Digital Camera (DSLR) Advice

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This thread could compliment the thread about lower-priced point-and-shoot digital cameras here. I want some specific advice in a different price range.

I've last looked a few years ago at (DSLR) cameras. These are cameras that are digital and operate with interchangeable lenses. I'm looking for pro-sumer cameras, and do not have the bankroll for a full-frame camera (unless they've REALLY come down in price).

I was looking at the following cameras:
Nikon D200x
Nikon D2x
Canon 40D

I think these were the names/model numbers, anyway. The D2x had just come out when I was looking, and was around $1200USD.

I'm looking for something like the following, and will share the "camera reviews page" I was looking at as soon as I can find it again:
  1. DSLR - this is a must!
  2. Able to support a wide variety of lenses, from zoom to macro.
  3. Pro-sumer kind of camera: I want really really good pictures.
  4. Exceptionally fast shutter speed: I want to be able to capture, say, sports. Or fish pictures.
  5. Ability to hot-shoe a flash.
  6. Tripod- and remote-shutter-release-ready.

I must say, I went to the store to look at the Nikons a few years back and REALLY liked the look and heft of them. The Canons at that time felt plastic-y in my hand. So ... a preference would be a metal body casing.

Originally I started looking around when doing research for my master's thesis. It dealt with images (flagging images with hidden information) and I found Philip Greenspun's photography site absolutely phenomenal. He was also nice enough to let me use some of his images in my research. Suffice it to say, he has a whole hard-case he packs with him when he travels, and his artistic eye is fantastic.

Cheers!
 

RobotRock

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I have a 40D. I got it in October and absolutely LOVE it! 6.5fps definitely comes in handy. I'm a concert photographer so I really need the speed. The best thing to do is to compare the choices online, check out the reviews, go to the store and test them out. It took me forever to finally decide on the 40D, I couldn't be happier.

Check out this site for good info
Digital Camera Reviews and News: Digital Photography Review: Forums, Glossary, FAQ
 
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I have a 40D. I got it in October and absolutely LOVE it! 6.5fps definitely comes in handy. I'm a concert photographer so I really need the speed. The best thing to do is to compare the choices online, check out the reviews, go to the store and test them out. It took me forever to finally decide on the 40D, I couldn't be happier.

Check out this site for good info
Digital Camera Reviews and News: Digital Photography Review: Forums, Glossary, FAQ
THAT'S THE SITE!

Got it in one, thanks. :)

It's like cellphonescoop.com is for cell phones (mods, should we have a "good sites" sticky?).
 
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As a photograher I would suggest getting a Nikon D700.
That's a phenomenal camera.

It's also horribly, awfully, terribly expensive for me at this time!

I've been looking at the Nikkor-family lenses and see one that keeps being mentioned. It's about $1000. One site went so far as to recommend putting your money into the lenses, as the camera body is "disposable" (150K-300K shutter releases).

Is my thinking on this correct - get quality optics, a good camera body, and then upgrade the camera body 4 years later?

Also ... it is becoming clear to me that I'd like to pick up some books on this before putting loads of money down. Can anyone recommend books for:
  • The "technical" aspects of photography (specifically lens selection, what ISO setting to use, etc.)
  • Image composition and framing
  • Camera maintenance (though I suspect these DSLRs are not repairable outside of Nikon / Canon)
  • Anything else that would be useful.

What it comes down to is this:
I want to take lots of pictures.
Of things that may be fast.
With artistic merit (or at least, the ability to have artistic merit!).
Digitally.
All over the world.
For quite a long time.
 

RobotRock

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That's a phenomenal camera.

It's also horribly, awfully, terribly expensive for me at this time!

I've been looking at the Nikkor-family lenses and see one that keeps being mentioned. It's about $1000. One site went so far as to recommend putting your money into the lenses, as the camera body is "disposable" (150K-300K shutter releases).

Is my thinking on this correct - get quality optics, a good camera body, and then upgrade the camera body 4 years later?

Also ... it is becoming clear to me that I'd like to pick up some books on this before putting loads of money down. Can anyone recommend books for:
  • The "technical" aspects of photography (specifically lens selection, what ISO setting to use, etc.)
  • Image composition and framing
  • Camera maintenance (though I suspect these DSLRs are not repairable outside of Nikon / Canon)
  • Anything else that would be useful.

What it comes down to is this:
I want to take lots of pictures.
Of things that may be fast.
With artistic merit (or at least, the ability to have artistic merit!).
Digitally.
All over the world.
For quite a long time.
As far as speed and the choices you're looking at, the 40D is the fastest.
 
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These days the DSLR component is obsolete.
Almost all digital cameras have stopped putting in the eye viewfinder and are just having the screen.
The screen shows what the lens sees, so it's SLR.
 

Lil Snap

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Have you considered the Nikon D90? IIRC, it has the internals from the D300 (fast shutter speed, excellent meteriing system) sans some of the software and the fps is somewhat slower. The upshot is that the D90 can shoot HD (720) video as well as stills, using any of the lenses that fit. The pixel count is plenty high (unless you are interested in printing murals) and all the reviewers I have read preferred it to some of the more expensive options based on the overall value if not outright picture quality.

Most likely, it will be my next camera body.

Oh, also, a friend of mine has the 40D and an enormous lens (35-300) that he loves.
 
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No one has mentioned the Canon EOS 50D. The 50D is the big brother to the 40D. It's still a APS-C (1.6 CF) sensor, but is 15-odd MP, has a faster shutter and a bigger screen than the 40D. It also has a higher ISO range, but honestly, I don't see the point in shooting above ISO 800. I have a Rebel XSi and @ 1600+ the images are simply too noisy. With the 50D, you get all of Canon's EF and EF-S lens series, including their "L" lenses (The absolute best, IMHO).

I personally shoot a Rebel XSi with a Speedlite 430EXII and generally the EF-S 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 IS , or for portraits the EF 50mm f/1.8II. I rented a EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM and it was AMAZING!

The 50D will be my next body. I was playing with one at the camera store and it felt just right in my hands.
 

tom

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Being a photography enthusiast myself, I would suggest the Canon 400D (I think this is the Rebel XSi?) . After much research, this was the camera I eventually chose, and I haven't been disappointed. It is well priced and good value for money. Unfortunately, I've since forgotten the main reasons why I chose it over some others on the market, but if you have any questions, fire away.

With regards to books, I'm still looking myself for a good one. None I have found are just right, with the right balance between technicality and reader ease.
 

tenlet

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I like my Nikon D40, and it was inexpensive, for a DSLR.
I'm looking for something like the following, and will share the "camera reviews page" I was looking at as soon as I can find it again:

1. DSLR - this is a must!
2. Able to support a wide variety of lenses, from zoom to macro.
3. Pro-sumer kind of camera: I want really really good pictures.
4. Exceptionally fast shutter speed: I want to be able to capture, say, sports. Or fish pictures.
5. Ability to hot-shoe a flash.
6. Tripod- and remote-shutter-release-ready.
Generally all of these things come once you have #1. #6 comes with virtually any camera. As for #4, any camera can have a fast shutter speed, you want a camera that lets you use a fast speed and still has enough light to make an image. DSLR's and other professional/semi-professional cameras(there are professional cameras besides SLR'S!) are designed to let more light in, so the shutter doesn't have to be open so long. It has to do with lens arpetures and ISO's. You should probably research them if you haven't already. However SLR's seem to still have automatic modes, so even if you know nothing about the technical details, you'll get many of the DSLR's advantages.
 
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