Help me choose a beginner DSLR?
November 25, 2009 10:26 AM   Subscribe

What beginner's dslr should I buy?

I'm looking to purchase a camera within the next couple weeks. I have around 600$ to spend, and I'm looking to buy a beginners dslr.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Canon Rebel XSi.

It seems like it has a lot of options for me to learn and Canon has a nice lens selection if I want to buy more.

I've seen other questions on here, as well as numerous online reviews, but I wanted to see if you guys can think of any other options that would be good for me.

Stuff I'm planning on using it for:
Snapshots of friends
Macro(ish) shots
Travel shots(for when I go to Spain this summer)
Probably some informal portraits too

Another camera I was considering was the Nikon D3000, which is geared towards beginners, but I feel like it might be limiting as I get better at photography.

Thanks for your input!
posted by kylej to Technology (42 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't.

Unless you already know which lenses you want, you should get a mid- to high-end digital "point and shoot." Modern P&S cameras have as much manual control as dSLRs, are more compact, and are generally more convenient.

Look at something like the Panasonic LX3, Canon S90 or Canon G11. Only go for a dSLR if you really need the enhanced low-light ability and won't be using a slow kit lens that negates that ability, or otherwise have lens needs that can't be served by a P&S camera.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:32 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should purchase a NikonD40. They are excellent beginner cameras, and with your price range you should be able to pick up an extra lens, since the kit lenses aren't that great. No idea which lens would be good though, sorry.
posted by biochemist at 10:34 AM on November 25, 2009


I don't get that response.

You want to be a semi-serious photographer, right? There is no way to even attempt to do that with a fixed lens.

I have a Nikon D90 and love it, but the Nikon/Canon thing is kind of a personal preference- there are good arguments to be made for both. Do you know anyone who has one you can try to see how you like it? I'm told Canon controls are more idiosyncratic and harder to learn, so don't discount that.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:35 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm planning on buying this lense. I've been shooting with a point and shoot for a while, and I'd really like to buy a camera that would give me a lot more flexibility in shooting.

I've been researching dslr's since this summer (as well as higher-end point and shoots), and I'm pretty sure that I want a dslr.
posted by kylej at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2009


Beginner DSLRs are really only "Beginner" in the sense that they don't cost as much as their more expensive magnesium cousins. They are going to be just as challenging (and fulfilling) to shoot with.

If you can afford the additional cost, you may want to look into the Canon Rebel T1i, as it adds 1080p video to the collection of tools at your disposal. This is a big deal because video shot through the higher end lenses you find on SLRs looks incredible (you can adjust the depth of field which makes it look instantly more professionally produced. Even with mundane home videos.)

Canon and Nikon both make excellent products, and you'll probably be happy either way you go. The only things that might have bearing are control layout and lenses. Stop in a store and try them both in your hand; I like the controls on Canons better than Nikons, but I wouldn't have known this if I hadn't played with them beforehand. And find out what lenses you might want in the long run. Your lenses can stick with you even if you upgrade the camera body in a few years, so it might be worth it to buy from a company who makes the glass you want.
posted by quin at 10:45 AM on November 25, 2009


Seconding the Nikon D40. I have it, my SO has it, and my mother has it. When I bought mine, amazon had a kit deal where you got the body, the normal kit lens, and a 55-200mm zoom lens for much cheaper than buying the body + 2 lenses separately.
posted by kthxbi at 10:46 AM on November 25, 2009


Any which way you look at it, those Canons are pretty darn good and easy to use. Just playing with it while I'm shooting has vastly improved my knowledge of how to adjust settings to take better pictures. When I bought mine (Canon XS) in May the low-down was that buying the model on sale is a good option, as the improvements in the sequential models aren't leaps ahead in technology. And FWIW, my mother teaches digital photography to highschoolers and she's gone through many of those Canons, their menus are all very similar so it's easy to pick up another canon and be ready from the start.
posted by lizbunny at 10:50 AM on November 25, 2009


I have the xSi and I love it. I'd also recommend an external flash. The quality of the pictures I take with the external flash is light years above the quality of the integrated flash. Really. The difference is astounding.
posted by cooker girl at 10:53 AM on November 25, 2009


Quin FTW. The Xsi is a fine camera, but a bit dated in its feature set compared to some of the more recent bodies (which are all a bit more expensive, but will let you do more cool stuff). I like the T1i, which I think has a version of the same sensor in my 5D Mark II. If so, the low light performance is really amazing. I don't know what experience you have so far, but you can get shots at 3200 iso on those sensors that look as good as 800 iso on earlier DIGIC sensors. Even if you're just taking shots of your friends, being able to do without flash is a great asset to get fantastic pictures. Keep in mind, as well, that the pop up flash on any of these cameras will make your pictures generally look pretty terrible. The high iso performance of the modern sensors plus the 50mm 1.8 II is a great combination (though I would STRONGLY recommend the 50mm 1.4 instead or as soon as you can afford it; the colors and contrast are incredible--yes, these things really vary by lens).

You're not telling us you'll be doing anything particularly esoteric, so really any DSLR system will be fine. It's all a matter of personal taste, but make sure you try out all of your options in the store so you avoid the cost of switching systems down the road when you realize Canon is better (I kid, I kid).

If you're in a denser area, you can probably find lenses used on Craigslist. I've bought a lot of lenses that way, and I've saved a lot.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:56 AM on November 25, 2009


and I'd really like to buy a camera that would give me a lot more flexibility in shooting.

What sort of flexibility?

The 50mm 1.8 is a nice lens, but won't be very much different from the LX3 zoomed all the way out. It is faster, but you haven't indicated that low-light photography is interesting. How do you feel limited by your current camera? What do you want to do, but can't?

As others have said, any Canon or Nikon dSLR will be fine. If you must have a dSLR, get the least expensive one you can find - maybe a d70 from EBay.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2009


BTW, I would avoid the Nikon D40. It lacks the AF motor you need to drive many used Nikkor AF lenses and has only a single control dial. It is about as close to a P&S dSLR body as you can get, but you still have to live with the bulk of a dSLR.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2009


I've got the Rebel XSi and it's an amazing camera. A P&S will never give you the kind of shutter speed and responsiveness that a DSLR has. Also: don't get the kit lens. Get either the 17-85 or the 28-135. And a lens hood and a nice bag to carry everything in it.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:32 AM on November 25, 2009


Seconding the advice to go to a camera store and try all the ones you are considering. Hold them, take pictures, etc. I went to the store thinking I was going to buy a Nikon D40 but tried the Canon because someone gave me this exact advice - and what do you know, I found the Nikon awkward but the layout and size of the Canon fit my hands perfectly. So I bought the Canon, and I LOVE it. (Mine is, I think, the XS, not the XSi, but I think they're fairly similar.)

I use the kit lens sometimes, but I have the 50mm 1.8 lens you linked to and I adore it madly. I use it for 95% of my pictures. I can take great pictures indoors without a flash with it, or I can do all sorts of artistic shallow depth of field effects.
posted by oblique red at 11:43 AM on November 25, 2009


I'm fifthing the T1i as a great entry-level modern DSLR camera with video support (with some limitations in 1080p mode). The EF lenses are all forward compatible, so after you have sunk the money into the 50mm f/1.0L, buying a new body doesn't seem as expensive. Don't buy any expensive EF-S lenses since they won't move forward to the 5D or 1D bodies if you do decide to go full frame in the future.

For very, very low cost, however, you can buy an older model like the Canon 20D to get started with. Even the older 8-12 MP bodies produce beautiful photos compared to a P&S (my 2 MP Nikon D1 was pretty good, too!). Craigslist is a good place to look, but be aware that many sellers don't realize quite how quickly the bodies depreciate and may be asking far too much for their old kits. $300-$400 is plenty with the kit lens and accessories.

The Micro 4/3 cameras are also rather attractive due to their size, but the lens selection is not as good as either the Canon EF or the Nikon FX mounts.
posted by autopilot at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2009


Your tentative choice is solid; feel confident going ahead with your decision. I will mention two things to consider.

First, I would stick with either nikon or canon (I have canon myself). They have the best line up of lenses. Understand the limitations with the Nikon entry level cameras (lack of AF motor). Basically, many of the older primes will not work with it (including Nikons 50 1.8). You should also know that Nikon makes a 35 f1.8 lens that will autofocus on its beginner dslrs. This is a fantastic lens and is only $200 (if you go nikon).

Second, I would strongly recommend checking out some books on photography (I would suggest Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" and maybe his "Learning to See Creatively" if you need more beginner level help.
posted by poyorick at 12:10 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You may want to consider Pentax's new K-x entry level DSLR. Pentax has a rep for very sturdy and usable cameras and this model will use all of Pentax's old bayonet mount lenses, available used for very little money and equal to anything by Canon or Nikon.
posted by tommyD at 12:17 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The entry level Nikon and Cannon dSLRs have historically been very close in quality, and the kit lenses are usually decent starters. I have a Nikon D70 (their entry-level from a few years ago) and am very happy with it. Every year or so Nikon and Cannon seem to trade off in terms of who has the best sensor (at least for what I care about: low-light/high ISO performance). Either camera will work very well and will be much better than a point and shoot in the following areas: time from power on to first shot fired (near zero for dSLRs), time to focus (fraction of a second), and low-light performance.
posted by zippy at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2009


It really doesn't matter what you get. They all operate the same, and pretty much anything from the original Canon Digital Rebel on is better than 35mm. I use Canon personally, but Nikon is fine. Just buy whatever feels best in your hands and don't sweat the details. The differences between the different models are pretty irrelevant unless you specifically need something (and you don't starting out).

I would get a used body for a reasonable price, spend most of your money on some lenses, and upgrade the body down the line when you have a better idea of what you need (if anything). Buying your first SLR is more about choosing a lens line than getting a camera. Pick a lens or two that sounds good and then get the body with whatever money you have left over.
posted by bradbane at 12:31 PM on November 25, 2009


Seconding b1tr0t and suggesting looking at the LX3. I have this camera and am very happy with it, control is slr like. My wife has a Canon dSLR, however due to portability the LX3 gets more outings. Also given your budget you'll probably be using the kit lense for a while.
posted by laukf at 12:42 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another XSi owner here, and I'm very happy with it. I compared it to the D60, and I liked the Canon feel a bit better. Didn't like the D40 at all.

I had (and sold) the EF 50mm f/1.8 II that you are looking at. It lives up to the billing it gets, but you might find it a bit long for a 'normal' lens on a crop body. I'm replacing it with the EF 35mm f/2 when I can, and I'm using the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro in the meantime. The kit lens is actually alright-ish if you don't want to buy a new lens while you learn.

Also consider renting lenses. I rented the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM on two occasions and it *really* helped me to plan what lenses I want to purchase in the future, while saving some money in the short run.

Seconding an external Speedlite as an option. I went with the 580EX II, and no regrets at all. Also, if you want to go off-camera with your flash be aware it's much, much easier on the Nikons unless you want to move up to the new 7D, but that's triple the price of the XSi body.

Feel free to MeFi mail me if you have specific questions. I am doing the exact same thing you are, but I'm a few months ahead of you. I've been blogging my learning experience too, and the link is in my profile if you are interested.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:52 PM on November 25, 2009


p.s. Point and shoots are point and shoots, and DSLRs are DSLRs. Don't kid yourself that they are interchangeable in any way. It's more than manual settings that makes a DSLR what it is.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:54 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really, when considering either the Nikon or Canon route, remember that you're buying into a lens line as their lenses are not interoperable. I personally own a Nikon D90 but there are some rather amazing Canon lenses that Nikon does not offer (50 F/1.2, 85 F/1.2 I'm looking at you). I'm of a mostly Nikon family and I wanted the option to share lenses, so I went that route. Both have their quirks and either can take great pictures in the hands of an experienced photographer. You really should play with one in person to see which you like better. Personal recommendations and nitpicking over features mean nothing if they don't have any use for you. If just starting, with the expectations of improving your photographic skills, I would get a cheap body of a brand to your liking and look for lens that can do the kinds of pictures you need. Lens generally retain value, bodies do not.

Snapshots of friends - Generally a wide angle prime or zoom (35mm, 50mm, 18-55+mm kit lens zoom, 24-70mm)

Macro(ish) shots - most modern lenses can focus fairly close to the subject, though there are designated macro lenses that let you put the subject almost on the lenses itself. they aren't cheap and usually specialized.

Travel shots(for when I go to Spain this summer) - when I think of this, the 18-200mm is more or less an ideal candidate. Anything that lets you go wide (18mm) to at least 105mm is convenient to just have without having to swap lenses.

Probably some informal portraits too - Longer length zoom (55-200, 80-300), longer length prime (85mm F/1.4, 105mm F/2.8 - expensive)

Regarding the D3000 being geared toward beginners, I believe it has all the hand-holding helpful software built in (a la manual, that most people do not read), but can probably turn off the training wheels once you know what features do what. Take a look at the kinds of pictures people can churn out with a D3000 on Flickr. Or any other camera for that matter.
posted by liquoredonlife at 12:54 PM on November 25, 2009


I was in the same boat a little while ago and went with a Pentax K100D Super ... and haven't looked back. I'd try out a Pentax just to see how it compares. There are loads of lenses around for the Pentax K mount, as TommyD points out.

I use mine with a Sigma 30mm 1.4, and a Sigma 18mm-55mm lens as well.
posted by Admira at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2009


Listen to b1tr0t and laukf, unless you can try the Xsi or the D3000 with a better-than-kit lens, and you know you won't be bothered by the weight and you'll actually get the good lens.

Otherwise, you'll take more pictures with something like the Panasonic LX3. Taking more pictures is more important than taking a few pictures that may have better technical specs (less noise, better in-camera white balance) but worse composition, because you don't practice as much with your big fancy SLR.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:21 PM on November 25, 2009


What about actually seeing the image you take in an optical viewfinder? What about 14-bit RAW and the ability to alter WB and EV in post? What about improved sensors? Integrated sensor cleaners? On and off-camera lighting options? The option to change your lens later? Depth of field preview? Larger usable ISO range?

I'm sorry, a DSLR and a P&S are not the same thing. kylej has already said that he is looking for a DSLR.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:28 PM on November 25, 2009


Yeah, it sounds like the OP has a P&S and now wants a DSLR for the additional "flexibility in shooting." Let's stay on topic. And, for what it's worth, I've got the LX3, and I would MUCH rather shoot with my 5 year old Digital Rebel XT than the Lumix any day of the week. They simply don't compare.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:10 PM on November 25, 2009


Just dropped in to give Pentax a thumbs up. I bought the K100D a few years back and it's been a perfect entry-level model. I'm not sure what the current iteration is, but after extensive research and hands-on testing, it was the best bang for my buck back in 2007. No complaints whatsoever, and the lenses being backward compatible plus the built-in shake reduction definitely sold me. It's performed like a champ during my trips to Asia and well beyond my expectations overall.
posted by xiaolongbao at 3:43 PM on November 25, 2009


Don't neglect Olympus or Sony too. If you are flexible about using older lenses, the new Sony products are compatible with all the old Konica/Minolta lenses.

I'm still a Canon whore, but I'm not blind to the options out there!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 4:19 PM on November 25, 2009


Look for a serious deal on an entry level DSLR from any manufacturer. There are no longer any obvious dogs out there.

Unless an alternative brand offers specific features or an especially great user experience in your own hands and at your own eye, go with Nikon or Canon.

Very few photographers "outgrow" their current cameras; they just "outlust" their current cameras.

From even a marginally serious photographer's point of view, the cheapest DSLR is way better on its worst day than the best p&s camera in on it's best.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:33 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nth-ing the 'check it out in your hands before you decide' comments (unless you have a compelling reason to go to one make over another e.g. access to lenses) - comfort & ease of use is everything when it comes to a DSLR. As I've mentioned here somewhere before, holding one in my hands was what made me choose a Nikon over a Canon, despite having free access to some good Canon lenses. And for holdability / usability, the Pentax K100D came in second ahead of the Canon for me.

Also, I'm going to drop in a bit of love for the Nikon 18-55 kit lens. Despite the fact that it is a kit lens, and therefore cheap, plastic-y, and much maligned by lens snobs, it's actually pretty damned good - certainly miles better than the Canon equivalent. Keep away from the extreme focal lengths & apertures (good advice regardless), and it will surprise you. No, it's not as good as a good prime (e.g. the Nikon 35mm or 50mm 1:1.8), but it'll beat the pants off a cheap prime when it comes to distortion or CA (disclaimer: I'm not a 'bokeh-freak'; any prime with good aperture construction will beat it there). My only real bitch about it is the focus ring which, in common with most consumer autofocus lenses regardless of brand, is a) too small, b) in the wrong place, and c) has too little movement.
posted by Pinback at 4:44 PM on November 25, 2009


Really, when considering either the Nikon or Canon route, remember that you're buying into a lens line as their lenses are not interoperable.

There is lots of truth to this, although it is possible to use many Nikon lenses on Canon bodies with very low-cost mechanical adapters since the Canon EF mount has a 44mm flange focal distance while Nikon's F-mount uses 46.5mm. This 2.5mm space is sufficient to fit an adapter while retaining the ability to focus at infinity.

When I made the jump from a Nikon D1 to a Canon 20D, I held onto my 70-200mm f/2.8 and used it with such an adapter. It came in handy again when I started shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II and had to dealing with the lack of manual aperture control in the early firmware.
posted by autopilot at 4:50 PM on November 25, 2009


p.s. Point and shoots are point and shoots, and DSLRs are DSLRs. Don't kid yourself that they are interchangeable in any way. It's more than manual settings that makes a DSLR what it is.

but you might also argue: cameras are cameras, and photographers are photographers. Don't kid yourself that they are interchangeable in any way. It's more than equipment that makes a photographer.

My old photography tutor restricted himself to one camera + one lens + one film type up until a couple of years back. His first digital camera was a Panasonic LX-2 and the prints he makes with that sell for $3000.

But back to the question, a DSLR, more than a point & shoot, will allow you to experiment and broaden your horizons. The Canon entry level range (anything below the 50D) offers more to a serious enthusiast than the Nikon D3000; more external controls and no problems with lens compatibility. The Rebel T1i is basically the Rebel XSi with video and a higher resolution LCD screen. Get the XSi if you can live without these features. The T1i sensor has very little to do with the sensor in the Canon 5D MKII.

If however, you are only interested in using a DSLR as a high quality point and shoot than the D3000 is a better proposition. It is competitive on price (in Australia) and the control layout generally seems less confusing to novice users.

The stabilised Canon and Nikon kit lenses are all of a decent quality but understand that they are general purpose lenses and therefore compromise optical quality. The Canon 17-85mm is a waste of money unless you are rough with your gear; it is a bit more solid. Don't get the Canon 28-135mm, you may as well buy the 18-200mm or the new 18-135mm if you want more zoom. Have a look at third party lenses.
posted by quosimosaur at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I see that no one has mentioned the option of buying a refurbished camera. You can buy a mid-range dSLR refurbished for not much more than a new entry-level dSLR. I really think it is worth getting a mid-range camera over an entry level camera. If you're pretty good with technical things, you will have no trouble using a mid-range camera. It's not that hard. The ergonomics and button layout of the Canon xxD (e.g. 40D, 50D) is much better than the Canon Rebels. Also, the autofocus and frame rate (important for shooting sports, wildlife, pets and children) is much better on mid-range models -- at least for Canon, not sure about Nikon. The mid-range models still have scene modes if you're worried about the camera being beginner friendly. But let's face it. If you buy a dSLR, you should be using only the program, manual, aperture, and shutter modes. That's the whole point of having it.

You can buy a refurbished Canon 40D body for $700 from Adorama. I bought this same model, refurbished from Adorama and I have had no problems. Refurbished cameras have been throughly checked out at the Canon factory. The warranty is only 90 days, but people (see reviews at Adorama) have not reported any problems.

I'm really happy that I decided to go with the mid-range model as my first dSLR despite having only shot on automatic with point-and-shoots before. I would have quickly outgrown an entry model. Despite being two years old, the Canon 40D is an amazing camera and a steal at $700.
posted by qmechanic at 6:54 PM on November 25, 2009


OK, I was wrong. A few people reported problems, but most people buying the refurbished Canon 40D at Adorama have been very happy.
posted by qmechanic at 7:02 PM on November 25, 2009


I bought the Rebel XSi with the kit lens today for around 520$ (using bings cashback on newegg)

Thanks for your input!
posted by kylej at 7:08 PM on November 25, 2009


If you look at used cameras, only seriously consider refurbished, unless you really know the seller, and how much they used the camera. The shutters don't last forever. The midrange are built better. This is especially good if you get any big lenses.

Question your interest in that 50mm lens you linked. It won't give you 50mm shots on a Canon dslr (except the full format ones). The sensor is smaller, so the length on the lens isn't what you get. My partner got a 50mm for his 40d. The lens is fabulous, but a little too long.

His first dslr was a 10D. He got the 100-400 L/IS lens when we were headed for Kruger Park (and managed to get the money shot we bought the lens for, a leopard, lit only with a spotlight). But the body failed. After several return trips to Canon, they gave him, free, a 40D body. The 10D body kept failing after a few shots with that big lens. I suspect the body wasn't quite up to the lens. The Rebels are built even lighter.

Self-cleaning of the sensor seems quite worth buying the more recent bodies.
posted by Goofyy at 7:28 PM on November 25, 2009


The high iso performance of the modern sensors plus the 50mm 1.8 II is a great combination (though I would STRONGLY recommend the 50mm 1.4 instead or as soon as you can afford it; the colors and contrast are incredible--yes, these things really vary by lens).

This, this, a thousand times this. Get the best EOS Rebel camera you can afford (I have the Kiss X2, which I'm pretty sure is called the Rebel XSi in the US) and buy the 50mm ƒ/1.8 II. I got it for ¥7,000, then upgraded a year later to the ƒ/1.4 version (and sold the old one to a friend). COULD NOT BE MORE PLEASED WITH MY CAMERA AND LENSES.

Also, disregard anything anyone might tell you about getting a fixed-lens thing. You want a cheap SLR with a fast (i.e. large-aperture) lens if you want to get into Serious Photography, if only because you'll be giddy with excitement for a while that you can get those fantastic blurry backgrounds that look like Serious Photography all of a sudden. Cameras with a lens built in don't allow you the opportunity to upgrade, which is a major sticking point for me now that I've gotten into this whole field. I just leave my camera on Av (Aperture priority) mode with the aperture open as wide as it gets and just have a ball.

Oh, and get a tripod. There's only so much mileage you can get out of a fast lens in low light situations, and the flash is actually more useful in daytime (when you're shooting toward the sun), because you'll just wind up washing out colors. With a tripod, you can shoot at low ISO speeds (because that's the way god intended — as good as the noise reduction is on modern cameras, ISO 100 is going to look better than, say, 800 no matter what you do).
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:29 PM on November 25, 2009


Whoops, missed that you already bought the camera. Grab the Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8 II as soon as you can, because it is a crazy fun lens to work with if you're used to point-and-shoot cameras. You can afford it, having gotten the camera kit for $520 anyway! : )
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:34 PM on November 25, 2009


Memail me if you are interested in a cheap Nikon D80 in very good condition.

In my opinion the most important thing is to get a camera with a full frame sensor. Half frame sensors turn your 50mm camera into something very different. 50mm is natural perspective (there's some brouhaha about this, but really...), and 25mm is wide angle. All digital cameras will eventually be full frame sensor, as this this improves picture quality even more than megapixel count. You might as well buy lenses forever for your beginning camera.

In my opinion, don't go for a zoom. A 50mm lense (or any set mm lense) will teach you how to see at that perspective by second nature, whereas a zoom will only teach you how to crop, not how to see. Someone above said that if you are a serious photographer you will own a zoom lense. This is simply not true of any artistic photographer you have ever heard of. They all used one camera and lense almost exclusively. I can think of one artistic project by Meyerowitz using a zoom to shoot nyc buildings, but this is really an exception case.

If you don't use a mm specific lense, you will not grow as a photographer in my opinion. 50mm is wonderful, because its very close to what you see normally. In my opinion, this further helps you develop a photographer's eye. You can look at things in somewhat the way your camera sees them.
posted by xammerboy at 12:06 AM on November 26, 2009


All digital cameras will eventually be full frame sensor, as this this improves picture quality even more than megapixel count. You might as well buy lenses forever for your beginning camera.

I completely disagree.

The new EOS 7D's high-ISO noise is pretty much equivalent to the 5D MkII, and the new 1D MkIII is a 1.3x crop, and that's Canon's flagship.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:03 PM on November 26, 2009


Err, sorry, the 1D MkIV is 1.3x crop.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2009


Here's some pointers. You already have your camera, so next:
  • Buy a 50mm fixed straight away, F1.8 is good enough. Don't spend the extra bucks for F1.4 or lower. It will probably be the lens you use for most things. It's small, you have to move around to get a good shot, but it's awesome in low light conditions.
  • Get Adobe Lightroom, it's awesome for editing your RAW photos.
  • After the 50mm purchase I bought an external flash so I could do some night photography without the ugly full-on on-camera flash effect.
To people with the same question visiting this thread:

Canon or Nikon doesn't matter, although I like Nikon's onscreen UI and button setup much better. I own a Nikon D60, second hand, it's great. Bought it from a trustworthy acquaintance who outgrew that camera and bought a really expensive one.
posted by wolfr at 1:29 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


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