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Thread: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

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    Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    hi guys,

    yeah yeah the perennial question discussed ad nauseam here and everywhere else but there're always variables which affect it each time, confusing me everytime so pls bear with me. the common beginning of any reply to such a question is,'that depends on your needs....'

    as my nick indicates, i'm a cityscape and architectural photography lover - just initiating into it (ref. my introduction). have an old canon ixus 50, and everyone everywhr indicates a DSLR is a must, so the local canon showroom suggested i start with an entry-level EOS 1000D Kit (EFS 18-55).

    first, what i KNOW i want and dont want:
    outdoor/landscape - yes
    structures/buildings- YESSSS
    night photography - YESSSS
    portraits/products - no
    sports/moving obj. - no
    video photography - NO

    flash- a part of every camera, i know, but not a big fan of flashes, probably out of ignorance! not very happy with its use as such, and after learning about the interplay of ISO, aperture and shutter speed and trying very amateurish night photography, i'm excited at possibilities in available lighting, esp full moon or single lights. very keen to pursue that, particularly in B&W.

    budget - utpo $1,500 (all inclusive-camera, lens, tripod, shutter release, etc.)

    from what i've read here and around, the obvious limitations of the 1000D to me seem -
    - 10.0 MP
    - max ISO 1600
    - 2.5" LCD
    Does this mean if I pursue the hobby VERY seriously, i'll have to upgrade very soon??? what would be the next-model option? canon of course says tilt-and-shift is a must for architectural photography, but i have some way to go before i go THAT expensive, right? esp. given so many differing opinions online on their very need...

    what abt other lenses? as a starter, do i need more than the kit for architecture? i read somewhr if i'm gonna go for the kit, i might as well save my money and use a PnS!! is the kit THAT useless? whats next in lenses then? (maybe 1-2 for now without complicating my life so much i give up!)

    attaching a comparative chart of the EOS 450D Kit II (EF-S18-200), EOS 1000D -Kit (EFS 18-55) and the PowerShot SX210 IS (surprise surprise - for its price & features, it doesnt seem a total throw-away!) http://www.canon.co.in/compare/produ...3=1424&lang=EN

    or some other model perhaps? can u help?

    thanx
    mitesh

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Hi mitesh.
    As useful as the 1000D no doubt is, it is probably a bit underspecified these days.
    I would suggest the 500D or if your budget can stretch to it, the 550D [which has the better sensor for low light conditions]
    The 18-55mm kit lens is often dismissed but I think its a great starter lens and it scores very well at photozone which is a specialist lens testing site.
    http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/40...is_50d?start=1
    A possible cheapish prime lens for lower light and landscape work could be the 28mm f2.8

    An alternative could be the Pentax K-x which is great value.......however the range of AF lenses is a bit limited

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Hi Mitesh,

    Very tough post to answer.

    Some initial thoughts ...

    - You're going to need a LOT more than just the camera - so you'll need to budget for a lens or two - a tripod - the camera - and I suspect a flash or two before too long ... and that's just for starters.

    - Even entry-level cameras like the 1000D can take a great shot - but - cameras like that aren't always the nicest to use ... something like a 550D is better - something like a 60D is better again - something like a 7D or a 5D2 is even better than that - and a 1Ds3 is king ... but ... each costs more than the other ... so everyone has to draw the line somewhere (same goes for lenses). So you don't want to waste money by buying something that's a lot more than you need - but you don't want to waste money by buying something that's too limiting either.

    - Your requirements seem to favour wide-angle lenses. I've had personal experience with the kit lenses and frankly the only thing that stopped my kicking the darn things into orbit was the fact that someone gave me $50 for it ... I wasn't happy with the sharpness - or contrast. If I were you (which of course I'm not) - I'd probably start with something like a 550D, a 17-40mm F4.0L USM lens (the lens will make more of a difference than the camera to the actual image quality), and a sturdy tripod but I have no idea what that combination would go for.

    For tripod work you generally don't need high ISO performance ... for landscape work you'll probably only ever use LOW ISO settings (I do, and even then I knock the effective ISO back with additional filters to extend the shutter speed onto into many minutes). High ISO settings reduce the range of brightnesses than the camera can capture, which is a serious problem with low-light photography.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    thanx guys... that was a gr8 start

    both of u agree on the canon EOS 550D, and it looks like a perfect upgrade on the 1000D. so IF i go in for a dslr, 550D it is - not much confusion there... and www.photozone.de (thanx for that link, Stu - its so damn detailed in its reports and gives fantastically impressive results in terms of pics too! tho i didnt find any nite shots...any reason there, u think?) gives amazing results for the EF 17-40mm f/4 USM lens - does that mean i dont need any telephoto lens for cityscapes/building pics at all, nothing beyond 50mm you think, colin?

    'IF' did i say??? coz just when i was convinced abt a dslr, i've been reading up about hybrid cameras all day! (dont thank me - thank the companies for making life more and more difficult!!). so now there's sony NEX-5/3, panasonic LUMIX G1/G2/G10 and samsung NX-10!!

    sony in particular boasts an APS-C sensor like in dslr's, an amazingly small body, a swivelling LCD display, half the weight of the smallest Sony dslr, interchangeable lens capabilities, and photozone.de rates its E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens very highly. so does anyone know of any reason WHY one shouldnt go for such a light-weight almost-dslr camera and an add-on lens superior to the kit one?

    and supposedly the hybrid's the system of the future...?

    cheers
    mitesh

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Mitesh:

    As soon as you emphasized architectural and landscape photography, it was obvious there are really only two lenses that will satisfy over the long haul:

    1) Canon TS-E 17 mm f/4 L (on a 1.6 crop body, it will behave like a 27.2mm lens)

    2) Canon TS-E 24 mm Mark II f/3.5 L (on a 1.6 crop body, it will behave like a 38.4 mm lens)

    Yes, they are very pricey and there is a learning curve that no other lenses have, but there are no other lenses that can do what these can do. And the quality is superb.

    http://www.ronscheffler.com/blog/?page_id=309

    http://www.mtitechclub.org/canon-ts-...ilt-shift-lens

    http://ethanmeleg.blogspot.com/2009/...hift-lens.html

    The third link deals with landscape work - these lenses also perform very well because focus from mere inches to infinity can be achieved at larger apertures.

    These lenses are the landscape and architectural photographers dream come true. No more distorted perspectives (building that get smaller at the top), and out of focus foregrounds.

    Glenn

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by cityscapelover View Post
    both of u agree on the canon EOS 550D, and it looks like a perfect upgrade on the 1000D.
    It reall depends on what you can afford. Personally I don't like the xxxD entry-level range because they're too small - they don't have a quick control dial on the back (so you end up having to do a lot of button pushing) - and the shutter life is only around 1/2 that of it's bigger brothers (the xxD series); I'd much rather have a 2nd hand 40D.

    ...gives amazing results for the EF 17-40mm f/4 USM lens - does that mean i dont need any telephoto lens for cityscapes/building pics at all, nothing beyond 50mm you think, colin?
    It all depends on how far away they are. I've shot landscape at 14mm on a full frame camera and at 200mm on a full frame camera.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Mitesh:

    As soon as you emphasized architectural and landscape photography, it was obvious there are really only two lenses that will satisfy over the long haul:

    1) Canon TS-E 17 mm f/4 L (on a 1.6 crop body, it will behave like a 27.2mm lens)

    2) Canon TS-E 24 mm Mark II f/3.5 L (on a 1.6 crop body, it will behave like a 38.4 mm lens)

    Yes, they are very pricey and there is a learning curve that no other lenses have, but there are no other lenses that can do what these can do. And the quality is superb.

    http://www.ronscheffler.com/blog/?page_id=309

    http://www.mtitechclub.org/canon-ts-...ilt-shift-lens

    http://ethanmeleg.blogspot.com/2009/...hift-lens.html

    The third link deals with landscape work - these lenses also perform very well because focus from mere inches to infinity can be achieved at larger apertures.

    These lenses are the landscape and architectural photographers dream come true. No more distorted perspectives (building that get smaller at the top), and out of focus foregrounds.

    Glenn
    Hi Glenn,

    Welcome to CiC - it's great to have you with us.

    I'm wondering if perhaps the jury is still out on TS-E lenses for landscape and architecture. I shoot landscape with everything from a EF14mm F2.8L II to a EF16-35mm F2.8L II to a EF24-70 F2.8L to a EF70-200 F2.8L IS USM II, and I thought the TS-E 17mm would be a great addition and so went out and bought one ... and ended up sending it back. For landscape I just couldn't find anything particularly compelling about it - plus - it was impossible to use GND filters on it which are essential.

    I have a collegue who made a very comfortable living as an architectual photographer - and when I asked him the TS-E question he said "I never use them".

    Having said that, I have a TS-E 90 on the way because I need the DoF and perspective adjustment for product shooting. I might add that I have another collegue with the TS-E 17mm who loves it.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    thanx again guys - to tilt-shift-not-to-tilt-shift, that is the question i guess, glenn, to which there's no ONE answer

    about the canon xxxD and xxD series colin, here's a comparative analysis from the canon website (40D does not exist here, so i've taken the 50D - much difference?):

    Model............................EOS 50D........................EOS 550D.....................EOD 1000D Kit(EFS18-55)
    Recommended Retail Price..INR 64,995......................INR 47,995.....................INR 25,295
    Effective Pixels................15.10....................... ......18.00............................10.10
    Effective ISO...................ISO 100 3200................ISO 100 - 6400...............100 - 1600
    Movie Mode.....................NO....................... .........YES...............................NO
    Shooting Modes...............Live View shooting, and.......Still photo shooting and.....---
    ....................................Remote Live View shooting...movie shooting
    Shutter Speed Range........1/8000 to 1/60 sec............1/4000sec. to 30secs.......1/4000 to 30 sec.
    Metering Range................EV -0.5 18.....................EV 1 - 20.......................EV 1 - 20
    Cont. Shooting Speed.......Max.6.3 shots/sec.............3.7 shots/sec............JPEG MAX.3 shots/sec.
    LCD Monitor....................3.0 inch............................3.0 inch.........................2.5 inch
    Coverage.......................Approx.100%........ .............Approx. 100%................Approx. 95 percent
    ....................................(viewing angle:160)..........
    Weight (Body ONLY).........730g...............................4 75g..............................450 g

    the rest of the factors are more or less very similar. so basically, do these factors justify the almost 3 times the price of a 50D compared to the 1000D (esp. with LESS MPixels in 50D and much MORE weight!)? or have i missed out something here? sorry to wrack your brains so much but i'm too new to understand, and it's too big an investment so dont want to make an unjustifiable mistake!

    cheers
    Mitesh

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Hi Mitesh,

    Have a read through these posts and see if any of the discussions help ...

    Confused... Too many options/jargon when choosing a new camera

    Canon 550D

    50D and 500D

    Camera Upgrade: Canon XT to 40D or XSi

    Unfortunately, specifcations don't account for things like build quality - shutter life - durability - ergonomics all of which are FAR more important in the "real world" than whether it weights 300g less, or is a few dollars cheaper (both of which will equate to about nothing by the time you've added lenses + tripod etc).

    All I can say is that many years ago I bought a xxxD camera and after realising my mistake a few weeks later, I sold it to buy a xxD series camera. And I'd do the same again because nothing has changed to make the xxxD better compared to the xxD range (for me anyway).

    Hope this helps. Perhaps some of the others will chip in here as well.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    If you like night photography you might end up using a lot of bulb and high ISO. So I'd get something that allows you to turn off DFS and has good high ISO performance. Architectural, you might end up wanting a tilt-shift lens. Good luck!

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nass View Post
    If you like night photography you might end up using a lot of bulb and high ISO. So I'd get something that allows you to turn off DFS and has good high ISO performance. Architectural, you might end up wanting a tilt-shift lens. Good luck!
    Hi Nass, Mitesh,

    I agree with the first bit, night photography will use bulb mode, but it rarely uses high iso - afterall, you've got to use a tripod, so keep the iso low and use a longer shutter 'opening period' - I hesitate to call it 'speed' when it is tens of seconds to several minutes long

    Cheers,

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Colin, I find the DoF scale on the TS-E 90mm a waste of time personally. I'm not making 10x8 prints of distant subjects from 35mm though. Nice lens that laughs off the resolution demands of the 7D even with a load of extension tubes....loadsa fun

    Think I'd want shorter TS-E lenses for cityscapes too.....maybe one day....

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    night photography will use bulb mode, but it rarely uses high iso
    I agree. High ISO reduced the dynamic range that the sensor can capture, and with night photography you generally need all the dynamic range that you can get.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    wow...the answers i wanted were already there! this reminds me of a mythological tale from my childhood - one of the gods, hanuman (a flying monkey-human) had a voracious apetite and once his hostess, a queen, exhausted all the palace's food trying to feed him but he kept asking for more. she didnt know what to feed him next, so a wise sage gave her a few magical herbal leaves for hanuman - and lo-and-behold he was satiated to the brim!!

    here i kept asking for more when my exact questions were already answered in detail a few times before! your links gave me what i was looking for. my apologies for not reading all the previous posts (there are like a 100+ pages!). but very sweet of you guys to still indulge me so patiently

    and here i was about to go for the 550D!! thanx colin - 50D it should be...

    a 17-40mm F4.0L USM lens (the lens will make more of a difference than the camera to the actual image quality), and a sturdy tripod but I have no idea what that combination would go for.
    a local photographer and a canon dealer confirmed that the 17-40mm F4.0L would be a great choice i will be deciding by this weekend - will keep you posted

    I agree with the first bit, night photography will use bulb mode, but it rarely uses high iso - afterall, you've got to use a tripod, so keep the iso low and use a longer shutter 'opening period' - I hesitate to call it 'speed' when it is tens of seconds to several minutes long
    so true dave - last nite was a full-moon nite so i tried to shoot it against the length of my 20-storey building, perching out of my window i could barely look up and hold the camera steady! an ISO of 100 showed nothing but the moon, so i tried 400 - the building was beautifully lit but the entire pic was orange and grainy!! so i came back to ISO 100 and increased the meter to +2 and 'cloudy' mode (dont have nite-mode on my compact) - loooong shutter 'opening period' (good one, dave - what 'speed'!!!), quite a shake, no orange, no noise but the building was barely visible! hopefully i should better once i get my DSLR!!!

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by cityscapelover View Post
    and here i was about to go for the 550D!! thanx colin - 50D it should be...
    Perhaps ... the 60D was recently announced.

    a local photographer and a canon dealer confirmed that the 17-40mm F4.0L would be a great choice i will be deciding by this weekend - will keep you posted
    The EF16-35F2.8L USM II is a better lens, but it's also more expensive. 17 to 40 should be fine for you.

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Mitesh, a 50D, a 17-40mmL, plus tripod and gear?....you were kidding about the $1500 budget, right?

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    lol...exactly what i was about to reply, stu - there goes my budget!! considering i started with a 1000D which is for about $500!! but didnt make much sense, did it, if its THAT basic and i had to upgrade very soon. and the site u started me on, photozone.de, was the clincher for the lens - it shows such tempting results for the lens...so i should be thanking u for making me overshoot my budget...or is it blaming u???

    actually the camera & the lens are probably a tad cheaper here - i'm getting them for around $1,500 - whats left is the tripod, shutter release...a bag? am i leaving out anything major? will that really cost a lot? i know, i know, depends on the type, make, etc... well, hopefully i shall be making full use of my investment, with the help of this place

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    Quote Originally Posted by cityscapelover View Post
    whats left is the tripod, shutter release...a bag? am i leaving out anything major?
    3-Stop Hard Edge GND Filter

    3-Stop Hard Edge Reverse GND filter

    Vari-ND ND filter

    Lee foundation kit

    Adapter Ring

    Multi-Coated UV filter for weather sealing and front element protection

    Timer / Counter

    Ball head

    + Sleeping bad and thermos for 4am pre-dawn starts!

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    grrrrrr....... u just hate me, dont u colin!!! why else would u do this to me JUST after making my life simpler??? when will i SHOOOOOOOT????????

    in any case, i have NO idea what all those terms mean...so in a few years' time when i've learnt more abt them, i shall start getting them

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    Re: Which camera/lens??? routine question but with VERY specific needs...

    and oh, u forgot the editing software...photoshop elements at the very least???

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