As I own one, I could give you my opinion about the D40 cons that you mentioned,.
Cons:No auto-focus in the body - I don't have any lenses to start with butI would have liked the option to choose from among a greater variety.
True, that's an issue. But it depends greatly on what kind of lenses you'd need. Since e.g. indoor sports or birds in flight aren't a priority for you, I wouldn't worry too much. The D40 can autofocus all AF-S lenses, and there's plenty of them (some quite cheap, too) for a large variety of photos. Also remember that the D40 can use pre-AI primes, that are really cheap and really good.
No auto-bracketing (if I can work my way up to HDR).
I've been making some HDRs too, simply using the RAW file. If the scene is stationary, you can simply change the shutter speed a few stops up and down (when the camera is on a tripod), and get a series of shots with different exposures.
In any case, whichever camera you'll choose, you'll have a lot of fun .
For the things you tell us that are important to you, any of the cameras mentioned will suffice. You really should select the camera on the grounds of which is nicest to handle It's very subjective: for example for myself (a glasses wearer) the way Olympus puts exposure data up the side of an image makes it easier to use. If one day you wish to take a professional route you will find Nikon or Canon to be the systems of choice..
For landscapes, save some pennies to buy a Cokin filter holder and a set of ND Grad filters which will give you Higher Dynamic Range capability without the OTT look of over-cooked HDR.John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..
My interests are sunset/sunrise, landscape and macro shots(particular emphasis on the sunsets and landscapes - will need to geta tripod, obviously). I'm not really interested at all in action orportrait shots. I definitely do want to pursue IR.
I hate to add an option to your search, but the Sigma SD14 is trivially switched to IR just by removing the dust/UV/IR filter behind the lens (it's designed to be easily removable.) Without the filter, it's IR sensitivity with an R72 only 1 stop less than normal, so you can easily hand hold it. It's also very good at landscapes and macros where it's "full-color" resolution works to advantage. Of course, it has it's own quirks and drawbacks as well: it's really best if you shoot raw and Sigma doesn't have any fast short telephotos. However, their macro lenses are excellent. It's pretty close to your price range:.
You could also buy body-only from the same source and lens elsewhere to get just what you wanted to stay in budget. Sample photos are in http://www.pbase.com/sigmadslr/user_sd14 and you can ask for more details in the Sigma forum. It's not for everyone, but it's a pretty good fit for what you describe..
...if you have no lenses.....the DSLR cameras do not work without them..
So a good buy right now if the Olympus E-510 with the two lens kit. I have one and love it! But don't forget, you will need media cards, and batteries, so shop around, but whereever you buy, check out the seller athttp://www.resellerratings.com.
I do disagree that jpg in the E-510 are poor. You are welcome to look at my gallery as most of my shots have been taken in jpg mode. I want to learn the camera before starting to learn too much about RAW..
I hope this is helpful..
LucyE- 510, 14-150 and 14-54 lens!U ZI owner!Olympus C30-20Zhttp://www.pbase.com/lucyFCAS Member #98, Oly Division'Photography is the art of seeing what others do not.'.
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They are all good choices. Which one feels best to you? That's the one to buy..
Mis-information- JPEG and Raw are file formats. JPEG is an industry standard format, a JPEG from one is the same as a JPEG from the other. If you ask 50 people about RAW you will get 50 different answers, research all that is involved with RAW and that way you will know why it's the way to go. It is really nothing to be afraid of. The thing about "uncharted territory" is that once you've been there it's on the map..
Canon Auto Focus is built into the lens, only controlled from the body. That's why Canon made such a big deal when they came out with "USM" motors in the lens to have quieter and faster focusing. They just choose to include it with every lens, rather than to charge you more for it..
IR and HDR- Most digital IR that I have seen is done with filters and you can use filters on just about anybodies lens, should be a non issue. HDR is easy and again there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Using a software package like Photomatrix Pro, it's as simple as taking 3 image captures and making a few mouse clicks. You are done...
I don't think you need worry about motor in the body of the D40. All new lenses from Nkon will have Silent Wave Motor in the lens. It's much superior. All new Sigma lenses have it and most new Tamrons have it..
I have a D80 and D300 and probably would not buy anything other than SWM lenses from here out..
Don't be afraid of the D40 on that account and as someone else pointed out, the D40 takes nearly every lens built by Nikon since 1959. The D80 and D300 don't without AI conversion..
I think the Canon is also a great buy, if you are careful about lens choice. It's a wonderful camera...
Thank you all so much for your advice, it was very helpful. And also, thanks John for the ND grad filters suggestion, that's definitely on my list now of items to get..
I think that, right now, I'm leaning slightly toward the D40. I'm going to head off to B&H today to handle them all in person and see if that tips the scales...
Don't be afraid of the D40 on that account and as someone elsepointed out, the D40 takes nearly every lens built by Nikon since1959..
But most w/o metering or AF. Any Canon can also take almost all of those Nikon lenses with metering and AF confirmation (with the right adapter.) The main issue is fast primes. There are plenty of zooms, but if you went a prime lens faster than f/2.8 with AF, then your only two choices right now are the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the $4k Nikkor 200mm f/2 VR. This makes these cameras more awkward for available light. It also increases the expense: new lenses almost always increase the price over their predecessor, not to mention the used market. There are also no inexpensive macro lenses, only the Nikkor 105VR and the 150/180 Sigma.
If anyone can help me, I would be incredibly grateful! I'm looking toget my first dSLR, and I'm coming from a limited point and shootbackground. My budget is around $800..
I'm looking for a camera that hopefully won't overwhelm me, but thatI can also grow with. I'm starting out with no lenses, so I'm notpartial to any particular brand..
My interests are sunset/sunrise, landscape and macro shots(particular emphasis on the sunsets and landscapes - will need to geta tripod, obviously). I'm not really interested at all in action orportrait shots. I definitely do want to pursue IR (looking at gettingthe Hoya R72 filter and Photoshop) and, eventually, possibly HDR. AsI understand it, the best cameras (unmodified) for IR are no longerbeing made (like the Nikon D50), but I'm extremely uneasy aboutbuying used, and would much prefer to get a new camera..
I've been looking at the Rebel Xt, E-Volt 510 and the Nikon D40 (I'dlove to be able to consider the D80, but I just don't think I canafford it)..
After weeks of research, this is what I've been able to gather(boiled down):.
Canon Rebel XT:Pros:Can get the body cheap now and get better glass than the kit lensSeems to do better in low-light that the others (I think?)Easier lens compatibility than the D40 (since auto-focus is in the body).
Cons:Probably would get the worst results for IR.
Olympus E-Volt 510:Pros:Lots of great features like dust-reduction; anti-shakePossibly the best kit lenses of the 3.
Cons:Doesn't seem to be as intuitive/user-friendly for a newbie as the othersJPEG quality seems to be noticeably poorer that RAW (I'd like tospend a lot of time with JPEG before moving on to RAW).
Nikon D40:Pros:Seems to be the most user-friendly for a beginnerSample images I've seen seem to show the D40's as the sharpestI think I'd probably get the best IR results from this one.
Cons:No auto-focus in the body - I don't have any lenses to start with butI would have liked the option to choose from among a greater varietyNo auto-bracketing (if I can work my way up to HDR).
I'm really at a loss. I guess my priorities for shots are:sunrise/sunset and landscapes (equally), IR (a close second), macroand HDR (a long way off in the future). Any suggestions would betremendously appreciated!.
Another option..Pentax K100d super...very good IR camera, millions of old lenses and for macro as well...I had some very good results from a simple 50mm lens with one of those 2x 1 to 1 macro convertors...some of the better ones are as good as a dedicated macro lens at a lesser price and can then be used on other lenses as well..
You could possible get a K100d super and something like a 17-35 2.8-4 for your money and it would be stabilised..
Bigger IR filters cost more of course...in some cases as much as a decent lens...so you can get an old 28mm f2 lens (55mm filter to put an IR flter on...I got lucky and got a Hoya RM90 for a few bucks in 55mm so it fits my Vivtar 28 well and just the lens to use it on.
My pp skills are poor otherwise I would do a lot more IR.
This is a from the camera jpeg with the K100d and 28 f2 and the Hoya rm90 hand held (posted before).
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I will be doing some more later today or tommorrow with this lens as I do not use it anywhere near enough..
I do not get much of a chance to do landscape photos or sunsets but am happy with what I have got.
With the Tamron 17-35 2.8-4 (stabilsed on my K100d..non super).
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Tamron 17-35 2.8-4.
The K100d is a very good low light camera with excellent compatability with almost all Pentax lenses ever made...with metering and a great jpeg camera with stabilsiataion..
It does not do 5fps or have blazing autofocus and the buffer is smallbut is another choice..
Try as many cameras as you can and get what feels right..
Link back to flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/26884588@N00/..
Canon has released a new Rebel, the 450 or Xtis. I think it can be purchased for abou $550 and you can get the Tamron 18-250mm lens for about $400. This would be a good system. You can get the older Rebel Xti with lens for less than $900..
Hope this helps...
Don't be intimidated by RAW. This is a mistake. You get software with the machine to process RAW's just like JPEGs ( except Nikon who don't think user's deserve RAW software, bracketing or an AF motor )..
Processing a RAW is not much different from processing a JPEG, it's just you get more latitude to maneuver in..
As for a camera choice. Unless you have a specific requirement I'd always recommend trying them all before you buy. The way they feel to hold and looking through the viewfinder is about the single most important thing about them. Nothing else will have quite the same impact on your learning curve. It's a personal fit that no-one else can decide for you ( and no-one else can fix later ). This relationship - you and the camera as a working unit - is as big an influence on the quality of your images as the lens you use..
Don't get into that 'invest in a system' mentality. That's nonsense. Learn to use a DSLR. You will, I guarantee you, find that some time from now you are more interested in another camera and/or a specific lens - when your knowledge has grown. THEN you choose a system..
You may find what you start with is the system you stay with, but you may not. The first DSLR you buy may be the last or just the first. I know people who started with Pentax ( film ), moved to Canon ( film and digital ) and now use Nikon ( digital ). It's not religion - you can change your mind later..
Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..
Http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm One valid opinion!I say the rebel even with the stock lens, you need 'L' glass to do better...
Well, I'm back from B&H. I tried out a lot of cameras while there. I went in thinking I'd probably prefer the D40, and I do like that menu system the best - very intuitive, and the in-menu help option is a really great idea for beginners like me - but there was something about the viewfinder I didn't like, and I wasn't crazy about the way it felt. I actually liked the viewfinder and the feel of the Rebel xt the best. I was truly surprised at how much a difference that really does make in the enjoyment of a camera..
The salesman actually suggested the xti over the xt, and I'm tempted. I don't really need the extra megapixels - I doubt I'd blow anything up higher than 11x14, I don't forsee tons of cropping, and more pixels means bigger files - but the noticeably bigger LCD is so tempting - I like it *a lot* better that the one on the xt..
Whichever one I get, I still need to find a lens (I've heard really, really bad things about the kit lens). I know the 50mm f/1.8 II is supposed to be a great, extremely cheap prime lens, but I can't really afford too many lenses right now, so I need a decent, not too expensive general purpose zoom lens to put on the body, to start with. Any suggestions?..
I would go with the Canon XT or XTI depending on your budget. The 18-55 kit lens can take very good pictures even though the build is light. I still use the original 18-55 kit lens that I got with my Rebel 300D. If you take reasonable care of it you will have no problems. Opticly it is a good lens. The new 18-55 IS lens is even better. Photofourm 1..
Reading back over your initial post, I'll tell you to get the 18-55 IS, because you want to shoot landscapes and sunsets. You'll want the wider end of the lens for those. If you have a need for a 50 mm F1.8 at a later date, pick one up, but it would be awfully boring as your only lens for a while. Since you mentioned macro shooting, I'd suggest your 2nd lens purchase might be a EF-S 60 mm F/ 2.8 Micro. A true micro lens, will give you greater than 1:1 reproduction, relatively fast at F/2.8, sharper than a tack, and doubles as a decent portrait lens. I love my copy of it..
I only own Canon lenses, and will never recommend anything other than them. There might be some great stuff out there, made by manufacturers other than Canon, but they didn't make my cameras, Canon did. I'm a BOG, bald old guy, been shooting for 40 years, and I learned a while back that anything other than the best is a compromise. It might cost more, but I never have to second guess myself. Most aftermarket lenses are designed once and then the maker just hangs a mount for your particular camera on it. It's one of the reasons Canon won't let other manufacturers have the schematics and working drawings to how their AF and IS systems work, they don't want them klutzing it up and then have you blame it on the camera...
First the Canon kit lens is much maligned, but that's a relative term, and it's quite a usable lens with enough quality for many purposes. Good photos don't come from expensive lenses they come from good photographers..
You have some options for cheap macro to start with..
The most useful are :.
(a) a close up lens set - they screw on the filter of your lens. These are not great optical quality, but are useful for lightweight and/or occasional use, and not so bad to be useless..
(b) a reversing ring. Now this might be a problem with a Canon ( and a zoom lens is something I've never heard of this with ). The Canon's need ( I think ) an expensive electronic adapter ( can anyone comment on this ? ). Reversing rings are normally used with a basic 50mm prime and you need to expose manually. It's probably a handful for a beginner to try..
(c) Extension tubes. They fit between the lens and the mount ring and, to cut a long story short, effectively get you more magnification. These are better optical options than the close up lens but more expensive ( cheaper than a proper lens ). They can be used with any lens you buy in the future ( for you camera mount )..
Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..
(b) a reversing ring. Now this might be a problem with a Canon ( anda zoom lens is something I've never heard of this with )..
You can reverse the Canon kit lens directly mounted to the camera:http://www.pbase.com/maderik/1855_kit_reversed.
The trick is you have to set the aperture and press the DOF preview button before removing the lens. With a live view camera, this is almost practical as you would not be not peering down a small dark tunnel..
Reversing rings are normally used with a basic50mm prime and you need to expose manually..
There is also where you attach a reversed 50mm prime to the front of a telephoto as a +20 close up lens..
Many thanks to every one who offered me advice. I now know which camera I'm getting and have a pretty good idea of which starter lens to get, and some filters as well. Thanks again!..