Canon EOS SLR system NEWBIE guide.


chaotic

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Newbie guide to Canon EOS SLR system (Limited 10k chars :( )

What camera models are there in the Canon EOS SLR system currently?

The approximate prices in Singapore dollars of the cameras in that class is stated in the brackets. The lower end of the price spectrum refers to 2nd hand prices while the high end refers to new sets.

For Film Camera,

Consumer Class ($200-$700)

EOS 66
EOS 300v
EOS 3000v
EOS 300

Prosumer Class ($450-$800)

EOS 33/30
EOS 33v/30v

Professional Class ($1100-$3500)

EOS 1v
EOS 3

For Digital Camera,

Consumer Class ($1300-$1800)

EOS 300D (Package comes with 18-55 kit lens, but can also buy without lens)

Prosumer Class ($1000-$2700)

EOS D30/D60/10D

Professional Class ($6000-$13000)

EOS 1D
EOS 1D Mark II
EOS 1Ds

Which of the above camera suits me?

1) Choose Digital or Film.

Maybe might own both in the future but choose one for a start.

Shall I go Digital or Film?

There is extremely long debate on this topic on the Internet and you can read until you grow old.

Main points though.

Digital advantages

- Instant review after taking the pictures
- No incremental cost of film
- No need to have partnership with a lab to develop photos.
- Easier learning curve because of the instant review ( highly subjective )

Digital disadvantages

- High initial cost of camera bodies
- Need to process images on the computer to make it look good. ( Not as idiot-proof as to send to the lab to do it)
- Dust that gets on the sensor is a pain to clean. ( or expensive if you send it in )
- Camera bodies depreciate in value quickly
- Batteries do not last very long. ( need to charge often )

Film advantages

- Wide variety of film choices on the market to try
- Easy workflow. Take pictures and send the film to the lab. And you are done.
- Do not require extensive knowledge on computers.
- Camera bodies do not depreciate in value quickly
- In fact, the prices of 2nd hand film cameras are extremely attractive now thanks to digital.
- Batteries last loooooonger.

Film disadvantages

- High cost of film and development services. ( An issue if you take pictures very often )
- Dust issues when scanning negatives or slides.
- Need to change film every 36/24 frames!

Conclusion on the film vs digital debate in my humble opinion.

a) Go film
- if you do not take pictures very often to justify the high cost of digital slrs.
- if you are not proficient in computers
- if you just want to enjoy taking pictures the traditional way

b) Go digital
- if you take pictures very often. ( make sure you have the time to do so )
- if you are proficient in computers
- if you can afford the higher initial cost because it has a lower running cost and allows you to learn faster through trial and error.

2) Budget.

Look at the prices in brackets beside the class of camera to know what you can afford. If the prices make your eyebrow raised, move down the class or choose film instead of digital. :)

Most people start in the consumer class although some people prefer to jump straight to the prosumer class.

I would recommend starting in the consumer class if you have no experience with SLRs to get an idea of what you get youself into. Move up the classes as you get more experienced. The last thing you want to do is to buy an expensive piece of equipment and you have no clue on how to use it.

3) Needs/Wants

SLRs generally are big and heavy compared to the small compact digital cameras. Therefore, if you want a small camera, please look elsewhere and not at the Canon EOS system.

The consumer class SLRs are the lightest and are a good starting point for newbies to SLR system. Do not buy a professional class camera as the first camera.

What lenses to get?

Ahh... Here we come to the most controversial part.

Canon EOS system uses the EF mount. There are many lenses which supports the EF mount including those from Canon (obviously), Sigma, Tamron and Tokina etc.

Make sure when you buy 3rd party lenses, the mount is canon mount to ensure that it works on your camera. The safest way is to bring your own camera down to test the lens before purchasing.

Ok, after making sure it's the EF mount, you need to make sure whether it's a lens made for digital or a full frame lens. Not a problem if you buy Canon lenses because they do not make special digital lenses. ( 18-55 is the only but it's bundled with the 300D and cannot be purchased separately ) However, do be careful when you buy 3rd party lenses, For example, when you buy sigma lenses for Canon mount, the DC in the description refers to digital lenses which means it is meant for most digital bodies which has a
smaller sensor size than a full frame lens.

EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM

You might often see the description of lenses like the one above. It looks cryptic for the beginner but it is actually not too hard to figure out.

The "EF" refers to the Canon mount so you are looking at the right type of lens. :)

The 28-105mm refers to the focal length. The larger the number means the more "zoomed" it is. ie. reach further. When there is a range of numbers, it refers to a zoom lens where you can alter how "zoomed" the lens. If there is only 1 number, it refers to a prime lens where you cannot alter the "zoom" of the lens. Generally, although debatable, prime lens tend to be sharper than zoom lens because of the simpler construction.


f/3.5-4.5 refers to the maximum aperture size. f/3.5 is the maximum aperture for 28mm and f/4.5 is the maximum aperture for 105mm. The maximum aperture decides the maximum amount of light that the lens can allow through. It is often referred as how bright the lens is. The smaller the number means the "brighter" the lens.

II refers to Mark II or the 2nd version of this model of lens.

USM refer below.

Most of the current digital SLRs has a smaller sensor size than the full 35mm frame size. Therefore, when you mount your current lenses, the effective focal length gets multiplied by the crop factor. Here are the crop factors for current EOS cameras.

Crop Factor for EOS cameras.

1.6x

EOS 300D
EOS D30/D60/10D

1.3x

EOS 1D
EOS 1D Mark II

1.0x (full frame)

EOS 1Ds

For example, if you mount a 28-105 on a 300D body with a crop factor of 1.6x. The effective focal length is 28x1.6 - 105x1.6 = 45 - 168

Newbie recommendation in my humble opinion.

The following lenses make a good starting point.

General purpose lens with a good decent range.

Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM ($300-$550)

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM ($600-$850)

Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM ($450-$600)

Telephoto zoom ( long range )

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM ($150-$350)

Good and cheap prime lens for low light.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II ($100-$160)

Wide Angle ( short range with a wide view )

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ($300-$600)

So,

Get a general purpose lens in your budget. I recommended only Canon lenses here for maximum compatibility and brand loyalty. :bsmilie: But do try out the 3rd party ones too. Ask around the people here for more reviews.

Highly rated lenses 3rd party lenses to start off include...

Wide Angle Zooms.

Tamron AF19-35MM F/3.5-4.5
Tokina AF19-35MM F/3.5-4.5

Standard Zooms.

Tamron SP AF28-75MM F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)
Tamron SP AF24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro
Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX Aspherical DF
Sigma 24-135mm F/2.8-4.5
Tokina AF 28-70mm F/2.8

Super Zooms ( cover a large range, good for people who hate to change lenses )

Tamron AF28-200MM F/3.8-5.6 XR Aspherical (IF) Macro
Sigma COMPACT HYPERZOOM 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 ASPHERICAL

Telephto Zooms ( long range )

Tamron AF70-300MM F/4-5.6 LD Macro
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro Super II

Digital Lenses ( designed for the smaller sensors of most digital SLRs )

Sigma 18-50mm F/3.5-5.6 DC
Sigma 18-125mm F/3.5-5.6 DC

Besides these zoom lenses, you can try the prime lenses once you are familiar with the focal length concept. It is a challenge to take photos with a fixed focal length but it definitely improve your photography skills if you can master it.

There are specialized lenses such as macro lenses for taking small objects. But it is optional. Go slow. Slowly discover what kind of pictures you like to take and you will automatically know which lenses to get. Do not make the mistake of buying too many lenses at once. One at time is usually more than sufficient.

Hey, where are the L lenses?

Hahaha.. do not get them if you are a newbie. Unless of course, the prices do not hurt you at all. The L lenses are the luxury range of lenses from Canon which are good but cost quite a bit of money.

What is USM at the end of the lenses description?

USM is Ultrasonic Motor. Canon lenses equipped with USM generally has silent and super-fast autofocus performance.

What is IS at the end of the lenses description?

Canon has developed a series of truly unique lenses equipped with an Image Stabilizer (IS) function that let you capture photos that would otherwise be blurred due to camera movement, greatly expanding the range of handheld-camera photography.

Is IS necessary?

No. IS is useful but not absolutely necessary. The IS lenses are rather expensive and should be only bought if you can appreciate the difference it makes to your photography.

What other accessories to get?

Millions. Trillions. The joy of photography is that you can't own everything until maybe you buy a camera shop.

Cable releases.
Flashes.
Tripods.
Monopods.
Filters.
Straps.
etc.

In my humble opinion, take your time to find out what all those stuff do. If you do not know what they do, you DO NOT NEED IT yet. :)
 

Edmund

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chaotic said:
Since there are so many people asking newbie questions about the Canon EOS SLR system, I'll thought I just post a quick summary here. Help me spot any mistakes if any.
:
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cropped
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Professional Class ($5000-$12000)

EOS 1D
EOS 1Ds
:
:
cropped
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:
I would put the figure more from S$6k - S$13k. I will also make this thread a sticky for the benefit of the newbies.
 

chaotic

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ok thanks. I will update it when I have the time. Maybe I will make it a full blown article. Just tell me what you think should be included and I will add it in.
 

burnt_toastsg

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What about the Nikon's F range? ;p
Hehehhe! Am I greedy or what!

Quench my thirst?
burnt :lovegrin:
 

Adam Goi

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Those who have good tips to share, do add on!

For me, I'd like to emphasize that used equipments should be considered too. They are cheaper and some of them (in good condition) can be acquired at great prices too! All you need is to get a friend (many of them here @ Clubsnap) to tag along! ;)

Btw, great effort chaotic! :thumbsup:
 

burnt_toastsg

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AdamGoi said:
Those who have good tips to share, do add on!

For me, I'd like to emphasize that used equipments should be considered too. They are cheaper and some of them (in good condition) can be acquired at great prices too! All you need is to get a friend (many of them here @ Clubsnap) to tag along! ;)

Btw, great effort chaotic! :thumbsup:
Oh yah...are 2nd hand cameras/equipment a better choice for newbies before they know more about photography and deciding which way they wanna progress? If so, is there a substantial difference in price? :D

Oh..but how will we know which one is good? Heard about hidden fungus and stuff.. :confused:
 

Adam Goi

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burnt_toastsg said:
Oh yah...are 2nd hand cameras/equipment a better choice for newbies before they know more about photography and deciding which way they wanna progress? If so, is there a substantial difference in price? :D

Oh..but how will we know which one is good? Heard about hidden fungus and stuff.. :confused:
Since when did I say getting used stuff is a better choice? I'm just highlighting another alternative ... sheeze ... :confused:
 

burnt_toastsg

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:eek:

Cool it dude...I didn't mean it that way..I simply meant if it could be a better idea than to get a brand new camera cos photography idiots like me can be clumsy or find we dun really like the hobby after starting learning about it, that's all..

:sweat:
 

TME

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I think it would be wise to buy body 1st hadn and buy lens 2nd hand. Cos u need only one body but u may need more than one lens....... and the price difference between a new lens and a mint condition 2nd hand lens may be anything from $100 to $400 or even more...... so I prefer 2nd hand lens first if I can find a suitable one....... and Clubsnap is the best place to look for one in Singapore...... lots of people here with loads of money to burn experimenting with lens they dun need and then selling off for a good discount...... :D
 

chriszzz

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TME said:
I think it would be wise to buy body 1st hadn and buy lens 2nd hand. Cos u need only one body but u may need more than one lens. :D
Not necessarily. Many people, including myself, have more than 1 body. You usually don't need the newest, top of the range body. You can buy a perfectly good older body ( or 2 ) for a good price. Eg, a EOS 100 or earlier camera has most features you will ever need, for a very low price. This makes a good first body, and an excellent backup body. A few years back, I bought a EOS 630 as a backup body for a measely S$150 ! What a bargain ! And it has most features you will ever need. The only significant thing these old bodies lack is ETTL, but they have TTL and ATTL, and work fine with EZ and EX flashes and all EF lenses.

If possible, you can buy both bodies and lenses 2nd hand. Make sure you get it from a reputable place/person, check the condition very carefully, and you can save quite a bit. Many people buy equipment that they rarely use, and these are usually in excellent condition, practically as good as new. Eg, of my 7 lenses, I use mostly 2-3 of them. The rest I only use when the need arise.

I have a total of 7 lenses and 3 SLR bodies ( 2 film, 1 digital ). If I only save $200 per lens or body, I would have saved $2000 already ! And if you decide to sell off your 2nd hand lenses/bodies, you will lose a lot less since the first buyer has already absorbed the depreciation.
 

TME

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chriszzz said:
Not necessarily. Many people, including myself, have more than 1 body. You usually don't need the newest, top of the range body. You can buy a perfectly good older body ( or 2 ) for a good price. Eg, a EOS 100 or earlier camera has most features you will ever need, for a very low price. This makes a good first body, and an excellent backup body. A few years back, I bought a EOS 630 as a backup body for a measely S$150 ! What a bargain ! And it has most features you will ever need. The only significant thing these old bodies lack is ETTL, but they have TTL and ATTL, and work fine with EZ and EX flashes and all EF lenses.

If possible, you can buy both bodies and lenses 2nd hand. Make sure you get it from a reputable place/person, check the condition very carefully, and you can save quite a bit. Many people buy equipment that they rarely use, and these are usually in excellent condition, practically as good as new. Eg, of my 7 lenses, I use mostly 2-3 of them. The rest I only use when the need arise.

I have a total of 7 lenses and 3 SLR bodies ( 2 film, 1 digital ). If I only save $200 per lens or body, I would have saved $2000 already ! And if you decide to sell off your 2nd hand lenses/bodies, you will lose a lot less since the first buyer has already absorbed the depreciation.
Right ho! But it is not always easy to find a good 2nd hand body for cameras with lots of features...... anyway if u are really into photography, the body is a good investment...... but it's one time kinda thing......... the lens although being the most critical aspect, but u would want to have more than one as Chris has mentioned....... so 2nd hand allows u to stretch your dollar while getting very good value at the same time!
 

xmen1977

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chaotic said:
For Film Camera,

Consumer Class ($300-$700)

EOS 66
EOS 300v
EOS 300

i suppose the EOS IX (for APS film) also fall within that price range?
2ndhand less than 300 can get? :D
 

lauLEE

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chaotic said:
For Digital Camera,

Consumer Class ($1800-$2000) (No 2nd hand prices yet)

EOS 300D

Prosumer Class ($1200-$2700) with lens and accessories >>> 10K

EOS D30/D60/10D

Professional Class ($6000-$13000) with lens should exceed $20K

EOS 1D
EOS 1Ds
For Consumer Class (excluding 300D), that's about the budget. But for Prosumer Class, the amount should go to about 10K in a short time when you include some good lens, and For Professional Class, the budget should exceed $20K easily.

just my observation ...
 

Bochokoy

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chaotic said:
Newbie recommendation in my humble opinion.

The following lenses make a good starting point.


Telephoto zoom ( long range )

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM ($150-$300)

Good and cheap prime lens for low light.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II ($100-$130)

So,

Get a general purpose lens in your budget. I recommended only Canon lenses here but do try out the 3rd party ones too. Ask around the people here for more reviews.

The rest are optional. Go slow. Slowly discover what kind of pictures you like to take and you will automatically know which lenses to get. Do not make the mistake of buying too many lenses at once. One at time is usually more than sufficient.

:)
Hi,

can you please tell me where can i buy the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM and Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II that you mentioned above? Are those price still the same as of today ? Im just a newbie and would like to try out those cheap lenses first with my 300d especially the tele lens. Does it produce sharp pictures even though it's not IS ?

Thanks.
 

chaotic

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Bochokoy said:
Hi,

can you please tell me where can i buy the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM and Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II that you mentioned above? Are those price still the same as of today ? Im just a newbie and would like to try out those cheap lenses first with my 300d especially the tele lens. Does it produce sharp pictures even though it's not IS ?

Thanks.
You can buy the canon lenses at most major camera stores. Check out the usual suspects such as CP, AP, TCW, MsColor. John 3:16 etc...
Some of the shops have equote through email, get one from them or alternatively call them for a quote. The prices should not vary very much.

As for whether it produce sharp pictures without IS? depends on light level which will determine your shutter speed. Make sure you can hold your camera steady with the shutter speed suggested by your camera or you will have to use a tripod. And sharp pictures are relative. The cheap lenses are fine until you see what the expensive lenses can do. :) Seriously, the cheap tele lenses are really fine for starting purposes.
 

Bochokoy

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Thanks Dude..
 

mpenza

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for the 75-300 range, you could consider Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO Macro Super II and Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 LD 1:2 Macro. Note the full name as there are different versions out in the market. Both are supposed to be sharper than the Canon 75-300. Good shooting techniques, use of support will get you sharp pics without IS even if light levels are not very good.

I have briefly used the Tamron and found the zoom ring smoother than the Sigma's which I have. Image quality should be similar.
 

weich

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Hi,

Just like to check, for lenses, what are the different types used by the various camera brands, and for canon, using EF, what does EF stands for?
 

sehsuan

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which brings me to ask... what's the MM and/or AFD focus drive systems too?... the only obvious thing is that i know it ain't USM, but can't recall what they stand for either...
 

mervlam

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AFD - Arc Form Drive
MM - Micromotor

EF- simply indicates that it's an Electronic mount