Looking for first slr camera

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ryan_tracy, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Hey everyone, I am looking for my first digital slr camera and was looking for
    some advice. Right now I have a point and shoot olympus 800. I mostly take
    photos of landscape (mountains, lakes, rivers etc.) Also wildlife (deer, bears,
    bobcats etc.) I am looking for an all around camera. I looked at the canon 5d
    and the 40d and I like them both, but is one better for landscape like the 5d?
    and faster fps like the 40d for wild life? Any help would be great. I have
    posted once before and got some good advice, I just want a little more food for
    thought. Thanks everyone
  2. I own neither of those cameras so I will make only general comments and leave the rest to others<br><br>

    1. There are two major DSLR camps (Nikon & Canon) plus others but these two have the biggest range of lenses - so if you are not tied in to either then you should be considering both those and others like Pentax.
    2. It is possible/likely there will be a newer version of the 5D as early as this month. Early adopters may get that and it may affect existing prices to some degree. <br><br>
    3. There are advantages to using crop cameras (40D) for telephoto work and full frame cameras (5D) for wide angle work (landscape), low noise and to make larger prints. If you do not make large prints then you may not notice much difference at all.<br><br>
    4. The 40D is 'next generation' compared to the 5D so it has improved noise reduction processing etc (see the review at www.bobatkins.com) this helps it achieve performance with a smaller sensor that is reckoned to be comparable with the 5D noise wise. The 5D sets the (Canon) standard for wide angle and noise performance within it's price range - there are very few complaints about what it does. <br><br>
    5. If you don't own lenses already then you may find it much more important for image quality to build up a good range of lenses than to have the latest all-singing, all-dancing body. For this reason you should also consider the Canon 400D (and take a look at the new Nikon D300.)<br><br>
    Sorry that hasn't helped to cut it down. What is your total budget? Do you have a plan for lenses - you buy into a lens system and these can get expensive - you need to consider everything you may eventually want (but start small until you learn about what you have.)
  3. You've left a few too many questions unanswered.

    What is your budget?
    How much of your budget are you planning to spend on lenses? (You may want to spend
    more on glass than on the camera body.)
    Do you already have software for your digital darkroom?

    One of the problems that you have presented is that you want to take landscape shots
    (could require a wide angle lens), but at the same time you want to shoot pictures of
    wildlife (suggesting the need for a telephoto lens.) I'd recommend that you make sure that
    you can buy lenses that will cover both applications or that you concentrate on one type of
    picture at first.
  4. I recently upgraded to a Canon 40D from a 20D and love Canon. The 40D is an excellent camera for an amatuer to advanced amateur shooter. I am in the camp that believes you should spend more on premium glass than getting the most expensive body. As for Canon vs Nikon, you can't go wrong with either system - you just have to make a choice and live with it. If you have a Best Buy near you stop in and play with the Canon 40D and the Nikon D70 or 80. Good Luck.
  5. I would like to keep the body under 3,000 as for lenses I have none yet but I would buy one at a time, probably start off with a good landscape lens first and look into telephoto lenses later this year. I do have adobe photoshop cs3 and a tiffen filter program.
  6. You cannnot get low price, full frame, and fast burst mode currently in a Canon camera
    for under $3000. You can get two of the three: lower price and fast frame rate in the 40D,
    full frame image quality in the 5D.

    Do you really need cameras such as these as a beginner? As a beginner it is often hard to
    know exactly what camera is the best for ones approach, or even to know what ones
    approach will turn out to be. This frequently can lead to thoughts of buying "the best" or
    of a desire to have one camera that will do everything perfectly.

    Photography is often a game of compromises - not necessarily in terms of giving in to
    being unable to do certain things, but more in terms of identifying what you really want to
    do and then finding the equipment that will let you do that.

    Frankly, it might not be a bad idea at all to start out with a 400D and a kit lens. This is a
    very inexpensive setup but it can produce very high quality (even salable) images, and you
    can eventually upgrade lenses (first) and body (later) if it turns out that you want to.

    As a beginner, my first recommendation is the 400D plus the kit lens, with a future plan
    to first upgrade lenses as necessary and to acquire other related equipment if necessary.

    If you _need_ the fast frame rates then the 40D will be your camera. It won't produce
    better image quality than the 400D/XTi, but either can produce very good quality
    photographs which, if taken with good technique, can be printed at some rather large

    If you really need somewhat higher image quality - are you going to purchase full set of
    very high quality glass, use a tripod, and print large? - the 5D could be a better bet.
    However, I'd hazard a guess that it is really more camera in some senses than you need or
    would benefit from at this point.

  7. If you are a beginner and have that much money, get a cheaper body (e.g., 400D) and
    spend some money on some nice lenses. Or, as Dan suggested get the kit lens (better yet,
    the new IS version of it) and find out exactly what you need from there. You will be able to
    sell the lens for minimal loss later. Then, you will have a better idea of what focal lengths
    you want and apertures, etc.

    If you are set on buying an expensive body, which will surely depreciate fast as soon as
    you buy it (much more than lenses which hold their value remarkably well for a piece of
    electronic equipment) then get the 5D with the 24-105L and call it good.
  8. I agree with the advice gave here. It would be better to start with an intro level camera like the Canon 400D/XTi (or Nikon) and spend more in lens. As you can see, now days technology advance at such fast rate that getting the latest model would be obsolete in a short time.

    However, if you invest more in lenses then you can use these same lenses whenever you upgrade from your first DSLR. Remember that knowledge is power, therefore as you learn how to use and do many things with your camera, then you will take better pictures than the ones you used to take with your P&S.

    So, which system to buy: Canon, Nikon, Other? I would suggest that you take in consideration the following questions: Which one would give you a better customer service, warranty, etc., near where you live or where you are going to travel? Which one would offer a wide range of lenses and accessories? Which one would give you a better camera for your money?

    I hope this would help a little bit.
  9. The following is a suggestion for further reading (only). Look at the reviews at photozone.de and fredmiranda.com to learn more about these and other lenses. I am no equipment expert so I suggest you do some research and then come back with a proposal to see how it fits. If you buy too much too soon there is a fair chance you won't get what you really need.

    Item Economy (EF-S) Middle (EF-S) High End (EF)
    Camera Canon 400D Canon 40D Canon 5D/5D Mk II
    Walkaround Canon 18-55mm IS or Canon 17-85mm IS Canon 17-55mm/2.8 IS USM or Tamron 17-50/2.8 Di II Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L Or Canon 24-105 f/4L
    Ultra Wide Angle Sigma 10-20mm Canon 10-22mm or Sigma 10-20mm Canon 17-40 f/4L or Canon 16-35mm L
    Mid Range telephoto Canon 55-250mm IS Or Canon 75-300mm IS Canon 70-300mm IS Or Canon 70-200mm f/4 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS + 1.4xTC
    Small portrait lens Canon 50mm f/1.8
    Canon 50mm f/1.4 Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

    As always, this is good cause for an argument - and much more important will be your shooting style, commitment, ambition, budget, service etc. I haven't mentioned Nikons because I know very little about them. Also the Sigmas, Tokinas, Tamrons etc are worth a look. fast lenses are ideal for low light and better AF performance. IS is good especially on longer lenses. Don't forget flashes (430ex, 580ex), card, photo software, ...

    Just because I have arbitraily placed a lens in a band doesn't mean it's not suitable for use in another prioce range. The main stipulation is that EF-S lenes can only be used on crop cameras like 400D, 40D whereas EF lenses can be used on all.
  10. There are in my view only two reasons why you might prefer the XTi/400D: you want it small and light; or you want it cheap to leave more headroom for other bits of the sytem - or indeed other things altogether, like eating. Other than that, I would consider the 5D or the 40D to be MORE suitable cameras for a beginner than the XTi/400D because they give much better access to the controls whose effects you need to learn. That's assuming, of course, that you are proposing to move on from being a beginner - if you are going to leave a camera in its most automatic mode and hope for the best, then it doesn't matter anyhow. But that does not sound to be what you have in mind.

    Although even now its FF sensor makes the cost of the 5D much higher than that of the 40D, it is actually a simpler camera, and as a beginner it would give you no more difficulty than the 40D - basic handling is pretty similar. Although there are a few good reasons for getting a FF camera - making very large prints or wanting to crop images, being reliant on manual focus, wanting to use specialist lenses like the TS-E 24/3.5L - most of these are way off beginner level. With a lens as good as the 10~22, there's plenty of landscape work you can do long before you exhaust the possibilities of the 40D, and for wildlife it actually makes things easier because you get the same angle of view from a smaller, lighter, cheaper lens.
  11. Most all the other folks you hear from here are much more experienced than I, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I am speaking from my rather limited personal experiences. Six weeks ago I was in the same boat you are in. I trusted the guidence of many of the people on this forum and made what I now realize was a great decision. I got the Canon 40D last month and have really enjoyed it. It was my first DSLR and I was apprehensive at first and wondered if I had bought more camera than I needed. Turns out I did. And man am I glad. With the budget you are working with, it would be crazy for you to buy an entry level camera. Hold one and then pick up the 40D. Get one you will grow into, not out of. Considering my ability, I have taken some great photos with my Canon 40D and the 28-135 IS kit lens it came with. I also added the Canon 10-22 as landscape photography is my greatest interest. It is a wonderful lens. It was actually a photograph in Outdoor Photographer magazine that inspired me to get a DSLR in the first place. I hope to get the Canon 24-70 and 70-200 2.8 in the next 8-10 months. But for now, I am extremely pleased with the 28-135 IS kit lens. You could get the Canon 40D with that lens and the 10-22 for about $2,000 (at B&H). Getting the right accessories, software, and a few instructional books/dvds (if you need them), and you still have only spent $2,500. Dont let people tell you to get an entry level camera because ... There intentions are good and I will even go so far as to say logical. But, you dont have to be a good driver to have an expensive car do you? If you can afford it, get it. If you spend the time reading and studying up on the camera, you will have it figured out in a matter of weeks/months. There are many model specific instructional books and dvds. I found mine at Barnes and Noble and B&H. I would suggest you take advantage of that if you are anywhere near where I am with your photography skills. I am literally learning things faster than I can process them. It will take some time before I see the big picture. No pun intended. I had only used point and shoots until last month. I still have so much to learn, but I know enough now to go out and have fun with my camera. And after all, that is the point. I even get a good shot ever now and then. Here are a few I took recently on Nantucket,Mass.

  12. Here is link to some very specific info about the Canon EOS 40D.

  13. "I am looking for my first digital slr camera..."

    When I bought my first DSLR I was amazed at how much other stuff I suddenly needed. When considering your budget remember these extra expenses:

    more RAM for your computer
    more hard drive space for storage and back-up
    Adobe Photoshop and/or other editing software
    memory cards
    proprietary accessories such as a cable release

    I found that I very quickly spent more money on that kind of stuff than I did on the body and lenses.
  14. 2Gt RAM is plenty for normal use, if an upgrade is needed: ~$100

    500Gt HD (no reason whatsoever to buy smaller): ~$100

    Photoshop Elements: 6 ~$100

    Filters? Polarizer and grad ND: ~$100

    Extra battery and extra memory card(s): ~$100

    Bag: ~$70
  15. Get a 40D and L glass if you can afford it.
  16. "Get a 40D and L glass if you can afford it."

    That's not helpful to an SLR newbie. Be more specific. I would not recommend an 85L nor a 50L to a newb. Not even a well-off doctor!

    I agree -- get the best glass you can afford, I'd recommend a 40D and a 24-70 2.8L for my answer. That price is $2295 for the combo and the quality is *superb* and the new DSLR shooter wil then know if he/she needs something wider or longer, but at least that combo lens/body will be one you'd never regret.

    Buy a 4GB CF card and a backup 500GB hard drive. You're set!
  17. Thanks everyone for the great advice. I believe you get what you pay for and canon, nikon etc. all have great products. I really like the feel of canons gear so I will be going with them. And thanks Dan for the advice, very helpful. I really like the idea of gowing with a more complexed camera vs. a lower end model.
  18. A question to the our OP newbie might be, "what shortcomings do you see in the photos
    you are getting from the current camera?"

    We might also ask, "what specific difference are you looking for in your photographs that
    is causing you to consider the upgrade?"

    Depending upon the answer, anything in the range from "a better point and shoot" to
    "digital MF" could be the "best" answer. Otherwise we're just taking a shot in the dark

  19. My reason for upgrade would be for making larger prints, my current camera is decent but making them larger really takes away from the photo. Also I would like more options in a camera. I do understand that its not the body or lenses completely that makes a photo great, but also the experience and the photographer. I am just looking for a great camera with the potential after gaining experience to make great photos like the photos I have seen on this site. You guys have some awsome photos, as of right now I can only dream of shots like them. Thanks for everyones help:)
  20. If the primary impetus is "print quality" and you are going to go for a crop sensor body (and you probably should do so) then the 400D/XTi and the 40D are basically tied in the image quality department assuming that you put the same lenses on both. "
    More options" sounds pretty vague. What options, in particular, do you think will be critical to your photography? The answer to that question will make a big difference in choosing a body.
    Here are three very general approaches to think about at bit:
    • One way of thinking about this is that lenses matter more than bodies, especially when budget is limited. A 400D or a 40D will produce equal image quality, and both can produce prints at fairly large sizes. I'm confident about 16 x 24 inches, and with care and good technique even larger is possible from either of them. If you can get equivalent image quality from either, it can make more sense to invest your money in good optics. Lenses will make a difference in your image quality... and they will last longer than any of these bodies. If pure image quality is the highest consideration, some would argue for the 400D with better and/or more glass over the 40D with compromised optics. This is true as long as you don't actually need the added features of the 40D - and many people don't.
    • Another way to think about it is that if you don't understand fully what you need then you should simply get the "best" you can afford. The 40D costs more so it must be "better." The 5D costs more than the 400D and the 40D so it must be even better still. You might be right, but only if the particular feature set of the "better" camera actually corresponds with the way you'll shoot. Example: While the 5D is capable of objectively "better" image quality, it has a slower bust rate. If your approach to photographing wildlife includes, for example, very fast burst mode shooting of birds in flight, the 5D is not going to be "better" for you - the 40D will be. If you aren't going to go full frame and you find that you don't need quite the fast frame rate of the 40D, there are reasons to find the 400D to be the "best" camera.
    • If pure image quality is the thing and you can still afford the quality lenses to make it work, the 5D is "best." But, as I think you've figured out, you give up some features with a 5D compared to the 40D. Basically it is a trade-off.
    Based on what you've posted so far, my hunch is that a good path might be to start slow rather than try to get the whole "best" kit at once. One way to do this is to start with the 400D and one good general purpose lens. If you aren't really sure what lens, starting with the 18-55mm IS kit lens isn't a bad idea. Keep in mind that this is your "learning kit" and not the kit you'll have for the rest of your photographic life. Keep the savings in a safe place, shoot this kit for awhile and start to figure out what lenses will expand and improve your work. Then take some of that money out of savings and pick up the best lenses, gradually building up your kit.
    In a year or two you'll have a great lens kit - and a lot of cool photos - and it may well be time to upgrade to a better body.
  21. Ken mentioned getting a Canon 40D and a 24-70 2.8 L. The more I think about it, the more I agree. I got the 40D with the 28-135 IS kit lens as I posted above. I have been extremely happy with it. And it is (and will be for some time) capable of taking much better pictures than I. I will admit that I am already looking at the 24-70 and 70-200 IS 2.8 L lenses. That certainly does not mean that I "need" them now. But I told you earlier how I felt about that. If you can afford it, it may be worth thinking about. I have heard rave reviews on the 24-70 and 70-200 2.8 lenses. I can find no fault in what Ken suggest. One advantage of doing so is that you will not have a spare lens laying around a few months after getting the 40D with kit lens. If I give into temptation in the near future, I will have a 28-135 sitting in the closet. Something to consider.
  22. I recommend the dReb cameras only to people who have a vaguely passing interest in DSLR photography. They'll never know any better and talking/teaching (attempting) photo concepts to them causes their eyes to glaze over, and they are going to stay in the Green or P mode anyway.

    Once you get really interested in it as a real hobby, or possible semi-pro work you'll mightily regret getting a Reb. In that case the 40D is the BEST minimum recommendation. Then if you have a lot of money (big budget) the next best will be (wait for) the 5D Mk2 (not the old 5D, as you'll regret getting a new 5D once the upgrade is announced, even though it's another $500, which is no big deal if you already have 5D-level coin).

    If money grows on trees and you have strong muscles and *know* you have talent then the 1D cameras are yours to start with.
  23. Ryan, since you like shooting landscapes, Canon's TS lenses give you more versatility than the other makers, so that narrowed the list down to Canon for me. I have and love the 5D for landscapes with the 24mm TS. And panoramas. Ooh. Ahh. As far as the next generation 5D or whatever it'll be called, what I really want - and nobody seems to think will be in it - is body seals. I "updated" mine with gaffer's tape around the card and battery compartments and on top of the battery grip so I could shoot in surf and drop it in cattle troughs and such. It's survived despite me so far. Can't afford a 1DsMkIII.
  24. D'oh. Relevance. Forgot to mention that the 5D wasn't my first SLR but my 7th - first digital, though, and my favorite SLR next to Nikon F4 - and I also have a 4x5 view camera. A very dusty 4x5....
  25. Ken wrote:

    "I recommend the dReb cameras only to people who have a vaguely passing interest in DSLR photography. They'll never know any
    better and talking/teaching (attempting) photo concepts to them causes their eyes to glaze over, and they are going to stay in the
    Green or P mode anyway."

    I partially agree, but I partially disagree.

    The Rebels are great entry-level cameras for people who will become serious photographers - they are fine learning tools.

    There are lots of things that people learn by using them:

    - they often learn that they really just wanted a camera with one lens that they could leave in auto mode all the time - they might
    have been better served by a P&S, but this works fine for them, too.

    - others learn what the nature and depth of their photography interest is by using these inexpensive bodies. Some will add a few
    lenses and be happy. Others will discover that photography is truly a passion and will begin to acquire excellent lenses, a tripod,
    and other gear... and eventually they'll upgrade to a better body.

    - a few will recognize that a Rebel is actually an appropriate tool in at least some cases for producing high quality results. Ken, I
    think you may recall that I used one for two years as a backpacking camera, along with a small set of L lenses and a tripod,
    producing photographs that I have licensed and sold as prints.

    Not everyone needs a XXD, a 5D or a 1-Series body, and very few need one if they are just starting out.

    I think we'd agree that the Rebels make fine cameras for folks whose photographic interest end up being somewhat informal. We
    might disagree about how far one could go beyond that. I think we probably agree that, in the end, most people who are really
    serious about their photography will graduate to something more sophisticated.

    (In this case, our OP is a beginner looking for a "first DSLR" and wanting to move up from a point and shoot. A Rebel is often a
    quite decent option for such folks.)

    Take care,

  26. Thank you for all the input everyone, I really appreciate it. I think im going to do alot of reading and research for the best camera for me, keeping in mind the rebel, 40d and 5d. As for the 1Ds mk111, lol I dont think I will be able to afford that until its way out dated.
  27. From your message, it feels to me like you'll outgrow the XTi fairly soom after purchase. The 40D, in my experience (so far) can grow with you, is better built, etc. I don't know your level of experience but it sounds like you've done a fair amount with film cameras. While the XTi has a great price point, I think you'd be disappointed with it not long after you bought it.
  28. Victor,

    You don't really outgrow cameras, you just get painfully annoyed with them until you upgrade. At almost three years I'm pushing that limit with my VERY well used 350D/XT.

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