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Thread: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

  1. #1

    Default Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Hi,

    I'm buying my first DSLR and looking for some advice. Am thinking of getting the Canon 550D + EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 lens (and possibly buying the average-quality EF-S 55-250mm lens in future). The other alternatives are: (a) getting the Nikon equivalent--would this be cheaper or more expensive?, (b) trying out Sony Alpha with some old Minolta lenses (from a film camera) which I have access to. My current cameras are the Canon S90 and the Kyocera/Yashica film SLR with 35-70mm + 70-210mm lenses. Although (b) is the cheapest option, most people seem to advise me against it as the Minolta lenses won't be very good and won't have IS. I've got at least 4 friends/family who shoot with Canon and 1 friend who shoots with Nikon, so I'm leaning more towards Canon (since I can share lenses) unless there's a strong reason to choose Nikon.

    My choice is mainly because I'm a looking for a good portrait lens and want to shoot people (and I have a baby coming soon). Most of my travel shots would benefit from the wide end of the zoom. I've borrowed Canon 500D + EF-S 18-200mm lens a handful of times from someone I know and I really like the quality of the lens (although the image quality tends to suffer at the far end of the zoom range, also it's not a fast lens). Since I'll be able to exchange lenses with this person, most people advise not getting this lens (or even the EF-S 18-135mm kit lens from Canon). Three more alternatives I'm comparing against are the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (not as fast but has better zoom), the EF 24-70 f/2.8L (less on the wide angle, and probably a little heavy), and the EF 24-105 f/4L (as a cheaper option to the 24-70). Not having a wide angle might mean having to use my Canon S90 backup camera for such shots when traveling overseas. Pros of getting EF-S is that they are designed for the crop factor of the 550D, and they are both lighter cheaper. A friend of mine who has the 450D and 5D Mk II has both the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 and the EF 24-70 f/2.8L and recommends the EF-S for the lighter weight, lower cost and for the wider angle. On the other hand two people I know say Canon/Nikon/etc. are probably going to go full-frame-only eventually (I assume 5-15 years time) as the price of the full-frame cameras drop. That would make my EF-S lenses obsolete. I've also heard the stories from 2 Minolta users whose lenses are of little use now, hence my concern. On the other hand, maybe the entry-level 1.6 crop factor market is here to stay, given there's always a market due to the lighter weight and cheaper price? I could also get a full-frame now, but the 5D Mk II isn't really a good choice for a first DSLR, and the additional cost of the 24-70 f/2.8L would put the combo out of my budget. Also, I would expect lenses to last longer than the DSLR bodies. Of course with every choice there's a risk involved, but I would think I should be able to make an educated guess as to the best choice given current circumstances. Any thoughts? I know sometimes these choices tend to boil down to a matter of personal preference, but such opinions are welcome too.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Canon and Nikon are good but often the cameras are slightly overpriced. Just like you, I was deciding between Canon or Nikon. You might want to take a look at Pentax K-x before deciding. Its very competently priced for its specs and quality!

  3. #3
    Deregistered rgy1993's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    where are the sony fanbois??!

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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    The Minolta lens are actually pretty good. I grew up with photos taken by a Minolta Since you have a film slr, you should have experience using lens with IS. Personally, I don't find it that useful since camera shake is only 1 part of the picture. If your subject is moving, IS will not help you get rid of the blur. I prefer using wide aperture lens and faster shutter speed even though I have to manual focus.

    However, since you have already invested so much time into getting to know the canon system and you obviously like it from your previous experience using it, go with the 550D. Personally I don't think full frame will take over. Even if full frame drops to a $1000 price point, there will be people around who want to buy $500 dslrs. Of course when we make statements like that, we are only guessing. I don't think anyone has inside information at this point of time. If you are worried, start with full frame lens. They will perform better anyway due to the 'sweet spot' effect.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    To TS, please break your post into more paragraphs, very hard for our poor eyes to read.

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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    where are the sony fanbois??!
    I give you a life, FOC.

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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by tehzeh View Post
    I give you a life, FOC.
    Come on, give him a break. Don't pick bones with a kid la. He's got a chip on his shoulder, let him be. Most kids in puberty are all like that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    To TS:

    Wow...you think too much. Get a body good enough for 3-5 years and a good F2.8 lens. Such lens will last you longer than the body. Hence, when the cam is obselete, you only change the body.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Come on, give him a break. Don't pick bones with a kid la. He's got a chip on his shoulder, let him be. Most kids in puberty are all like that.
    Excellent observation.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    With the latest technology, the Canon 550D is a good camera to start with.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Madmax View Post
    To TS:

    Wow...you think too much. Get a body good enough for 3-5 years and a good F2.8 lens. Such lens will last you longer than the body. Hence, when the cam is obselete, you only change the body.
    well, a lens system can often be more expensive than the body, plus lenses probably last longer, so it makes sense to decide on the lens system first and the body second. i don't mind buying using the kit lens, but some people advise that with the money i save from not buying a kit lens, i can get a better non-kit lens.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by nathaniel View Post
    Hi,

    I'm buying my first DSLR and looking for some advice. Am thinking of getting the Canon 550D + EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 lens (and possibly buying the average-quality EF-S 55-250mm lens in future). The other alternatives are:

    (a) getting the Nikon equivalent--would this be cheaper or more expensive?,

    (b) trying out Sony Alpha with some old Minolta lenses (from a film camera) which I have access to.

    My current cameras are the Canon S90 and the Kyocera/Yashica film SLR with 35-70mm + 70-210mm lenses. Although (b) is the cheapest option, most people seem to advise me against it as the Minolta lenses won't be very good and won't have IS. I've got at least 4 friends/family who shoot with Canon and 1 friend who shoots with Nikon, so I'm leaning more towards Canon (since I can share lenses) unless there's a strong reason to choose Nikon.

    My choice is mainly because I'm a looking for a good portrait lens and want to shoot people (and I have a baby coming soon).

    Most of my travel shots would benefit from the wide end of the zoom. I've borrowed Canon 500D + EF-S 18-200mm lens a handful of times from someone I know and I really like the quality of the lens (although the image quality tends to suffer at the far end of the zoom range, also it's not a fast lens). Since I'll be able to exchange lenses with this person, most people advise not getting this lens (or even the EF-S 18-135mm kit lens from Canon).

    Three more alternatives I'm comparing against are the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (not as fast but has better zoom), the EF 24-70 f/2.8L (less on the wide angle, and probably a little heavy), and the EF 24-105 f/4L (as a cheaper option to the 24-70).

    Not having a wide angle might mean having to use my Canon S90 backup camera for such shots when traveling overseas. Pros of getting EF-S is that they are designed for the crop factor of the 550D, and they are both lighter cheaper.

    A friend of mine who has the 450D and 5D Mk II has both the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 and the EF 24-70 f/2.8L and recommends the EF-S for the lighter weight, lower cost and for the wider angle. On the other hand two people I know say Canon/Nikon/etc. are probably going to go full-frame-only eventually (I assume 5-15 years time) as the price of the full-frame cameras drop. That would make my EF-S lenses obsolete.

    I've also heard the stories from 2 Minolta users whose lenses are of little use now, hence my concern. On the other hand, maybe the entry-level 1.6 crop factor market is here to stay, given there's always a market due to the lighter weight and cheaper price? I could also get a full-frame now, but the 5D Mk II isn't really a good choice for a first DSLR, and the additional cost of the 24-70 f/2.8L would put the combo out of my budget. Also, I would expect lenses to last longer than the DSLR bodies. Of course with every choice there's a risk involved, but I would think I should be able to make an educated guess as to the best choice given current circumstances. Any thoughts? I know sometimes these choices tend to boil down to a matter of personal preference, but such opinions are welcome too.
    Yes it is hard to read

    When come into this question: Canon or Nikon, it can drag for 10 pages, or can just suddenly stop there.

    I've underline a few points, that i thought you have made up your mind...

    Anyway, my suggestion base on your concern
    1. Can be either Canon or Nikon. Beside spec and money, actually ergonomic, feeling when using, holding, does play a role
    2. Since you got source of lens can be loan, I guess Canon is your choice.
    3. 550D + 17-55 is a very good combination. You have the budget, just get this. But this may not sufficient for indoor baby / portrait. A faster prime (large aperture) is needed, such as Sigma 30 f1.4, or if you only prefer Canon, 28 f1.8, 35 f2.
    4. Before commit on a prime lens, do try out different focal length (using your zoom, fixed at that particular focal length to shoot), see which one you feel is more suitable for portrait. Some prefer 50mm n crop, some prefer 30~35mm om crop.

    Your post can create 1000 types or discussion base on which camera until the type of lens, but I just straight to my point. hope it helps.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    The 550D and 17-55mm is a decent combination, you might want to consider a flash if your immediate use would be to take indoor shots of your baby.

    FF will get more affordable in the future, but that will not suddenly make your EF-S setup stop working. It will work and continue to take pictures as long as its mechanical life allows it and you would have taken enough great pictures by then to make it worth it.

    Importantly is that you recognise that the FF combo is out of your budget at the moment.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    how come no one here has mentioned the fact that sony alpha has in-body stabilisation, so it doesn't need is lens?

    same for olympus, pentax, etc... there's a reason why the users of that group scoff at expensive is lenses because any lens on their camera = is lens.

    anyways, canon versus nikon, that's your choice. i never plan to borrow lenses because i immensely dislike inconveniencing people or being in their service. besides, if i borrow their lenses, am i willing to take responsibility if say, the lens happens to fail when in my possession? even if it just died itself without you doing anything to it, and the person smiles and says that it's ok, i would like to think that most people will feel bad. then how? also not really your fault, but it died when you were using it - then you pay? pay also no good, don't pay also no good. whereas for something you have bought yourself, if fail, just repair lor. after all it is yours, you feel better doing the repairs, especially if it is expensive. discards a lot of murky possibilities.

    the canon 550d is a significant jump over previous canon entry level dslrs, so it is very worth it. you only need to look at the high iso comparisons between 500d and 550d to know this - the 500d picture looks like a watercolour painting in comparison.

    nikon entry level offerings have the disadvantage of having no in-body motor, so if you want to have af, any lens you buy will need to have a motor. that limits the choices of nikon/thirdparty lenses you can use somewhat.

    bang for buck, k-x is the best, loads of satsified users there, you can't get any better than a decent kit lens and a decent telephoto + body going for $899. not to mention, high iso and detail is on par with 550d, if not better, based on test images i see.

    disadvantage of canon entry level dslrs is also that it is small in size, hence ergonomics can be a headache if you have larger hands, or even normal sized guy hands. makes the handling a bit awkward sometimes. of course that can be resolved with the addition of a battery grip.

    you have to make your own decisions. just make sure you're informed.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    where are the sony fanbois??!
    someone offered a 1st gen Sony DSLR body for S$230 already via private msg. quite an affordable option, except that i'll need to try out my existing Minolta lenses first to see if i they are really worth keeping (they are quite old), or should i just switch to a new lens system.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    FF will get more affordable in the future, but that will not suddenly make your EF-S setup stop working. It will work and continue to take pictures as long as its mechanical life allows it and you would have taken enough great pictures by then to make it worth it.
    if you think about it, even if FF gets more affordable, that is no reason to postulate that the camera companies will discard aps-c lineup.

    there is still going to be a market for aps-c, in particular since a lot of people have invested in it. you can bet your socks that there would be riots if any company happily announces that aps-c is phased out.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by nathaniel View Post
    someone offered a 1st gen Sony DSLR body for S$230 already via private msg. quite an affordable option, except that i'll need to try out my existing Minolta lenses first to see if i they are really worth keeping (they are quite old), or should i just switch to a new lens system.
    wa, the poor sony alpha 100...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    if you think about it, even if FF gets more affordable, that is no reason to postulate that the camera companies will discard aps-c lineup.

    there is still going to be a market for aps-c, in particular since a lot of people have invested in it. you can bet your socks that there would be riots if any company happily announces that aps-c is phased out.
    Yup. I agree and I would be one of the rioters.

    Which is why I don't go with the often used argument of "not getting EFS lenses now, because FF is the future". I think its a silly approach or maybe its a subconscious justification of the BBB syndrome.
    Last edited by ahbian; 16th April 2010 at 11:19 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Yup. I agree and I would be one of the rioters.

    Which is why I don't go with the often used argument of "not getting EFS lenses now, because FF is the future". I think its a silly approach or maybe its a subconscious justification of the BBB syndrome.

    i also believe crop will be there to stay... simply bcos there are just too many crop bodies...

    right now i only have a 18-55 kit and a 50mm. i always wanted a uwa.

    i always thought lenses for crop is cheaper, but to my dismay, the tokina 11-16 cost 900-1k, and the sigma 12-24 (for ff, the name is 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG ASP HSM) cost about 1300.. the difference is not that great. of course u can argue that the tokina is f2.8 lah....

    if i remember correctly, the 3rd party standard zoom lens for crop cost around 1k plus, and i got a quote for Sigma 24-70 f2.8 HSM at $1470(inc.gst).

    so the price diff between crop lenses and ff lenses is not that much it seems.

    what do u guys think?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Recommendation for a first DSLR+lens

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    how come no one here has mentioned the fact that sony alpha has in-body stabilisation, so it doesn't need is lens?

    same for olympus, pentax, etc... there's a reason why the users of that group scoff at expensive is lenses because any lens on their camera = is lens.

    anyways, canon versus nikon, that's your choice. i never plan to borrow lenses because i immensely dislike inconveniencing people or being in their service. besides, if i borrow their lenses, am i willing to take responsibility if say, the lens happens to fail when in my possession? even if it just died itself without you doing anything to it, and the person smiles and says that it's ok, i would like to think that most people will feel bad. then how? also not really your fault, but it died when you were using it - then you pay? pay also no good, don't pay also no good. whereas for something you have bought yourself, if fail, just repair lor. after all it is yours, you feel better doing the repairs, especially if it is expensive. discards a lot of murky possibilities.

    the canon 550d is a significant jump over previous canon entry level dslrs, so it is very worth it. you only need to look at the high iso comparisons between 500d and 550d to know this - the 500d picture looks like a watercolour painting in comparison.

    nikon entry level offerings have the disadvantage of having no in-body motor, so if you want to have af, any lens you buy will need to have a motor. that limits the choices of nikon/thirdparty lenses you can use somewhat.

    bang for buck, k-x is the best, loads of satsified users there, you can't get any better than a decent kit lens and a decent telephoto + body going for $899. not to mention, high iso and detail is on par with 550d, if not better, based on test images i see.

    disadvantage of canon entry level dslrs is also that it is small in size, hence ergonomics can be a headache if you have larger hands, or even normal sized guy hands. makes the handling a bit awkward sometimes. of course that can be resolved with the addition of a battery grip.

    you have to make your own decisions. just make sure you're informed.
    agreed that the k-x is an option to consider, but will need to read up on the lens systems available (and then there's always the pros & cons of getting a lens for crop-factor models vs. full frame lenses, i assume?).

    i don't mind nikon entry-level with no in-body motor limitation if all i'm going to buy is maybe 2-3 lenses max and i can find everything i want within those options (but i have yet to research this).

    yes, i do understand the possible problems about borrowing--on the other hand, i'm okay with that and am prepared to pay, anyways the person i'll be exchanging lens with most often is someone i bought a 400D+kit lens as a gift before, plus i'll be exchanging a equally expensive lens with his EF-S 18-200mm if I do any exchanges.

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