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Thread: Advice on DSLR purchase

  1. #1

    Default Advice on DSLR purchase

    Hi, I'm intending to buy a Dslr by end of this year. I've been using a minolta prosumer cam for 4 years, but i find it lacking some features of a Dslr. The image shot on my cam becomes very noisy and unusable at iso 400 and 800. I can't get a shallow DOF on my cam even though the lens is a 18-200mm f2.8, 3.5. It takes about 30 sec to write a raw file onto the memory card. Thus i decided to upgrade.

    I have a budget of $3000. My choice of cam would be the Canon 400D with a 17-55mm F2.8 IS lens. That would exceed my budget, but ideally, that would be the combination i want. I've read reviews about the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens and thought that would be a good lens to own too instead of the canon 17-55mm IS, which happens to be 3 times the price.

    Here are my considerations:
    I would want to have a f2.8 lens as i would not want to use flash in indoor shots.
    Is the IS and the canon brand lens really worth 3 times the price?
    I'm rather inexperience (still learning), should i be spending so much on a first Dslr purchase?
    I can consider nikon also, but what would be the body/lens to get with my budget?

    Please advice. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    best bang for bucks will be the pentax... it offers built-in stabiliser @ a price even lower than the Canon 350d or Nikon d50. and they are releasing a few new lens one of them is the 16-50 f2.8. As for noise, they are coming close to the Canon as well, so nothing much of a worry.

    but if you insist of Canon
    I would want to have a f2.8 lens as i would not want to use flash in indoor shots.
    Is the IS and the canon brand lens really worth 3 times the price?
    I'm rather inexperience (still learning), should i be spending so much on a first Dslr purchase?
    I can consider nikon also, but what would be the body/lens to get with my budget?
    The tamron 17-50 f2.8 would be the deal if you do not need IS.
    The Nikon equiv for this combo would be D80 + the same tamron 17-50 (d80 cost slightly higher than the 400d, but it offers better feature imho)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    IS would be very useful for indoor shots, but is it worth the $$ to spend on the canon lens?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by nkhoo
    IS would be very useful for indoor shots, but is it worth the $$ to spend on the canon lens?
    erm, that would depends on you... personally i live well without any IS lens on my Nikon d50.
    If you are one who depends very much on stabilizer, pentax and sony would be a better choice. imho i take pentax over the sony, was very impressed by the k100d performance.

    if i were to choose an IS lens, i will be taking something like the 70-200, i find i need IS in the tele more than i do in the wide end, imho.
    Last edited by ExplorerZ; 22nd September 2006 at 12:52 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ
    erm, that would depends on you... personally i live well without any IS lens on my Nikon d50.
    If you are one who depends very much on stabilizer, pentax and sony would be a better choice. imho i take pentax over the sony, was very impressed by the k100d performance.

    if i were to choose an IS lens, i will be taking something like the 70-200, i find i need IS in the tele more than i do in the wide end, imho.

    I find that IS is 'more needed' for tele of 100mm and above. Have you considered using prime lenses? They are cheaper and usually gives better results. Eg 24mm or 35mm canon, then the 17 mm tokina pro and the canon 50 1.8 lens (priced around $350, $100 and $400 bucks for good used lenses respectively at CS). These are lenses will give you the finer results for the price. Zooms are convenient but usually perform a notch lower. Buy your lenses according to what you want to shoot/achieve and not to 'cover the range'.

    If you are ok with a 6 mp cam, a good 10D should be obtainable around $850 used or a 1.2K for a 20D. So you can have all you need for around 2K. After using it for say two years and go for upgrade, you will probably sell it all for more than 1K. ie the cam body will drop say 50 percent and the lens around 20 percent.

    Just my way of seeing things.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    If you are taking lots of indoor shots without flash, you'll likely need the help of either IS or a tripod. f2.8 might not give you a fast enough shutter speed.

    Another alternative is to get primes at focal lengths that you use the most.

    Look at getting the 50mm f1.8 prime. But, with larger apertures, you have to be very careful with the DOF as they could be paper thin. So if you don't focus correctly, the subject could look Out of focus

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    If your budget is $3000, don't spend it on outdated technology that others are trying so hard to dispose.

    If you are not in a hurry to get a digital camera, one alternative suggestion would be to wait for the Pentax K10D plus the new Pentax 16-50 f2.8 lens.
    Last edited by Parchiao; 23rd September 2006 at 04:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by nkhoo
    Hi, I'm intending to buy a Dslr by end of this year. I've been using a minolta prosumer cam for 4 years, but i find it lacking some features of a Dslr. The image shot on my cam becomes very noisy and unusable at iso 400 and 800. I can't get a shallow DOF on my cam even though the lens is a 18-200mm f2.8, 3.5. It takes about 30 sec to write a raw file onto the memory card. Thus i decided to upgrade.

    I have a budget of $3000. My choice of cam would be the Canon 400D with a 17-55mm F2.8 IS lens. That would exceed my budget, but ideally, that would be the combination i want. I've read reviews about the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens and thought that would be a good lens to own too instead of the canon 17-55mm IS, which happens to be 3 times the price.

    Here are my considerations:
    I would want to have a f2.8 lens as i would not want to use flash in indoor shots.
    Is the IS and the canon brand lens really worth 3 times the price?
    I'm rather inexperience (still learning), should i be spending so much on a first Dslr purchase?
    I can consider nikon also, but what would be the body/lens to get with my budget?

    Please advice. Thanks
    no it's NOt worth 3x the price. In all honesty, you'll do fine with a 17-50 tamron (though i'd prefer the sigma). I shoot in clubs all the time, a F2.8 lens is often more than enough. As it is, very often I bring my aperture down to F4 or F5.6 because of the lack of DOF at F2.8.

    ISO 1600 is very helpful.

    IS + usm is very nice feature to have.. but... it's definitely not worth extra 1k.. you won't really be missing it. Save the 1k and use it to buy a 70-300 IS instead, that'll be much more worth it..

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Hey, thanks for the advice guys. I think I won't be buying the canon 17-55mm f/2.8 after all.... I'll save up the $$ for a 70-200mm lens... Eyeing the 70-200 f/4 IS.... but need time to save...
    Anyway, is the price for the tamron lens accurate?

    SP AF17-50mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) : Cathay $672/TK $660/MS $680 AP Funan$670

  10. #10

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by nkhoo View Post
    Hey, thanks for the advice guys. I think I won't be buying the canon 17-55mm f/2.8 after all.... I'll save up the $$ for a 70-200mm lens... Eyeing the 70-200 f/4 IS.... but need time to save...
    Anyway, is the price for the tamron lens accurate?

    SP AF17-50mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) : Cathay $672/TK $660/MS $680 AP Funan$670
    I got a feel that something is going awry. Better get back to basics. What are you shooting most of the time that makes the 70-200 your choice for the first lens?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Nkhoo, it depends on what you would like the camera to be

    Based on your original specs, I am assuming you want it for everyday use? A Do all lens that is capable of taking good holiday shoots, family shots and candids?

    If so, i highly recommend the 400D + 17-55 IS F2.8. takes great pictures for almost any occasion.

    The 400D's small size makes it easy to carry around, tha availability of canon used lens here makes it easier to upgrade.
    The IS helps your wife to take great shots if you need her to take one.
    The F2.8 produces great bokeh, and is rather good for low light situations.

    the Tamron / Sigma F2.8 equivalents are no slouch either, but if you do have the budget, why settle for anything less.

    Unless you are shooting tele objects very much, you'd be better off with a wide lens. I find that the 70-200, on the wide end, is somewhat limiting for ipromptu shots. Ultimately, it's up to your shooting style

    Suggestion:
    One lens do all
    400D + 17-55 IS
    Versatile except for tele's. You almost can't go wrong on this setup, aside from blowing a big hole on your wallet.


    Multi lens setup with same budget
    400D + 17-50 F2.8 + 70-300IS
    Small and lightweight.

    DECIDE ON YOUR SHOOTING STYLE First, before commiting to a purchase. that is the BEST setup.




    Just Somethingshot with the Canon 17-55mm F2.8 IS
    Last edited by tmfwy; 25th September 2006 at 11:29 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    yes! 17-55 2.8 IS! hell of a lens. L quality optics. the reason it isn't white is because it doesnt provide weather sealing. you cant use weather sealing fully unless you cam body is weather-sealed too.

    17-55
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    be aware, that the 17-55 EFS lens is an EF-S lens. so it cannot be used on APS-H and FF canon bodies.

    the tamron 17-50mm is a good choice. another good one 2.8 tamron is the 28-75mm. ive shot quite a lot indoors. without flash, of course you have to push the ISO a little to get usable hand holding speeds. but if you have a flash, then they become much more useable.

    one thing you may want to consider to inmprove your low light shooting ability is gettin gthe cheap and good 50mm 1.8. or if your budget can stretch, the 50mm 1.4

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Nice picture!
    Thanks for the advice. My choice of a first lens is a 17-55. But $$ is always a BIG consideration... I shoot mainly candids/portraits outdoors and indoors, eg my friends, so i'll need a lens that focuses fast if not i won't be able to capture their expressions in split seconds. I also shoot my dog, indoors. I would like to learn landscapes and still life photography also, esp when i'm overseas on holiday. I find that the 70-200mm lens is more useful for capturing poertraits and candids, but due to my budget, that would be my second choice lens.
    I've read that the AF speed of the tamorn lens is fast and maybe compareable to the USM on the canon lens although it does not have a built in motor.
    Just a question, how useable is f/2.8 in a average lit room without pushing the iso pass 800?
    I do not want to use a flash as i find that flash photography is quite difficult to pick up. Currently i have a external flash for my minolta dimage 7i and i find it quite hard to get a nicely exposed picture without a low celling to bounce the flash off. I've tried different attachements on the flash to diffuse the light, but the pictures do not turn out as nice. If the celling is too high, it usually ends up underexposed. Direct flash also cause my picture to look washed out. Thus, i would prefer to do without a flash whenever possible.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by nkhoo View Post
    Just a question, how useable is f/2.8 in a average lit room without pushing the iso pass 800?
    I do not want to use a flash as i find that flash photography is quite difficult to pick up. Currently i have a external flash for my minolta dimage 7i and i find it quite hard to get a nicely exposed picture without a low celling to bounce the flash off. I've tried different attachements on the flash to diffuse the light, but the pictures do not turn out as nice. If the celling is too high, it usually ends up underexposed. Direct flash also cause my picture to look washed out. Thus, i would prefer to do without a flash whenever possible.
    Dunno leh. I used to think that way too, ie going for wide aperture instead of using flash for indoors. But for newbies like me, the shallow DOF is very tough to get good AF. If your focus is a little bit off, your $2k lens will look worse than the kit lens. And with flash, I can set a much faster shutter speed too.

    In the end, I ended up using bounce flash whenever possible. I always get sharper pictures that way as I can use and smaller aperture and faster shutter speed.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    F2.8 is basically nothing. It's hardly bright. I would recommend you get the 17-50/2.8 from some other brand other than canon and get a 50/1.4 or some other bright prime. Get one that's usable at f1.4, for this you may need to try out the different lenses to define usable for yourself. If you're getting a APS-C sized sensor, as you most probably will, try the Sigma 30/1.4. Stunner even at f1.4. Assuming you don't push your subjects to the extreme corners of course.
    My Personal Folio (of random events and things)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by nkhoo View Post
    Nice picture!
    Thanks for the advice. My choice of a first lens is a 17-55. But $$ is always a BIG consideration... I shoot mainly candids/portraits outdoors and indoors, eg my friends, so i'll need a lens that focuses fast if not i won't be able to capture their expressions in split seconds. I also shoot my dog, indoors. I would like to learn landscapes and still life photography also, esp when i'm overseas on holiday. I find that the 70-200mm lens is more useful for capturing poertraits and candids, but due to my budget, that would be my second choice lens.
    I've read that the AF speed of the tamorn lens is fast and maybe compareable to the USM on the canon lens although it does not have a built in motor.
    Just a question, how useable is f/2.8 in a average lit room without pushing the iso pass 800?
    I do not want to use a flash as i find that flash photography is quite difficult to pick up. Currently i have a external flash for my minolta dimage 7i and i find it quite hard to get a nicely exposed picture without a low celling to bounce the flash off. I've tried different attachements on the flash to diffuse the light, but the pictures do not turn out as nice. If the celling is too high, it usually ends up underexposed. Direct flash also cause my picture to look washed out. Thus, i would prefer to do without a flash whenever possible.
    Lol! I also use my setup for the exact same purpose!!

    I find that the between the Tamron 17-50 and the 17-55, the 17-55 gives a much better IQ ( When tested at the camera shop, i noticed that for the same shot, the 17-50 gave me one hell of a purple fringing when i was shooting products lit by a fluorescent lamp.

    Not sure if i can still find it, but I'll try to find the shots i did, that made me decide between the 17-50 and the 17-55. I find that that the 17-55 is more of a General Purpose "BaoGeLiao" lens for me, compared to the 17-50. However, the price leaves lots to be desired.



    The above is a picture of me, shot by my friend who was giving the 17-55 a once over before buying it.He has never handled a DSLR before. First DSLR, first lens, within first 50 shots. Without saying, this shot made up his mind.

    Pros: Good Bokeh. Image Stabiliser, excellent picture quality ( Sharp and Colourful ), light weight, good range
    Cons: It magnifies any 'defects' the subject has of his face.

    F2.8 indoors is quite alright in ISO 400. Evening time, you may want to bump up to ISO800 depending on your lighting condition.

    Dog Shooting
    The 70-300 IS takes the cake here. No offence meant to the 70-200mm. I have an active Golden Retriever, German Shepard and a Poodle. When shooting dogs, factors to take into consideration:

    1. Range - Longer reach is best for bigger dogs
    2. Image Stabiliser - Occasionally, you need one hand to pat your dog / direct it to go someplace, while you shoot with one hand. :P
    3. Weight - Same as 2


    Otherwise, another possible setup you might want to consider is the following.

    Wide: 18-55
    Normal: 28-75
    Tele: 70-300

    Full Range, cheap price.
    Last edited by tmfwy; 26th September 2006 at 10:14 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Advice on Dslr purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by tmfwy View Post
    Otherwise, another possible setup you might want to consider is the following.

    Wide: 18-55
    Normal: 28-75
    Tele: 70-300

    Full Range, cheap price.
    Huh? Cheap price???? With my budget, i doubt i'll be able to buy 3 lens! Haha, anyway, i wouldn't want to be carrying 3 lens around... 2 should be heavy enough for me. I thought of getting the tamron and save up for the upcoming 70-200 f/4L IS. I might need the telephoto zoom. I doubt i'll need the 300mm range as that would be... 480mm in a EOS 400D??? I don't think that would be very hand-holdable. Buying the canon 17-55 would really burn a big hole in my pocket, and cause me to not be able to get a tele zoom... But as i'm still considering, I'll be waiting to see the photo that made you decide to get the canon instead of the tamorn. Thanks for the advice!

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