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      09-07-2013, 11:56 AM   #1
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looking to buy my first dslr

As the title says, I'm looking at buying my first dslr. I went to Black's a Canadian mainstream photography store and the guy was showing me a Canon T3. It seemed ok, but then again, I'm not very versed in camera technology. I told him my budget was $500 for the camera and he suggested this model and said to buy a 50mm lens instead of upgrading the camera body itself.

What do you guys suggest?

I plan on taking lots of action shots, night shots and probably very few portraits.
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      09-08-2013, 08:20 AM   #2
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1. Buy used if you can. Once you become experienced in photography and well versed in the hardware aspect of it, then you can upgrade the body. As for now, a used Canon T3i/T4i will suit you well. Hell, even the older ones would suffice.

2. Yes, get the 50mm f/1.8. It is a great starting point when you are learning photography. No need for a zoom when you are learning the fundamentals of shooting. Use your feet to zoom if you must.

3. Study Study Study. Shoot Shoot Shoot. Study some more. Shoot some more. Once you KNOW what you want out of your photos, know the limitations of your gear, and know what you absolutely NEED, then you should be able to purchase bodies/lenses without asking.

Last edited by danniexi; 09-08-2013 at 09:34 AM.
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      09-08-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danniexi View Post
1. Buy used if you can. Once you become experienced in photography and well versed in the hardware aspect of it, then you can upgrade the body. As for now, a used Canon T3i/T4i will suit you well. Hell, even the older ones would suffice.

2. Yes, get the 50mm f/1.8. It is a great starting point when you are learning photography. No need for a zoom when you are learning the fundamentals of shooting. Use your feet to zoom if you must.

3. Study Study Study. Shoot Shoot Shoot. Study some more. Shoot some more. Once you KNOW what you want out of your photos, know the limitations of your gear, and know what you absolutely NEED, then you should be able to purchase bodies/lenses without asking.
Agreed, but the 50mm (on a crop body like the t3i) might be a little bit too tight to learn on. It might not be so bad to have the kit lens (as crappy as it is) to experment on as well, or a 35mm f/2, which is a fine lens for the money.
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      09-09-2013, 07:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by druu View Post
Agreed, but the 50mm (on a crop body like the t3i) might be a little bit too tight to learn on. It might not be so bad to have the kit lens (as crappy as it is) to experment on as well, or a 35mm f/2, which is a fine lens for the money.
Damn good point. I didn't take the crop sensor into account. Definitely the 35mm or shorty forty (40mm) would be a good purchase as they are closer to the "35mm standard".
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      09-09-2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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When I first was starting out with an SLR (the lack of D is intentional, it was a film SLR) I wanted to have a wide range of focal lengths covered and wasn't as concerned with image quality, sharpness, or whatever, as just having the versatility to compose shots to my liking in varying scenes and places.

Therefore my vote goes to a zoom lens if you are just starting and can only have one lens, or even a couple of lenses.

My first kit consisted of an ultra wide-angle zoom (20-35), a standard zoom (28-80) and a telephoto (the infamous 75-300).

You can gradually see your photography progress and start to learn what you like to shoot most often, at what focal lengths and apertures, and then purchase additional lenses such as primes to fit those criteria.

It worked for me, at least.
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      09-10-2013, 10:21 AM   #6
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As other mentioned, a used body will serve you well. I prefer the pro/semi-pro bodies and I would look at a 40D or 50D over a T3. Put your money in good/fast glass, especially if you plan on doing night shots. You'll keep those forever and you can always upgrade the body.
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      09-10-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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OP, what are you buying the camera to shoot?
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      09-11-2013, 12:46 PM   #8
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I ended up buying a T3i. Standard lens. Seems to be pretty good thus far. I took a road trip to Vancouver and took some interesting photos. Hopefully they turned out.
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      09-16-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
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I was going to say, when a camera budget is that low, the whole "what do you plan to shoot with it," stuff just doesn't really matter. With that said, you're not going to be doing much action or night shooting with the standard kit lens. Nothing better than a cheap fixed-lens pocket camera will, anyway.
The really good stuff comes when you can drop a couple grand on one lens here and there.
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      09-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #10
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Any camera that has a manual and bulb mode is capable of shooting excellent pictures at night as long as you have a tripod and don't expect moving things to end up in the photo

OP - good choice enjoy your new T3i!
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      09-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #11
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I bought a tripod, but some of my night photos are less than decent. Quite blurry. I'll be looking into getting a second lens within a week.

Most of the pictures I took look pretty good to me (I'm no professional), and I took most in manual mode, not an auto preset mode.
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      09-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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for your night photos, unless you have a remote, put the camera on the timer setting so that you're not actually touching the shutter in any way, this should eliminate that blur (assuming your subject is completely stationary). If you're doing this for people you may need a flash.
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      09-17-2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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Do any of the tabletop style tripods support the weight of heavier lenses, does anyone know?

I have been looking into something small and compact that I can bring with me for those "oh crap I wish I had a tripod" moments, but I'm afraid the weight of some of my lenses will just be countered and tip over.
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      09-17-2013, 12:56 PM   #14
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There are gorillapods that can support greater weight, as far as standalone small tripods that are small, I can't think of one. I would think it's all based on the head of the tripod in that case.
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      09-17-2013, 01:07 PM   #15
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That's perfect, looked some up and it looks like they have a good selection rated at 6-1/2 lbs which should be more than sufficient, for $50-$120.

Cheers!
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      09-17-2013, 01:39 PM   #16
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Sorry to hijack OP but I'm a noob looking to learn more too.

So my impulsive buyer brother in law bought a Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135mm zoom lens (whatever that means) and he lent it to me for a while. I've never seriously taken pictures before, mostly with my phone for stupid stuff but I'm starting to like this thing. How good is this camera? I'm expecting a baby soon and would like to take a lot of pics. My bro-in-law offered to sell it to me and I'm wondering if this is a good starter or am I set for a long long time?
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      09-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #17
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The only thing I've noticed using a standard zoom lens is that, even though they are made very well, it seems they are a good "all around" lens, but doesn't provide any huge benefits to shooting at a single particular focal length, like how a Macro is great for up close, or a wide angle for large panoramic style shots.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but this is what I've discovered on my own trials.

The body in itself would be a great start, I think. You'll notice greater differences in shots with different glass as you learn the basics of A/F, shutter speed, and WB. If you can get it for "family" price, I would say go for it and investigate lenses that would be applicable to things you would like to shoot on a regular basis (ie: scenery, cars, sports, portraits, etc.)
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      09-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #18
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Thanks Druu. I've been thinking about an external flash with the remote feature. Maybe that would work. The night pics I took were mostly city scapes in the distance. The closer I got to what I was shooting, the less blurry the picture. I also noticed it was easier to shoot monochromatic than full colour at night.

So what would I be looking at for a second lens? Something for wide angle landscapes would work for me. Any numbers pop to anyone's mind?
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      09-17-2013, 03:54 PM   #19
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well a flash is not really going to help your landscapes (unless you intend to illuminate something close by in the foreground). A long exposure just needs to be perfectly still, so using the timer will be fine.

honestly speaking, unless you want to build a big kit of lenses the sigma 18-35 f/1.8 is the way to go. It is probably the best quality crop sensor zoom lens that covers wide to normal.

If you need to go wider get a tokina 11-16 f/2.8 They are made for crop cameras, have top tier build quality and optics. 11-16 is in the ultrawide category for crop sensor cameras.
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      09-17-2013, 08:03 PM   #20
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I suggest to read these 2 books which will give some good tips and understanding for various types of shooting.

The first one I think everyone should read. If you don't know the relationship between ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed (or if you can't even spell ISO, Aperture, or Shutter Speed ), and how these 3 factors are inter-related, then you are not a photographer. You would be floored to know how many "photographers" do not understand these concepts. Don't be one of them!

The second is a great reference book to keep in your camera bag.

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson
http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/0817439390

The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby
http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Photog...otography+book

Kelby has a whole series actually, I need to get the others but the original is excellent to whip out and say, "oh, night shot, tripod, ok here's what you do"

On the lenses I'd recommend an EF-S 10-22 but that's just because I had one. It's an awesome Canon UWA lens, incredibly sharp, and very valuable.

I bought mine new in June 2006 for $600 and sold it in Dec 2012 for $500.... that's 6.5 years of use for $100
Although to be honest I wish I hadn't sold it. It was that good.
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      09-17-2013, 08:21 PM   #21
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Awesome, when I get through my shift at work I'll run to the book store to see if I can get those. After reading those I might change my mind about which lens I'll buy.
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