Really need some advice here...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, hope you can help me make a decision here... I'm about to upgrade, and I'm going to have 1200 dollars to work with, so here me out...

    First, I'm still in the beginner stage of things... I've learned a large amount just from this forum alone, and of course, raw practice, but, am by no means a pro.

    I have nothing but a camera at the moment, which is just a Canon A590 IS P & S, nothing more. It get's the job done, has taken thousands of really descent photo's, and has allowed me to practice at an efficient level.

    I'm not a big "warrior" when it comes to Canon versus Nikon, but I do know that I want one or the other, and Canon seems to have the best package deals around.

    Now, please, click on this link below:

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Telephoto-Grip-Accessory-Kit/dp/B001G8GONM/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1230098522&sr=1-26"]Amazon.com: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi 12MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 DG AF Lens & Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens + Opteka Vertical Battery Grip, Filters, 4GB Memory & Complete Accessory Kit: Camera &[/ame]

    I know some of you don't enjoy clicking on links, but, it's quick, easy, and takes you to an Amazon.com page, nothing more.

    I found this particular kit tonight, which cost 960 dollars, and it seems to contain everything I should need to jump into the SLR world. I've read the specs on the camera alone, and have been blown away. It's an XSI, 12.2 megapixel SLR, which is way better than what I have now. Also, something that intrigued me were the "filters" that come with it, and also the TWO lenses you get as well.

    My question is, would this be a good buy? Do I need the things that come in this kit as a beginner? Would I use all of them?

    And what about lenses? I highly enjoy random, candid photography of most anything... buildings, long hallways, cars driving by, etc... etc.. etc... and thoroughly enjoy "portrait" style photography, along with Macro shooting as well. Will the two lenses that come with this kit provide the ability to cover these type's of photography, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    Also, the aperture values on these lenses don't seem to add up for me. I can get a LARGER aperture value on my point and shoot, versus these two lenses in the kit. Are these nicer, more expensive lenses typically like this? Would I need to buy a seperate lense to achieve that super large aperture? I've seen them go as low as 1.8, and THAT would be nice for my portrait shots, I think anyway. I'de be going for total background blur, and I'm thinking that 1.8 just might do the job? :)

    Another question I have is concerning the brand of lenses in this kit. They are NOT Canon lenses. Is that normal? Should I go with one of the other kits that contain Canon lenses only? Are Canon lenses best for Canon cameras?

    Last thing... I'm used to having two AA batteries as my source of power in this point and shoot of mine, how are the rechargable's on these SLR's? How long do they last. I take the camera to work with me everyday, and I'm there for a miminum of 8 hours, sometimes more. How long do the charges on these rechargable's last?

    Ok, sorry for all the questions, and pardon the lack of knowledge, but I've never owned one as nice as I'm preparing to buy. Two more weeks, and it's mine. Is this kit the way to go? Anyone think so, or think not? I know I'm probably not at the level for an SLR, but I figure why not? My thought process is clear, and my ability to take photo's is improving daily. I love photography more than I ever expected to, as it literally, consumes most of my life, and all of my thought process for the most. I just want better quality, more features, and the ability to grow, without limitations.

    Have I chosen the right camera?
     
  2. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    My guess is that you'd be better off putting together that stuff on your own-- price it out and see. I'd suggest getting just the camera + the kit lens (EF 18-55 f/3.5-4.5) at first and see what you think you need before getting other lenses, it will save money and you'll be happier in the end. Those lenses are not particularly good, and the accessory kit is probably largely rubbish. I'd suggest getting a camera + kit lens, memory card, and a bag. Then figure out what you want.

    As far as the apertures go, you'll be able to do better in low light with the SLR because SLRs have better high-ISO sensitivity. However, it is a fact of life that when you get into bigger lenses (which SLRs need because they have much larger sensors than point and shoots, the main reason they have better image quality) you will pay a lot more for zooms with similar apertures (the EF 24-70 f/2.8 runs ~$1k, for example).

    You are right in thinking that another lens with a faster max aperture would do the trick for blurring backgrounds-- there are a number that are much faster than 1.8 even, but when you're starting out the EF 50mm f/1.8 is a very good second lens to add to the kit lens-- any faster and you start paying a lot more.

    SLR batteries have much longer lives than point and shoots-- I'm not sure about the XSi in particular but the battery should last for something like 500-800 shots before needing to be charged.

    As far as macro photography is concerned, these lenses will not do the trick if you are talking about real, 1:1 macro. For that you need to get either extension tubes (I think there is probably a guide to that floating around here somewhere) or get a specialized lens.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    I am not going to quote in the typical manor. Just too lazy.

    I was about to get off the forum, then I just had to read your post and now I just have to reply. Damn.

    You ask a lot of great questions, most importantly, you ask some of the right questions. I am going to try to answer them and if you need more detail, just let me know.

    First:

    I found this particular kit tonight, which cost 960 dollars, and it seems to contain everything I should need to jump into the SLR world. I've read the specs on the camera alone, and have been blown away. It's an XSI, 12.2 megapixel SLR, which is way better than what I have now. Also, something that intrigued me were the "filters" that come with it, and also the TWO lenses you get as well.

    Let’s address camera verses lens. Here’s the question, “Should I spend more money on the camera or the lenses?” Easy, the lenses, always. So whether you decide to enter the SLR world via the two choices you mention, Canon or Nikon, both companies have great entry-level SLR’s. The Canon XSi or the Nikon D60 are great starting points. You really can’t go wrong with either.

    Remember, once you choose, it is harder to change as you buy more lenses and accessories. Canon lenses do not fit on Nikon camera bodies and visa versa. So you have to think ahead.

    Both offer a huge variety of lens options and after-market lens manufactures, i.e. Sigma, make there lenses with both mounts.

    Don’t let the Filters intrigue you. Regardless of what lens choice you make, you will need to get a UV filter for them. This is basically for protection so the front of the glass does not get scratched.

    Second:

    And what about lenses? I highly enjoy random, candid photography of most anything... buildings, long hallways, cars driving by, etc... etc.. etc... and thoroughly enjoy "portrait" style photography, along with Macro shooting as well. Will the two lenses that come with this kit provide the ability to cover these type's of photography, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    Don’t be confused by the term Macro in this kit. This is not a true Macro lens. Macro refers to the ratio of the size of the image on print to the actual size of the photograph. Lenses like this one uses the word Macro in a different way. A typical telephoto lens has a high minimum focusing distance. Say, 3 to 6 feet. In this case, the manufactures call their telephotos Macro because of the shorter focusing difference. Say 1-3 feet.

    Third:

    Also, the aperture values on these lenses don't seem to add up for me. I can get a LARGER aperture value on my point and shoot, versus these two lenses in the kit. Are these nicer, more expensive lenses typically like this? Would I need to buy a seperate lense to achieve that super large aperture? I've seen them go as low as 1.8, and THAT would be nice for my portrait shots, I think anyway. I'de be going for total background blur, and I'm thinking that 1.8 just might do the job?

    O.K. never compare a point-and-shoot with a SLR (unless you are talking about a point-and-shoot like Sigma’s DP1). The sensor on your point-and-shoot is totally different than that of an SLR. The lenses are different as well. Aperture and focusing distances are only apples-to-apples when comparing SLR lenses. I can explain more if you ask.

    Forth:

    Another question I have is concerning the brand of lenses in this kit. They are NOT Canon lenses. Is that normal? Should I go with one of the other kits that contain Canon lenses only? Are Canon lenses best for Canon cameras?

    While I own all Canon lenses, they are L series and some of the best optics in the world, I would never tell you Canon to Canon or Nikon to Nikon as a blanket statement. You do not need to go with a Canon lens for a Canon camera. More to come.

    Fifth:

    Last thing... I'm used to having two AA batteries as my source of power in this point and shoot of mine, how are the rechargable's on these SLR's? How long do they last. I take the camera to work with me everyday, and I'm there for a miminum of 8 hours, sometimes more. How long do the charges on these rechargable's last?

    The batteries in the Canon SLR will last you days and days on a single charge. Things that eat up power are live view, expensive lenses with extra motors in them, like those for image stabilization, and other factors I simply don’t think you need to worry about right now. As a note, you can get a replacement battery for the Canon for around $30. Always be sure to have one fully charged and you will never worry.

    Sixth,

    I love photography more than I ever expected to, as it literally, consumes most of my life, and all of my thought process for the most. I just want better quality, more features, and the ability to grow, without limitations.

    If you want to grow without limitations, buy the lower-end Canon (which is hardly a sacrifice considering its features) and spend the money on better lenses. Go to your local camera shop and try to deal with them. There is really no room for mark-up on lower-end equipment, so don’t expect much.

    Bottom line:

    I would buy the XSi and two lenses. Don’t bother with kits like the one Amazon is offering. They add a bunch of “filler” to the kit that you won’t need and is just a waste.

    You are just starting out so I would get two lenses. First, you will see the Canon with the 18-55mm “kit” lens. This is a terrible lens. Don’t bother. Buy the Canon camera body ($557 on Amazon) and get the EF 50mm f/1.8 II for portraits (about $90). The “II” means it is the second version of the lens. Canon really improved on this lens and it is a great one for low-light situations and for portraits. Then get the EF 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM (around $420). The IS stands for image stabilization and the USM stands for ultrasonic motor. This lens has some parts taken right from the higher end lenses.

    This should get you off to a great start. Go into the camera shop, tell them you want to get this body with the two lenses and start working on a “custom kit” with them directly.

    These lenses are not the very best, but you will be able to use them for quite some time. You will then learn what makes a good lens and what makes a great lens. With that knowledge you can add to your lens vault.

    As far as portraiture goes, that is a whole other discussion.

    Let me know if you have specific questions.

    -Nick
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The camera body is fine, the lenses are decent, but most of the rest of the package, such as the tripod and filters is cheap crap. I agree with the previous post, look around see what you can get on your own, and start small and add the gear you want when you want.
     
  5. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Wow, thanks for the input folks, it's really appreciated. Here's my biggest issue though... in my small town, I don't actually have a "shop" dealing with camera's at all. Closest thing I've got is a Best Buy :( They've got these same type of kits, but for larger prices. Amazon has the best deal around, for both the camera by itself, the kits, or just the lenses. Either way, Amazon seems to be financially speaking, the way to go. I think I'll continue to shop around, using the advice given.

    To dtornabene1... I would LOVE for you to be more detailed on all the things you referred to. Please, if you have more details, by all means, spill the beans my friend, I'de love to read about them. You made comments such as "if you ask" <-- Well, I'm officially asking. With details like the one's you refer to, I could potentially make a much better purchase.

    Thanks again to all for your wonderful replies, they've really helped, and I look forward to more.
     
  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    First, be careful on Amazon. Not everything on their site is actually sold by Amazon! The kit you listed is a typical look at all this stuff you get for this price kind of deal and sold by different company through Amazon site. It is full of off brand items, that they appear to be giving you a good deal on as compared to Canon or good stuff. But what it really is, is cheap stuff. The body, and lenses are the only decent items in that kit! The Opteka items are cheap chinese items, nothing more!!!

    The lenses are Sigmas cheapest for Canon mount. You can get Canon's versions for nearly the same price.

    I agree and buy the body, and decide on the lenses you want. Skip the bunch of junk kits!

    And don't forget about Pentax. Some of the best deals are with their equipment. They don't have the advertising power that Canon has, but they have good equipment! And like Nikon you can use the old manual lenses on their bodies! Canon has good stuff as well as cheap stuff. Their big deal is they have advertising power. So they have a higher brand recognition.
     
  7. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    Paul,

    First, you are most welcome.

    What would you like to know? I'll answer anything (I'm a bit of a blabber-mouth).

    Also, check out some of my other posts, you might find them helpful.

    Lastly, don't worry about going to a camera shop in your case. But I strongly recommend getting the gear mentioned. Oh yeah, don't ask the guys at Best Buy. I don't care if you buy from them, but trust me, they have no idea what they are talking about. Get your information here from people like me and use places like Best Buy and Amazon for great prices.

    -Nick
     
  8. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Ok, following dtornabene1's advice... I'de end up spending, without shipping, 1,034 dollars, and as previously stated in my original post, I''ll have 1200 to play with, so, this can be done, and seems to be the right path to take.

    What about a tripod folks? I know I need one, as I love taking night shots of traffic, etc... any suggestions on a tripod?

    Another question, relating to batteries again... wouldn't it be wise to have a backup unit just in case? If so, what would be a good battery pack to buy? How would I maintain the backup battery's charge? Do these batteries charge just once, than they're good to go until you use them? Is that how it works? (seems as if that should be the correct method, but, ya never know)

    And one more lense question...

    In case I desire to save money here... when dealing with SLR's... is there a lense out on the market that sort of does everything? Is there one lense that might not be a master of it's craft, but rather, a jack of all trades? Is there one that can sort of handle anything and everything?

    As of this moment, I'm going with the 1034 dollar package, which seems to be the best in quality so far. I would LOVE to spend LESS money, and get more bang for the buck, which is why I was so attracted to this KIT, but, after reading what I've read, the kit is NOT so attractive anymore. Should I be so focued on megapixels? I mean, the 6,000 dollar and up camera's are 21 - 24 megapixel units, so, doesn't the megapixel count for something? I could spend less, and get 10 mpx, but why not spend just a bit more and get 12.2? Is that the correct way to see things, or NOT?
     
  9. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    To dtornabene1... I'de never ask anyone at Best Buy about anything... I agree in full with you on that indeed :)

    The gear you mentioned is certainly what I shall get, as I trust your recommendations, unless something else is pointed out by you, or someone who has an equal level of knowledge.

    I didn't know anyone, including yourself, would be replying while I replied as well, so, I'm sort of catching up here. My last reply would have been much different had I'de seen the latest replies from everyone.

    Anyway, still curious, still searching, still shopping :) Plan on getting something nice indeed, and looking forward to it as well :)

    Thanks again, as it really is appreciated, you just have no idea. Thanks for being so nice, and so helpful.
     
  10. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    &#8220;Jack of all trades, master of none&#8221;

    An old saying, but I feel its true when it comes to lenses that can do everything.

    There are lenses like the 18mm-200mm which offer wide angle to telephoto all in one lens. However, the image quality (IQ) will not be as good as having an 18-70 and a 70-200. And your 18-70 will typically not have as good IQ as a prime / fixed focal length lens like a 50mm.

    Yes, there are exception and there are many variables to take into consideration in evaluating lens performance, but I think the general rule is sound.

    Don&#8217;t focus on megapixels. They are something to consider, but they are not the major thing in cameras, even thought marketing people would like you to think that.

    The XSI is a good step up from a P&S. You can also look into the used market and getting a Canon 30D / 40D (or Nikon equivalent), which are a step up from the XSI. I love my XSI.

    A great lens to get that has high IQ, a good aperture is the 50mm 1.8 lens. They are really a gem. They run about $80 US on amazon I believe. They are cheaply built, hence the low price, but are really worth it for the money. A great portrait lens for an XSI or 30D / 40D and allows for good indoor and night photos.
     

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