Which DSLR would you choose.... and why?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by TimDoss, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. TimDoss

    TimDoss Second Unit

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    I'm looking to finally make the jump to DSLR, I've narrowed it
    down to three... which would you choose, and why?
    Will be used for pretty much all around photography, family, wildlife, sports/action, landscapes. I currently use a canon S1 IS, but would like something with more control and capability. I've used a friends Digital Rebel and absolutely hated giving it back.
    I'm far from expert, but know my way around fairly well and
    although the S1 IS is a great camera, I am wanting more.

    The three I've narrowed it down to are:
    Nikon D70
    Canon EOS 20D
    Canon Digital Rebel XT

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I think the XT offers the most bang for the buck at this time and is what I'm currently lusting after [​IMG]
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Most would probably be very happy w/ the DRebel XT. If you loved using your friend's DRebel, then the XT is probably a no-brainer.

    All this, of course, assumes you have no existing lenses and such for Nikon F mount.

    Also, if you go w/ Canon and are willing to spend extra $$$ upfront, I'd suggest choosing a different lens than the basic kit lens. Just buy the body alone w/ a different, better lens. The Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 (~$500) seems very good for instance, and there are other popular options like Canon's 17-85 IS (~$600) or 28-135 IS (~$400) -- both are image stabilized, but not as good as the Sigma for pure optical quality. The latter Canon doesn't have a true wideangle field-of-view due to the camera's 1.6x crop factor, so you will likely need to have a separate wideangle lens to complement it, if you go that route. There are other good options too like Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (~$350) -- again, no true wideangle -- and Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 (~$400). OR maybe just add the very popular, inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 (~$75) for low light and portraits to complement the kit lens.

    For wildlife and sports/action, you will likely find a desire for a good telezoom and/or possibly a tele prime lens or two. Canon has lots of options there, and there are other nice alternatives from Sigma as well. But do realize that the cost of good tele lenses add up fast. [​IMG] If it's a big deal for you and you're on a tight budget, then it's probably best to save the $$$ for a good tele and stick w/ the Canon kit lens (w/ maybe 50mm f/1.8) for regular stuff.

    FYI, I have a D70 (for 1 year now) w/ a modest handful of lenses and the SB800 speedlight. I'm waiting to see what Nikon is rumored to come out w/ this summer or thereabout. They're expected to come out w/ new competition for the Canon 20D.

    _Man_
     
  4. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    If you're considering the Canon EOS 20D (a $1500+ camera), you might want to add the Minolta Maxuum 7D to your list. The Canon EOS 20D supposedly takes the best pictures of any these cameras, but the 7D has a cute feature of image stabilization in the camera body (works with almost any lens).

    I'd agree with the omission of the original Digital Rebel. You'll be spending $1,000+ for a complete starter system (body, 1-2 lenses, flash card, external flash) with any of these cameras -- might as well get a camera that will be ready to shoot the moment you turn it on.
     
  5. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    There's also the Panasonic FZ-20. 12x optical zoom, Leica lens, with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture and image stabilization. Viewed as an accessory to a wildlife photography DSLR kit, it might have possibilities.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    That's true. Would be an interesting option, and I actually briefly toyed w/ the idea myself a long while back.

    But I think if you have the DSLR already, why spend that kind of $$$ on a FZ-20 for wildlife? I can understand its appeal as a vacation cam, for backpacking/hiking or the like, but if the appeal is mainly for wildlife -- not at a zoo -- then you might as well save for the good lens instead.

    With Canon, many people go for the 100-400L IS for this purpose, and there are other alternatives as well. If you don't need IS, there's the relatively new Tamron 200-500(!) that's been getting some raves from Canon folks. It's much cheaper than the 100-400L IS and sounds to be a tad better optically. If I were very interested in birding/wildlife, that would be on my shortlist to consider (for either Canon or Nikon).

    http://www.photo.net/equipment/tamron/200_500_Di/

    http://www.photofocus.com/showarchive.php?aid=224&cid=1

    But it's not really a sports lens though. If interest in wildlife is mild, probably one of the 70-200 f/2.8 tele zooms w/ optional teleconverter would make a good all-around choice.

    _Man_
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  8. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    The Canon D Rebel XT is a nice camera. If, however, you'd like a more rugged body and a DoF preview, you'll want to take a second look at the 20D.

    You can't go wrong with either, but if you'll be demanding of your camera in rough terrain and bad weather, the body on the 20D will stand up to more punishment. While I don't recommend it, the sucker can be dropped on the pavement and come up ready to shoot.

    For a landscape lens, you'll need something wide.
    The Canon 17-40 f4 L is a nice lens, but a bit pricey. It is on my camera about 80% of the time.

    For wildlife, if the budget will stand for it:
    Canon 300mm f4 L with matched 1.4x and/or 2x teleconverters.

    Then, get yourself a basic midrange zoom for snapshots.

    -Scott
     
  9. Brandon_S

    Brandon_S Second Unit

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    The Rebel XT is a very nice camera. The only thing that concerns me about the XT is its size: it is very small! If you have larger hands it might feel a little awkward...especially after you attach a large lens and flash. I own the original Rebel which is much larger but still gets very top heavy with an external flash. Just make sure you go to a store and handle the XT before you purchase.

    Right now I am personally drooling over the 20D. However I think the logical thing for me to do is buy some lenses (I still have the 18-55 stock Rebel lens [​IMG]) and then wait for the 20D successor comes along.

    If you can deal with the small size of the XT (this may be a blessing to many people) then I would say go with that camera. It has the majority of the features of the 20D (fast startup time, low noise at high ISOs) at a much lower cost.

    Good luck!
     
  10. TimDoss

    TimDoss Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the advice.... I've researched pretty extensively and am really debating on either the d70 or
    rebel xt... I threw the 20D in there to get some feedback on whether or not it would be better to save a little
    bit more for what extra it would give me. As it is I'm leaning towards the xt with a Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens for now.
     
  11. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  12. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Looking at Bob Atkin's comparison list, I would probably go for the 20D myself, if I was shopping for a Canon DSLR. I didn't realize the viewfinder shrunk on the XT for one thing, but I guess that should be expected since they shrunk the overall size of the body. Also, for my kind of uses, the diff in AF performance and sensor arrangement would probably be significant -- and it's one reason why I'd like to upgrade from my D70 (to another Nikon). There are other notable diffs on that list that may or may not matter to Tim -- for me, the controls/ergo diffs seem to add up enough to be one notable factor and probably the durability/body strength/etc. as well.

    BUT I'm looking at it from my own perspective w/ my own set of criteria after spending a year w/ my D70. I often shoot in low light and do put my camera through its paces though not to the extent of a pro photog of course. And for me, the enjoyment of the shooting experience itself is important, not just the quality of a final image. And of course, I'd want the investment to satisfy me for a long time, not just until the next Canon release 6 months from now. [​IMG]

    OTOH, I also would not recommend getting the 20D over the XT if it means you cannot afford the lenses you need/want to go w/ the body, and you should realize early on that lens costs will very likely equal or exceed the body cost by the time you're done shopping for all that you need/want unless the scope of your interests are limited. Photography is all a balancing act whether we're talking the $$$ or the tools' capabilities or the ergo or whatever.

    Finally, I highly recommend that you go to a good local dealer and give all three a good try before deciding, preferably in different lighting conditions, eg. indoors and outdoors. It's possible that some of the diffs will annoy you enough right away to help you make the decision. Make sure you try them w/ the kinds of lenses you will use on them as well. For instance, the smaller size of the XT might well be a negative factor when used w/ bigger pro quality zoom lenses, and things like viewfinder, AF performance, etc. might stick out depending on the actual lenses used.

    Hope that helps some...

    _Man_
     
  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Well said
     
  14. kumar

    kumar Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I have a 7 year old Canonm Elan II E series Film Camera with a Tamaron 28-200 Telephoto Zoom. Works great!

    I am right now deciding between XT and 20D. If I buy 20D body only, will my Tamaron 28-200 fit in it? Are these compatible? I could not find any comments in the forums.

    Please throw some light.

    Thanks
    Kumar.
     
  15. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Kumar,

    Your Tamron 28-200 should work fine on either XT or 20D. However, you should note that the 1.6x crop factor will effectively turn that lens into the equivalent of 45-320mm range, ie. no more wideangle, but longer telephoto.

    _Man_
     
  16. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    If the Tamaron is compatible with current autofocus Canon film SLR bodies, I would guess so.

    Note that you will see a crop factor with either DSLR due to the smaller-than-35mm sensor size. That is, your lens will act like a 45-320 on either of those DSLR bodies.
     
  17. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Oops ... reply collision! [​IMG]
     
  18. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Which DSLR whould I choose? And Why?

    There is no *best* when it comes to equipment, only the equipment
    which best suits your needs and the camera does not make the
    photographer.

    I had no investment in lenses so I was not predominantly tied
    or swayed to any particular mount legacy. Instead I focused on
    the images produced by the cameras that I had on my short list
    and also the features that best suited my needs.

    I went with the Sigma SD10 and have not regretted my decision
    for a second. I choose a black sheep for numerous reasons. The
    first reason being the sensor. The images that the Foveon
    sensor produces, to my eyes, have a quality that is hard to
    put into words other than to say it's very film like. The
    other major influences were the command dial setups which mean
    I have to do absolutely NO menu diving to access any of the
    features. The layout of controls to me was very intiutive
    compared to it's competiton (which was the 10D and D100 at
    the time).

    I shot all three and loved the feel of the Sigma SD body
    and controls. The lack of any shutter lag and automatic ON
    with no wait time was also a plus to me.

    But no camera is without it's flaws and the SD10 is no
    exception. It has a very small image buffer and that coupled
    with the fact that it shoots only RAW images which are
    routinely 8-10 megs each means that you don't get many shots
    before the buffer needs to clear. The Autofocus is very
    rudimentary and has no frilly features and it's also not
    the fastest which basically rules the camera out for most
    hard core sports photographers, this of course does not mean
    that it can't shoot sports because I shoot Motor Sports with
    it and have no problems.

    The nice thing is that we do have so many choices right now
    and in my opinion I think they are all fantastic cameras
    it's a tough choice for someone looking to get into Digital
    SLR Photography because there are that many good bodies and
    fantastic lenses.

    Anyway, I choose Sigma and I am happy that I did.
     
  19. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    And FWIW if I had to choose between only the cameras that you
    listed, my choice would be the Nikon D70.
     

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