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05/21/2005 06:05:09 AM · #1
Hi All

I've been shooting for a little while now with a Canon Powershot A40, and I've been impressed by how such a reasonably priced camera offered me so much versatility and control relative to other cameras in its price range.

The time has come, however, to upgrade to a new camera (after two years of the trusty A40) and I have absolutely no idea in which direction to head. I have a good grasp of the significance of the technical specifications of all of the cameras and lenses etc. - but I obviously have no practical exposure which is, of course, what matters most. I was hoping to get some input from some well informed members of the DPC community :)

The only advice I've had so far was a suggestion from my photography society chairperson (here at my university) to go for the 350D ahead of a 20D and invest more money in lenses. I'm leaning towards going Canon (body wise), partially because of my fondness for the PS A40 and partially because of my aversion to Nikon borne of negative rumour etc, which may or may not be unfounded. Anyways, what I'm trying to ask in my very verbose way (I've just woken up, you see) is this...

What actual camera should I get?
What lenses should I get?

I have about R15000

15,000.00 ZAR
South Africa Rand = 2,299.70 USD
United States Dollars

15,000.00 ZAR
South Africa Rand = 1,258.88 GBP
United Kingdom Pounds

I'd like the lenses to be of a fairly good quality and I'm trying to figure out which ones would allow me the most versatility. Thanks to you guys in advance for your help!

Thanks Again-
Alex
05/21/2005 06:12:18 AM · #2
The 350D is nice but the 20D just has more to offer but you pay that price too.

As far as lens depending on what you shoot. You can always add lens in the future its best to start with some common choices.
A good macro lens in the 100mm range is good for portraits and macro.
You can never go wrong with the 50mm f/1.8 lens cheap and excellent sharpness. Useful for portraiture too.
A good mid-range lens between 18-70mm I hear tamron makes an excellent lens in this category and its f2.8 makes it a very sharp lens.
A good telephoto lens 70-200mm f/2.8 would be great but the price is heavy or the 70-200mm L f/4 is also an excellent choice.

I would definetly recommend an external flash of some sort. Some good fast memory especially if you shoot raw really helps in taking multiple frames quickly.
05/21/2005 07:00:39 AM · #3
Howzit Alex,

I've had the Nikon D70 for just under a year now, and am more than happy with it. The kit (with 18-70mm lens) goes for about £750 here (although when I was in SA in March, it seems that prices there are higher than the exchange rate allows). That should leave you with some change for an additional lens or other accessories. Maybe a 70-200mm?

The D70s has just been released, but I've updated the firmware on my d70, so the ONLY difference between the two now are a cable release socket (previously done with a remote) and a bigger screen (never had a problem with this anyway!).

I don't know Canon (or Minolta, Pentax etc.) cameras very well, but I'm sure that you can find something similar in their range.

Important: go to a shop and try all different ones in your hands. You'll be amazed how different cameras feel, and will probably influence your decision quite a bit.

Have fun shopping.

Wobbly.
05/21/2005 07:16:46 AM · #4
I think it would be a mistake to move directly to 20D on a relatively limited budget. The 350XT is an excellent camera that offers nearly everything the 20D does at a very substantial savings, and it will always serve as a backup if you later can afford a better body, while the lenses will travel as you move up. Image-wise there's not much (if any) difference between the two; they share the same sensor as far as I can see, certainly both use an 8 mp sensor. When you're ready to move up, there should be 16mp sensors or better available at a rational price.

If you expect your camera to take a beating, the 20D has a megnesium alloy structure and should be somewhat stronger in the long run. But the price differential in the USA is 700 dollars or so, enough for another very nice lens.

I don't own a dSLR right now, but I am shopping Canons, Nikons, and Pentax at the moment and leaning towards the Canon. The D70 Nikon is relatively bulky. Some prefer this, but it feels a bit unweildy to me. I like the Canons, from what I've seen of them. I'm inclining towards paying for the best glass I can get, even at the expense of fewer lenses to start with. The quality of the glass is what's going to define the quality of your pictures, and good glass is a lifetime investment.

The Pentax *ist is a nice, small package with very good glass at an extremely attractive price, and several owners in DPC swear by them. It's arguably your best bet in terms of bang for your buck. But if you're looking at a lifetime system, steadily expanding, it would probably make more sense to go Canon or Nikon.

Robt.
05/21/2005 08:37:53 AM · #5
Nobody ever mentions the olympus evolt 3000. Is it a bad camera?
05/21/2005 08:47:53 AM · #6
Supposed to be a very nice camera, I just don't have any experience with it. Love the ultrasonic dust buster part of it. Doesn't have as wide ana rray of lenses available as you can get for Nikon, Canon, or Pentax, though.

Robt.
05/21/2005 10:28:07 AM · #7
Alex....

I'd almost say you should get a simple "Canon Rebel" and a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens.

I am amazed at the difference between this and a common lens
05/21/2005 10:31:02 AM · #8
Don't base a camera decision on "negative rumor". For that matter, I wouldn't put too much weight on megapixels unless you are comparing a 12/16mp to a 4/8mp, which isn't really a comparison.

Base your decision on things that matter... Image quality, ergonomics, durability, etc. You would be amazed at how much you can learn about which camera is right for you by simply handling it at a camera store. You should at a minimum consider:

o How does the grip feel in my hand (diff. size hands work on different grips

o How easy is it to change shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure comp, white balance, exposure mode (spot --> ctr weight --> matrix). You shouldn't have to wade too deep into menus for these.

A D70, D70s, d300, d350 will all be capable of similar images and similar enlargements. The real-world difference between 6 and 8 mp is not as significant as some reviews would suggest. The Canon and Nikon glass are both top-notch and will exceed most photographer's abilities.

Bottom line is that the camera that works the way you do, feels right, and fits your budget is the right one. Don't get hung up on numbers and rumours when making an investment like a camera system.
05/21/2005 10:44:56 AM · #9
Originally posted by AlexMonty:


The only advice I've had so far was a suggestion from my photography society chairperson (here at my university) to go for the 350D ahead of a 20D and invest more money in lenses.


That's good advice. Look at the history of lenses and bodies. When you're ready to upgrade again, I'll bet the body is much more improved than the lenses. So you may want to look at the 300D also, and put the money you save into a beter lens. Or Flash. Or any of the thousands of other things you could use.

Don't just get wrapped around the body and lenses, you'll want a good flash unit also. Depending on what you're shooting, you may want more than one flash. IMO, if you buy Canon, get the 580EX flash, it has a lot more capability than the 420EX. Also, you can use 420EX flash units as wireless slaves with the 580EX.

I have a Sigma 24-70 f2.8. Great lens, I use the f2.8 often (sports shots) but the wide end is not wide enough, so I bought the Sigma 12-24 lens. I have a Canon 75-300 IS, which is a good lens, but you may want to consider a Canon or Sigma 70-200 f2.8 instead. The extra speed of this lens may help compensate for the "lack" of IS. Or you could look at the Sigma 80-400. Of course, I'd like to get an 18-200mm lens for "walking around", and an f1.4 lens (either the Sigma 30mm or the Canon 50mm--can't decide which I want more). -- The issue here is that there's a lot of lenses out there, and it seems that one can never have enough.

Then, there's a ton of other stuff. Like a good tripod and head. A bag or box to keep your gear in. filters. extra battery. NiMH AA's for the flash unit(s). Charger for the NiMH's. Oh, yea -- the Compact Flash card, and a reader for your PC.

So ask yourself what you really need. You'll save about US$200 on the Rebel vs the Rebel XT. Is a good tripod and head(~ US$200) worth the loss of features? How about a better lens, or a second flash unit?

You'll save US$400 on the 20D vs the 350D and US$600 over the 300D. That will buy another nice lens or a 580EX flash.

There's no one right answer; you know what kinds of photographs you'll be shooting and are the only one who can make the right decision.

Message edited by author 2005-05-21 10:45:39.
05/21/2005 11:17:27 AM · #10
If you are considering between the 350XT vs. the 20D, it all comes down to if you want to pay for the extra features. Check all the review sites. The image quality is pretty close to identicle. What you are paying for is the extra features that the 20D provides along with a magnesium body and a slightly more robust performance. Only you can look at the specs and decide if the extra money for the 20D is worth it for you.
If you are starting out, I'd recommend the XT and using the extra money to buy a nice lens. You have to decide what type of photography that you are interested in and what lenses you will need. You can even forgo the kit lens and just buy the body only. For the money you save by buying a XT body only vs. a 20D kit, you can probably buy one of these really nice lenses such as Tamron SP XR Di 17-35mm or the Tamron SP XR Di 28-75mm, Canon 70-200mm f4L. Probably the best initial lens is the Tamron 28-75 XR Di, it's range is good for walkingaround and taking shots, then depending on your interestes, you can add a telephoto or a wideangle lens.
05/21/2005 11:24:21 AM · #11
I think the advice ot go with the 350D is right on, unless the 20D has very specific additional features that you know you will really use. Do a compare over at DPReview.com, and run that up against your areas of interest. If you don't have "must-have" features in the 20D that are not present on the 350D, then go for the 350, and invest the difference in better glass.
As previously posted, the glass is most often the biggest determinant of image quality (after the photog, LOL) so invest in the best that you can afford. It will carry forward. When buying glass you should also consider whether you expect you willever move to a camera with a larger sensor, and if so, you may want to avoid EF-S lenses, or realize you will have to re-sell them when you upgrade.
05/21/2005 11:26:15 AM · #12
Get the 350D. Unless you have a specific need for a 20D feature you will be more than happy with the 350D. In 2 years technology will advance and you can get teh replacement to the replacement for the 20D ;)

Lenses: depends...if you want to cover the range you have now...light weight, specific uses...

My choices:
Tamron 28-80 3.5-5/6 over teh kit lens. Will replace it with a $500 version that is 2.8 probably later this year.
Sigma 70-300 APO macro Super 2. Great lens, $200 or so. The macro capability amazes me.
Canon 50mm 1.8 = duh. just get it $70

My next lens...either the Tamron 17-35 2.8-4 or Sigma 18-50 2.8. About $500.

Always popular is the Canon 28-135 IS lens. I find it heavy, but the range and IS are kinda cool features.
05/21/2005 11:29:30 AM · #13
give it up Fritz,
The EF-S will be here for ever, for ever I tell you!!!!! ;)
yeah, forgot, people tend to keep lenses much longer than camera bodies and future compatibility is a consideration. For Tamron, if it says Di, then it will fit any Canon, if it says Dii, then it will only fit a small sized sensor currently found on only the 20D and the XT. If they eliminate the small sized sensors in the future, Dii lenses will not fit any other cameras. Canon has EF lenses that fit any Canon Auto focus camera, but if it says EF-S, it will only fit a small sensor camera.
05/21/2005 11:59:27 AM · #14
I have the 28-135 IS and it's OK. pretty good at the wide end, but kinda mushy at the long end. The IS works, but does nothing for you if the subject is moving

You don't say what you're shooting, but if you are just doing general shooting, I'd suggest investing in a 24-70L f2.8 (~$1100) and the 70-200 f2.8 L (non-IS) (~$1100) and maybe the 50mm f1.8 (which is ~$70) that would just about tke care of your budget. If you will be shooting interiors of buildings a lot, you might want to forgo the 70-200 f2.8 and get the f4 version (~$550) and add a wide angle like a 12-24 (Tokina or Sigma) or the Canon 10-22 or wait a bit and see what the Sigma 10-20 is like.
05/21/2005 12:19:17 PM · #15
the 350 is a good choice.. here's the package I'd take to start with.

Canon 350D XT $960
Canon 70-200L f4 $570
Canon hood for 70-200L f4 $40
Canon EF-S 17-85 IS $600 [28-135 IS equal on fullframe]
Sandisk Extreem III 1GB card $110

that makes tha package at total $2280
with shipping to SA add $138

these are the prices at BH

this is as good as it gets for this budget, high quality lenses and you have 17-200 mm covered. all you need to start.

then you just have to add a good tripod and a good flash when your budget allowes ;)

Message edited by author 2005-05-21 12:21:52.
05/21/2005 12:34:13 PM · #16
Originally posted by neophyte:

Nobody ever mentions the olympus evolt 3000. Is it a bad camera?


there is a reason why it isn't mentioned..

the war between Canon and nikon has been going on for over 30 years, like the war between BMW and Mercedes Benz.

everyone knows these brands and know that they live up to their reputation, when another model is mentioned like the Olympus nobody knows if it's good or not, and when it comes to lenses who would pay $1000 for a lens called Zuiko ?

the Olympus might be a good camera.. but until they get som quality lens manufactorer to produce top quality lenses for the olympus it will never be an option if the Canon or Nikon is on the list.

the Olympus is very cheap, around $550 so it's competing with HP Easyshare and other cheap cameras, even though it´s an SLR camera, if you have $2000 to spend on a camera, you don't look at $500 cameras ;)
05/21/2005 02:28:14 PM · #17
Originally posted by DanSig:



the Olympus is very cheap, around $550 so it's competing with HP Easyshare and other cheap cameras, even though it´s an SLR camera, if you have $2000 to spend on a camera, you don't look at $500 cameras ;)


$550? I'll take 2. Try $800-$900 for Evolt E300.

Canon lenses, while not cheap, are cheaper than Nikon, etc, on average.
05/21/2005 02:34:22 PM · #18
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Originally posted by DanSig:



the Olympus is very cheap, around $550 so it's competing with HP Easyshare and other cheap cameras, even though it´s an SLR camera, if you have $2000 to spend on a camera, you don't look at $500 cameras ;)


$550? I'll take 2. Try $800-$900 for Evolt E300.

Canon lenses, while not cheap, are cheaper than Nikon, etc, on average.


The Olympus Evolt E-300 is a 100% digital SLR camera that eliminates any photographic limitations. A powerful 8-megapixel CCD combines with interchangeable Zuiko digital lenses, our exclusive Superson...

DigitalSaver.com Product rating: not rated
Lowest price: $589.00
05/21/2005 03:02:31 PM · #19
Originally posted by DanSig:

Originally posted by neophyte:

Nobody ever mentions the olympus evolt 3000. Is it a bad camera?


there is a reason why it isn't mentioned..

the war between Canon and nikon has been going on for over 30 years, like the war between BMW and Mercedes Benz.

everyone knows these brands and know that they live up to their reputation, when another model is mentioned like the Olympus nobody knows if it's good or not, and when it comes to lenses who would pay $1000 for a lens called Zuiko ?

the Olympus might be a good camera.. but until they get som quality lens manufactorer to produce top quality lenses for the olympus it will never be an option if the Canon or Nikon is on the list.

the Olympus is very cheap, around $550 so it's competing with HP Easyshare and other cheap cameras, even though it´s an SLR camera, if you have $2000 to spend on a camera, you don't look at $500 cameras ;)


I think that's a little bit of a distortion.

Olympus has been around making high quality cameras and lenses for quite some time. They are not newcomers to the SLR game with the advent of digital. Their E-10 was well thought of among the first generation of DSLRs and their C-8080 was rated highest among the first group of 8 mp prosumers. And Zuiko was a well known lensmaker with a reputation for quality (like Carl Zeiss or Leica) that was bought out by Olympus to use the name to mark the level of quality of their new 4/3 lineup. It's a new format and that's the reason there are not as many lenses available, but from what I've read all the Zuiko 4/3 lenses are top notch, no crap like the "consumer grade" models of Canon and Nikon to sort thru. Kodak has been a partner with Olympus in developing the 4/3 format from the beginning and Panasonic and Sanyo are recent converts. Sigma has announced a few lenses for the format, a 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6 will be the first to market.

The Supersonic Wave Filter, the Four Thirds format, and the sideways swinging mirror viewfinder of the E-300 are the type of innovations that you won't find in the offerings of the market leaders. Same as with the images here at dpc, the most popular is not necessarily the best.


05/21/2005 03:04:15 PM · #20
Originally posted by DanSig:

Originally posted by neophyte:

Nobody ever mentions the olympus evolt 3000. Is it a bad camera?


there is a reason why it isn't mentioned..

the war between Canon and nikon has been going on for over 30 years, like the war between BMW and Mercedes Benz.

everyone knows these brands and know that they live up to their reputation, when another model is mentioned like the Olympus nobody knows if it's good or not, and when it comes to lenses who would pay $1000 for a lens called Zuiko ?

the Olympus might be a good camera.. but until they get som quality lens manufactorer to produce top quality lenses for the olympus it will never be an option if the Canon or Nikon is on the list.



Olympus' Zuiko lenses are top notch, certainly much better than the
el-cheapo kit lenses that Nikon and Canon pump out.
05/27/2005 06:13:16 AM · #21
Wow!

Thanks for the huge response from everyone! Over the past couple of days I've been researching lenses (quite a bit) and I think I've come to a decision.

I'm going with the 350D body and the 17-85mm EF-S lense. If I do decide to get a telephoto it'll be a cheaper Sigma lense (Sigma Zoom Normal-Telephoto 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DC Autofocus Lens for Canon Digital EOS
) - it had a decent few reviews and the value for money is apparently excellent. I'm also going to get a normal fixed 50mm lense (f/1.8).

On top of that I'll probably go for the Sandisk 1GB III (or maybe 2GB).

With the money I'm saving on the budget telephoto I'll get some sundry accessories like bags, lens kit, lense cases etc. etc.

Thanks again to EVERYONE who gave me advice on this thread. I'm always so impressed by the community minded nature of DPC.

Farewell
Alex
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