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Beginner - Wildlife Photography (XTI or D40X)
As being a novice, I would like to solicit the opinions and get some experienced direction as to what to look for in my next step: DSLR..

I research rattlesnakes, and often take natural photos in their environment, or I basically shoot in the lab. The lab being lighted by Fluorescents. I currently use a Canon A550, and have been pleased with it, though I would like to take the next step. One thing I have tried is setting the A550 to manual so as to see and feel how to manipulate myself. Talk about horrible pictures! I believe it's called user error. If I can't take pics on manual with the A550, should I even look into the higher priced XTI or D40X?.

I want a camera that allows me to upgrade accessories rather easily, and a camera that I can use or "learn" from for a couple of years. Because of rattlesnakes being deadly, I also need a lens that isn't costly for a pure amateur and allows me to zoom in without getting too dangerously close. Of the XTI and the D40X, which one do you feel would be the best to learn from, yet allow me to grown into and find affordable accessories?.

I called 3 camera outlets and 2 of the 3 highly recommended the Nikon over the Canon....oddly enough they never gave a reason why. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!John B...

Comments (11)

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

As being a novice, I would like to solicit the opinions and get someexperienced direction as to what to look for in my next step: DSLR..

I research rattlesnakes, and often take natural photos in theirenvironment, or I basically shoot in the lab. The lab being lightedby Fluorescents. I currently use a Canon A550, and have been pleasedwith it, though I would like to take the next step. One thing I havetried is setting the A550 to manual so as to see and feel how tomanipulate myself. Talk about horrible pictures! I believe it'scalled user error. If I can't take pics on manual with the A550,should I even look into the higher priced XTI or D40X?.

I want a camera that allows me to upgrade accessories rather easily,and a camera that I can use or "learn" from for a couple of years.Because of rattlesnakes being deadly, I also need a lens that isn'tcostly for a pure amateur and allows me to zoom in without gettingtoo dangerously close. Of the XTI and the D40X, which one do you feelwould be the best to learn from, yet allow me to grown into and findaffordable accessories?.

Considering the subject of your photographs, I would want a camera capable of handling a lens comparable to the Hubble Telescope..

It would seem to me there may be times, indoors and outdoors, where an external flash would be useful. I say an external flash because it has distance (60 feet), where an internal flash has limited distance (20 feet)..

In dim light a flash will bring out the colors at high ISO. Nikon has an excellent flash system..

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove me wrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #1

It doesn't matter..

Lenses of the same focal length actr a little longer on the Canon, but not enough to matter. (It's got to do with sensor size).

I would prefer the Canon because it has more focus points, and takes a wider variety of lenses, but not so many more focus points, or so many more lenses, that it really matters..

Coin flipping, or just holding each camera and seeing which feels best, are two good next steps..

OR... Buy the Nikon with the kit lens that goes to 135mm, because there's no comparable Canon (it's "kit" zoom starts at a lot less-wide focal length..

BAK..

Comment #2

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

I called 3 camera outlets and 2 of the 3 highly recommended the Nikonover the Canon....oddly enough they never gave a reason why. Anysuggestions? Thanks in advance!.

Hi John,.

Probably because they make a better commission off Nikon than they do off Canon!.

Either camera will suit your needs just fine, the choice should be yours based upon which camera feels the best to you. Ergonomics and ease f use are very important in your continuing to use the camera. If it feels good and you are comfortable with the camera you will tend to use it more. Both Canon and Nikon will have a large enough system of lenses and flashes to provide you with more than ample choices to grow into...but for shooting something like a rattlesnake, you are gonna want as long telephoto.........at least I know *I* would! .

JohnPentax *ist-D, K100D, Fuji F20/31fd, Oly Stylushttp://www.pbase.com/jglover..

Comment #3

Bill Randall wrote:.

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

As being a novice, I would like to solicit the opinions and get someexperienced direction as to what to look for in my next step: DSLR..

I research rattlesnakes, and often take natural photos in theirenvironment, or I basically shoot in the lab. The lab being lightedby Fluorescents. I currently use a Canon A550, and have been pleasedwith it, though I would like to take the next step. One thing I havetried is setting the A550 to manual so as to see and feel how tomanipulate myself. Talk about horrible pictures! I believe it'scalled user error. If I can't take pics on manual with the A550,should I even look into the higher priced XTI or D40X?.

I want a camera that allows me to upgrade accessories rather easily,and a camera that I can use or "learn" from for a couple of years.Because of rattlesnakes being deadly, I also need a lens that isn'tcostly for a pure amateur and allows me to zoom in without gettingtoo dangerously close. Of the XTI and the D40X, which one do you feelwould be the best to learn from, yet allow me to grown into and findaffordable accessories?.

Considering the subject of your photographs, I would want a cameracapable of handling a lens comparable to the Hubble Telescope..

Now that is a classic remark! I hear you!.

However the danger from a Rattlesnake is when you DON'T see them. They are not particulerly aggresive.... .

It would seem to me there may be times, indoors and outdoors, wherean external flash would be useful. I say an external flash because ithas distance (60 feet), where an internal flash has limited distance(20 feet)..

In dim light a flash will bring out the colors at high ISO. Nikon hasan excellent flash system..

Because I shoot with a "hubble" I never use a flash. So I take your word for the advantage of Nikon's system over Canons..

On the other hand, for what he wants to do, a quality lens with a range of 28 to 150 would be ideal. So, forgeting flash for a moment, it's the lens more than the camera that will make or break his pictures. The 28, for images showing the snake in it's environment, the 150 for close-ups from ten, twenty feet..

Dave.

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove mewrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #4

Chato wrote:.

Bill Randall wrote:.

Considering the subject of your photographs, I would want a cameracapable of handling a lens comparable to the Hubble Telescope..

Now that is a classic remark! I hear you!.

And it comes from a guy who, with his wife, went out in a row boat at night in the Amazon River looking for Anaconda. I don't like snakes, but they interest me..

However the danger from a Rattlesnake is when you DON'T see them.They are not particulerly aggresive.... .

That is what I have heard..

Because I shoot with a "hubble" I never use a flash. So I take yourword for the advantage of Nikon's system over Canons..

On the other hand, for what he wants to do, a quality lens with arange of 28 to 150 would be ideal. So, forgeting flash for a moment,it's the lens more than the camera that will make or break hispictures. The 28, for images showing the snake in it's environment,the 150 for close-ups from ten, twenty feet..

I agree. The only reason I mentioned the flash is because in the lab he is photographing in fluorescent light. While white balance might help, I have found a flash works great. In the wild snakes are often near or under a rock with shade. Again the flash would help bring out the colors of the snake..

One thing I need to point out though, is that I do not know how snakes react to flash. With other lighting the flash would not be too bright, and using Fill-Flash it should be minimal..

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove me wrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #5

Bill Randall wrote:.

I agree. The only reason I mentioned the flash is because in the labhe is photographing in fluorescent light. While white balance mighthelp, I have found a flash works great. In the wild snakes are oftennear or under a rock with shade. Again the flash would help bring outthe colors of the snake..

Oh, I don't doubt that you are right. My bad if there is any confusion. My Hubble doesn't let me get any closer than 16 feet, and rarely would I be in a position to make use of any kind of flash, whereas shooting ratlers, would make it's use possible on almost every shot..

One thing I need to point out though, is that I do not know howsnakes react to flash. With other lighting the flash would not be toobright, and using Fill-Flash it should be minimal..

Good question. It doesn't seem to bother birds... .

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove mewrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #6

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

One thing I have tried is setting the A550 to manual so as to see and feel how tomanipulate myself. Talk about horrible pictures! I believe it'scalled user error. If I can't take pics on manual with the A550,should I even look into the higher priced XTI or D40X?.

I would like to hear experienced dslr user opinions on this. Thanks...

Comment #7

Rjx wrote:.

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

One thing I have tried is setting the A550 to manual so as to see and feel how tomanipulate myself. Talk about horrible pictures! I believe it'scalled user error. If I can't take pics on manual with the A550,should I even look into the higher priced XTI or D40X?.

I would like to hear experienced dslr user opinions on this. Thanks..

We would need more information other than horrible. I am not sure what an A550 is. I would guess it is a film camera. I would also guess his horrible pictures were taken in the lab with fluorescent lighting. If this is correct then the flash I mentioned would help..

Two other thing I could mention, again assuming it is a film camera, is that the white balance is not set correctly (assuming he has this feature) and that without being able to change ISO the lab may be too dark to take pictures without flash..

And if he is using high ISO film without a flash, he may be losing color in his pictures..

I made the assumption, maybe the wrong assumption, that he understood enough to know why he wanted to go digital..

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove me wrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #8

LOL...rattlesnakes have not reacted to the flash thus far (20 years in all).John B...

Comment #9

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

LOL...rattlesnakes have not reacted to the flash thus far (20 yearsin all).John B..

I've certainly run into them often enough, but that was before I carried a camera around. I'm one of those who like them....

Back to your question. I gather that you have been using a Canon digicam. These digicams are really not adapted to manual shooting. You will find a dSLR an exciting experience, and you will not have the problems you did with your little Canon..

As I said in another post, it's going to be the lens that counts. Bill informs us that Nikon has a better flash system. I take his word for that..

For really superb shots, it's going to be the lens more than the camera. Either one of your choices however can do the job. Think carefully over your lens choice..

Dave..

Comment #10

Chato wrote:.

Lepidusklauberi wrote:.

LOL...rattlesnakes have not reacted to the flash thus far (20 yearsin all)..

As I said in another post, it's going to be the lens that counts.Bill informs us that Nikon has a better flash system. I take his wordfor that..

I said it has an excellent flash system. From what I have read it is the best. I have never made an actual comparison between C@non and Nikon flash systems. Besides, in this situation it is what the rattlesnakes think that counts. You don't want to hiss them off. (A little snake humor there)..

For really superb shots, it's going to be the lens more than thecamera. Either one of your choices however can do the job. Thinkcarefully over your lens choice..

Dave.

I agree but Dave probably knows more about lenses than I..

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove me wrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #11

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