Brand New to DSLRs - What to buy with a good budget

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by E-Stew, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. E-Stew

    E-Stew TPF Noob!

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    I'm thinking of jumping in with both feet. I'm currently just a point and shoot guy with my $250 digital camera that's about 3 years old. My wife wants better photos, and I have always had an more than passing interest in taking good, serious photos.

    Photos of family, friends taken inside and out would be typical pictures taken. But I'd also like to take wildlife photos, and landscapes if, as I believe, a nice camera such as a DSLR were to produce. Sports photos are also a possibility as are formal gatherings (weddings, etc). I live near the beach so in the back of my mind I have the idea that maybe eventually I'd get into the business of taking family beach photos for payment if I got good enough (a man can dream, can't he?). Yes, a course in photography is in order, but what to attend class with if I don't have a DSLR yet? If I'm going to get one and I'm going to take a class I'd like to have what I'm going to use in the actual class.

    Don't ask me why, but I favor Canon. My questions are:

    1. If I had a budget of $4000 what equipment should I purchase?
    2. How important is knowing how to use a program like Aperture or Photoshop to producing great photos?
    3. If Photoshop or the like is very important, what's the best/easiest way to learn how to use the program besides the "Dummies guide" or something similar?
    4. Should I go with a nice lens like the one below or a less expensive one so I can also purchase a wide angle lens?
    5. Is this the right lens to start with for what (see above) I've described I'm interested in (family action shots, poses, candid shots of family, sporting events (not as high on the scale as others on this list), landscapes, indoor photos, beach photos, etc.

    Here's what's in my cart at Amazon right now:
    Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras
    Canon BG-E7 Battery Grip for Canon Digital SLR Camera
    Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack for Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR
    Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-inch LCD (Body Only)
    SanDisk 16GB 60MB/s Extreme Compact Flash Card SDCFX-016G-A61 (US Retail Package)
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

    Thanks for any help/suggestions you may have.

    E-Stew
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm never afraid to step up to the plate and tell a prospective equipment buyer what I think about his equipment choices. First off, I think that as of right now, today, January 2010, is a bad time to be making an equipment purchase simply because Nikon has a new camera or cameras due to be announced as early as the first Tuesday in February (long story, but true, Tuesdays are their preferred days). And I hate to disappoint Canon 7D fans, but I think that if you want a camera for landscapes and people work and sports work, the 7D is not a good choice. And neither is the 5D Mark II. What you are looking for is an all-around, generalist camera that offers high image quality AND a capable feature set, usable for landscapes and sports and people work. Honestly, I do not suggest crop-body cameras as being capable all-around cameras where two of the three desired areas are portrait work and landscape work. There are better choices from both Nikon and Canon for a landscape/sports/people all-around camera.

    I would suggest that the Nikon D700, or its follow-up model, MIGHT be what you are looking for. For portraiture and landscape work, a 2.3x larger sensor in a FF Nikon would make your wide angles wider, would give you a huge,expansive selection of lenses that are good for people work, and sports work, as well as the ability to have a camera that was very good at elevated ISO levels, and which has a capable AF system good enough for sports.

    We are in a transitional time period,right now. I think the megapixel wars have created an artificial expectation that 17 to 18 MP always delivers a better image than 12 megapixels on Full Frame. I think you ought to stop by this URL and look at what 12 MP on FF looks like, compared with a crowded, high-MP but smaller sensor, and what 21 MP looks like on FF. The 5D Mark II in this link has a really good performance overall--bettering the 1D Mark IV at higher ISO setting by quite a bit.

    Canon EOS 1D Mark IV vs. Nikon D3s: ISO Comparison | neutralday

    I think it's possible that the 7D's current price will drop within a couple of months. The 5D Mark II dropped to below $2500 last week, in anticipation of the new Nikon announcements. Sports is simply not the strong point of the 5D-II, but otherwise, that would be the camera I'd suggest if yuo had a $4k budget AND wanted to do just portraits/people and landscape work. I think right now would be a good time to avoid jumping in with both feet, for just a while longer, since price reductions and new models are just around the corner, and jumping in right when a wave goes out can be painful!
     
  3. erhard

    erhard TPF Noob!

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    another option is, if you want to stick with Canon, is to look at a good 2nd hand 1Ds MKII, which is a full frame (FF) camera.
    It is a fantastic all rounder, good design and can stand up to a bit of harsh treatment.
    I've had mine for a while and love it, I bought it 2nd hand and have had no problems with it. If you find one, get it checked out by Canon though, it is well worth the minimal cost for a check over before you part with your hard earned cash.
    Instead of the 24-70, maybe the 24-105 F4 IS L, those few extra mm's of zoom give you more choice for pulling in a scene, also, if you go with a FF body, what you see is what you get :), and, even though it is F4, the IS should compensate for that in most cases.
    You will not need the grip etc as the 1Ds MKII has a 'built in' grip, the money you save on that might get you another good lens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  4. AG74683

    AG74683 TPF Noob!

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    not to thread hijack or anything, but I felt I should ask...

    Derrel, any ideas what Nikon products are going to be announced? One would most likely be safe getting a D3000 or 5000 now correct?
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    But went ahead and did anyway. :lmao:

    You might visit Nikon Rumors .com
     
  6. E-Stew

    E-Stew TPF Noob!

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    Thanks--good stuff. Lots to research for now and think about. I'm not in a hurry to buy, so I'll take all this in and more that comes in. A lot of this doesn't make sense to me right now (e.g. FF advantages vs going non-FF), but I'll search the forum to see what I can learn. Looking forward to any more suggestions. Thanks a bunch.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, the topic of APS-C vs FF causes a lot of controversy. The way I see it, FF on Canon is roughly 2.6 times larger in area than Canon's 1.6x sensor size. A FF sensor has an area of apprx. 864 square millimeters, whereas a 1.6x Canon sensor is 329 square mm in area. This means that the FF sensor will use a lens like the 24-70 as a wide-angle 24mm lens to a short telephoto lens; on a 1.6x body, the 24mm setting has a MUCH narrower angle of view, similar to that of a 38mm lens, which is significantly narrower.

    Indoors, on 1.6x, with an 85mm focal length, you need to be around 34 feet away to take a nice, balanced shot of a six foot tall man,with a little bit of room for his feet and a bit of head space. With a FF Canon, you can stand 20 feet away, and get the same 8.5 foot tall field of view. So, for "people" work, indoors especially, there is a real advantage to shooting on a FF sized sensor, especially given the actual lenses in production right now!!

    As far as Photoshop and Aperture or Lightroom and learning: I think some of the video tutorials available on-line might be helpful to you. How much "work" or post-production photos need varies a lot with the photographer and his or her own vision and working methods. If you work in an old-fashioned, disciplined methods, **AS IF** there were no Photoshop correction possible, then you will not need to do very much to your files. Somebody has a Zack Arias quote as his signature file's quote,and it's something like, "When you're shooting for a client and you are thinking to yourself, 'Oh, I'll fix that later in Photoshop', stop and slap yourself as hard as you can, because you're being mediocre." This is not meant as a slap or put-down to anybody, but there ARE ways to shoot photos so that very minimal post processing work is needed. Really scrupulous technical mastery on beach photography was a strong point of a guy named David G, who operated a Maine photo biz catering to wealthy families that wanted Golden Hour beach shots. He learned how to light and expose well before digital capture came along, and his work needed very little post work at all.
    So...PS can be either a tool or a crutch, or a little of both....it all depends.
     
  8. E-Stew

    E-Stew TPF Noob!

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    How did you manage to get it checked out before buying?
     
  9. erhard

    erhard TPF Noob!

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    If the seller has nothing to hide, which was the case with me, they have no objections.
    Or, buy from a reputable camera shop, a lot of them offer limited warranty on 2nd hand gear.
     

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