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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 21st, 2011, 01:40 AM   #1
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Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

I've watched the growth of DSLR with a combination of real interest and curiosity, amazement, admiration for those who do it well, and fret -- fret over all the potential pitfalls. A year ago, I went the XF300/100 route and am very happy with that.

Still, I am really thinking of getting a first DSLR camera at least to dabble with -- at first just on my own, but then perhaps to add into the wedding mix -- (not for the ceremony yet, where audio/focus/long roll all pose lots of challenges to someone without a big crew), but mainly for bridal prep, setting shots, rings, photo shoot, etc.

I'm wondering if folks could weigh in on the best starter video DSLR -- all around -- in the Canon line... 60D ? T3i? 7D?

And, given that, could you recommend 2 starter lenses (again, just for getting feet wet and experimenting). 50 mm prime? Canon 17-55? Tokina 11-16? Any thoughts would be very helpful. Looking to stay around 2K for this initial feet-wet experiment, including the couple lenses if possible. Mainly monopod and glidecam 1000 shots, by the way, to start.

If it helps, my sample reel (with the XF300/100) is below, just in case it helps to see my style:


I thank you -- any and all -- for weighing in.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 04:01 AM   #2
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

price wise , the t2i is still the best choice since the basic features are all there and you got MagicLantern to fiddle with. If budget is a bit stretchable, T3i offers a little more, but nothing that could change your life versus T2i.

The GH2 give a lot better, but it is almost wice the price.
Since the camera body is only30% of the equation, you need to carefully study the complete rig pricing, because lense, shoulder rig, and others accessories can make a huge difference.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 07:07 AM   #3
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

A nice little 'starter' package would be a 600D, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. You could even add a super-wide to that for those amazing steadycam shots - something along the lines of the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 or the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Hmmmm... the 60D vs. the T3i. Any thoughts?

And thanks guys for the help all ready.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Giroud is dead on, bodies come and go but glass you buy for a lifetime.

I just got a Nikon D5100 to add to my Gh1s. I got the Nikon because of the 2X crop of the GHs, making indoors kinda tough using the GHs. I ordered it with with the 18-55 kit lens and am doing my comparison testing this weekend. Already I have seen the crop factor work both against, and then for, the GH1s.

My suggestion would be start with the kit lens for a couple of days of playing around, then look into investing in the glass you feel you need. You will probably find you want that wide zoom, but the 50mm might be too much lens, depending on where you want to use it. You also could find out like I did last night, 55 isn't quite enough, for some situations.

Good luck and welcome to "the dark side", as some around here might consider DSLR shooting. :-)
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Old August 21st, 2011, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Thank you, Chip and all.

Very helpful. It sounds like you are plugging the T3i for starter (if it can be afforded over the T2i). Would I miss the controls of the 60D (for video-sake)? That is, is the couple hundred bucks more for the 60D worth it for video sake?
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Old August 21st, 2011, 01:16 PM   #7
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

The T3i/600D is $300 cheaper than the 60D but still has manual audio control & the articulated LCD screen. It also has the excellent HD 3X crop mode which effectively gives you a telephoto zoom for free. The money that you save on the camera will enable you to buy a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens & still stay within budget. Use a monopod rather than a shoulder rig & get a cheap but useable loupe like this one LCD viewfinder loupes for Canon EOS 60D 600D rebel T3i | eBay (because of the articulated screen of the T3i you need a loupe that mounts on a frame secured by a tripod screw)
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Old August 21st, 2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Thank you, Nigel. I'm with you on the T3i -- that argument makes sense. But would the expensive canon lens you mentioned be as good as getting a couple somewhat cheaper lenses and including a prime in there?
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Old August 21st, 2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Magic Lantern is now available for the t3i/600d - I've loaded it and are playing now - looks sweet!
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Old August 21st, 2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

I am not sure if or how this might translate to Canon but as I was looking at Nikons the "guy" in me LOVED the buttons all over the place on the D7000. The D5100 seemed kinda "whimpy" after you looked at the D7000. I then read two back to back reviews on Amazon that extolled the virtues of the D7000 and then point bank said "but the complexity can be overwhelming to the more novice shooter". I heeded that advice and this D5100 is still complex enough, even though I thought I knew something from using my GH1s.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 05:13 PM   #11
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Very nice show sampler!

I agree with others here. I just started with DSLR myself and chose the 600D mainly because of the flip screen (it is very handy!) Even with the flip screen I can attach a viewfinder for working outdoors. You don't need any screws for the viewfinder as someone else here suggested (at least mine doesn't).

As others have said, the body is only one small component of the price. The lenses are where the $ must be spent. The faster the better. Don't waste your money on anything slower or smaller aperture than f/2.8 unless you add lighting.

I am fortunate that there is a place in town here where I can rent some Canon primes. I recently tried the Canon 16-35 f/2.8 and I would have to say this is one of the most versatile "video" lenses to mount up with a crop sensor camera like the 600D.

With a DSLR it's very important to have good camera stabilization (shoulder support, mono/tripod). With a heavy lens like the one above then you need to think about counterbalancing. Recently I added a 5 pound ankle weight bag to the back of my shoulder rig to balance the camera, rode videomic, and heavy lens. With the counterweight on my back I was able to shoot steadily all day long.

Hope this helps!
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 02:25 AM   #12
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Bakland View Post
Thank you, Nigel. I'm with you on the T3i -- that argument makes sense. But would the expensive canon lens you mentioned be as good as getting a couple somewhat cheaper lenses and including a prime in there?
When I bought my Canon 600D I went cheap & bought the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC instead of the Canon 17-55mm F/2.8 IS as it was half the price of the Canon lens. I returned the Tamron the next day as it was so inferior to a decent Canon lens. The IS was really noisy, the AF was slow, the focus & zoom rings rotate the wrong way, you need to slide the switch from AF to MF when manually focusing or you fight the AF motor. There were probably other things that bugged me that I don't recall now but the Canon lens is just so much better that it is easily worth the money even if it did cost more than the camera. This lens is very good & would likely qualify for Canon's 'L' designation if it were not an EF-S lens. With the 3X HD crop mode of the T3i/600D you can do almost all your shooting with this one lens. If you need something for really low light the Canon 50mm F/1.8 is really cheap although plastic with an awkward focus ring.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 02:29 AM   #13
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Johnston View Post
I am fortunate that there is a place in town here where I can rent some Canon primes. I recently tried the Canon 16-35 f/2.8 and I would have to say this is one of the most versatile "video" lenses to mount up with a crop sensor camera like the 600D.
I have this lens & the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens which I would choose over the 16-35mm any day on a crop mode camera. The 16-35mm is great on a full frame 5D Mk II but compared to the EF-S lens it has a shorter zoom range & lacks IS plus it costs 50% more.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 04:48 AM   #14
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

No doubt the Canon 17-55 IS is a great lens, but in my opinion it is better to save some room in your budget for other lenses. For the same price as the Canon 17-55, you can get the Tamron 17-50 (non-VC version, which is sharper) and a Tamron 70-200 or a Tokina 11-16.

The Tamron 17-50 is a great lens - read some reviews on the web and you'll see it is a favorite amongst those more budget conscious shooters.

As others have said, the one essential accessory is a viewfinder of some kind - this will not only help you to see the screen in bright daylight, but also give you an extra point of contact with the camera for extra stability.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 08:09 AM   #15
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Re: Recommend a starter DSLR to dabble with?

Thank you, guys. Lots to consider here. I definitely see the plus of having a very good quality multi-use lens. Lots to think about. Like I said, I'll start simple and just get my feet wet with work on my own, and see where it takes me. Sounds like, if I am able to afford it, the T3i with the Canon 17-55 plus a prime would not be a bad way to start.

John -- your suggestion is certainly tempting, too. Like I said, lots to consider.
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