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Thread: Help me pick out a DSLR camera!

  1. #1
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    Help me pick out a DSLR camera!

    When it comes to looking for a new computer, I can read the specs and know what is good, bad and ugly.
    But I am currently contemplating the move from my point and shoot Cannon SD750 to a DSLR camera; and I don't know my aperture from my elbow. What I'd really like is some advice from some of you who know what you are doing.
    Can I put together a decent package for under $1,500? I don't want something that is going to sit at home because it's to fragile or too expensive to take on the bike, I want a work horse that can live in the tank bag.
    I am all for buying the model that was just replaced, no latest and greatest for me. Heck, you know I'll be buying it on eBay. But please, tell me which body and lenses I need to start out with.

    ps. I can help you pick out a laptop in return.

    I think I've done all I can do with the P&S
    Gail Hatch
    SheRidesABeemer's Blog
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    87 K75CT

  2. #2
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    It's a flow chart of choices.

    1. Consumer DLSR or Prosumer DSLR or Pro DSLR

    I'd vote for Consumer. Someday you'll replace the body and you'll still have the glass.
    This brings us to the next choice - which system/glass (since you're buying into a family)

    2a. Nikon or Canon

    Either will treat you very nicely.

    2b. This brings you to a Nikon D40X or a Canon Rebel XTi/Rebel XSi

    And now we're down to the nitty gritty. Go to a camera store. Poke around and feel the different cameras. Compare ease of use for you. Consider features. Sleep on it. Think about it day and night.

    For the basic reviews and feature comparisons: http://www.dpreview.com
    For the best prices: http://www.dealnews.com

    A few months ago I bought a Rebel XTi. The Nikon D40X was a bit more money. I liked that it had spot metering but wanted exposure bracketing - which of the two only the Rebel offered. Since any of the DSLR's will take fantastic photos with a decent brain behind the camera, I couldn't rationalize getting a D80 or any of the other cameras that are a chunk more expensive. Take the money saved and buy a better lens or two. The kit lenses are ok to start but even a $70 50mm lens will give you shots you dreamt of getting with a P&S.

    Find the one that fits your budget, your hands, and any particular features you want.

  3. #3
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what Knary had to say. I would just add the following: when it comes to more expensive cameras, you tend to pay for durability in addition to features. That's why I shy away from the less expensive versions. When I'm out shooting, I'll be out rain or shine, cold or hot, etc. The camera has to be able to take that type of use. For general shooting from the bike I use a P & S. When I'm going to travel with a tripod and lenses, primarily to shoot more than ride, that's when I'll pack my DSLR.
    Dan

  4. #4
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    A very low light photo taken with that cheap-ish Rebel and cheap 50mm lens. Try this with a P&S!


  5. #5
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Another good resource is here: http://www.imaging-resource.com/
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  6. #6
    2 Wheeled Troubador oldhway's Avatar
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    Nikon D40

    Gail, I bought a Nikon D40 in June and am very happy. They have replaced it with the D40X which is a 10 mega pixel (The original was 6.something). It is a smaller body then a standard DSLR which I really like for traveling. I'm not a pro by any means but I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on my shots so I'm not too bad. The downside of the D40 is that it has to have the Nikon lenses since they made it small by putting the autofocus motor in the lens rather than the camera body. For me it was worth it to get the small size. You can probably still get a D40 and several nice lenses for under a grand. Good luck.
    Steve Marquardt, 2004 R1150RT

  7. #7
    SNC1923
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    Gail,

    I was excited to see your query and was already crafting a response when I read Knary's. I strongly agree with everything he says.

    I used to be a major Nikon shooter. I switched to Canon, rather capriciously, when I went Digital. I used to see big differences between the two brands; now I feel that they are largely the same. Both make an excellent product, great lenses, advanced technology, blah, blah, blah.

    I would get the new Canon Rebel XSi, though I have no reason to suggest against the Nikon.

    In terms of "bang for your buck," it's all about the glass. Spend your money on lenses.

    I'd look hard at Canon's 17-85 and their 70-200 f/4.0. This is, of course, very general advice and in complete ignorance of your shooting needs, etc. The 17-85 is a great on-the-bike travel lens and may very well be all the lens you need, at least to start. I would advise against buying the camera with a "kit" lens, opting instead to buy the body only and the lens or lenses you specifically want. I'm up to six and I'm convinced that that's too many!

    Buy a flash. It's one of the reasons to go to a DSLR.

    Spend some time over at dgrin.com. Take some time to peruse their flea market as well as their camera section. Very educational.

  8. #8
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    There's no substitute for going down and just seeing which one fits your hand. I went Nikon for a DSLR, though I have a Canon P&S.

    I haven't yet found the limits of this camera and being able to play with aperture and shutter speed to make an image is nice. I came from a 35mm background and always missed being able to make long exposure shots or accent a particular object in a frame with depth of field control.

    You might want to check in your area and see if there's a local camera club. When Tina and I got our first SLR, we joined the Greater Lynn Camera Club and took a bunch of their courses. It taught me the fundamentals of photography, which have stuck with me. I don't know if there's an equivalent in your area, but if there is, it's time and money well spent, especially this time of year.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  9. #9
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    I like the image of the Canon sensors, so I went with a Canon Rebel XTi and a second zoom lens. I got away for well under $1K. The other big thing for me was the User Interface and how it fit my hand. I liked the UI on the Canon better than the Nikon. I also liked the fact that it took Compact Flash and batteries that I already have from the PowerShot I had and wore out.

    The biggest thing for me though was the way it felt in the hands.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  10. #10
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradfordBenn View Post
    The biggest thing for me though was the way it felt in the hands.
    Yeah, bring your gloves!
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  11. #11
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    This is good stuff, I like the flow chart approach. I have seen that the EOS Digital Rebel XTi is the #1 Canon camera on Flickr; there is something to be said about following the masses in this category. Funny thing is when I look at the pictures taken with it, I realize, I don't see things in real life that clearly!

    Good advise about touch and feel, I think I've been in a camera store once, and that was to buy a tripod, I needed to touch and feel that. I'll ask the NH Flickr crowd what camera store they recommend.
    Gail Hatch
    SheRidesABeemer's Blog
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    87 K75CT

  12. #12
    Club President gsjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldhway View Post
    Gail, I bought a Nikon D40 in June and am very happy. They have replaced it with the D40X which is a 10 mega pixel (The original was 6.something). It is a smaller body then a standard DSLR which I really like for traveling. I'm not a pro by any means but I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on my shots so I'm not too bad. The downside of the D40 is that it has to have the Nikon lenses since they made it small by putting the autofocus motor in the lens rather than the camera body. For me it was worth it to get the small size. You can probably still get a D40 and several nice lenses for under a grand. Good luck.

    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on one of these deals........
    http://www.ritzcamera.com/static/con...k-Sale-RC.html

    comments?
    gsjay
    Jason Kaplitz
    Johnstown, Pa
    Laurel Highlands BMW Riders #294

  13. #13
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheRidesABeemer View Post
    This is good stuff, I like the flow chart approach. I have seen that the EOS Digital Rebel XTi is the #1 Canon camera on Flickr; there is something to be said about following the masses in this category.
    I'm probably a year away from going the digital SLR route, but starting to think seriously about it.

    The XSi is a newer version of the XTi. I looked at it a bit tonight and the Canon lenses. I think my first choice would be the 55-250mm Canon EF zoom lens. I used 200mm, 100-200mm, and 100-300mm Canon FD lenses for many years and was quite happy with them. The new 55-250mm Canon EF lens would suit me even better.

    I think I just picked out my next setup but need a new washing machine.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  14. #14
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Smile

    The new Nikon 10 and 12 megapixel cameras have an auto stabilization feature that eliminates the need for a tripod and can use Minolta auto lens.

  15. #15
    2 Wheeled Troubador oldhway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsjay View Post
    I'm about ready to pull the trigger on one of these deals........
    http://www.ritzcamera.com/static/con...k-Sale-RC.html

    comments?
    gsjay
    As I mentioned, absolutely love mine. Anything more would be simply for bragging rights, does all i need and smaller than the others so it fits nice in a tank bag.
    Steve Marquardt, 2004 R1150RT

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