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      08-06-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
phozenstone
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Canon T3i or Nikon D5100?

Sorry if this has been beaten to death...but I'm about to pull the trigger on my first DSLR and was wondering what you guys recommend? My budget is $500-700 only and these two cameras seem to be the best ones within my budget. I'm able to get the Canon T3i with 18-55MM lens for about $650 (eBay grey market) or the Nikon D5100 with 18-55MM lens for $580 (Sears). For all the camera guru's out there, which would you recommend for a beginner (I'm mainly going to use it indoors to take pictures of my baby). I'll also be looking to get a cheap 55-200MM lens to take with me on vacation - I've found a Nikon 2156 lens for the D5100 for about $85 used on CL - good deal?
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      08-06-2012, 04:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by phozenstone View Post
Sorry if this has been beaten to death...but I'm about to pull the trigger on my first DSLR and was wondering what you guys recommend? My budget is $500-700 only and these two cameras seem to be the best ones within my budget. I'm able to get the Canon T3i with 18-55MM lens for about $650 (eBay grey market) or the Nikon D5100 with 18-55MM lens for $580 (Sears). For all the camera guru's out there, which would you recommend for a beginner (I'm mainly going to use it indoors to take pictures of my baby). I'll also be looking to get a cheap 55-200MM lens to take with me on vacation - I've found a Nikon 2156 lens for the D5100 for about $85 used on CL - good deal?
I went with the T3i and love it. Do yourself a massive favor and don't buy the camera with the kit lens. Get the body only for $579 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-T3i-Proc...ords=canon+t3i) and then if you're trying to stay under $700, get the 50mm F/1.8 for another $105 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8...canon+50mm+1.8). The downside is you won't have any zoom capability or Image Stabilization, but it will help you learn a lot faster and actually teach you more about photography, IMO. And the bokeh will make for great baby pictures.

That will be an infinitely better set up than the kit gear. When you can afford it then buy the 17-55mm F/2.8 EF-S IS lens. It's pricey, but one of the best lenses you can buy for the crop bodies. I have the 55-200mm F/4.5 for the Canon and it's a pretty good lens, but I love my 17-55. It pretty much never comes off the camera.

If you want, check out my Flickr (link in my signature) and go all the way to the beginning of my photo stream where the Vegas pictures are posted. That was when I first got the Camera with the kit lens and had no idea what I was really doing. As you go through the album you can actually see the quality of my shots getting better as I learned what I was doing and got better quality lenses. I don't even touch the kit 18-55mm any more and I would actually sell it, but I'd get so little for it I don't even know if it's worth the hassle. I'll probably just hold on to it until I sell the whole camera for an upgrade and include it with the camera.
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      08-06-2012, 04:53 PM   #3
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zoom capability is a must...should i go with two lens then (18-55mm and 55-200mm) for the time being until i can afford a 18-200MM or 18-300MM? Or can I basically use the 55-200MM everywhere i go including close indoor portrait shots?
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      08-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by phozenstone View Post
zoom capability is a must...should i go with two lens then (18-55mm and 55-200mm) for the time being until i can afford a 18-200MM or 18-300MM? Or can I basically use the 55-200MM everywhere i go including close indoor portrait shots?
Would you be able to swing the Body, the 50mm and then the 55-250 lens? It's another $199 on Amazon, (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-55-250mm...canon+55-250mm). I promise you'll be much happier in the end with the 50mm over the 18-55.
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      08-06-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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I can't live without a wide angle. I vote for the two zooms. They'll fine for these purposes.

For those thinking that they need a prime, then seriously consider the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. My daughter bought my old 5D2 and this was the lens she bought for it. Also, on a crop sensor, like the T3i, 40mm is a more "normal" lens than a 50mm, which turns into a 80mm.

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      08-06-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions guys...while both cameras appear comparable, my research online has me leaning towards the Nikon D5100 due to its attractive price point at the moment. Sears is currently selling the camera with 18-55MM lens for $582 and I got a 55-200MM Nikon lens off eBay for $70. I'll wait and see if the Canon T3i price drops within the next week or two and if so i'll just return the Nikon.
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      08-06-2012, 11:49 PM   #7
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nikon d5100 and te 18-200 lens.
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      08-07-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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I actually just bought, and judging by the pissed off text from my wife, just arrived at the house the canon T3I. Came as above with the 18-55, 55-200, 32gig class 10 card, extra battery and case for under $750.

I was jumping around for some time on both these models. I will let you know what i really think of it in a few days.
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      08-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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T2i is also a great camera to start off with, especially if you are trying to save money for lenses. It's almost the same as the T3i as far as specs. If this is gonna be your beginner camera, have you considered buying used? I buy almost all my equipment used since this is such an expensive hobby, and have had no problems.

Couple lenses that I get good all around use for are my 15-85/3.5-5.6 EF-S USM
and EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM for outdoor shots.

I shoot a lot of outdoor and candids and don't like cropping, so zoom is also important to me. I own the nifty 50 also, but rarely use it due to no zoom capability.
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      08-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #10
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So i ended up getting the Nikon D5100 and so far so good. Check out my first go at it:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=728434
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      08-10-2012, 06:44 PM   #11
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Smart choice! I was going to say the Nikon, I have been deciding between the two also, as I am beginner photographer. The ease of simplicity and the camera being able to show you what your actually adjusting (F stop, iso, shutter speed, etc,) did it for me! Enjoy the camra
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      08-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #12
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For indoor pics of baby, low light shooting capability is a must. Both bodies are probably good to ISO 800 or 1600 with tolerable noise. The Canon maybe a bit better. For lenses, fast primes rather than small aperture consumer zooms would be better. 50 or 85 f1.4 is a good start. Flash pics generally look unnatural (unless you bounce it or use a diffuser) so shooting natural light is best. Plus, the flash can wake the baby.
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      08-10-2012, 10:59 PM   #13
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So in auto mode I'm having trouble capturing baby pics bc it takes Soo long from the time I click to when the actual picture is taken....resulting in me missing some good smiling shots of my 6 month old daughter . Can anyone give me some pointers on how to make the camera shoot faster while still getting clear shots? Seems like there is a small delay between the clicker and the camera actually taking the picture.
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      08-10-2012, 11:32 PM   #14
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DSLR should have very little delay between depressing the shutter and shutter firing. Might be focus delay. Are you pre-focusing (half-pressing shutter) before taking the shot?

Also, auto modes are generally a bad idea, since you don't have control over what the camera is doing. It's an ok crutch as you learn what you're doing, but you should probably switch at least to P mode if not A or S.
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      08-10-2012, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foodle View Post
DSLR should have very little delay between depressing the shutter and shutter firing. Might be focus delay. Are you pre-focusing (half-pressing shutter) before taking the shot?

Also, auto modes are generally a bad idea, since you don't have control over what the camera is doing. It's an ok crutch as you learn what you're doing, but you should probably switch at least to P mode if not A or S.
Yes I've half pressed shutter but still seem a bit slow reaction speed. On my canon point and shoot I have no problems. Also haven't figured out P mode yet. Tried shooting in P but comes out blurry sine my daughter keeps moving
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      08-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phozenstone View Post
Yes I've half pressed shutter but still seem a bit slow reaction speed. On my canon point and shoot I have no problems.
The shutter lag (time between you pressing the shutter and the shutter firing) should be much lower on your DSLR than your point and shoot.

Can you list out all of the info on the shooting mode and exposure that you are using?

Quote:
Also haven't figured out P mode yet. Tried shooting in P but comes out blurry sine my daughter keeps moving
P mode allows you to cycle through a range of aperture and shutter speed options based on what the exposure meter determines is the amount of light in your scene. It will default to what it thinks is best, but it doesn't always pick the right shutter speed and aperture for what you are shooting.

S mode lets you set a shutter speed and will automatically pick the right aperture for the amount of light in your scene.

A mode lets you set an aperture and will automatically pick the right shutter speed for the amount of light in your scene.

For the pics of your daughter you need a faster shutter speed to either stop the action or because you've got handholding/camera shake problems. For fast moving kids you need a shutter speed above 1/100 or so. Although your problem may in fact be camera shake (your hands are not steady and shutter speed is too slow, so you're moving the camera while the shutter is open). A good rule of thumb is that your shutter speed denominator needs to be equal to or bigger than your focal length. So for a shot at 100mm, you need to be shooting at 1/100 or faster (1/250, etc.) to not have camera shake issues. For a shot at 200mm, you need to shoot at 1/200 or faster. Etc.

To set the shutter speed to be a certain value, you need to shoot in S or P mode. In S, just set the shutter speed to the right value and the camera will pick the right aperture. In P mode, cycle through the exposure options until you get the shutter speed you want.
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      08-11-2012, 01:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foodle View Post
For indoor pics of baby, low light shooting capability is a must. Both bodies are probably good to ISO 800 or 1600 with tolerable noise. The Canon maybe a bit better. For lenses, fast primes rather than small aperture consumer zooms would be better. 50 or 85 f1.4 is a good start. Flash pics generally look unnatural (unless you bounce it or use a diffuser) so shooting natural light is best. Plus, the flash can wake the baby.
Primes are ok, but not needed with today's cameras, so long as the zooms are good. The Canon kit lenses are pretty good, particularly if you shoot in Raw and apply digital-lens-optimization in Digital Photo Professional which comes on the DVD in the camera box.

With crop sensors, if you want a prime, then I'd suggest Canon's 40/2.8 pancake lens, which compares to some L-series lenses, but costing just under $200.

The attachment to primes traces back to the old film days when shooting at ISO 200 in color was fast, and ISO 400 was about as far as you could go. Don't be afraid to shoot up to ISO 6400, but plan for a little noise, that's easily dealt with. For example, shot with an f/4 zoom, at 6400:


Michelle checks for text message... by dcstep, on Flickr

That's with a 7D, but it shares its sensor with the Canon in this thread.
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      08-11-2012, 02:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
Primes are ok, but not needed with today's cameras, so long as the zooms are good.

The attachment to primes traces back to the old film days when shooting at ISO 200 in color was fast, and ISO 400 was about as far as you could go.
Fast primes still have their place for indoor and/or low light shooting. A fast f1.4 prime is two stops faster than the best zoom (f2.8) wide open. The optical qualities will likely be better too. Even with modern camera sensors that can shoot up past ISO 6400 with tolerable noise and VR/IS lenses (which realistically get you one or two more stops of handholding capability), those two extra stops can be the difference between getting a usable shot or not.

From a cost perspective, a f2.8 zoom is over $1500 whereas a f1.4 prime can be had for $500 or less (e.g. Nikon 50mm f1.4). And that prime still has better light gathering capabilities than the fancy zoom.

Finally, the kit lenses that are bundled with the cheaper camera bodies are even worse since they usually have much worse light gathering (f4 or worse). So now we're talking three or four stop difference between the kit zoom and a fast prime.
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      08-11-2012, 03:34 PM   #19
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Don't buy f/2.8 zooms, buy f/4. The only reason to buy an f/2.8 zoom is if you're going to put a 2X TC on it. Then you'll have a heavy lens.

With primes, unless you have stage access, you're usually at the wrong focal length.

DLO in programs like DxO, LR and DPP bring the IQ up to the levels up primes, if you start with a decent zoom.

If you're going shoot a prime on a crop-sensor body and think of it as a "normal" lens, then at least get a 40 or a 35mm. 50mm turns into 80mm on a crop-sensor and is better suited for portrait.

The 40mm f/2.8 STM is an exceptional prime for under $200.

Buy fast cameras, not fast primes.

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      08-11-2012, 04:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
Don't buy f/2.8 zooms, buy f/4.
Ack. f/4 zooms? Save on cost and weight, but give up a lot of light. 3 stops less light than a fast prime?!?

Quote:
DLO in programs like DxO, LR and DPP bring the IQ up to the levels up primes, if you start with a decent zoom.
Post processing can only do so much. Need to start with a decent image first.

Quote:
Buy fast cameras, not fast primes.
Camera bodies come and go. Your lens collection lasts a lot longer.
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      08-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #21
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Fast primes to cover 24-105mm and 70-200mm (full-frame) will cost and weigh way more than the two f/4 lenses needed to cover that range with good zooms. You'll be changing lenses all the time and digitally zooming in post to get the framing that you want.

If all you can afford is one lens, then get an EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and then start saving for two good zooms.

Remember, shoot Raw and use software to optimize your lenses at every focal length and aperture. Most people don't even realize that is possible.

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      08-11-2012, 06:53 PM   #22
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Foodle, I hope it doesn't seem like I'm busting your chops too hard. I just hate to see people automatically go to primes when they don't need. In reality, even with f/1.2 lenses, most of us shoot at f/4 to f/11. With the T3i discussed in this thread, ISO 1600 has reasonably low noise if you don't underexpose.

BTW, I'm personally able to afford L-series zooms and primes. Still, when I sold my daughter my 5D MkII I actually suggested that she start with a prime, a 40/2.8 pancake, and then start saving for high quality zooms to cover the rest of the range.

BTW2, I've got over $6,000 invested in one prime and I'm considering a $13,000 prime, if I can come up with the cash without selling my M3. So, you see, I'm not against primes.

On a low budget, I agree, start with a good prime, but then start saving for L-series zoom glass.

Here's the progression order I'd suggest for the budget constrained with a full-frame:
  • 40/2.8 pancake
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS
  • 24-105mm f/4L IS

On a crop sensor you'd need to go wider and I might even suggest an EF-S.

Dave
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