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Meyer8043

Decent Starter Camera

11 posts in this topic

Never have done any photography besides with a point and shoot camera. Looking to broaden my horizons and try something a little more technical. I would use the camera for mostly outdoor pictures so i'm wondering what kind of camera and lens would be a good one to start with. Looking to spend around $700. I looked at some in the classifieds in here but most of it was greek to me so any suggestions from a avid photographer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

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I am sure that you have seen my camera for sale in the photography ads and that was my first digital SLR. You are going to find that the real money is going to be the glass that can reach wildlife at a distance and not so much with the body. When I choose the 30D it was because the build quality was better then a 20D or the XT line. That being said both of those cameras take great pictures but the 30D had a magnesium body and not a plastic body and the shutter was rated for 100,000 shots VS 50,000. I have not mentioned the amount of pixels cause for the most part it really dose not make a difference for most of the shots that you will print. I have a 100-400 L lens and if I had the money I would own longer glass and until I win the lottery that ain't happening anytime soon but you will want a lens with at least 200mm of reach. The 400mm 5.6 prime from Canon is around $1200 and the 100-400 is around $1500 and the 500mm F4 is $5900 just to give you a idea what type of money you are looking at. You will want to get a case and a monopod or a tripod at some point and time. Hope this helps and gives you a idea on the cost. It may seem expensive to start this hobby but the overall satisfaction with getting some cool shots will more then make up for the cost and I don't ever remember having a bad day when I have been out shooting. Look up POTN and they will have a pretty active buy and sell section if you want to get a idea on what the prices are on used gear. Post pictures and ask questions and you will get all sorts of help for all your questions.

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Something else that may help you if you decide to go with a used body so you will have more money for glass and you want to know the specs on a certain camera is to go to B&H or Adorama and look at there used section and you will get all the specs. This can help if you want to know how many megapixel or if it has a built in flash and things along that line.

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Meyer, indeed the possibilities are endless. We don't really know what specifically you'd like to take outdoors pictures, so if you could tell us more about what kinds of things you'd like to photograph, we can narrow our advice a bit. This is particularly important for lens selection, less so for body recommendations.

I'll give some general advice. I also recommend a used body and glass. There are tons of excellent lightly used camera bodies and lenses out there, and a couple reliable clearinghouses of used gear that are reliable include POTN and Fred Miranda. I've bought and sold thousands of dollars in gear through POTN with not a single dud.

Now, jmalm and I and most who shoot DSLRs on this board are Canon users. There are some Nikon shooters as well, and a couple Sony shooters. Reason I say this is I'll give you Canon advice because that's the brand I know best.

For $700, even buying a used body and lens, you're not going to get tip-top glass, but for your purposes that may not matter at all.

I'd recommend a used 30D or 40D. If you opt for a 40D, your $700 is already eaten up, although you should be able to find a great conditions lightly used 30D for around $400. I'd say put the Canon 55-250 zoom on it and you'll have what you need for all-around shooting for about $700. The body is 8 Mp, and one I continue to use mnost often in my business, and I have made prints to 20x30 with those images that are gorgeous. Don't get caught up in the megapixel madness, which has a lot to do with marketing and not with the actual needs of photographers. Don't get me wrong. Having more pixels can be nice in a couple ways, but it's not core. The 30D is now two generations old (there's a 50D now), and it's in the intermediate Canon line between entry level and so-called true pro gear. Some call it a pro-sumer line. Anyway, the xxD series cameras are a bit larger (helpful because I have larger hands), have a better build quality and more features than their entry level contemporaries.

You'll need a CF memory card (luckily memory is cheap these days) and preferably an extra battery. The 30D comes with a pop-up flash, and you can wait with a tripod or monopod to see how much work you do and whether you'll need them.

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Like Steve and Jim said, going used is really the best way in the current photography market. Right now out of everything in my bag, only three pieces of equipment were bought new. I got a great deal on a body from Steve almost a year ago now and I am very thankful for that.

XTi, XS, XSi, and T1i are all great entry level cameras. I think live view was incorporated on the XS and video on the XSi (could have been XSi and T1i) and for someone who is used to shooting point and shoots, live view makes the transition a little easier. These cameras as stated are more along the entry level lines and really the most noticeable deficiency is the autofocus capabilities. They work good, but for bird in flight kind of stuff you may want to step up a bit.

As Steve and Jim said, the 30D or 40D are very nice cameras. You get a lot better features as they already said. The autofocus system is more advanced and the build is a bit more rugged.

Another good lens to go with whatever camera you choose (if you choose canon) would be the EF 75-300 IS if you cant find the EF-s 55-250 IS. On the used market you shouldn't have to dish out more than 350 for the lens and it is pretty good. Obviously not L quality, but not L pricing either. If you want to shoot landscapes and don't want to spend a bundle the EF-s 18-55 IS will get you started. You can find that lens for about 100-150 on the used market.

I have considered selling my XT/grip that I bought from Steve to fund an upgrade to a 30D myself. I just sold a piece of ice fishing equipment to fund the purchase of an oldy but goody Canon 20-35 f2.8L lens. No USM focus, but in the couple of quick tests I did last night, I found it to be an awesome lens. The thing was like brand new and I got a deal on it. Searching for used gear is a lot of fun, but when you find something you want you need to act quick cause the deals don't last too long.

Oh yeah, one other thing to mention about the Used market, if you buy used lenses, you can pretty much rest assured that you are renting a lens for free if you decide to sell it in the future. Lenses at Used prices tend to stay at the same level or in some cases actually appreciate in value. Bodies tend to go down in value quicker than lenses, but if you are buying two generations back to begin with, you can accomplish pretty much the same deal. You could buy a 30D and a couple of lenses, use them for a year and if it isn't for you, sell them for maybe 50 bucks lost. Point and shoots don't do that!

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Let me throw in my 2 cents. Let me start off by saying that I am by no means an expert...and I agree with what has already been posted.

I was much like you a few months ago....wanting to get more into photography with just a point and shoot background. I got lucky and my wife surprised me with a Canon XSI for my birthday. The XSI is an entry level DSLR from Canon's rebel series...and I could not be more happy with its performance.

I would agree with other posters and say that the "glass" or lenses are probably where you should focus more of your investment. This hobby can become very addictive and I have already purchased a few lenses from the B&H HSOforum. The nice thing about most on-line stores like the one mentioned above is the fact that they allow people to "review" their purchases....so you get a chance to hear what others have said about the camera bodies/lenses..both good and bad.

Good luck in your search and I know you will have a blast with your new equipment.

Cliffy

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Quote:
I just sold a piece of ice fishing equipment to fund the purchase of an oldy but goody Canon 20-35 f2.8L lens.

I'd love to see a comparison between the older Canon wide 2.8 zooms! The 17-35,20-35, I bought a 16-35II but want one of the older ones for a specialized rig that is gonna see some really bad abuse.

Please do some kind of mini review about that 20-35! I'd love to hear about it!

Sorry for hi-jack!

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MM... I will do something like that. I have rented the 17-35, 16-35, 17-40, and now own the 20-35. I will do a little write up here when I get a chance to do so. First impressions, not quite as sharp as the newer lenses at a focus point greater than 10 feet, but still perfectly acceptable. Closer up, it is pretty stellar. I will do a series of shots with my current line up on both bodies and compare the results at different focal lengths and focus distances. I want to find the sweet spot anyway.

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Have a look at the Olympus E-620 two lens kit. It's in your price range. Oly is kind of the black sheep of the DSLR world. The only people that like them are the people that own them. Olympus offers the best kit lenses and dust reduction system on the market. In fact, dust is practically a non issue. Check it out..

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There's definitely no reason not to look at DSLR brands like Sony and Olympus. They make excellent stuff, no doubt about it, and my continual recommendation of Canon equipment only reflects my knowledge of that line (and my limited knowledge of Nikon and lack of knowledge of Sony and Oly lines).

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