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tamias6

Plans to Upgrade my Digital Camera

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Currently I own a 7.1 megapixal Sony Cybershot which has served me well. However I've seem to become a shutter bug as of late with no signs of letting up. Much of that I can thank my membership to UP. So to address this, I'm toying with plans to upgrade to a Digital Single Reflex camera by the end of the year. I currently have my eye on a Cannon Rebel for about 800 dollars since I've seen some good reviews on it. However I'm open to any recommendations.

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Currently I own a 7.1 megapixal Sony Cybershot which has served me well. However I've seem to become a shutter bug as of late with no signs of letting up. Much of that I can thank my membership to UP. So to address this, I'm toying with plans to upgrade to a Digital Single Reflex camera by the end of the year. I currently have my eye on a Cannon Rebel for about 800 dollars since I've seen some good reviews on it. However I'm open to any recommendations.

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I have a Nikon D70 that I absolutely adore.

In my opinion, you should look at the D40, D80 and D200...buy whichever you can afford. You won't regret it.

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. I currently have my eye on a Cannon Rebel for about 800 dollars since I've seen some good reviews on it. However I'm open to any recommendations.

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Lots of new whiz-bang cams being introduced at the CEDIA Consumer Electronics show in Vegas going on now, maybe check gizmodo.com for announcements

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Depending on your price range I would recommend Nikon or Canon as those are the top players in the DSLR field. I have a small portrait photography business that I do on the weekends and have a lot invested in Nikon lenses so I'm strictly a Nikon user thus I may be biased towards my recommendations. Canon has great cameras though and I would have no problem recommending them to you.

How far do you want to take your photography? It is most certainly not the camera that makes the image but the person behind the camera. The camera isn't the photographer, you are, so whatever amount you choose to spend you will be happy, but how far you want to take it depends on how happy you will be with your selection.

The Nikon D70s is an excellent camera you can likely pick up from a reputable used camera retailer online such as KEH for not much money. If you want something a little newer you may look at the D80. If you really want to go further with your photography down the line you may look at the D200 but don't purchase just yet. Nikon just introduced its sucessor, the D300, which should be shipping out this November. You'll likely see great price drops in the D200. If you want a pro body I have absolutely no problem recommending a used D2H (as long as you shoot RAW, D2Hs if you shoot JPEG) as that is what I use for most of my work.

Spend 2/3 of your money on lenses, the rest on the camera body. Lenses can last a lifetime (if you get high quality lenses and take care of them) whereas camera bodies will come and go.

I do not have any outright recommendations for Canon bodies since I do not shoot Canon but I have heard the Rebel XTi is a great choice if you're on a budget, D30's price should be cut back soon with the newly announced D40 replacement.

We have a thread in UP's main photography forum related to photography tips and tricks if you're interested:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/Photogra...cks-t35594.html

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The Meijer outlet on Alpine Ave has a steal on this camera. I just bought my Canon Rebel last week there for $420. It's a wonderful camera. I would highly encourage you to check it out there.

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I just bought a new Canon Rebel EOS xti at best buy. They dropped the price down by $100 last week and it's still in effect.

So far I'm loving it.

Larger viewscreen than the xt, self cleaning, self-dimming screen, (when you raise it to your eye), etc.

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OK. I won't go off on a lengthy advice tangent here, but my college degrees and chosen profession equip me to offer a little advice here.

Regardless which camera you choose, the lens you buy will be the biggest factor. At home, I use a Rebel XT body (I have seen the XTi and it is a touch nicer than my XT - which was all that was avail when I bought mine) with a Tamron 18-200mm zoom lens. Although Tamron isn't on par with the extremely expensive lenses I use in my work, this one is GREAT in that it does ANYTHING you'd ever want a lens to do: wide shots as well as about as long telephoto as you'd ever want. You'll never need another lens. I've used this camera to snap shots of my kids (both when we're in small spaces and when they are far away from me - like at school plays, etc), to fully document several vacations (scenery, landscapes, close-ups, skiing, boating.. even a week at Disney), to shoot action shots on the water (sailboat racing is my hobby), as well as to grab reference stills during some of my motion film work.

The 18-200 zoom lens (they call it an 18-200 based on how it works with standard 35mm negative cameras) actually works out to be about 24-300mm on a digital camera when you do the apples-to-apples comparison of the lens' operating focal length to how it works on a standard 35mm negative camera. I'm told Tamron also now has a 24-300 (or 18-300 or 18-250 or 55-400?)... don't know for sure and can't find it easily on the web... but it would likely be even more telephoto than the 18-200.. In either case, you'll drop about 390 bucks for the 18-200 lens which I can vouch is the best configuration... BUT it's waaaaay worth it in that you'll never need to buy another lens (which you'll find yourself almost immediately wanting to if you simply buy the fixed lens that typically comes with the camera body in a pkg deal). And... you'll never have to carry extra lenses and do the whole "swap lenses" drill every time you use it. By the way, even the simplest fixed length lens they'll try to sell you is 50-150 bucks... so you're a little bit on your way to the cost of the zoom anyway.

I also like that this lens is almost as compact (in terms of size) as the standard fixed lens they typically sell on the camera in a pkg. I drag ours to Michigan Adventure with the kids, to school activities, family gatherings, etc. and have yet to find it cumbersome. While it isn't a "pocket" camera - it's still pretty easy to always have in hand - and the shots I get are waaaay better than any pocket digi camera.

Here's a link to the Tamron zoom lens at B&H photo in NY (a popular internet camera retailer):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller...p;Q=*&bhs=t

I don't know why this lens appears to be 100 bucks less when it's configured for the Nikon versus the Canon (maybe the auto-focus mechanism is cheaper?) Anyway - regardless which camera you choose - buy this lens and you'll be very happy you did.

If you get really into it - another neat little toy is a compact mono-pod (tripod with only one leg). This will really help alot if you're shooting at night. Many of these work really fast/slick and they don't take up much space. Mine is typically under the seat of my car ready to go. Most are in the 40-100 dollar range.

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... the shots I get are waaaay better than any pocket digi camera....

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And we never see any. C'mon, Scott, spill!

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Somehow I don't see UPers appreciating me posting 1600 photos of my kids on vacation in the Upper Peninsula... I do however, need to start remembering to keep the darn camera in my car. Can't count the number of times I've wished I had it with me...

By the way (to help make this post meaningful to the topic) - I forgot to mention one other important digi camera advice tip: namely to buy as big a memory card as you can afford. Nothing short of a gigabyte or two these days is what you'll want.

That is one thing I will disagree with. Nothing like losing your memory card that happens to have ALL of your shots on it. I would recommend getting several 1GB or 2GB cards. It takes mere seconds to put a new card in and if you lose one, accidentally overwrite one, one fails, etc. then you haven't lost all of your photos. That is MUCH easier to swallow IMO. Cards will fail, it is just a matter of time. Flash memory isn't barred from having a life limit so keep that in mind. These new 8GB and 16GB cards I see will not make their way into my workflow for this reason.

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Somehow I don't see UPers appreciating me posting 1600 photos of my kids on vacation in the Upper Peninsula... I do however, need to start remembering to keep the darn camera in my car. Can't count the number of times I've wished I had it with me...

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That is one thing I will disagree with. Nothing like losing your memory card that happens to have ALL of your shots on it. I would recommend getting several 1GB or 2GB cards. It takes mere seconds to put a new card in and if you lose one, accidentally overwrite one, one fails, etc. then you haven't lost all of your photos. That is MUCH easier to swallow IMO. Cards will fail, it is just a matter of time. Flash memory isn't barred from having a life limit so keep that in mind. These new 8GB and 16GB cards I see will not make their way into my workflow for this reason.

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Norman Camera is a wonderful store.

They do a large portion of their business to clients that live well outside of West Michigan, so not only are they local, if you lived somewhere else you might be looking at them as a place to get a bargain on prosumer equiment.

They might not honor all the deals you find at a photography super-store like B&H but they'll take care of you and treat you right if stuff breaks. They also usually beat the pants off Best Buy on prices for DSLR stuff. My friend just bought a D40+extra lens+bag for $150 less at Norman than Best Buy was charging for the exact same stuff.

Make sure you stop in there to check them out. They're on Westnedge in Kalamazoo and on 28th next to El Arriero (get some tacos after shopping) here in GR.

I have absolutely no affiliation with Norman or El Arriero (unless spending far too much money at both places counts as "affiliation").

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I absolutely agree on this from personal experience. Only go with B&H or other internet retailers if you truly have confidence in your decisions. The advice and service you'll get at Normans is excellent. I bought my XT and lens there several years ago.

I would add Adorama Camera to the list of reputable online retailers other than B&H. I go back and forth between the two depending on which one has an item in stock and which was has the better price (they're typically the same or extremely close however). Adorama also has a superb printing service for photos (way better than local outlets and most online printing services).

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