Getting started in SLR on budget
I have been perusing the forums here for almost 2 years. I am getting ready to take the plunge into SLR photography. I need some advice. I have been using a Nikon CP8800. I have been able to capture some decent images in optimal conditions but I have missed many opportunities that I believe an SLR would have allowed me to photograph. I am looking to spend <= $3,000 US..

I would like a 1 or 2 lens solution and a body that will be ok in some mildly wet and dusty condtions. I am looking to photograph a wide range of things from wildlife to family portraits to some fast action. The most important thing to me is IQ followed by the ability to take very fast follow up shots. I like the zoom range of my CP8800, but I need more at times. Also, I do not like the write speeds and the shot to shot speeds of the CP8800. I would like to be able to take shots pretty much as fast as I can press the shutter button, not to mention I'd like to have some decent FPS in continuous mode.

I'd like to have some body and lens recommendations. Most of what I take will be still photography but the lighting conditions will probably be all over the map..

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also some advice on where to take a good beginner's photography course in southern Georgia, USA would be nice..

Thanks in advance,.


Comments (23)

Well there are so many to choose from. I am thinking given the semi rugged conditions you are asking for the Pentax K10D would be right up your alley. With your budget, you could certainly get it, plus two to three nice lens. Also remember with the Pentax you can use older AF and manual lens which are plentiful with excellent results.Check out the Pentax dslr forum for many shots and advice from it..

I have a Nikon D70s, but certainly the K10D is more rugged, nicely sealed, etc. It is the one I wish I had gone for, but I am doing well!A picture is the expression of an impression.If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?Ernst Haas..

Comment #1

Either the 17-55/2.8 IS (or save some money if you don't want IS in this range and get the Tamron 17-50/2.8) or.

If you don't need that wide the 24-105/4 IS makes a terrific all around lens on a 1.6 crop body if you don't need real wide..

Either the 70-200/2.8 IS or non IS depending on lens choice number 1 or the 70-200/4 IS or non IS depending on whether you want or need the extra speed of 2.8 glass..

40D body only $130017-55IS about $100070-200/4 about $550.

17-50 Tamron $40070-200/2.8 IS/non IS $1600, $1150.

70-200/4 IS $100024-105 IS $1000.

Maybe the 70-300/IS if you don't need/want the faster glass and AF of the L lenses..

Decent flash 430EX $175.

Prices are approximate guestimations and may be higher or lower than can be found..

Can't go wrong with the 40d and some decent lenses- it's very fast 6.5fps, excellent IQ all around, IMO the best in class overall. Very good AF, some custom user settings etc....

Plus with Canon you have access to the largest lens and accessory market both new and used of any manufacturer..

There are other good choices as well, but you know you can't go wrong with Canon and you will never second guess yourself..


Comment #2

I just got back from the local Best Buy. They have the 40d with the 24-105 IS for 1399. The interesting thing is the 30 D with kit lens is 1499. Why would that be?.

I almost went ahead and bought the 40D.


Comment #3

How does the 40d hold up in the dust and heavy fog/light rain?.


Comment #4

I think you're mistaken, or the label is incorrect. Usually best buy sells the 40D with 28-135 IS, which is quite a mediocre lens. If not, jump on the deal now!.

I believe the 30D + kit lens = $1499. That's the original price for this combo when it was first introduced. It doesn't look like BestBuy sells cameras at market rate...

Comment #5

Funny, here's somebody that did a bunch of research for a camera for use in a dusty, foggy marsh! it helps,JonGive me something to shoot..

Comment #6

It's not weather sealed like the D200/300 Nikon or Pentax k10D, but still a pretty durable camera. I put over 60,000 shots on a 10D before I switched to Nikon / Fuji. Did you say that the 40D at best buy was with 24-105 f4 IS lens? That is a nearly $1100 lens....sounds wrong. IF you could get it for that, jump on it...

Comment #7

40D is a great camera to look at. Personally, I really dislike low end canon glass, IMHO it, unlike Nikon and Pentax, is worse than comparably priced 3rd party lenses. The 40D with an L grade lens, is a fine outfit. I would also look at a Nikon D80 / 18-200VR combo, that lens is the most versatile on the market. You could still add a 80-200 2.8 ED for sports if you need, which is the best deal on the market for a lens of that caliber and still be well under $3000. You could also consider waiting for a D300 and adding the 18-200, be at $2600 and save for more glass later.

If you want a big upgrade from your point and shoot that will do everything you listed without breaking the bank, go for the best bang for the buck around....Pentax K10D. You can get a pro grade weather sealed body, 10mp camera with IS built in for $800....add a Tamron 18-200 and a good flash for now till you learn what you want and you are still just cracking $1400. Don't be too fooled by fps, a 3+ fps DLSR is going to be so fast compared to your old camera you will be in heaven. Professional Sports photographers shot with 3-5 fps motor drives for decades. Just try to say "click" 5 times in 1 second......

Comment #8

If you're going to point out weather-proofing on the body as a reason to buy it, you should probably be recommending a useful set of weather-sealed lenses for that body...

Comment #9

You're right....he should increase his budget to $5000 and buy a D200 17-55, 70-200 combo..... or better yet $7000 and get a 1DmkIII with a couple of L lenses....

Seriously, I mentioned the K10D as begin weather sealed because he questioned the 40D's weather resistance. It's not a reason to purchase the camera, but one more feature that does make it the unquestioned market leader in terms of value. I don't own one, I use a Fuji S5 Pro, but I definitely respect what they offer for the money. I'm not even sure that Pentax offers weather sealed glass at this point, maybe the new 16-50 made by tokina is. The Tamron is not weather sealed, but you aren't talking about a huge investment here. The Nikon 18-200 I'm not sure if is completely weather sealed, it does have a weather seal on the mount.

The OP is a first time SLR buyer, he doesn't need to invest a ton of $ in gear till he knows how to use it. He doesn't need to buy pro glass right now. That's doesn't mean that if he gets his gear rained on, he wants to lose both body and lens. plus I know of a lot more dmg to bodies from weather than lenses...

Comment #10

U could get the kit (the lens is $200 in the kit) and sell the lens for at least $300 on the bay if you dare .

As for dust, mist light rain I don't think you'd have a problem. If your CP 8800 survived then the 40D would as well..

I would stay away from lenses like the the 18-200 somethings other than for travel kits, they're full of compromises with not much benefit other than not having to carry or change lenses..


Comment #11

I'll check again tomorrow to make sure. If it is what I thought it was I will be reporting back with my purchase tomorrow..

Thanks for all the great advice. I am leaning toward the 40D as it seams like a very good camera for the money. I am thinking maybe get it with a prime in the 50mm F1.4 or 1.8 range for family portraits a reasonable wide zoom and maybe, maybe something like the Sigma 80-400 OS. Any thoughts on the sigma lens?.


Comment #12

SMPhoto wrote:.

You're right....he should increase his budget to $5000 and buy a D20017-55, 70-200 combo..... or better yet $7000 and get a 1DmkIII with acouple of L lenses....

Lol. That would cut into to my racing engine budget..


Comment #13


Is a weather sealed body pointless if it is used with a non-weather sealed lens?.


Comment #14

Just to let you know, you're not alone Jack! I've been shooting with various P&S's for several years,most recently with an H5, and now looking to step into the SLR world. I will most likely be going with the Canon 40d, but I'm having a hell of a time deciding which lenses to go with. Ideally, I'd like to go with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. That would cover just about the entire range I'm looking for, but break the bank as well (close to 4K). I'm trying to find a more economical way to do it, so thanks for everyone's responses so far. I will pay close attention ..

Comment #15

No, save it for the

I have personally seem more instances of rain (or spilled champagne in my case) getting in a body around buttons and dials and shorting out controls than getting into lenses. Everyone knows what a problem dust is on sensor so a sealed body and a lens with at least a rubber gasket on mount seems worth it to me. Then again, I shoot weddings, not desert and swamps for Nat'l geographic...

Comment #16

Jack Adams wrote:.

I just got back from the local Best Buy. They have the 40d with the24-105 IS for 1399. The interesting thing is the 30 D with kit lensis 1499. Why would that be?.

Are you sure that was the 40D, and not the 400D?.

Or that there wasn't a mixup between the cameras and price tags? (The Best Buys near here carry a Canon 5D body + Canon 24-105mm IS lens combo, but it's nowhere near $1399.)..

Comment #17

Ok. The lens was the 24-135 not the 24-105. It was definately a 40D and the associate priced it to me for 1399, even though the 30d was listed at 1499. Also, there was no price tag on the camera so the associate had to look it up. Should I have jumped on it or is 1399 with the 24-135 IS about right?.


Comment #18

No such lens exist. Perhaps you're talking about the 28-135 IS. I don't know why many sellers package this lens as a kit lens, because 28mm is not wide enough for most people. The 1.6X sensor on the 40D will effectively turn it into 28 * 1.6 = 45mm, which is way too long for indoor full body shot or outdoor scenery shots..

The regular price for 40D + 28-135 IS is $1499. So it could mean Bestbuy is having a $100 discount..

Anyways, the 28-135 IS is not a bad lens. It has average optics, plus IS and a longer tele focal length than many kit lenses. If you do buy this package, then you'll need another lens to cover the wide angle..

Jack Adams wrote:.

Ok. The lens was the 24-135 not the 24-105. It was definately a 40Dand the associate priced it to me for 1399, even though the 30d waslisted at 1499. Also, there was no price tag on the camera so theassociate had to look it up. Should I have jumped on it or is 1399with the 24-135 IS about right?.


Comment #19

It was the 28-135 IS. Sorry about that. On the wide end for indoor full body and portrait use what should I be looking for?.



Comment #20

IMO for in house shots. Heck I use my 70-200 in the house all the time and I have a small house..

I have the 24-105 and I rarely need to use the 24mm end indoors..

At $1399 it's a great deal. Essentially you're only paying $100 for the lens. You could probably sell it easily for $300..

I'd say grab the kit, shoot what you normally shoot, see how the focal length works for you then decide for YOURSELF if it's not wide enough..

If it's not depending on your finances there's anything from the standard 18-55 kit lens (like $50 or less online) to the $1500 16-35/2.8 MKII. Want wider Canon 10-22, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 10-17, Tokina 12-24..

Again- grab it at that price!.


Comment #21

If you have a an older camera already, just zoom it to 45mm and see how much can fit in the frame in your house. My favorite indoor lens is a Tamron 28-75mm (which has the same wide angle) and many times I had to press myself against the wall to take a picture of my family. When there's a group of people or when I want to take full size adult, I had to switch out to a wider lens..

Even the "budget" point & shoot out there will start out at 35mm, with some models offer 28mm or even 24mm as a selling feature. I don't think there's any fixed lens camera out there had 45mm as the widest. There's a reason for this..

Anyways, there are plenty of wide angle lenses nowadays. Ranging from $70 to above $1,000...

Comment #22

On an APS-C sensor camera like the 40D, you want to get down around 16-18 on the wide end. The 17-55 2.8L IS is nice, though pricey and narrow zoom range. 17-85 IS is half the price, though slower. Canon offers nothing remotely comparable to the versatility of Nikon's 18-200 VR. I think Sigma offers an optically stabalized 18-200 now, but I have no idea of it's quality. It' generally accepted that when it comes to IQ for the $ nothing in the normal zoom range beats the Tamron 17-50 2.8...

Comment #23

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