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mtpockets

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Newbie Looking for dslr
« on: August 22, 2007, 11:36:29 am »

Hello Everyone,
I am looking to purchase a new Dslr. I am a total Newbie to photography. I really enjoy taking "Snapshots" of Landscapes, Sunsets & rises along with Water scenes.

But I'd like to put a rest to taking Pictures and snap shots and stat to take some nice Colorful Photos of scenery..
I live in Colorado and it is very beautiful here I also travel to the East and west coasts where I Love the Beaches..

I really enjoy looking at the Photo's that people take with all the  Vibrant Pastel colors and the time lapsed water shots.

So I'm here looking for a Camera & Lens that I can Grow with and really enjoy.

I was looking at the Nikon D200, Canon 5D, Olympus evolts, and now theres the new 40D from canon thats going to be available..

I'm not looking for a $7,000.00 unit yet.. But I would like to grow with what I decide to purchase...  
I am willing to spend as much as $1,700.00  body and same for the Lens if needed.

Please help me with making a decision. I'm not biased toward any brand.. Because I am just starting out...
My Current camera is a Olympus C4000z 4.0mp   and I'm looking for something that will help me to achieve those Awesome Pastel sky shots and such..

Thanks in advance,
mtpockets
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jerryrock

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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2007, 11:58:13 am »

I think the new Canon 40D would be an excellent choice for you. The most important factor you should be considering is  which system you want to go with. Once invested in a particular system (ie. Canon, Nikon, Olympus 4/3 etc.) it is difficult to switch. The lenses and flashes are proprietary and cannot be interchanged. The biggest investment will ultimately be in the lenses and in my opinion, the most critical.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 11:58:46 am by jerryrock »
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Lisa Nikodym

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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2007, 01:37:59 pm »

You won't get vibrant colors and time-lapse water with a different camera, you get them instead with different *technique*.  Before you spend a lot of money on a new camera, it might be best to learn more about photographic techniques to use your current camera to its full potential and practice with it awhile.  Only then will you know how much camera you really need.

If you find you need a better camera than you currently have to keep up with the technique you're learning (which may be the case soon), then I'd recommend starting with an entry-level DSLR.  The Canon & Nikon ones are quite excellent cameras.

(I know someone who had a relative who kept getting more and more expensive cameras because he thought it would help him take better photos.  After finally finding that one of the most expensive DSLRs still didn't help him take better photos, he gave up.  All it would have taken was more effort learning better technique and practicing it, and would have saved a lot of $$$ and aggravation.)

Lisa
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 01:40:21 pm by nniko »
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wolfnowl

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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2007, 01:48:00 pm »

Quote
You won't get vibrant colors and time-lapse water with a different camera, you get them instead with different *technique*. Before you spend a lot of money on a new camera, it might be best to learn more about photographic techniques to use your current camera to its full potential and practice with it awhile. Only then will you know how much camera you really need.

Excellent purchasing advice, Lisa.  To the originator of this thread, you might want to read Michael's recent article here.

Fact is that there are several different companies who make quality products.  There are those who say that Canon or Nikon are the only two choices for professional use, and it is true that these two companies make the widest selection of high quality cameras, lenses and accessories.  However, from the sounds of your post that's not your intent.  Therefore, while you can read input from readers here and on other sites, download specs and peruse equipment reviews, it all comes down to one thing - you holding the camera wherever you are.  It had better be a camera that you've chosen and not someone else teling you what camera you need.

My advice, as always, is to make up a list of the types of photography you want to do and your budget and go to a good camera store in your area.  Talk to the clerk and tell him or her that you're looking for a camera but don't know a lot about it.  A good clerk will take the time to explain the features of several different models and will let you hold them in your hand.  This is the one of the most important things.  How does it feel to you?  Do the buttons make sense?  Is the menu selection intuitive to you?  Get as much information as you can, take the clerk's business card and go home.  Think about it. Play it over in your mind a bit.  Then go back to that store, find the person you spoke with before (who may be on commission but deserves the sale nonetheless) and make your purchase.

Once you've got some experience under your belt and you have a camera from a specific brand and a new model comes out and you're comfortable with the different features it offers you MIGHT want to buy it online.  But starting out, there's no substitute for someone who can point you in the right direction.

My $0.02

Mike.
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feppe

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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 02:17:53 pm »

I was in your situation a number of years ago: I thought I had some eye for photography, and wanted something to replace my trusty Canon point-and-shoot. This was before digital was affordable to mortals ('99). My budget was tighter than yours, but I did quite a bit of research. I did pretty much what Michael did in his watch essay, I listed my requirements:

- Good selection of lenses to grow with me and the system
- Ability to go beyond 30 second exposures since was planning to shoot low-light cityscapes - which has become one of my favorite subjects
- Fully manual mode for the same reason
- AE bracketing since I didn't know how to expose properly at the time, and was planning to shoot slide film - for best quality - which is not very forgiving to exposure mistakes. (Yeah, yeah, I know I should learn to shoot before buying a camera and all that.)

In the end, it was the things that I _didn't_ need that narrowed the selection to two cameras (in addition to budget):

- I have no need for really fast shutter speeds since I'm not interested in sports photography
- No need for fancy autofocus tech for the same reason

I ended up getting the Canon EOS 50E (Elan II-E), which was a prosumer film camera. There were nicer and more expensive offerings, but they had features that I didn't need. Therefore I wouldn't have bought them even if I could afford.

When I moved to digital I was faced with the same decision. I went with 30D, which is the prosumer Canon digital. I am extremely happy with it. I have no plans to upgrade it to 40D or any of the new offerings, as I feel that my photography is better served by investing in good glass. The glass will last for years longer than a digital back.

So, I'd take a long, hard look at how I shoot, what I want to shoot, and base my decision on that. Don't get too caught up with your budget, as it's big enough to get you very nice serious amateur gear. But remember that you will invest quite a bit more than just the lens and back: bag, memory cards, tripod, lens hood, filters, software, printer, paper, inks, and some LL tutorials

mtpockets

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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2007, 04:36:27 pm »

Well thanks for everyones replies.. I do understand that It's not that camera that produces a quality photo. and that its the Experienced user..

And that its the Glass that really counts and not the body.. But Features help too...

like I had mentioned earlier I was looking at the D200  But upon reading articles about the D200 I think I've read that it's no really a God choice for landscapes etc..

Also: Would it be Cost effective to go with a Body and lens kit?  Or better to pick up a lens separately?

I sure do like those low light photos showing the different pastels in the sky.
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Lisa Nikodym

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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2007, 07:05:28 pm »

Quote
And that its the Glass that really counts and not the body.. But Features help too...

like I had mentioned earlier I was looking at the D200 But upon reading articles about the D200 I think I've read that it's no really a God choice for landscapes etc..

Also: Would it be Cost effective to go with a Body and lens kit? Or better to pick up a lens separately?

I sure do like those low light photos showing the different pastels in the sky.

The D200 is actually an excellent choice for landscapes (that's what I use).  However, unless you either print larger than about 8"x10", or treat it roughly (while rock-climbing, for example), or shoot in heavy rain unprotected, or shoot under unusually difficult-focus conditions, then something like a D40 or D80 is going to give you nearly all of what the D200 will.

Regarding kit vs. non-kit lenses:  From what I've heard, Canon kit lenses tend to not be very good compared with most of their lenses.  From my personal experience, Nikon kit lenses tend to be excellent, and a good deal.

For low light photos with colors in the sky, I'd still recommend reading up on how serious photographers shoot those sorts of situations, and see how close you can come with the camera you have if you do all the right things (maybe you just need better post-processing software and experience using it).  Maybe you need a better camera, but maybe not...

Lisa
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spidermike

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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2007, 03:32:10 am »

Going straight to a Nikon D200 as an entry camera is one hell of a step. And from the description of what you shoot, it does not sound to me as though you will use many of the functions it offers over a cheaper camera such as the Canon 400D or the Nikon D40x. Well, not for the first couple of years anyway.

When I bought my first DSLR, I was torn between the Canon 350D and the 30D  - and the only practical advantages for the 30D were the larger viewing screen, the brighter viewfinder (how I have found that useful in low light!), and the larger body fitted better in my hand. This difference cost me 250 but that was part of the decision - I didn't buy it because of the other specs. Provided you are not printing beyond A4 (or even A3 with careful processing) the 8MP sensor both had was all I would need.

The 350D did have advantages: should I buy the 350D and use the money saved to buy good glass - with quality lenses the 350D can produce stunning images (check photo gallery websites, home pages of people posting ont this and other forums, or the details of photographs in magazines) you will see quite a few use a 350D or D40x with expensive glass; and the 350D is smaller and lighter and I would I be more likely to carry the 350D around for fun.

In the year since I bought my camera, the algorithms used for the 30D (exposure, focussing) have now been incorporated into the 400D (successor to 350D) so the 30D is almost unsustainable in my view. And I am not sure the new 40D would offer any real advantages - especially as prices for 400D are already falling and the 40D will stay at premium prices for another 6-9 months. I am sure Nikon are hsowing the same trickle-down effect.
Something like the 5D, D200 etc will offer better presets etc and may reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a computer screen (which can be a pain as well as a lot of fun) but is it worth the money? Your choice.

So you need to consider  the type of photos you shoot, the budget and how much time you want to spend in front of a computer playing around with images.
If I was in the same position again, I would set my default position as looking at Canon 400D, Nikon D40x or Olympus E410 and upgrade the glass. But I would also look at the 30D, 5D, D200 etc and compare functions etc - I bet I wouldn't use most of them! And think carefully if they offer genuine advantages rather than simply higher specs.  

Then buy
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 04:08:41 am by spidermike »
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marcmccalmont

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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2007, 01:59:41 am »

1. Decide whether you want a 1 lens solution or a 2 lens solution, i.e. Nikkor 18-200 VR or Canon 24-105 IS + 70-200 4.0 IS. What range do you want to cover? 24 to 180mm, 28 to 200 or 24 to 300? (don't buy the kit lenses) I would also invest in a stabilized lens.
2. Then buy the best sensor you can afford. D200, D300 or 40D, 5D
I get disappointed with my travel camera (Nikon D80+18-200VR) when compared to the images from my 5D. I should have bought the D200 but size, weight and cost were considerations. If it were my money the Nikkor 18-200 VR and a D200 would be a great place to start looking.
3. Consider the costs of everything else, spare battery, 2, 4 gig memory cards, flash, Photoshop, RAW converter, printer, carry case, lens protectors, sensor cleaning supplies etc.

If the image quality is not enough to excite you, you will not get into the hobby with passion! Buy good glass, buy a good sensor, buy a good printer!.

Marc
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Ray

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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2007, 06:53:31 am »

If you can wait 2 or 3 months, then at this stage the Nikon D300 would be the one to get. If the specs are to be believed, it is without a shadow of a doubt the best of the crop (of affordable cropped format DSLRs). But of course, you should wait till the reviews are out to confirm this. There might be a few performance disappointments.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 06:54:51 am by Ray »
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mtpockets

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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2007, 06:23:38 pm »

Thanks Again,

I am in no Big Rush!!! I think it will be better if I wait until the New Units arrive.. and see what Reviews they are receiving.
I have looked around at many members Photos, and Different sites aswell and
I've noticed that alot of the Really nice photos where taken on th  cannon 5D...

Yes I know that I'm coming into the hobby  Very Green...   But I just don't want to be disappointed a few months down the road..  Like  Why didn't I just go ahead and get this Model..  I'm sure many have felt the same way....

I'm a very Fast learner...  But one thing I do not like is Fumbling through the Menus ... Because By the time you go through menu jockeying  You could of just lost the Shot that you were looking for...




Quote
If you can wait 2 or 3 months, then at this stage the Nikon D300 would be the one to get. If the specs are to be believed, it is without a shadow of a doubt the best of the crop (of affordable cropped format DSLRs). But of course, you should wait till the reviews are out to confirm this. There might be a few performance disappointments.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135409\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Ray

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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2007, 08:14:27 pm »

Quote
I'm a very Fast learner...  But one thing I do not like is Fumbling through the Menus ... Because By the time you go through menu jockeying  You could of just lost the Shot that you were looking for...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135506\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I would say that most complaints about menus that are difficult to navigate result from the user simply not being familiar with the layout and not practised in using the camera.

There's such a thing as the tail wagging the dog. Even legitimate concerns such as the lack of a dedicated mirror lock-up button on Canon DSLRs are not a big deal. If you use MLU a lot, then presumably you know which way to turn the dial to get more quickly to the custom function menu, and when you've got there the window will more than likely already display C. Fn#12 for setting MLU because that's where you were last time you used the custom function menu. If it isn't, then you just have to remember that C. Fn#12 is where you set MLU.

Fumbling is not knowing that MLU is set through the custom function menu and not knowing that it's C.Fn#12 out of 20 or so options. Learn your camera's controls first.
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feppe

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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2007, 08:59:31 pm »

Quote
I would say that most complaints about menus that are difficult to navigate result from the user simply not being familiar with the layout and not practised in using the camera.

There's such a thing as the tail wagging the dog. Even legitimate concerns such as the lack of a dedicated mirror lock-up button on Canon DSLRs are not a big deal. If you use MLU a lot, then presumably you know which way to turn the dial to get more quickly to the custom function menu, and when you've got there the window will more than likely already display C. Fn#12 for setting MLU because that's where you were last time you used the custom function menu. If it isn't, then you just have to remember that C. Fn#12 is where you set MLU.

Fumbling is not knowing that MLU is set through the custom function menu and not knowing that it's C.Fn#12 out of 20 or so options. Learn your camera's controls first.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135526\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

"Learn to use your camera" is a very bad excuse for very bad UI design, and something that should have died along with the 90s. Unfortunately many designers treat their customers with similar arrogance and neglect as you do. I'd imagine other companies than Apple would've already learned that an easy-to-use UI can be revolutionary. Unfortunately we're stuck with the idiots at Canon and Nikon, who'd have three-deep menus and thirteen buttons on a toaster.

30D's UI is some of the worst UIs I've ever seen on a consumer device. Mirror lock-up is the biggie for me, as well as the fact that you have to take your eye off the viewfinder for anything but the most basic adjustments. There are no parametric ISO/exposure/f-stop adjustments, and you have to spend $100 (!) on a proper remote if you want to program anything beyond 30-second exposures.

Ray

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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2007, 09:44:15 pm »

Quote
"Learn to use your camera" is a very bad excuse for very bad UI design

You've got that the wrong way round, haven't you? Learning is never an excuse for anything, but easy UI's might be an excuse for not learning how to use your camera.

It seems to me that camera makers in general have been leaning over backwards to help people who don't have the time to familiarise themselves with the fine points of manual control. C'mon! You don't have to focus the camera; you don't have to use a light meter to find the correct exposure; you often don't even have to think about the approprite settings for a portrait, a night shot, a landscape or a fireworks display. You just turn a dial with a small icon indicating the appropriate mode.

With many cameras you don't even have to download your images to a computer for processing. You just plug the camera directly into a printer for probably quite acceptable results.

Arrogance? What are you talking about?
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Ray

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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2007, 10:50:43 pm »

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Mirror lock-up is the biggie for me, as well as the fact that you have to take your eye off the viewfinder for anything but the most basic adjustments. There are no parametric ISO/exposure/f-stop adjustments, and you have to spend $100 (!) on a proper remote if you want to program anything beyond 30-second exposures.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135531\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think it's probably impossible to maximise the ease of access for every feature equally, irrespective of whether that feature is used frequently or rarely. I can understand quite well if you frequently take slow shutter shots on a tripod you might prefer to have a dedicated button on the back of the camera for MLU, but others might find there are already too many confusing buttons on the back of their camera and might not appreciate yet another button for a feature they rarely use.

It wouldn't surprise me if this concern over MLU has also been fostered and exaggerated by the idea that MLU always produces sharper results with tripod. As far as I understand this is not true. MLU seems to be useful only for a narrow range of slow shutter speeds, typically from 2 secs to 1/60th at the outside and probably narrower than this in practice, with modern damping of mirrors and a good tripod. Perhaps 1 sec to 1/30th is all you need be concerned about, but it's years since I tested this for myself.

The only thing that annoys me about the MLU situation on the Canon DSLRs that I own is my own tendency to forget to disable MLU after using it. When I next pick up the camera to take a shot, perhaps a hand-held shot a day later, I squeeze the shutter to focus, the mirror locks and I can't see what I'm shooting.

Now I'm not so arrogant as to blame Canon for my own lapse of memory but it would be useful if I could program the camera to tell me (through a computerised voice perhaps) that mirror lock-up is enabled when I switch the camera on.
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feppe

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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2007, 05:09:52 am »

Quote
You've got that the wrong way round, haven't you? Learning is never an excuse for anything, but easy UI's might be an excuse for not learning how to use your camera.

It seems to me that camera makers in general have been leaning over backwards to help people who don't have the time to familiarise themselves with the fine points of manual control. C'mon! You don't have to focus the camera; you don't have to use a light meter to find the correct exposure; you often don't even have to think about the approprite settings for a portrait, a night shot, a landscape or a fireworks display. You just turn a dial with a small icon indicating the appropriate mode.

With many cameras you don't even have to download your images to a computer for processing. You just plug the camera directly into a printer for probably quite acceptable results.

Arrogance? What are you talking about?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135537\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm opening another thread about this as we're veering off course, and I think this is an interesting topic.

But about the MLU issue: I doubt people are advocating a dedicated button for it, as that would be overkill. But hiding it behind 3 levels of menus is overkill, also. I'm not an UI designer, but one easier way to solve the issue would be to have user-definable custom settings for each shooting situation.
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