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Which DSLR body+lens for my needs?
First time posting....

I have been using the Canon S2 IS for 2.5 years and use the manual features extensively. I love the camera for it's 36-432mm equivalent wide-zoom, and also like the F2.7-3.5 for low light shooting..

Recently I have been offered a gift of a dSLR body + lens for free, and I have done a lot of research, but cannot reach a final decision and would like to get your opinions here..

What I commonly shoot:- Landscape- Low-light situations like dusk, wooded trails, or indoors- Macro (this is not a requirement for my dSLR).

- Don't zoom often, but if I do, then mostly to capture birds in trees or animals on trails. And when I do, I need to do so quickly because the animal might be gone in a few seconds. I find I'm either at one end or the other of the zoom, not many photos are taken in the upper middle section of the zoom..

What I wish I had with the S2:- Less noise on higher ISO (I can't really go to 200 or beyond)- Higher ISO (to get more of those low-light situations)- Longer/shorter max/min shutter speed- Faster / better focusing.

Requirements for dSLR + lens:.

- Portability! I want to get something that I won't mind carrying with me everyday everywhere. This includes size and weight of everything including lens(es)..- Low noise at higher ISO.

- Amazingly, price is not a factor here. The selection of lenses is limited by portability..

What I have looked at:.

- Nikon D80 + 18-200mm lens: I was almost decided on this combo based on features and my current needs, but I went to the store to give it a try and found it was _juuuuust_ a bit big for my hands (I am a smaller/shorter female). I found I had to make a conscious effort to stretch my thumb and reach the top and left arrows of the pad on the back, as well as the AE-L and AF-L button. My right hand barely fits around the grip and needs to really reach to hit the DoF preview button..

- Canon XTi / Xsi: Only the XTi was on display when I went to the store, but it fit a lot nicer than the D80 in my hands. There is no Canon 18-200 though it is available from 3rd party vendors, though I read they aren't as good? If I get this camera (or the newer Xsi), what 1 lens should I get based on my needs above? Or if it's better to go with 2, then which 2?.

Thank you!orcazephyr..

Comments (11)

You could get the 18-200 Sigma with stabalization..

Or the Nikon D60 with the 18-200 vr...

Comment #1

Another possibility might be a two-lens kit:.

Lens #1:- Tamron 17-50mm constant f/2.8 (for Canon or Nikon)- Nikon 16-80mm VR (slower lens, but "24mm-equivalent" at wide end).

Lens #2:- Canon 70-300mm IS (slower lens)- Nikon 70-300mm IS (slower lens).

The 70-300mm lenses would increase bulk, but also telephoto range...

Comment #2

For a really small combination also have a look at the Olympus E420, with perhaps the 18-180 lens. This doesn't give as good a wide-angle as the 18-200 lenses on the Canon or Nikon system (because the crop factor is different), but is a very compact combination..

If you liked the Nikon zoom lens, have you tried it on a D40x body, which is about the same size as a Canon XTi?.

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #3

Orcazephyr wrote:.

- Don't zoom often, but if I do, then mostly to capture birds intrees or animals on trails. And when I do, I need to do so quicklybecause the animal might be gone in a few seconds..

Don't go for an all-in-one zoom for a DSLR. There's not much point, you could just use your S2 IS..

And most DSLR all-in-one lenses go to 200mm. For birds, that isn't long enough..

So get two lenses, a wide-to-mild tele zoom (i.e. 18-55, 17-55, 17-70, 18-70, etc) and a xx-300mm telephoto zoom, preferably one with IS. When you go out with the intention of shooting bird and animals, put the xx-300mm lens on..

Canon and Nikon both have 70-300mm IS (Nikon calls it VR) lenses.Sony, Pentax and (some) Olympus have IS that moves the sensor instead of a lens element..

Sigma, Tamron and Tokina also make some nice lenses (and some not-so-nice, but that's true of camera manufacturer lenses, too). In general, pay more, get more..

Lens reviews:.

Http://www.photozone.de/reviews.

What I wish I had with the S2:- Less noise on higher ISO (I can't really go to 200 or beyond)- Higher ISO (to get more of those low-light situations)- Longer/shorter max/min shutter speed- Faster / better focusing.

You'll get all these, but if you stick a slower lens on a DSLR the ISO advantage will still exist but be narrower..

Requirements for dSLR + lens:- Portability! I want to get something that I won't mind carryingwith me everyday everywhere. This includes size and weight ofeverything including lens(es)...

So don't carry two lenses, just put one on that's right for the situation and leave it..

- Low noise at higher ISO.

Every DSLR has this, some more than others..

- Amazingly, price is not a factor here. The selection of lenses islimited by portability..

It depends on what you define as portable..

- Nikon D80 + 18-200mm lens: I was almost decided on this combobased on features and my current needs, but I went to the store togive it a try and found it was _juuuuust_ a bit big for my hands (Iam a smaller/shorter female)..

Try a D40x or D60..

There is noCanon 18-200 though it is available from 3rd party vendors, though Iread they aren't as good?.

None of the 18-200mm lenses are all that good, even the Nikon. A lot of compromises are made to fit such a large zoom range..

If I get this camera (or the newer Xsi),what 1 lens should I get based on my needs above? Or if it's betterto go with 2, then which 2?.

See above..

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

Comment #4

Note that.

F/2.8 on a S2 IS at ISO 200andf/5.6 on a DSLR at ISO 800.

Give you the same shutter speed. That is to say, when you put a typical slow kit zoom onto a DSLR, you give up much (not all) of it's low-light advantage over the S2 IS..

(This is a slight exaggeration the S2 IS is f/3.1 at the telephoto end of it's zoom range, ISO 800 on a DSLR is probably less noisy than ISO 200 on a S2 IS, and the DSLR may deliver usable pictures at ISO 1600 if need be.).

Throw a 30mm or 35mm prime lens (f/2.0 or better) into the camera bag and the situation reverses ... then you're getting at least 1 stop from the lens and at least 2 more from the DSLR body. And those lenses aren't very bulky or heavy...

Comment #5

Nickleback wrote:.

It depends on what you define as portable..

Portable is when the lens is still small enough to look like an accessory to the camera body and not vice versa.  ..

Comment #6

I was in a similar situation as you a while back - was looking for a DSLR and had the S2, but found it had too many limitations..

If you really need portability, the Nikon D40x or Canon XTI/XSI (or whatever the newer one is called) really can't be beat. Stepping up from those entry models to the Nikon D80as you've seenor a Canon 40D entails a heftier body..

As for lenses, I've found that you can only get portability together with long range on a P&S. Of course, the image quality also suffers, but that's beside the point. Since I went Canon, I only know their lenses: since size is a concern, you could go with either the 70-300 IS or the 70-200 f4 L. Other long range lenses are going to get heavier, especially the L IS lenses. A lens even lighter than the 2 I just mentioned is the 24-105 L, but obviously the range is about half. There really is no 36-432 in the DSLR world!..

Comment #7

I recently made a similar upgrade from a point and shoot super zoom (Kodak P850) to Canon Xti..

Here's what I LOVE: No shutter lag. My picture of people have improved dramatically. (ie greater number of keepers!) Great fast focusing. High ISO without too much noise. Great bokeh at large apertures..

Here's what I MISS: zoom with IMAGE STABILIZATION..

I am happy with the upgrade because my most important pictures are the family snapshots. And at this point I am not willing to invest $500 to $1000 in a quality zoom lens for birding..

I still have my super zoom, and I can use it if I want 300 to 400 mm (equiv) shots. But honestly, it's been a long time since I've picked it up..

Good luck,.

Carter..

Comment #8

Staufen wrote:.

If you really need portability, the Nikon D40x or Canon XTI/XSI (orwhatever the newer one is called) really can't be beat. Stepping upfrom those entry models to the Nikon D80as you've seenor a Canon40D entails a heftier body..

So, what about the E-420 which is lighter and smaller, and has lighter and smaller kit lenses? Don't forget there are more than two brands. : ).

Olympus are getting better at making small cameras all the time, so I can recommend them to the Original Poster.http://flickr.com/photos/iskender..

Comment #9

I too had the S2 for a while, and found myself wanting more. I chose the D40 with 18-55 and 55-200mm lens, these days you can get one for a great price. the D60 is also a good option, newer technology but still the D40 is at the top fo the low light/high iso performance chart, you wouldn't be dissapointed with it. and it's not big and bulky if you want if or travelling!..

Comment #10

Canon Xsi+kit lens+30mm or 50mm prime + 55-250mm lens.

All three of those lenses are extremely light and you have a very flexible range: walkaround (kit), speed (prime) and zoom (55-250).

You could probably also get away with a prime plus the 70-300 IS, but the kit lens is $100! Crazy NOT to get it. Also, that 70-300 IS is a good bit bigger/heavier than the 55-250 IS and not significantly better according to most tests I have seen (somewhat better, yes, but also costs 2x more).

Not the best glass out there, but it's LIGHT and SMALL which is what you asked for. Good glass is almost always heavy and/or big (and usually both)...

Comment #11

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