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-   -   Digital SLR bang for the buck (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/still-crazy/12767-digital-slr-bang-buck.html)

Dylan Couper August 2nd, 2003 06:19 PM

Digital SLR bang for the buck
 
I'm thinking of selling my EOS Elan 7 and stepping up to a digital SLR camera. Can someone give me a rundown of what cameras are good and inexpensive? I am not a professional photography, only a hobbyist, and I'm never going to blow any pictures up to poster size, so I don't need cutting edge super-ultra-megapixels.
My biggest criteria is "cheap, but not garbage".
If there are any great camera models nolonger made (like the Optura Pi of digital SLRs...) I'm interested in those as well.

Thanks!

Rik Sanchez August 2nd, 2003 06:47 PM

Dylan,
here's a great site that has reviews on digital cameras:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html

Jeff Donald August 2nd, 2003 07:26 PM

The other big review site is dpreview.com. Both give excellent information on digicams. Each site has a slightly different slant.

I'm a big fan of G series digicams from Canon. I have a G1 (3mp) and in RAW mode can produce great 8 X 10's. The G2, G3 and G5 are all current models. But there are some pretty good deals on G2's available.

If you want to stay SLR and use the EF lenses you have for your Elan, then look for a deal on a D30. It also will produce gorgeous 8 X 10's (or larger if you shoot RAW).

Adrian Douglas August 2nd, 2003 07:56 PM

Dylan,

Jeff is totally on the money as usual. The G series cameras are great and give you excellent performance for your money, but coming from an SLR you could find it limiting. It all depends on what you want to shoot. I find the lack of lens flexability an issue sometimes. If you can find an affordable deal on a D30 or a D60 then I'd go with that.

Matt Betea August 2nd, 2003 10:50 PM

I would also say the D30 would be the best bet. The price that the used D60's I've seen are still a bit high in my opinion when the 10D is a few hundred more. A clean D30 can be had for about $600 (US).

Bill Ravens August 3rd, 2003 10:07 AM

gotta put a plug in for canon's latest...the 10D. this camera is absolutely astonishing!!! All my old FD lenses work on this body, with an adapter from Canon. There's some question about focusing malfunctions with this camera, but, I haven't expereinced any. It's hi-dollar, but, well worth every cent....and for processing RAW images...go with Capture One LE...well worth the 100 bucks.

Don Berube August 3rd, 2003 10:48 AM

Hi Dylan,

Since you already own Canon EF lenses, sell your Elan body and get the 10D. The going price for a D30 is about $900 and the going price for a D60 is about $1100-1200. If you can get the D30 for significantly less than $900, make sure it is clean and well maintained, then buy it. You'll be one happy puppy.

I would still get the 10D for the power of the DIGIC processor and the 6.2megapixels. The metering in the 10D is more accurate. It shoots faster. It is cleaner. You can easily shoot at 800ISO with the 10D and get clean pix, even 1600ISO works amazingly well.

A good starting point lens for the 10D would be the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens for about $440. A lot of zoom for the money. The Image Stabilizer will enable you to use lower ISO settings and shoot with slower shutter speeds and still be sharp as a tack.

Favorite "L" lenses for this camera are the 16-35mm f/2.8L USM, 24-70mm f/2.8L USM and of course the most popular 35mm still lens of the past 5 years: the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (instant shallow D.O.F.). These are the three lenses you will usually see being used most by the majority of Canon's "Explorers Of LIght" photographers. There's also the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM for people who really want to get in there.

- don

Paul Tauger August 3rd, 2003 12:45 PM

I'll join the chorus and recommend the 10d, as well. I just received mine this week. I had held off buying a digital camera because I felt they didn't compare favorably to traditional film. The 10d is, I think, the first prosumer-level digital camera that rivals film cameras, both in terms of resolution, dynamic range, and color reproduction. It's also a very good camera, regardless of format, i.e. great and flexible AF, exposure, etc. From what I've read, though the D30 and D60 can produce nice images, there is a marked difference between the older cameras and the 10D, which justifies the cost. B&H has the 10D for $1499 with free shipping.

One note, though. Someone else recommended getting a 28mm to 135mm zoom. In the 35mm world, a 28mm lens would be about the maximum wide angle you could go without significant distortion. However, the Canon 10d CMOS sensor (not CCD!) is smaller than the area of a 35mm film frame. This results in an increase in focal length relative to the 35mm equivalent. For the Canon 10d, to determine the equivalent focal length, multiply by 1.6. The 28-135mm zoom on the 10d, becomes the equivalent of a 45-216mm on a 35mm camera. 45mm is darn close to what is considered a "normal," i.e. 1:1 lens on a 35mm, which is usually 50-55mm. In order to get a true wide angle field of view, you need a much "wider" lens to begin with. To approximate 28mm, you'd need a 17.5mm lens. There are 17-35m zoom lens around, but the glass can cost as much as the camera. I bought a Tokina 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 zoom to go with the Canon. It gives me an effective focal length of 30-56mm, which works nicely as "wide to normal." The Tokina is reasonably good glass (though not as good as Canon's) an costs under $200.

Dylan Couper August 3rd, 2003 04:44 PM

Thanks gentlemen!
I don't think I can justify spending the extra money on a 10D right now, but it looks like the D30 might just be right up my alley.

Now, I just have to see about selling my Elan 7...

Don Berube August 3rd, 2003 08:03 PM

>>>>One note, though. Someone else recommended getting a >>>>28mm to 135mm zoom. In the 35mm world, a 28mm lens >>>>would be about the maximum wide angle you could go >>>>without significant distortion. However, the Canon 10d >>>>CMOS sensor (not CCD!) is smaller than the area of a 35mm >>>>film frame. This results in an increase in focal length relative >>>>to the 35mm equivalent. For the Canon 10d, to determine >>>>the equivalent focal length, multiply by 1.6. The 28-135mm >>>>zoom on the 10d, becomes the equivalent of a 45-216mm >>>>on a 35mm camera. 45mm is darn close to what is >>>>considered a "normal," i.e. 1:1 lens on a 35mm, which is >>>>usually 50-55mm. In order to get a true wide angle field of >>>>view, you need a much "wider" lens to begin with. To >>>>approximate 28mm, you'd need a 17.5mm lens. There are >>>>17-35m zoom lens around, but the glass can cost as much >>>>as the camera. I bought a Tokina 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 zoom to >>>>go with the Canon. It gives me an effective focal length of >>>>30-56mm, which works nicely as "wide to normal." The >>>>Tokina is reasonably good glass (though not as good as >>>>Canon's) an costs under $200.

- Quality glass is expensive, has always been expensive and will always be expensive - that's just the way it is. If you want sharp as a tack pictures with a lot of fine and crisp detail, you need a fast lens with a lot of resolving power such as those made by Canon. The faster the better. That will alllow you to use a lower ISO and get a tighter picture all around.
http://www.usa.canon.com/eflenses

I still recommend the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM for those who do not have much cash to spend and want as much lens as they can get for under $500. This lens covers "normal" 50mm, "portrait" 80mm up to "mid-telephoto" 216mm on the 10D -and- it also gives you Image Stabilization which is key for a lens that is not as fast as the f/2.8 rating of Canon's "L" lenses. The IS will allow you to shoot at a lower ISO and minimize blur which might occur from a shaky hand at a lower shutter speed. Canon's Image Stabilization technology is well known to be most effective.

If you have the cash and want the best, get the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM for a wide angle zoom. If anything, get the new Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM before buying a third party lens such as Tokina. Yes, the Tokina lens you mention may be $200 less than the Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM, but it just isn't as good. I guess it boils down to an equation of how much you can afford/ how far you want to go. For professional photogs, nothing less than the best you can afford should be considered if you want to wow your clients.

Based on the many professional photogs who I have spoken to who are using the 10D, the following is the most recommended lens setup:
WIDE Zoom: CANON EF 16-35 f/2.8L USM (25.6 - 56mm with the 10D)
FIXED PORTRAIT: CANON EF 50mm f/1.4 USM (80mm with the 10D)
PORTRAIT Zoom: CANON EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (38.4 - 112mm with the 10D)
TELE: CANON EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (112 - 320mm with the 10D)

Dylan, the D30 is still a much loved camera by many photographers as the images it produces have a certain look. Some photogs call it almost a painted or drawn look with fine detail, but it mostly is due to it being a 3mp camera. Some very high end photographers still use the D30 for that painterly look. Barbara Bordnick is one artist I know of who can squeeze some wonderfully amazing images out of the D30 (when she isn't using her EOS 1DS). If you are looking at a used D60 for $1200, I still would say that for a couple hundred dollars more you get a lot more power with the 10D and the DIGIC processor.

Good luck and please do let us know how you make out.

- don

Ken Tanaka August 3rd, 2003 09:54 PM

Just to add a couple of cents to the lens discussion...

I have been using the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM as the primary lens on my 10D and have just loved it. Even with the 10D's 1.6x focal length factor it's still wide enough for most of my needs, can get close enough to frame subjects very well and auto-focuses extremely fast and accurately with the 10D's 7-point AF system . My only complaint is that it is a mite heavy, but the overall camera still balances well in your hands.

I also picked up a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro which I really like for product shots.

At some point in the near future I'll be shopping for a longer zoom and perhaps eye that 17-40 f/4 lens. But for now I'm pretty happy with my lenses and am having great fun exploring the 10D.

Adrian Douglas August 4th, 2003 08:31 AM

One the subject of lenses for Canon cameras, both digital and film, as Don said the 50/1.4 and 70-200/2.8L are two lenses that are absolute gems. I have the original 28-105 which is a nice lens but the 50/1.4 is the lens that spends the most time on my camera. It's a great piece of glass and extemely good value. For portrait shooting it throws the background out beautifully and the AF is very fast and accurate when wide open. It produces a very smooth bokeh and renders hexagonal flairs, which coupled with it's very fast 1.4 f stop make it a valuable tool.

The 70-200 is another extremely useful lens. It is expensive, although 2nd hand non IS models can be found at good prices just besure to examine it thouroughly. It is heavy, something Ken probabley wouldn't like, but it's performance is well worth the arm workout. This is a fast and accurate lens that is very sharp even wide open. Even at 70mm you can still blur the background to produce great shots. For sports shooting it's and absolute 'must have' and with the mag factor of D30/60 gives you excellent reach with a 2.8 F stop.

Bill Ravens August 4th, 2003 08:38 AM

a quick perusal of the CANON website will show that they've posted lens MTF performance data. it's easy to see which lenses are stellar, and which are not. Stay away from the 70-300...I bought it and sent it back, replaced it with the 70-200 f2.8L...what a beautiful lens this is.

Jeff Donald August 4th, 2003 08:42 AM

MTF charts assume a 35mm frame size. They measure from the center of the image. The 10D (and most others) do not use the full frame. Lenses that show poor corner performance may still be suitable for smaller frame use.

Bill Ravens August 4th, 2003 08:49 AM

Jeff makes a good point....technical data is useless unless you know how to use what's being presented...in fact, it's worse than useless, it will mislead.

BTW, I don't know any other manuf's that publish this data. SIGMA, TAMRON??? are you listening?


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