I am having trouble figuring out what I want and looking for somebody to possibly giving me some "hands on" advise. I want to get into DSLR photo for a hobby and feel like I might be jumping in way to deep. Basically I do as much outdoors as possible and want to get the best possible camera to fit my needs without wanting to upgrade immediately . But back to reality and I spend alot of time around the house with the kids so I want a good camera for low light indoor shots also. So far I am thinking of a 50d with 28-300 lens for the versatility but realize that is a huge jump. And also a 50mm 1.8 lens for around the house. I am going on a once in a lifetime 3 week trip this fall and want to do it right and figured now is the time to get a camera and figure out how to take some pictures. I am hard on every piece of gear I have ever owned and figured this might be a good durable combo. I am really worried about moisture. I was thinking that this would be bulky,heavy and cumbersome but the only thing I would have to carry to get some good landscape photo and some close up shots? Also thought about getting the body and getting a cheaper lens to learn and then rent a for the trip. Anybody feel free to give advise or PM. I have been hiding and enjoying all the posts on here for months, thanks!
I'm going to back up one step, and not assume a Canon 50D so much as assume that class of DSLR. With that said, there are a few things to realize, and some hard choices to make where only you can set the priorities.
Originally Posted by Cramer
First, zoom lenses are necessarily a compromise, and the larger the zoom range the more the compromise. Virtually all modern zooms in the 2x to 3x range are really good lenses that often rival fixed focal length lenses. Zooms at 4x to 6x aren't as good, but are still often fairly useful. Zooms with a 10x or greater zoom range are universally panned by expert photographers. However, they are very convenient and for photogs who are not perfectionists the convenience might out weigh the lack of performance.
Which is to say, if you are a techie type and tend to be a perfectionists, you will not be happy with a 28-300mm zoom no matter who makes it. But I can almost guarantee you than any parent who is not a hard nosed photographer will absolutely love pictures taken with that lens. (I can't tell where you might land on that one...)
Next, if you had not said you are hard on equipment and are specifically worried about moisture, I would not have bothered with the arguments that are sure to follow the next couple of comments. Canon does not do a very good job of weather proofing their cameras in comparison to Nikon. The Canon 50D is not proving to be that great a camera. Given your need for a rugged camera you might want to look at a Nikon D300. It is much more suited to field work, as are Nikon lenses. (Nikon and Canon each make a relatively great line of lenses. There are slight advantages to Canon for certain types of work, and the same for Nikon with others. For "rugged", Nikon wins hands down.)
But you might want to weigh your intended usage very carefully too. The Canon 50D is newer, has a faster burst rate, has higher resolution, higher ISO, lower noise and better live-view. The Nikon D300 has more AF points, tracks better, has a better viewfinder, and has better in-camera processing.
What's that all mean, in practical terms? If you want to do portraits or landscapes, look really long at the Canon 50D. If you want to shoot sports and need more robust equipment, spend that time checking out the Nikon D300.
I'm a Canon fan, but agree that the Nikon D300 has a more durable build than the Canon 50D. For instance the D300 has real weather proofing and the 50D does not. It will cost more though, so you have to weight that in with the choices. You can get weatherproofing in a Canon camera (lenses too) but you will have to pony up some serious cash to get it.
Speaking of weight, you could save some by picking a lighter weight camera. Canon Rebel XSi or the Nikon equivalent would also save you some money. They are some compromises with ease of operation, and durability, but they do the job well. If going for a low end camera I would pick the Canon over the Nikon though. I don't think Nikon knows how to make a really good low end DSLR. -- Just a personal opinion - don't get excited guys.
Of course there is no reason you have to only choose between Nikon & Canon either. Pentax makes decent cameras, and they include image stabilization built into the camera body, so you don't have to pay for it with each lens you buy. Their AF system is still a few years behind though. There is also Sony, but their prices for lenses are outrageous! Panasonic & Olympus offer in-camera stabilization too -- at least on some of their cameras, but their sensors are smaller, so digital noise is more of a factor in low light.
I also agree with Floyd on the "superzoom" lenses. They compromise on a lot of things to get that large zoom range. Still, the convenience is great, and I purchased a Tamron 18-270 VR lens for those occasions that require a lighter load, and don't demand the best quality. Vibration Reduction (their name for image stabilization) is top notch, and allows the lens to actually be usable in many situations. AF speed is dismal, but image quality is decent, if not great.
I would not get a "28 to anything" lens though. They're just not wide enough to be practical on a small sensor camera like the 50D, D300, Rebel, D50, etc. They are best when mounted on a full frame camera, but no full frame digital camera owner would be caught dead with one on his expensive camera, so they are best fitted on the old film cameras. Whatever lens you get would probably be more usable if it started out in the 17-18mm range and zoomed up from there. The exception being if you are one of the rare people that don't like lenses that get moderately wide. Wide is way better for tight indoor spaces though.
Also a 50mm prime (non-zoom) lens is nice because they are fast (large aperture = good in low light) and inexpensive. But they also are a bit too long for crop sensor cameras, especially when shooting indoors. Most people prefer 30mm as a normal lens for these small sensor cameras. Too bad all the current 28, 30, & 35mm lenses are more money than the 50's
But I'm still of the opinion that if what you really want is convenience over quality, you may be better served with one of the superzoom point & shoots being sold. Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Sony all sell them, and they are all pretty good. My personal choice is the Panasonic FZ28, but Canon's new version looks quite good. A DSLR still has the advantage for focus speed, absolute resolution, and low light performance, but these do a pretty good job of most things. If you are interested, go to www.dpreview.com and check out their camera reviews.
Whatever you decide on, at least take a good look at this forum's sponsor www.cameralandny.com when you go to buy. They are reliable. But if you decide to buy elsewhere, save yourself some serious grief by checking unknown sellers at http://www.resellerratings.com
I used a Canon Rebel XT for around four years before upgrading to a 40D. (my wife uses the XT now). My advise is to begin with an entry level camera such as the Canon XSi, or XTi, and buy a lens for taking photos indoors such as the EF 50mm f/1.4 Even such a camera offers more features that you will ever need, and still save you some cash to buy good lenses. The lenses will cost you a lot more than a body, and bodies become obsolete (if compared to new models) within four years for Nikon, and around 18 months for Canon entry level-cameras. Four or five years from now, if you already have spent on some good lenses, all you have to do is to upgrade to another body of your choice, since the lenses are backwards compatible. A Canon 40D right now is a lot of a better deal than a Canon 50D, and even a 30D is not bad at all. About wether resistance: I would not worry too much about that, unless you are going to use your camera under the rain, or under the surf splashes.
Study up on photography as much as you can...
before buyinga camera...otherwise, you'll be immersed in some techno bable that may overwhlem you, & then, you'd have nothing but an expensive point & shoot that you'll end up garage selling for less than what you'd get out of it...
With that said...it sounds as if you already have some experience or knowledge about what your looking for, & to realize the full potential of the DSLR, knowledge is key to putting a powerful tool to work...
If you're looking for artistic, a great entry level DSLR is fine, but try going even cheaper still & buying a USED manual FILM SLR, & that will ground your fundamentals BIG TIME...I remember in Highschool that we had used that type of camera, & developed our own film & that really helped me with my camera purchase (A Rebel GII) & then a DSLR (Rebel XT)...
If your looking for point & shoot, buy a good high end digital pocket camera, as some of those are nearly on par with DSLR's...
What I love about the SLR's is the wide range of options you have with artisitic capablity & lens choices...(Faster is better) Likewise with DSLR's you don't have to worry if you have the right type of film speed, only if you're on the right speed. Shutter speed, & apature value are all excellent tools you can use, along with detachable flashes, & timers for your flash...
& one very important choice is a tripod, I still have my dad's cheap $30 Velebon tripod, that he bought at a Grage sale for less than half the price for a new one... :P