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Camera buffs / enthusiasts - advice for DSLR purchase?

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
Hiya fellow PS'ers,

I have been interested in stepping up my photography interest for a couple of years now, and an upcoming holiday has been the impetus to commit to purchasing a good 'entry level' DSLR.

I've narrowed it down to the Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i or the Nikon D90.
THis review: http://www.digitalreview.ca/content/Canon-Rebel-T2i-EOS-550D-Compared-to-Nikon-D90.shtml leans very heavily towards the D90; however I would prefer to hear some viewpoints and info from those who have used either or both of these cameras; general photography buffs and enthusiasts on here ::)

As far as what I would like to use it for: really just a strong all-purpose carry-around camera. I have a healthy interest in macro photog, - this would not be the *primary* use, but certainly something I'm keen to develop.
I would like to be able to take attractive and reliable portrait type photos of friends and family, but also play around and take more artsy / creative shots when the mood comes on (scenery, architecture, people etc).
I find wandering around for hours with a camera, especially in a foreign country, really quite a fun and meditative expreience - so I feel I should explore it more as a proper interest / hobby :))

(Although I fear it does, I hope that last part doesn't sound too navel-gazing, ha - sorry about that :bigsmile: )

any links, opinions and experiences (or even shots you are proud of from these cameras) are very welcome.

many thanks in advance!
AJ
 

mrswahs

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
499
Both are really great choices and really when making the choice between Canon and Nikon you'll have people who feel very strongly about one side over the other. For the most part-- the image quality doesn't so much have to do with the camera body or the make of the camera, but rather the lenses and the expertise of the photographer.

I am a portrait photographer and I shoot with the Canon T1i, the little sister to the T2i. Many people think that I should invest in a nicer (read: more expensive) camera body, and I may in the future, but for the price I love mine. It's small and light, whereas the Canon 5D Mk II is a big honkin' sucker. I would recommend when getting your camera to invest in a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 lens, regardless of which way you go. It's a great prime lens and you may find it's all that you shoot with. The 1.8 is roughly $100, and the 1.4 is roughly $350. I actually shoot with the 1.8 and it's more than enough for me.

The biggest difference between the two is the manual controls. Once you learn one, it's a little annoying to relearn on the other, so that's why most people choose a brand and stick with it for life. It's not necessarily better, it's just what they know.

Here's a few examples of photos shot with my T1i and 50mm.

20100705-IMG_8201.jpg

20100705-IMG_8213.jpg

20101114-IMG_1810.jpg

20101114-IMG_1828.jpg
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
mrswahs|1304776533|2914733 said:
Both are really great choices and really when making the choice between Canon and Nikon you'll have people who feel very strongly about one side over the other. For the most part-- the image quality doesn't so much have to do with the camera body or the make of the camera, but rather the lenses and the expertise of the photographer.

I am a portrait photographer and I shoot with the Canon T1i, the little sister to the T2i. Many people think that I should invest in a nicer (read: more expensive) camera body, and I may in the future, but for the price I love mine. It's small and light, whereas the Canon 5D Mk II is a big honkin' sucker. I would recommend when getting your camera to invest in a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 lens, regardless of which way you go. It's a great prime lens and you may find it's all that you shoot with. The 1.8 is roughly $100, and the 1.4 is roughly $350. I actually shoot with the 1.8 and it's more than enough for me.

The biggest difference between the two is the manual controls. Once you learn one, it's a little annoying to relearn on the other, so that's why most people choose a brand and stick with it for life. It's not necessarily better, it's just what they know.

Here's a few examples of photos shot with my T1i and 50mm.
Hi mrswahs,

thanks very much for your informative reply! I do hear you, that brand loyalty plays a large part in these decisions - for me, that equals Canon - but I was interested to read the 'digitalreview' comparison that rated the Nikon better on every function except for HD video..(which I doubt I would use for more than an occasional novelty).

My SIL has the Canon T2i and after about 5 mins of playing around, I found it easy and fun to use - actually quite addictive.! I did encounter a decent amount of subject blur (taking portrait photos at a family dinner party) - but as you say, its often really more about the expertise of the handler, of which I'm not ashamed to admit I have almost nil ;))

May I say your portraits are really very good - thank you for sharing them with me. The second one with the lil boy is just lovely ::)
This is very similar to what I would like to achieve - eventually of course - along with the other subject matters / methods mentioned above.
I have read many other people recommending that 50mm lens you mentioned, so its good to read a personal POV. However, I was under the impression it was intended solely for portraiture..? You'll have to please excuse my novice understanding of lenses and other finer points mrswahs, this is all reasonably new to me - would the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 also be suitable for landscapes, architecture, macro and so on..?
If its complex to explain, please feel free to direct me to a educative link or reader ::)

You may already be aware of this, but here in Australia the 550D can be bought (of course body only) or with a single 'standard' lens kit of 18-55mm ; or, in a twin lens kit with the 18-55 plus the 55-250mm, for approx an extra $150.
Do you have any input or opinions on the value or usefulness of these two particular lenses by chance, in terms of the desired usability I've outlined?

thank you again for your time, I do appreciate it!
 

susimoo

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Messages
1,800
No advice re camera's as I am clueless at these things. :oops: Just popped in to say a big hello!! I have missed seeing you over here!!! :wavey:
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
28,727
I'm a Nikon guy.
Like mrswahs says both Nikon and Canon quality are neck and neck but owners form lifetime loyalties.
This result in not even paying any attention to which is currently "better".
My only reason for not even considering Canon when I bought my latest Nikon body, my 4th, is all my old Nikon gear.
Most of it was bought back in 1982 and all of it is fully usable on my bodies. :appl: :appl: :appl:
The lenses are worth way more than the body.

Check the compatibility charts though, not all Nikon lenses are fully compatible with all new Nikon bodies.
Just because the lens can fit mechanically does not mean the body's light meter communicates with the lens - or the autofocus.
(I never use autofocus; I have fingers and eyeball and a brain)
Generally the most expensive bodies are more compatible.
Nikon tries to keep the pros happy so they don't defect to the very worthy competition, Canon.

A 50mm lens gives a "standard" angle of view for the old 35mm film cameras but gives a very slightly more narrow (telephoto) view for most non-pro DSLRs because new digital bodies' sensor is smaller than 35mm, certainly the D90.
This the range pros might pick for portraits, as mentioned above.
Of course you can use it for anything but for architecture and landscapes you will probably prefer a wider lens.

Most people today get a zoom not a fixed lens.
Personally I love and even prefer my fixed lenses.
They tend to have larger apertures and are razor sharp and are smaller and lighter than zooms.
Still today zooms are just the norm.

A standard 50mm is not a macro lens.
Macro means the lens can focus close enough so the image at the back of the camera is the same size as the subject.
True macro lenses are several hundreds of dollars.
I recommend buying a used Nikon Nikkor 105mm f2.8 on craigslist for $200 or so.
It won't be auto-focus but for your best macro work you want to focus manually anyway.
Even if the compatibility chart says the D90 can't light meter with it you can just do your own exposure setting in manual and instantly see the results and adjust.

There are ways to get macro-like magnification cheaper (the resolution will not compare to a true macro lens though).
You can get extension tubes (they have no glass but just move the lens away from the body).
You can get bellows extension which move the lens up to about a 10" from the body. (I have this and can get HUGE magnification)
You can get magnifying lens thingies that screw onto the front of the lens like a filter.
You can get a reverse adaptor which actually mounts the lens backwards on your body.
You can combine these, but watch for degradation of sharpness.

If you DO spring for a real macro lens get the longest one you can afford.
200mm is better than 105mm, which is better than 85mm which is better than 60mm.
Longer lenses allow more room between the subject and the lens.
This lets you to get light into the subject, does not scare away bugs and prevents a huge black thing (the lens) from being so prominently reflected in the diamond.
I have the 105mm but lust after the $1600 200mm. :Up_to_something:

Here is Ken Rockwell's review of the D90.
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d90.htm
Here is his lens/body compatibility section:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm

Buy your Nikon at Costco.
You have 90 days to try it out and return it.
Some of the pro camera stores like Adorama discourage body returns after the body has taken a certain number of pics (there is a counter inside).
Costco doesn't care how much you used it.
 

soocool

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Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
We are getting DD the Canon T2i as a grad present (I did not know what to get her so I just asked). Sometimes a good thing to do is also to handle the camera to see how it feels in your hands. DD was indecisive about the Canon and the Nikon, but the Canon felt more comfortable in her hands. We have one of the original Canon EOS Rebels and love it. DD has been using that camera for her photo classes and has been able to make some nice poster size prints for me (though she says a regular SLR makes better large size prints)

I gave her my old Olympus OM10 SLR and she shoots a lot of black and white with it (she develops her own film), and it has a manual adapter and only uses that. She also has my old lenses, plus as Kenny described, the screw in close up lenses (which work very well with the SLR). I forgot about these and have to see if they will fit the Canon (i doubt it though).
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
I would definitely go and look at Nikon vs. Canon in person. I think they both take wonderful photos. When I was on the market for a DSLR, I also couldn't decide. But after spending some time handling both, I found that Nikon felt more comfortable and their controls were more intuitive for me. Plus, my Nikon was cheaper than a Canon would have been.

ETA: Kenny is right about the lifetime loyalty thing! Once you get started with one, it's hard to ever convert. I don't have nearly as much equipment as many photography enthusiasts, but it would still be very difficult for me to ever switch over to Canon. I'd have to try to sell off my camera body and lenses and re-buy the equivalent Canon lenses.
 

charbie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
2,512
Love my Canon Rebel! I also have used a D90, however I felt it was too big for my petite hands. I quickly learned the features of the Canon, and am having a blast. I suggest playing with the both, bc quality wise you can't really go wrong.
 

sparklyheart

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
522
It's a little ironic you posted this because I just bought a camera this week after doing weeks of research online and in stores!! I was considering the Canon rebel t1i and the Nikon D3100. I had played with both and felt more comfortable with the Canon because I have had Canon point and shoots in the past. As everyone else said, people are very brand loyal.. The main difference I found out is that Canon's are more user friendly but Nikons are better for low light and action shots in general. The differences are slight though. The guy at the camera store said simply put, they are all equal at the end of the day.. but fresh out of the box, the Nikons come with better lenses whereas with the Canon you have to buy different lenses to get the same quality.

I ended up going with the Nikon.. but I don't think you can go wrong either way. I know several people who have various versions of Canon DSLRs and absolutely love them.. and they take beautiful pictures... same with the NIkon.. I guess at the end of the day I was just more comfortable buying the Nikon!

Good luck camera shopping. I have had a ton of fun learning everything and taking a bunch of completely random pictures.. :twirl: I'm sure you will too!!
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
Thank you PS'ers!

As usual this is really helpful and practical advice from everyone, and I sincerely appreciate it.

Hey susimoo! Thanks for dropping in lovey - I've missed you guys too :wavey:

Kenny - a lot of the language you use is foreign to me at the moment, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it in future. I wish I could do that Costco trial thing, however we don't have Costco in Australia :(sad
Thank you very much for clarifying on the 50mm lens question, and the macro lens info - I knew you would be the go-to guy here.
I realize you are a Nikon guy, but do you have any opinion on either of the standard lenses that come as a kit with the 550D (18 - 55 and 55 - 250mm) ? Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I can't seem to find much info online what these lenses are best suited to use-wise..just general every day 'walking around' photog?
Sorry, I know my questions are pretty amateur at the moment :oops:

Hey soocool, cheers for your input - think thats a wonderful gift for your DD. I am also interested in creating some black and white in future - I may have to ask you a couple more questions about use if I choose the Canon :))

Merilenda and Charbie, thank you for posting - I plan to head into town today and visit a few camera stores to do as you suggest.

Hey sparklyheart - thanks for relaying your experience on choosing, I agree it isn't easy! May I ask did you purchase the body with a lens kit out the box, or did you decide to just get the body and shop for lenses after?
I hope you really enjoy your new camera!!
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
28,727
arjunajane|1304829405|2915295 said:
... do you have any opinion on either of the standard lenses that come as a kit with the 550D (18 - 55 and 55 - 250mm) ? Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I can't seem to find much info online what these lenses are best suited to use-wise..just general every day 'walking around' photog?
I looked up those lenses on Canon's website . . .
(Go to this link and click on EF Lens Lineup on the left border)
http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/slr_cameras



The 18-55 is $200 and the 55-250 is $300 for a total of $500.
You would have to lug around two lenses.
I'd rather carry only ONE lens, the one on the camera.

You are already spending $500 but for $700 more you could buy the 18-200.
Or you could get the 28 to 135 for only $480.

Though neither has the combined-wide-range of the first 2 lenses you mentioned, I'd MUCH rather NOT have to carry around an extra lens.
Inevitably I'd be rushing to swap lenses as the unique photographic moment quickly passes by.
That's the whole point of zoom lenses ... NOT having to swap lenses.
Why carry two when one will do?

If you are sure you are going to really get into photography for the long haul your lenses will last over the time you will probably own several bodies, so don't buy multiple lenses that you may outgrow or replace.
Buy a minimum number of lenses up front that can do as much as possible.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 10.22.38 PM.png
 

sparklyheart

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522
I bought the lens and body together. I knew I wanted the 18-55 lens for sure.. I have noticed this lens is great for all the pictures I would normally take with my point and shoot. I think as I get more experienced I will buy a better zoom lens but right now I don't feel the need.. Then again, I'm very new to all of this so I have a long way to go :wink2:
 

Echidna

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Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
723
AJ, I just went through this myself. I opted to get the Canon 550D for two reasons: I had a Canon P&S so the buttons were more familiar, and it felt better in my hands.

Lenses seem to be a real issue, so in the end I just purchased the body and a separate 35mm f/2 prime lens (which is the equivalent of a 50mm on that particular Canon body, because it's not full sensor camera). That's been fun to play with but we need to decide on a zoom lens next.

I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse wondering if I should have got something full sensor straight up rather than the 550D, but the cost was prohibitive and they're SO bulky so I think we did okay in the end!

Hope that helps :))
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
6,893
I have the Canon Rebel XSi, but I was really torn between Canon and Nikon when I was deciding. I didn't feel there was too much of a difference in how each felt in my hands (XSi, Nikon D3000, D5000) and I didn't have brand loyalty (since my P&S was an Olympus). In the end, there was a great sale on the XSi and that's what I went with.

FWIW I love it and it takes fabulous pics, even with just the 18-55 kit lens. I would love to get some more high-end lenses but right now, as an amateur photographer who mostly takes landscape and portrait pics on vacation, I'm totally happy with the kit lens.

I did get the Nifty Fifty (the 50 mm 1.8) prime lens, and it does take great pics. Not ideal obviously for landscapes because it's not a zoom, but it's better than my 18-55 zoom for taking pics of say, fast-moving cats and dogs :razz:

Eventually, I want to get this lens to replace my kit lens - http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-28-75mm-Aspherical-Canon-Digital/dp/B0000A1G05/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I15544S3K9LCP9&colid=8FGT2GBHWTQP

And a good macro lens too.

But anyway, I don't think you can go wrong with either. I would research the price of lenses for Canon and Nikon though - which ones tend to be cheaper? The majority of your cash post-DLSR body purchase is going to be towards lenses, and if you think you'll end up buying lenses later, I might give an edge to the ones that are cheaper (between Canon and Nikon).

ETA 1: Btw, most of the pics in this thread - my Costa Rica vacation pics - are with my Canon DSLR + kit lens: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/two-weeks-in-costa-rica-lots-of-pics.140030/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/two-weeks-in-costa-rica-lots-of-pics.140030/[/URL]

ETA 2: Great to see you back AJ!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
kenny|1304833201|2915312 said:
arjunajane|1304829405|2915295 said:
... do you have any opinion on either of the standard lenses that come as a kit with the 550D (18 - 55 and 55 - 250mm) ? Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I can't seem to find much info online what these lenses are best suited to use-wise..just general every day 'walking around' photog?
I looked up those lenses on Canon's website . . .
(Go to this link and click on EF Lens Lineup on the left border)
http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/slr_cameras



The 18-55 is $200 and the 55-250 is $300 for a total of $500.
You would have to lug around two lenses.
I'd rather carry only ONE lens, the one on the camera.

You are already spending $500 but for $700 more you could buy the 18-200.
Or you could get the 28 to 135 for only $480.

Though neither has the combined-wide-range of the first 2 lenses you mentioned, I'd MUCH rather NOT have to carry around an extra lens.
Inevitably I'd be rushing to swap lenses as the unique photographic moment quickly passes by.
That's the whole point of zoom lenses ... NOT having to swap lenses.
Why carry two when one will do?

If you are sure you are going to really get into photography for the long haul your lenses will last over the time you will probably own several bodies, so don't buy multiple lenses that you may outgrow or replace.
Buy a minimum number of lenses up front that can do as much as possible.
Thanks Kenny, I appreciate the advice.

I think I am settled on getting the Canon, however getting the lens really seems to be the head scratcher. I am tempted to just get the 18-55mm that comes with the kit - however the guy at the camera house I am planning on purchasing from duty-free has recommended the Sigma 18-200mm as a much better 'walk around' lens. Its also much more expensive!

Any opinions to offer on Sigma in general, or specifically that lens if you happen to be familiar?
thanks again for taking the time to help out a noob!




sparklyheart said:
I bought the lens and body together. I knew I wanted the 18-55 lens for sure.. I have noticed this lens is great for all the pictures I would normally take with my point and shoot. I think as I get more experienced I will buy a better zoom lens but right now I don't feel the need.. Then again, I'm very new to all of this so I have a long way to go :wink2:
thanks sparkly - this is sorta how I'm leaning. I don't want to invest more than ~$300 in a lens upfront when I don't know what I'm doing..but then again, I don't want to grow out of the 18-55 too quickly, kwim?




*Just a question on pricing for those who have recently purchased the 550D - I've been quoted (duty-free) 699 for the body only, or 860 for the kit with the aforementioned lens (this is approx 750 and 920 (respectively) USD$ equivalent at todays exchange rate).
fair? or keep shopping..?
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
Echidna|1304907037|2915867 said:
AJ, I just went through this myself. I opted to get the Canon 550D for two reasons: I had a Canon P&S so the buttons were more familiar, and it felt better in my hands.

Lenses seem to be a real issue, so in the end I just purchased the body and a separate 35mm f/2 prime lens (which is the equivalent of a 50mm on that particular Canon body, because it's not full sensor camera). That's been fun to play with but we need to decide on a zoom lens next.

I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse wondering if I should have got something full sensor straight up rather than the 550D, but the cost was prohibitive and they're SO bulky so I think we did okay in the end!

Hope that helps :))
thanks Echidna! it sounds as if many people are making this purchase decision of late..perhaps there are some threads with more discussion I have missed..
Thanks for your input - yup, I'm quickly realizng the lenses are the confusing bit! I'm going back to my local camera shop this week to spend a while just playing with the Canon with different lenses, seeing what they do etc..luckily, my local guy is nice and seems pretty knowledgeable too ::)
 

wannaBMrsH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
1,049
I also have a Canon XS and I own the 18-55mm lens that came with the kit and I purchased a 75-300mm lens about a year after I bought mine.

I love my Canon and if you still haven't purchased it, I would recommend the new T3i, if it available in Australia. The only reason I say this is because when I bought mine more than three years ago, everyone told me to just go for the most affordable one, that the pricier options were just that, pricier.

I followed their advice, and while my camera has been truly wonderful and I haven't used a point and shoot camera in years, I wish I had spent more on my initial investment so that I didn't have to go back and "make-up" now. I am looking to upgrade my camera this year as well and I am definitely looking to buy the Canon T3i.
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
B.E.G.|1304907256|2915869 said:
I have the Canon Rebel XSi, but I was really torn between Canon and Nikon when I was deciding. I didn't feel there was too much of a difference in how each felt in my hands (XSi, Nikon D3000, D5000) and I didn't have brand loyalty (since my P&S was an Olympus). In the end, there was a great sale on the XSi and that's what I went with.

FWIW I love it and it takes fabulous pics, even with just the 18-55 kit lens. I would love to get some more high-end lenses but right now, as an amateur photographer who mostly takes landscape and portrait pics on vacation, I'm totally happy with the kit lens.

I did get the Nifty Fifty (the 50 mm 1.8) prime lens, and it does take great pics. Not ideal obviously for landscapes because it's not a zoom, but it's better than my 18-55 zoom for taking pics of say, fast-moving cats and dogs :razz:

Eventually, I want to get this lens to replace my kit lens - http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-28-75mm-Aspherical-Canon-Digital/dp/B0000A1G05/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I15544S3K9LCP9&colid=8FGT2GBHWTQP

And a good macro lens too.

But anyway, I don't think you can go wrong with either. I would research the price of lenses for Canon and Nikon though - which ones tend to be cheaper? The majority of your cash post-DLSR body purchase is going to be towards lenses, and if you think you'll end up buying lenses later, I might give an edge to the ones that are cheaper (between Canon and Nikon).

ETA 1: Btw, most of the pics in this thread - my Costa Rica vacation pics - are with my Canon DSLR + kit lens: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/two-weeks-in-costa-rica-lots-of-pics.140030/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/two-weeks-in-costa-rica-lots-of-pics.140030/[/URL]

ETA 2: Great to see you back AJ!
Hey BEG, good to see you too lovey! :wavey: its certainly been a while.

Thanks very much for your input, you're always so helpful with these kinda things :)) I think I am leaning really toward the Canon - my P&S is a Sony, which was gifted to me and ended up being a pretty good camera - but I had originally wanted a Canon - its a brand loyalty and looks thing, I guess. As long as everyone is saying the Canon and Nikon are much of a muchness, I feel confident with that - plus the Nikon is more expensive ;))
Cheers for the links! I recall seeing and loving those puppy pics of yours - and being impressed that you caught such great pics with all the movement!

You'll have to excuse me as I'm super new to this stuff, especially the lens talk - is the 50mm 1.8 primarily a portrait lens? (what would you say its strengths are.?).

So you have the 18-55 as your 'everyday / holiday snaps' lens - I agree it certainly seems adequate as many of your pics from Costa Rica are great. Cheers for the link to the Tamron lens (I hadn't heard of this maker) - If you had your choice of a 'walking around' lens for around the $300 mark, would you have a recommendation?
(At least for this holiday and the time-being, my interests will be in shooting portraits, architecture, food, animals, scenery etc..)

I will leave the landscapes and macro until I know more and can choose better lenses in the future, but macro certainly is a passion of mine. Have you used your 18-55 for any macro shots?

thanks for the help, and please excuse the numerous questions!
AJ
 

softly softly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
605
Hey A.J, thought I would come out of lurking and see if my limited experience in this area can be of use. Like you I recently upgraded to an entry level DSLR. I chose the Nikon D3100 because it seemed to review so well and was at the right price point, but honestly I think it all comes down to personal preference. When I was researching cameras it seemed to me that Canon had the cool factor (kinda like Apple), but Nikon was equally as usable with similar features (kinda like a P.C).

As far as lenses go I suspect the standard kit lenses are not the best you can get. I ended up purchasing a AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G fixed lens which I love. The large maximum aperture makes it much easier to shoot in low lighting without needing to use the built in flash. Zoom would be nice, but I find this lens works well for taking photos of my kids which is what I mainly use the camera for. I would imagine the ability to zoom, or a wider angle may be more useful for landscape photography.

This may be sacrilege but I find that the single most useful tool in producing a great shot, apart from imagination, is actually Photoshop. Obviously photos need to be properly focused and exposed, but for me the ability to control exposure and shutter speed combined with the ability to edit photos is what really helps elevate them from the standard shots a point and shoot will produce. I say this with the disclaimer that I am a complete novice whose opinions are probably not to be trusted.
 

wannaBMrsH

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Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
1,049
softly softly|1304948797|2916163 said:
This may be sacrilege but I find that the single most useful tool in producing a great shot, apart from imagination, is actually Photoshop. Obviously photos need to be properly focused and exposed, but for me the ability to control exposure and shutter speed combined with the ability to edit photos is what really helps elevate them from the standard shots a point and shoot will produce. I say this with the disclaimer that I am a complete novice whose opinions are probably not to be trusted.
Ditto this! One of my absolute favorite honeymoon photos was taken by us using the self-timer and the auto setting on our Canon XS camera. The picture itself is "oh cute! meh...", but photoshop (and Lightroom which I LUUURVE!) took it to a whole other dimension! I was able to correct the exposure and brighten the photo...not to mention airbrush my legs a little, which let's face it, no photo is going my wall unless it strokes my vanity! We ended up blowing it up and it is hanging in our bedroom. I love to see it because it reminds me that DH and I are madly in love...sigh...
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
28,727
I have super expensive gear but I process virtually every pic I take on the computer.

Contrast, shadows, highlights color saturation are almost never optimum unless you are trained to use your advanced professional lighting in a studio.

I regret there is so much stigma about Photoshop.
Yes it can be used to deceive when sellers make their stuff look better than live.
It can be used to decieve when a PS member adjust the color of a K to look like a D, or a Light Pink to look like a Fancy Intense Pink.

But there is absolutely nothing pure, righteous, virtuous, superior or natural about publishing a pic exactly as it came out of this artificial box we call the camera.
The camera itself does lot of stuff that affects how the pic looks too.

If the goal is accuracy it doesn't matter whether you do stuff before or after the pic is taken.
 

coati

Super_Ideal_Rock
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21,747
Hey AJ! Nice to see ya lovey! :kiss:

I just bought my first DSLR-Canon Rebel T3I. I got the T3I for the swivel screen and for better video capacity. The swivel screen works in a pinch (for jewelry macro) when you don't have a tripod with you. You can set the camera on any surface, and move the screen so it faces up-for less body contortion! The swivel screen is what separates it from the T2I, so if you don't require it, the cameras are essentially the same. I did not think I'd need it, but I find myself using it all of the time.

I'm still experimenting with my first macro lens, the (cheap) Canon 50mm f/2.5 compact. It's not a 1/1 ratio lens-more of a starter macro, but it has been working well for me. I also have the kit lens, but I'm not crazy about it. I primarily shoot portraits and macro, though. As I buy more lenses, I doubt I'll ever use that kit lens. (For traveling, the 18-55 kit is a good basic walking around lens-if you don't want to spend more right off the bat)

I prefer to shoot with manual focus. Here are some of my first test shots. This camera can do so much more-I just have not yet accessed it! Good luck AJ! You take such great pics with a P&S. I can only imagine what you'll do with a DSLR!

IMG_0514.jpg
IMG_0493.jpg
IMG_0521.jpg
IMG_0594.jpg
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
6,893
arjunajane|1304948493|2916157 said:
Hey BEG, good to see you too lovey! :wavey: its certainly been a while.

Thanks very much for your input, you're always so helpful with these kinda things :)) I think I am leaning really toward the Canon - my P&S is a Sony, which was gifted to me and ended up being a pretty good camera - but I had originally wanted a Canon - its a brand loyalty and looks thing, I guess. As long as everyone is saying the Canon and Nikon are much of a muchness, I feel confident with that - plus the Nikon is more expensive ;))
Cheers for the links! I recall seeing and loving those puppy pics of yours - and being impressed that you caught such great pics with all the movement!

You'll have to excuse me as I'm super new to this stuff, especially the lens talk - is the 50mm 1.8 primarily a portrait lens? (what would you say its strengths are.?).

So you have the 18-55 as your 'everyday / holiday snaps' lens - I agree it certainly seems adequate as many of your pics from Costa Rica are great. Cheers for the link to the Tamron lens (I hadn't heard of this maker) - If you had your choice of a 'walking around' lens for around the $300 mark, would you have a recommendation?
(At least for this holiday and the time-being, my interests will be in shooting portraits, architecture, food, animals, scenery etc..)

I will leave the landscapes and macro until I know more and can choose better lenses in the future, but macro certainly is a passion of mine. Have you used your 18-55 for any macro shots?

thanks for the help, and please excuse the numerous questions!
AJ
Hey!

Since you have a preference for Canon, I would totally go with that. I like the particular body you chose - if I had had the budget for it I would've gone with it, but I doubt I'll upgrade my body anytime soon (instead, I'll probably just start upgrading lenses).

The 50mm is primarily a portrait lens. I've read reviews from portrait photographers who use it as their go-to lens. Without a zoom, it's just hard to take good landscape photos, though it does do really well at fast action-stuff (like chasing those puppies around - though I was running around too).

Tamron and Sigma are good and cheaper alternatives to the super nice but super expensive Canon lenses. The one I linked you to is the one Monkey Pie actually recommended to me a year ago - I believe she uses it as her go-to lens, and it gets great reviews. A lot of people favor it as their walkaround lens. Unfortunately, it's a bit pricey still and I don't have a recommendation for something around the $300 range - if you find one, let me know because I still can't quite bring myself to bite the bullet on the Tamron because of cost! :) I'll keep looking around though and let you know if I find one. If you're ok with upping the lens budget by $150 or so, I would get that Tamron however, no reservations.

I don't use my DSLR for macro shots. My kit lens just doesn't have capability, though there's this neat trick where if you take the lens off and turn it around and place the end against the camera mount and then take a pic, you can get macro shots out of it (props to Kenny, I believe, who told me that). I usually use my P&S for macro (I have the Canon G11 now, which is a more prosumer P&S).

I was rereading my old DSLR thread too, and some PSers also said to just use the kit lens for the first few hundred shots while you get familiar with the controls, manual settings, etc., and then think about upgrading the lens.

I know the whole point of having a DSLR is having the flexibility of changing lenses, but I'm definitely looking for one that can do almost anything since I don't plan to lug around a bag full of lenses when I travel or hike or something, you know?

Oh and finally, I don't use the Nifty Fifty that much, but I would still get it. It's an incredible deal considering the insane quality of the lens and how much it is (like $100?). I would pick it up just because - the photo quality really is different between that and the kit lens!

Hope this helps! I'm not an expert at all, so I'm hoping the photography experts will come back and answer more of your questions (and give you a good walkaround lens recommendation I can take advantage of as well ;-) )

ETA: As Coati and others have said, the swivel screen is awesome. Sadly, I don't have it on my XSi, but I do have it on my G11 and it's super super helpful!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
6,893
AJ, this is about $50 cheaper than the Tamron 28-75. Tamrom 17-50

Both get great reviews. I'm not entirely sure on which one might be better for you (or me for that matter). The Tamrom 28-75 has longer range (by a little bit), the 17-50 is a bit more wide-angle. I'm not entirely sure what this means in layman's terms.

Photography buffs - thoughts and explanations?

I see from reviews that both are recommended as great walkaround lenses, but also dependent on what subjects you shoot. I'd love it if someone more knowledgeable could break it down for me.
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
wannaBMrsH|1304947504|2916146 said:
I also have a Canon XS and I own the 18-55mm lens that came with the kit and I purchased a 75-300mm lens about a year after I bought mine.

I love my Canon and if you still haven't purchased it, I would recommend the new T3i, if it available in Australia. The only reason I say this is because when I bought mine more than three years ago, everyone told me to just go for the most affordable one, that the pricier options were just that, pricier.

I followed their advice, and while my camera has been truly wonderful and I haven't used a point and shoot camera in years, I wish I had spent more on my initial investment so that I didn't have to go back and "make-up" now. I am looking to upgrade my camera this year as well and I am definitely looking to buy the Canon T3i.


Hi wannaBMrsH,
cheers for your advice! The 600D/ T3i is definitely available here, there is approx $200 price difference.
I appreciate where Coati is coming from in using the flip screen, however I think I am going to go with the T2i and invest the $200 difference in getting a better lens instead :))
I admit the novelty factor of the flip screen is definitely appealing and has me somewhat torn, but I'm not sure where I would see myself using it bar some unique occasions...
If I weren't on a budget, I would probably just go with the T3i..but I think its good to remember that all of these become surpassed/upgraded within as little as 6months. I think the popularity of the T2i with users says alot.


softly softly said:
Hey A.J, thought I would come out of lurking and see if my limited experience in this area can be of use. Like you I recently upgraded to an entry level DSLR. I chose the Nikon D3100 because it seemed to review so well and was at the right price point, but honestly I think it all comes down to personal preference. When I was researching cameras it seemed to me that Canon had the cool factor (kinda like Apple), but Nikon was equally as usable with similar features (kinda like a P.C).

As far as lenses go I suspect the standard kit lenses are not the best you can get. I ended up purchasing a AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G fixed lens which I love. The large maximum aperture makes it much easier to shoot in low lighting without needing to use the built in flash. Zoom would be nice, but I find this lens works well for taking photos of my kids which is what I mainly use the camera for. I would imagine the ability to zoom, or a wider angle may be more useful for landscape photography.

This may be sacrilege but I find that the single most useful tool in producing a great shot, apart from imagination, is actually Photoshop. Obviously photos need to be properly focused and exposed, but for me the ability to control exposure and shutter speed combined with the ability to edit photos is what really helps elevate them from the standard shots a point and shoot will produce. I say this with the disclaimer that I am a complete novice whose opinions are probably not to be trusted.
Hey SS - aw cheers for de-lurking to help me, I value your opinion :wavey:
I don't think using photoshop etc to improve photos is sacrilege, infact I suspect it is standard practice for the majority of people! Personally I have never done more than crop a photo, so getting to learn editing will also be something I will hopefully pick up along the way...I had a good convo today with one of the guys at the camera store and he explained to me the difference between shooting in RAW or JPeG for editing purposes - I'm glad it came up, as I was planning to use JPEG for convenience sake.

We recently got a Mac after always being PC people - if anyone has input on whether iPhoto is any good, I'm interested to hear about it..

I would like to get a good fixed / portrait lens like you have done - and what others have said in this thread seems to run true, the camera guy was raving about the Canon 50mm 'nifty fifty'. I don't think I will purchase it to take on hols though as I'm not too keen on lugging and changing lenses as a total amateur.. ::)

Hope you are happy and well SS!
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
coatimundi|1304962146|2916397 said:
Hey AJ! Nice to see ya lovey! :kiss:

I just bought my first DSLR-Canon Rebel T3I. I got the T3I for the swivel screen and for better video capacity. The swivel screen works in a pinch (for jewelry macro) when you don't have a tripod with you. You can set the camera on any surface, and move the screen so it faces up-for less body contortion! The swivel screen is what separates it from the T2I, so if you don't require it, the cameras are essentially the same. I did not think I'd need it, but I find myself using it all of the time.

I'm still experimenting with my first macro lens, the (cheap) Canon 50mm f/2.5 compact. It's not a 1/1 ratio lens-more of a starter macro, but it has been working well for me. I also have the kit lens, but I'm not crazy about it. I primarily shoot portraits and macro, though. As I buy more lenses, I doubt I'll ever use that kit lens. (For traveling, the 18-55 kit is a good basic walking around lens-if you don't want to spend more right off the bat)

I prefer to shoot with manual focus. Here are some of my first test shots. This camera can do so much more-I just have not yet accessed it! Good luck AJ! You take such great pics with a P&S. I can only imagine what you'll do with a DSLR!
Hello lady - great to talk with you again! :kiss: :lol:

So, I spent about an hour in the camera shop this afternoon playing with both the T2i and T3i - although I completely get the appeal of the swivel screen, I'm just not convinced I will use it often enough to justify the extra ~$200..if I weren't on a budget, or there were a second technical difference between the two - than I'd get the T3i for sure.

I certainly hear you in how useful it can be for macro, which is playing on my mind as eventually I plan to purchase a good macro lens. I haven't had much interest in gem / jewellery photog of late, but I love macro photog in general.

Thanks friend for the input and advice - I have some decisions to make, I'll start a new post...

eta: oh, and of course, gorgeous photos (as always!) - especially loving that first beryl :appl:
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
B.E.G.|1304982043|2916748 said:
Hey!

Since you have a preference for Canon, I would totally go with that. I like the particular body you chose - if I had had the budget for it I would've gone with it, but I doubt I'll upgrade my body anytime soon (instead, I'll probably just start upgrading lenses).

The 50mm is primarily a portrait lens. I've read reviews from portrait photographers who use it as their go-to lens. Without a zoom, it's just hard to take good landscape photos, though it does do really well at fast action-stuff (like chasing those puppies around - though I was running around too).

Tamron and Sigma are good and cheaper alternatives to the super nice but super expensive Canon lenses. The one I linked you to is the one Monkey Pie actually recommended to me a year ago - I believe she uses it as her go-to lens, and it gets great reviews. A lot of people favor it as their walkaround lens. Unfortunately, it's a bit pricey still and I don't have a recommendation for something around the $300 range - if you find one, let me know because I still can't quite bring myself to bite the bullet on the Tamron because of cost! :) I'll keep looking around though and let you know if I find one. If you're ok with upping the lens budget by $150 or so, I would get that Tamron however, no reservations.

I don't use my DSLR for macro shots. My kit lens just doesn't have capability, though there's this neat trick where if you take the lens off and turn it around and place the end against the camera mount and then take a pic, you can get macro shots out of it (props to Kenny, I believe, who told me that). I usually use my P&S for macro (I have the Canon G11 now, which is a more prosumer P&S).

I was rereading my old DSLR thread too, and some PSers also said to just use the kit lens for the first few hundred shots while you get familiar with the controls, manual settings, etc., and then think about upgrading the lens.

I know the whole point of having a DSLR is having the flexibility of changing lenses, but I'm definitely looking for one that can do almost anything since I don't plan to lug around a bag full of lenses when I travel or hike or something, you know?

Oh and finally, I don't use the Nifty Fifty that much, but I would still get it. It's an incredible deal considering the insane quality of the lens and how much it is (like $100?). I would pick it up just because - the photo quality really is different between that and the kit lens!

Hope this helps! I'm not an expert at all, so I'm hoping the photography experts will come back and answer more of your questions (and give you a good walkaround lens recommendation I can take advantage of as well ;-) )

ETA: As Coati and others have said, the swivel screen is awesome. Sadly, I don't have it on my XSi, but I do have it on my G11 and it's super super helpful!
Thanks BEG for this followup and for looking up extra lenses for me!
It seems like there is a lack of product in the lens market between the el cheapo's and the $450 range ;( It seems like you and I are seeking very much the same answers!

I'm lucky to have a friendly and knowledgeable staff in my local camera store - today I played with the T2i with both the 18-55 kit lens, plus the lens that was recommended to me based on what I initially want to use the camera for (travel / general walking around / people / scenery) - the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 was strongly recommended. Hopefully you can look into this for your general use too..? It is also touted as a 'versatile, all in one travel lens' in DP review, which made me feel confident the recommendation was accurate. It is about $450 here, but it seems like photog equipment is a lil cheaper for you guys stateside so you could likely get it for less.
To me I could see a reasonable difference in image quality switching between the two, plus I know I will have fun with the 11 x zoom on the sigma (at least to my eye, the pictures at max zoom looked good). I find the limited zoom on the 18-55mm quite frustrating, tbh.

One of the guys in the store who owns the T2i couldn't speak higher of the 'nifty fifty' lens, especially for the price - he reckons he uses that a whole lot, so it seems that is the general consensus for sure :))

I'm glad to hear another user POV on the swivel screen - the camera shop guys seemed to think it was a waste of dough.. *shrugs*
 

arjunajane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
9,758
So, decision time!!


Now I have a bit of a conundrum happening, and really cant decide! :o


The way I see it, for the money I'd like to spend and have put aside for this initial purchase, I can get any of the following combinations for pretty much the same price (give or take $100) :

1. the T3i with the 18-55mm lens kit.
2. T2i with the Sigma zoom lens.
3. T2i with the 18-55mm lens kit, plus the 50mm 1.8 portrait lens.



I know everyone is different and uses / purchases their camera for different purposes - but I would appreciate any and all input here!
I honestly am having trouble making a decision - as soon as I think I'm happy with one direction, I go in the other, lol..
I know, its a nice problem to have - but what would folks do it it were you? (or perhaps its if you were me, ha) :bigsmile:

If anyone who's happy to reply could say which preference and why, I'd greatly appreciate it!
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
arjunajane|1305032587|2917261 said:
So, decision time!!


Now I have a bit of a conundrum happening, and really cant decide! :o


The way I see it, for the money I'd like to spend and have put aside for this initial purchase, I can get any of the following combinations for pretty much the same price (give or take $100) :

1. the T3i with the 18-55mm lens kit.
2. T2i with the Sigma zoom lens.
3. T2i with the 18-55mm lens kit, plus the 50mm 1.8 portrait lens.



I know everyone is different and uses / purchases their camera for different purposes - but I would appreciate any and all input here!
I honestly am having trouble making a decision - as soon as I think I'm happy with one direction, I go in the other, lol..
I know, its a nice problem to have - but what would folks do it it were you? (or perhaps its if you were me, ha) :bigsmile:

If anyone who's happy to reply could say which preference and why, I'd greatly appreciate it!
I would go with option #3.

Here is a link to cnet: http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/canon-eos-rebel-t2i/4505-6501_7-33974698.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody;1r#reviewPage1

Read the editor's review as well as user reviews. It may help you make your decision
 
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