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Thread: Recommendation for First DSLR Camera

  1. #1
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    Recommendation for First DSLR Camera

    Hey guys, I need some advice...

    Ill be getting my first DSLR in the next week or so. Now im an amateur photographer and I have become somewhat knowledgeable with all the theory behind it..but then egain this would be my first DSLR and I know its a complete diferent "monster" so alot of features and overal techniques will be completly different for me.
    I plan to use this camera for general use and action photograhpy (I'm an avid outdoorsman and montain biker)

    This is my dilema:
    Im looking at the Canon Rebel T2I, T3I or Canon 60D, 50D. Now, all those cameras come with a Satandard lens that is good for everything but does not exell at anything (just a thought) At the same time I could just get the body and spend the $$ on a good lens for for action photography....
    The big this tha I see on the highet end cameras that I list is that the have higher FPS and that important for action photography..

    This is what I have for lenses:
    Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II
    Canon EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 III
    Canon EF 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS

    Im starting to settle for the 60D with Canon EF 50mmF1.8 II and then go from there...


    What is you personal recomendation? Im trying to keep in under $1100.00 US.
    What combination of Camera or lens would you do?
    Is it better to get the better camera (Canon 60D) with the stardad lens and learn with that and later on upgrade??
    Im aware that even if I get the Canon Rebel T3I with the kit I would be happy and busy learning the skills but after reading soooo much about DSLR's and lenses I just confused myself...
    Thank for the input...
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 11th March 2011 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    To give the best advice we really need to know a bit more about exactly what you want to photograph.

    But to start with, is there any specific reason why you are thinking about Canon? They make good cameras but there are alternatives.

    Does size matter for you? The Canon XXD range, like the 40D, 50D, 60D are rather heavy chunky cameras compared with the XXXD models, like 400D, 500D, etc. A lot of people, myself included, prefer those larger bodies with easy to use controls but some people prefer something lighter. I just wonder if that would make a difference when carried on a mountain bike?

    With regard to lenses. Some kit lenses offered as an all in inclusive deal are cheap rather poor quality products, although you do sometimes see better offers. Purchasing the body and lens separately does mean that you get exactly what you want.

    If you are going to be serious about photography, and for a longish period, possibly life, I would say that it makes sense to get some decent lenses from the start.

    From your suggestions, I would say forget the 75-300. If you want something in that range the 70-300 IS although more expensive is a better idea. A 50 mm lens is quite good value if you don't need a zoom; which will depend on your photographic subjects.

    Whether you should get a lens with Image Stabilisation will, once again, depend on the type of preferred photography. They can make a worthwhile improvement for hand held shots, but do cost more.

    Another thought is to purchase a good secondhand camera, like a 40D for example, from a reputable source and have more money to spend on lenses.

    I originally went digital with a secondhand Canon 10D which came with a cheap Sigma 28-300 lens, which I wouldn't recommend. Then I purchased a 28-135 IS lens and a 70-300 IS both of which are good mid price lenses. Some time later I eventually managed to afford a Canon 40D and I am gradually moving to some decent 'L' range lenses. These are considerably better all round than the 'cheapie' versions but can cost more than your total budget for one lens.

  3. #3
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    jcandreu

    In the long run, lenses will definitely be your long term investments, but getting started you don't necessarily have to buy one and stick with it forever. But I personally would start with a zoom to give yourself a little more flexibility to start out.

    First, I agree wholeheartedly with Geoff. Dump that 75-300 from your list, without the IS, it isn't worth it. They're cheap lenses that tempt you in with the price, but the performance is just not there. And trying to use them hand-held at 300mm without IS is just painful. I bought one and I've already found other lenses to replace it and rarely use it. Additionally, a 75mm low end will be limiting with your photography to start, you'll keep finding yourself too close to subjects - you can forget any standard family portraits with that lens.

    I'd start with either the 18-55 you mentioned or the 28-135 that Geoff mentioned - and definitely get the IS, it is worth it. Both of those lenses come in kits, so if you look around, you might get a better deal for one of those in a kit than buying separately. The 18-55 is a smaller range, but I like the 18mm on the low end - you'll probably fill out your higher focal range with other lenses in the future. The 28-135 is a nicer range, but starting at 28mm might be a bit on the high side. (Not to confuse you more, but all of the bodies you have listed there have what is called an APS-C sensor, and with Canons produces a 1.6x crop factor of your lens, so all of your mm values will effectively be increased by 1.6x - meaning a 28mm is effectively a 44.8mm - just something to keep in mind)

    As for that 50mm, it is a great budget lens. Most times you can get it right around $100. So I'd just add that to the list for a future purchase, but you might not want to restrict yourself to it right off the bat. You don't have to worry as much with the IS on this 50mm as the large f/1.8 aperture is one of the nice features that makes this lens a little easier to use in dim conditions, thus making IS less necessary.

    I know you said your budget is around $1100, but I did want to point out one more camera to you. The Canon 7D. If you're looking for fast FPS, I'm pretty sure that there's nothing in the sub-$2k range that beats it. The 7D does 8 FPS which is FAST. I own one, so I know. I believe most of those other bodies you mentioned range from 3-5 FPS. Additionally, the 7D will be a slightly more weather-sealed body than the others (T#i being least weather-sealed, then the #0D line, then the 7D). But as Geoff pointed out, that's also the progression in the size/weight of those cameras as well. I also wasn't sure if you meant to carry the camera with you while biking or to take photos of fellow bikers - not sure how comfortable I'd be hitting any technical trails with any of these cameras on my bag. I used to bike regularly, and I've taken far too many nasty spills to consider it with an expensive camera. If you do plan on riding with it - insure it!

    And while we're ruining your budget, I'll point out that there is also the option for Canon's 18-200mm IS lens (Sigma's 18-250, and Tamron's 18-270 - both stabilized) which provides the largest zoom range, but obviously at the expense of being lens quality than some other lenses (though I don't know how much different than the 18-55 and 28-135). But if you want one lens for everything, that's an option. Admittedly, I don't own one - I have a semi-large array of lenses, and have constantly debated the 18-200 as a lens I could use when traveling and space for gear is limited.

    Hope I helped... though I think I may have just muddied the waters more!

    - Bill

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Geoff and Ktuli, thank you very much for you input...i was able to keep up with all the terminology so thats a good thing
    The only reason whay a mentioned the D60 is because it has a slighly faster FPS than the Canon 550D (Rebel T3I), the swivel lcd screen and the fact that is higher on the scale.
    I dont plan on riding with the camera just taking it to the trails to take pictures. Im interested in Canon beacuse the option of HD movie mode and for what I heard they are one of the best...thats it..
    Today Ill be going to a shop to see the dameras and be able to feel their size and weight, I just never thought of that.

    For the lenses I think is clear...stick to the good stuff....right? All the other lenses that are not IS will just end up for sale again or inside the closet.
    I make this adjustment on my lenses and still devided on the camera between the D60 and T3I
    Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II
    CanonEF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    Any other thoughts on the Camera only?

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Quote Originally Posted by jcandreu View Post
    I make this adjustment on my lenses and still devided on the camera between the D60 and T3I
    Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II
    CanonEF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    Any other thoughts on the Camera only?
    Hi Jcandreu,

    Welcome to CiC.
    For what you've described here, I would recommend you go for the 60D and those two lenses:
    Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II
    CanonEF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    My DSLR journey came from 550D, then 50D, then 7D. But I would say the 60D will be great for the purposes that you described here.

    If you have time, please introduce yourself here. And if you don't mind please write your real name in your profile so we know how to address you properly.
    Nice to have you here.

    Cheers,

  6. #6
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Well.... following Bagus request, my ñame is J. Carlos Andreu, born in Mexico City but ive been in Houston, Texas for over 9 years now. The great outdoors is my passion and all sport related.
    I'm a travel agent that specializes in cruises anywhere in the world. I alway wanted to learn photography and I'm glad to find a place like this... I'm convinced that I will be learning a lot from all of you...

    Going back to the topic, tpday I went to a shop and they handede the Sony SLT A55. It takes 10 fps, the image stabilization is in the body so no need for expensive lenses but only Sony and minolta lenses are compatible with it..swivel LCD screen, full hd, etc.... For less than $899
    This seems to be a very solid camera for te price but I'm sure there has to be a big turn off some where and I'm missing it...
    Would the canon t3i or d60 would still be better since they are real dslr's and are a lot more compatible with lenses and accessories?

    Any thoughts?

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Well.... following Bagus request, my ñame is J. Carlos Andreu, born in Mexico City but ive been in Houston, Texas for over 9 years. The great outdoors is my passion and sports.
    I'm a travel agent that specializes in cruises anywhere in the world. I alway wanted to learn photography and I'm glad to find a place like this... I'm convinced that I will be learning a lot from all of you...

    Going back to the topic, today I went to a shop and they handed me the Sony SLT A55. It takes 10 fps, the image stabilization is in the body so no need for expensive lenses but only Sony and minolta lenses are compatible with it..swivel LCD screen, full hd, etc.... For less than $899
    This seems to be a very solid camera for te price but I'm sure there has to be a big turn off some where and I'm missing it...
    Would the canon t3i or d60 would still be better since they are real dslr's and are a lot more compatible with lenses and accessories?

    Any thoughts?

  8. #8
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Quote Originally Posted by jcandreu View Post
    Going back to the topic, today I went to a shop and they handed me the Sony SLT A55. It takes 10 fps, the image stabilization is in the body so no need for expensive lenses but only Sony and minolta lenses are compatible with it..swivel LCD screen, full hd, etc.... For less than $899
    This seems to be a very solid camera for te price but I'm sure there has to be a big turn off some where and I'm missing it...
    Would the canon t3i or d60 would still be better since they are real dslr's and are a lot more compatible with lenses and accessories?

    Any thoughts?
    Hi Carlos,
    Thank's for the introduction. I'm now reading a novel about a medical doctor who was working as a cruise ship's doctor (Pacific Venus) as my Japanese language learning material. It's an interesting novel. Maybe one day I will take a cruise vacation.

    Ok, back to the topic. I've tried to look through an electronic viewfinder (EVF) of a Sony SLT Axx and tried to compose and focus using it. It doesn't comparable to a true viewfinder on a DSLR. I think it's easier to compose a picture using the LCD rather than the EVF. It is bigger, and finer resolution. In my opinion, you better stick with the Canon EOS 60D. If you want a faster frame rate, maybe you can search for a used Canon EOS 7D (8 fps). They really worth your money.

    Cheers,

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    ...Thanks thats exacly what im looking for...some advice based on experience. Now, let mw ask you aboutone more, and I promise this would be the last one! Sony Alpha DSLR-A580
    It has really good specs:
    Lower Noise, Image quality, battery life, HDR, image Stablization in body, 7fps.. seems to beat the T2i on all the reviews....

  10. #10

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Just a couple of extra thoughts, Carlos, based on my shooting methods.

    Do you really need a fast frames per second rate? I know that some people use this for flying birds or fast action sports, but I have never found any good reason to fill up my camera card with rejects. One shot is fine for me almost always and having an extra couple of shots per second doesn't make a lot of difference for most people.

    And would a tilt screen make any real difference? Once again, I have heard of people who shoot while looking at the screen but I have never understood why they think it is better than the eyepiece viewfinder. Except for difficult camera angles; and even then, lying in the mud is all part of photography.

    When reviewing shots through the screen, I need a reasonable amount of 'darkness' to decide which are the keepers so a tilt screen would be well down on my list of priorities.

    Just a couple of personal thoughts.

  11. #11
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Geoff, thats excatly what im starting to realize. After comparing so many cameras and reading about specs, features, advantages and comparing cons an pros i think I have just confused myself, having so many options doenst help.
    I took a look at he Canon 60D and 7D. they seem to be a hrder to figure out, more buttons, more options, menus and heavier. I think im going to keep it simple and go for the T3I....the new version od the 550D. Bigest diference is the swivel Lcd.
    Im getting a bundle with:
    Canon T3i (Body Only)
    EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS
    32GB Card
    Tripod
    Some other crap that comes with it for $1200.00

  12. #12
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Hi Carlos,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me, great to have you join us.

    Two things I'd say having read all the above ...

    1.
    EVF is better than nothing in bright light (compared to LCD alone), but for action shooting, the delay of sensor and EVF will mean you will mis-time critical shots
    unless you develop a good sense of anticipation
    I speak from experience of a Fuji bridge camera, but the principles must be the same, even for the Sony SLT, so the A580 sounds a better bet.

    2.
    However, the one thing you may find with Sony is a smaller lens range (compared to Canon and Nikon). Also when I researched going that way myself, I found the price gap between "normal" and "professional" grade lenses was huge.

    So, I'd look ahead to see what you might want in future and price it up. You should expect to want to avoid third party lenses, because by then, you'll almost certainly want something better.

    3.
    That said; I have owned the Sigma 18-250mm (on a Nikon), I found it had AF accuracy issues that were only solved by exchanging it at the shop I bought it from and paying the difference for the Nikon 18-200mm. Apart from the AF issues, the Sigma wasn't tooo bad, the Nikon is better quality in many areas; build, contrast, CA, etc. but if it hadn't had the AF issue, I would have been happy with it, but now I have a Nikon, I couldn't 'downgrade' to a third party telephoto, I have become a "lens snob"

    OK, that was three things, so sue me (I'm only joking)

    HTH,

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Good afternoon everybody, I am a "just joined the site beginner" and I have the same problem as Carlos.
    I will get my DSRL next week, my first, and I was just about to hit the button to buy my Canon 60D. A friend arrived from the US with a Sony 580 in the bag and now I just do not know what to do.
    I have never considered anything outside of the Canon vs Nikon battle, my first camera was a Canon AL-1 (gosh I'm old..) my twin brother was always a Nikon Troll .
    What do I do? Like Carlos, I'll be taking a lot of action photos plus wildlife. Is sony a fair bet? Is the 10 fps for real? Sony lenses should be good since they have the partnership with Carl Zeiss Jena.
    I reeealy need help.
    Eduardo

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    Re: Recommendation for First DSLR Camera

    I was shopping for a camera and I read all the information on this site and thought I had a good idea about photography. I bought a pentax based on specs and I don't see any comment about pentax kr. Does anyone one have any comments about this camera. The manual has 342 pages and the more I read it the more confused I get. this is my second response.

  15. #15
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    Re: Recommendation for First DSLR Camera

    Hello, Larry.
    You are quite right about we all being too focused on too few brands. Unfortunately, for me in Brazil, there is little if any servicing for Pentax. Canon, Nikon and Sony have larger operations here. In the US this is certainly not an issue.

  16. #16
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Quote Originally Posted by eribeiro View Post
    Good afternoon everybody, I am a "just joined the site beginner" and I have the same problem as Carlos.
    I will get my DSRL next week, my first, and I was just about to hit the button to buy my Canon 60D. A friend arrived from the US with a Sony 580 in the bag and now I just do not know what to do.
    I have never considered anything outside of the Canon vs Nikon battle, my first camera was a Canon AL-1 (gosh I'm old..) my twin brother was always a Nikon Troll .
    What do I do? Like Carlos, I'll be taking a lot of action photos plus wildlife. Is sony a fair bet? Is the 10 fps for real? Sony lenses should be good since they have the partnership with Carl Zeiss Jena.
    I reeealy need help.
    Eduardo
    Hi Eduardo,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me, great to have you join us.

    DPReview says;
    Continuous shooting:
    • Up to 7 fps in Speed Priority mode (AF/AE fixed at first frame)
    • Up to 5 fps with optical viewfinder
    • Up to 3 fps in Quick AF Live View mode
    The other thing to bear in mind is how many RAW images can it take (at those speeds) before the buffer fills up (answer, from another review site, was about 19-20).
    So at 7 fps (assuming you have a fast enough shutter speed set), after < 3 seconds, it'll slow to 1/2 frame/second, but you'll shoot for longer at slower speeds, and you'd probably want the 5 fps option so that focus tracks the subject anyway.

    So to answer the question, is it for real - no, but then in reality, these things never are, if the shutter speed is too slow (< 1/1000s) no camera can ever go that fast anyway.

    My D5000 is speced at 11 (and 4 fps, if I recall correctly) and I find, for wildlife shooting, when used in short bursts of 2 - 3 frames, that's fine. So although it isn't for real, it is no deal breaker either, unless you compare to the likes of the top end DSLRs costing 4 times as much.

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendation for First DSLR Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by ljack41 View Post
    I was shopping for a camera and I read all the information on this site and thought I had a good idea about photography. I bought a pentax based on specs and I don't see any comment about pentax kr. Does anyone one have any comments about this camera. The manual has 342 pages and the more I read it the more confused I get. this is my second response.
    Hi Larry,

    I'm sure the Pentax Kr is a good camera (although I have no personal experience), but in terms of a buying choice for a serious amatuer or semi-pro, it will ultimately be a lack of affordable quality lenses that may drive someone to change brands - but that's not what you asked.

    There are, I'm sure, other Pentax and possibly even Kr owners here, plus most things are similar between brands anyway.

    So if you're having trouble with the manual, just ask questions here and we'll do our best to help - if necessary, you may have to type out the passage in the manual that is confusing you, so we can 'translate'.

    Cheers,

  18. #18
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Dave tks for the welcome and for the information. I guess I'll stick to good old Canon/Nikon equation. The large choice of lenses also makes it hard to go elsewhere.

  19. #19
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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Quote Originally Posted by eribeiro View Post
    Dave tks for the welcome and for the information. I guess I'll stick to good old Canon/Nikon equation. The large choice of lenses also makes it hard to go elsewhere.
    Now I feel guilty, but I shouldn't really ...

    It is an unfortunate fact of life that what's best for us, just makes the situation worse for the "minority" manufacturers, if they had more customers, they be able to sell more lenses, so they'd invest in providing a bigger range - it's an unfortunate 'viscous circle' that may in time lead to only Canon and (hopefully for me) Nikon, continuing in the DSLR/interchangeable lens business.

    Like many industries, some early standardisation (e.g. of mounts and communication protocols between lens and camera) would have benefitted the smaller (and third party) lens producers. I guess this has happened with 4/3 and micro 4/3, so if that side of the format wars ever takes a majority market share in future, things will be better.

    It's just one of those 'history' things, before the e-revolution (and a lack of world wars) made communication between companies in different countries so easy, everyone did their own thing.

    I'm rambling, I'll stop ...

  20. #20

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    Re: New Camera Recomendation...

    Thanks For all the imput. I seem to be to timid to take this camera off auto. I would like to try different aparture and iso settings. I can't break it by expermenting with all the different manual settings?

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