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Thread: transitioning to DSLR advice

  1. #1
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    transitioning to DSLR advice

    Hi,

    First, I'd like to express profound gratitude for your site and its fantastic tutorial section... many of them are the best I've seen anywhere, and I was so enthralled after reading the two that I initially came here to read, that I've now studied all of them, including those I thought I knew well... it turns out, not nearly as well as I thought. Thanks!

    I'd like to get some opinions on my first "Real" Camera. Skipping the models I started out with, my first decent camera was an Olympus C-750 UltraZoom, that I got for a trip to Antarctica in January 2004... I learned the ins and outs, and was generally extremely happy with the camera; there was really no comparison to the cybershots et al. that I'd had before.

    I was happy enough with the Olympus UltraZoom product line to, when it came time to upgrade, buy the SP-500UZ no questions asked. The controls, programmability, and manual capabilities are great: I've taught myself a ton using these two cameras, and I think I've pretty much mastered most of the great flexibility that these cameras allow.

    Now, however, it's time for a "real" camera, to help me expand my technical competence, as well as to get the quality that, no matter how much you tweak it, simply can't come from a good-but-not-great sensor.

    I'm seriously looking at the Canon EOS 40D. What do you guys & gals think? (I'm quite technically minded and can learn new technologies quickly) All in all, i'm ready to spend about US$ 1500 max. all-in-all for my first purchase (body, lenses, etc.) but can easily see myself spending more over the next few years on different lenses, filters, accessories, etc.

    A requirement is that, since I do a decent amount of "aaargh... quick! get the camera out!"-type shooting while on hikes, treks etc, it does need to have some sort of rudimentary auto setting that's decent, as well as powerful customization for the more regular "this shot would be great, let's spend time to set it up properly"-type shooting. If it's relevant, I use GIMP for post-processing.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, what cameras similar to the 40D should I look at (it's extremely difficult to parse dpreview if you don't know exactly what you're looking for)? Most of my high-quality shooting is landscape and wildlife... any advice on lenses other than the standard 18-55mm? As it's been around a while, would waiting for the 50D be better?

    Sorry for the long post, but I'd greatly appreciate any opinions on any of the above. Whether or not they are forthcoming, many thanks for the highly informative site!

    Storkk
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 22nd February 2009 at 08:29 AM.

  2. #2
    shreds's Avatar
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    Re: transitioning to DSLR advice

    This is a question that often gets asked here, and one for which there is no stock answer. Canon/Nikon/Sony/Olympus/Pentax and to a lesser extent Samsung etc are all well known leading brands in the DSLR market with a good range of backup equipment.

    Landscape....I don't think there are any full frame DSLRs at this price point, but you might want to bear this in mind if you later trade up, since you will probably keep your lenses and buy a new body. I am sure others here can give advice on the 40D, equally the Nikon D60 and D80 are in a similar market. Do read lots of reviews though, some will have a bias. Try someone like www.KenRockwell.com who is always first with reviews and has plenty to say.

    Wildlife.... speed.... to some extent depends on the lenses, big telephoto 'glass' for wildlife shoots can be mega expensive. try and go for something with a larger aperture such as f4 or f2.8 but the wider the aperture, the more expensive it becomes. If you are looking at fps then again you should be well covered by the big names such as Nikon & Canon etc.

    Generally though kit lenses are a compromise, so you should try talking to your shop (or shops) for demos and whilst you say 'wildlife', is that an eagle, a tiger , or something tamer or even microscopic?

    They will all influence your lens choice, ranging from telephoto through to macro lenses for the small stuff.

    Tell us a bit more and I am sure more advice on specifics will be forthcoming.

  3. #3

    Re: transitioning to DSLR advice

    In addition to the excellent comments from SHREDS, if size is a consideration, you may want to look into Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic. All of these offer cameras that are comparable to the Nikon and Canon, but specialize in more compact equipment.

    Good luck,

    dpc

  4. #4
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    Re: transitioning to DSLR advice

    Quote Originally Posted by storkk View Post
    Hi,

    First, I'd like to express profound gratitude for your site and its fantastic tutorial section... many of them are the best I've seen anywhere, and I was so enthralled after reading the two that I initially came here to read, that I've now studied all of them, including those I thought I knew well... it turns out, not nearly as well as I thought. Thanks!

    I'd like to get some opinions on my first "Real" Camera. Skipping the models I started out with, my first decent camera was an Olympus C-750 UltraZoom, that I got for a trip to Antarctica in January 2004... I learned the ins and outs, and was generally extremely happy with the camera; there was really no comparison to the cybershots et al. that I'd had before.

    I was happy enough with the Olympus UltraZoom product line to, when it came time to upgrade, buy the SP-500UZ no questions asked. The controls, programmability, and manual capabilities are great: I've taught myself a ton using these two cameras, and I think I've pretty much mastered most of the great flexibility that these cameras allow.

    Now, however, it's time for a "real" camera, to help me expand my technical competence, as well as to get the quality that, no matter how much you tweak it, simply can't come from a good-but-not-great sensor.

    I'm seriously looking at the Canon EOS 40D. What do you guys & gals think? (I'm quite technically minded and can learn new technologies quickly) All in all, i'm ready to spend about US$ 1500 max. all-in-all for my first purchase (body, lenses, etc.) but can easily see myself spending more over the next few years on different lenses, filters, accessories, etc.

    A requirement is that, since I do a decent amount of "aaargh... quick! get the camera out!"-type shooting while on hikes, treks etc, it does need to have some sort of rudimentary auto setting that's decent, as well as powerful customization for the more regular "this shot would be great, let's spend time to set it up properly"-type shooting. If it's relevant, I use GIMP for post-processing.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, what cameras similar to the 40D should I look at (it's extremely difficult to parse dpreview if you don't know exactly what you're looking for)? Most of my high-quality shooting is landscape and wildlife... any advice on lenses other than the standard 18-55mm? As it's been around a while, would waiting for the 50D be better?

    Sorry for the long post, but I'd greatly appreciate any opinions on any of the above. Whether or not they are forthcoming, many thanks for the highly informative site!

    Storkk
    I too learned digital on the OLympus line. I'm now using an olympus e volt 500. my next camera WILL be a canon eos 40d. I like olympus but there are some features on the eos 40d that i prefer. the olympus line has their metering info in the viewfinder on the side,and it drives me crazy. i'll be using the olympus evolt 500 for my second camera , probably with a short lense 18mm to55mm. the canon will be the main. plus i'm looking forward to learning a new system.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 23rd February 2009 at 07:20 AM.

  5. #5
    pixel pete's Avatar
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    Peter Phun

    Re: transitioning to DSLR advice

    Storkk,
    Since I have no idea what operating system you're using or how old your computer is, may I suggest you read my tips on getting started in digital photography. If you already know this information, I apologize.

    I am very happy with my Canon 40D. Of course I'd love to go out and buy the 5D MarkII but it's a big chunk of change. I think it will be a while before you out grow the 40D. I had a 20D which I was pretty happy with. The downside to the 20D? Sensors are hell to keep clean. The 40D has some mechanism which "shakes" the dust off apparently. But where do they collect after the camera shakes it off, inquiring minds want to know?

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