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A good SLR

 
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I have started my search for a good SLR... I have been planning yo buy for quite some time. But now I am ready for it..
Any recommendations???
TIA,
- Manish
 
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Are you looking for a digital one?
Well, Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) and Nikon F80 are considered the best bet under 1000 USD. But, do your own research though. Try these,
www.dpreview.com
www.steves-digicams.com
www.photo.net
Good luck!
 
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I don't know your budget, but here are my impressions about cameras I've tried and used.
Filmbased cameras:
Nikon F80/N80: lovely little camera, best in its class. Especially with the optional batterypack (MB16) it's very stable and easy to hold (without the MB16 I found it a bit small and slightly too lightweight when using long teles).
I've had one for just over 3 years now, shot about 10.000 frames with it during that time. It's been back for servicing once (after a few months) when the shutter failed on a single frame. Nikon reset the electronics of the shutter and it's functioned perfectly ever since.
I'm currently thinking of selling it though because it's been replaced as my main camera by the next one up:
Nikon F100: a dream of a camera. Extremely solidly built, very large bright viewfinder. Shutter sounds just great (not sure about you, but for me there's something in hearing a shutter that sounds good). Accurate metering, very high autofocus and film transport speed.
I use it with the optional MB15 batterypack which gives higher speed, greater weight (I've large hands and like heavy cameras) and a vertical shutter release button which I hardly use).
I've had this camera for just over a year now.
Monilta X370/X300: maybe an unlikely camera after the modern ones I described above, but an excellent low budget choice as an entry level SLR.
One of the few SLRs I know that has been in production continuously for over 20 years now (only thing that changed was the name from X300 to X370 to mark the change to slightly different materials for some of the parts).
It's never let me down in 20 years.
Canon Eos 30. Equivalent roughly to the Nikon F80. I didn't like the look and feel of the camera when I decided what to get to replace my Minolta Dynax 500si which had been stolen in 2000.
Note that this is mainly an ergonomic issue and you may well feel differently about it.
I ended up getting an F80 and have never looked back.
Digital SLRs:
Canon Eos 300D (Digital Rebel): cheap, plasticy, tiny viewfinder.
Heard about many reliability problems with them. Haven't used one much, but from what I've seen it's not a camera I'd want given my experience with higher end models.
Shutterlag is extreme for a DSLR.
Plastic lensmount make it pretty well useless for long lenses or frequent lens changing.
Nikon D100: Digital equivalent to the F80 and it shows. Body design is similar (though NOT identical) as are the features.
I'd get this if I had gotten a DSLR last year, but I've since been forever spoiled when trying (during a product presentation) for a few hours a
Nikon D2h: replacement of the venerable D1h and aimed squarely at photographers who want only the very best.
The only SLR in existence which can compare in performance is the Nikon F5.
Shutterlag is non-existent (this plagues DSLRs in general making them less than ideal for fast action shooting), focus speed is blazing fast even with large heavy lenses like a 500mm f/4 prime.
Despite having a 4MP chip (comppared to 6MP of most DSLRs) the quality of the pictures it creates is the best on the market. When printed at 40x60cm size the quality exceeds that of the Nikon D100 and D1x and the Canon 10D and 1d.
Sigma SD9: Interesting camera, and certainly worth looking into if you have no investment in an existing system of lenses for either Canon or Nikon.
Weak at lowlight and long duration exposures, which has been partially corrected in it's replacement model, the SD10.
Nikon D70: too early to say much, only having been officially introduced at the PMA this month, but looks to become a sure winner in the lowend DSLR market offering more features and higher mechanical quality compared to the Canon 300D at a lower or equal price.
My choice:
sub-$1000 segment: Nikon F80 (N80 in the US)
$1000+ segment: Nikon F100 (or D100 if you insist on digital).
$4000+ segment: Nikon D2h
http://www.usefilm.com/photographer/454.html for some of my work.
 
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wow,
I wanna go to Boca St. Michiel
(Jetty)
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

Canon Eos 300D (Digital Rebel):
Plastic lensmount make it pretty well useless for long lenses or frequent lens changing.


I haven't used a EOS 300D, but I guess it's body should be same as that of EOS-300 (or EOS-Rebel in US). Is it so?
If that is the case, then I would say that the plastic lensmount is not a problem - at least it hasn't created any to me.
I have used 400-800mm lens in my EOS-300 and I used to change the lenses frequently. I'm using it for 3 years now, and haven't faced any problem with it.
 
Manish Hatwalne
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I am not really looking for a digital one, I want good old film styled.
I think Canon had sth like EOS 22 or EOS 220 in tha category, but not sure.
Thanks for the links
- Manish
 
Manish Hatwalne
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Hi Jeroen ,
Thanks a ton for all this information.
My budget is around USD 500 - USD 600 (conveted to INR - Indian Rupess that's a big amount), maybe I can extend it a bit but definitely not over USD 1000.
Also, I will be a new laerner in this stuff, it would be great if you can suggest me some inforamtive sites. The snaps you have post online are awesome!!!
Thanks,
- Manish
 
Manish Hatwalne
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Is EOS 300V an upgradation of EOS300?
If I zero in on these two
Nikon F80
Canon EOS 300V
Which one is better? What's their price elsewhere (maybe I can get it from US itself it effectively costs cheaper).
Thanks,
- Manish
 
Jeroen Wenting
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The Eos 300v is a slightly updated 300, mainly different materials used in construction.
Think of it as the Eos 300 1.0.2
Comparing the Eos 300 to the Nikon line it falls somewhere in between the F65 and F80, so closer to the F75.
In Germany, F80+28-80 f/3.5-5.6 AF-G Nikkor sells for around �460 including tax, or �785 if you choose the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 AF-D Nikkor which is a far superior lens I would certainly advise you to get instead of the cheaper 28-80 (I retired my 28-80 after a year, replacing it with a Tokina 28-70 f/2.8 ATX-Pro).
When choosing lenses, stick with either Nikkors or the high-end lenses from Tokina and Sigma (Tokina ATX and Sigma EX lines, plus some specialty lenses). For a camera in the class you're looking at anything cheaper is a waste of a perfectly good camera IMO.
Some good sites:
http://www.usefilm.com friendly people
http://www.nikonians.org THE site for anything Nikon, independent of Nikon but endorsed by them
http://www.photo.net less friendly (especially to beginners) but a huge repository of information (but beware, a lot of it is biassed or outdated)
http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/eng/society/index.htm Nikon web magazine. Based of course largely on their own products, but has interesting articles on technique and differences between types of equipment as well.
[ February 23, 2004: Message edited by: Jeroen Wenting ]
 
Mani Ram
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MH: Is EOS 300V an upgradation of EOS300?
Yes
MH: If I zero in on these two
Nikon F80
Canon EOS 300V
Which one is better?

They are not of same class. F80 is high end model compared to EOS 300. Nikon F65 is a close match for EOS-300
MH: What's their price elsewhere (maybe I can get it from US itself it effectively costs cheaper).
EOS 300V (Called as Rebel Ti in US) should be around $225 (only the body. No lens). No idea about the Nikon models.
 
Mani Ram
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I would recommend to invest more on quality lenses instead of buying a sophisticated camera body.
 
Manish Hatwalne
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Thnaks again,
Few more questions?
How good is Canon EOS 66 or EOS 300V for a beginner such as myself. (But then, I am sure if I buy one SLR now I won't be able to buy another SLR for at least another 2/3 years).
F80 here costs around USD 550 with Nikkor AF 28-80mm G Lens f/3.5-5.6. Is that a good deal?
- Manish
 
Jeroen Wenting
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$550 equivalent sounds like a decent deal. It's cheaper than Germany which is the cheapest you can go in Europe
With an F80 you'll be set for many years to come. Same with the Eos 300v, but if you get really serious about photography you may find it somewhat limiting after a while (the F80 provides more manual control options).
Check if the 300v has depth of field preview and film sensitivity (DX) override. Those two functions are IMO essential.
I don't know the Eos 66, I guess it's an older model? If so it could be good value for money but be careful buying used equipment as you don't know what it's been through (mechanical parts wear out over time, things could have gotten damaged by rough handling, etc.).
 
Manish Hatwalne
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I am talking about a new EOS 66, it's much more affordable. That's why I was consdering.
http://www.jjmehta.com/indepth/canon_eos66_01.htm
Mind commenting?
- Manish
 
Mani Ram
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EOS 300V has both DOF preview & Manual film speen setting.
EOS 66 is not a new model. If I'm right, Canon doesn't manufacture it anymore.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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OK, that's the Eos 3000 in Europe
Low-end camera, compare to Nikon F55. If you're serious about photography you'll soon find it extremely limiting.
This class of SLRs if sometimes referred to as "interchangable lens point and shoot camera", as it's rare to see an owner who has more than the kitlens that came with the camera or knows how to use his equipment
It's all plastic, making it not very durable and yielding poor optical quality (for an SLR) as even the optics are plastic.
 
Mani Ram
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
the F80 provides more manual control options


I haven't used a F80 & I can't see any special manual controls in F80 from the specifications. Could you please explain what extra controls does F80 have, which its counter parts doesn't?
 
Manish Hatwalne
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By new I meant a "brand new" one, as opposed to a used one. Anyway, not consdering EOS 66 aymore!
- Manish
 
Mani Ram
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Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
Anyway, not consdering EOS 66 aymore!
- Manish


Nice decision
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Mani Ram:

I haven't used a F80 & I can't see any special manual controls in F80 from the specifications. Could you please explain what extra controls does F80 have, which its counter parts doesn't?


F80 can be used in full manual mode.
Manual focus (most SLRs provide this, though some lowend models do not).
Manual aperture selection (*)
Manual shutterspeed selection (*)
Full manual metering (aperture+shutterspeed) (*)
Spotmetering and centerweighted metering as well as matrix metering (many lowend models provide only matrix metering and maybe centerweighted)
Depth Of Field preview
Manual exposure compensation in 1/2 stops up to 2 stops positive or negative
Semi-automatic bracketing in 1/2 stops
Autofocus with either shutter or focus priority (**)
(*) many cheaper cameras provide at most one or the other, and some provide ONLY a choice of program modes with no manual control at all.
(**) Different modes, one will focus once and prevent the shutter from firing when not in focus. The other will focus continuously while the shutter is partially depressed and let you take the picture at your discretion (which is very handy for situations in which AF works poorly or when you want to move the subject).
 
Mani Ram
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Thanks Jeroen.
EOS-300 (& so is EOS-300V I guess) has all the features listed above, except for the metering (it does have different metering schemes, but however, it doesn't allow the user to select them manually. Different metering schemes are selected automatically, based on the modes selected by the user).
 
Manish Hatwalne
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Mani,
you seem to own EOS 300, how much did you pay for that and where did you get it from? Are you very happy with its performance?
Thanks,
- Manish
 
Mani Ram
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Yes. I have a EOS-300. I purchased it long time back in Germany. At that time I paid 800 DM (Euro 400 approx) for the body and a Tamron 28-105 /4.0-5.6 lens.
Later I purchased a Canon 28-105 / 3.5-4.5 USM lens for $200 and a Canon 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM lens for $300.
Initially I was worried about the plastic lens mount Jeroen mentioned in one of his earlier posts. But I haven't faced any trouble with it so far (I have even tried 800mm lens on it).
I have seen many people buying very expensive camera with a intention of learning photography, but later using only the point & shoot modes in those cameras
So, I would personally recommend you to buy a basic model like EOS 300 or Nikon F75 with some decent lens. Use it for sometime and see how you are doing with it.
As I said earlier, it is wise to invest on lenses than on a body.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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if you're careful and lucky you won't have problems with a plastic lensmount using heavy lenses only occasionally.
But I've heard of people that had plastic lensmounts crack when using heavy lenses, and they're bound to wear out faster when switching lenses frequently (my one lens with a plastic flange (reverse end of the lensmount) showed serious scuffing after only a year, where my lenses with metal mounts are as good as new after 20).
Best thing to do is go to a GOOD store that sells both Canon and Nikon and get them to assemble similar kits based on both the F80 and 300v.
Then use both for a while to see which is more comfortable in your hands and buy that.
DO buy it in that store, you're taking up their time so honour them with your custom even if they cost more than an online reseller (their profitmargin will actually be lower than the profit margin that online store makes on that lower consumer price).
Whatever you do, do NOT listen to their salespitch about one or the other being so much better. They're both about equal, any difference being personal preference of the people involved (and possibly which item brings the most profit to the store).
In the end, if you don't like the feel of the camera in your hands and it's not comfortable to use it'll soon start gathering dust and be money wasted.
You might let your decision be influenced by the availability and pricing of additional items in the manufacturer catalogue, but both Canon and Nikon provide a pretty comprehensive system at competitive prices.
When considering lenses, remember that all Canon lenses have the autofocus motor inside the lens where Nikon has the main motor inside the camera (there are lenses for both systems that provide additional motors inside the lens for added performance).
This influences the center of gravity especially with long lenses, pulling it slightly further out from your body when using a Canon. This might or might not be a factor for you (depending on what you plan to do with it and whether the slight shift would be uncomfortable to you).
 
Manish Hatwalne
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Well,
A new update about my search EOS 300V has metal lens mount.
Besides, there seems to be lot of design changes, I am almost calling it EOS 300 1.2 !!!
have a look at this
Seriously though, it looks interesting and price also is much lower, which will aloows me to buy better lens as well. F80 is not readily available and new cost exceeds USD 600 slightly.
The main problem I have here in my city that nobody stocks SLR as such, I'll need to give them the exact model and then they'll make it available for me. So I don't get a chance to try and feel the camera before I buy!
- Manish
 
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