any camera I buy will have auto settings, but I would like a camera that also gives me the option of being fully in charge of everything.

Mind you, I am very cheap, so the cheaper the better. I don't want to sacrifice quality, however, if it's only gonna cost me a couple of bucks. Nevertheless, pro DSLR is way out of my range.

I would also appreciate any suggestions regarding a good book for learning photography technique (lighting, composition, exposure, etc).

I am clueless when it comes to all of this, but I am utterly compelled by it.

I know this is a tall order. You are all the best. Many thanks.

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Old Oct 12, 2005, 12:53 PM   #2
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cheapest and best quality don't go together in anything. Besides that it is lens which do the work, so you have to look at that important side of the equation.

I will say look at canon 350xt. It is very good camera. Canon is going to offer triple rebates (mean you buy camera and 2 more lenses and you get 3 times off the regular rebate amount) starting Oct 15th. This is only available to US people (from what I know). But this will knock down price of 350xt to something like $450.

Fo rlow light/potrait tsuff, check out 50mm f1.8 or 85mm f1.8. For action, it depends a lot, outside or inside and how far.
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Old Oct 12, 2005, 2:23 PM   #3
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bobbyz wrote:
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Canon is going to offer triple rebates (mean you buy camera and 2 more lenses and you get 3 times off the regular rebate amount) starting Oct 15th. ****This is only available to US people**** (from what I know). But this will knock down price of 350xt to something like $450.


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Old Oct 12, 2005, 3:16 PM   #4
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bobbyz wrote:
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I will say look at canon 350xt. It is very good camera. Canon is going to offer triple rebates (mean you buy camera and 2 more lenses and you get 3 times off the regular rebate amount) starting Oct 15th. This is only available to US people (from what I know). But this will knock down price of 350xt to something like $450.
Well, it depends on what lenses qualify for the rebates, how much you spend on them for a good deal. :-)

I haven't seen any rebate forms for October (but I don't look for that kind of thing anyway unless it's a model I'm planning onbuying).

doingyfuzz wrote:
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I am looking for the Swiss Army Knife of amateur DSLR.

I want a camera that can do it all: low light, portraits, sunsets, fireworks, action shots--everything--and I want to be in control.
Also take a look at the new Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (or Dynax 5D, depending on your Region).

For low light, you can set it to use ISO speeds up to ISO 3200 (something you'd have to underexpose to simulate on some of the other DSLR models in this market niche).

In addition to higher ISO speeds, it's got built in antishake to help reduce blur from camera shake,with a wide variety of lensesavailable from Minolta, Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Vivitar and others in Minolta AF (Maxxum) mount.

Of course, they all become stabilized with a model like this, versus a customer needing to buy stabilized lenses for DSLR models from other camera brands (and you have a limited offering of stabilized lenses available from other companies anyway). For example, all of your bright primes would also have the advantage of stabilization with a model like the Konica-Minolta 5D.

For very low light, I can't think of a better combination than a model like the KM 5D, with bright prime (for example, a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7), ISO speeds up to ISO 3200, as well as in body antishake.

If you don't always want to drag a tripod along, thanks to antishake, you may be able to stop down the aperture more than the other brands for better depth of field, without worrying about ISO speed or shutter speeds as much (within limits of course).

That also allows you to keep ISO speeds set even lower than may be possible with some other cameras in low light if your subject is stationary (antishake only helps with motion blur from camera shake, not from subject movement). But, you've got higher ISO speeds than some of the other models in this market niche available to you with this camera if needed, too.

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Old Oct 12, 2005, 5:19 PM   #5
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I would second JimC's thoughts about the KM 5D.

I have just returned to SLR's after a long sojourn in the P & S world. I used film SLR's for many years before and am familiar with how to use an SLR. The big dofference of course is the digital side of the new SLR and I found the KM 5D very easy to get the hang of and start producing decent (to me) images. Beyond that there are many advanced ways to set up the camera for expert use. In terms of controls, it is between a P & S and an advanced DSLR like the 7D in that the commonly used settings are accessable by individual buttons or through the Fn button.

In terms of performance, I have been very pleased with the standard of the images that it produces. The AF is very fast and accurate, even on very small subjects and in low light. The AS is great fun as it allows hand held low light photography (and is great for macro and telephoto). The battery seems to last for ages as well.

So to summarise, the KM 5D would suit your needs, both as a beginner and for more advanced photography. Check out the review on this site and there is a new one on the Letsgodigital.org site.

At the end of the day, it is still wise to go to your local dealer and try it out first.

There is also a great third party user manual by Gary Friedman for the 5D which will go a long way to getting you started. http://www.friedmanarchives.com/Writings/5D_7D_ebook.htm
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Old Oct 12, 2005, 6:31 PM   #6
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My opinion is the Digital Rebel XT is a great first DSLR.

It has 8 megs, Canon's excellent image quality, low noise at high ISO's (low light situations) and you can invest in great Canon lenses or third party lenses.

Canon is a great investment for the future should you ever decide to "trade up" at a later date.

A nice lens for the Canon is the Tamron 28-75 XR Di. The Rebel XT and the Tamron are a sweet combination.

Or you could go for the Canon 28-135 IS (image stabilized) which is an excellent general purpose "walk around" lens.

Personally I haven't found any great books that can dependably make you a great photographer.

Maybe better to take a course. Another option is to study some great photographer's work: Ansel Adams,Robert Capa, John Brackenbury to name a few.

Most large libraries should have books devoted to their work.

Some of your larger newspapers regulariy printartistic shots by their staff photographers.You're surrounded bygreat photogrpahy to study.

-- Terry





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Old Nov 17, 2005, 2:16 AM   #7
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I too felt that the Canon rebel was the way to go until I held one in my hand. If you have large hands, its hard to get a confident grip on it. Also, the feel of the plastic left me wondering if it really was a $900+ camera system. I know it helps with the weight, but we're not talking pounds here, just ounces.
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Old Nov 17, 2005, 3:04 AM   #8
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Rbothell wrote:
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I too felt that the Canon rebel was the way to go until I held one in my hand. If you have large hands, its hard to get a confident grip on it. Also, the feel of the plastic left me wondering if it really was a $900+ camera system. I know it helps with the weight, but we're not talking pounds here, just ounces.
Ditto here. And the 350D still has a 1.8" LCD, while the others are now at least 2". Those larger LCDs sure help with aging or far-sighted eyes! I'll 2nd (or 3rd?) the KM 5D, but good luck with whatever you get! :|
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Old Nov 17, 2005, 9:41 AM   #9
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I agree the Canon's have a small LCD (my 20D has a small one as well).

But in terms of pure picture quality, it's hard to beat the Rebel XT.

8meg CMOS sensor delivers great photos up to ISO1600.

You can crop half the image away and still produce a decent 8 x 10.

My 20D with lens is a pretty hefty object hanging around my neck. Personally I'd accept a little bit of plastic if it makes the camera lighter.

-- Terry




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Old Nov 17, 2005, 11:58 AM   #10
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It was the very pinched grip on the Canon 350D/XT tyhat was a total turnoff for me. If you really want to save money, take a good look at either the Olympus E-300 or E-500 two lens kit.

I have the E-300 two lens kit and I bought it on E-Bay from Cameta Cameras and the whole kit with two lenses was $510. Those two lenses, a 14-45mm and a 40-150mm are really all you will need. That saves you a lot of dough right off the top and they are really good lenses. The E-500 two lens kit will cost you a bit more.

A good book on digital photography? Try www.digitalcamerasmadereallyeasy.com. I got their book and really learned a lot.

Here is also a sample photo from my E-300, just to show that it is a great all around dSLR.

MT
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