Beginner Needs Help with 1st Real Camera Purchase.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by jvgig, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. jvgig

    jvgig TPF Noob!

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    For my independent study project at school, I have decided to pursue photography to further develop my artistic interests. I plan to use a digital camera. As this will be my first experience with photography, I would like my equipment to be reasonably priced while still providing me with the greatest versatility so that I can explore as many aspects of photography as possible. For a budget, I think that $2000 would be my max for everything.

    For the body, I have been looking at the Canon Rebel XTi or Pentax K10D. These seem to get the best reviews for a camera under $750. I would like the camera to have as many different options as possible so I can explore different techniques. Any suggestions?

    I would like to start with no more than 3 lenses: a standard zoom, macro, and maybe a telephoto or wide angle. I want to have the greatest versatility with these 3 so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Can you use lenses on any camera, or can you only use a Canon lens on a Canon camera? I would like to be able to use the lenses on my next camera, so I would want a good quality lens, but not top of the line. If lens are proprietary, would I be better off starting with the Canon camera as they seem to make the higher quality cameras out of all the brands I know of.

    I also plan on getting an external flash. Do you suggest staying with whatever brand camera I decide on? Which filters would you suggest for a beginner?

    Is there anything else I should be looking for that will allow me to take a wider variety of pictures at a reasonable cost? What is a good site to buy used parts from?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    Probably better off with the Canon. Also, perhaps spring for the Canon 20D since there's room in your budget.

    24-70, 70-200 L lenses, and a fisheye lens would cover all three areas you are looking at with high quality class.

    However, you are correct. Only Canon lenses fit on Canon cameras. Sigma or Tamron lenses will fit too, but they are third party obviously. There are mixed feelings about these lenses, however if you know which ones to buy you can get a good deal.
     
  3. Stratman

    Stratman TPF Noob!

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    K10D with kit lens, is less than $800.00. From what i have read, the Pentax kit lens is the best of the "kit" lenses, I like mine... Add a Tamron 70-300LD Di zoom for about $180, and ANY K mount prime will work on the K10D, WITH shake reduction, and you'll still have plenty left in your budget to get a nice flash, and accessories
     
  4. Buszaj

    Buszaj TPF Noob!

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    Get a Rebel XT instead of XTi, and then get a 70-200 f/4L IS. Or, you can look into the 24-105 f/4L. Well, look around and see what combinations of lenses and body are best for your needs. I don't think that a flash will be really necessary since you are just starting out. But if you know that you'll be needing it A LOT, then look into it.
    Good luck!
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I feel you should steer clear of a flash until you are absolutely certain you need it, It's an unnecessary expense at the moment. I my self use a flash so rarely my SLR dose not have one, with no current plans on getting one. Wile yes you will need a flash to learn how to use it properly, you should work on the camera and her lens in and of them selfs first.
     
  6. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Might want to go to a store and handle both if you can to see which is the better fit for you. They're both great, and it will ultimately come down to which system you buy into. I ultimately went with Pentax and have been extremely happy with the k10d. They have done a very good job w/ this model and the image quality is very nice. The downside with Pentax is that it is often difficult to find quality lenses in stock b/c they have been the step child for years and only catching up lately. As such, many stores buy the lenses in fewer quantities and there are also fewer quantities made available to them.

    My buddy has an XTI which I've played around with a bit and it is a nice camera also. You'll also have less problem finding lenses for it. Comes down to personal choice. It is a fair amount smaller though which may be a defecit or benefit depending on you.

    If you opt for Pentax 3 three lenses I would recommend in your area of interest are the Sigma 70mm ex macro at about $429, the Sigma 70-200mm ex at about $899 and the Sigma 24-70mm ex also about $429. The 70-200 will throw your budget off, so you'll need to prioritize. All of these are wonderfully sharp and reasonably priced again provided you find them in stock. Sigma and Tamron make some really nice glass and you'll need to make sure that it is the correct mount for the body you are buying (i.e., pentax mount for pentax, canon mount for canon etc). The kit lens is actually pretty decent as kit lenses go. I might save the $60 though especially if you already know your going to want a specific more expensive lens and that is applicable to whatever camera you buy.

    For flash, I again went with Sigma and ended up with the Sigma ef 500 dg super at about $229. I would have preferred going with pentax but it was significantly cheaper and closely measured up in specs.

    Here's a comparison between the two cameras mentioned in your original post.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/com...de&cameras=canon_eos400d,pentax_k10d&show=all
     
  7. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Both are good cameras from what I have heard and I would second the recommendation to go to the store and hold cameras and see which feels the best for you. I have been shooting film a lot lately for my photography class and now every time I go back to the small XT that I have it just doesn't feel as comfortable.

    As far as lenses I think Canon would be a better choice for the reason that they have a wider selection of lenses and there will be more of a chance to buy used lenses and save some cash.

    The Canon kit lens isn't bad, but a lot of people don't like it because its made with a lot of plastic so it has that sort of feel to it. I use mine still quite a bit. If I had the money though I would replace it with either a 17-85 IS, or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, or Canon 17-55 f/2.8. A good zoom I would spend the cash on a 70-200 f/4L. Sigma makes a pretty good alternative too. I have been pondering their 70-200 f/2.8 for some time. Hope that helps.
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, you used "photography" and "artistic interests" in the same sentence So.. Do not get the Canon Rebel!

    I don't know why Canon thinks that entry level DSLRs don't need a Spot Meter but they are sadly mistaken! Spot Metering is a huge aid in artistic expression, almost as important as selective focus done with the aperture. (Canon will allow you to control that)

    Go with the Pentax or take another look at the Nikon D80. Most everyone here will tell you to hold them and see how they feel, this does have merit but is not nearly as important as having a usable menu and dedicated controls. These cameras aren't all that different in the actual volume they occupy and won't feel all that different from one another. You may hear about noise but if you expose properly and use a reasonable ISO, there won't be any to speak of anyway (and the levels command in PS will do wonders for whatever there may be after).

    Good luck and if you must get a Canon, get one with a spot meter or a hand held meter (an even better idea but expensive and more to keep up with)

    mike
     
  9. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Perfectly put, Mike.
     
  10. jvgig

    jvgig TPF Noob!

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    Would it be better to go the Canon or Nikon route in terms of future camera upgrades. I do not want to have to buy all new lenses just to upgrade my camera. I believe that the Pentax is their top of the line, so would the lenses be able to be transfered to a higher end Nikon or Canon? Other wise I will probably decide between the Nikon and Canon 30D; however, I may have to cut my lenses to 2 if I go with the Canon due to cost.

    Would it be better to go with the proprietary lenses or something like Sigma? The cost seems to be about the same so, would the Sigma not limit me to one brand, or do you have to get specific mounts?

    I definitely want to work with macro, as I feel that allows for some of the most artistic images without extensive travel or prep work. Does this require a flash other than the built in one? If not, I may forgo the flash for now in order to get the 30D.

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Canon and Nikon stay about neck and neck. Nikon has just jumped ahead with their new D3 and D300 camera bodies as well as an f2.8 24-70mm lens that looks to be Sweet! (along with a couple of others)

    Canons 5D is a couple of years old and much slower and one would think be next up for replacement and the mk3 Looks to be outclassed by the Nikon D3. The Canon 1Ds Mkll has 16.7 mega pixels and Nikon has yet to put out a competing camera. I do not know if they will if the sensor they have is good enough. More pixels do not necessarily give a better photo (better pixels do).

    As far as mid level bodies go the only thing Canon had on Nikon was less noise (this seems to not be the case any longer with the new Nikons- Due out in November). The noise was not an issue for the vast majority of photographers (simply exposing properly takes care of most of it) just something to jaw about.

    As far as lenses go the Top Line between Nikon and Canon seem to be about equal. Canon makes a few more types than Nikon but they also range lower in quality than Nikon does. (evidently Nikon is willing to let 3rd party manufacturers handle this) So all in all the lens issue is a wash too where new lenses are concerned.

    Canon changed their lens mount (late '80s I think) so lenses made prior to that will not fit on the newer mount.

    Nikon in one fashion or another will mount their lenses back to the dark ages. You would need to read up on AI and Pre-AI to know which fits and meters to what although it's a simple matter to retrofit the Pre-AI lenses to work on the newer bodies.

    I shoot a D200 Nikon and preferred it to canon due to the dedicated controls and menu layouts. It also seemed a bit tougher than the Canon. (I'm hard on my tools)

    Either way would work as long as you don't get the Rebel for what you intend to shoot.
     
  12. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hi.

    It would probably be better to go for Canon or Nikon if you want more choice of future camera upgrades to cover every possible eventuality, because they have more "levels" of camera, including the very high end "pro" models. On the other hand, look at the "pro" models, and ask yourself if it is remotely likely that you would buy one in the foreseeable future. If not, why make it an issue?

    No you would not be able to use a Pentax lens on a Canon or Nikon. Nor a Canon lens on a Nikon, a Nikon lens on a Pentax, etc. Each only works properly on their own system... (in some cases there are adapters but you lose most functions).

    The choice of own-brand or third-party lenses is up to you... some people will only use one system, some are happy to use third-party. Personally I think the third-parties can produce lenses which are optically great at a significantly lower cost. Sometimes (but not always) they don't compare so well in terms of build quality... but really you can't say one is good and one bad across the board. Each company (whether the camera companies or the third parties) produces very good glass, average glass and not so good glass. My advice would be to look at each lens purchase on an individual basis and compare the specific lenses available, rather than trying to make decisions based only on the name on the lens.

    For macro, a flash is not absolutely required, but it will certainly help a lot and is well worth the investment. The pop-up built-in flash will not do, and neither will an addition flash simply stuck on the camera. There are macro ring flashes but these are very expensive; you might be best off starting with a cheap flash and practicing the use of off-camera flash.
     

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