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Author Topic: On a $1200 Budget, what would you get?  (Read 5790 times)

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« on: October 01, 2007, 18:49 »
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I am looking to buy a new camera here soon, I have about $1200 to spend on the camera and lens(s). I have been looking at the XTI, but I would like to hear what you more experienced photographers have to say. As for the lens, I'd like it to be good overall, decent at close ups, decent at distances. Would rather only have 1 lens. Any advice is appreciated.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2007, 18:52 by Kngkyle »


« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2007, 19:00 »
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I would get the Digital Rebel XT, tripod,macro lens, telephoto lens, protection filters, camera bag, and a light tent if you're going to shoot isolated objects. I tried just using a Sigma macro telephoto lens in the beginning for my close up shots, but it just didn't get close enough. So if you're planning on doing lots of macro shots, I would buy a macro lens.

« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2007, 19:19 »
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Go to a good dealer and looked for a used D200 kit. KEH out of atlanta is good. Or go new and get the Rebel XTi with good glass.

« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2007, 20:15 »
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Olympus E-510 two-lens kit (14-42 plus 40-150) and the 35mm macro is within your budget. The Olympus kit-lenses are extremely sharp, corner to corner, as is obviously the macro,  and the camera has built-in IS as well as live-view. A very nice kit. Be aware that the Olympus has a crop-factor of 2.0x (Nikon is 1.5x and Canon 1.6x)

Another alternative is the Nikon D40X two-lens kit (18-55 plus 50-200 VR). There should still be enough money for a good macro-lens. Be aware though, that the only macro-lens that will autofocus with the D40X, is the Sigma 150mm f/2.8. It's an incredible lens, and works fine with a TC as well, but it brings you slightly over budget. In my view, AF isn't important with a macro, since critical focus is better obtained manually anyway. The 50-200 VR has also gotten rave reviews.

A third alternative is the Nikon D80 with the 18-55mm, but to stay within budget, you would have to choose between a tele-zoom (the 50-200 VR) or a macro. The nice thing about the D80, is that it has a better viewfinder than the above (and better than the Canons), and better manual control than the D40X.

« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 10:21 »
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OK I will take a look at those that you mentioned. I suppose getting just 1 lens is not a pratical possibility. 

« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 10:26 »
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XTI + Tamron 28-75/2.8 (decent close focus)

« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2007, 11:38 »
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I am Oly 510 user and quite happy with it. Be aware though that it's not your choice if  you are comfortable staying with mainstream only.

« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2007, 11:41 »
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Here is my suggestion:
Canon XTi Body kit (with 18-55): $680
http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/digital/canon/m/24712314/search=xti

Canon 50mm f/1.8 II : $80
http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/slr-lenses/m/587416/search=canon+50mm+f+1.8

Close up lens +4 (52mm filter diameter) for the canon 50mm: $25

Canon speedlite 430Ex: $250
http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/dedicated-flashes/canon/m/11456350/search=speedlite

Some OK tripod: $100

Flash cards and other stuff: $50

TOTAL COST: $1185

This setup will let you shoot pics for microstock in high quality especially if you shoot majority of the pics with the 50mm lens. The kit will also give  you decent results if you stop down to f/8.

Anyway, your preferences might vary but this is what I will do.




« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2007, 14:56 »
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Some OK tripod: $100




One advice about tripods: never buy an OK tripod. Buy a good tripod, one that is very sturdy with a pan-head or ball-head. Tripods that are not sturdy enough, can in worst case be worse than not using one.

Some of the Chinese brands (Benro among others), are good as well as cheap. Check them in the shop before you buy.

Here's a link to a very good article about tripods:

http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 15:25 »
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If this helps you: I love my Canon XTi. Have the Kit lens and a decent Tamron 55-200, but I also love love love my Tamron 28-75/2.8

« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2007, 21:04 »
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Some OK tripod: $100




One advice about tripods: never buy an OK tripod. Buy a good tripod, one that is very sturdy with a pan-head or ball-head. Tripods that are not sturdy enough, can in worst case be worse than not using one.

Some of the Chinese brands (Benro among others), are good as well as cheap. Check them in the shop before you buy.

Here's a link to a very good article about tripods:

http://www.bythom.com/support.htm



I disagree.

First let me start that I myself have a great sturdy tripod (Manfrotto 3001 PRO and RC322 head - about $250 combo).
And if you are planning to shoot a lot of things from a tripod definately buy a great tripod and cut the list somewhere else (maybe don't buy flash).

BUT, I think if you know what you are doing and are very careful you can get great shots from a $20 tripod.
I took this picture:
http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup.php?id=3875408
from a SUPER cheap tripod and it is totally sharp (no motion blur). I was home in Europe and I just couldn't take my normal tripod.
All I am saying is that if you are planning to take ~1% of your shots from a tripod and are on a tight budget you will survive with a cheap tripod. It's not a solution for me but that is what my brother does (and he has $3000 worth of stuff, he just doesn't like to setup stuff on a tripod and for those rare shots it is enough).


« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2007, 21:43 »
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BUT, I think if you know what you are doing and are very careful you can get great shots from a $20 tripod.


That depends entirely on outside circumstances that you can't always control. If it's windy, it's a problem, if the shutter speed is around one second, it's a problem (very long shutter speeds in calm conditions are not that much of a problem, since the camera/tripod will have time to "settle down" after vibrations caused by mirror, shutter and possibly shutter release), and the list goes on.

In addition, a cheap, mostly light tripod will be very top-heavy when the camera is fitted on top. That means that it will tip over for nothing, possible causing the whole $1,200 investment to go down the drain, except the cheap tripod, which will usually survive   ::)

« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 00:33 »
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Depending on whether or not you have a brand-alliance (Nikon, Canon, etc.)

This is not what I use, but here's a Nikon kit (all new stuff) that would be quite usable and versatile for stock, and would fit in your budget, and produce clean 10MP images if you shoot at low ISO:

$600 Nikon D40x body
$110 Nikkor 50mm 1.8 (use proximity as your zoom)
$70 fast Sandisk 4GB SD card 
$180 two Vivitar 285HV flashes (rig your own "stands")
$100 best tripod and ballhead combo you can find
$50 light tent or DIY reflectors
$90 flash cables/hotshoe adaptor/shipping/misc
$free - www.strobist.com - learn about creative lighting techniques with cheap, simple, portable, often DIY equipment.

Bottom line, remember: constraints are friends, not enemies: some of the best creativity emerges from within the boundaries of limitations.


« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 10:37 »
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BUT, I think if you know what you are doing and are very careful you can get great shots from a $20 tripod.


Don't even entertain a cheap tripod.  Go without.  You are better off having the camera around your neck than sitting on an unstable tripod.  Save for something heavy and rugged that will outlive the next 10 bodies you purchase, and support the heavy beastly lenses you will add to your kit. 

Take it from me... a wind gust knocked over my old tripod last fall and the impact broke my Nikon in half.  It's horrifying, imagine witnessing your spouse being hit by a car and seeing their wires and chips dangling from their torso. 

Purchase/make a couple beanbags and use those to stabilize your camera on a table top or a car hood and save for the best tripod you can get.  Beanbags work surprizingly well.   If you can't find one simply sew (or beg someone to sew) together a square and fillit with a bag of lentils, barley etc. from the grocery store.

« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2007, 12:08 »
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Consider buying a used tripod on eBay. I bought two very nice Gitzo units  this way. They're each about 30 years old, but you wouldn't know it to look at them - these things are built to last!

« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2007, 17:27 »
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Alright well I just placed the order.  ;)

Canon 400D with 17-85mm lens $1099

Polarizer $29.90

2GB Flash Memory $44.90

Going to just pick up a tripod from BestBuy.
After talking with a good friend, I decided against buying any sort of lighting equipment to start with. I don't really fancy messing with all that to start with. That might come down the road after a few more payouts.  :P

« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2007, 18:44 »
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Alright well I just placed the order.  ;)

Canon 400D with 17-85mm lens $1099

Polarizer $29.90

2GB Flash Memory $44.90

Going to just pick up a tripod from BestBuy.
After talking with a good friend, I decided against buying any sort of lighting equipment to start with. I don't really fancy messing with all that to start with. That might come down the road after a few more payouts.  :P

I think you chose wisely. The only thing I would add right away is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2007, 10:36 »
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Watch the ads you might be able to get a mem card even cheaper. I bought the SunPak Platinum Plus 7500 Pro from Best Buy. It is very sturdy. But very heavy also. It works great indoors and out. It's heavy to carry around though. I think it was about 100 bucks but I got it cheap because my son was working there at the time. If you know someone that works there they have good emplyee discounts. Not much on the cameras but other items have good ones. Lenses are over priced at Best Buy. Cameras seem to be competively priced. I would also invest in some kind of shutter release. They are worth the money. Have fun with the new camera.


 

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