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Advice on a D-SLR camera kit and accessories for first time buyer
I've used the search function and scanned over a 20 other posts/threads, but they all seem a but confusing and/or more advanced/specific than what I am looking for..

I've had a terrible experience with a Pentax Optio (a basic digital camera) that maybe wasn't so bad except how Pentax treated me, so I'm not into Pentax cameras. I currently have a Canon PowerShot A520 (it's about 3 years old I guess, again, a fairly basic digital camera) that I love to death. I have always loved pictures, taking them and using them as decoration, etc and have always wanted to learn more about photography. I am a student on a budget, but I have decided to take a class and first to buy a Digital SLR kit (that seems the most reasonable starting point, correct me if I am wrong please). I love landscapes, scenery, wildlife so I figure that's what I will be photographing most often, as I love the outdoors. However, I am very active in several sports and so is my girlfriend, so I'd like to be able to get some half decent action shots.

I am going on my first trip to mainland Europe in August (I'm from Canada) and I would really love to be able to take my camera with me and get some amazing pictures..

All that being said, let me try to condense that into what I think I need based on what I've read on the forum so far:.

For the most part I am open minded, but would prefer not to give Pentax any of my business due to the poor customer relations I've had with them, it's personal, not flaming them...but if they have the camera that is better for me than anything else, I'm open to that I guess. I do like Canon, for no real reason though I guess..

So, any suggestion is welcome, preferrably not going to choose Pentax, but feel free to suggest a model so I can check it out. I would like to keep the cost of the kit (or camera, lenses) and any important accessories less than $2000, $1500 would be nice for the camera and lense, and then I'm not sure what accessories I'll need, but I want to travel abroad with the camera and also to take it outdoors a lot, so a case, maybe an extra battery, good memory cards, etc with the other $500 (if this is reasonable). I want something reliable and somewhat rugged, due to my traveling and my love of outdoors. The purpose of the camera is to provide me with a hobby, where I would be decorating my living space with my own pictures, posting them online, etc. I will be taking a class with the camera at a later date, but I am super new and now nothing about cameras so something nice to learn on, although I would like it to be good enough to keep me learning for quite some time and to remain a decent camera for many years..

Sorry if that was too long! I thank you for reading it and helping me out in advance. I just figured that the more info I could give, the easier it would be to suggest something. It annoys me when I'm trying to help people they leave it completely open ended so I'm just making shots in the dark to help them..

If there's any other info I can provide please let me know, or if you think I should post a different, less detailed request for advice then let me know too.It's all about mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter..

Potential is worthless without action...

Comments (9)

If you like the Canon user experience, it makes suggestions pretty easy. I'd go for the EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), which is a measly $650 with kit lens. That gets you a pretty decent average range lens. Toss in a battery ($50), and several CF cards (as big as you can afford, $50ish lets say). You're up to $750. Believe it or not, this is a very versatile setup, and should serve you well..

The 18-55mm is average wide, and not particularly long. If you want to do sports photography, I'd suggest something longer, at least after getting comfortable with the camera. The EF 70-200mm f/4 is down to $560 or so now. Its not the stabilized version, but an excellent lens, one of the best in the Canon lineup. More budget-conscious would be the 28-135mm - an average lens but with a stabilizer. I personally never use my 28-135 anymore, mainly for image quality reasons..

For landscapes, sometimes a wide angle is appropriate and sometimes a telephoto is appropriate, but that is up to how you use the camera. How do you shoot landscapes?.

Some other things you should invest in, possibly before you get another lens:.

- A tripod and tripod head. Something which is easy to use and not too flimsy (stay away from the $50 Velbon special ). I personally like the Benro, for being cheap and having comparable quality to Bogen/Manfrotto. Be sure to get a quick-release plate or bracket, or you'll never use the tripod..

- A bag. I like Lowepro all-weather bags, but it's up to you..

- Some time to take pictures and test shots..

Robbie333 wrote:.

I am a student on a budget, but I havedecided to take a class and first to buy a Digital SLR kit (thatseems the most reasonable starting point, correct me if I am wrongplease). I love landscapes, scenery, wildlife so I figure that's whatI will be photographing most often, as I love the outdoors. However,I am very active in several sports and so is my girlfriend, so I'dlike to be able to get some half decent action shots. I don't want toget too much into accessories as yet, until I know better what kindof photographing I'm more interested in or do more. I am going on myfirst trip to mainland Europe in August (I'm from Canada) and I wouldreally love to be able to take my camera with me and get some amazingpictures..

All that being said, let me try to condense that into what I think Ineed based on what I've read on the forum so far:..

Comment #1

Cool, thanks a lot for those tips! As far as shooting landscapes, I have previously only pointed and clicked, lol. I love scenery shots of cliffs, mountains and the like from a lookout, but I also love getting up close on flowers and/or animals. I don't need to go to either extreme really, as long as I have the one lense that does them both well, instead of doing fantastic for one and okay for another..

Also, is there any special consideration, for equipment, special insurance, extra warranty, etc I should have before traveling with the camera? Would the tripod be useful on a trip? I'd be backpacking around for 15 days, then doing a cruise for the last 12 days of the trip with day trips off the boat..

And finally, is there any particular store that is well known for selling cameras and good customer service? Or should I just shop around and go where it's cheapest? I like Black's Photography, but they're usually more expensive, and I don't usually like FutureShop much, but I found 2 of their photo guys to be really knowledgeable and helpful. Oh, I'm in Ontario, and can travel anywhere from London to Ottawa comfortably to make this purchase, preferrably at a location between the GTA and Ottawa.It's all about mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter..

Potential is worthless without action...

Comment #2

For 799,00 at buydig.com , you can get the Nikon D60 2 vr lens 18-55mm vr and 55-200mm vr that works great on landscapes. Comes with 2 NIKON School DVD's and a free 2gb Memory card. You can't go wrong with this combo and price and Nikon takes excellent pictures with low noise. JeryNikon D60 18-55vr & 55-200vrSB400Casio Z750..

Comment #3

Robbie333 wrote:.

Cool, thanks a lot for those tips! As far as shooting landscapes, Ihave previously only pointed and clicked, lol. I love scenery shotsof cliffs, mountains and the like from a lookout, but I also lovegetting up close on flowers and/or animals. I don't need to go toeither extreme really, as long as I have the one lense that does themboth well, instead of doing fantastic for one and okay for another..

The nice thing about a SLR system it's easy to grow. The Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro is a fantastic lens, and not only for Macro - it's a great long lens too..

It really comes down to what you want to spend. Since you're traveling, perhaps look into the Canon EF-S IS 17-85mm as your main lens, which covers a lot of ground..

The Tamron 18-250mm is also a consideration. No stabilizer, and no award winning image quality, but it's good performer..

Http://www.fredmiranda.com/...hp?product=309&sort=7&cat=43&page=1.

Also, is there any special consideration, for equipment, specialinsurance, extra warranty, etc I should have before traveling withthe camera?.

Insurance is up to you. In the US, many homeowner's and renter's insurance policies allow you to attach riders for camera equipment, even if it's outside of the house (such as in your car or on your person, but not if you give it to some guy to borrow ). I have most of my equipment covered under this since the cost is small. I don't tend to bother with extra warranty, which usually aren't worth the paper they give you..

Would the tripod be useful on a trip? I'd be backpackingaround for 15 days, then doing a cruise for the last 12 days of thetrip with day trips off the boat..

A tripod is a very useful tool used right. I would not however suggest it on a long backpacking trip if you're not used to using one. Plus you want the lightest possible setup or you'll hate every minute of it .

And finally, is there any particular store that is well known forselling cameras and good customer service? Or should I just shoparound and go where it's cheapest? I like Black's Photography, butthey're usually more expensive, and I don't usually like FutureShopmuch, but I found 2 of their photo guys to be really knowledgeableand helpful. Oh, I'm in Ontario, and can travel anywhere from Londonto Ottawa comfortably to make this purchase, preferrably at alocation between the GTA and Ottawa..

Can't suggest anything in Canada. I usually do online ordering stateside, from Amazon.com (I'm an amazon prime addict), B&H, Buydig, Adorama...

Comment #4

Robbie333 wrote:.

Also, is there any special consideration, for equipment, specialinsurance, extra warranty, etc I should have before traveling withthe camera? Would the tripod be useful on a trip? I'd be backpackingaround for 15 days, then doing a cruise for the last 12 days of thetrip with day trips off the boat..

And finally, is there any particular store that is well known forselling cameras and good customer service? Or should I just shoparound and go where it's cheapest? I like Black's Photography, butthey're usually more expensive, and I don't usually like FutureShopmuch, but I found 2 of their photo guys to be really knowledgeableand helpful. Oh, I'm in Ontario, and can travel anywhere from Londonto Ottawa comfortably to make this purchase, preferrably at alocation between the GTA and Ottawa..

For stores you can do a bit of shopping around, the obvious canadian choices are Henry's and Vistek, both in Ontario...OR...you can check out "The Camera Store" in Alberta (online of course). With shops out of province you will save the ontario PST and only pay the GST..

Don't forget to check the (reputable) US stores as well. I have made a few purchases from B&H and have never been disappointed. You will have to pay PST and GST on US imported items when they are delivered so just make sure it is worth your while. Don't worry about duties on imported photo equipment, most of it is duty free...

Comment #5

Actually I'd argue the Pentax is the better camera for you despite what has been posted here. You have to buy a canon 1d series camera to get full weather sealing. the pentax offers that valuable feature at far less cost. you will have to make sure you get sealed lenses to go with the body but for the budget you mentioned that should not be an issue. getting caught out with unsealed electronics in unexpected weather is a bad thing needless to say. All of you outdoor exploits should lead one to encourage you towards a sealed camera of which the canon's aren't.

A sealed Olympus E3 used for $1300+/- + the 14-54 $325 used/sealed will get you in under budget with a camera built like a tank and quite capable of dealing with your adventures..

If I was you I'd be looking hard at Olympus and pentax despite your problems in the past. not knowing any of the details of those dealings to me it would be more important to have a sealed camera for what I can afford as opposed to harboring those issues..

Good luck with whatever you choose but really give the sealed cameras for travel like you are talking about...

Comment #6

Again, thanks so much everyone! freealfas, you make a really good point, for what I do (lots of outdoor, rugged stuff and travel to boot) I do prefer stuff that's built "like a tank" and weather sealed sounds really good. I'll definitely consider that now, thanks!.

Also, I think I want to buy from a retailer who has shops in both the GTA and Ottawa areas, or at least a big name kind of place, in case I have problems/questions it will be easier for me to get back to them, or hopefully they'll be more helpful if I do have problems (I mean with potential refund/replacement issues and stuff like that). You think this is important, or a non-issue?.

Thanks again!It's all about mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter..

Potential is worthless without action...

Comment #7

Its always good to deal with someone you can return equipment to with minimum of hassle..

My suggestion would be to try out several bodies (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Oly, Sony, if you can find them all in one place it's even better ) and see which ones work for you. Weather sealing has an advantage, though I've gotten my non-1 level Canon gear wet many times without incidence. Your mileage may vary of course...

Comment #8

Thanks so much for your input everyone!! After talking to several friends who are into photography, and talking to a couple salespeople, I bought the Canon EOS 450D Rebel XSi kit with the 18-55mm IS lens. To supplement that lens I also bought the 55-250mm IS lens (got the kit and extra lens for $1189) and a 50mm as well (for $109). Bought the XSi starter kit (case, filter, spare battery) and another filter as well, protection for the 2 lenses I'll use most. Also picked up an 8GB Panasonic 20MB/s SDHC card, a Lowepro slingshot 200AW, the added warranty on the camera (includes annual cleaning, and it's for 4 years, covering performance as well as defects or whatever), an adapter/converter (though I'm taking the converter back, since the charger can handle European current), some protective covers for the viewscreen, and an Epson P-2000 (refurbished for $170). I think I'm all set, now it's just time to sit down and learn it all!!.

Oh, and I'm thinking of buying a plastic protective sleeve for shooting in the rain, but someone told me that I could just cut a hole in a ziplock bag and do it that way...which would be a lot cheaper than the $70 they're asking for the camera raincoat. Any suggestions there? No rush, not thinking of getting that until I get used to the camera and closer to my trip in Aug.It's all about mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter..

Potential is worthless without action...

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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