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Thread: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

  1. #1

    Default Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Hi guys,

    I'm looking into buying a dSLR, did some research and scoped into this configuration. Its based on Canon but I didn't want to post in the Canon forum because I thought it would be more of a newbie issue and even other brand users would understand and be able to help. So heres what I have and the budget I set on it.

    Canon EOS 400D ($500) 2nd hand
    EF 50mm F1.8 II ($120) Probably will get brand new.
    EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS ($200+) 2nd hand
    24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Marco (Sigma) ($400-500?) 2nd hand
    I will probably set apart say 200 dollars for a high speed CF card and Dry Cabinet.

    I have a few doubts about the last lens, I was wondering if I should get 17-50mm F2.8 instead, I think they are about the same price. What do you guys think? How significant is the wide end of it? My thoughts are probably that I can crop the tele end if I needed, but I can't get a wide end by editing. However... I'm not sure if I'll even use the wide end that much (I could get a cheapo kit lens maybe?), and also distortion issues perhaps?

    Indeed, if you have noticed, I'm going after high lens speeds with a tight budget. I feel that lens speed is an important spec' for me.

    Also, are there any bad choices up there that you could warn me before I step into them? I understand that certain lenses aren't up to standard like a 75-300mm. Did I overlook anything else?


    Thanks for the help guys!
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Hi, the 24-70 would be more useful on a full-frame camera.

    Is your camera's crop factor 1.6? That would make the wide end about 38mm, which is really restrictive, especially if you want to take group shots of people indoors. Definitely go for the Tamron 18-50/2.8. Lots of good reviews for the lens.

    For a starter set, this is very comprehensive already. Looks like you've got your bases covered, within good budget!
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

  3. #3

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman View Post
    Hi, the 24-70 would be more useful on a full-frame camera.

    Is your camera's crop factor 1.6? That would make the wide end about 38mm, which is really restrictive, especially if you want to take group shots of people indoors. Definitely go for the Tamron 18-50/2.8. Lots of good reviews for the lens.

    For a starter set, this is very comprehensive already. Looks like you've got your bases covered, within good budget!
    Hi, Thanks =)

    I understood and considered the crop factor part. But I figure if I am at least 3 meters away from the subject, I should still be able to get a full-body shot holding it vertical, isn't it? I used some online focal length calculators and it seem to agree.

    Probably group photos will suffer, but if that were the case, I'd rather get a cheap kit lens. Probably won't need F2.8 just for a group photo. Also theres that marco mode as well on the Sigma lens.

    Maybe I should start a dedicated thread about that lens yea?
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Any reason why you'd want a 24-70 in particular? A possible future upgrade tp Full Frame, perhaps?

    Well, maybe you could first borrow a smiliar lens as a 24-70 and try it out. Having been used to 28mm (equivalent) focal lengths (because I shoot quite a bit of landscapes), I personally found a 35mm (equiv) to be restrictive, and there are some instances where you just cannot move back any distance to capture the whole thing.

    Anyway, you're already getting a 55-200, so with a 24-70, there's going to be some overlap already. And even through an 18-55 kit lens is cheap, it's still an extra lens, so how do you decide which to bring? 24-70, or 18-55 or both? Having too many lenses weighs you down and slows down your decision making process. I personally like to keep things simple. I still feel the 18-50/2.8 is a great compromise between these two lenses.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

  5. #5

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    The 17-50 and 55-250 should be sufficient to get you started.

    The 50mm 1.8 is useful but can be purchased at a later time when you really do feel that the 17-50 is inadequate to cover it.

  6. #6
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Good and reasonable setup. Use the situation where lots of people want to upgrade cameras just because the newer model hits the shelf
    You don't need a fast CF card. The camera is not able to write that fast so the only advantage would be a fast reading, provided your card reader and the computer (chip set, OS, driver) support this speed not only on paper.
    I would also recommend the Tamron 17-50, plenty of offers in the B&S section. I have this lens and I can fully recommend it. A tripod could be helpful, but maybe not first priority in the beginning. Don't forget cleaning set / blower but skip the question of UV filters at the moment

  7. #7

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman View Post
    Any reason why you'd want a 24-70 in particular? A possible future upgrade tp Full Frame, perhaps?

    Well, maybe you could first borrow a smiliar lens as a 24-70 and try it out. Having been used to 28mm (equivalent) focal lengths (because I shoot quite a bit of landscapes), I personally found a 35mm (equiv) to be restrictive, and there are some instances where you just cannot move back any distance to capture the whole thing.

    Anyway, you're already getting a 55-200, so with a 24-70, there's going to be some overlap already. And even through an 18-55 kit lens is cheap, it's still an extra lens, so how do you decide which to bring? 24-70, or 18-55 or both? Having too many lenses weighs you down and slows down your decision making process. I personally like to keep things simple. I still feel the 18-50/2.8 is a great compromise between these two lenses.
    very agree a wider lens is more versatile, sometimes u really dun have any space to stand back.. 17-50mm plus 55-200mm will be gd enough for u to start off wif..i will not get 50mm.. instead, i will go for a micro/macro lens 50mm not much use for it oso.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Incastasman View Post
    very agree a wider lens is more versatile, sometimes u really dun have any space to stand back.. 17-50mm plus 55-200mm will be gd enough for u to start off wif..i will not get 50mm.. instead, i will go for a micro/macro lens 50mm not much use for it oso.
    Well, for macro lens, it really depends if you're into macro photography or not. It's a separate and specific discipline of photography. I wanted to dabble into macro photography myself, but soon found that it's not my thing. I don't have the patience! So I sold my 100mm macro after using a grand total of 2 times.

    In short, buy what you need. And that could mean not buying everything at one go. To be honest, while the 50mm was considered a good "all-purpose" lens on the traditional 35mm film bodies, on a DSLR with crop factor, it becomes more of a specialist lens because of the effective 75/80mm focal length. A lot of people buy the 50mm and in the end not knowing what to do with it.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

  9. #9

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    Hi guys,

    I'm looking into buying a dSLR, did some research and scoped into this configuration. Its based on Canon but I didn't want to post in the Canon forum because I thought it would be more of a newbie issue and even other brand users would understand and be able to help. So heres what I have and the budget I set on it.

    Canon EOS 400D ($500) 2nd hand
    EF 50mm F1.8 II ($120) Probably will get brand new.
    EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS ($200+) 2nd hand
    24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Marco (Sigma) ($400-500?) 2nd hand
    I will probably set apart say 200 dollars for a high speed CF card and Dry Cabinet.

    I have a few doubts about the last lens, I was wondering if I should get 17-50mm F2.8 instead, I think they are about the same price. What do you guys think? How significant is the wide end of it? My thoughts are probably that I can crop the tele end if I needed, but I can't get a wide end by editing. However... I'm not sure if I'll even use the wide end that much (I could get a cheapo kit lens maybe?), and also distortion issues perhaps?

    Indeed, if you have noticed, I'm going after high lens speeds with a tight budget. I feel that lens speed is an important spec' for me.

    Also, are there any bad choices up there that you could warn me before I step into them? I understand that certain lenses aren't up to standard like a 75-300mm. Did I overlook anything else?


    Thanks for the help guys!
    My two cents

    1. 400D
    2. Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 (sharp and fast lens for this price)
    3. Canon 50mm f1.8
    4. Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro (last saw second hand selling at 200)

    No. 4 would solve your Marcro pix as lens would turn macro at 200mm onwards (1:2 ratio). Think the lens should be sharper than canon 55-250mm at below 200mm. Disadvantage is that image get abit soft after 240mm onwards and you lose the IS thaat 55-250mm has.
    Last edited by w3iw3n; 12th October 2008 at 11:26 AM. Reason: edit

  10. #10

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Hi guys thanks for all the replies, really appreciate your inputs.

    A few recommended throwing out the 50mm F1.8. When I started reading it the "why?!" question popped up instantly. I thought it would be a good portrait lens? Pretty good speed for the price too in case I want to do some nightshots? Initially I was looking at a 35mm F2 as well, but after some thought, I decided not to get that especially since theres stuff like 17-50 or 24-70 F2.8s.

    Weiwen recommended the Sigma 70-300, I think not. I think the 70-300 is at F5.6-6.3 if I'm not wrong, abit slower and I think I should stick with IS.


    Even after that many recommendations that the 17-50 is better, hm. I still cant make a clear decision. One thought is that with 70mm F2.8 I should still get some decent bokeh, if say I shoot cats or something like that. Or even portraits when I'm too lazy to change lens. Yes? While 50mm F2.8 may not give such a strong one. Hm. Silly thought maybe?

    Is there anyone out there at all that recommends the 24-70? Or anyone knows any specific weaknesses of it?

    To what Synapse has mentioned about marco, Marco isn't really my thing either, but if I so chance on to an insect or something, I will take marcos, although I won't specifically hunt for them. Thus I wouldn't mind it on my walk around lens.

    Hm, putting it into math, 24/17 is actually only 1.41 times bigger. even considering the 1.6x crop, doesn't feel like a whole lot. But really I'm in sort of a dliemma, using the Tamron, I can also photoshop and crop it down to bring the zoom in without much of a "pixel problem" since its only 1.4 times... but I would lose anything else using this little "digital zoom" method?


    My initial other idea was to slap on a WA converter, maybe 0.6 or 0.7 on top of the 50mm F1.8 and get a cheap fast WA lens. I know IQ may drop a bit... (actually its a bad idea huh?).

    So anyway, would just like to hear if anyone will recommend the Sigma 24-70 over the 17-50 Tamron... or if you recommend the Tamron, just let me hear more of the good sides of it. =)
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    I thought you said a S$50 CPL filter was expensive

    Anyway, my take:

    400D
    Tamron 17-50
    50mm f/1.8II
    55-250IS

    Bag, UV Filters, extra memory card and batt.

    Don't go the 24-70 way unless you have something below 24mm.

    Wide angle converters suck. Stay away from those. If you're getting into the dslr field you should be expecting good quality, and 'ordinary' should not be your vocabulary.
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  12. #12

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    My advice is to leave out the WA convertor.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Headshotzx View Post
    I thought you said a S$50 CPL filter was expensive

    Anyway, my take:

    400D
    Tamron 17-50
    50mm f/1.8II
    55-250IS

    Bag, UV Filters, extra memory card and batt.

    Don't go the 24-70 way unless you have something below 24mm.

    Wide angle converters suck. Stay away from those. If you're getting into the dslr field you should be expecting good quality, and 'ordinary' should not be your vocabulary.
    Haha Hi again, yes I think $50 for a CPL is expensive, especially when I only use it for no more than 5 shots per 200 shots. Whereas dSLRs and lenses being more expensive definitely will be used much much more often. Thanks for your input on both threads =)


    More and more I'm starting to lean towards 17-50mm. Hm just a few more issues.

    What about the distortion issues on the wide angle? Is it obvious? I haven't actually seen it myself so, anyone care to comment?


    ----

    Forgot to mentioned that I already have a decently good monopod and a fairly usable cheap tripod inherited from my dad.

    The thing I'm wondering about is the Battery Grip. I'm sure its useful, but it seems like extra weight (though I don't really mind). Question for me is if it's value for money? And do those buttons on the Battery grip do something extra for you? Like shortcuts or something?

    What else have I not considered? I know one is flash. Not getting for the moment, reason being don't know how to use them professionally, and my indoor shooting situations usually prevents flash and or otherwise considered distracting/discourteous. Of course the price issue is there (ubiquitously), thus choosing fast lens over flash.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    What shortcuts are you talking about? There's no short cut in photography.

    Battery grips just that-- they allow you to use two batteries, and they allow you to grip the camera in the vertical position and shoot with the grip's shutter release / buttons etc. For serious shoots, I can't live without mine.

    No, I think you mean that S$50 can't be justified for yourself, not that it's ex. S$50 to you is not expensive because you're talking in hundreds now.

    Visit http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos to check out distortion on your own.

    You missed out the vitals- Bag (to store camera in ready to shoot position with lens), extra batts, extra CF cards (no more SD cards) and blower / cleaning kit.
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  15. #15

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Headshotzx View Post
    What shortcuts are you talking about? There's no short cut in photography.
    I think he's referring to the AF/AE and exposure compensation buttons?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by Headshotzx View Post
    What shortcuts are you talking about? There's no short cut in photography.

    Battery grips just that-- they allow you to use two batteries, and they allow you to grip the camera in the vertical position and shoot with the grip's shutter release / buttons etc. For serious shoots, I can't live without mine.

    No, I think you mean that S$50 can't be justified for yourself, not that it's ex. S$50 to you is not expensive because you're talking in hundreds now.

    Visit http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos to check out distortion on your own.

    You missed out the vitals- Bag (to store camera in ready to shoot position with lens), extra batts, extra CF cards (no more SD cards) and blower / cleaning kit.
    Shortcuts like maybe you can access some function that is otherwise deep in the menu.

    You're right that $50 is not a big issue for me. But its what I spend the money on that is the issue. For instance, I wouldn't mind spending $50 on a piece of nice shirt that flatters me and I will wear on many occasions, but I wouldn't spend $50 dollars on a meal. (or a GND filter!)

    As for the budget, I think in the orignal post I'm quoting prices about 200-300 less for each item, hoping to get good 2nd hand deals. So yea, even though I'm speaking in hundreds, i'm trying to save hundreds at the same time. Photography is only one hobby, in fact the least important among my 2 other hobbies so yea...

    Anyway thanks for the link, I'll go see it soon.


    ---

    Another question, how effective is the sensor cleaning system on the 400D? I was actually considering a 350D instead if the sensor cleaning system isnt good.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    I think he's referring to the AF/AE and exposure compensation buttons?
    It's basically mirroring the controls on the upper right of the camera to the battery grip. No short cut there.
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  18. #18
    Senior Member ricleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ombre View Post
    Haha Hi again, yes I think $50 for a CPL is expensive, especially when I only use it for no more than 5 shots per 200 shots. Whereas dSLRs and lenses being more expensive definitely will be used much much more often. Thanks for your input on both threads =)


    More and more I'm starting to lean towards 17-50mm. Hm just a few more issues.

    What about the distortion issues on the wide angle? Is it obvious? I haven't actually seen it myself so, anyone care to comment?


    ----

    Forgot to mentioned that I already have a decently good monopod and a fairly usable cheap tripod inherited from my dad.

    The thing I'm wondering about is the Battery Grip. I'm sure its useful, but it seems like extra weight (though I don't really mind). Question for me is if it's value for money? And do those buttons on the Battery grip do something extra for you? Like shortcuts or something?

    What else have I not considered? I know one is flash. Not getting for the moment, reason being don't know how to use them professionally, and my indoor shooting situations usually prevents flash and or otherwise considered distracting/discourteous. Of course the price issue is there (ubiquitously), thus choosing fast lens over flash.
    i think you can skip the battery grip first. apart from the shutter button that allows u to shot in a portrait position comfortably, it allows you to get a better balance on the 400d, which i happened to own previously, and i currently have the 450d as well as a backup camera. makes the camera heavier, but actually more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. sounds weird but true. so if you can get a good deal on a 400d with grip, do go for it. shortcuts? i think u mean what other buttons are on the grip? there are the 2 buttons that allow u to change the focus points, lock exposure as well, in a similar position where the original camera buttons are on the 400d at the top right position.

    polarizer, a good investment for landscape shots to make the skies more blue.

    wide angle distortions? don't worry about it! i myself find the distortions makes wide angle landscape shots more interesting. check out my latest thread on iceland for some samples of WA shots. most of my travel photography is done on my 16-35mm at 16mm, and that is on a full frame body...absolutely loving the wide angle and distortion.

    if you still feel like going for the 24-70mm range, i recommend u to supplement the set up with a canon 10-22mm or sigma 10-20mm for the wide angle perspective. the 10-22mm used to be my default lens on the 400d!
    A7R3|V12|V15|FE28|MS17|MS35|MS50|50lux|50C|50Artis an|FD85L|FE85|90 cron|
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ricleo View Post
    i think you can skip the battery grip first. apart from the shutter button that allows u to shot in a portrait position comfortably, it allows you to get a better balance on the 400d, which i happened to own previously, and i currently have the 450d as well as a backup camera. makes the camera heavier, but actually more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. sounds weird but true. so if you can get a good deal on a 400d with grip, do go for it. shortcuts? i think u mean what other buttons are on the grip? there are the 2 buttons that allow u to change the focus points, lock exposure as well, in a similar position where the original camera buttons are on the 400d at the top right position.

    polarizer, a good investment for landscape shots to make the skies more blue.

    wide angle distortions? don't worry about it! i myself find the distortions makes wide angle landscape shots more interesting. check out my latest thread on iceland for some samples of WA shots. most of my travel photography is done on my 16-35mm at 16mm, and that is on a full frame body...absolutely loving the wide angle and distortion.

    if you still feel like going for the 24-70mm range, i recommend u to supplement the set up with a canon 10-22mm or sigma 10-20mm for the wide angle perspective. the 10-22mm used to be my default lens on the 400d!
    Thanks for the review. Battery grip aside, now I know more or less that I might not need it.

    Still in a dilemma about 17-50 or 24-70, although now I'm a little more incline towards the 17-50.

    Went through a few lens review pages, no doubt most of them discredit the 24-70 for its range, but otherwise, the scores tend to be slightly in favor of the 24-70. Just wondering, what is the minimum distance I have to be to capture a full body shot at 24mm (with 1.6x crop). If its about 3m I should be okay. More might be a turn off.. =(

    Since you had the 400D previously, could you comment on the sensor dust cleaning system? does it work well or is it just a marketing blow-up?
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Planning to get my first dSLR - Some help reviewing my setup plan please? =)

    Also what do you guys think, should I consider a 30D as well? The price doesn't seem to far away...
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

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