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Thread: Buying an SLR camera - entry model and upgrade later?

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    Buying an SLR camera - entry model and upgrade later?

    Hi

    I have a beginner question: I have been taking loads of photos with DSLRs but unfortunately don't have one of my own at this point.

    So what's the best plan: get a starter model to get going quickly (say a Canon 1000D), and upgrade later or save up now to get something better (say a Canon 550D or 50D) that will last me a while. My considerations are mainly picture quality/size (ie megapixels), fps in RAW and ISO quality (I enjoy night photography so would like fairly noise-free performance at higher ISO). I do have almost a year's experience with a Canon 450D and know how to use its features quite well...

    Any suggestions/ideas are helpful!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Ben

    Well done to get the question across here from the Welcome thread.

    Okay, I'll get in first and let the other follow.

    Have you held a 50D (now replaced by the 60D) in your hands? That's one of the most crucial aspects of the whole excercise of choosing. You've got to find out what feels comfortable and 'right' in you hands. You're obviously used to the size of the xxxD series and would find the xxD series quite a bit bigger and heavier. But that may suit you.

    Clearly, if you have a budget to attend to, price is going to be the over-riding factor. The fact that the xxD series is a step up in cost from the xxxD series is because of the robustness, build quality etc. Yes, there are 'things' on the xxDs that are not on the xxxDs, but essentially both ranges will help you produce quality work.

    It's about how far you want to go with your photography and where you see yourself in the future. You're already talking about an upgrade at sometime in the future. If the xxxD range is what your budget will stretch to now, then go for it. If you can squeeze a bit more out of the budget, then go for the xxD.

    With the 60D just recently having come onto the market, the thought was that there might be good deals on 50D around. The other option is to think about second-hand (the fashionable term seems to be 'pre-owned'). Both the 50D and its predecessor, the 40D are out there available for sale.

    So, what does all that say? If in your position, I would try and get my hands on a 40, 50 or 60D as the first option. If that's not realistic, then going for the xxxD camera now, with a view to upgrading in the future, is perfectly sensible.

    And the crucial point is ... keep well away from those nasty Nikon thingies!!! On the other hand don't dismiss them or any other brand - you may find that it feels more 'right' in your hands.

  3. #3

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    2 penny for the guess..

    Re: Buying a camera...

    Hi Benro,

    For sure I'm not the best adviser here, but here are my 2 penny...
    1. Set up a budget.
    2. Buy a second hand "mid-pro" or what ever are called cameras D90 or 40D are both good.
    3. As much as possible, try both versions and choose the one who fits you.
    4. As a "low cost option" D3100 may be your choice... (here I might be wrong...and not even here)
    5. No matter what came you buy... spare some money for a tripod

    At the end.... buy the best you can afford, the biggest difference are the lenses
    Hope it helps

    Leo

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by LeoLeo View Post
    the biggest difference are the lenses
    Absolutely. Go lower on the body spec to be able to go up on the lens spec, if it comes down to an either/or situation.

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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    And the crucial point is ... keep well away from those nasty Nikon thingies!!!
    Ya, Canon users are easily confused by all that quality.

    You seem like you have Canon chosen already - it's good to know what system you're looking into. I always wonder why more people don't choose a system first before asking "what should I get, Canon X or Nikon Y?" I knew I wanted Nikon so it was just about how much camera I could afford. Donald's point about handling the Camera first is very important - not just from a "feels good" perspective but also in terms of menu/button/dial layout and availability. This was why I waited a little longer to get the D90 rather than the more affordable D5000. The larger viewfinder, 2 command dials, better button/menu layout, and built in AF motor are things that make me glad I spent a little more on the body than I wanted. It's also paying off in terms of my now not feeling like I need to upgrade my body anytime soon. I guess what I'm trying to say is, get the best camera body you can afford right now and stick with it for a while while you build up a lens collection. Your finances and mileage may vary of course.

    Steve

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    Re: Buying a camera...

    hey,

    thanks a lot for the advice! I have held a 50D and find the chunkier body actually more comfortable (I have quite long fingers so the larger grip definitely helps). However I do find them rather expensive, so maybe a second-hand isn't such a bad idea...
    Also, I spent quite a lot of time taking pictures of stars, etc. and I found that is -a lot- of noise on the 450D's ISO 1600 setting. Is that better on the 550D and the 50D?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Benbro88 View Post
    and I found that is -a lot- of noise on the 450D's ISO 1600 setting. Is that better on the 550D and the 50D?
    I think the star-trail experts around here will tell you NOT to think about going with a high ISO for these shots. Keeping the ISO down and increasing the shutter speed is the first answer.

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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I think the star-trail experts around here will tell you NOT to think about going with a high ISO for these shots. Keeping the ISO down and increasing the shutter speed is the first answer.
    I think you meant decreasing the shutter spead? Unless total darkness appeals to you

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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Hi Ben,

    High ISO settings for night work will give you truckloads of noise; most of my night shooting is done in the ISO 50 to 200 range (mostly 100).

    The number of megapixels a camera has actually has very little influence on the size and quality of images for a couple of reasons:

    1. Because images are 2 dimensional, if you want to double the print resolution, you'll need four times the pixels. So the difference in picture quality between a say, 12 MP camera and an 18 MP camera is approximately nothing. To double the print resolution of a 12 MP camera you'd need a 48 MP camera. The MP war should have been declared a draw once they broke through the 8 MP mark.

    2. As image sizes increases, so does the viewing distance. I have 22 x 33 inch canvas prints hanging on my gallery wall that were taken with an 8MP 20D ... a 10MP 1D3 ... and a 21MP 1Ds3 ... and you can't tell the difference.

    About the only real-world advantages of higher MP counts is that you can get more agressive when cropping.

    In terms of picture quality, there's very little difference between a 1000D, 550D, 50D, or 1Ds3 ... The differences come from lenses, post processing technique (especially sharpening), and photographer technique.

    Having said all of that, generally, I try to steer people away from the xxxX range due to the fact that they don't have a QCD (Quick Contol Dial) which makes frequent adjustments a "PITA". Additionally, the build quality of the xxxxD and xxxD isn't as good as the more expensive ranges.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    I think you meant decreasing the shutter spead? Unless total darkness appeals to you
    Oops. Ach, well, y'know what I meant!

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