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Thread: Camera

  1. #1
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    I'm looking to purchase a camera. I have searched the threads and have come up with more questions than answers. Let me say that I have been a member for a while and don't think I could find a better place to get recomendations. Let me start by giving you the basis for comments.

    My wife and I are a working couple that have the basic understanding of photography. I'm looking for an upper end camera that i can buy a good starter package complete, ready to go, out of the box. While we read and learn the finer points I want to set it up to point and shoot for my wife as she has less experience than I. Not saying that I'm any whiz. As we get more into it I want to be able to upgrade lens, etc. This will be our "retirement" camera.

    Photoghaphs taken will be family stuff. Weddings, get togethers, etc and also outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping, traveling. Close ups to the Aurora. I'm not looking to become a professional, just extremely proficient.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Steve & Becky Gundersen
    Life is tough........it's alot tougher if you're stupid.

  2. #2
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Not enough information! Are you looking to go digital or do you want to stick with film? Do you currently have any photography equipment that you may want to use with a new system? Do you have a price range you are looking into, like a maximum you want to spend? Do you want to go strictly brand new or are you interested in used? Do you lean towards one brand name over another?

    Kind of a good recent thread was the one on a $400 digital camera that I would suggest as a start. That should give you an idea to better explain your wants and desire. People on this forum tend to be nice and really like to help yet some of us may have strong opinions Bring on the questions
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  3. #3
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    I thought that would be the first response. I'll answer yours and look forward to more.

    your first question is the best. Other than the small point and shoot digitals I've owned and had for work i haven't dealt with the upper end ones. The first comment out of my wife when we stated to discuss this was "I want film, not digital" I asked why and she has not given me a direct answer. The answer as i see it; the decent camera's we used were film, you don't have to have a computer but really need one with digital, she understands film better than digital. Bottom line is I think digital is the way to go. All you "Pros" can chime in please.

    Brand new system. Starting range $1000.00 to $1500. What ever the cost afterwards depends what we decide we want. I'm willing to spend more initially to ensure we can expand as we want. Again we are not looking to become professionals, but very good.

    I did look at that thread but due to our different desires I thought warrented a new thread. I will go back and reread it though, thanks
    Life is tough........it's alot tougher if you're stupid.

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    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibenza View Post
    I'm looking to purchase a camera.
    ...
    I'm looking for an upper end camera that i can buy a good starter package complete, ready to go, out of the box.
    ...
    to set it up to point and shoot
    ...
    This will be our "retirement" camera.
    ...
    I'm not looking to become a professional, just extremely proficient.
    Roger45 has some good points. I'll add some specific thoughts on the parts cut out and quoted above.

    First, from what you have described there is little doubt that you could easily settle on a Canon, a Nikon, a Sony or a Pentax and you'd certainly be happy with it. Deciding which of those would make you slightly happier is a really tough call! Just rest assured that none of them would be "wrong".

    Given that you've said an "upper end" camera, we'll need to talk about what that means. Are you more artist or more techie? Or both? To a techie, upper end might mean a professional model just because it has more technical functionality to play with. And how well healed are you? These things ain't cheap, but might be worth it if you actually do use it enough. (I used to buy film in 100 foot rolls, and the cost limitation was film. By spending a few thousand dollars on a digital camera I literally saved money and increased my output!) But upper end consumer models run up to perhaps $1400 (I'm not really sure), and prosumer models can go over $2000. Real pro models are $3000 and up.

    And forget about a "retirement camera"! With film cameras, which have been a relatively mature technology for decades, it was possible to expect extremely long life. But unless you buy a top of the line pro model (and even then to some degree this applies) it is almost certain that technological advances in the next 3 years will make whatever you buy obsolete, and downright ancient in 5 years.

    The accessories though, such as lenses, cases, filters, tripods, will last for decades. To the degree that you invest in lenses, you are therefore locked into using that brand of camera body in the future. That means you may want to very carefully look what is available in the way of specialty lenses that you might ever want. For example, until recently Canon had better long telephoto lenses than Nikon, but now Nikon has a rather impressive set too... but in either case that is only if you can afford a lense that costs from $5000 to $10,000! Obviously for a pro that isn't a real question, but for even the most proficient amateur it is serious bucks. Hence it might be reasonable to look at older lenses (non Auto Focus, for example) that will work with different cameras. That particular case has caused a paradox over the past few years, as most pros who needed a modern long telephoto went with Canon, but for an amateur that couldn't afford the lastest model 600mm f/4 with auto focus the older Nikon lenses were better, more available, and cost less.

    It may require more clairvoyance than is reasonable, but if you can tell which directions you are most likely to go, that is the sort of thing that will make life more fun in the future as you expand your kit.

    As for setting it to point and shoot mode: They all do that nicely! It's when you want to fool with something directly that the little computer and all the buttons and menu options start being a real hassle! :-)

    DSLR's are a wonderful tool to use in becoming a proficient photographer. Way back in the good ol' days, when I had a memory... it never lasted long enough for me to remember what I'd done when I actually had the negatives in hand. Today, well, I suffer greatly from CRS (Can't Remember Sh*t) syndrome, but I can see most of what the picture is right on the camera (Okay, so mine has one of the best LCD displays on the market.), and if that isn't good enough it will pleasantly record a voice message for each image if I like... But usually even I can remember enough as I go from shooting to viewing on a fullscreen monitor. The resulting rapid feedback loop is a great learning tool. And since the "film" is so cheap, experimenting wastes only your time but not your money.

    How much do you think you'd be willing to spend on a camera body and one lens? And just how expensive is over the line for a "top of the line" camera?

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Many ways to skin a cat, but to help with your search initially, my suggestions are below.

    All items are from B&H Photo/Video website....

    Canon 40D with 17-85 or 28-135 "kit" lens $1,000-1,200
    Bogen Manfrotto tripod in the $150-200 range
    High quality circular polarizer $100-150
    Canon cable shutter release $40
    Photoshop Elements 7.0 $80
    Scott Kelbys book for Elements 7.0 $30
    "Digital Field Guide" for Canon 40D (book) $20
    Lowepro camera case/backpack $40-100


    This would be in the $1,600-1,700 range and would make a great starter set up for someone with a sincere interest in photography. Over time you could add a few high quality lenses as your needs/interest dictate.

    Just food for thought.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  6. #6
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    I'll answer a couple of questions before i have to put the house, dogs, cats and wife to bed.

    I'm looking at being more artist, not techie.

    I'm willing to pay $1500 plus for a starter body and lens. When technology outraces me in the future I am financially able to adjust. I won't be chasing any upgrades monthly. That's what I'm looking for in opinions, what I can purchase now that has lasting qualities and upgrades. Don't jump on me, I know the answers are infinite. Remember I'm not looking to become a professional.

    If you were relatively financially set, were a beginner, wanted to learn to be a good photographer but yet not make it a living at it, were technology savvy but didn't want it to rent more space in your brain than is necessary, wanted the best bang for your your buck but yet had the money to expand as you wanted to??

    Thanks for the suggestions,

    SRG
    Life is tough........it's alot tougher if you're stupid.

  7. #7
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    SRG, you've received some great feedback from some pretty talented photographers. Let one of the lesser talented guys pipe in . . .

    Floyd hit the nail on the head when he talked about camera bodies becoming throw aways, but the lenses are the real investment. For that reason, I chose Nikon, because I can use their legacy lenses and get AF and metering on my camera body (not all Nikons are that way, I believe it starts with the D80, which is what I started on. I can use everything now on my D300). So when I start looking for my next lens (sadly, I'm afflicted with a terminal case of NAS - Nikon Acquisition Syndrome) I usually research lenses that were top of the line 20 years ago - the quality of the glass is still superb, and you save hundreds (if not thousands). As Floyd said, however, you can't make a wrong choice by going Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony and so on. I was an old Minolta film guy before I switched to digital just two years ago . . . Play with each and find a model/kit that fits in your budget range and pull the trigger. Enjoy!

  8. #8
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibenza View Post
    The answer as i see it; the decent camera's we used were film, you don't have to have a computer but really need one with digital, she understands film better than digital. Bottom line is I think digital is the way to go. All you "Pros" can chime in please.
    Digital is the only way to go. Film can be fun, and there are certainly reasonable reasons to use it. But for what you have described film is not even close to digital.

    Brand new system. Starting range $1000.00 to $1500. What ever the cost afterwards depends what we decide we want. I'm willing to spend more initially to ensure we can expand as we want.
    BH Photo is a good place to get a solid base for comparison with prices. It may or may not be where you'd want to buy. If you are good at eBay, it can definitely provide some bargains (or cost you half an arm and a leg on the wrong day too). KEH.com is another good place, particularly if you are interested in used equipment. Just keep in mind that you do basically get what you pay for... a higher priced camera is probably a better camera.

    From BH Photo:
    Canon EOS 40D body $ 890 (used $750)
    Canon EOS 40D + 18-55mm lens $1050
    Canon EOS 50D body $1150 (used $1050)
    Canon EOS 50D + 28-135mm $1350
    Canon EOS Rebel XSi (450D) with 18-55mm $945

    Fujifilm S5 Pro body $900

    Nikon D300 body $1700
    Nikon D80 + 18-55mm $820
    Nikon D90 body $890 (used $800)
    Nikon D90 + 18-105mm $1150
    Nikon D90 + 18-200mm $1580

    Pentax K20D $800
    Pentax K20D + 18-55mm ($879)

    Sony Alpha A350 + 18-705mm $800
    Sony Alpha A700 body $1000
    Sony Alpha A700 + 18-70mm $1099

    Note that I've only listed one camera with a "superzoom". I generally don't care for them, but the Nikon 18-200mm is by far the best and if you are inclined to want a one lens does all, go Nikon.

    Generally it appears to be a toss up between a Nikon D90 or a Canon 40D or 50D (I'll let the Canon folks tell you which does what). But, there's a real hitch to that which might be one you can take advantage of.

    If you are willing to shop around, or to buy used, or to spend just a hair more... the Nikon D300 can be had new for under $1400 with at least one lens. It is a "prosumer" model, which is this case means it beats the others hands down running away. The prices are low because Nikon came out with the D3 at the same time and then with the D700 (both of which are fullframe sized sensors).

    Another possibility is a used Nikon D200, which was the model that preceeded the D300. It is a real toss between that and a Canon 40D or Nikon D90, but the quality of the D200 is well above either. I doubt there exists a new D200 anymore, but the used ones go for relative peanuts.

    Here's a list of used prices (all Like New) from KEH.com. Again, they are a "safe" place to buy, but likely do not have the lowest price available either. They definitely make a good price marker though.

    Canon 1DS $1100
    Canon 5D 1600
    Nikon D90 820
    Nikon D200 820
    Nikon D300 1400

    As you can see even the high end cameras from 3 or 4 years ago are very low priced. One result is that neither BH nor KEH lists a Nikon D2x for sale used... because they sell so fast they never have one in stock! On eBay the going rate is under $1000 for a D2x with a lens. If you don't need to shoot at ISO higher than 800... that camera just can't be beat for that price!

  9. #9
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nibenza View Post
    If you were relatively financially set, were a beginner, wanted to learn to be a good photographer but yet not make it a living at it, were technology savvy but didn't want it to rent more space in your brain than is necessary, wanted the best bang for your your buck but yet had the money to expand as you wanted to??
    Honest answer, to what I would do... probably in the order I would consider them:

    Nikon D3
    Nikon D700
    Canon 5D II
    Nikon D300

    I wouldn't personally even look at a Canon 40D or a Nikon D90.

  10. #10
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    You have given me a lot to research. Keep em coming.
    Life is tough........it's alot tougher if you're stupid.

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post

    I wouldn't personally even look at a Canon 40D or a Nikon D90.
    Nikon and Canon both have some great cameras. Just avoid the bias we all show. Everyone wants to think that they have what is best. Nikon or Canon will make you happy. When you get past these two, lens selection drops significantly.

    I would take the opinion of people that have actually owned a Canon 40D over someone that has not.

    Below are 548 reviews of people that actually own the Canon 40D. It is an amazing camera.


    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...l.html#reviews





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    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Lets put your list of 548 into perspective. Here are two lists, first is the number (including various for option kits) of "reviews":

    Canon EOS 40D ...593
    Nikon D300............553
    Canon XSi..............413
    Nikon D90..............304
    Canon EOS 50D.....297
    Nikon D700.............218
    Nikon D3.................144
    Canon 5DII..............124
    Canon 1DIII...............82
    Canon 1DsIII.............59
    Nikon D3x...................8

    As you can see, your Canon 40D is indeed at the top of that list. It is also true that all of the best cameras are at the bottom of that list!

    Here's another list, this time based on BH Photo's price tags for the body only:

    Nikon D3x.....$8000
    Canon 1DsIII...7000
    Canon 1DIII.....4845
    Nikon D3.........4350
    Canon 5DII......2700
    Nikon D700......2700
    Nikon D300......1800
    Canon 50D......1150
    Nikon D90..........990
    Canon 40D.........990
    Canon XSi..........589

    In that list you'll notice that quality is at the top, and the 40D is near the bottom.

    To be honest, virtually all of the consumer models from every manufacturer are expensive toys. If you want a tool, at least buy a prosumer model, but frankly the pro models outclass even those by a considerable distance. Not that everyone needs or can even use a such a tool. The OP has given two contradicting indications in that respect, and I would not presume to know which is more important (though clearly a third, the price tag, put him only on the edge of being able to go with a pro model). First, he wants a camera that will last for quite some time. That would tend to suggest at least a prosumer model. On the other hand, he is relatively a beginner and is an artist rather more than a techie. It could be twice as long as even a pro model would last before he might have an interest in the extra facilities it offers (and would suffer all the excess complexity in the mean time).

    That does suggest the Nikon D300 and the Canon 5DII as being about the right class of camera. But he can only get one of them for under his price ceiling, and that may take some shopping.

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    I have a Canon 40D and a newer 50D. You can hardly tell the difference in the way the camera handles or in the image quality. There are differences, but unless you are looking for some particular feature, I would save the money and get the 40D. That's if you were going to choose one or the other, but they aren't the only choices. These cameras fit in the price-quality-feature continuum about where the Nikon D90 sits, or in the case of the 50D, somewhere between the D90 and D300. These are all good choices depending on how much you want to spend on a camera body.

    If you're just starting out though, I would recommend less camera body and more lens. As others mentioned, a camera body these days gets pretty long in the tooth after just a few short years. A lens can retain value and usefulness for decades. With that in mind, perhaps a Canon Rebel XSi, or a Nikon D60 would be a better pick for now, and spend the money to buy a better lens, or lenses for it. These cameras are very capable of providing great image quality when good lenses are attached to them.

    Canon's little 18-55 IS, and 55-250 IS make a pretty good pair of lenses for about $400. Nikon has similar options. Or you can buy either Canon's or Nikon's 17-55 f/2.8 lens for about $1000 all by itself. Either one are very good, but may be more than you want to spend on one standard zoom lens. Still, they will retain much of their value for years after your camera body is tossed.

    BTW, you don't need a computer to deal with a digital camera images. You can have prints made directly from a memory card easier than from film. The digital camera costs more to begin with, but saves on the cost of film & processing. And you only print the images that actually work. If you shoot much, digital is cheaper. Plus, as Floyd mentioned, you get instant feedback with digital. You can see right away if it worked or if you need to make adjustments and shoot it again. And for most uses, high quality digital cameras provide better image quality that the usual color negative film.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post

    Canon EOS 40D ...593
    Nikon D300............553
    Canon XSi..............413
    Nikon D90..............304
    Canon EOS 50D.....297
    Nikon D700.............218
    Nikon D3.................144
    Canon 5DII..............124
    Canon 1DIII...............82
    Canon 1DsIII.............59
    Nikon D3x...................8

    As you can see, your Canon 40D is indeed at the top of that list. It is also true that all of the best cameras are at the bottom of that list!

    Here's another list, this time based on BH Photo's price tags for the body only:

    Nikon D3x.....$8000
    Canon 1DsIII...7000
    Canon 1DIII.....4845
    Nikon D3.........4350
    Canon 5DII......2700
    Nikon D700......2700
    Nikon D300......1800
    Canon 50D......1150
    Nikon D90..........990
    Canon 40D.........990
    Canon XSi..........589

    In that list you'll notice that quality is at the top, and the 40D is near the bottom.


    Floyd, you are using "quality" when you should have said "most expensive". Must have been a typo

    Also, the Canon 40D is $890 rather than the $990 you quoted.

    This info above proves my point exactly about what an awesome camera the Canon 40D is for the money. Read the reviews, look at what a value it is compared to other cameras costing many times more, and it is easy to see why so many people are buying them. This is what we call "bang for the buck".


    He stated $1,500 for a body and lens

    It would seem logical that this would guide what cameras are being suggested.



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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I see that from last night you have gotten some great advice. If you have not gone to www.dpreview.com you need to go there ASAP. They have excellent reviews on all cameras and lenses. The forums are packed with all brands...I go to a NIkon d40-d90 forum that gets world wide postings (50-100) every day! Awesome site IMHO.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    Floyd, you are using "quality" when you should have said "most expensive". Must have been a typo

    Also, the Canon 40D is $890 rather than the $990 you quoted.
    Yes there is a typo, the price is $890.

    Anyone who does not realize that both of those lists have a grossly overweighted balance of "quality" at one end of each, is clearly unaware of what the word means in relation to a DSLR, or they suffer from "kennel blindness".

    In either list the only camera in the "low quality" weighted end that is a truely high quality camera is the Nikon D300! That is an interesting situation (which I described previously), and one that the OP might do well to take advantage of.
    This info above proves my point exactly about what an awesome camera the Canon 40D is for the money. Read the reviews, look at what a value it is compared to other cameras costing many times more, and it is easy to see why so many people are buying them. This is what we call "bang for the buck".
    It is all of those things. It is also a "toy" on comparison to the Nikon D300.
    He stated $1,500 for a body and lens

    It would seem logical that this would guide what cameras are being suggested.
    The charts were not designed to provide a method of camera selection, they merely show conclusively that buying the camera with the most reviews at BH Photo, just like buying the one that BH Photo has the most lenses for, is not a valid method unless pride of ownership is the highest criteria. A lot of bang for the buck to buy a great toy is not nearly as good as a lot more bang for the buck to get a great tool. The 40D is a wonderful toy, the D300 is a tool of equal wonder (and the fact that it will take work to find one at only $600 more is pretty much a measure of the difference).

    You've made repeated claims that only people who've owned a 40D should comment on it. But none of us have owned every suitable DSLR. The problem is that you, like most people who've bought a Canon 40D, have owned and used exactly 1 or maybe 2 SLR cameras ever. And most of those, like yourself, who give it rave reviews have a grand total of 1-2 years of using such cameras. The point of course is that neither you nor most of the 500+ reviewers who were excited enough to write something for BH Photo have enough experience to know what a good SLR is!

    The only point you ever make about the 40D is that you and lots of others own one. That's nice to know, but it doesn't help anyone else decide which camera best fills their requirements. But camera evaluations from people with years of experience with many cameras, who can cite reasons to buy this brand for that purpose, or another model for a different purpose, all depending on what kind of photography one does, are useful.

    Incidentally (or obviously not), my first high quality camera was the original Pentax Spotmatic, which I bought in 1964 when they were first released. That's 45 years of comparing specifications to decide which models provide enough bang for the bucks I had. It's the reason I'm not impressed with any company's marketing efforts nor with the fanboy statements.

  17. #17
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post

    You've made repeated claims that only people who've owned a 40D should comment on it.
    Dear Floyd,

    If you would be so kind, show one instance where I said this.


    I said ...

    "I would take the opinion of people that have actually owned a Canon 40D over someone that has not."

    This applies to everything else in life as well Floyd.

    You may not get anything out of that, but to anyone else, it is a very logical statement.



    The guy said he wanted to spend $1,500 on a camera and lens. Please tell me how you rambling on about the most expensive cameras made helps him. A guy could ask a question about $20 disposable cameras and you would find some way to bring up $8000 cameras.


    If you want to be helpful to the OP, tell him what camera you would suggest for his $1,500 budget.


    That is what I did. It would seem natural that my experience with the Canon 40 being such a positive one would make it easy for me to recommend the same to him. Especially since it is a viable option that is in his price range. I would be an idiot to suggest that he buy a camera that I have no first hand experience of. That kind of opinion really doesn't help anyone. Yet certain people seem to do it all the time.




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  18. #18

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    nibenza,

    It was nibenza wasn't it? I thought this thread was in response to your questions. I hope I am in the right thread. I would not pretend to tell you what you should/must buy. I can tell you what I have and why I like it. My wife bought me a crop camera. I have the canon xsi. I like it.

    I have since purchased a couple other lenses. I have the canon 17-55 mm 2.8, the canon 100mm 2.8 macro, the canon 50 mm 2.8, and the sigma 10-20 mm. This set up allows me to do almost whatever I want. With some care and preparation I take it with me on the boat and snowshoe trips. The macro lets me chase bees around the fireweed patch in the fall. The sigma lets me capture wide angle/buildings. The 17-55 is what i have on the camera most of the time. The 50 I use for kid pictures where I want the background blurred. I do not have a telephoto lens. I want one but I will not buy one until I can afford what I want. I have, and will continue to spend more money on lenses than on a camera body.

    The camera/17-55 is plenty fast to shoot our high school basketball games. With some preventative care and common sense I can bring it with me anywhere. The controls are user friendly. There are things the camera can do well that I have yet to catch up with it yet. I will catch up to it and I will enjoy the ride.

    The books written by Bryan Peterson have been a huge help and made it easier for me to move from film and from point and shoot cameras. I see that there is another newer crop camera than the xsi due out soon. I would imagine this will lower the price of the 'old' xsi.

    Now before you finish your 12th cup of coffee and dash of an edged response littered with highlighted quotes, please know this: I am not a relative of Bryan Peterson, I do not own stock in canon, I am sure there are many other fine options/combinations/brands out there. I know very little of them and choose not to pretend to. If my amateur, though sincere, attempt to help this person with their decision is copied and pasted into shards of meaningless and fragmented quotes....I will....I will..um....I wil give it the attention it deserves.

    Good luck nibenza. It was nibenza wasn't it?

    Bruce
    There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

  19. #19
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Thanks for all the responses

    I will be doing a lot of reading that's for sure.

    I know alot of it is personal preference but that is what I was looking for, what you own and why.

    Bruce, thanks for the book recommendation, I will check it out. Is there a reason you are asking " It was nibenza wasn't it" That is my nickname as it's at the top of all my posts. My real name was typed at the bottom of my first post in this thread if you prefer that.

    Again thanks all.

    SRG
    Life is tough........it's alot tougher if you're stupid.

  20. #20

    Default Sorry

    I am sorry nibenza. It was my very poor attempt at sarcasm. I was trying to draw attention to the fact that your thread digressed into something other than its intent. I get frustrated when I have to endure soapbox soliloquies when I am trying to learn from other people’s posts. I in no way meant you any disrespect. I am sorry you may have thought that.

    Bruce
    There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

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