Canon XSi....good enough to start out with?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by stephen_sturdevant, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. I am starting photgraphy soon...and I am looking at cameras I should start with (and I am not wanting to start with point-and-shoot) I am just wanting to know if the Canon Rebel XSi is adequate?
     
  2. With the information you give us, the answer is "yes".
     
  3. Alright, is there anything I should know before I get started in photgraphy?
    Like on Lenses, what is the (for ex.) the "f/4.8" might I ask what that is?
    (As you can tell I am definately just starting lol)
     
  4. I think the XSI is more than adequate for anyone starting out. As you progress you may find that you outgrow it. I would however spend more money on quality lenses than worrying if the body was good enough. I started with a XT and added quality lenses. After a year I decided to upgrade the body to a 40D. Henry's in Toronto has refurbished XT's for $249 cdn - cheaper than many p&s. Remember that photography is so much more than the equipment you use. Have fun.
     
  5. It depends on what you want to shoot, that lens is more of a do it all travel lens. I would suggest starting with the very good kit lens 18-55 IS. Usually the more zoom range you have, the less quality you have.
    18-55 review.
    http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/181-canon-ef-s-18-55mm-f35-56-is-test-report--review
     
  6. For starting out, absolutely. The XSi with the image-stabilized kit lens are designed for people just like you!
    I would very definitely not invest in more or in more expensive lenses as you start out. You really cannot know if you'll eventually want other lenses now, nor can you possibly know which lenses you might want at that point.
    Dan
     
  7. I agree with Tommy, start with the kit lens and only add lenses as your needs evolve. All purpose lenses like the 18-200 try to be a lens for all occasions but usually end up not be very good at any of them.
     
  8. Oh okay, I am wanting to shoot everything from flowers to sunsets, pretty much everything :D
    Might I ask what the "f/x" on lenses mean? I have heard so many different things about it haha
     
  9. I got an Xsi last year and think it's a really nice camera for a beginner- any limitation in my photography at this point are b/c of me, not the equipment. I did add the 50/1.8 lens, and that opened up more lower light possibilties, and made it easier to get pics with the nice bokeh/blurred background. At $85 it's a good value. I may be in the minority, but I actually like the 18-55IS kit lens, for daylight situations I have had really good results- I added the 55-250 zoom last month to take pics at tee ball games, and while not the fastest focusing, for the price, I am pretty happy.
    If you are looking to learn basics, Scott Kelby's books on digital photography were really helpful.
     
  10. Oh okay :D Thanks guys! I mght have some more questions later on in my photography life, If you guys dont mind.
     
  11. f/* refers to the speed of the lens. the lower the number i.e. as in f/1.8 from the post above the less light is lost or the lens can gather more light. the 18-55 kit lens is not the best low light lens but is still a good lens to start with. You may want to do as Jennifer has stated and get the 50/1.8 for low light capabilites. get the basic and start shooting - you will eventually discover what other lenses you may need.
     
  12. F stands for the aperture of the lens. For example the 50mm f1.8 means this lens has a maximum aperture of 1.8 or 28mm (50/1.8=27.777mm). There are two way to control the amount of light entering the camera. One is the shutter. The other is the aperture. This photo.net article should be helpful. Also in the upper left corner of photo.net is a search function. There are a lot of articles and discussions about aperture, exposure, depth of field, etc. The search function is a very useful tool. And if you cannot find the answer post the question in the beginners forum.
    The Xsi is a very good camera to start out with and in the hands of a skill photographer it is capable of generating very good images. I would agree with others and not recommend you buy a lot of lenses or buy expensive lenses for a while. Once you get the hang of it you will start to understand what kind of lens would best satisfy your needs. However there are a couple of low cost lenses that are an excellent choice for beginners. They are the 18-55IS (this typically comes with the Xsi), the 50mm F1.8, and the 55-250IS (sold with the Xsi and 18-55IS in a two lens kit). These lenses are quite good optically dispite the low price.
    All that said, the most important thing you should do when you get your camer is to go out and take pictures. And feel free to experiment. Dispite the complexity just pushing buttons should not damage the camera.
     
  13. Stephen -- post often in the beginner's forum and check out this:
    http://www.photo.net/learn/making-photographs/
     
  14. The XSi is a great cam.
    I'm not a beginner but still chose it last year over more expensive canon options (for which I was gladly willing to pay) for it's superior ergonomics and performance for the kind of photography I like to do.
    I would stay away from the kit lens if you'd like to retain creative options and flexibility.
     
  15. Again, for a complete beginner do NOT stay away from the kit lens. The true beginner does not yet know which directions his/her photographic might interests might take. Worry about the "creative options and flexibility" later - if you decide that the very inexpensive and quite decent kit lens is not sufficient for you in this regard, when you decide what your specialized interests might be, and after you have acquired enough experience to make smart choices about more expensive equipment.
    The new image-stabilized version of the EFS 18-55mm kit lens is actually quite decent and is an amazing deal if you get it as part of a body/lens kit.
    Dan
     
  16. In UK we get different lenses bundled with the camera depending on the store - it can be the 18-55 IS or the 17-85 IS. Both are very decent lenses and will be good enough for printing up to A4. The camera and the lens will serve you well for quite a while.
    I heard the kit lenses werent that great​
    The quality of kit lenses compared to even a few years ago are greatly improved. The problems with reviews (cameras, lenses, also hifi) is that the bar is continually being raised and the reivewers have to identify increasingly small detail on which to criticise a product to give them something to write about. And reviews are often comparisons, not the product in isolation - the chances are if you looked at a print by itself you would not notice anything wrong. But put it next to a picture taken with a superior lens you will see differences.
    Don't fret. In a nutshell, for the first year or so the limit will be your technique, not the gear.
     
  17. Stephen,
    I moved from a point and shoot to an XSi. It is a very good camera to begin with. In addition to the EF-S 18-55 IS you may want to consider the EF-S 55-250 IS. I use the later for large flowers and candids from an unobtrusive distance. By using both of these "kit" lenses, you will be able to explore the majority of the focal range before making future purchases.
    I would advise using the Learn section of photo.net. I read just about everything in that section before buying anything. There are articles there that will give you a good foundational understanding of basic photography. I started applying what I learned there to my point and shoot. My XSi was pretty much intuitive when I got it. So, read what you can here - it is free!
    I have found all the folks here in the forum to be very helpful with my questions, so know you can ask away and plenty of folks are ready, willing and able to giv eyou sound answers.
    DS Meador
     
  18. Any of the entry-level dSLRs these days have resolution and features that the early digital SLR adopters would have "killed" their mother to get. They are not built to the same standards as the more advanced amateur and professional cameras, but they will have no problem in dealing with anything less than "shoot every-minute for 8 hours at a time" kind of use.
    When I needed a backup for a being-fixed xxD camera, I bought a xxxD body. I have kept it and use it all the time. These cameras are terrific value even by contemporary, much less historical, standards.
     
  19. >>> Again, for a complete beginner do NOT stay away from the kit lens. The true beginner does not yet know which
    directions his/her photographic might interests might take.

    I strongly disagree. Without the opportunity you never get a chance to explore the potential - and am not in the camp that
    enthusiastic beginners need to somehow be protected - especially one that does not want to go the point-n-shoot route. I
    tried the new kit lens and was disappointed. That's the beauty of starting with a body that's inexpensive; you have more
    money to consider lenses that will make a difference.
     
  20. By all means do get yourself an EF 50mm f/1.8 lens, which costs very little but which will give you a basis for comparison. That way you can see for yourself to what extent other lenses besides kit lenses (and other EF-S lenses) might be better able to take advantage of the sensor in the XSi.
    I had the XTi, which was the predecessor of the XSi. My main digital camera has been the Canon 1Ds Mark II for all of 2008 and 2009 (along with the 5D), but I was quite impressed with the Digital Rebel cameras. They are actually quite sophisticated and capable of doing some really good work--with the right lenses. They are particularly useful with telephoto lenses. I would not hesitate to recommend "L" series lenses for use with the Digital Rebel series cameras. They are pricey, but, if you find that you are in over your head, they can be resold with little or no loss. I have several "L" lenses that would bring more used than what I paid for them new.
    I think that you do well to see to it that the lenses that you get take full advantage of the potential of the camera. It is ultimately the glass that makes the image, not the camera, and I think that we do beginners no favors by steering them away from good glass.
    Just be aware that lenses are a potential money pit and will cost a lot more than the camera. I would personally not put a lot of money into EF-S lenses, since they cannot be used on full-frame cameras such as the 5D, 5D Mark II, or the 1D series cameras--and you might move up sooner rather than later.
    Instead, go with EF lenses from the beginning--with perhaps one or two (no more) EF-S walk-around all-purpose lenses--one kit lens and one wide zoom. Even on the latter you might do well to look at some of the EF (not EF-S) series lenses, but proceed cautiously until you find out whether this is going to be a life-long passion or a passing fad.
    --Lannie
     
  21. The EF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 IS lens that you mention is not that bad a lens. Beyond that I would go with all EF lenses. That is my personal preference, since I like shooting both cropped sensor and full-frame sensor cameras, and I like lenses that can be used on both . (The EF-S lenses cannot be used on full-frame cameras.) Only the EF lenses can be used on both. Even so, you are going to need at least one EF-S lens, and the 18-200 is at least a cut above the typical kit lens.
    So, for starters I would recommend the zoom mentioned above along with the EF 50mm f/1.8. Beyond that it depends on what subjects you like to shoot--and you might not know that yet.
    Good luck, and happy shooting!
    --Lannie
     
  22. As an alternative to the 18-200 that you mentioned, you might also consider the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM as your basic walk-around lens rather than a kit lens. (I have never bought a kit lens in my life but I have seen the results--and I am not impressed.)
    If you are going to be shooting in the 100-200 mm range, or longer, I would definitely consider going straight to EF lenses from the beginning.
    By the way, expect the files coming out of the XTi or XSi to be a bit soft without a bit of unsharp mask applied. Otherwise you might think that the softness is coming from the lenses. Canon is quite conservative on in-camera sharpening, and it is usually necessary to apply at least some unsharp mask in post processing (on all their cameras) to sharpen them up. A bit of contrast adjustment helps as well, but do not overdo it.
    If you have no software for post processing, consider Photoshop Elements, which will probably suffice for all that you need to do at this point. (Always keep your original files in case you do over do it the first time around.)
    You will also need, alas,a tripod, if you are going to get the most out of any camera that you shoot. This is not an inexpensive undertaking that you are getting yourself into, but that does not mean that you have to spend a fortune, either.
    Let us know what you get and how you like it.
    --Lannie
     
  23. Even though there are other good choices, the XSi is an exceptional camera for any beginer or intermediate photog. I own it and I'm amazed at the quality of picture you can capture with it. Also, I've been pleasantly surprised by the picture quality generated with the new 18-55 IS. Very sharp for a cheap kit lens. Apparently the reviewer at photozone thinks so too. Check out his review: http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/404-canon_1855_3556is_50d.
    It is true that a better lens will help you take better pictures, and the above recommended 50mm f/1.8 is a very good cheap (<$100) prime lens. So you should consider getting this and compare it's image quality to the kit zoom lens set at 50mm. You can decide for yourself without having to spend $$$ on a really good lens like the 70-200f/4 L IS or the 17-55 f/2.8 IS.
    Spend a few months learning what every control on your camera is for. Experiment at different settings. Take lots and lots of photos, then analize them on your computer and see what you like about them. Don't just put the camera in the fully automatic mode. Try other modes. For example, try taking pictures in "A" (aperture priority) and see how changing the lens aperture chages the depth of field in the final image. Look at other peoples photos and ask what you like about them. Try to duplicate their result.
    Here is a very good book that will teach you how to use your camera:
    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Rebel-D...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244600297&sr=8-1
    It will be $13 well spent if you are serious about learning photography.
    ANother good book is by Scott Kelby on Digital Photography (#1). He shows you the secret of taking sharp pictures among other tips.
    http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Photography-Book-Scott-Kelby/dp/032147404X/ref=pd_sim_b_1
    You may also want to consider getting a postprocessing program to enhance your photos. Photoshop Elements is a great program for less than $100. Good luck and have fun.
     
  24. I started out with a rebel XTi and played with the controls for two years. I just recently updated to a 40D and I've found out that everything I learned from my Rebel has made a huge impact on how I use my 40D. I think starting out with a Rebel is a great choice!
     
  25. Best investment is to get a book that explains SLR photography. Preferably one that concentrates on technique and lighting and less on gear. The biggest mistake beginners make is thinking it is all about the gear.
     
  26. @Brad
    I tried the new kit lens and was disappointed​
    Did you try the 'kit lens' when you had already tried more expensive lenses, or on you first camera? Stephen is a complete beginner - he may not even enjoy the hobby and all this expensive glass sits in a cupboard 50 weeks of the year.
    and am not in the camp that enthusiastic beginners need to somehow be protected​
    I am not either. But I want to give him advice that can save him hundreds of dollars. The kit lens is ridiculously cheap when bundled with the camera and the quality is decent - no-one has said he is going to be printing in National Geographic with this lens, just that for the money it is decent. In my view, once Stephen decides what type of photography he wants to do then he can spend a shed load of money on a lens to suit. Without knowing his preference you could argue he should get the XSi with 17-552.8 IS and the 70-200f4L so he has all angles covered. Hell of a layout for a complete beginner!
    I know someone who concentrates on wildlife and spends all his money on lenses for that; and for walk-around he has a 18-55 IS kit lens because for those pictures are for memories and he wants good, but not the not necessarily the very best, quality. That seems a sensible measured decision to me.
     
  27. This all reminds me of agonizing over whether my first motorcycle should be a Honda 250. A half mile down the road on the first ride I knew that I wanted something bigger and better: my knees hit the handlebars on the first turn. Then I went with a Yamaha 650, which screamed at high RPMs trying to haul my carcass down the road at sixty mph. Finally I got myself a 1984 1300 cc Kawasaki and was finally at home on the open highway. I went through two bikes (and far too much time and money) before I finally got what I should have gotten in the first place.
    If he doesn't like the better outfit he can sell it. I suspect that there is greater chance of wasting more money if one buys too far on the low end--but I admit that that is pure speculation when recommending something for someone else. Maybe he can rent something before he buys.
    If one knows that one has a passion for photography, I say buy the best that one can buy up front and save oneself some money. Does he know if he has that passion?
    I have no idea.
    At least no one is recommending the 5D II with the 70-200 2.8 IS as a starter system. Good glass is the real issue here.
    --Lannie
     
  28. Check out this woman's biography--and she shoots professionally with this system:
    http://www.photo.net/photodb/user?user_id=3931932
    (If I am not mistaken, the sensor in the XTi is the same as that in the 40D. The XSi has more pixels, of course.)
    It's about glass--but also about skill. She uses the kit lens for everything but the long stuff, and then she goes directly to one of the big zooms. (I belatedly see that she also shoots the 50.)
    --Lannie
     
  29. Apart from any camera/lens you select, Stephen, I have another suggestion, based upon my experience:
    The most important $$ I spent on photography was the $80 or $85 I spent for an Intro class at a community college campus near where I live. The class consisted of 3 Friday night classroom sessions and 2 Saturday a.m. "field trips."
    Might check to see whether such a class is available to you.
     
  30. Brad replied to my post thusly,
    >>> Again, for a complete beginner do NOT stay away from the kit lens. The true beginner does not yet know which directions his/her photographic might interests might take.
    I strongly disagree. Without the opportunity you never get a chance to explore the potential - and am not in the camp that enthusiastic beginners need to somehow be protected - especially one that does not want to go the point-n-shoot route. I tried the new kit lens and was disappointed. That's the beauty of starting with a body that's inexpensive; you have more money to consider lenses that will make a difference.​
    Brad, a few thoughts on your reply.
    1. If a new shooter is not able to get good results from the current IS kit lens (given its focal length range, etc.) then the odds are very strong - almost certain, actually - that the issue is not the lens but technique. I'm absolutely confident that I could go out with one of the digital rebels and the kit lens and come back with excellent photographs that would look great as 12 x 18 prints. Yes, I've used it.
    2. The issue is not exactly about "protecting" enthusiastic users from good equipment or suggesting that they "go the point and shoot route." It is a bit more complex than that. In general, among the "enthusiastic beginner" group - a group I enjoy a lot, by the way - there is a very large range of people.
    • The majority of them will end up never needing or wanting anything more than the kit lens. (If you don't agree, look around the next time you visit a tourist spot and see what most DSLR shooters are using.) So for them, the less expensive but capable kit lens is a great choice.
    • A smaller number who find that the kit lens produces fine quality for what they have in mind - probably photos shared online and perhaps an occasional print on a letter size printer - will eventually want to add another lens of similar quality such as the EFS 55-250 lens.
    • A smaller group still (though they may seem like a larger group if you only read photo forums like this one) will become more "serious" about their photography and begin to understand how specific lens features contribute to their ability to more effectively create the kinds of photographs that attract them - in other words, they may begin to outgrow the inexpensive kit lens. Such photographers might wish that they had gotten a "better" lens initially, but they may also realize that they had no idea what that "better" lens might have been - and in the end there is no single "better" lens that would be right for all such folks. Basically, by the time you understand what you need, you are fairly likely to find that you did not get the optimal lens by "buying up" before you understood what you would need. We've all made that mistake, sold a lens or two, and finally settled on the right lenses only later after experience taught us what such a lens might be.
    I guess we're in "half agreement." We both agree that starting with one of the current inexpensive but fine bodies is the best option. I would extend that same logic to the lens for the beginner as well - these lenses are fine, can produce quite good photographs, and are a very worthwhile investment during the starting phase.

    Take care,
    Dan
     
  31. Let me add one thing. I've had the opportunity to use both the old and new kit lenses and to extensively use the EFS 17-85mm lens.
    The new IS version of the 18-55 is a much different lens in optical terms than the original non-IS 18-55. THe EFS 17-85 is much more expensive than the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens and adds little beyond a bit of longer focal length - and this at the expense of image quality that is no better than that of the IS kit lens and arguably a bit poorer in several ways.
    Dan
     
  32. The new IS version of the 18-55 is a much different lens in optical terms than the original non-IS 18-55.​
    I stand corrected, too, Dan.
    Thanks.
    --Lannie
     
  33. Just a knee-jerk reaction to discussion of my beloved 17-85mm IS. In terms of focal length this is absolutely the handiest lens made for Canon APS-C cameras. It is the APS-C version of the classic 28-135mm IS for 35mm-sensor cameras. I appreciate the quality of my 24-105mm, and like the wide end at 24mm on a 35mm-sensor camera, but I miss that extra 30mm on the long end in all round shooting.
    Optically in terms of sharpness the 17-85 is very good indeed. Its flaws are distortion at the wide end, but typical for long zooms, and some chromatic aberration. Both are easily fixed in software, but neither are much noticeable in real-world shots. Brick walls, sure.
    If you use filters, the feature that the front does not rotate in focusing is very important, and the ability to manually focus to "touch up" focus without having to turn off the AF is another major feature if you are a serious shooter.
    I'm not pushing this for the OP, although he could do a lot worse. I agree that the new "kit" is a superb first lens for a start, and it will remain a wonderful light kit lens even if one upgrades later.
     
  34. XSI. for that matter, any of the entry level DSLRs are a great tool to get into serious photography. For the last 3 years I have been shooting with a rebel XT, and its performance still keeps me happy. I have invested in some good lenses, which help me grow as a photographer as I start learning different kinds of techniques. I am almost tempted to suggest that you go with a cheap Rebel XT and get a good walk around lens (maybe an L). The reason being that if you get into photography, you will only end up upgrading your camera body and stick with the lens, or if you decide its not the hobby for you, you will be able to get a good price back for your equipment as good lenses hold their value.
    Here is a good article about whether you really need the most expensive DSLR equipment
    http://blog.pholistic.com/?p=49
     
  35. Knowing what I know now and picturing myself starting out with my first digitall camera I think I would have liked if someone told me to grab and XSi body and a Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens. Lately I been using this lens as just a walkaround lens on my cropped sensor Sony body (should be similar on the Canon) and it's been working well and I have even started using it at more challenging low light concerts. I think this lens will serve you well as you explore and get a feel for what other focal lengths you would like but I believe this lens will always get use on a cropped sensor body like the XSi. In terms of lower end bodies like the XSi, I think it's more than adequate - I have been using low end digital bodies for over 2 years and gotten by (sometimes shooting challenging things). One thing to note, check that the 30mm isn't backfocussing - mine did but I had it shipped back to get fixed under warranty and it works fine now.
     
  36. Thank you guys! I wasnt intending to make this so long haha, but anyways thank you.
     
  37. My only concern with that camera is the 15.1 megapixels is borderline pushing it on that sensor size and it uses SD media. Most of canon's cameras use compact flash (inlcluding the spendy ones). So just don't spend $300 on a SD card then upgrade your camera in a few months to one that has CF.
     
  38. Kevin, Not to be rude...but the Rebel XSi has only 12.2MP
    The T1i has 15.1MP...
     
  39. There are always debates about the resolutions and so on (and I don't think it will be resolved in any satisfactory way), I don't think such issues are important (if relevant at all) for a beginner.
    If you can afford a T1i, I think you're better off with a Canon 20D (a used one is going around for cheap these days). Even a used 40D is cheaper than a T1i. You can look for one on keh.com. The xxD's (20, 30, 40D...) are older, but ergonomic, functionality,... are better than the xxxD line. I had a Rebel XT for 2+ years and had a few chances to use my brother's 20D, I just loved it. And it fits my hands better (and I'm a small guy).
    The newer T1i may have newer technologies, but if your focus is photography, you can't go wrong with a xxD model.
    Whatever camera you'll end up getting, start saving! lol... good lenses are expensive.
     
  40. >>> I would extend that same logic to the lens for the beginner as well - these lenses are fine, can produce quite good
    photographs, and are a very worthwhile investment during the starting phase.

    The kit lens is OK with respect to value (I had the new one, the quality was mediocre and I returned it). However, what you end
    up with is a camera body and lens that pretty much keeps one in the realm of mid-aperture point-n-shoot type photography that's
    seen so much on photo sites; never getting to explore the creative aspects of photography.

    Suggesting others must first "learn the ropes" first is constricting and is a real disservice. Especially for someone who is
    enthusiastic, curious, and seeking information. Would be a fine course of action for someone walking off the street into a Ritz.

    Despite your bulleted speculations as to what the market make-up is and how the members behave, for an enthusiastic
    beginner, I would recommend a larger aperture lens to fully enjoy the creative side of photography (similar to the direction
    employed in beginning photography classes), rather than the standard kit lens and using the combo like a point-n-
    shoot on steroids.
     
  41. >>> I would extend that same logic to the lens for the beginner as well - these lenses are fine, can produce quite good
    photographs, and are a very worthwhile investment during the starting phase.

    The kit lens is OK with respect to value (I had the new one, the quality was mediocre and I returned it). However, what you end
    up with is a camera body and lens that pretty much keeps one in the realm of mid-aperture point-n-shoot type photography that's
    seen so much on photo sites; never getting to explore the creative aspects of photography.

    Suggesting others must first "learn the ropes" is constricting and is a real disservice. Especially for someone who is
    enthusiastic, curious, and seeking information. Would be a fine course of action for someone walking off the street into a Ritz.

    Despite your bulleted speculations as to what the market make-up is and how its members behave, for an enthusiastic
    beginner, I would recommend a larger aperture lens to fully enjoy the creative side of photography (similar to the direction
    employed in beginning photography classes), rather than the standard kit lens and using the combo like a point-n-
    shoot on steroids.
     
  42. The XSI is a fine enough camera for a professional. The primary difference between it and a multi-thousand dollar camera is the amount of abuse they will take. Spend more on the lens and worry less about the body.
     
  43. Stephen, the answer is yes. It's a fine camera and the IS kit lens is a fine lens. But IT won't take great pictures -- YOU will. As you get started you'll need to avoid the temptation to think it's about the hardware. (Keep your camera out and your plastic in your pocket.)
     
  44. It's a good camera. Use it and start to make great pictures. Take some classes and attend some seminars whenever you can...
     
  45. To add one point of information, I have sold 16" x 24" prints of photographs made with the 8MP XT.
    About "using the lens like a P&S," that is not quite the case. Certainly one could use the kit lens like a P&S if that is what one wants the P&S would be a better choice - for one thing it is difficult if not impossible to find a single DSLR lens that covers the same angle-of-view range that is available from the P&S bodies. Also, just by using the larger sensor of the cropped sensor DSLR, the image quality potential with the kit lens is much better than that on most P&S models. Sure, you might argue about this relative to something like the G10, but in that case our user should just get a G10.
    Again, my idea about the kit lens being ideal for starting is that:
    1. Its cost is extremely low, the coverage is quite decent, the IS is advantageous, and the image quality is fine for letter size and considerably larger prints.
    2. While it is true that other lenses are "better" by a range of standards, the betterness will not likely make a difference to the beginner, and...
    3. ... by shooting a few thousand frames with this fine little inexpensive lens the beginner will soon discover which of the alternative and more expensive lens options will be the best choice for him/her, something that the beginner has no way of knowing at first. Until the shooter develops some experience-based opinions, choosing a lens that someone else recommends is not wise - because one could easily end up thinking that that "best" main lens is...
    4. perhaps a 30mm f/1.4 prime. Or maybe a 18-200mm telephoto. Or pehaps a couple primes. Or maybe the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. Or perhaps a 24-70 f/2.8 L. Or maybe a 24-105mm f/4 L IS. Or possibly the EFS 17-85mm IS. And on an on. Being able to acquire experience that will make and intelligent choice about this is worth the small cost of the kit lens.
    Take care,
    Dan
     
  46. Stephen - to echo others the XSi will work fine. Up to a certain point the secret of photography is not the lens but the time and thought put into the image. One of the things I have noticed is the trend to buy equipment to solve technique issues. I would not worry about megapixels or the lens for now. You have plenty of megapixels for reasonable sized enlargements and the kit lens is a real bargain. You should really focus on the images - one thing with digital and zooms is that they make it very easy to take lots of shots and use the zoom rather than your legs. One of the things that many of us old film photographers learnt was to move around to get the shot (pre-zoom era) and to really think before we pressed the shutter button (cost of film and processing). If you use the camera in this way (but take lots of shots so you can see the effects of different settings) you can get great images. I subscribe to the UK magazine Amateur Photographer (probably the best publication either side of the Atlantic) and I often notice how many of their top Photographer of the year images (they show the top 30) are made with beginner bodies and kit lenses.
    If you want to add to the experience a tripod, remote release and a 50mm F1.8 would be my suggestions. The 50mm F1.8 is the other great bargain lens as it used to be the kit lens. It gives you a very fast lens (low F number) that allows a shallow depth of field and is effectively an 80mm lens on the XSi due to the crop sensor. This lens is a great portrait lens - especially considering the price.
     

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