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  • Originally posted by Steve Machol View Post
    I'm not completely happy with the quality of the photos with my Cannon Rebel XT and am looking to upgrade. What do people think of this:

    Canon EOS 40D 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens
    The 40D is a very nice camera - we have a few owners with it on yoPhotographer.com

    There are other good alternatives tho, the Nikon D300 is higher spec'd (also more expensive) and the Sony Alpha A700 is also worth considering. Some of the pics taken with it really surprised me.

    But if you already have Canon fit lens it would be ideal to stick with them and go for the 40D

    If you don't have additional lens, I would suggest getting a better lens first - as the kit lens with the 400/350d is not very good imo... and then get a better body next year or the year after.
    Last edited by Razasharp; Thu 21 Feb '08, 5:27pm.
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    • Thanks. Which lenses would you recommend? I value sharpness in the type of photos I take. Is the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom a good lens?
      Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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      Steve Machol Photography


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      • I'm not all that hot on Canon Lenses tbh, but that looks like a good walkabout lens. It has IS, (image stabilisation) which will reduce the need for a tripod.

        Quality wise, check out pbase.com and click search and then find that lens under canon to view pics taken with it. It's a good way to see real life pics taken with the lens (as opposed to glossy manufacturer 'examples'). Personally tho, I would try to go for a 18-200, which would give you a little extra reach.

        Generally, prime lens are considered the sharpest - (prime lens are fixed, eg, 50mm, 85mm etc). Also, worth saying that lens recommendations will vary depending on what type of pics you want to take. (Close-ups? Landscapes? Sports shots? etc.)

        I'm no expert Steve - so I do recommend joining a photography forum just to get some feedback from other Canon owners. I know we have some good canon photographers on YoP (including 40D owners), and there are some fairly large dedicated-canon forums on the web too.

        Good luck!
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        • Originally posted by Steve Machol View Post
          Thanks. Which lenses would you recommend? I value sharpness in the type of photos I take. Is the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom a good lens?
          Its ok but I think the 24-105 f/4L IS is better.
          Best Regards Tommy

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          • Originally posted by Razasharp View Post
            I'm no expert Steve - so I do recommend joining a photography forum just to get some feedback from other Canon owners. I know we have some good canon photographers on YoP (including 40D owners), and there are some fairly large dedicated-canon forums on the web too.

            Good luck!
            Yep I can highly recommend the biggest Canon forum on the net where I am moderator
            Best Regards Tommy

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            • What's the URL?
              Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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              Steve Machol Photography


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              • Originally posted by Steve Machol View Post
                What's the URL?

                Canon Digital Photography Forums we also call it POTN.
                Best Regards Tommy

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                • Thanks.

                  I take it the Canon 70-200 mm EF f/4 L USM Zoom Lens will work with the digital cameras like the 40D, right?
                  Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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                  Steve Machol Photography


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                  • Originally posted by Steve Machol View Post
                    Thanks.

                    I take it the Canon 70-200 mm EF f/4 L USM Zoom Lens will work with the digital cameras like the 40D, right?
                    Yes it will and thats an excellent lens. I have had the non-IS version I sold it when I got the 2.8 non-IS version.
                    Best Regards Tommy

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                    • The 40D is an excellent camera. With the XSi (450D) coming out soon, the price of the 40D has dropped slightly making it great purchase. The XSi should be released soon, but its price will be inflated for a few months as is the case with all new technology. There are no major improvements in the XSi over the XTi (400D). Only some minor things such as live view, larger screen, etc.

                      The 40D is a very solid camera. Handles noise well. Great AF system. Good size and feel.

                      One thing you have to remember is that xxxD and xxD cameras by Canon all have a 1.6x crop sensor. This increases your lens focal length by 1.6 and your 28mm becomes a 44mm which is far to long for a general purpose lens. As suggested, the 24-105mm F/4L IS is a great lens (excellent optics), but even then a bit long for a crop camera.

                      What budget are you working with? I would suggest focusing more of your budget on your lenses than your body.

                      I currently use a 400D with a 17-55mm F/2.8 IS and a 70-200mm F/2.8L IS for 95% of my shooting and love the wide apertures and image quality both lenses offer. Quite an investment though.

                      The two most valuable resources I've found are the-digital-picture.com for reviews and dpreview.com for discussion.
                      Last edited by tgillespie; Fri 22 Feb '08, 4:44pm.
                      Trent Gillespie Mod Theater Gillespie Photography

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                      • If you're going for sharpness, expect to pay close to a grand for a quality zoom lens (17-55mm F/2.8 IS, 24-70mm F/2.8L, 24-105mm F/4L IS, 17-40mm F/2.8L) or look into 2 or 3 primes (35mm F/1.4L, 50mm F/1.4, 85mm F/1.8).

                        Any lens with an L after it generally means excellent quality. The one thing to remember is that Canon does not ever brand a EF-S lens with an L for unknown reasons. The 17-55mm F/2.8 IS is considered L quality, but doe not retain the L because it only fits crop body cameras.

                        Your 18-55mm IS, 17-85mm IS, 28-135mm IS lenses by Canon are decent, but the corners are going to be real soft. Third party lenses are hit or miss according to the many personal accounts found on dpreview. You either get a diamond in the ruff, or one of the many not so sharp copies.
                        Trent Gillespie Mod Theater Gillespie Photography

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                        • Thanks Trent.

                          Budget? Good question. I would like to stay under $2500 total if I can.
                          Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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                          • Okay Steve, I've done some thinking and I've come up with a shopping list and some options for you, keeping your $2,500 budget in mind.

                            Having spoken to you yesterday, I'm pretty sure that your problems with sharpness are caused primarily by lack-lustre lenses. The two other contributory factors would be slightly inaccurate focusing from the 350D, and general camera shake from the fact that your lenses all have relatively small apertures and therefore need longer exposure times than faster, wider aperture lenses.

                            So, my shopping list for you consists primarily of high quality lenses.

                            First on the list is a general purpose zoom lens, covering a range from relatively wide angle to early telephoto. Given your budget, and your desire for sharpness above all else, there are really only three choices. They are:

                            EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM ($999)
                            EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM ($1,139)
                            EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM ($1,059)

                            Of these, I would discount the 24-70mm straight away for you. It's the most expensive of the three, the biggest and heaviest, and it's not stabilized. If you were shooting professionally or could afford a wide angle zoom to accompany it, it might be a consideration, but as we really want to keep costs down and quality up, it's got to go.

                            Second is the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS. This is a seriously good lens and has a very useful range on it, reaching into longer telephoto lengths. If you think you might ever upgrade to a full-frame camera (the EOS 5D or the EOS-1Ds) then this should be seriously considered.

                            On the other hand, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is slightly cheaper and reaches back into a wider range, so if you find that you make a lot of use of the 17-24mm range, this one is going to be the ticket. It's a full stop wider than the 24-105mm, meaning it will be able to shoot at the same shutter speed in half the available light. BUT it's designed for a 1.6x cropped sensor camera, so if you ever upgraded to a 1.3x crop (EOS-1D) or full frame (EOS 5D, EOS-1Ds) camera, you'd have to dispose of this lens and get another.

                            Of these, I think my recommendation would be the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.

                            Total so far:
                            $999

                            Next, you'll need a telephoto zoom. If you've read this thread from start to finish you'll know that I often recommend the EF 70-200mm f.4L USM lens because it has fantastic sharpness and bomb-proof build quality for a relatively bargain price ($579).

                            Canon actually make four 70-200mm lenses. They make a stabilized and non-stabilized f/2.8 version and the same again with an f/4 aperture.

                            Given your location in the world, available light isn't exactly difficult to come by, so the f/4 lenses will be sufficient and will save you a packet over the f/2.8 versions.

                            The question then arises over whether to spend double the money for the stabilized f/4 version rather than the one without the image stabilizer. There is no question that the f/4 IS version is the more capable lens, but is it double-the-price better? That depends on the next item.

                            Total so far:
                            $2058 (with 70-200 f/4L IS)
                            or
                            $1578 (with 70-200 f/4L)

                            Finally comes the question of the camera body. I'm of the opinion that the EOS 350D (Rebel XT) is perfectly capable, unless you are shooting fast moving action and need a high frame rate and much quicker, more accurate auto-focus. Provided that shots are correctly focused, shots taken with the 350D will be no less sharp than those taken with a top-of-the-line pro camera, if top-of-the-line pro lenses are used.

                            However, if you really wanted to upgrade, you should do it to gain more accurate autofocus, a larger viewfinder, faster framerate and better ergonomics.

                            All of these things except better ergonomics could be had with the EOS 450D (Rebel XSi), but at $799.95, I don't think it offers enough of an upgrade over the 350D to be a convincing purchase.

                            On the other hand, the EOS 40D is a major step up from the xx0D series and offers significant benefits. If you were going to upgrade from the 350D, this would be the camera to go for.

                            Total so far:
                            $3,207 (with 70-200 f/4L IS)
                            or
                            $2,727 (with 70-200 f/4L)

                            Given that these figures are over your ideal budget, I'd seriously consider buying just the lenses initially, and seeing how much better your pictures become (you will be very pleasantly surprised). If after that you think that you are still being held back by the 350D, consider going for the 40D and upgrading your 430EZ flash to a 430EX - it works significantly better with Canon DSLRs than the old EZ series ever will, due to the ability to use E-TTL and E-TTL2.

                            All these recommendations are based on current prices at B&H, and assume that you don't want to ditch Canon altogether and switch to Nikon with the extremely impressive D300...

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                            • Originally posted by Kier View Post
                              All these recommendations are based on current prices at B&H, and assume that you don't want to ditch Canon altogether and switch to Nikon with the extremely impressive D300...
                              If I was spending $2500... I would go for the D300 without hesitation Steve! The kit lens that will come with it will be decent too (Nikon kit lens are better than Canon ones imo - which is why I went for a Nikon myself).

                              $1,357.00 with kit lens here http://www.preferredphoto.com/viewpr...8517&l=Froogle

                              That leaves you with $1000 to spend on more lens!
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                              • Thanks a bunch Kier and Raza. Now you've got me thinking about the Nikon D300. Kier, whats your view of that camera with the 18-55mm AFS DX lens? Is the RAW a true RAW? And what about other Nikon lenses? I'm not married to Canon.
                                Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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                                Steve Machol Photography


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