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Old 17th of August 2009 (Mon)   #1
XTiGuy215
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Default Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

My camera gear was stolen from my car. Body, lenses, memory cards, bag, everything. I will be getting a check from insurance and will be looking at a new camera but it gets tricky. Since I have nothing Canon left, there is nothing keeping me to the brand and I am considering making the move to Nikon.

I am looking to spend ~1000 for a body and then the appropriate lenses which I desire, being a lower range say 18-55, 50mm prime, and a higher zoom lens.

Contenders from Canon
40D
50D
T1i (dont like the layout much but it has video)
Used 5D mk1 maybe

Contenders from Nikon
d90
d300 used

My friend Steve (howielong) has a D300 that I toyed with a few times and I like it, good ergonomics, weight, layout, and the results seem good as well. I've played with the 40D and 50D before as well and like them, and the t1i seems similar to the XTi I once had. The D90 is on the list because its inexpensive and has video.

I've been shooting for about a year but haven't had to look at bodies, only lenses, so I am lost ATM. I will also be buying an off-shoe flash with everything else.

Advice?

I'd like to be in the 2500-3000 for a body, lenses, and a flash. This should get me decent equiptment that I can use for a long time without upgrading. I wouldn't even be back in the market but I miss going to events, family parties, and having a camera to work with. I went to NYC this weekend and had to work with my friends P&S, I thought I was going to kill myself.

Here are 2 potential packages I'm looking at

Canon:
Canon 50D
Canon 70-200 f/4 non-IS
Canon 18-55 kit
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 580ex2

Nikon:
Nikon D90
Nikon kit lens
Sigma/tamron 70-200 2.8
Nikon 50mm 1.8
sb600

With either I'd have enough for a bag and memory and still fit to my 3k budget. The only thing I like about the 90d is the video feature though I don't know how good it really is, I know it's nothing like the pro video cameras so I don't know if it's worth it.
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Old 17th of August 2009 (Mon)   #2
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

IMO...........D300 all the way.

I had a D90 and while it`s a great camera, the Semi-Pro bodies are much better and the Video is a gadget. It`s OK, but unless it`s 1080P, don`t be sold by it. The D300 is a much better choice.
I just replaced my D90 with the D700 because I`m a FF nut....

Good luck with your choice, but buy the D300... The AF system is far superior to Canon`s
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Old 17th of August 2009 (Mon)   #3
XTiGuy215
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

The D300 is awesome, only thing holding me back is the price, dunno if it will fit into my budget with everything though they sell the kits on eBay but I don't trust the stuff being new as they say it is.
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Old 17th of August 2009 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

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Originally Posted by XTiGuy215 View Post
The D300 is awesome, only thing holding me back is the price, dunno if it will fit into my budget with everything though they sell the kits on eBay but I don't trust the stuff being new as they say it is.

Look on Amazon. I buy all my stuff there.
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Old 17th of August 2009 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

Any other advice. Considering the 5dmk2 and 1 lens to start also.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #6
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

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Any other advice. Considering the 5dmk2 and 1 lens to start also.

5DMKII and the 24-105L........
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #7
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

Or my friend gave me a good suggestion.

40D and kit lens
50 1.8
Flash

shoot birthday parties and small things for like 100-150, make my money back and then profit from there. low investment.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #8
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

You could also consider 5D Classic + 24-105 F4 L. That would be cheaper than the 5D II + 24-105 F4L.

There are a few differences between the Canon xxD bodies and the Nikon D90 / D300. The Nikons has CLS (Creative lighting system) where as the Canon requires ST-E2. D90 has Video, some find it useful, some not so useful. D300 has 51point a/f.

Personally, I would go with the D90 as its a lot of camera for not much $$$. The D300 second hand is still quite pricey.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #9
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

I don't really have plans of using the video, it's just that one added bonus that I'll probbably use twice, so I don't know if the D90 is really for me. Really leaning towards the 50D but Nikon's CLS is a great feature making me think twice.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #10
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

Just my 2 cents worth...

I think the first question is whether to buy new or used...

Personally I don't mind buying used lenses, but prefer to get a new camera body with a warranty. There's a lot more to go wrong in a camera body than in a lens. You can look at a lens and tell if the optics are clean and in good condition, and testing it's autofocus and aperture control functions are simple enough.

With a new camera body, if it fails due to a flaw or a weak component it will usually do so within the first few weeks, months or up to a year of use (depending upon individual rate of usage... In my case it's probably weeks ). If it survives the initial warranty period, a camera body will quite likely have a long, happy life... At least up to the time the need to upgrade to the latest and greatest model kicks in.

That being said, the question might then come down to a new Canon 50D with a kit lens vs a used D300 with or without a lens. Personally I'd go with the new Canon.

The D300 is a fine camera, but at a higher price. I don't feel that the Nikon AF system is all that superior... I've had and used the Canon 45 point AF system for years, and simply have never used most of it... Nine to 11 points are plenty, since I use only the center one 80 to 90% of the time, along with the separted focus technique (CFn 4 and the * button on older models, two different CFn and either the * or AF On button on more recent Canon).

As far as I'm concerned, it's the placement of the AF points in the image area that matters, not the sheer number of them. In fact I always used my 45-point Canon AF "dialed down" to 13 points (via a custom function), albeit with the spot metering linked to the active point (a useful feature not now possible with anything other than the 1-series Canons... I don't know about the Nikon models). I really don't need 51 points, nor do I consider it "superior" simply due to a large number of points crowded into the center of the image area.

With sheer number of AF points aside, we're left comparing AF speed, accuracy, lock on and ability in lower light situations. I use three 50D and find it quite responsive to most conditions, so long as reasonbly fast and quick focusing lenses are used. You could probably look up the tests of the D300 AF for comparison, I'm not experieinced enough with it to offer a comparison. I can tell you for certain 5D Mark II's AF is noticeably slower, but accurate especially with the AF assist points enabled. I prefer the 50D for moving subjects. I'm sure the current 1D series would be even better with moving targets, but of course at a considerably higher price.

I think you'd be best advised to put more of your budget into lenses, rather than into the camera body. For one, better quality lenses will make for better images. Most modern camera bodies are relatively equally capable of capturing great images, when used correctly. Among camera bodies, the differences are more in the features and the ergonomics. With lenses the differences ultimately show up in image quality.

Plus, your lenses will likely still serve you with the next camera and the one after that, etc. Some of my lenses that were first purchased in 2001 have been used on at least a dozen different cameras - first film and now digital - in the years since.

If your budget is $3000 US, you can pick up a 50D in a kit with 28-135 for less than half of that. Get the hood for that lens, though. It needs it.

Need a wider lens? The Canon 10-22 will set you back about $700 or so (and the hood is a separate item). The Tokina 12-24 is around $500 and a good alternative, in my experience.

A 430EX or 580EX might run you another $300-500, with an off camera cord and bracket.

You don't need "protection" filters. They're a waste of money when on a tight budget. However a circular polarizer is a very useful filter. A good one in 72mm or 77mm size will cost about $150. (I tend to use polarizers a lot more on wide angle lenses, but that's just me.)

Shop around carefully and you'll probably still have money left for a camera bag, a decent tripod, a spare battery or two (Sterlingtek are half the price of Canon... eBay generics are 1/4 to 1/6 the price of Canon), as well as some memory cards. Might even have the money for a used BG-E2 or BG-E2N if you want one.

Then start saving for additional lenses to add eventually, if and when you need them. Personally I'd want a 50/1.4 (either the Canon or the Sigma) and/or an 85/1.8 (I have heard rumor of a Sigma 85/1.4 coming out... sounds interesting). Perhaps a 60mm to 100mm macro, but the 28-135 does macro pretty well, and can be used with extension tubes ($160 for a Kenko set) for even higher magnification.

Personally I use longer prime lenses a lot, too. I just added a used 300/4 IS to my kit. A lot of people really like the 200/2.8 II, I just wish it had I.S.

Speaking of which, I really like I.S. and have been using some lenses with it for many years. However, I feel it's most useful on 70mm, 100mm and longer lenses. I just don't find it very necessary on shorter focal lengths, especially as cameras become more and more capable of high ISOs. It's not very helpful on macro lenses, either. But, if a lens happens to have it, so long image quality isn't negatively effected by the additional optical elements needed by it and the lens isn't higher priced as a result, what the heck... I'd certainly take I.S. on any lens.

In a later post you suggest you might be offering photo services of some sort. Well, that brings up another thing that will effect your budget...

If you are shooting for pay and taking on jobs, you really shouldn't have fewer than two camera bodies. You might be able to finish the job you have commited to do if a lens breaks or a flash craps out... But if you only have one camera and it breaks, you are out of business and going to have a very upset client. If you plan to take on work, you might be better looking for a pair of used XTi's or something equivalent.

Last edited by amfoto1 : 18th of August 2009 (Tue) at 13:10.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #11
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

Thanks for the writeup. By photo services I mean little side jobs, shooting cars, parties, whatever, nothing major requiring equiptment which I know I can't afford.

I'm also getting a suggestion of a used 5Dmk1 and a 50mm 1.4 to start and then work with that and build up (start from the ground up basically). However, I don't know if for me a 5Dmk1 is overkill of a body.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #12
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

Alan, you should look into Nikon's AF system a bit more. It's actually color sensitive as well as shade sensitive, so it can continue tracking an object through an area that has other objects in the way so long as the color and shading remains different enough to differentiate between the subject and the other objects in frame.

The center cluster is all f/5.6 cross points, the outer clusters are all f/5.6 sensitive but I believe only horizontal sensitive, and you can spot meter on any one of the 51 AF points due to it using a small RGB CCD for metering as well as standard metering zones. That CCD is also what ties in with the AF's ability to track based on color.

Just a few of the reasons I'm switching over when I have the cash for a D3. The D300 has the same system, it just lacks a dedicated AF processor. Honestly, if I were starting fresh knowing what I know about both systems now, I would go with Nikon, and this for me isn't just grass is greener phenomenon; I have experience with both systems.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

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Originally Posted by Thalagyrt View Post
Alan, you should look into Nikon's AF system a bit more. It's actually color sensitive as well as shade sensitive, so it can continue tracking an object through an area that has other objects in the way so long as the color and shading remains different enough to differentiate between the subject and the other objects in frame.

The center cluster is all f/5.6 cross points, the outer clusters are all f/5.6 sensitive but I believe only horizontal sensitive, and you can spot meter on any one of the 51 AF points due to it using a small RGB CCD for metering as well as standard metering zones. That CCD is also what ties in with the AF's ability to track based on color.

Just a few of the reasons I'm switching over when I have the cash for a D3. The D300 has the same system, it just lacks a dedicated AF processor. Honestly, if I were starting fresh knowing what I know about both systems now, I would go with Nikon, and this for me isn't just grass is greener phenomenon; I have experience with both systems.

You might look at the D700 before you buy a D3.
The Milti-Cam 3500fx processor is really amazing and the 3D 51 point tracking is excellent.

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni...5444/D700.html
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #14
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

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Originally Posted by drdiesel1 View Post
You might look at the D700 before you buy a D3.
The Milti-Cam 3500fx processor is really amazing and the 3D 51 point tracking is excellent.

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Ni...5444/D700.html
I shoot professional sports - NBA photographer; the D700 doesn't quite meet my needs. I'm debating between getting a D700 or a second D3 as a backup to be honest, and am leaning towards a two D3 setup.
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Old 18th of August 2009 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: Semi-experienced shooter needs advice on new gear

What do you think of a 5dmk1 and 50 1.4 combo to start, and then just add glass later. Would be around 1600 or so for the initial cost.
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