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Thread: First Digital SLR Purchase - Which One?

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    First Digital SLR Purchase - Which One?

    Hi all, I am wanting to upgrade to a SLR from my my current Canon K2. I know nothing about digital, except what I have read over the last couple of weeks. I am currently looking at Canon's XTi and XSi. I have a friend at work who has a XT and she told me that if I go with the XTi that I should get an IS lens but if I fork out a few extra $$$ for the XSi that I won't need an IS lens because the IS is built into the camera.

    Should I go with a kit(if so which one) or get the body and lens seperate?

    I will be using the camera for my children's sports, duck hunting trips, vacations, and just general picture taking. I really enjoy taking photo's, just up until now I didn't realize how horrible my current ability was. I would also like to be able to learn how to use the manual settings on the camera instead of using the defalt settings all the time. The defalt settings just seem too dull to me now that I have been checking stuff out on the net.

    Sorry about this being so long winded. If I have forgoten any info that anyone needs to help me make a decision please let me know.


    Thanx
    Scrat

  2. #2

    Re: Which one?

    Scrat,

    The XSi doesn't have IS built in to the camera but it comes with an IS lens as part of the kit. You can use the lenses from your K2 with either the XTi or XSi but if you go with the XSi it is probably worth the extra $100 for the kit and the IS lens.

    If it were me I would definitely go with the XSi - the image quality at high ISO is clearly better, the *huge* 3 inch LCD is really nice, it has live view...those things alone are worth the extra money over the XTi as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm using an XT and debating whether or not to get the XSi as a stop gap until whatever replaces the 5D comes out.

    Then of course there's the other brands but I won't even touch that one...

    Brian
    http://www.brianchapmanphotography.com

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    Re: Which one?

    Thanx for the reply brianchapman.

    I have a friend of mine who told me to go with a Nikon D40 kit (18-55mm and a 55-200mm lense) I can get one for $674. She has a photo studio here in town and for some reason I forgot about her. She has a Nikon D80 that she uses for her buisness. I personally don't know what I should do. Should I go with the D80, D40, Canon XTi, Canon XSi?

    I have been reading Ken Rockwell's sit for a couple of days and he praises the D40 a lot.

    Thanx in advance for all the help.
    Scrat

  4. #4

    Re: Which one?

    Hi Scrat,

    The D40 is a really nice camera. My partner has one and I've seen some really excellent colors and detail from it (with the kit lens as you describe). I personally have been using Canon equipment but primarily because I have been doing mostly long exposure and night photography. Until recently the Canon models have been superior in both cases (night/long exposure) but now the gap has definitely narrowed - especially with the introduction of the D300 and D3...both of which are *significantly* more expensive than the XSi.

    I personally, and this position is highly variable among photographers, look at image quality above all else when I'm evaluating a camera. My preferred style of photography leaves me using mostly manual mode on a tripod so I don't care [as much] about things like frames per second, autofocus speed, feel of the body itself, etc.

    All that said - I can't argue much with those that really like the D40 for the qualities that it offers - one of which is the Nikon "look." Out of the box the pictures from the D40 are excellent and realistically (and I'm sure Ken Rockwell would support this statement) you won't find a lot of difference in the prints unless you're doing really big prints. Not to mention the price is right.

    Now I'm rambling...but it really depends on what type of photography you're doing. Based on your first message I honestly think you will be extremely happy with any of the cameras you mention...and of course that doesn't help with the decision!

    Brian

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    Re: Which one?

    One of Ken's fundamental points is that the photographer matters a LOT more than the camera. He tends to favor Nikon but also has Canon equipment.

    In your case, since you have a pro friend who is plugged into the Nikon path (and hence a potential source of lenses for loan as well as helpful advice) I would be tempted to go Nikon. (And I say this as a Canon EOS40D user).

    if you are inexperienced, the D40 will be ample for your needs for a while yet, and very good value.

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    Re: Which one?

    Thanx guys! I will go with the D40. I am sure it will be all I need for a while.

    Thanx again for the responses.
    Scrat

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    Re: Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrat View Post
    Thanx guys! I will go with the D40.
    That might be a "limiting" decision, Scrat.

    The thing with the D40 is that it does not have an in-camera Auto Focus (AF) drive motor: simply put, this means that a very large number of currently-available lenses will not auto focus on that body.

    That would be a huge problem for me - it's "half a camera" as far as I'm concerned (and likewise the D40X and D60).

    Also - and I say this reluctantly, because I'm trying not to be"brandist" here - I have significant misgivings about whether the IQ you will get from the D40/D40X/D60 bodies will be up to that of the Canon "equivalents" once you're into high(er) ISOs: I don't think anyone would dispute that all other things being equal, these Nikons simply will not perform as well in lower light situations as the Canons.

    A final suggestion: before being too influenced by Rockwell's opinions, spend some time on line to get a feel for opinions about Rockwell.

    A great many photographers will - as a matter of well-informed principle - look at what Ken Rockwell has to say and then do the exact opposite...

    He has even admitted to "reviewing" and recommending equipment via his website that he has subsequently confessed to never having used, and actually describes his own site in the following manner:
    I offer no warranties of any kind, except that there are many deliberate gaffes, practical jokes and downright foolish and made-up things lurking. While this site is mostly accurate, it is neither legally binding nor guaranteed and the only thing I do guarantee is that there is plenty of stuff I simply make up out of thin air.
    You can at least believe this from him..!


    Last edited by Keith Reeder; 20th May 2008 at 10:36 PM.

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    Re: Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    One of Ken's fundamental points is that the photographer matters a LOT more than the camera
    Well he actually says the (choice of) camera doesn't matter

    Some people would beg to differ.

    "Some people" are right, I reckon..!


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    Re: Which one?

    OK well that makes my decision a lot harder! Mr. Reeder, what camera would you advise? I really like the Cannons but the friend I spoke of ealier said she got the XTi and it took horrible pic's inside in low light. She really likes her D80. I am not brand biased so I just want the best camera for the $$$.

    HELP PLEASE!
    Scrat

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    Re: Which one?

    I beg to differ; the XTi, while not the best camera at high ISO speeds, it still performs quite well comparitively to others at the same bracket.

    I would like to make your decision even harder.

    Take a look at the awesome Olympus E-420 with the pancake lens! Holy cr@p is this thing tiny or what? The sensor on that one is smaller than the ones on the Nikon and Canon and some peope say the image quality in high ISO (typically used with lowe light) is a bit inferior.

    I tell you one thing, it is exciting now buying a new camera.

    1) Canon XSi: Awesome for the liveview - please note that this is the newer version of Canon's entry level DSLR
    2) Canon XTi: Very popular entry level DSLR and been shown capable.
    3) Olympus E-420: Tiny as hell! Possible lower IQ - do some research. I love how the E-410/420 sits in the hand. Check out the E-520 if you think you need image stabilization in-camera.
    4) Nikon D60: Amazing price but see autofocus issue with non-auto lenses. However, this wouldn't be a limiting factor if you research that the lenses you want are compatible.
    4) Samsung GX-10: One heck of a camera with weatherselaing! Almost the same copy of the Pentax version, but cheaper.

    It's always good to have options in life.

    You almost can't go wrong with any of the above for your purposes. A lot of pros and cons, but keep in mind that you can not go wrong.

  11. #11

    Re: Which one?

    There are two things to compare - feel and operation of the camera (including construction, frames per second, shutter sound, etc) and image quality. I personally care much more about absolute image quality and I therefore don't really put much weight on the former. To compare the latter I like to use this link:

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

    Load the images side by side for each camera - the newer cameras all have the full ISO range for the studio scene.

    If you do this for the XSi and D40 you'll probably pick the XSi - it's hard not to see a difference in detail captured with the extra megapixels and there really isn't much difference in noise. For me (and knowing what I already know about noise and long exposure performance in the Canon lineup) I would choose the Canon.

    Canon has a pretty good rep for low light and long exposure photography so I'm surprised your friend found the results so bad...

    And all that said, the D40 produces very nice images and at normal print sizes you probably wouldn't notice any detail difference between the two cameras.

    Brian

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    Re: Which one?

    I would add to that list the Pentax DSLRs. They have a couple of ticks on checkboxes that make them very tempting:

    -In body shake reduction. This makes possible to have shake reduction with any lens, not as in most other manufacturers which have lenses with VR and lenses without it.

    -Very good high ISO performance.

    -Compatibility with any K mount lens made. This makes possible to use any lens ever made. A manual focus prime can be bought much cheaper than a current prime. Pentax-M 50/1.4 for example are excellent lenses, that can be found really cheap, as most lenses. By the addition of a new focusing screen with microprism and split circle, it's a pleasure to use these cameras (I have a K100D Super with a Katz Eyes focusing screen and it's a different world).

    I think they should be considered. I've heard that the K20D is selling at a good price, and it gives a lot for the price I've seen it.

    Cheers!
    Sebastián.

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    Re: Which one?

    Brian, the imaging-resource link you provided is great!

    Seb, the Pentax is on the list, well kind off. Since the Samsung (its cheaper brother) is there. I gotta admit, if I was buying a new camera, I would seriousy consider the Samsung/Pentax at this time.

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    Re: Which one?

    Thanx guys for all the responses. I read a review at www.popphoto.com on the XSi and after reading it I think I will go with it. It will be a couple of months before I get it so I will keep reading on the net until then.

    In the link above they compare it to the D40, XTi, and a couple others I can't remember but they state that the XSi is head and shoulders above them. They also state that the XSi is above an entry level SLR.

    Thanx again
    Scrat

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    Re: Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by xeliex View Post
    Brian, the imaging-resource link you provided is great!

    Seb, the Pentax is on the list, well kind off. Since the Samsung (its cheaper brother) is there. I gotta admit, if I was buying a new camera, I would seriousy consider the Samsung/Pentax at this time.
    Oooops... you're right, it's there. My mistake, sorry.

    The K200D/K20D with weather sealing -only a few cameras can take pictures out in the rain-, in body shake reduction (pentax call it that way), compatibility with K mount lenses... I gotta admit I keep asking myself why I didn't wait some months for the K200D or K20D. Although my K100D only lacks weather sealing -and 4MP less, but that doesn't matter to me-, that's a feature I would really like to have.

    Between the XSi and the K200D, the decision would be VERY difficult for me. I also consider Pentax a serious choice at this time.

    Cheers!
    Sebas.

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    Re: Which one?

    Brian - I was not necessarily saying that Ken Rockwell is right, and I am familiar with the excellent luminous landscape reviews. I think when Ken makes the remarks he does, a lot of it is tongue in cheek, and it has to be read in that context. However, in some respects the thrust of his arguments is right in my view.

    Many photographers, perhaps especially on internet forums, get very into all the technicalities of cameras. They will discuss features and faults and IQ at high ISO endlessly. I sometimes think they should get out more ....and take some pictures. What sets good photographs apart is mainly the eye of the photographer. Many iconic images of the last century were taken with what some would regard today as pretty basic equipment, and are no less powerful for that.

    Whilst things like the availability of a vast array of compatible lenses is perhaps of importance to the enthusiast, I suggest that it is not a hugely relevant point to the relative beginner starting out in DSLR photography. Beginners tend to buy a body and perhaps one or two lenses. Many stop at that point because a couple of lenses is often enough for most people's needs (and pocket). if they get more keen, then the camera body gets upgraded. Then they realise that they would like L series lenses, and so on....

    Do you really think it matters all that much whether one buys a D40/60/80 or a Canon XSi or the Sony/Pentax/Olympus equivalents. They are all popular and good choices and capable of taking good pictures. You can find reviews praising and criticizing all of them. They are all just someone else's opinion, and contain an unknown degree of bias.

    In the case of case of Scrat though, he has a pro friend who is Nikon equipped. There may be advantage in tapping in to that resource to begin with.

    Kind regards

    Adrian

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    Re: Which one?

    I like what was said here:

    "One can't build a modern house with a stone axe, and a doctor can't do surgery without a finely honed scalpel. I'm a pretty decent photographer, and give me a Holga toy camera and I can do some fun shots with it. But I can't do a formal portrait, an architectural commission, a sports or wildlife shoot, or a table top still life or product shot without the right tools, which may include at any one time a camera with a large sensor, long lens, technical movements, and other tools and techniques of the trade."
    Kinda sums up the debate.

    I have a holga, a DSLR, a point and shoot, and a 5 megapixels camera phone
    When I need quality photos, I take my DSLR, when I don't want to carry anything, I use my cell phone cam, when I want to have fun and be different, I take the Holga. Etc...

    But I think we all agree that any of those choices mentioned will be a good choice. Now we are talking about what brand scalpel the is the surgeon to use? They all will get the job done, but some will handle, feel, and slice a bit differently.

    I personally love weathersealing and as such I am partial to the Pentax / Samsung.
    (though you need to make sure the lenses are weatherproof as well).
    Last edited by xeliex; 22nd May 2008 at 07:20 PM. Reason: quote?

  18. #18

    Re: Which one?

    Well I think the one thing that is clear from this discussion (among *many* others) is that everyone has an opinion, all equal on different merits, including me. My opinion is still that if you want the best pixel peeping image quality excluding all other factors in an entry-level dslr at a range of ISO's including up-sampling and down-sampling to match camera X then the XSi is your camera. For sure it doesn't have weather sealing, a high frames per second, vibration reduction, etc, but it's an entry level dslr.

    I am in 100% agreement with Adrian when he says:
    "Many photographers, perhaps especially on internet forums, get very into all the technicalities of cameras. They will discuss features and faults and IQ at high ISO endlessly. I sometimes think they should get out more ....and take some pictures."

    And as a result I stated earlier that I think that the Nikon D40 is an excellent camera and in fact the best picture I have ever seen of myself was taken just last week with the D40 - excellent sharpness, fantastic color, etc (I only remember because it's a rare occurence!).

    Realistically - just like DVD players, video game systems, watches, and computers - every company is going to try to distinguish their product based on the features that their marketing department believes are the most advantageous for selling their products.

    So I think that if Scrat goes Nikon and the D40 because he has a friend already familar with the equipment, if he chooses Canon and the XSi because I say it is the best deal, if he chooses the Pentax because of the weather sealing, etc...I really don't think any will be a poor decision.

    To Scrat, and I think the others will agree, I realize this is an endless argument (I talk to myself about it nearly every day) but you really have to go with something and then work with it. If you think you can do better with something else after you get some experience in the digital world then just be glad you only spent a few hundred on an entry level model...

  19. #19
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    Re: Which one?

    I really enjoyed reading through this tread I just purchased the Canon Reble XSi and love it. It is very light weight and takes amazing photos even with the standard lens. The images are clear and I have no hard time figuring out the settings. Now I just have figure out how to take night photos ....

  20. #20
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    Re: Which one?

    Welcome to the forums eph2810!

    It never ceases to amaze me how much technology brings joy to our lives

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