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06/26/2007 07:14:41 PM · #1
I'm finally getting a dslr!

I'm really excited, but it is really overwhelming deciding which one to buy and what to get with it for lenses, accessories, etc.

Body:
I think I've narrowed it down to the Canon rebel XTi or the Nikon D40x.
I used a Nikon D50 while at school and I generally liked the feel of it and the quality of the images I got from it, but I did find the layout of the settings and menus a little bothersome. My P&S was a Canon and so was my film slr and I did find them reliable and liked my results.
My school requires at least an 8 mp camera, and it seems to me that the 2 I've stated would be the best choices for a student who will use it a lot.

Lenses:
The kind of photography I'm interested in is portraiture and macros. So a decent quality macro lens is an absolute must to buy with the camera. I care about detail and focus, and I want a camera that will give accurate colors. What focal length lens am I going to need for day to day shooting? I've been told in the past to skip the kit lenses and get something better, but what should I be going for? My budget is not unlimited, but I am willing to buy 2 -3 lenses to make sure I have what I'll need for school and I want to get reasonable quality ones.

Accessories:
What should I get? Is a battery grip something I should buy right away? How much memory should I start out with?

Thanks for all your help!
06/26/2007 07:22:52 PM · #2
If those are your two camera options I would choose the Xti, I don't know much about kit lens for Canon, but I would look into the Tamron 17-50 2.8, I have no no macro but I am always impressed with Sigma 105 mm macro lensm which you could also use for portraiture. My two cents, the D40x, limits your lens options to only ones that will auto focus with lenses that have a motor in them, and it doesn't have an LCD to show camera info like f-stop, shutter speed, you have to look through the viewfinder.
06/26/2007 07:31:16 PM · #3
Well I guess I'll start with the push for the Canon, I'm sure the Nikon people will chime in shortly to give their suggestion too.

Body:
Neither camera will steer you wrong, both are great. But the advantage to the Canon is the ability to use third party lenses that are not HSM (Sigma is the only 3rd party with this system). The D40x will not be able to be used with anything but HSM 3rd party lenses since all the others are driven by the internal focus motor that the D40/D40x lacks.

Lenses:
Portraiture on a budget? Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, can't go wrong. If you've got more to spend, the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L is wonderful as are the various incarnations of the 50mm lenses as well as the 85mm lenses. The 70-200mm series are also good for portraits but, as you can tell, they have a larger working distance. For macro, the Canon 60mm f/2.8, Canon 100mm f/2.8, Sigma 105mm f/2.8, etc. The list goes on. There aren't many [i]bad[/bad] macro lenses, but I would advise to stay away from the Canon 50mm macro since it can't go 1:1.

Accessories:
Hold the camera, see if the grip is needed. Grip is also good if you'll be out for longer periods of time and need the extra battery life. I started out with 1gb and 2gb cards and have since added another 2gb card but get as much as you can I suppose. Sturdy tripod is a must if you plan on macro shots as is a decent flash that you can take off camera or some kind of lighting. Remote releases (wired and wireless) are cheap and can be useful. An extra battery or two is also nice to have ($20/ea from sterlingtek.com).

That's all I have, hope this helps.

Edit to add:
Originally posted by jdannels:

...and it doesn't have an LCD to show camera info like f-stop, shutter speed, you have to look through the viewfinder.


Neither does the XTi but the main LCD doubles as a status display for both cameras.

Message edited by author 2007-06-26 19:32:44.
06/26/2007 07:35:43 PM · #4
if it was me..
-xt (body only)
-tamron 28-75 2.8
-canon 70-200 f4l (if its in the budget)
i own both of these lenses.
-sigma 105mm macro (dont own it but looks like it gets great results) or canon if you can afford it.
-maybe a 2 gig card and a 1 gig backup?

i wouldnt worry about a battery grip as i never had an issue with the battery on my 350d.
(is it just me or do people just walk around with battery grips to make thier cameras look bigger?)

Oh and while your their pick up a 50mm 1.8

06/26/2007 07:37:42 PM · #5
Originally posted by boysetsfire:

is it just me or do people just walk around with battery grips to make thier cameras look bigger?


I hear it's also to make it more comfortable to hold... That and if you're doing lots of portraits, I guess it makes sense to have it. But not necessary by any means. Oh and ditto the XT over the XTi, you'll save $200 to throw into something else if you can find one.

Message edited by author 2007-06-26 19:38:34.
06/26/2007 07:39:21 PM · #6
There is a deal online at future shop for a Rebel XTi kit that comes with EF-S 18-55 Lens and EF 75-300 III USM Lens and a 4 GB card for $1,249.99 canadian, but the deal ends in a couple of days so I have to figure out if that's what I want really soon. Are these lenses reasonable?
06/26/2007 07:39:48 PM · #7
Canon 60mm 2.8 would cover you for both macro and portraiture to get started out.
06/26/2007 07:42:15 PM · #8
Originally posted by moniepenny:

There is a deal online at future shop for a Rebel XTi kit that comes with EF-S 18-55 Lens and EF 75-300 III USM Lens and a 4 GB card for $1,249.99 canadian, but the deal ends in a couple of days so I have to figure out if that's what I want really soon. Are these lenses reasonable?


Forget these kits, you will get better deals and better quality by buying them separately. The 75-300 III USM is not a very good lens btw.

With the C$ almost at par with the US$, it is very worthwhile checking out B & H.

Message edited by author 2007-06-26 19:43:17.
06/26/2007 07:43:55 PM · #9
Originally posted by routerguy666:

Canon 60mm 2.8 would cover you for both macro and portraiture to get started out.


That is a good suggestion.

I'd stay away from the 75-300. It's not at all a sharp lens past 200mm. There are other, better, 70-300 options out there. My research on them, however, is not good, or current.
06/26/2007 07:44:24 PM · #10
Originally posted by moniepenny:

There is a deal online at future shop for a Rebel XTi kit that comes with EF-S 18-55 Lens and EF 75-300 III USM Lens and a 4 GB card for $1,249.99 canadian, but the deal ends in a couple of days so I have to figure out if that's what I want really soon. Are these lenses reasonable?


The 75-300mm lens is not all that great. Read the reviews on photozone.de and see what I mean. I had a budget of $1200USD and bought the following:
Rebel XT body only - $620
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 - $350
Canon 50mm f/1.8 - $70
1gb and 2gb CF cards -$35
Both remote shutter releases - $40
Extra battery - $20
Total: $1135 USD

I then saved up a little longer and got the Sigma EF500 DG Super flash unit for $200 and some batteries for it.
06/26/2007 07:46:00 PM · #11
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by routerguy666:

Canon 60mm 2.8 would cover you for both macro and portraiture to get started out.


That is a good suggestion.



is it that much better than the tamron 28-75 2.8? i have never used one.
06/26/2007 07:47:49 PM · #12
OP wants to do macros and portraits, so in that sense - yes.
06/26/2007 07:49:18 PM · #13
Originally posted by boysetsfire:

Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by routerguy666:

Canon 60mm 2.8 would cover you for both macro and portraiture to get started out.


That is a good suggestion.



is it that much better than the tamron 28-75 2.8? i have never used one.


Very different animals.
The 60mm macro is quite a sharp lens, and also capable of 1:1 magnification. it is, or course a fixed focal length lens (60mm).
The 28-75 is a very good zoom lens, and is capable of close-up imaging, but not true macro. It isn't going to be quite as sharp as the 60mm macro, but of course it covers the focal lengths from 28mm to 75mm.

ETA: 60mm is a great portrait focal length on an APS-C (1.6-crop) camera. That, combined with the sharpness and compactness, and flexibility to do true macro, make it a great choice.

Message edited by author 2007-06-26 19:50:35.
06/26/2007 07:51:09 PM · #14
you should go hold the cameras and also check out each's lenses. That should help you sort out which body to buy. I like my nikon because it fits in my hand well and I thought the menus were intuitive (for my brain anyway) but I know that canon has a more extensive line of lenses.
06/26/2007 07:52:55 PM · #15
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by boysetsfire:

Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by routerguy666:

Canon 60mm 2.8 would cover you for both macro and portraiture to get started out.


That is a good suggestion.



is it that much better than the tamron 28-75 2.8? i have never used one.


Very different animals.
The 60mm macro is quite a sharp lens, and also capable of 1:1 magnification. it is, or course a fixed focal length lens (60mm).
The 28-75 is a very good zoom lens, and is capable of close-up imaging, but not true macro. It isn't going to be quite as sharp as the 60mm macro, but of course it covers the focal lengths from 28mm to 75mm.

ETA: 60mm is a great portrait focal length on an APS-C (1.6-crop) camera. That, combined with the sharpness and compactness, and flexibility to do true macro, make it a great choice.


hmmm, so probably wouldnt need the 50mm then either.
although 60mm is VERY tight on the croped sensor so will be wanting something wider also.
06/26/2007 07:55:12 PM · #16
I seriously suggest passing the D40 up. It wasn't one of Nikon's better ideas.
06/26/2007 08:03:09 PM · #17
Originally posted by boysetsfire:


hmmm, so probably wouldnt need the 50mm then either.
although 60mm is VERY tight on the croped sensor so will be wanting something wider also.

I haven't seen you show much interest in macro, and 1.8 and 2.8 will give you a lot more light but no macro capability. Maybe look into the 50 mm 1.4 lens if you're looking for a good prime and can afford the extra cost. or you could throw cost to the wind and get the 50 1.2L, 21_F.gif goodman just got one, go look at her ordinary objects challenge photos, sweet glass. :)
sorry for the hijack...
06/26/2007 08:07:41 PM · #18
Originally posted by jdannels:

you could throw cost to the wind and get the 50 1.2L, 21_F.gif goodman just got one, go look at her ordinary objects challenge photos, sweet glass. :)


she could shoot through a freakin tube sock.
06/26/2007 08:57:15 PM · #19
Originally posted by SamDoe1:

Originally posted by boysetsfire:

is it just me or do people just walk around with battery grips to make thier cameras look bigger?


I hear it's also to make it more comfortable to hold... That and if you're doing lots of portraits, I guess it makes sense to have it. But not necessary by any means. Oh and ditto the XT over the XTi, you'll save $200 to throw into something else if you can find one.


I agree with the comfort with the grip. I have the Rebel XT and I find there is not enough room to hold it with all my fingers on the camera. My finger usually falls off the bottom. This makes my hand very cramped. I have recently used a 20D with the grip and it was a thousand times better. I think this will be the next thing I will put on my want list. I guess it depends how much time you are going to be shooting at once, will it be a photo here and there?

As far as lenses go I don't know enough yet...Still learning!
06/26/2007 09:21:08 PM · #20
Originally posted by boysetsfire:

Originally posted by jdannels:

you could throw cost to the wind and get the 50 1.2L, 21_F.gif goodman just got one, go look at her ordinary objects challenge photos, sweet glass. :)


she could shoot through a freakin tube sock.


An old dirty one at that.
06/26/2007 09:22:30 PM · #21
Originally posted by macleodn:

I agree with the comfort with the grip. I have the Rebel XT and I find there is not enough room to hold it with all my fingers on the camera. My finger usually falls off the bottom. This makes my hand very cramped. I have recently used a 20D with the grip and it was a thousand times better. I think this will be the next thing I will put on my want list. I guess it depends how much time you are going to be shooting at once, will it be a photo here and there?

As far as lenses go I don't know enough yet...Still learning!


I have little hands and find the XT to be perfect ... before buying my camera I went to the local shop to hold them all ... the Nikon line was just too big for my hands, I felt like I would drop them ...
06/26/2007 10:07:18 PM · #22
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I seriously suggest passing the D40 up. It wasn't one of Nikon's better ideas.


The 40x does meet your specs for 8 mpix or larger. One lens would fill both your needs..... if you can live with manual focus. Personally, all of my macro shots are manual focus. The camera simply can't tell where the microscopically thin DOF should go. Only I can decide that. So.... I'd suggest the 60mm macro lens. We have several portrait photographers here who use it.Librodo
is one. This would give you both macro and portrait if you're willing to forgo AF.
I think for maximum flexibility the Canon route would be best. And... you'd keep your AF ability. The 100mm macro might be a good dual purpose lens with
Canon DSLRs.

I think Nikons only failure in this idea was not taking human nature into account. I hear many Nikon users tell anyone who will listen not to touch the D40(x). I believe it's almost the cheapest route into the DSLR domain right now. And because of human nature the D40 is extremely cheap. I've played with one and it's extremely lightweight. The only lenses that AF with the D40(x) models also happen to be the best and most modern lenses. I know of at least four of these being used by small newspapers by reporters due to the low cost. So, with respect to marketing the D40(x) may be a failure, but it's a fine tool none the less.
06/27/2007 12:49:58 AM · #23
Thanks everyone for your very helpful suggestions!

Tomorrow I am going to go to my local camera store and see if the XTi feels good in my hands, if I find the controls easy to understand for the way my brain works, etc. And then I'll worry some more about what lenses to go for and how I am possibly going to afford all the good things I want. : )
06/27/2007 01:38:23 AM · #24
Add me to the list of those in favor of Canon's 60mm f/2.8 EF-S macro lens. It is exceptionally crisp and sharp, it's a true macro lens, and it's quite a bit smaller, lighter, and less expensive than the 100mm Macro. It's a really nice lens, one of my favorites.

I, personally, couldn't live without the 10-22mm ultra-WA lens, but I'm a wide angle landscape freak so...

R.
06/27/2007 11:23:03 AM · #25
I would have to tell you to go with the xt, just because of the d40x's lack of supporting a lot of nikon's lenses. So:
Canon Rebel Xt
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 or Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro or Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM
Canon 70-200mm f4 L or Sigma 70-200 f2.8(not sure on the quality here)

Ryand

Message edited by author 2007-06-27 11:23:12.
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