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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:54 pm 
Hello everybody!

I enjoy taking photos but recently I started being rather unsatisfied with the performance of my current simple camera and I was considering switching it for something more serious and to start taking photography as an amateur hobby. So obviously I'm not very experienced at all but I would like to learn. I mainly enjoy taking photos while I travel - in-doors (churches etc.) but also outdoors (architecture, scenery). At the same time I was thinking that with DSLR camera I might want to experiment with close-ups (especially when it comes to nature). Of course I might be using it do take other types of photos, but at the moment these are the things I enjoy the most.

I was wondering whether I could find some advice here. I've looked around and did some research on DSLR cameras and while a lot of it was very useful, I'm still quite overwhelmed by the various statistics, brands, types of cameras and features.

So, what camera would you recommend for me? And what lenses should I go for right from the beginning before I get more into it? I was mostly at looking at Canon 500D & 450D, Nikon 5000D & 3000D and Pentax K-x but I'm open to all kinds of suggestions.

To summarise, at the moment these are the main things running thought my mind (and I might be wrong about them):
- Good image quality is my main concern
- since I like shooting indoors I like my camera to shoot good quality images in low-light (consequently I'm a bit worried about Nikon 5000D's supposed tendency to under-expose since the picture of the church in the review on this site looks a bit dark)
- I would like to have a good zoom lenses
- Video is nice to have but not that crucial for me
- I would rather prefer to have the live view feature on my camera
- I'm a bit confused about the importance the AF motor
- I'm a bit concerned about Pentax K-x's battery life. It's one of the main things that annoys me with my current camera as I can even take 300 pics a day if I'm somewhere I like (mind you if I get a better camera I won't have to take everything 3x or more in case it comes out blurry)
- Share reduction would be a nice feature but I'm not sure really how important it is...


Thank you beforehand.
-G

PS: I'm still a student so I'm on a relatively tight budget so I cannot afford spending a fortune on camera and lenses.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:00 am 
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Before you drive yourself crazy looking at spec sheets, take a trip to your local camera shop and just hold a few of the models you have listed. Then try changing the aperture and shutter speed on all of them.

This will tell you a lot about how the cameras feel in your hands and how easy or otherwise you find the menu systems of each brand.

The AF motor is for older lenses that do not have their own built in focusing motor. If you have a camera body with no AF motor and use a lens with no built in motor you have to turn the focus ring by hand.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:21 pm 
Thank you, I will definitely try to do that. I'll look into the town for some shops as soon as I have time.

What do you think would be the best one for what the type of photography I have in mind? Is for example Nikon D5000 good in low light or would I have a problem with over-exposure?

Cheers,
-G


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
The more openminded you are, the more selection you will have. One thing for sure that you don't really need to worry about - which brand you buy. All brands make some seriously capable cameras and around the same budget level can get you very nice cameras. And for the shooting you mention, pretty much all DSLRs could handle your needs quite well.

Good image quality: No problem. They're DSLRs...none of them are bad! Paired with a nice lens, and proper technique, the most bottom-line DSLR from 2 years ago would meet this requirement.

Good low light capability: Most of the newer batches of advanced amateur cameras are as close to equal as you can get - the differences are so slight between them as to be insignificant for 98% of users. The Nikon D5000, Canon 550D, Pentax KX, and Sony A500/550 all are near-equals and all more than capable of very good high ISO low light work. Under or overexposure is more the user than the camera - though some cameras can be prone to go one way or the other, a simple EV adjustment or proper metering by the user will fix that issue easily.

Good zoom lens: I can't think of any manufacturer that doesn't have far more lenses available than 99.9% of all users would ever need. And though some have much larger lens collections than others, ALL have far more than you'd ever be able to buy or need without dot-com-millionaire-type money.

Video: Up to you. If you want it, none of the DSLRs do it all that great, but can get by for basic needs and short clips. Canon seems decent...Nikon and Pentax probably about the same. Sony doesn't currently have any DSLRs with video.

Live View: All have it, and Pentax, Nikon, and Canon's versions are all about equal. None are really that usable for everyday shooting - more for specialized focus needs or macro work. They all autofocus horribly slow, have very long shutter delays, overheat when used too often, and have poor shot-to-shot times. Sony's version is different than the others here, and the only one that could be recommended for everyday shooting. Autofocus is identical in OVF or live view modes, no shutter delay, and can shoot as fast in live view as OVF mode. If you want live view for every day shooting use, then the Sony will be the primary recommendation. The A500/550 version also includes the other type of live view like the other DSLRs - the best of both worlds as you get two versions - fast every day mode and slow detail mode.

AF Motor: Most cameras have it in body, or all lenses that the manufacturer makes have it...Nikon is the only exception with their entry-level cams. Whether it would impact you would depend on what lenses you think you'll want or need. For the most part, a large selection of Nikon lenses are available with motors, so with many people they'd probably never run into an issue.

Battery Life: Though I don't have a Kx, I've heard that using rechargeable batteries will extend the life quite a bit over alkalines, and with lithium type batteries like Eneloops, the battery life can actually extend among the top tier of DSLRs. Overall, most of the DSLRs are within your needs of 300 shots. Nikon and Canon's models you mentioned have a CIPA rated standard of 500 shots, the Pentax KX is around 420, but rising to 800-1000 with Eneloop batteries, and the Sony A500/550 are 1,000+.

Shake reduction (I assume that's what you meant): It is very nice to have, and can come in handy. All the cameras you mentioned have it available to some degree. With the Canon and Nikon models, the stabilization system is built into some lenses - you buy lenses that have the stabilization built in. Many common zoom lenses and longer telephotos will have it, or a version of the lens with it. With Pentax and Sony, the stabilization is built into the body of the camera, so you will have stabilization with any lenses you buy, old or new.

Hope that helps answer some of your questions!

_________________
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

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Posts: 244
Location: NB, Canada
From my recent experience moving into dSLR, I think what you are looking for, really, is more a great lens, and then a body that will fit on that lens.

The Canon Rebel T2i (550d) seems great so far. It has great image quality, works well in low-light, and has wonderful 1080p video along with live view feature.

If you have a bigger budget, the 7d might be an interesting option, I see a lot of professionals using one as a back-up camera or as a personal camera. Finally, the 5d mark II if you have a much bigger budget is definitely a great option. The 5D-mkII has better fps, and many producers are starting to use them to make movies, tv shows, and video clips. The pictures also come out great.

If you're taking a lot of pictures with only available light, such as family parties, museums and such where you can't bring spot lights and such, I suggest you look into lenses with very large aperture (small f/ number).

The 50mm f/1.8 (99$, you need at least this one) or f/1.4 or f/1.2 depending on your budget is a great series of lenses for portrait photography on a cropped body.

I'll be talking about a bigger budget here (which I don't have), but for a zoom lens, the 70-200mm series is great. If you need to use it in low-light, you might want to consider the f/2.8 with IS and USM, but that's going to make a huge dent in your budget. The 100-400mm also gets some great reviews, but you need either a good amount of light or a tripod + a slow subject to use it.

For smaller budget zoom lenses, I think the 50-250mm IS would be a great option, and I wish I would've gone with that instead of my 75-300mm.

Finally, the 24mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.4 or 35mm f/2.0 all seem like interesting options for a wider angle. I'm not sure which offers the best Image Quality (IQ), but from my experience I feel the 50mm is too zoomed-in when I use it on a cropped body to use it everywhere I want to.

You can definitely "zoom with your feet", until you hit a wall and can't go back more. So if you take photos in cramped spaces, restaurants, etc, a wide angle is a must so you can take photos of people sitting at your table without going out for a walk and standing in the middle of the restaurant with everyone looking at you.

You can find cheaper lenses if you sacrifice aperture, but in that case, you will have to forget about low-light photos. Except for the 99$ 50mm f/1.8, there's no excuse not to get that one, unless you have the budget for a 1.4 or 1.2 :)

_________________
Cameras: Canon EOS 6D, Canon EOS Rebel T3i, Canon EOS Rebel T2i, Canon S90
Lenses: Tamron: SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD, Rokinon: 8mm Fisheye cine, Canon: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III, and EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Retired camera: Fujifilm Finepix s700


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:05 pm 
My advice: wait until photokina 2010. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:04 pm 
It's not a bad idea to wait if you can -- but I am not sure what is expected this year. Whatever you do, get into a store and handle the candidate cameras - the one that fits your hands and interfaces best for you is the one you'll use over and over again.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:27 pm 
We are expecting a 60D, a 1Ds Mark IV and nikon 3100. Maybe even a D90 replacement.

I'm not too familiar with sony, olympus and pentax rumors but i'm pretty sure they won't let a fest go to waste.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:52 pm 
No reliable Oly rumors. A successor to the e-30 and e-3 has been rumored for at least a year - but nothing concrete that you can actually rely on.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:16 pm 
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Posts: 815
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Sony rumors are currently focused on 4 mid-level cams - two replacements of the A500/550 essentially adding video, and two pellix-based EVF DSLRs. In the very distant possibility, the next A7xx class of camera, though most rumors seem to be painting that as a 2011 intro.

_________________
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

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:11 pm 
Quote:
AF Motor: Most cameras have it in body, or all lenses that the manufacturer makes have it...Nikon is the only exception with their entry-level cams. Whether it would impact you would depend on what lenses you think you'll want or need. For the most part, a large selection of Nikon lenses are available with motors, so with many people they'd probably never run into an issue.


Oh, so Canon cameras have got AF motor? I'm thinking this might be a considerable advantage. Say I want to buy 50mm prime lenses (which I hear is an essential especially if one wants to take pictures in low-light). If I go for Canon I get buy any lenses (even older ones) while in case of Nikon I would have to go manual or pay extra for in-build AF. What do you think?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:16 am 
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Location: NB, Canada
I really don't know the Nikon products much, but from a quick glance at 5 random cheap lenses I looked up, all of them seem to come with some sort of auto focus.

In the case of Canon lenses (and I'll let the Nikon experts confirm if Nikon has a similar option), you can get either a regular motor, which all 3 of my lenses have, or you can pay more for a USM motor which is faster and creates less noise. Some (maybe all?) USM lenses enable you to manually focus even while you're in autofocus mode, whereas with the regular motor (like my 3 lenses), I have to switch to MF mode on the lens and lose an entire 0.5 seconds if I'm not satisfied with the AF.

Nothing I do justifies going for a USM yet, unless the lens would just happen to have the option, but for pros I can definitely imagine even 0.1 sec makes the difference between getting a shot and making your customer happy, or handing in an empty memory card to your customer.

_________________
Cameras: Canon EOS 6D, Canon EOS Rebel T3i, Canon EOS Rebel T2i, Canon S90
Lenses: Tamron: SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD, Rokinon: 8mm Fisheye cine, Canon: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III, and EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Retired camera: Fujifilm Finepix s700


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:17 am 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Quote:
Oh, so Canon cameras have got AF motor? I'm thinking this might be a considerable advantage. Say I want to buy 50mm prime lenses (which I hear is an essential especially if one wants to take pictures in low-light). If I go for Canon I get buy any lenses (even older ones) while in case of Nikon I would have to go manual or pay extra for in-build AF. What do you think?


Actually, no. Note I mentioned that they all have either focus motors in body, or in the lenses available for that line. In Canon's case, the focus motor is in the lenses. They decided when starting their EOS system to start a new line of lenses with focus motors in the lens, with all EOS bodies relying on those in-lens motors. So with Canon's large lens collection of EOS lenses, you get the motor in the lens. The downside is that they aren't compatible with older, pre-EOS lenses.

Nikon also went with in-lens focus motors on newer cameras, but retained in-body motors with their DSLRs initially. Only when they decided to make their budget entry-level models did they leave out the in-body focus - so the D3000 & D5000 must use the lenses with AF in the lens, whereas higher-end Nikons can also AF with older non-motor lenses. I only mentioned this with Nikon because they're the only one I know of who make some bodies that are not compatible with all the same AF lenses that other bodies are. Canon committed fully to in-lens motors a long time ago, and no longer makes any camera bodies with focus motors.

Sony retains focus motors in all their bodies, so they remain compatible with the entire legacy of Minolta AF lenses as well as new Sony lenses, whether they have focus motors in lens or not. Pentax also has in-body motors and are compatible with all previous Pentax AF lenses.

_________________
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

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:40 am 
Oh I see. Thanks a lot for the explanation.

So am I to understand that Canon has been producing lens with auto-focus longer? Should there be a greater selection?

Now as I was looking at primes for both Canon and Nikon there doesn't seem to always be a choice between autofocus and manual lenses of the same type. So for example Canon - do they have any 50mm autofocus lenses? The well regarded EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens seems to be without it. I'm just a bit worried about it but that's maybe only because I'm used to fully automatic cameras and manual focusing with such lenses might be a piece of cake...

Quote:
I really don't know the Nikon products much, but from a quick glance at 5 random cheap lenses I looked up, all of them seem to come with some sort of auto focus.

I could be wrong but I believe that there is AF and AF-S and it is the second type that will autofocus with the new entry type cameras. Most don't seem to be AF-S

As for waiting and buying the camera later...I'm not in rush. In fact I wouldn't buy it before September anyway. I don't want to rush it and I will also have a look around to see how all the cameras are going. I will be moving as well. But then there is Christmas... :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:47 am 
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as far as i am aware of, all available canon primes has autofocus

the only canon lenses without Autofocus i have seen is their special lenses like the tilt-shift ones

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