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Sell my 35 mm SLR to make the jump to digital?
For a while now, Ive wanted to return to photography. I am going to Europe this summer for at least a month, and I was planning to take my SLR with me; however, I expect to take a lot of pictures while I am there..

Which brings me to my problem: I dont currently own a digital SLR but rather a 35 mm SLR (Canon EOS Rebel G). And the thought of paying the film+processing costs to shoot on a trip through multiple countries makes me wince. Indeed, I think much of my lapse from photography hinged on the regular costs of film shoots. I do have a Nikon Coolpix 4300 that takes good shots and is great for when I dont want to carry my Rebel G with me (e.g., at clubs, bars with friends, etc.). But that digital camera is certainly more limited than a digital SLR would be..

Thus, I am considering finally sucking it up and purchasing a digital SLR (I am currently a grad student, so the thought of making a big purchase is somewhat painful, although I do have some flex in terms of what I can afford). I have the standard lens that came with my Rebel, as well as another zoom lens (non-name brand; a relative is currently borrowing it, but I believe it was a Quantaray 18-200mm), but my understanding is that older Canon lenses wont work with the Canon digital SLRs anyway. So, Im not wedded to Canon..

So, I had a few questions for people who are more camera knowledgeable:.

(1) Should I even bother selling my Canon Rebel? I was hoping to limit the cost of a digital purchase by using $ from the sale of my 35 mm and associated lenses. My Rebel G is in good shape, but Ive honestly no idea what a fair price for it would be. If the fair amount Id get for it would be de minimis, Id probably be better off just keeping the Canon so that Id still own a film SLR, even if I dont use it much..

(2) What digital SLR model would people recommend? Ive loved my Rebel, but (reviewing the forums) Ive also heard amazing things about the Nikon digital SLRs. Thus, Ive considered trying to find a refurbished Rebel 400D or 350D or, among the Nikons, a D40, D40x, or D70. Am I overlooking any other good options or selecting overkill for my needs (I am focusing on those models primarily because I am assuming those are the modern digital equivalents of my Rebel G; given I am a student, I am trying to buy something that will last for a while, as my Rebel G has...ideally, I wouldn't be replacing it soon)?.

(3) I am also having the age old "do I get an older, lower MP body so I can get lenses" debate. I would like at least some kind of zoom lens in addition to the default lens. Also, Id love to find a wide-angle lens as I suspect that I will be taking a lot of landscape shots this summer. Unfortunately, the wide angle lenses Ive seen are all expensive, so that might just be a pipe dream. If anyone has any recommendations for any lenses that might be good options or recommendations for a versatile range of lenses, please let me know (I know that Nikon/Canon brand lenses are ideal, but, given I am trying to limit costs, Ill consider any brands people have had good experiences with)..

Also, because it may have bearing on peoples recommendations about which camera model is best, I should probably note some information about my camera use. I generally store my photos online and on an external hard drive backup ( except for truly great photos, I dont regularly print photos out). I do sometimes print large, but usually not above 11x13 (and such big prints are rare). Also, I am not megapixel obsessed, so I dont feel I probably need (not to mention could or should afford) the newer 10 or 12 MP cameras, which is why I am focusing on older models. Although my background with film SLRs has trained me to pay attention to how I am setting up my shots, I probably will want to do some cropping (on my Coolpix, I generally dont have to crop my shots a ton; however, I will do usually crop a little). I think cropping is especially likely given that I may be unable to avoid having unwanted people in some of my pictures this summer, given I will be frequenting heavily touristed areas.

So I am open to advice on the megapixel issue..

Sorry for the very detailed summary, but I wanted to be thorough. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated...

Comments (15)

If you have good lenses, no reason to get rid of them. I suspect the market for your film based Rebel will be limited and you won't get much for it, but worth a try..

The XT is practically being given away, I saw one in the paper here in Vancouver BC today for $250. The new Xsi is out - I just bought one - and it will affect, in your favour, the price of the Xti in a few months. I would minimally, if I were you, get the XT - at $250 they are practically giving it away. Staples is where I saw the add..

Minimally get the XT and once your graduate experience is over and you can afford something a bit better, the latest Rebel out will serve you well. I'm anticipating the longest we'll have to wait is 4 years for a full frame Rebel. Realize that to purchase a digital DSLR with 6 megapixels used to cost $30,000. My original Digital Rebel has 6 megapixels and it was advertised as the "first DSLR with 6 megapixels for under a thousand dollars." The Xsi has come a long ways from my original 300D..

The only problem with your current lens is that if you have a zoom wide angle, like the Tamron 19 - 35, for example, it becomes a 30 - 56 lens. I don't generally recommend "digital" only lenses except at the very wide angle. Why? Because of my belief that the DSLR's will all eventually be full frame so full frame lenses are the best - which is what you have.Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #1

With respect to the Nikons, here's an idea of the sorts of kits you can assemble. ("Pick one from column A, as many as you like from column B, and one from column C") I'm sure that you could do similar exercises for Canon, Pentax, etc..

A particularly convenient one for traveling might be an 18-200mm VR lens, plus one fast prime (35mm f/2 or 50mm f/1.8, depending on preference & budget). This would let you keep one lens on the camera almost all of the time..

Possible zoom kits1. 18-200mm VR lens2. 18-55mm VR lens plus 55-200mm VR lens3. 16-80mm VR lens plus 70-300mm VR lens4. Tamron 17-50mm constant f/2.8 lens plus 55-200mm VR lens5. Tamron 17-50mm constant f/2.8 lens plus 70-300mm VR lens.

Possible prime add-ons (for low-light photography, where flash is not allowed)1. None2. 35mm f/2.0 ("normal") prime3. 50mm f/1.8 ("short telephoto") prime.

Possible bodiesD40 (for lower cost)D80 (for better feature set)..

Comment #2

Windemere wrote:.

I have the standard lens that came with myRebel, as well as another zoom lens (non-name brand; a relative iscurrently borrowing it, but I believe it was a Quantaray 18-200mm),but my understanding is that older Canon lenses wont work with theCanon digital SLRs anyway..

Really old Canon SLR lenses won't work, but that's not what you have. You have EF lenses, and they will work..

(1) Should I even bother selling my Canon Rebel?.

Sure, why not. Don't expect more than $25 for it, though..

(2) What digital SLR model would people recommend?.

On a tight budget? The cheapest model in any lineup. Get the kit lens..

Thus, Ive considered trying to find arefurbished Rebel 400D or 350D.

Get a new one. 350D is currently being blown out really cheap..

Among the Nikons, a D40, D40x, or D70..

If you are looking at a used D70, why skip the D50?.

Am I overlooking any other good options.

Pentax K100D (Super), Olympus E-510 with 2 lens kit. The 510 might be blown out cheap real soon, as the E-520 is just around the corner. Sony A100 should be getting really cheap soon, too..

I would like at least some kind of zoom lens in addition to the default lens..

The kit lens is a zoom lens..

Also, Id love to find awide-angle lens as I suspect that I will be taking a lot of landscapeshots this summer..

The kit lenses typically go from reasonably wide (similar to 28mm on a 35mm camera) to mild telephoto (around 90mm on a 35mm camera)..

If you are on a tight budget, there are always cameras that have been recently replaced with a newer model on closeout. That's your best deal..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #3

I think film cameras are worth a minimal token amount for good quailty ones..

Guy on another forum wanted some nostalgia cant remember the camera but it was pretty top shelf for $20AUD. Cant see a body only camera being worth more than a 6 pack sorry..

Comment #4

When I took my first trip to Europe back in 2000, I brought my Canon Elan IIe film camera and my newly purchased Canon S100 digital camera. During that two week trip, I took close to 2000 film shots and 400 digital shots. The cost of film development was incredible back then..

Definitely jump to digital. A DSLR's lower noise at higher ISO performance is a big deal. The savings on film development is even bigger. You don't want to be restricted by the number of shots you can take in this day and age..

You won't get much for your old film camera; why bother trying to sell it? I've found the cheap entry level lens of today to be a lot better than cheap entry lens for film cameras of yesterday..

I'm very much a Canon fanboy and so would recommend either a 350D or 400D. I wouldn't bother with refurbish; in anticipation of the 450D, the 350D and 400D kit prices are pretty good. Might as well get a new camera with a full warranty. I'd go with the 400D if you can afford it. Get a 400D body only for $520 (B&H) and get the 18-55 IS for another $175. The 400D is worth the extra $100 over the 350D because it has better AF and that automatic sensor cleaning function, but, I do still use my 350D when I want to go lighter than my 40D without regret..

Note that the Canon entry level series are very compact and have an interesting finger grip arrangement definitely try it in the store to see if they are comfortable enough to hold. Be prepared to tuck your pinky under the camera body. I personally like the option of traveling really small and light, but, if the Canon isn't comfortable to you, what's the point in it?.

Another cheap option is going Olympus. You can get an Olympus E-410 with two lens for $550 at Costco. At $550, I see the purchase as in the same price range as a high end P&S like the Canon G9 with a wide angle or telephoto lens attachment and don't look at it as a long term investiment into a particular brand's DSLR system..

Http://www.costco.com/...e~1~~P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=.

Last thing to keep in mind is the cost of flash memory. Do check out the prices for SD and CF cards. You want to be able to take lots of images. If you stick with JPEG, you could get a lot of shots in, but, you better nail the exposure. If you shoot RAW, you could find yourself buying a lot of memory. Transcend brand 133x memory is pretty inexpensive at NewEgg..

Anyway, hope you have fun on your trip...

Comment #5

Film is dead - for good reasons - and the old 35 mms aren't worth anything. Moving to a DSLR gets expensive in a hurry with lenses being a large part of the expense. I would recommend you consider a top point and shoot such as the 650IS or G9. The top P&S cameras don't have high ISO capability, but when the lighting is good, the image quality is impressive. I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised with the IQ and convenience...

Comment #6

I still use my Olympus E-510 regularly as a backup to my E-3. I love the images that it gives me!.

Favorite Images: http://www.myfourthirds.com/folder.php?id=1912.

Best, John S...

Comment #7

Stick with Canon so you can use your lenses. You can get a 350D for practically nothing (relatively speaking) now. Check out my site below for some examples of shots with a 350D, or look up CityLights' site..

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

Comment #8

Price of pro slide film + mailers + new postage rates is one reason I am jumping 35mm to dSLR (so new I've taken no photos yet)..

I can't speak to Canon, Nikon, etc., but in the Sony forum several folks have mentioned some of the Best Buys are selling the Sony A100 out at less than $250.00..

There's also been lots of talk about how good the Open Box deals are at One Call so you may check that out..

You haven't mentioned budget in particular..

My new Sony A700 is an open box from another store, though I have to admit I want to check out just how much smaller/lighter the A200 body is - significant enough to be a back up and take skiing, or not, or continue to use the digicam for that purpose (which may be replaced - with Canon A650IS, G9, new Fuji or new Oly).Val.

Http://www.mtnlover.smugmug.com.

New owner of A700/16-105 (not delivered yet) Maxxum 7 & & 600 si Minolta film cameras, Olympus C765 digicam...

Comment #9

What are you taking photos of, why, for whom?are you getting paid?are you planning to sell, publish a book, or have an exhibit of your photos?will you have models?whats the point of this?.

How many times can anyone look at photos of the Eiffel tower, the Empire State building, tigers at the zoo, water lillies, swans, whores in Times Square, the naked cowboy, topless babes in St.Tropez or Ibiza or Ipanima, old folks sitting on stoops farting and playing dominoes, etc..

I mean leave the camera @home and just enjoy the view...

Comment #10

I guess romphotog doesn't understand the concept of a hobby. I've never been paid for a photograph, and I probably never will be, but I enjoy taking them just as some people enjoy restoring old cars, watching sports, or what have you. If you enjoy photography, just ignore romphotog's rant and do what makes you happy..

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

Comment #11

Thanks everyone for all of the good advice. I am keeping my Canon EOS Rebel G (which makes me happy) since I won't make much from it's sale..

Also, I am looking into the recommendations about digital SLRs that people have made. Given the (happy, not bad!) news that my old EF lenses will work with the new Canon digital bodies (Id received advice to the contrary previously), I'd probably be better off sticking with Canon since my lenses can do double duty (i.e., be used with both a film and digital SLR), so I am leaning towards sticking with Canon unless theres a strong reason to switch. Also, the advice to primarily look at full frame lenses for a digital body, where suitable, rather than a purely digital lens is a good one that I hadn't considered (again, this means I can use the lens as double duty)..

Having read over recommendations on lenses, I had a few other questions:.

(1) My understanding is that my 70-200mm EF lens will function like a 112-300mm lens on the digital models and my 35-80 mm will become the equivalent 56-128mm. Is this correct? So since I will have the 56-300mm range covered, is there an advantage to getting a consolidated lens like this if I stay with a Canon Model (e.g., the 18-200mm VR Canon equivalent)? I know VR/IS is good, but honestly, I am unsure whether they are worth getting a lens similar to a range that I already have vice a different lens (beyond the obvious convenience factor of not carrying 2 lenses and having to change them, which is a definite advantage). This might be because I am not super clear on the VR/IS advantage beyond generally realizing they minimize camera shake/low light problems..

(2) How wide is wide on a digital given the crop issue? Ideally I would prefer not to buy a digital only lens, simply so that I would also have the option to use any lens I bought on my 35 mm SLR. However, the only lenses that are ultra-wide on digitals appear to be for digital use only. Ive never used a wide angle but have coveted one forever (I love landscapes/nature shots; many of the shots I like by others appear to have used a wide angle), so I am interested in any advice here..

(3) Would a wide-angle be better or would a fast fixed lens, as several recommended, be a better option if I get a cheap digital body? Also, given I have lenses that cover the 56-300mm range (assuming my math is correct in #1), is it worth it to get the standard lens on any model I buy or would I be better off to look for a body only and focus on one of the above lenses?.

(4) Are there any compelling differences among the 300/350/400d models beyond simply bigger megapixels? I don't see much distinction myself, but I am also am far from expert at assessing electronic equipment..

In terms of budget, I didn't list a specific value only because mine is somewhat flexible (though conserving costs is ideal). I have about $2-3K saved up to date and a birthday coming up; I will also be saving between now and when I leave (June). Much of my savings is going towards my trip, but Im extremely fortunate to have factors that mitigate my travel costs (e.g., Im hostelling with a friend, have family in Europe, and my plane ticket is being purchased for me for my birthday). I was hoping to stay below $1000 for a digital SLR, with ideally room within that for an additional lens. But theres some wiggle room there..

Again, sorry for the detail and thanks so much in advance for any advice...

Comment #12

Windemere wrote:.

I am keeping my CanonEOS Rebel G (which makes me happy) since I won't make much from itssale..

If you've stuck with your film camera this long, I can see why you'd like to keep the option of using it alive for a bit longer. I did the same thing if nothing else, but, to appreciate a 50mm/1.8 lens through a full frame view finder..

Advice to primarily look at full frame lenses for a digital body,where suitable, rather than a purely digital lens is a good one thatI hadn't considered.

Personally I think that because of the cropping factor on sensors below the 5D and 1Ds cameras, you probably want to consider the EF-S lens for wide angle or at the very least for your "walk around" lens. In this category, the EF-S 18-55 IS (not the 18-55 that's bundled with the 350D or 400D the one that's sold separately or bundled with the upcoming 450D) is a good deal. Ultra wide angle is what is lacking on the cropping bodies and so the $600+ EF-S 10-22 (or similar Sigma or Tamron options) are also good to consider buying..

(1) My understanding is that my 70-200mm EF lens will function like a112-300mm lens on the digital models and my 35-80 mm will become theequivalent 56-128mm. Is this correct? So since I will have the56-300mm range covered, is there an advantage to getting aconsolidated lens like this if I stay with a Canon Model (e.g., the18-200mm VR Canon equivalent)?.

The cropping factor on the Digital Rebel series as well as the xxD series is 1.6x, so your numbers are right. Do try your current telephoto zoom lens. If you find it lacking (e.g., images are too soft), you can always replace it later. As for a super zoom 18-200, Canon doesn't make one. Sigma and Tamron do, but, those lens are compromises and aren't all that inexpensive. Personally unless I'm going on a vacation where I really want the convenience of a super zoom for snapshots without carrying multiple lens or swapping lens and am not worried about optimal image quality, I wouldn't buy a super zoom like that..

I know VR/IS is good, but honestly, Iam unsure whether they are worth getting a lens similar to a rangethat I already have vice a different lens.

VR/IS is to minimize camera shake. People talk about how nice it is to have when a slow shutter speed is fine (i.e., you subject isn't moving much) and you don't want to use a tripod. I like it in general, because I am not always able to properly hold the camera for maximum steadiness (e.g., taking candid pictures one handed while hold an ice cream cone in the other hand). The effects of IS is really visible when you shoot with longer lens. Keep in mind that IS comes in handy indoors when you are shooting static scenes like in museums you want to stop down for better sharpness and for greater DOF, that'll mean slower shutter speeds..

Cheapest Canon telephoto zoom with IS is the new 55-250 IS for $250..

(3) Would a wide-angle be better or would a fast fixed lens, asseveral recommended, be a better option if I get a cheap digitalbody? Also, given I have lenses that cover the 56-300mm rangeis it worth it to get thestandard lens on any model I buy or would I be better off to look fora body only and focus on one of the above lenses?.

Buy the 18-55 IS for $180 or buy the upcoming Digital Rebel XSi (450D) which uses it as bundled kit lens. I upgraded to a 40D w/ 17-55 IS. I bought the 18-55 IS for my old 350D and find it's pretty good very compact combination..

As for fast fixed lens, how much money you plan on spending at first? I recommend that you don't bother with fast primes right now and go for the DSLR body and a zoom lens to handle your wide angle through normal telephoto (e.g., 18-55 IS or something similar). You have the option to crank up the ISO to compensate for more speed. With noise reduction software and the ability to quickly reshoot to nail exposure, I don't hesitate to use 800 or 1600 ISO on these entry level cameras..

(4) Are there any compelling differences among the 300/350/400dmodels beyond simply bigger megapixels?.

Don't bother with the 300D. It's only real plus is if you like large bodied cameras; it's major negative is that it's too SLOW writing images to memory cards. I still own/use my 350D as my light weight DSLR, but, it shares the same old AF as the 300D. 400D has AF upgrades, that automatic sensor cleaning thing that seems to work, and a few other nice blings to make it worth the extra $100. Note that both the 350D and 400D have features that are closer to a film based Elan camera such as ability to select exposure modes, AF modes, mirror lockup, exposure compensation, flash compensation, etc..

I haveabout $2-3K saved up to date and a birthday coming up; I was hoping to staybelow$1000 for a digital SLR,with ideally room within that for an additional lens. But theressome wiggle room there..

If you want to stick below $1000, I'd buy the 400D body with 18-55 IS. Figure out if you plan on shooting RAW at the start or just stick to JPEG (or RAW + JPEG if you can handle the extra storage space). From there figure out how many GB worth of CF cards you'll need for the trip and buy that. You can buy 8 GB 133x CF cards by Transcend at NewEgg for under $35 each..

I love shooting RAW, but, I do think that can be hard for a someone just starting out to handle and so think JPEG is fine just learn to use the histogram and exposure compensation so that you can take the shot again to ensure you get the exposure and white balance right...

Comment #13

Windemere wrote:.

Also, the advice to primarily look at full frame lenses for a digital body.

.. was based on somebody's irrational dream of cheap 35mm sensor DSLRs. Don't let talk like that stop you from buying lenses that are truly useful for your camera. This is especially true with ultrawide and wide angle angle lenses..

(1) My understanding is that my 70-200mm EF lens will function like a112-300mm lens on the digital models and my 35-80 mm will become theequivalent 56-128mm. Is this correct?.

Yes, your field of view will be similar to a 35mm camera with lenses of the mentioned focal lengths..

So since I will have the56-300mm range covered, is there an advantage to getting aconsolidated lens like this if I stay with a Canon Model (e.g., the18-200mm VR Canon equivalent)?.

The only Canon equivalent currently is the Sigma 18-200OS..

You are compromising a lot of image quality and money for convenience. Ultimately if it's for you or not depends on what you value..

(2) How wide is wide on a digital given the crop issue? Ideally Iwould prefer not to buy a digital only lens, simply so that I wouldalso have the option to use any lens I bought on my 35 mm SLR.However, the only lenses that are ultra-wide on digitals appear to befor digital use only..

Widest 35mm lens is Sigma 12-24mm. That's still pretty wide on APS-C (similar to 19mm on 35mm), but any of the 10-xx zooms will be wider..

Is it worth it to get thestandard lens on any model I buy or would I be better off to look fora body only and focus on one of the above lenses?.

Since you said you are on a budget, get the kit lens. You can always upgrade later when you graduate and get a real job ..

(4) Are there any compelling differences among the 300/350/400dmodels beyond simply bigger megapixels?.

Forget the 300D, it's very slow and has a few known problems. Image quality is fine, but at this point it's not worth getting..

Each model is an incremental upgrade over the previous model. The biggest jump was 300D to 350D the 350D is a much more responsive camera..

I was hoping to stay below $1000 for a digital SLR,with ideally room within that for an additional lens. But theressome wiggle room there..

Go cheap, don't stretch your budget, you can always upgrade later..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #14

Don't worry about digital only lenses as the FF senser probably will never become mainstream..

The cropped sensor is here to stay.the FF sensors will always be reserved for higher end DSLR's..

As for wide angle.an 18mm on a Canon cropped sensored camera is the same as a 28mm lens on a film DSLR..

Get the kit lens with whichever Rebel you buy and you will be all set..

That 30-80 lens might as well stay on your film camera..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #15

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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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