Rebel T3i as a Starter Camera?


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Mar 3, 2012
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I'm looking to make the jump into DSLR cameras and I was thinking that the Rebel T3i would be a good choice. I want a good general purpose camera. I enjoy shooting landscapes, buildings, but also enjoy indoor shooting as well (one of my favorite places to take photos is air museums). I have some experience with Rebels through my school. I am just about to finish dental school and we have a few older Rebels (I'm not sure exactly what model but a couple years old) with a macro lens and a ring flash for intraoral photos. I will probably have a similar setup in my office down the road. Another thing I like to photograph is coins (so I will probably need to get a macro lens for that eventually).

For my personal use I have a simple Sony point and shoot camera. I like using it, but I want something that I can grow with. I want to learn to be a better photographer and I would really like a new camera to start learning with. Is a T3i a good choice? I was looking online and it seems you can purchase a bundle with either a 18-55mm lens or a 18-135mm lens. I was leaning towards the 18-135mm because it seemed more versatile and that bundle comes in right about $1000 which is probably around the max of what I want to spend at the beginning. I was thinking this might be a good graduation present for myself. :)

Any suggestions or thoughts? Thanks.
Its a fine camera that will provide many years of excellent shooting. 18-135 is a long stretch for lens. I'd recommend going 18-55 and use the savings toward the fairly well regarded 55-250.
I went from a Rebel Xs to a T3i with the 18-55mm kit lens. Eventually I purchased the 55-250mm. All have served me well. The T3i is the best Rebel out right now so the quality is good but there aren't too many bells & whistles to slow you down while you learn.
I can't go wrong with the T3i. Another option is to look at the T2i which is cheaper and put the extra into lenses. Also, don't ignore the Nikon D3100 and D5100. I was going to get the T2i until I held both and the Nikon just felt better in my hand. Remember, once you go Canon or Nikon all your accessories will be for that brand so you're not just choosing a camera but a brand. Finally, there are some Canon T4i rumors around..don't know when it would be announced but it's looming on the horizon.
I have no experience with the Nikons, I was thinking of a Canon because I have some limited experience with them because of school. But, I should look at them too.

As for the lenses, could someone explain to me why the 18-135mm is not worth getting. I am very new at this and I'm trying to learn. Thanks.
The T3i is a fine camera, capable of outstanding images. It uses the same sensor that's in the 60D and 7D. That being said, the difference in price between the T3i and the 60D seems insignificant to me when compared with the differences in features between these bodies. The 60D is a larger body overall, and has dedicated controls for many of the parameters you'll want to access as you learn more about photography. The Rebel series lacks these dedicated controls, and many settings require button combinations, or need to be dug out of menus. The XXD series also have better optical viewfinders and better autofocus systems than the Rebels. Overall, a 60D is a much better ergonomic experience than the T3i. Last I checked they were only separated by $100.

As far as lenses go, a kit lens is designed for getting your feet wet as cheaply as possible. This goes for the 18-135 and the 18-55. Both of these lenses are decently sharp but not stellar, they both distort at the wide end, they're both stabilized, and they're both useless in low light. Many folks recommend a kit lens to start out, but I do not. It's simply a matter preference. You could get a 60D, and a 50mm 1.8 for your $1000 budget, and have better image quality, better low light performance, better ergonomics, and a better platform to learn on. You will not however get the convenience and versatility of a zoom lens, so you will be required to get additional lenses _eventually_. Just an idea, ymmv, etc...
With regard to your lens choice, the kit lenses get a lot of stick but I personally think they are quite good. I had an 18-55mm and have a 55-250mm also and these did cover lots,but I sold the 18-55 and bought a sigma 18-125mm which is comparable to the canon 18-135mm. I found that I am more inclined to bring my camera with the 18-125 than I was with the 2 lens combo. The range on these lenses make it very flexible and image quality is quite good. The chances are that if you buy a new camera and you really get into it that you will soon see the need to purchase better quality lenses and these lenses will serve you better if you need optimum image quality, but it is always nice to have a flexible walk around lens. I recommend going for the 18-135mm. Oh the image quality possible on the 600d is great. Enjoy
I suppose the D60 is an option. I'm also not going to be buying for a couple months so the T4i might also be out by then. Right now I'm trying to gather information and learn about the product prior to actually jumping in.
I was in the same place not too long ago. I chose T3i but did not go with the kit lenses. My first lense was 50mm f1.8 II. This is a cheap lense but the glass is very high quality. I like to think it forced me to learn more about depth of field and aperture. Although as jaomul said the kit lenses are not bad, personally I'd invest in high quality lenses instead of kit. Remember the bodies can come and go but you can always keep your lenses.
Since you're just starting, the 18-135 lens I'd strongly consider. As you start to shoot more most people narrow in on a certain type of photography, then you can get glass suited for that need. The 50 1.8 is a great starter prime IMO and I still use mine often even while owning L glass.
The biggest drawback you'll see is lowlight.
Just my 2 cents lower level body, 18-135 lens, some software to edit, bag to carry it, and a good flash. As you learn and "play" you'll figure out what you need and want more.

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