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Thread: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

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    E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Hello all, I have been shooting film again after an 18 year leave from all of photography and now am looking into buying a used DSLR. I've read a ton online, but see contradictory statements and find myself ending up even more confused. I am looking to buy (have been checking E-Bay for deals) a digital camera that gives me control to learn while yet doesn't lock me into "trusting" the dummy settings forever. I am mainly focusing on wildlife (birds, etc.) and have about a $300 (US) budget to spend on a used body. I've lost a lot of the information that once clouded my brain and am now forced to worry about things such as overexposure. I'm getting better and reading to relearn those things that were second hand, but it will take time. Right now I am shooting a Minolta X-700 and Canon Rebel 2000 (got the Canon for free), but feel that it may be easier (and cheaper) to learn on a digital where I can experiment for free. I am open to all recommendations and plan on buying cheaper body to allow for more expensive glass in the near future, but would like to make sure this body will allow me to do what is necessary to improve. Thanks to all for reading and helping. Chris
    Last edited by hoffstriker; 24th August 2009 at 05:10 PM.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Hi Chris,

    Several times you mention "body", but not "lens", is this because you intend to use something you already have?

    (That may limit your choices, or not be possible)

    Cheers,

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    When considering going digital with a DSLR, Chris, where to start is a simple question but all the answers soon get complex. I have found this review and advice site useful http://www.imaging-resource.com/ but I'm afraid your budget is a bit tight if you want to get into serious digital photography, even secondhand.

    Now for some very rough suggestions: Some people like the simpler option of what is sometimes called a 'bridge' camera which is basically an advanced 'point & shoot' with just one fixed lens. They are relatively inexpensive yet have most of the controls and settings of a full DSLR. When used correctly, they can produce some good work and make a cheap learning camera.

    If, however, you want fully interchangeable lenses it becomes a bit more of a minefield. Firstly choose your company (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc) but choose carefully as you will be 'selling your soul' to that company for evermore. Or face an expensive change of alligence. In reality there isn't a lot of difference between them as regards quality at the same price level.

    If you can find a good secondhand camera at a good price that may be sufficient to make up your mind. That is what happened with me. I bought a Canon 10D plus lens on e bay; but too late I found that it was a 'dropper' or some similar catastrophe happened to the lens which had developed some strange faults. However, I eventually purchased some better lenses but have become a 'Canon man' now.

    I know some people who have had good deals on e bay but that was my one and only purchase and I would never feel safe there again.

    If possible I would suggest going to a shop and handling a few cameras to see what feels right in your hand, even if you don't purchase anything there.

    As a very rough idea, and just going with Canon for now. The 400/450D are good cameras with full DSLR settings but unless you get an exceptionally good deal will be outside your price range. You may find a 350D secondhand at a better price and apart from fewer pixels it isn't greatly different from the newer models.

    Personally, I prefer a larger and heavier camera so I currently use a Canon 40D, but you could find a good deal on a 20/30D secondhand.

    Nikon have similar alternatives but I will the details on those to a 'Nikon man'.

    All in all it is difficult to advise you until you have made the 'brand leap'. Although I would mention that, on reflection, it may make some sense to simply save a little bit longer so you can join the 'camera arms race' at a slightly higher level, which could work out cheaper in the long run.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Sorry to not go into a little more detail with the situation and thanks to both of you for the replies. I have mainly minolta lenses, but those pre-date auto focus. I have one (less expensive) canon 40-80 EF. The reason I am attempting to be so cheap with the body is to invest a couple thousand in the lens(es). I have not made a brand leap, but from what I see Canon has the price point, whereas Nikon has slightly easier controls. Basically, do either of you see any difference in the two for my particular application? Or is it, as I am coming to believe, a strictly personal preference issue? As for the price of the body, I am slightly flexible and if need be, for my application, I can adjust accordingly. Thanks again.
    Last edited by hoffstriker; 24th August 2009 at 11:53 PM.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    I have not made a brand leap, but from what I see Canon has the price point, whereas Nikon has slightly easier controls. Basically, do either of you see any difference in the two for my particular application? Or is it, as I am coming to believe, a strictly personal preference issue?
    Being a proud Canon man - in all honestly - I think that it's true to say that both manufacturers have (for all intents and purposes) identical models at given price points.

    Even going a step further, I don't think that the old "handling both, see which you prefer" advice is really a long-term solution either as I've known many who have either switched camp (some several times) or shoot both, and almost without exception it comes down to being happy with either once you've got used to it. Perhaps in a way like cell phones - I've had Motorola, Nokia, Eriksson, and now an iPhone ... takes a day or two to get used to the way any particular manufacturer does it, and then your away laughing.

    Which returns us to the point of "which one to buy" ... I think the important realization here is that there probably isn't a "wrong" choice ... despite what the marketing would have us believe, even 5 year old models have more in common with the very latest model than there are differences, and the overlap in capabilities between models and brands is enormous.

    I print most of my work 22 x 44" - and if my Canon 1Ds3 fell over on a trip and I had to use, say, a Canon 20D as a backup, I really don't think that you'd see one heck of a difference in the quality of the shots that I came back with.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    As a general rule, I find that Nikon cameras tend to hold their secondhand value a bit more.

    While there isn't a great deal between cameras produced over the past few years I wouldn't want to go back too far. Say a Canon 350D or 20D or the Nikon alternatives should be fine as they aren't too distant from the latest models. The exception being if you want to do any of the 'extreme' photography work where maximum pixels or burst rate are more important.

    By handling the cameras before buying, I was thinking more about deciding between, for instance, a Canon 350 or 400D and a 20 or 30D as some people find the 350/400D range a bit small and fiddly while others consider the 20/30D to be too heavy and difficult to hold.

    And, once again, I would say that if you are considering purchasing a body to last several years don't skimp too much on price now.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    As a general rule, I find that Nikon cameras tend to hold their secondhand value a bit more.

    While there isn't a great deal between cameras produced over the past few years I wouldn't want to go back too far. Say a Canon 350D or 20D or the Nikon alternatives should be fine as they aren't too distant from the latest models. .
    Thanks Geoff. After the replies and e-mails I have received, it appears the 20d is the way to go. I recently made a bid for $375 (US) on a body, battery pack, and starter lens due to the accolades that it has received on here. I am looking for the cheaper body with the intent on spending decent cash on "good glass". My main intention is then to stick with the "L" series and I have seen how much that will set me back, especially considering I am looking at the longer tele's. But, "you can't take it with you" will be my motto for that. Just hope the wife understands.

    Thanks,
    Chris
    Minolta X-700, Canon Rebel 2000, and hopefully soon Canon 20d

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    My main intention is then to stick with the "L" series
    A fellow L-coholic ...

    ... I like this person!

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Just an FYI to all that helped.... Bought the 20d used today from a local camera store (so I know what I am getting). After getting two auctions cancelled after winning got sick of the run-around. Guess that sums up E-Bay. Thanks to all

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    You can't go wrong with that camera. Compared with the latest models, it may be a bit lower in pixels and a slower burst rate but most of the time that doesn't really matter anyway.

    I bet that when you eventually move up to a 40D, or whatever number is current then, you will still keep that camera as a back up. Like I still have my 10D.

    What really put me off the auction system was sellers bidding up the price. Four times in a row I lost out at the last moment but each time the seller contacted me the following day to say that the buyer had withdrawn so was I still interested. Now I may be paranoid but I thought that was suspicious; and I didn't feel safe buying from that type of person!

    The last time, when I knew what was happening, I took a gamble and bid beyond what was a reasonable price so that the seller/bidder, after winning, had to either pay commission to buy their own camera or get another black mark for withdrawal. I didn't get the camera but I felt better !

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    "My main intention is then to stick with the "L" series and I have seen how much that will set me back, especially considering I am looking at the longer tele's."

    Chris, since you are now in the position I was a bit ago, I might suggest that you look at the 400/5.6 L. True, it's not as useful in low light as the f/4.0 or the f/2.8, but the cost savings are substantial. With Canon's 1.4x and 2.0x extenders you get lots of reach, but with manual focusing. The reviews I read before purchasing noted how very sharp it is, and my experience confirms that.

    Good shopping,

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Thanks Joe and Geoff. Yes, Geoff, that is exactly what I believe is happening as well. I have had three sellers contact me after I had lost in the last half hour with the same line that the buyer had backed off, but that they will be willing to sell me the camera not at my bid price, but at inflated cost above what I payed with a camera store. Plus, the guys at the store have taken the time to answer many questions (believe I have a ton) and also they have shared their pictures and reviewed and given insight to mine. I will still venture onto E-Bay, buy to all who try to purchase on there, keep in mind that their are a lot of shaddy practices going on. At least, that is how it appears.

    As for the lens, Joe, I am actually considering the 70-200 F-2.8 IS L series as my first large lens. Since money is always a consideration, I am attempting to get the most bang for my buck and the reviews on this are basically flawless. I'm still gonna keep using the X-700 with the 500mm Rokkor for any thing needing a longer reach, but everyone I talk to claims this won't last long once I have shot a few hundred with my 20d. But, as they say: "the plans of mice and men often go awry". Heck, in my first night of shooting I shot more than the last two weeks with film...lol

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    As for the lens, Joe, I am actually considering the 70-200 F-2.8 IS L series as my first large lens.
    Chris, had I not gone for the 75-300 f/4-5.6 with my initial purchase, I would be looking at the 70-200 f/2.8L as well. I concur that it's a great lens. I may end up there myself one day. With even a 2x tele-extender it still autofocuses as a 400 f/5.6 at the long end, but only if wide open (at least with my camera--I think some of the higher end Canon cameras can autofocus at f/8.)

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Have you ever tried www.Keh.com? You can find really great prices on second bodies and lenses there. You can also try getting non IS versions of the Ls if you wish to save some money. They're just as wonderfully sharp, just invest in a good pod if you drop below the recommend shutter speed for avoiding camera shake.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    Chris,

    since you mentioned you have a range of pre-AF Minolta lenses, if you do find that are simply gathering dust you might want to try looing at http://www.dyxum.com, which is a site based arround the Sony / Minolta system.
    There are a number of people there who use the older lenses on the AF bodies via adaptors so you might find you can sell the stuff you're not using to help fund something for the new toy

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer? Transitional DSLR needed...

    I actually have been using a Manfrotto Mono-Pod with my Minolta X-700 and 500mm. It works surprisingly well. Have not tried it on the 20d yet, due to only having a 28-80 and not really needing it yet. Anyway, thanks for the info from both of you.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    When considering going digital with a DSLR, Chris, where to start is a simple question but all the answers soon get complex. I have found this review and advice site useful http://www.imaging-resource.com/ but I'm afraid your budget is a bit tight if you want to get into serious digital photography, even secondhand.

    Now for some very rough suggestions: Some people like the simpler option of what is sometimes called a 'bridge' camera which is basically an advanced 'point & shoot' with just one fixed lens. They are relatively inexpensive yet have most of the controls and settings of a full DSLR. When used correctly, they can produce some good work and make a cheap learning camera.

    If, however, you want fully interchangeable lenses it becomes a bit more of a minefield. Firstly choose your company (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc) but choose carefully as you will be 'selling your soul' to that company for evermore. Or face an expensive change of alligence. In reality there isn't a lot of difference between them as regards quality at the same price level.

    If you can find a good secondhand camera at a good price that may be sufficient to make up your mind. That is what happened with me. I bought a Canon 10D plus lens on e bay; but too late I found that it was a 'dropper' or some similar catastrophe happened to the lens which had developed some strange faults. However, I eventually purchased some better lenses but have become a 'Canon man' now.

    I know some people who have had good deals on e bay but that was my one and only purchase and I would never feel safe there again.

    If possible I would suggest going to a shop and handling a few cameras to see what feels right in your hand, even if you don't purchase anything there.

    As a very rough idea, and just going with Canon for now. The 400/450D are good cameras with full DSLR settings but unless you get an exceptionally good deal will be outside your price range. You may find a 350D secondhand at a better price and apart from fewer pixels it isn't greatly different from the newer models.

    Personally, I prefer a larger and heavier camera so I currently use a Canon 40D, but you could find a good deal on a 20/30D secondhand.

    Nikon have similar alternatives but I will the details on those to a 'Nikon man'.

    All in all it is difficult to advise you until you have made the 'brand leap'. Although I would mention that, on reflection, it may make some sense to simply save a little bit longer so you can join the 'camera arms race' at a slightly higher level, which could work out cheaper in the long run.
    Good info. I want to photograph my paintings in realistic detail. The old Coolpix 3100 is just not up to the task. I have been encouraged to us GIMP...which is my next learning process. (I have used Picassa only, which is limiting) I have Nikon and my wife has Canon. The transfer software to the computer is certainly different. Any Idea which company excells? Great information on this site. Thank you.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 26th October 2009 at 07:08 AM.

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    The transfer software to the computer is certainly different. Any Idea which company excells?
    Approx 100% of photographers transfer images to a PC by using a card reader

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Approx 100% of photographers transfer images to a PC by using a card reader
    A card reader? really? What's wrong with simply plugging the camera stright into the computer via USB?

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    Re: E-Bay: Is this the answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    A card reader? really? What's wrong with simply plugging the camera stright into the computer via USB?
    Card reader. Thats new to me. I just used Nikon and Cannon computer software for transfer. Where are these card readers. (don't send me to a gypsey)...jus to lighten.

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