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Nearing decision point--any opinions & discussion welcome
1) current cameras = Canon A80 & Panasonic FZ-18; current computer= HP Pavilion a1640 core 2 duo with 2 and 250 in memory; software=photoshop basic elements (came with printer); printer=picturemate Pal 4X6 only..

2) Knowledge & Experience:Many years ago had Pentas SLR with two lenses.Reading Digital SLRs and Photography for DummiesHave asked lots of questions and read much here on various forums.Read multiple reviews and talked with one friend about his Nikon D80..

3) Resources: Up to $2K. Depending on degree of use & enjoyment, possibly more later..

4) Desired uses: macro flowers, shapes in nature, dogs at play, birds and wildlife..

5) Choices (Amazon.com-might be slightly better deals elsewhere, but lots of bogus vendors out there):.

A) First choice: Canon 40D body = $1146Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Image Stabilized USM = $439Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM = $556.

Total = $2141, too high & no tripod, filters, memory, case, spare battery, etc. The latter items come in kit form for < $100, but I guess the included tripod is junkThe Vanguard MK-4 below is cheap, but sturdy.).

B) Second choice: Canon 450 body = $799 w/same lenses = $1794Vanguard MK-4 Tripod = $40Have only 1 Gb SD memory from PanasonicAdobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 = $115Total = $1949..

Comments and beliefs:I need IS.I am not married to Canon, but like what I read about CMOS sensorIt doesn't look like the Sony sub 700s will compete well with the Canon 450..

RW..

Comments (7)

If budget matters, skip the 40D and buy the 450D / XSi.

I can't imagine anyone buying the 17-85mm Canon lens now that the 18-55 IS is available for a lot less money, leaving you enough budget for buying a decent 70 or 85mm lens, or a better telephoto zoom, or a flash..

BAK..

Comment #1

I hadn't looked closely enough. you make good points about the 17-85 particularly since the 18-55 can be had for $100.RW..

Comment #2

First thing I noticed is that you mention a desire to do flower macros right off but you have no macro lens listed. With DSLR's you will need a macro lens or extension tubes to get the close in shots. There is no "macro setting"..

RickW58 wrote:.

1) current cameras = Canon A80 & Panasonic FZ-18; current computer=HP Pavilion a1640 core 2 duo with 2 and 250 in memory;software=photoshop basic elements (came with printer);printer=picturemate Pal 4X6 only..

Your computer & software should be fine. I don't print at home so I can't offer any help on printers. I see below that you are considering the full Elements. That's probably a good idea although you may eventually want to get the full Photoshop or something like Lightroom. But that can wait..

2) Knowledge & Experience:Many years ago had Pentas SLR with two lenses.Reading Digital SLRs and Photography for DummiesHave asked lots of questions and read much here on various forums.Read multiple reviews and talked with one friend about his Nikon D80..

Sounds like you have a good start..

3) Resources: Up to $2K. Depending on degree of use & enjoyment,possibly more later..

4) Desired uses: macro flowers, shapes in nature, dogs at play,birds and wildlife..

As mentioned above, you'll need a way to do macro. Birds and wildlife will push you towards a fast super tele lens pretty quick. I'll assume for now it's just a casual interest and make suggestions accordingly..

5) Choices (Amazon.com-might be slightly better deals elsewhere, butlots of bogus vendors out there):.

B&H is a good one. Not the cheapest but reliable and excellent service.http://www.bhphotovideo.com.

Total = $2141, too high & no tripod, filters, memory, case, sparebattery, etc. The latter items come in kit form for < $100, but Iguess the included tripod is junkThe Vanguard MK-4 below is cheap,but sturdy.).

Avoid that sort of package deal like the plague. It's almost always overpriced junk..

A good tripod should be considered as an investment. You don't have to have one right away, but you do want to get a good one. And a good head..

Did you not like your friend's Nikon D80? That was going to be my reccommendation. The CCD sensor does just fine..

Ok. A couple of packages: (B&H Prices).

D80 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Nikkor Lens - $950Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR - $480Total before shipping - $1430.

D40X body - $535 (Will only autofocus with AFS lenses though)Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR - $480Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Lens - $190Total before shipping - $1205.

Also, there is a D60 coming out soon and the kit for it with the 18-55VR is around $750. Any of these solutions leave you with some money for accessories and the lenses are slightly faster (larger maximum aperture) than the Canon lenses you mentioned. Although, to be fair, none of these are what I would consider top end lenses. But your budget doesn't allow for those..

I would also reccomend either a set of Kenko DG extention tubes or the Nikkor 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 AF-D for macro shooting. Hope this helps.Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #3

I would get both the cameras in your hand before the purchase. When I bought my 20D the layout of the controls compared to some others is what sold me...

Comment #4

RickW58 wrote:.

1) current cameras = Canon A80 & Panasonic FZ-18; current computer=HP Pavilion a1640 core 2 duo with 2 and 250 in memory;software=photoshop basic elements (came with printer);printer=picturemate Pal 4X6 only..

No big issues here..

2) Knowledge & Experience:Many years ago had Pentas SLR with two lenses.Reading Digital SLRs and Photography for DummiesHave asked lots of questions and read much here on various forums.Read multiple reviews and talked with one friend about his Nikon D80..

Good places to start..

3) Resources: Up to $2K. Depending on degree of use & enjoyment,possibly more later..

More then enough to get a good quality start..

4) Desired uses: macro flowers, shapes in nature, dogs at play,birds and wildlife..

This is important. More at the end of the post..

Comments and beliefs:I need IS.I am not married to Canon, but like what I read about CMOS sensorIt doesn't look like the Sony sub 700s will compete well with theCanon 450..

Based on what you said you were going to shoot I don't think you need IS. I do think you need liveview. All the desires you stated are basically out doors. One can generally assume that all are daylight type shots. That being said it is far more important to have reasonably fast glass for wildlife and birds and live view for macro work..

Assuming that you are accurate in your desires, I would take a serious look at the Olympus E510. The 510 has both in body IS and Live View. The kit lenses are probably the best around. Body Cost about $500. Add the Oly 50-200MM F2.8-3.5 for wildlife around $1000. Add Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 for Macro work add another $400.

Canon is a better camera for high ISO then the oly but in daylight the very high iso is not as necessary..

What ever camera you choose handle them all. Make sure you are comfortable with them. Consider the weight of the camera AND the lens..

Good Luck..

Maddog.

Olympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #5

Thanks everyone. Definitely most shooting outdoors. Coming from several years of P&S I'm ignorant of macro requirements. MUCH learning to do..

Live in the NW; low light/clouds/forest environments a given. Also rain and mist so the 40D's solid weatherproofing is a +..

Going back to Best Buy to fondle their stock. Next week I'll go up to Camera World in Portland and do the same without the darned tethers that disguise what the camera feels like weight wise..

As for feel, the Panasonic FZ-18 is quite small, but feels ok so smaller bodied SLRs should feel fine too. However, last week at BB the 40D was next to the XTi & no comparison. The 40D fit like a glovebigger, but quite comfortable to hold. Solid..

My friend loves his D80 so thanks to you I'll definitely reconsiderthe price is definitely lowerhadn't done the math there. Just seems like from what I read CMOS is a bit better than CCD. I assume Nikon offers plenty of lenses.

Will check out the Oly cameras, too. Those were very good points so I need to go back and read the reviews and then handle em..

I thought I was close to a decision, but a bit more work to do. I know I'm returning the FZ-18 and going DSLR though. At least that's decided.  .

This is definitely very helpful.RW..

Comment #6

Do these Nikon VR lenses work with 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverters.RW..

Comment #7

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