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DSLR questions

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

My wife and I are contemplating purchasing a DSLR in the distant future. Right now I've got a little Canon P&S (PoS?) that I got as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It's perfectly (in)adequate for taking casual shots. The contrast is lousy- it can't resolve light on light colour differences, but for a camera I can fit into any number of pockets and that cost $200, it's not terrible.

My wife would like to get a DSLR, and I'm similarly inclined. We're working on trying to start a family, and we'd like a good camera to take pictures with. My preference is to wait longer and save up for a full frame DSLR (my preference being a Nikon D700 over a Canon 5D mkII, and generally disinterested in the Sony options). For the types of pictures that I like to take, I like having the extra wide field of view, and I'm not sure I'd be too happy giving up a huge amount of crop factor (1.6x vs 1.0) on DX / APS-C sensors- but I am open to being convinced otherwise, if anyone wants to try. The big reason for considering going with a lower end DSLR (APS, APS-C, DX sensor) owuld be that it's considerably cheaper, so we could get it earlier. But on the flip side, I'm pretty sure (being who I am), that I'd end up wanting to get a full frame camera in which case the initial investment would've been somewhat wasted (either as lost value in a trade in, or just an unused extra camera body).

I've done photography before- I've take a few photography classes. I've got a pretty good idea what lenses I want. To start with I'd probably get something like a decent 50 MM and a 24-105 (or similar) zoom. For just being out and about (taking the dog / future kid for walks), the 50 MM lens is probably what I'd want to use most of the time, especially if it had a nice low f-stop. Alternately, perhaps I'd want a 24 (or lower) to 80 zoom, and and an 80-200 for different purposes, but whatever.

I'd also consider an EVIL camera. And in fact, in a lot of ways that seems like it'd be a good stop gap measure between our current terrible camera, and actually getting a good camera.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 30
1. The only camera that is worse than a bad one, is no camera at all. Get what you can afford now, especially if you have something worth taking pictures of now, such as a budding family! Start learning how to use the camera now, before the little one comes, so that you are well-versed enough to operate it with your eyes on the frame & not looking down at the controls.

2. VR rocks. If the body you choose doesn't have it built in (Sony!), then plan on a VR all-rounder zoom.

3. I love the concept of EVIL cameras, such as the micro-4/3's models. Their only real down side is still limited availability, and (perhaps more importantly) price that is higher than a nice crop-sensor DSLR + kit lens.

Just my .02
post #3 of 30
A full frame camera is indeed nice, but considering its costs, it might not be practical especially if you are starting your family now. A (used) D80 or D200 might be all that you need plus a prime lens of your choice the 50mm (1.8 or 1.4), and an all rounder (18-200mm VR is very versatile but not very sharp), and don't forget to get a flash (SB-600 or SB-800 will do). I'd suggest you get one that is IR remote capable (like the D80) plus a tripod so you can include yourself in the pics

Then like here in head-fi, just upgrade when you feel you've mastered and outgrown the camera, get the full frame and the trinity 2.8 that comes with it. I don't think the old camera body will be unused, because there will be times that you'd want to use 2 bodies at the same time
post #4 of 30
should start with a d40 or the newer versions but i forgot their models, something like d3000? or whatever. the d40 should be good enough for your case. it is very light weighted your wife might appreciate that. only thing it doesn't have comparing to higher in the line is the video capture function and fewer mega pixel(doesn't affect picture quality unless u enlarge it to few feet). only thing to be ware of it is not compatible with older lenses. well it works but wont auto focus. i don't agree with sb-600 or 800 for flash option. a sb-400 is plenty enough(love it for size and convenience). keep your money for upgrades later on.
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've already got a flash and a tripod from an old film camera that I have. I've taken a few SLR photography courses before in University, so I know my way around an SLR. I'll think about a D40 or something comparable, but the more I think about it, the more set I feel about getting a full frame DSLR, although I just read about a 10-24 mm DX compatible Nikon lense, which would be the same as 16 mm to 39 mm, which wouldn't be bad I suppose.

Either way, we're at least 9 months away from there being any need to buy a camera- I just like to really plan stuff out.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutz View Post
I've already got a flash and a tripod from an old film camera that I have. I've taken a few SLR photography courses before in University, so I know my way around an SLR. I'll think about a D40 or something comparable, but the more I think about it, the more set I feel about getting a full frame DSLR, although I just read about a 10-24 mm DX compatible Nikon lense, which would be the same as 16 mm to 39 mm, which wouldn't be bad I suppose.

Either way, we're at least 9 months away from there being any need to buy a camera- I just like to really plan stuff out.
no a 10-24mm turn into 16-39mm is real bad. you wouldn't pay thousands for a wide angle/fish eye just so it can turn into a less wide lens. DX generally is better for telephoto. you wouldnt mind your 300mm turn into 450mm for a cheaper price would you? Full frame is better for scenery.

and i suppose... congratulations?
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
I've got to spend some more time reading about it- one of the sites I've read has said that they think that for most people, the DX sized sensors is more than adequate- and I can respect that, but somehow it feels off to me. I agree that a 300mm to a 450mm would actually be useful. Though, from that perspective, perhaps starting with a DX-sensor camera isn't terrible as a starting point, cause I can always expand to a FX-sensor camera later, and the DX would still be useful.

No, no congratulations are in order. Things aren't working out yet.
post #8 of 30
If I was starting all over and not shooting for the paper I would just pick up a d40 w/ 35mm 1.8.
post #9 of 30
It's the trying & practicing that is the fun part.

Of course I'm talking about taking pictures.
post #10 of 30
The problem with doing full frame on a budget is the cost of the glass. Less expensive lenses get progressively worse as you go from the center to the edge of the frame. So even tho you've got that additional data, the image quality there is lacking, so will probably end up getting cropped out anyway. And since the 1.5-1.7 crop factor cameras have been the norm for many years now, there are quite a few good semi-pro options at the wide end of things designed for these cameras. I'd get the camera you can afford in the brand you prefer, and then later buy yourself a full frame camera and great glass when you're ready to spend the serious money.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutz View Post
I've got to spend some more time reading about it- one of the sites I've read has said that they think that for most people, the DX sized sensors is more than adequate- and I can respect that, but somehow it feels off to me. I agree that a 300mm to a 450mm would actually be useful. Though, from that perspective, perhaps starting with a DX-sensor camera isn't terrible as a starting point, cause I can always expand to a FX-sensor camera later, and the DX would still be useful.

No, no congratulations are in order. Things aren't working out yet.
my congratulations was for the 9months he mentioned... i assume they got a baby?
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycdoi View Post
my congratulations was for the 9months he mentioned... i assume they got a baby?
I believe there has been some confusion here. I'm the person who mentioned the 9 months and posted the original question. We have not yet successfully conceived a child yet, so we've got to wait at least nine months + the time to conception. My wife and I are trying to have a baby, but it seems as though we may be having some fertility problems. So no, we don't have a baby yet, unfortunately.
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
The problem with doing full frame on a budget is the cost of the glass. Less expensive lenses get progressively worse as you go from the center to the edge of the frame. So even tho you've got that additional data, the image quality there is lacking, so will probably end up getting cropped out anyway. And since the 1.5-1.7 crop factor cameras have been the norm for many years now, there are quite a few good semi-pro options at the wide end of things designed for these cameras. I'd get the camera you can afford in the brand you prefer, and then later buy yourself a full frame camera and great glass when you're ready to spend the serious money.
I read an article on Ken Rockwell's blog about full frame versus cropped frames- and one of the things that he said is that the quality of the glass is less important on full frames than it is on cropped cameras, which makes sense. Plus, I already have some full frame nikon compatible lenses that I could use on a full frame camera (provided the metering would still work), but they wouldn't work on a cropped frame.
post #14 of 30
Why wouldn't they work on a cropped frame?
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutz View Post
I read an article on Ken Rockwell's blog about full frame versus cropped frames- and one of the things that he said is that the quality of the glass is less important on full frames than it is on cropped cameras, which makes sense. Plus, I already have some full frame nikon compatible lenses that I could use on a full frame camera (provided the metering would still work), but they wouldn't work on a cropped frame.
First off, KR said that only real men use Leica. That right there gave me a less than favorable impression of his ideas on photography. I've had cropped both Nikon/Canon (although that really doesn't make too much a difference) but the move from a D300 to a D700/D3 (the route I took) made me come to appreciate what happens in the corners. Even "full-frame lenses" have their short-comings when it comes to image quality on full-frame sensors. Vignetting and edge stretching are two issues I can think of on the top of my head. Try a 14-24 2.8 on a D3 and you'll see what I'm talking about. Stopping down may help with vignetting (somewhat) but the stretching effect at the edges still exists, because Nikon can only do so much to correct pincushion effects on their widest lenses. These issues can be corrected post-processing. The 50 1.4 doesn't exhibit these problems are strongly, but it's certainly noticeable in low-light situations. Quality of glass is certainly important on Full-Frame because of edges, and I would say that even more so on FX than DX. I'm sorry I couldn't spend more time on explanation, I'm leaving class right now for home, but I'll try and clear it up better as soon as I get back.

Curious Clutz, what lens works on FF but not on cropped? I thought it was usually the other way around.
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