What should I purchase?

I am frustrated with the low light speed of my point and shoot and am thus considering a DSLR. Any answers to the following questions would be very appreciated. Thanks in advance:.

- If I spend $700 on a camera + first lens, will I be able to get something that takes noticeably better pictures than my point & shoot (a Canon S330; fine in bright light, terrible in low light), especially in low light? (I am sick of missing at-home shots of our kids because the camera is so slow) (Someone said that a DSLR will only be better if I spend on an upgraded lens and this may be more than I am willing to spend).

- Any recommendations on a camera if I am looking at spending $750 max on body + first lens? (have been looking at Canon XT & XTi & Nikon D40 & 40X) (I am leaning toward getting the older models/lower MP and spending the extra on a better lens).

- Should I opt for a kit lens or just get the body and spend a bit extra on a higher end lens (e.g., Canon has a new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) that would be $125 or so higher than the kit lens.

- If I might be interested in getting a big lens one day, should I just get something with a wide range like this now (Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM) as my "only" lens? (If I do get a telephoto zoom as a 2nd lens in the future I would probably only be willing to spend $200 so I would be getting this or similar Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Telephoto Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras )..

Comments (10)

A good low light lens alone will run $600-$1000.

One notable exception being the Canon 50mm 1.8 at $100, but it's a bit long for indoor use..

Your other option is to get a good external flash - $200-$400, which you should have no matter what for shooting kids indoors..

Either way, $750 is quite unrealistic..

But ask yourself this: When your kids are grown up will you be wishing you got the equipment necessary to do the job?.

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Comment #1


Before you go much further with your purchasing plans, I refer you to the thread "How to take pictures with no flash", this forum, where a Canon EOS DSLR 350D owner bemoans his inability to take low-light pictures with his equipment, suggesting that going DSLR may not be the answer for you..

Personally, I have a Sony P&S, and a Samsung "Bridge" camera, and I do not feel I am having any serious problems taking "low-light" (or, more accurately, "ambient light") pictures of my (currently 2 and 3-year old grandchildren) at all..

Its not the camera, it's how you use it!..

Comment #2

Mikelis wrote:.

LOL!Before you go much further with your purchasing plans, I refer you tothe thread "How to take pictures with no flash", this forum, where aCanon EOS DSLR 350D owner bemoans his inability to take low-lightpictures with his equipment, suggesting that going DSLR may not bethe answer for you..

There's nothing wrong with going DSLR for lowlight shots... one just has to be prepared to incure the necessary costs;-)..

Comment #3

50mm f/1.8 lens will allow you to use faster shutter speed. You will get much higher acceptable images of kids..

External bunce flash will be better advice because when bounced into ceiling it will give you that extra even lighting to stop kids in action while using lower ISO (better detail)..

Used Canon 10D or 20D from ebay or KEH with external flash can fit into your budget. You may even get 50mm f/1.8 too..


Comment #4

Stan, Thanks for the response. Will the 50mm lens be too close-up for around the house shots of the kids?.

Is there a bounce flash that you can recommend/how much would this run?.

Will the flash enable me to get a quick pic off or will there still be a decent lag between pressing the button and picture capture (my big problem right now)..



Comment #5

"low lioght speed" and other references to slow and speed are a bit confusing..

Am I right in thinking yiour first concern is the long time it takes between pressing the cutton and the camera going off? The kid gets up, puts on his boots, leaves home and graduates from college before the camera goes off..

This is called shutter lag, and it is pretty much removed from Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras. So, any new D-SLR has no shutter lag you'll notice..

Another definition of "speed" refers to how big the hole in the lens is, letting through light to hit the sensor. Bigger the hole, greater the light, brighter the photograph (shutter speed affects this, too).

In this context, the 50mm f1.8 lens is "fast" and the f5.6 part of the 3.5 - 5.6 kit lens is "slow" Slow is bad, but slow is cheap. A 18-50mm (or so) f3.5 to f5.6 lens is around $100, and an 18-50mm f2.8 lens is four times that amount..

Which is why flash is useful for low light pictures of mobving subjects..


Comment #6

Thanks, BAK, especially for clearing up the language. yes, I want to be able to reduce shutter lag times from my point & Shoot in order to take pix indoors of the kids running around. Given this, do you have any recommendations on the trade off between camera body vs. good lens assuming I want to spend $750 or so? If I get an older/simpler body (Canon XT or Nikon D40) I may be able to upgrade the lens..

Thanks again for all your help,.


Comment #7

You should post flash question in Canon 400D or Canon 30D forum. I'm not familiar with canon flashes (I'm married with Minolta system).

50mm lens could be too narrow for running kids but is very good for their portraits,.

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Bounce flash with kit lens (something like 17-55mm f/3.5-5.6) and virtually any lens will do it (preferably with diffuser attachment)..

I personally ebayed used Sigma 20mm f/1.8 and older Sigma 24mm f/2.8 for indoors because primes(fixed focal lentgh) are faster and sharper..

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P.S. Diffuser is attachmet to lens that makes shadows softer and reduces red eye without special mode..

Here is mine:.

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Comment #8

Mswire wrote:.

(Someone said that a DSLR willonly be better if I spend on an upgraded lens and this may be morethan I am willing to spend).

I agree. Just getting a dSLR with kit lens will not get you the pics of your kids you are after. You need a FAST prime lens, like a 35mm/f1.4 or f2, or 50mm f1.8 type lens. These things are a must. Flash suggestions are way off here, as they are a different type of picture imho. You want sharp, low-light pics, and fast glass is the main way to make it happen..


Comment #9

If you want to shoot in low light, but not of fast subjects, image stabilization makes all of the difference..

Please look and ask in the Pentax and Sony SLR forums. Those brands of DSLR incorporate image stabilization/anti-shake in the camera body, where it can be used for any lens you can attach to the camera. At present, with any Nikon and Canon models, you need special higher-cost IS lenses for the same function. (At present!).

With IS in the body, you can generally shoot hand-held as low as 1/8 sec, even 1/4 sec, and have no shake in the image..

With Pentax and Sony, you can find an inexpensive used AF 50mm from 1.4 to 2.0, shoot that hand-held at 1/8 sec at ISO 1600, and you won't believe the good quality, until you're used to it!.

A camera to check in the store is the Pentax K100D with it's standard 18-55 3.5 kit lens. Try some test shots without flash. Bring your own camera along and test it the same way. And also test those pesky Nikon d40s and Canons the very same way, without flash. The results shout for themselves...

Comment #10

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