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Old 01-25-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
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Question Shopping for Digital SLR

I know there are several photographers here and I would like some input, please. My wife would very much like to upgrade from a point and shoot digital to a digital SLR. I am very ignorant about these cameras and have no idea where to start. Her main usage would be pics of the kids, indoor and out, and typical vacation photography.

Any input on brand/models and what all the acronyms and such mean would be helpful. I don't want to look like a tool when I go to the store.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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Me too. I'm looking at Canon, mainly because my girlfriend is biased.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:15 PM   #3
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I have a canon XSI and love it. Very simple to use and relatively inexpensive. It does more than I will ever use it for.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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Just had a wedding, and asked my photographer the same question. He was a Nikon guy, so obviously he recommended Nikons but did recommend Canon for pocket cameras. The two that he recommended to me were:

Nikon D90
Nikon D3000

I'm a canon man myself, but after my research I would get one of the above.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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I have a Nikon D80 and love it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:33 PM   #6
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I bought a Canon Xti a couple years back, it has taken over 26,000 pics and still no problems.

Whatever you get be it Canon or Nikon just remember it all about the glass when it comes to getting really sharp prints.

My main lens is worth 3 times what the camera body is worth
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
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I've been reading reviews of the canon XTi and XSI and people keep referring to "image noise". WTF??
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
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noise is going to show up as what you would think of as grainy.

as far as getting started look at some of the kit packages, both canon and nikon. both make a great product. the best advice that i got when i was looking to buy my nikon d40 was to go and hold them and take some pictures with them. find one that fits you and is comfotable to use. find one that you can navigate through the menu options well. if she or yourself dont like to use the camera and find it irriating to get it to do what you want or cant get your hands just right when trying to take a picture your never going to use it. when it comes to megapixels its kind of a wish-wash. i was always told that the more megapixels the better the quality of picture and that does hold some truth but my d40 is a 6mp i believe and i have taken some pictures that were more crisp that a buddy that has a 10mp. it all goes back to what someone has already said on here is the glass. the lens is far more important than the body itself. the kit lenses that come with the bodys are good lenses but you wont be happy with them forever. they are good quality, but not the best. they have some zoom but never enough. the lens i just purchased cost $700 and the camera kit itself with the bag, body and lens only cost me $500. this is not a cheap hobby to get started into. i have met some guys that have nearly 20k invested into their equipment.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Nikon cameras are amazing. I have had the D80 for about 3 years now and love it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:24 PM   #10
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Anybody have any experience with Pentax? local store has kit on sale with DAL 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Also What does that mean with the f/ number?
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:37 PM   #11
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I have a Canon 50D with several lenses. Both Canon and Nikon make excellent cameras and I don't think you'll go wrong with either. If you get into the same price range on either product you'll find you get similar results.

I would suggest buying a kit that comes with an image stabilization lens/lenses. You'll spend a little more but you'll have better results from your photos. For Canon's these lenses have 'IS' in the model numbers. For Nikon they are labeled VR.

The F numbers are the lowest possible aperture the lens can achieve. Or how much light can be passed through the lens to the sensor. The lower the number the better and the less you'll need a flash indoors. The reason there are two numbers on a zoom lens is it gives you the numbers at the telephoto and wide angle points. Almost all kit lenses like the Pentax have those ranges.

If you get a canon I also recommend a lens called the 'Nifty Fifty', 50mm 1.8F, which costs around $100 dollars but has a very low aperture and takes excellent portrait photos for the price. It is a fixed focal length which means it doesn't zoom but you gain in the sharpness and quality of your photos.

If you get a SLR camera I would suggest buying a simple photography book to learn what ISO, F-Stop, Shutter Speed are and how they effect your photos. Otherwise if you are using just automatic mode you really aren't gaining anything from purchasing a SLR (besides it will probably be faster than most cameras.)

As far as Pentax goes I have no idea how good they are. One thing to think about is when you go SLR you'll want to try different lenses as you become more adept at using one. With Nikon and Canon there is a huge resale market for used lenses and you can save quite a bit buying used.

Costco has fair prices on their cameras and has a great warranty/return policy. You can get the latest digital rebel with 2 lenses (both IS) for less than $1k.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:44 PM   #12
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Thanks, ummgood, and welcome to TW. rep for ya
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loudpedal View Post
I know there are several photographers here and I would like some input, please. My wife would very much like to upgrade from a point and shoot digital to a digital SLR. I am very ignorant about these cameras and have no idea where to start. Her main usage would be pics of the kids, indoor and out, and typical vacation photography.
I think it's important to ask why your wife wants to upgrade from a P&S to a dSLR.

What camera is she shooting with now?

Is she having problems with her current camera?

Does she feel the current camera is holding her back? Why?
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocabj View Post
I think it's important to ask why your wife wants to upgrade from a P&S to a dSLR.

What camera is she shooting with now?

Is she having problems with her current camera?

Does she feel the current camera is holding her back? Why?
currently she has a Kodak P&S 7 mp I think

Pictures are ok but could be better. It's very slow. Changing settings is PITA.

An old High school/Army buddy and his family visited at Christmas, and his Canon DSLR took amazing pics at a pretty fast rate. Out of all the pics of the kids, his were far and away the better. Kids don't sit still and the P&S is just too slow.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loudpedal View Post
currently she has a Kodak P&S 7 mp I think

Pictures are ok but could be better. It's very slow. Changing settings is PITA.

An old High school/Army buddy and his family visited at Christmas, and his Canon DSLR took amazing pics at a pretty fast rate. Out of all the pics of the kids, his were far and away the better. Kids don't sit still and the P&S is just too slow.
The reason why I asked is because many people want to jump from a P&S to dSLR without any real reason.

It sounds like she will get some immediate benefit as far as shutter lag. P&S is horrible with that regard, so lag time on shutter will be a lot better with a dSLR.

As far as which one to get, the only sure recommendation I can give is to buy the same brand as your friends have (and hopefully they shoot one of the big two: Canon or Nikon). I shoot Canon, but I always tell people to get what their friends shoot. The reason is because if you have trusting/willing friends, you can borrow their lenses to at least try out. This gives you a good resource for testing before you buy as far as glass is concerned.

After that, pretty much the entry level cameras are the XSi and D5000 (Canon and Nikon, respectively). No matter what, get a fast 50mm prime (i.e. 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8) as previously mentioned. It's cheap (between $100-$400 depending on model) and it's a good portrait focal length for consumer level dSLR cameras.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #16
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i've used the best from both companies and honestly it comes down to personal preference. my only advice is for a novice to get either a canon or nikon, and not a sony or pentax or basically anything else... too many good books and articles out to help you for canon and nikon.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:34 PM   #17
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Thanks, guys. After reading this thread and looking at some of the results people here get, she is definitely leaning toward the XSi.


Now must get monies...
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:44 AM   #18
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Hey I got my first DSLR for the same reason. KIDS. My first DSLR I purchased when my first born was born. It was the original Canon digital rebel. It still takes great photos even over 6 years later. It has had a couple annoyances come up (doesn't remember date/time anymore and the eject button for the CF cards broke) and it definately has trouble focusing since the technology is so old in that camera. Whatever DSLR you choose you'll get many years of happy photos. I tell people that you'll get many more years out of a DSLR than you would out of 2 or 3 point and shoot cameras just because they are built so much faster.

Now with that being said before you go out and purchase the XSi make sure you look at the T1i and make darn sure that you don't want the movie feature. Another thing to look at with the T1i is it has the latest image processing engine in it (it has the same engine as my 50D). With each processor they get better at reducing noise, improving focus performance etc... Plus the price difference is about $150 dollars. I know it seems like a lot but if you get 6 to 8 years out of that camera it will be worth it to make the step up to the latest technology.

Here are a couple photos I took with my 50D. (Note I am by far not a photographer. All these photos are because the camera is that good.)
These were taken with the 18-135 zoom. I hand held these photos no tripod. No flash.




Here is an example of the 'nifty fifty' lens. You'll see how the background is blurred out. That is from an F/1.8 setting. The lower the F number the more blurred out the background. This is with no flash, indoors, and at night. (Oh and this was taken before I got the D50 with the original digital rebel. Still takes awesome photos.)
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:59 AM   #19
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I picked up a Sony A300 DSLR. Sony bought Minolta and the older Minolta Auto Focus (AF) lens for film cameras SLR's fit the Sony digital SLR. The Sony has the vibration reduction built into the camera body. Only had it a few months and have not used it a lot but it seems to take pretty nice photos. it also has a digital zoom built in but you need to use the LCD screen for that.

That being said I am not a photographer
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:03 AM   #20
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Nikon D40, that's what I have but they are discontinuing it sadly. It's a great simple camera
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