Choosing a first DSLR - comments on my choices? alternatives?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by iolair, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm planning to buy a DSLR for the first time (I used to shoot a fair amount on film SLRs, also have a decent - but old - compact zoom that I'll still be using for stuff my initial lenses on the DSLR won't reach).

    I intend to use it for mostly for
    - portrait photography with ambient lighting, flourescent lighting or candlelight.
    - my kids playing around or just looking cute
    - "general photography" - whatever looks good as I'm walking or driving around (including landscapes)

    In the future, when I could afford extra lenses, a good wide lens for landscapes is going to be next on the list. Some kind of macro capability would be nice too, but as my compact will focus down to 1 cm and produce decent images, it can wait. It should definitely be capable of being remotely triggered (in the future).

    Other than what I need for the above, my priorities (in order) are
    1) Image Quality - should be professional level
    2) Budget
    3) Durability

    OK, given all that, I'm looking at getting one of these bodies
    Canon EOS 1000D (= Digital Rebel XS) - new
    Canon EOS 350D (= Digital Rebel XT) - (from eBay or wherever)
    Canon EOS 20D - (from eBay or wherever)

    (I've read in several places about this generation of Canon's superior high-ISO capabilities, which is why I've so far not really considered other brands).

    Onto that body, I would put one of these lenses, either new or second-hand depending on what I could find:
    Canon 50 mm / 1.4
    or
    Sigma 50 mm / 1.4


    Any comments or alternative suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  2. Tighearnach

    Tighearnach TPF Noob!

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    Hi

    You sound like someone who not only knows what hes talking about but also that will take his photography seriously. I think that you would be limited by the first two cameras in what you want to do. I personally feel you should try and put a few more dollars towards the body and maybe go for a 30/40D which are both excellent cameras and will give you more time to grow into and will display better High ISO abilities than the 20D.

    Of the two lenses you mentioned the Sigma is supposed to be slightly better on Image Quality. I have the Canon 50 f1.8 and its a high quality cheap lens but build quality is poor.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Honestly, none of the cameras you listed will fulfill the list of requirements. I still own a 20D....it is my good light, snapshot camera. Its image quality is no longer anywhere near "professional" quality,and its lowlight ability has been bypassed many months ago by better cameras from Nikon and Canon.

    I think you ought to seriously consider either a Nikon D300s or a Canon 7D as a body you could buy and use for many years, and one with a professional or nearly professional-class autofocus system and an image quality level that is currently about as good as modern manufacturing can make an APS-C body.

    I would skip the Canon Digital Rebel and Nikon D40/D60 class entirely,and buy a mid-priced model and learn to use it. Canon no longer has much of a high ISO advantage over Nikon, if they have any advantage at all. Your research seems a bit behind the times model-wise. I'd rather have a Nikon D90 than ANY of the cameras you list..better autofocus performance, better light metering, better image quality, better high-ISO,capable of video clips of the kids,etc.
     
  4. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Whats your budget?

    Between those, I'd go with the 20D. If you can stretch the budget, go with a 40D
    The 50mm Canon lens is a good quality, will give nice images. But it might be a bit limiting for the photography you want to do, namely the "everyday" and kids. Why not look at a budget/3rd party zoom like a Tamron 17-55 f/2.8? Or a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8? I have the 28-75 and love it! Good for lower light, decent zoom range (although the 28mm is not wide enough, which is why I have a wide angle). You should be able to buy it new for about $425. Its a bit slower focus, but I haven't found that to be an issue
     
  5. joemc

    joemc TPF Noob!

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    what Derrel said....good sound advice ^
     
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I 100% agree. If you want professiona looking stuff (although lenses are more important here), skip over the Rebel line. I didn't and bought an XSI and looking back, I should of picked up a 40D. The XSI is a good camera, I just need something better. :)
     
  7. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I'll throw in a plug for the Nikon D90 since my interests in photography closely match yours and I'm absolutely thrilled and amazed with this camera every single day.

    Excellent high ISO performance for low light conditions.
    Can use virtually any lens ever made by/for Nikon cameras.
    Has video capability (great for capturing moments, especially the kids)!
    Easy to use and operate.
    Can grow with you.
     
  8. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback so far :)

    I'm looking at older models to keep the cost down. Right now I can't really afford a good lens AND a good body, and I think there are strong arguments from several perspectives in investing more in the glass. The body outdates relatively quickly anyway, and once I've learnt on the cheap body and am ready/beginning to sell photos, I can update the body then.

    I don't have a set budget in mind, but I can get a second-hand 20D and a new or second-hand 50mm 1.4, paying under 500 pounds for the two. This seems a good starting point to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Canon T1i or the Nikon D90. They are both at about the same level price wise and better than your list.

    skieur
     
  10. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    FWIW, I just ordered a 20D body on eBay ... 175 pounds / 200 euros / 290 dollars delivered.

    I don't have a lens ordered for it yet! After analysing the shots I take, and particularly the portrait shots, I've decided I'm almost certainly better with an 85mm rather than a 50mm ... still haven't decided for sure, it depends on what I can pick up for what price too!
     

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