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First DSLR Lens/Body and outlook...any suggestions?
Hello, I'm new to this forum and to digital photography. Sorry, this is going be long winded, but I've got a lot to learn!.

I'm starting a photography major next semester and I decided I really should take advantage of newer technology. Unfortunately I've sold most of my camera equipment and I have to start from scratch. I'm looking into Canon as opposed to Nikon because I want to get into some good lenses first (from what I understand they keep their value much longer than a body will) along with a somewhat entry level body that isn't neccessarily fast but will produce great image quality. I find the xti very compelling for this reason, as it will give me similar results to the 30d and has the same (or similar) AF system (the d40x just didn't impress me). Since I'm planning on holding onto my lenses, choosing a manufacturer is a big decision in my eyes (Scott Kelby, who I look up to, uses Nikon: reassure me Canon users!)..

I think this is what I'm going for:400d with a 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens..

I chose the lens because I want to start out with a lens that I can keep as my walk-around lens for a long time. I chose the 400d because it can do a lot for being an entry-level body. I eventually want a 40d, but I don't know if I want to lay down the money for that and an L lens all at once..

I'm planning on shooting nature (ZOO's!), landscapes (travel), portrait (senior pictures and the like), macro (small critters, plants, creative closeups), and eventually weddings (I'm doing my brother's engagement pictures this December). Basically everything but sports. As far as I see it, the only one of these that REALLY needs the speed of the 30d/40d is weddings, and by the time I get into that it will be time to buy a new body anyway..

Once I buy this setup I will immediately start saving up for a telephono and macro. I'm thinking an EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM and have no idea as far as macro goes. I also think a EF 50mm f/1.8 II might be fun, which I might buy with my initial setup since it's so inexpensive. Any tripod suggestions for this setup would help too (preferably around the $200 range, if possible)..

If anyone has any suggestions or comments on any of this, please speak up! I'm VERY open to suggestions. I'm going almost solely off of what I've read in books and in reviews and forums and from just handling them in stores. I would like to hear about any real life experience with any of these lenses and bodies. Nikon users, if you know of any options that will provide for a good walk-around professional-level lens (preferably with internal stabilizing) and an affordable body for under $2,000(with accessories) PLEASE let me know!.

Thanks so much for actually reading this, and PLEASE give any thoughts. I want to make an educated decision here since there is a lot of money on the line, not to mention my future in photography..

Jake..

Comments (20)

Sounds like you have done your research very well. You are quite right that since you are buying into a system you need to take account of the lens lineup as well as what the bodies do; bodies come and go but good lenses you will keep for a long time. I haven't used the Canon XTi but it has a great reputation..

The only point I'd make is that your 'standard' lens choice, 24-105 mm, doesn't give you much scope at the wide end for landscapes etc. (which you mentioned as a possibility). Something like the Canon 17-85 IS might be a better bet, especially as you are planning a 70-200 as your next purchase so the range above 70mm will be covered anyway. If a wider aperture is more important than the longer reach, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS might be a possibility..

I find that for day-to-day shooting I use the wider angle end of my 18-55 kit lens regularly and I would find a starting focal length of 24mm a bit too restrictive..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

Good advise mike!.

If money is not really important get 40D... I have one and WOW! just love this camera.....

Comment #2

Thanks for the thoughts. I have definitely considered the 17-55, and it is a hard call. I'm planning on using this first lens for landscapes AND portraits. I'm wondering if the range will be too short for portraits (it's a 27-88mm equivalent). Actually, would the 70-200mm be better for this? I'm told the BEST portrait range is anywhere between 85-100mm. This does hit the lower end of the "hot spot" spectrum, but will that be enough? Also, it isn't an L lens but still has the L price tag.

No "steal me" red line) The biggest selling point for me with this lens is definitely the faster f/2.8, WITH IS! That has to be pretty nice, and I've heard it performs well indoors. Any thoughts anyone, on this or anything else I wrote earlier?.

Thanks!.

Jake..

Comment #3

How much are you willing to spend?.

I think once you answer this... you'll get better suggestions.....

Comment #4

Newspaper Man wrote:.

Good advise mike!.

If money is not really important get 40D... I have one and WOW! justlove this camera....

I've tested the 40d for a little while in a store...there is no way I can argue for the XTI against it, besides for the fact it's half the price. Money is pretty important. I'm a college student, but I'm going for photography (along with english/journalism) and I need quality equipment to work with. I'm willing to save for what I want (usually means less/worse food). What is it you like about the 40D? I really understand why you would suggest it, but I think I need to work on my lens collection first. I do love the feel and look of it, along with having the ability to change settings on the fly. I'm betting it will be hard for people to take me seriously when I carry around a piece of plastic, pleading: "really, it has great image quality!"..

Comment #5

Newspaper Man wrote:.

How much are you willing to spend?.

I think once you answer this... you'll get better suggestions....

I'm willing to spend very close to $2,000 for my first lens and camera with accessories. Possibly a bit more to include a quality tripod...

Comment #6

If you're looking around, here's a good article that compares various entry-level DSLRs:.

Http://www.ephotozine.com/...article/Canon-EOS-400Dcompared-against-rivals..

Comment #7

I'm not too worried about the body. I'm willing to upgrade it, and if I get no better suggestions then I'm sure the 400d will be more than fine for what I'm looking for...

Comment #8

Jakeh wrote:.

I'm willing to spend very close to $2,000 for my first lens andcamera with accessories. Possibly a bit more to include a qualitytripod..

Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camerawith EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) = $692.88.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USMTelephoto Zoom Lens (NON IS) = $1,140.00.

AT-858B-BL Tripod Legs by DynaTran" = $98.95(weight 5.5 lbs; max load 13.2 lbs)http://www.amvona.com.

Bogen-Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Head = $68.90with RC2 Rapid Connect System.

TOTAL = $2,000.73(+ s/h).

There you go... hope the above shopping list will help you... buy your equipment....

And if you became successful and famous... PLEASE remember me... ;->.

By getting the "NON IS" Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 you'll save $298.20 already...otherwise the the one with IS....

Keep me posted....

;-D..

Comment #9

If you can spend more... go ahead and buy a better body....

SO YOU DON'T have to upgrade in the future....

Like my mistake... I kept upgrading in the past... .

ALSO: be an Amazon Prime member shipping is FREE!.

;->..

Comment #10

Jakeh wrote:.

What is it you like about the 40D?I really understand why you would suggest it, but I think I need towork on my lens collection first. I do love the feel and look of it,along with having the ability to change settings on the fly. I'mbetting it will be hard for people to take me seriously when I carryaround a piece of plastic, pleading: "really, it has great imagequality!".

Speed, Performance, DIGIC "III", Sensor Cleaning System, 3" LCD, and more....

Like what I posted under BUDGET... IF within a YEAR you'll want to upgrade your body... this is just from my own experience and i'm not speaking from everyone... I would do the upgrade NOW... not later because you'll be spending more in the long run....

;-}..

Comment #11

In the old days of 35mm film the 85 mm was considered by many as the perfect portrait lens. I think this lens now and a 70-200 or 70-300 later would be the way to go...

Comment #12

You're making the right decision by getting an entry-level body, and spending your money in good glass. Someone has been giving you good advice..

In terms of lenses, in my opinion, the 24-105L lens isn't really ideal for a walkaround lens. You'll be missing the wide angle, which can be a detriment if you're shooting in tight spaces or if you need to photograph large groups. If the Canon 17-55/2.8 is out of your price range, have you considered the 3rd party manufacturers for a standard zoom? They don't offer image stabilization, but they do offer exceptional optics for half the price..

Take a look at the following two lenses:.

- Tamron AF 17-50 F/2.8. This is an extremely popular lens and is highly capable.- Sigma AF 18-50mm f/2.8 EX. A very good lens at a cheap price..

They offer a wider angle than the 24-105L, which gives you much more flexibility. They're also a constant F2.8, which gives you a great deal of leeway in dim lighting conditions. You'll find plenty of situations in wedding photography where you need the wide angle AND wide aperture...

Comment #13

Newspaper Man wrote:.

Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camerawith EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) = $692.88.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USMTelephoto Zoom Lens (NON IS) = $1,140.00.

AT-858B-BL Tripod Legs by DynaTran" = $98.95(weight 5.5 lbs; max load 13.2 lbs)http://www.amvona.com.

Bogen-Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Head = $68.90with RC2 Rapid Connect System.

TOTAL = $2,000.73(+ s/h).

Can any one tell me from personal experience how the kit lens is? would it be a good choice to go with it for now as a walk-around just because it's only $80 more than the body alone? Then I could get the telephono now and wait to get an L walk-around. I just feel like I would use the walk-around more often, so I would think I would want to start with a really quality one, but maybe the kit could do for now...hmmm.

Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely look into the tripod and head, but what about the non-IS. Is it worth sacrificing IS for a faster lens?..

Comment #14

Dlkeller wrote:.

In the old days of 35mm film the 85 mm was considered by many as theperfect portrait lens. I think this lens now and a 70-200 or 70-300later would be the way to go..

What lens now were you referring to? the 17 or 28?.

Thanks for the thoughts!..

Comment #15

Tycfung wrote:.

In terms of lenses, in my opinion, the 24-105L lens isn't reallyideal for a walkaround lens. You'll be missing the wide angle, whichcan be a detriment if you're shooting in tight spaces or if you needto photograph large groups. If the Canon 17-55/2.8 is out of yourprice range, have you considered the 3rd party manufacturers for astandard zoom? They don't offer image stabilization, but they dooffer exceptional optics for half the price..

I think for my walk-around I will want the IS, and I am leaning towards the 17-55 F/2,8 IS. I can get it for a little over $1,000 at b&h; about the same as the 24-105..

Thanks!..

Comment #16

Jakeh wrote:.

Can any one tell me from personal experience how the kit lens is?would it be a good choice to go with it for now as a walk-around justbecause it's only $80 more than the body alone? Then I could get thetelephono now and wait to get an L walk-around. I just feel like Iwould use the walk-around more often, so I would think I would wantto start with a really quality one, but maybe the kit could do fornow...hmmm.

Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely look into the tripod and head,but what about the non-IS. Is it worth sacrificing IS for a fasterlens?.

SAVINGS!! is what you'll get if you get the kit... I bought two kits already and i'm very happy for my decision....

Now for the IS... if you won't be shooting many low-light shots a NON IS is good enough... otherwise use a tripod or monopod....

My suggested cost earlier would be a wise purchse to consider....

;->..

Comment #17

If you really want the 24-105L consider the 10-22 wide angle lens as well (Yes, it is EFS but the affective 38mm from the 24/105 is going to cripple you more at the wide end than even the cheapest P+S would)..

I do mostly landscape photography on hiking trails and have found it extremely difficult to 'zoom with my feet' (taking a few steps back to get it all in) when you are on the edge of a cliff, in a narrow gorge or at a waterfall mostly hidden by vegetation. If money is an issue there is always the Sigma 10-20 which is not as good but good value all the same. I am happy with my Sigma 10-20...

Comment #18

If you are buying a tripod for low light situations, you could save money by buying the 70-200 f/4 (non-IS) instead of it's IS cousin. The non-IS version is great for portraits (some reviewers rank it among Canon's best zooms) and short telephoto situations..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #19

I'd go for the 17-85IS. The longer range is perfect for portraits, the IS partly compensates for the smaller aperture, it's lighter, and the money saved can be spent elsewhere. It has great image quality..

As for tripods, Gitzo is a good choice for field work. Manfrotto's are nice for the studio, but a bit balky to carry around and set up...

Comment #20

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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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