Going to India
First post I have read the posts here for the past day or so looking for an answer to my question and while I realize that there is no right/wrong answer, I'd love to hear some opinions..

I enjoy photography as does my wife and in the pre-digital age we owned a nice 35mm which we used but eventually it lost out b/c of the digital factor along with the ease and efficiency of the elf's of the modern era..

Now we have been Cannon Elf users for a number of years and while happy with the point and shoot aspect, have always intended to get back in the real game and now have a reason..

We are going on the trip of a lifetime to India for 3 weeks actually India and Bhutan but who's counting. While away, we will be doing game parks, trekking, chilling out and wondering. The trip deserves to be documented by something better than an elf so with that we've decided to make the leap to a SLR..

We've set for ourselves a generous but still restrictive budget of 3K. So here's the question: what to buy? yes, we will head soon to B&H in NYC (where we live) and coddle a number of cameras to see which feels best as you all wisely suggest but before we head into the store I am wondering what you all would say we should be considering body and lens which lenses?.

It has been suggested to me that I look at the Cannon EOS 40, the Cannon Rebel, the Nikon D80 and another Nikon who's name alludes me..

As for lenses I have been told I am best off buying 3 a portrait, a zoom and a wide-angle..

All sounds good but given I am limiting my budget to 3k, I find that I will have to buy something in this package that is not so great so where to skimp? To skimp at all or to buy 2 lenses instead of 3? Buy a cheaper body and great lenses and then later upgrade?.

I hate to throw good money after bad so I hope you all can help guide my fragmented mind. Apologies if some of this has been addressed elsewhere..

Kind regards.

Going To India..

Comments (13)

'skimp' on the body and buy good lenses..

Get a VR or IS lens as your main lens like the Canon 17-55 IS. most of my favorite shots from India and Nepal are early morning or dimly lit interiors where a fast lens and IS help. midday tends to be very hazy and washed out. you could get a rebel xti(400d), 70-200f4IS, 17-55f2.8IS, and still have some left over..

Maybe get a portable harddrive to back up your memory cards. My next door neighbor just came back from China with 3000 images...

Comment #1

How about a Fuji S5, with a Nikon 18-200 VR Zoom and a 50mm f1.4.

Just come back from India and the S5 is a great camer to take and the price has come down recently. The 18-200 is a great carry everywhere lens and the 50mm will let you deal with those low light situations..

Just a suggestion.Pixcellence Wedding Photographer London

Comment #2

Lots of excellent DSLRs - don't forget Sony (with IS in the body) and Pentax. If the camera has a good viewfinder you can use it as a low power monocular ie sit and observe through that, pressing the shutter as occasion demands. India can be dusty so take a rocket blower and learn to to check and clean your sensor. Portable hard drive or a LOT of card space. Charging batteries is unlikely to be a problem. Lenses: consider the new Tamron 18-250 - gets excellent reviews and it's wide range reduces the need to change lenses.

True, more reach is always nice but my experience of the Indian parks suggested you won't often need over 500mm (35 mm equiv ie about 300mm as marked on the lens). nb even at this length, keeping camera shake at bay is tricky - think about a monpod. I used a Sigma 70-300 which is very good value for money but a better, faster and much more expensive(!) long lens would have been nice..

Consider bracketing exposure a lot. It can be difficult to get exposure right so that helps - you can ditch the obviously badly exposed shots..

Street scenes were as dramatic as the wildlife parks. Trishaws, vying for roadspace with elephants cars and camels, bicycles, cows, dogs, people and rubbish all mixed up. Enjoy. Some of the ancient sites are in superb condition (Taj Mahal), others are pretty decrepit..


Comment #3

If you're going within the next 3 months, I'd forget the idea of getting a DSLR - you're far better off going with a point and shoot you are familiar with. The less time you have to learn it, the greater the liklihood of ruining your once in a lifetime photo ops...

Comment #4

New years - thx for advice but with both of us armed (one with slr and one with point and shoot) we will still be okay I think though you make a good point not to rely on learning in the field..

Comment #5

High end compact lots and lots of memory and use the money saved to stay there longer and more memory for the longer stay. It's the picture and not the equipment, in fact 2 compacts, a super zoom and a wide angle, and blister the index finger of the right hand, ha ha ha ha , travel light and far and capture all.................... Enjoy .....................

Comment #6

This is such a broad question there can be no simple answer. Any 'system' would do the job..

Any DSLR will do better than any P&S in coping with a wide variety of challenging shooting situations, including low-light high-ISO shots..

I did a recent trip to India with an old Pentax istD and it performed wonderfully. For what it's worth, I found the most useful lens was a secondhand 24-90 I bought earlier. You will shoot a lot of colourful street scenes, and that range is more useful than out-and-out wide angle..

Be careful changing lenses, because there's a lot of dust around (as I found in the desert near Jaisalmer)..

If I go again I shall use my Pentax K10D, with a combination of Sigma 17-70 (the kit 18-55 is perfectly fine though) and Pentax 50-200. I shall pack also either the 24-90 (for old times' sake) and a small, discreet prime - either the DA21 pancake or the FA28..

My reason for recommending the Pentax or Sony route would be in-body shake reduction, which really does get you an extra 2-3 stops with all lenses, even 30-year-old manual lenses, of which I have several wonderful examples.tim..

Comment #7

I just got back from a 3 week China trip where I spent a few days trekking an limited electricity. I shoot Olympus but here is my Canon suggestions and I'm sure they can help you find something in Nikon Too...

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi Digital Camera Body (Black).

CanonBG-E3 Vertical Grip/Battery Holder for EOS Digital Rebel XT, XTIIt allows you to use AA batteries when you can't recharge..

NB-2LH Lithium-Ion Battery (7.4v 720mAh) for Canon Digital Cameras.

Your main lensCanon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM.

Wide ZoomTokina Zoom Super Wide Angle AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124AF Pro DX for Canon.

Telephoto ZoomCanon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM.

Lens FiltersHoya 58,67,77 mm Ultraviolet UV(0) Haze Multi-Coated Glass Filters.

Memory2-Sandisk 4GB Extreme III CompactFlash Cardif you want to shoot RAW I'd get a third MC card in case the battery in 80Gharddrive needs to be charged & there's no electricity.

Wolverine 80GB FlashPac 7000, 7-in-1 Portable Data Storage Device.

Slik Compact XL Tripod with 2-Way Panhead.

All the above is available @ BH forjust under 3k w/tax.

Hope you have a great trip...

Comment #8

I'm off to india next year as well..

Bought a Nikon D40 especially for it. Mainly because I'm a new user to SLR's and because they're far lighter and smaller than the others. They're also pretty cheap nowadays..

Ideally I'd take along one lens: 18-200VR..

That's yer kit. Nothing else. Changing lenses can be a pain but the 18-200VR will cover all the range you'll ever need..

Sadly the 18-200 is out of MY price range so I'm taking the 18-55 & 55-200VR..

But in an ideal world the 18-200VR is perfect for such a trip..

Have fun.


Comment #9

I just returned from my own trip around India, and then Korea for a month, and would happily put down another vote for the EOS 40D. I bought the camera immediately before the trip, in a package with an IS lens that I was quite happy with..

The camera was sturdy, held up well to my handling of it during the trip. The images were excellent, and the camera allowed me to start the trip using point and shoot type setups, and progress to more manual settings towards the end as I improved..

Highly recommended...

Comment #10

Hi Stein,.

We were in India earlier this is a fantastic place for colourful pictures.However, when we went, I has the simple P&S Canon S400 (5 year old one)..

Since then I have upgraded myself to 40D..

For you, here are my suggestions:.

40D around 1100$ or 400D (Rebel XTI) for 600$Canon EF-S 10-22 900$ on Amazon - A wide lens, MUST for IndiaSigma 17-70 400$ (Very sharp lens almost Canon L quality))Canon EF 70-200 f4 IS 1000$ on Amazon.

If price is the consideration, I would replace 40D with Rebel XTI. That would save me 400$..

However, the picture quality largely depends on the quality lenses, which are listed above. Also considering India is a dusty place, I would perhaps let dust take it's toll on Rebel XTI (400D ) than on more expensive 40D..

Have a great trip, and do not forget to post pictures..

Meanwhile, check my India pictures (taken with my 5 year old P&S ).



Comment #11

Another thing you might take along would be a digital tape could do a voice recording from where/what/location of your pictures are taken ..example pics 25-400 ect location, in what city ect...would be handy in remembering where all the pics were taken and a short recording about the pictures.....

Comment #12

Http:// ...has the 100 gb hard drive for 149.99...but is online only not available in stores..

Comment #13

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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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