dSLRs Again...

Submitted: Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 18:40
ThreadID: 56409 Views:2999 Replies:15 FollowUps:15
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Hi All,

Looking at getting a first dSLR mainly for taking pics of kids and
Landscape photography while on long trips like Simpson/etc...

I can't decide between Fujifilm S5 Pro (with Nikkor VR 18-200mm lens) and Cannon EOS 40D (with 17-85mm EF IS USM Lens + may be some other lens?)

Planning to keep a camera for 10+ years if possible. Any advice which way to go and what accessories I might need from the start so I can get them all in one go would be much appreciated.

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Reply By: Member - David P (VIC) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 18:52

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 18:52
probably either depending on features of each, my pref Cannon for what its worth...silverback
AnswerID: 297240

Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:00

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:00
It's personal choice, you will find people who use Nikon will stay with Nikon and people with other brands do the same.

We use a Canon 40D and have always used Canon.

Start readng reviews on the net and make up your own mind.

10+ years is a long time to keep anything electronic, we had a 20D and skipped the 30D (not a big improvement over the 20D) and went for a 40D as there was alot of improvements.

Regards Richard
AnswerID: 297242

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:11

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:11
I have a Nikon D200 not only because of its features but because I have long fingers and found the Canon hard to use because of its smaller size.
The Nikon also has the ability to record your GPS position with the addition of a bluetooth GPS receiver
The Nikon VR lens are excellent but not cheap.
Whichever you buy make sure its an Aussie version from an accredited seller and not an Asian import.
I got mine that way off Ebay and bought my lens in USA with a world wide warranty.
The cameras only have a warranty in country of origin (or where you bought it)
Really good reviews here
AnswerID: 297244

Follow Up By: jskogsta - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:03

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:03
Yeah; I just bought a Red Hen Systems D2X-GPS thing for my Nikon D200. Looking forward to testing that out.. it works with a Garming Geko 201/301 gps (which I bought for $79 USD in the US @ Ebay).

Have a look here: http://www.redhensystems.com/products/video_collection_hardware/d2x-gps.asp
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:43

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:43
Ive got this one much neater and u can have the GPS in your pocket

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Follow Up By: jskogsta - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 23:01

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 23:01
Yeah, I considered that one too... but fell down on the other one. Did not want to carry the gps separately. Also the Geko 301 was pretty cheap, so went with that option... not tried it yet though, and looking forward to that.

How do you find using the GPS encoded pictures? Getting some decent value of using that information? How do you use it ... any tips and pointers would be valued ..

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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 07:34

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 07:34
Well apart from a few trial pics I havent really used it. I intend taking off around the block anytime soon and will use it then so I know exactly where the pics are taken.
I bought it a while ago when the $ was 82c thinking it was a good buy and then it went to 95c so missed out badly.
Not to worry. The reason I got that one is that I already had a bluetooth Gps so didnt need your one.
Did u get the Iswhere software which allows u to place the pics in Google earth if not can give it to u.
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Follow Up By: jskogsta - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:37

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:37
Ah! That figures.. mileage varies. Both systems should work flawlessly (at least that's what the reviews are saying... ;-). Was worried that it would 'bump' into my head while shooting, but alas no...

.. yeah; got the IsWhere sw. Not tried it yet... is it good? Can you take a batch of pictures and then create an 'album' with a map overview w/markers for each pictures?

.. do you have any pc/mac based applications that can do the same? The coolest thing would be to have a "Google Maps" type overview for your picture management tool (Aperture etc) which gives you options of having markers for the gps encoded pictures.. then select them that you want ..

.. coupled with 'attributes' that would be an awsome feature.
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:33

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:33
Digital cameras arnt really made for 10+ years they would be well and truly defunct by then I mena look at a computer or digital camera from 10 years ago and ask yourself how usefull it would be to you.
its the lenses which dont become obselete so spend your money on those more so than the body
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Reply By: KSV. - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:36

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:36
In fact all (and this mean all) modern DSLR give you good results if used properly and lens is by far most important “hardware” factor. Your choice of hyper zoom 18-200 does not excite to me – they as any compromise does not excel in any area except of being hyper zoom. Forget about all this stupid review with resolution, noise, dynamic range, JPG quality and focus accuracy – any DSLR can deliver excellent pix and all system has very good (read expensive) and incredibly dodgy (read cheap) lenses. You need to enjoy your toy and thus it need to be comfortable to you, so go to the store and try to handle and look via viewfinder. Also remember that SLR been develop with changing lens in mind – this is their nature and blood. So if it not appealing to you to change them, but you rather like to have one universal solution, I would recommend look somewhere else. Buying DSLR and stick to one only lens is like buying 4WD as a shopping trolley. Still advantage over sedan – you can put more groceries inside, but do you really need such advantage?

Good luck in your choice.
AnswerID: 297265

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:15

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:15
Have a look at actual images from 18-200 or 18-250 zooms before making generalisations like 10:1 zooms just can't be good.
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Follow Up By: KSV. - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:27

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:27

They can be even better then images from primes made in 40-s, and surely better then majority cheap dodgy kit zooms, but about any prime will beat any zoom to death. And hyperzooms with their mediocre variable aperture and questionable usability in extreme focal ranges not even contenders for such competition. Some may see value for money in them (i.e. one tickets for all venues), but from purely photographic point of view they nowhere as good as proper moderate ranged constant aperture zooms, forget about modern primes.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:38

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:38
You're living in the past - or you just flatly refuse to look at the many magnificent photos from 10:1 zooms you can see for yourself on flickr, pbase etc.
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Follow Up By: KSV. - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 10:32

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 10:32
Probably I am living in the past (not that bad, actually) or probably we have different criteria to “good” photos. Would I upset you if I say that B&W photos from film looks far more attractive to me then color ones? Or if I say that too deep DOF never attract me? And generally those shoots what I really like been shoot by primes with extreme open aperture (2.0 and more)?

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 12:57

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 12:57
I agree that really wide apertures is an area where wide-range zooms just can't help.

As well as -
- Really wide angle 10 to 16 mm
- Macro

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Follow Up By: KSV. - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 13:16

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 13:16
Then we have consensus, because I have not said that they totally useless in middle range for general photography :-).

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Reply By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:46

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 20:46
Have a look at this site for lots of photographic information:

Ken Rockwell

The guy himself is 'interesting' and has very strong views, uses both Canon and Nikon and gives some fairly good advice on various aspects of photography.

An interesting perspective on the value of photographic equipment:

Why your camera does not matter

Not trying to discourage you from spending your hard earned money on great toys, but I guess you need to be aware that it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the person and even the best camera in the world will take rubbish in the wrong hands. I cringe everytime I hear someone say to me...."what a great photo. You must have a fantastic camera..." It's akin to complimenting a chef on his food by informing him what a great oven he must have.

My best photos come from a camera manufactured in 1972 and for serious work, I would use this over the Nikon I have anyday. For taking pics of the kids etc....yep, the digital Canon/Nikon is great, but for any serious landscape work, you still can't beat larger format film.


AnswerID: 297269

Follow Up By: Andrew (Bris) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 10:49

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 10:49
The one person you should ignore completely is Ken Rockwell.

The guy is a total joke. Use his information for a laugh, and nothing more.

Quotes from some of his workshops -

"My 14rmm lens makes this room look much larger than it is. The restaurant has many other rooms to compensate for this."

"Since my 5D isn't smart enough to set contrast automatically as my Nikons do, sometimes I forget to check it and make shots with the wrong setting."

"The Canon 70-300 IS works great for panning, and I haven't even read the instructions on how to use it. I used it in IS MODE I, and I suspect that I should have used IS MODE II for panning. I don't know, "

"There isn't much out in the desert. "

"The key is to be sufficiently observant to recognize that it's time to shoot"... "I don't need no stinking tripod, even though I always have one in the car. In cases like this I use the Continuous shutter mode and hold the shutter button down long enough to fire several shots. I later select the sharpest. "

"As usual, I had to use my left hand, held up and to the right, to block the sun from shining into the lens. I held my 5D in my right hand."

"I used DxO Optics Pro software to stretch my fisheye image back to a conventional, flat image. The image from the camera was the usual useless curvy image. "

"My 14mm lens has ghosts, which I eliminated by standing so the sun went behind the pole. In retrospect, even though looking at the sun leads to blindness, ghosts would have added more irony to the photo."
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 21:27

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 21:27

Thanks for the followup. Whilst I don't agree with everything Ken Rockwell says....after all he is a 'septic tank' and prone to a little exaggeration and 'carry-on', there is quite a bit of interesting and informative stuff on his site. At least he has 'put himself out there' with lots of information and welcomes criticism. I can vouch for the fact that he will personally answer emails.

In your post above, you spend considerable effort in 'knocking' someone who has put a HUGE effort into making lots of information available, but perhaps missed the point that I was making in MY post. Getting a great camera will not necessarily improve one's photography. There are lots of crap photographers out there with thousands of dollars worth of gear, who would be better off with some simple equipment and some education and/or training, followed by a few years of practice to justify the expenditure of that money. That being said, people are, of course, free to spend their money on what they desire.

I respect your views on him, but would like some further qualification of where those seemingly ridiculous comments came from. Do you have a link that I can have a look at?

I read Ken Rockwell's stuff in the same way I read ohters'. Need to sort out what is garbage and what is OK and as per my post, I concur with his comments about the quality of photographs not always relative to the perceived quality of the camera.

Just my .02


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Reply By: RalfR - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:13

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:13
As a dyed in the wool Pentax user, I'd suggest Pentax K10D for the following reasons -

Now being discounted (<$1000) due to release of K20D
Can use beautiful manual lenses fron the 70's & 80's
Easy camera to use
It's a Pentax

AnswerID: 297299

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:14

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:14
If you buy a Pentax or Sony you will get Image Stabilisation in the body - so EVERY lens you attach will be image stabilised.

If you buy the K10D it is weather sealed. If you buy the K20D you alos get 14 megapixels and up to 6400iso.
AnswerID: 297301

Reply By: Member - Reiner G (QLD) 4124 - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 23:44

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 23:44
Nikon D40X. Best lenses and good value for money right now. I bought one around Christmas with two lenses 28-80 and 80 - 200 I think for $1250. I red a few write ups and the Nikon did very well. Battery life is excellent, at about 500 shots before recharge.
Great Camera.
AnswerID: 297310

Reply By: Camoco - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 13:05

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 13:05
As a photographic retailer and enthusiast for many years I can still offer an unbiased opinion.
I have an S2 pro and a Canon EOS400D amongst my collection and have also used and sold many more.
I also have an EOS 5 film camera and it is still my choice when taking pro shots.
Whilst you say what you want the camera for now, you may have other uses in mind as well. I suspect that by the mention of the S5.
The S5 has reduced in price recently to an acceptable enthusiast level. The 400D has also recently dropped to a price half of what I paid last year.

I have been tempted to move to the S5 myself but I am still haunted by the S2 and I have never been a Nikon lense enthusiast. The S2 is a good camera and I have taken many shots with it but the percentage of sharp ones is lower than I hoped for. I have been much happier with the sharpness of the Canon lenses.

That said (with no bias) I am happy recommending the 400D for what appears your general requirements. It is a good camera that is easy to use and has many features should you wish to explore them. And it is cheap enough to spend the extra on good lenses.
You would find the S5 would reduce your potential budget for lenses. Bearing in mind the necessity for a comparable flash to complement the package.

Others have mentioned the Pentax K10D and it really is worth a look also. The packages on offer are good value.

If you are not into pro-photography then go the Canon EOS 400D and spend a bit on a couple of good lenses and flash unit + a monopod/tripod for the landscapes.

Everyone will have an opinion and more so after your purchase. Make a choice then stop looking.

The comment above on not needing it to last 10 years is not as it will not be usable is not as true today as it was 5 years ago. I still have a Fujifilm 6900 ($2000 6mp slr lookalike 7+ years ago) that I use most weeks and expect to more many years yet. Todays cameras (the better ones) will be very acceptable in 10 years.

Your choice as listed will still be in use by you in 10+ years time. It wouldn't be worth selling though. But the lenses would still be worth a reasonable amount.

Cheers Cam
AnswerID: 297370

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 16:15

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 16:15
I guess also no camera purchase would be complete without visiting this site

see you in a few days after youve waded through all the info on here for your prospective purchase
AnswerID: 297390

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 07:02

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 07:02
Once you buy a decent DSLR and some good lenses you are generally committed to that brand unless you have plenty of money as a change is expensive.

I'd buy the best glass I could and then decide on the body. I'd never buy kit lenses again as I have a few lying around unused.

I upgraded my body and the lenses still work on the old body, although with Canon, the EF-S lenses will not work on the full frame bodies.

Good luck with your decision.

AnswerID: 297506

Reply By: mfewster - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 08:58

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 08:58
Oh dear, I can’t resist this thread any longer. Sorry, this will be a bit lengthy
In my opinion, what you need should be decided by more consideration of what you want to do with the camera. If you are going to show your photos on TV screens (and that is what most people now do) or if you aren’t going to make prints bigger than A4, then you don’t really need a dslr. You really only see the differences once you start making prints, and bigger prints at that. If that is what you want to do, then a dslr is the only way to go.
Apart from the weight and cost of dslrs, their big drawback for outback photography is the dust their sensors attract like a magnet each time you change the lens. Most models now have some sort of auto sensor cleaning, but it is still a factor in dusty environments. Not a problem for non dslrs.

I now assume you really need a dslr. You listed “landscapes” as an interest and both the lenses you are interested in start at around 17mm. I am guessing that therefore you like wideangle shots of landscapes. There are some technical reasons why wideangle lenses are a bit of a problem for digital cameras, especially when you combine them with a longer zoom. It is all just a question of image quality, but unless you are showing your shots as prints around A4 or bigger, it there isn’t much to worry about.
OK, assuming you do want bigger prints and wide angle shots. I agree completely with those arguing that you will want to choose your lenses first because you will keep them for years and probably change the camera a couple of times. Think about which couple of lenses you want, not just one lens. Reason? Plan on buying (even if you only buy one at this stage) a couple of lenses with the same lens diameter because then you can use the same polarizer on both lenses (and if you are a landscape photographer, you will want a polarizing lens. Really look at the performance of the wide angle when it is at its widest angle. Some zoom lenses are better at the tele end, some at the wide angle. As a general rule, the smaller the zoom range, the better the performance. A really interesting lens is the Sony 16-105 which seems to have been optimized at both ends with its weaker area being in the 70mm range. That extra 1mm wide advantage doesn’t sound much, but it is quite noticeable as well.
Camera bodies. Your suggestion of the Fuji is interesting. Why this one? Most pros who use this camera are wedding specialists and they use it because it has an incredible dynamic range which is a real advantage for this kind of subject. High dynamic range is also very useful for some kinds of shots in landscape photography. If this is why you were looking at the Fuji, also have a look at the better Sony models that have the DRO+ feature. You can extend dynamic range on Canons and Nikons even further by bracketing shots with wide EV which both of these tend to do better than the Sony, but this is complex and technical.
As a landscape shooter who like wideangles, I really like to take them from very low to the ground. If this is your style, the Sony A350 has the best live view system on the market by a mile. You can take shots very low to the ground without having to crawl around on the ground try to look through the viewfinder (I don’t have one of these.) The other way to do it is to get a right angle viewer attachment for about $60 from ebay. (which is what I use). The Seagull brand is mechanically and optically outstanding and is made in China and just as good as the brand names. They come with attachments so they can be used on most brands. This may seem a small thing. For what I shoot, it is very important.
Which brings us back to thinking about exactly what you want the camera for as being the only real way to make the decision.
AnswerID: 297531

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 09:45

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 09:45
"Plan on buying (even if you only buy one at this stage) a couple of lenses with the same lens diameter because then you can use the same polarizer on both lenses (and if you are a landscape photographer, you will want a polarizing lens."

- I've bought a high-quality 77mm Polarising and ND filter. I then user Step-up rings to use it my other lenses that take 62 or 67 mm filters.

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Reply By: mfewster - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 10:12

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 10:12
That's true Mike DID, but you still want to plan the purchases together because you want to know the max diameter size you are going to use. If you buy the smaller diameter lens first and you want a polarizer, buy a polarizer that will fit the larger size of the lens you intend buying. You will need a ND filter on both anyway to protect that expensive glass. Even then, you need to check the vignetting that can be an issue with step up rings, especially with wide angles. The whole problem with discussing this issue is that to cover all the bases is a massive topic. Its why I suggested the starting point really needs to be a lot more discussion about what exactly you want to shoot and how you want to view your shots afterwards. The number of photographers who waste huge sums of money on dslrs and never use them for what they are designed to do always amazes me.Topics we haven't covered include low light; inbuilt versus lens image stabilization; action shots; weight you want to carry; etc etc. This topic can go on for ever, its better than toyo versus Nissan.
AnswerID: 297541

Reply By: lc_120man - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 18:32

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 18:32
Thanks everyone for comments and suggestions. I've been
to all those photo review suites before I asked a question...

I've decided to go with Cannon EOS 40D due to cost/value for money, however I now got 3 lenses, flash and a few filters on the purchase list

EF-S 17-85mm
EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM AF
EF 50mm f/1.8 II AF

After reading some comments about getting best lenses,
should I look into getting L type lenses instead of those?

What I want to do with the camera? I don't think I know exactly
at this stage other than what I said before kids and landscape photos. It is like a 4wd - some buy it cause of extra capacity and then it is gets used as it supped to ;)
AnswerID: 297629

Follow Up By: KSV. - Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 11:23

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 11:23
In my view this lens lists is MUCH more attractive and practical then single hyperzoom. “L” series lenses from Canon is premium glass and very good glass indeed. Will you have twice better picture by using twice expensive glass? No freaking way! But just hold properly constructed marvel pays. And they hold value better (relatively, of course). It depends how much you wish to spend. I personally buying only best what I can afford and sure it takes time – I am neither Rockefeller nor Bill . If you do not know what kind of photography you really after it is pays to get cheap sh1tty “kit” lens – it cost close to nothing when you get it with camera and play a bit with it. Then you can figure out what focal ranges most used and invest in good lens of this focal range. Get 50-70mm bright prime - it going to be used for sure for portraits and see with time what you miss. Canon IMHO actually worst value for money – other guys asking less for similar stuff, but it has huge advantage that upgrade path is clear and any glass from their extensive range accessible, although usually dearer then competition.

Good Luck.
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