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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:36 am 
I’ve been using the only camera I currently have, Canon PowerShot SD900, and after getting into taking pictures of butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nature shots, I realized I need to get a real camera. I’ve worked this little point & shot to death, from using macro to keeping the shutter open to get lightning shots at night.

I consider myself a beginner to photography, so here’s my question:

I there a real reason not to get like a Nikon 300s or Cannon 7D for my first DSLR?

I’ve seen comments people make like, you’re a beginner…don’t get those, get one of these entry level cameras.

My view point is, if I’m going to spend $1K on a camera, why not save a few hundred more dollars and get a much better camera. I can learn to use either camera.

Thanks for providing any input.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:19 am 
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Because theyre harder to understand, very bulky. cost a lot of money you can better spend on lenses, have the same IQ as the lower end cameras, you probably dont need all the features you dont understand on the 7D for instance etc.

They are pro cameras. It's the same for all pro stuff.

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Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:33 am 
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If you have adequate cash, I don't see any problem with buying one of those. But you shouldn't spend more on the body if you need to cut back elsewhere, like lenses. The basics are pretty similar on all models. And you can tackle more advanced features in time.

The other hard part is knowing exactly what you really need before you've got experience.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 am 
If you're not going to be doing "pro" stuff, whats the point in buying a 7D it's a waste of money. In the long run you'll be cursing the weight of it, especially when you go on holiday and you lug it around all day. A 60D or even a 550D would be much better suited. They are lighter and will have all the adequate features you need. If I was you, I rather spend the money on fast lenses. So you can get some nice bokehlisous bokeh!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:10 am 
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it sounds like you have played around with you powershot, the next thing in my opinion is playing around with lenses. Big Aperture in particular. The powershot like most point and shoot are great for getting everything in focus with their large depth of field, DSLR with larger sensors and lenses with 1.4 up to 2.8 in particular are great for isolating the subject as they have narrow depth of field and blur out the background.


There is little point in putting a semi pro or pro body ahead of lenses unless you specifically need those features or the latest in focusing, think action and sport. Keep in mind that once you go to DSLR that body`s are disposable and keep getting updated while quality lenses is where its at.

You may find that a cheaper body is better with top quality lenses, which will serve you for the long run, your cheaper body may become a good back up once you have decided what you are wanting from your photography.Then there is the ability to take photos in raw to extract more from data than what the jpg in the camera is set up to do.

Unless you have a big budget and can buy the whole package, I would suggest start with looking at what lenses you may need from whatever brand and then work back to the camera from there.
Typically the twin lens kits offer a really good value for money and image quality and are a good way of getting into the the whole DSLR thing, then add a few primes and a macro lens as budget allows and you are well on the way.

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Canon Powershot S95, Canon 6D,7D, Canon 40 2.8 STM, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 15-85, Canon 85 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4, 50mm 1.8, Canon 100 2.8L Macro, Canon 70-300L +Kenko 1.4 Pro 300DGX, Canon 430EX II and RS 4 Classic


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:41 pm 
I appreciate your comments. They've certainly helped but some things into perspective. I was just stuck on the idea of the next camera up is only a few $$$ more.

I’ve been looking at the next range down also, like the D90 or Canon equivalents. I’ve also been stuck on the fps and the number of AF points because of the nature subjects. That’s why the upper cameras seemed so much more appealing.

Again, thanks for the comments.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Listen, AF points (lots) are only handy when you do ultrasportphotography.

I only use MF lenses, exept the 18-55. That's the only AF lens I have. When I use AF on the 18-55 I only use the center AF point. Why? Some SLRs with AF only had 1 AF point in the center, so I dont understand why I should need more than 1. Just focus on what you want to be sharp and recompose your shot with the shutter button halfway down.

The D90 is a very good choice, because it's a high mid-range camera (not an entry level and just not a semipro camera). Fit it with good lenses and you got a great kit!

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:02 pm 
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Hi ttrichard,

In answer to your question there's no reason at all that I can think of provided you are happy with the bulk and weight and, of course, you aren't having to mortgage the wife and kids to pay for it! But if you aren't prepared to spend a little time getting to know how to get the best from the camera then maybe the money is better spent elsewhere. That said, if you are sufficiently keen then the camera's auto mode will keep you out of trouble until you are happy to experiment and that's not hard to understand at all. 8)

Bob.

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Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Agree with the others - there's nothing 'wrong' with it, it's just excess and not needed. If you have the money to afford excess, then it's up to you if that's the way you want to spend it. It's all a personal decision. Some people like to drive a BMW, even though a Toyota would get them around and handle their needs just as well - they have the money, and want the nicer car, even if they don't use 50% of the car's ability. Cameras are the same - some folks with disposable income might just get a 1D Mk IV, despite not knowing what half the buttons even do...your beach, your wave.

The main reason most advise on entry levels for beginners is because they can for the most part do everything the higher end cameras can do - including deliver excellent image quality, accept a full slate of lenses, and be a great learning tool for photography. The pro models just do it with better materials, sturdier build, weatherproofing, more direct controls, etc - just a bigger, more complex, and more controllable tool built to handle the volume of shooting and variety of conditions a pro typically faces, and the increased speed and specialty abilities to deal with very specific types of shooting.

Besides...the price difference is usually more than just a few hundred - some excellent entry level cameras can be found for $500-700 US, while semi-pro models are typically double to triple that number. And full-frame pro models are 5x or more that price.

Quote:
I’ve also been stuck on the fps and the number of AF points because of the nature subjects. That’s why the upper cameras seemed so much more appealing.


As mentioned, AF points doesn't mean as much as folks think, unless you are a very advanced or specialty photographer with special needs. In fact, many wildlife and bird photographers prize spot focus far more than large AF grids. Continuous focus and large matrix grids of focus points are great for action sports, or for birds-in-flight against sky backgrounds...but even lesser focus points can still pull out semi-pro to consumer level needs (we're shooting sports of friends/relatives, or local bird wildlife, with 300mm lenses...professional sports photographers might be shooting 600mm to 1000mm lenses on Wimberley mounts on sidelines, closeup of professional athletes...two very different things). And again, spot focus is also a preferred method of many for birds in flight, especially when dealing with cluttered backgrounds that can confuse an AF system.

And for continuous shooting modes - most basic P&S cameras couldn't do better than 2-3 fps - and most consumers would never really need more - entry level DSLRs are usually 2-3 as well, but some can go faster for a very reasonable budget - like the 4.7 fps of the Pentax KX, the 5fps with special 7fps mode of the Sony A550 and 580, and the 10 fps of the Sony A33/55...all of those cameras under $800, and two of them for around $500.

I'd say base the decision on your wants vs your budget - and decide if you've got the spare cash lying around with nothing better to do with it and feel like getting a nicer body, even if you don't need it. Or, stick with the entry bodies and blow your spare wad on primo lenses. If budget's tight, then that alone should make the decision for you!

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:29 pm 
Hi ttrichard,

and a warm welcome to the forum!

Some of the things we pay extra for in "semi-pro/pro" models are:
1) More rugged build. Why - because if you shoot a lot in terrain or in groups of people, it can stand up to being banged around a little more. Maybe even survive a fall - although plastic bounces and metal bends.
2) More external controls. Why - because the semi-pro/pro shooters are on the clock and cannot afford to have their subjects wait around until a feature at level 3 in a menu system is found and altered. Furthermore, some types of photography - say photojournalism - doesn't allow the photographer to take their eyes off the viewfinder for fear of losing that "defining moment". External controls allows more eye-time in the viewfinder.
3) Overall speed of operation - responsiveness. Why - same reasons as above.
4) Battery life. With a combination of power-saving and increased battery capacity, this factor is no longer as important, since most cameras will shoot and shoot and shoot for longer than most sessions last anyway. The Nikon D40 already shot 1000+ pics on a charge several years ago, but the D7000 and D3-models shoot several thousand images on a charge. If you're a pro photographer, it just one more factor NOT to think about at all if the camera will shoot a full day without getting tired.
5) Hard-to-trick metering. The most expensive models tend to be harder to fool in tricky lighting and contrast situation. If your windows to get the perfect shots are very small, any advantage you can get is money. For a professional, the few thousand dollars difference in purchase price is insignificant, compared to the value of one or two situations where the very best cameras actually get the picture, compared to an entry-level camera that wouldn't have.


By definition, it's not because they yield inherently better image quality, although the recent emphasis on high-ISO handling means that the very best ISO performance is found at the $1500 dollars-and-up models.

All in all, there is no reason NOT to get the semi-pro/pro models if that is what you desire and will be happy with. Let's face it, there is more to camera-equipment than pure rational technical capability. Joy of operating pro equipment - even if not necessary - is still joy. Coolness-factor, showoffability and other more emotional factors are no less valid.

But if your desires are to get the most versatility and capability for your buck, the advice others have given you about lenses and other equipment (flashes, tripods, stands, umbrellas, filters - heck even a course) is good to consider as well :)

Good luck with your choices!!

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Just to pick up on the AF points point, as mentioned it does depend a lot on the situation, but more points does help even if you use just a single one of them - as it means you will more likely be able to position it where you want it. Focus-recompose will introduce errors, which may or may not be significant depending on the working conditions. Are more points essential? No. Is it a "nice to have" - definitely. How many is "enough"? - pass!

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:48 pm 
Again, everyone, thanks for the comments. I'll probably choose down in class and use the money I would have spent on accessories, other lenses, etc.

(zackiedawg) I was thinking the same things to myself about the cars as an analogy, lol.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:40 am 
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cars is a good analogy, no point having an M3 and putting cheap tyres on it.

Quality Lenses, and then accessories (uv / polarising filters, cleaning gear, carry bag, flash) cost money, but will improve any DSLR.

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Canon Powershot S95, Canon 6D,7D, Canon 40 2.8 STM, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 15-85, Canon 85 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4, 50mm 1.8, Canon 100 2.8L Macro, Canon 70-300L +Kenko 1.4 Pro 300DGX, Canon 430EX II and RS 4 Classic


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:51 am 
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Hello ttrichard, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

Generally speaking, most of these DSLRs all share the same sensor. The D300s shares it with the D90, the D90 shares it with the D5000, etc. With the same lens, IQ will be about the same. Although if you mount a nice, sharp and fast lens on, the IQ will greatly improve. If I were you, I'd go for a body somewhere between entry level and the more prosumer category, something like the D90 or D7000. These are both great cameras, and purchasing them will give you more money for glass. The Nikkor 35mm F1.8 is a favorite here around the forums, and I myself fancy the Nikkor 16-85mm F3.5-5.6, IMHO it's Nikon's best zoom.

I think that there are many reasons to get a camera in that range as opposed to an entry level camera, for example, you get more external controls, a better build, a better viewfinder, more bells and whistles (Faster FPS shooting, video mode with AF, etc) and much more! Most people grow out of their entry level cameras relatively quickly, I'd invest in a better model.

-Evan

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:16 pm 
I am in agreement with Evan -- vis-a-vis a mid-range body with some good glass. Funny, I was thinking the same car analogy as Justin (Zackiedawg) but was thinking of comparing a super car (Bugatti Veyron perhaps??? :wink: ) to a loaded Ford Fusion. The analogy still plays out the same.


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