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Author Topic: Digital SLR
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 14:39      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I use a Canon PowerShot A530 to take photographs of people to accompany the articles I write for these guys. However, the longer I use it, the more I dislike it. My photos tend to look okay on the LCD preview screen, but when I open them full-size, they look like crap. Usually taking pics with the flash helps, but recently, that hasn't even helped much. And forget about using the zoom! Our photo editor at work has even complained about my pics (and when I started working there, she praised my pics up and down). She says the blues have dropped out, so the pics are very peachy (not in a good way) and yellow.

First, I guess I should ask for any advice on my existing camera.

Failing that, I really want to get a digital SLR. I'm looking at a Canon Digital Rebel XTi (200D for those of you not in the U.S.). It's 10.1 MP, takes 3 frames/second, and isn't terribly expensive. (I found one on-line for $249, sans the Sigma lens recommended to go with it, but I expected that.)

What would all of y'all who have experience with cameras recommend? I read some reviews on www.photo.com that have me really psyched about the XTi. I just don't know if I should really spend the money.

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 15:08      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not a fan of DSLRs, they're just a bit too big and bulky for my liking.

I really like my 3 year old Canon G6 which is no longer in production.
Sadly, the current model in that range, the G9 has more megapixels, but has lost some of the nice features of the G6.

If my camera died today, I'd probably look for another G6 on ebay.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 15:24      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Make sure the white balance isn't set to cloudy or shady or something similar. Those settings tend to lower the blue saturation in photos (great if you have too much blue, but not so great if you have good lighting to start with).

Also, if you're using auto white balance, set it to manual and try the other settings to see if maybe something hasn't gone awry with the sensor that determines what the white balance should be.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 17:01      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn _________________________ Steen beat me to the settings comment.

A few years back I bought the MrsMoMan a Panasonic model DMC FZ1 I did not like it at first but the more we use the sucker the happier we are with the camera. I am not saying it would be best for you but try one, I like that Harley orange comes through as orange and not shifted to red or yellow.

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Posts: 5836 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 17:21      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You found an XTi for $250? That's quite a deal - when I bought it, it was over $600.

The XTi is a good SLR. It's a little tricky to get the metering right at first - the camera tends to overexpose a bit - but you eventually get the hang of it. The photos might still look better on the LCD screen simply because the screen is far smaller than the equivalent size on a computer screen (or a print), but you can zoom in with the LCD if you want to get a closer look at the photo.

The lens is as important as the body, if not more, so don't skimp too much on the lens. The Sigma one is a good choice. I also like the Canon 50mm prime f/1.8 lens (and it's only $75), but for general shooting, you should probably have a zoom lens.

What Steen said about the white balance also holds, but remember that you can deliberately adjust it as well to change the color tone of the photo. This is also something that Photoshop is adept at modifying.

The dust removal feature is helpful. That was the reason I chose the XTi over the XT.

Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 20:06      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I chose the XT over the XTi because from what I read the XT has far better battery life. That said, the auto-cleaning sensor and extra pixels on the XTi are nice.

Be very, *very* careful about that $250 price online. I almost bit on one of those, but I decided to research the dealer first. I'm glad I did, because I found tons of complaints on many forums. The mode of operation was for a rep to call the customer, try to upsell, then suddenly discover the ordered camera was "out of stock". Want to throw in a couple clams worth of extras? Oh, hey, look, we have one after all.

edit: Oh, yeah, my humble suggestion is to find a local camera shop that sells used gear. See if you can pick up a pro-level camera on the cheap. One of our sales reps told me he picked up either a Canon 20D or 30D (can't remember which) for a few hundred about a year and a half ago.

Also, if you don't already have any SLR lenses, consider the Nikon pro-sumer models. My brother-in-law has one and it takes very nice pics.

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Ugh!

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BooBooKitty

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 20:21      Profile for BooBooKitty     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with Ugh! make sure you do your homework before buying anything. And $250 sounds too nice of a price for a digital SLR. Also, if you were to get an SLR kit, go for one that includes own make lens (i.e., not Sigma or Tamron, etc.).

Also, if you've never really handled an SLR before, I suggest you take a crash course. Taking pics with an SLR is not like taking a pic with a P&S. You can't use the LCD screen to view your shots!

Anyway, bottomline is: an educated consumer is a smart consumer. [Smile]

Posts: 796 | From: Montreal, Canada | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Bibo
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 20:55      Profile for Bibo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BooBooKitty:
...Taking pics with an SLR is not like taking a pic with a P&S. You can't use the LCD screen to view your shots!..

Actually many companies have added live view to their DSLRs. Seems silly to me, kinda defeats the purpose of an SLR.
Posts: 1641 | From: Grand Rapids, MI | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 21:21      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BooBooKitty:
Also, if you were to get an SLR kit, go for one that includes own make lens (i.e., not Sigma or Tamron, etc.).

I don't know; Canon lenses tend to be overpriced and the quality of Sigma and Canon lenses (at least in the $100-$400 range) seems comparable in my experience. I particularly like an f/3.5-f/6.3 18mm-200mm zoom lens I bought (separately) when I got the camera, though sometimes I wish I had a bit more focal power on the telephoto side. It might have been a better idea to get one of the 300mm lenses, sacrificing some of the wide angle shooting capability for an extra 100mm on the other end...

But, of course, it all depends on what you'll be using the camera for.

Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
BooBooKitty

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2007 22:28      Profile for BooBooKitty     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
True. Sigma is probably one of the better 3rd party lens maters. I have a Nikon, so until I'm much better at what I'm doing with my camera, the 18-200mm Nikon lens I just got should suffice. My D80 kit came with a 18-135mm, which covers a good range, but I guess I got greedy and got the 18-200mm. [Smile]
Posts: 796 | From: Montreal, Canada | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted November 30, 2007 10:14      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Definitely try before you buy if you're looking at an off-brand lense, preferably side-by-side with a similar lense from the camera manufacturer. I tried a Quantarray (sp?) 35 - 200mm against the Canon version back in my film days. The optics on the Quantarray seemed OK, but the autofocus was so incredibly slow and noisy it wasn't even usable. I paid the extra bucks and got the Canon lense.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted November 30, 2007 13:04      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XTi from SunShine Electronics in NYC via ebay and I lurves it. 10 MB arse picks do rock!!

I paid around $900 USD for the body, 3 (not so high end)lenses, tripod, hard case, 2GB card. The best part is anyone can run it in idiot (auto) mode whilst they learn the rest of the settings

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted November 30, 2007 13:59      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cap'n Vic:
I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XTi from SunShine Electronics in NYC via ebay and I lurves it. 10 MB arse picks do rock!!

I paid around $900 USD for the body, 3 (not so high end)lenses, tripod, hard case, 2GB card. The best part is anyone can run it in idiot (auto) mode whilst they learn the rest of the settings

I always considered "P" mode the best one to learn the settings in (and the best for general shooting - in case Elvis drives by while you're fooling with the settings on a more manual mode). The camera takes care of exposure and focusing for you, but lets you adjust things like white balance, ISO, and metering mode. You can offset the metered exposure in P as well - without getting into the guesswork of M mode.

The camera also has a tendency to pop up the flash when it really isn't necessary in auto mode. It won't do that in P (unless you make it).

"A-Dep" mode is also useful for getting everything in the scene into focus, but I don't find myself using that as often as I would think.

Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Bibo
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 00:51      Profile for Bibo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've had great results with Tamron lenses for the past 27 years but now I'm down to just 2 Canon lenses. I have the lens that came with my Digital Rebel 300D and last summer I bought a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. The Image stabilization is too cool, I want the 70-300 lens now. And I still need to get the 50mm 1.8 lens. With an SLR you just want to keep getting more goodies for it!
Posts: 1641 | From: Grand Rapids, MI | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 05:49      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah; I must have poured at least $2000 into it already... and there's still a bunch of stuff I need [Smile]
Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
BooBooKitty

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 17:32      Profile for BooBooKitty     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It can be a real illness when you get into photography. ;-)

Me, I've been leaving my camera in manual mode. I also leave the auto-focus in manual too because sometimes my D80 isn't able to focus in on right away. I guess I'll have to play around with the settings for that. I did some challenging night shots from Tokyo Tower last night. I didn't have a tripod with me, so some shots were kinda blurry. [Razz]

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Doco

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 18:56      Profile for Doco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Marriage and kids mostly cured me of that particular illness. But DSLRs are getting cheap enough that I am sorely tempted to get a replacement for my old Cannon AE1.

That being said - I really dislike the slowness of zoom lenses. For most things I'll take a 50mm f2 lens over a zoom that can only do f3.5 at best. Of course I'll probably carry a zoom and/or 2x converter in my bag.

Are 2x converters possible with <curmudgeon mode> these new-fangled Digital beasts</cm> The 2x converter eats another stop or more of light, but gives you the extra zoom for those rare situations that you really need more zoom. In the film days I'd sometimes just shoot slower (finer grain) film and then crop and blow it up. A pre-cursor to digital zoom I guess.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2007 20:24      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Teleconverters still work with dSLRs, yes.
Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aditu
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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2007 06:12      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My friend loves her Rebel. I found some good user reviews at
http://www.dpreview.com

Some cameras have more than other, but it was still interesting to read

Posts: 1355 | From: Osten Ard | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2007 08:17      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love my Tamron 24-135, f/3.5-5.6. I find it perfect for travel use when I don't want to lug a bag of lenses around. Of course, I do covet 135 f/2 for doing sports photography, but I'm not likely to slip that purchase past my wife.
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Aditu
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Icon 1 posted December 03, 2007 08:58      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have a Tamron lens for my old school 35mm Pentax. It was "lens lust on layaway." [Smile]
Posts: 1355 | From: Osten Ard | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged


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