SLR Beginner Kit

What you see is what you get, including photography, displays, and video equipment.

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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:00 am

Voldenuit wrote:Have Sony-BMG learned their lesson from the rootkit fiasco? I'm willing to bet 'NO', but their other divisions do good work (and some of the best kit to get around DRM - burners, etc - have been Sonys).


And I don't deny that Sony has some good - even innovative - products - if the VAIO P had a better keyboard, I'd want it, and there's also the VAIO Z.

But, it's not just Sony-BMG - the whole BluRay thing, the PS3 and OtherOS, quality control issues on the VAIO line (and the consoles,) Memory Stick (OK, that's not as bad,) their crap batteries, etc., etc.

However, this is offtopic, let's get back to cameras. :)
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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:23 am

Voldenuit wrote:the 135/2.8 (T4.5) with defocus control is awesome for portraits (albeit Nikon has one too in 85mm FL)

Actually, Canon has one of those, also...although I'm discovering that something similar can be achieved using the 85mm f/2.8 wide-open with some sort of heavy density filter (Red #29 for B&W photography, CPL is adequate for color) and diffused flash illumination. That setup is probably not any cheaper than using the softfocus lens, but I already own the specified hardware.

Voldenuit wrote:Have Sony-BMG learned their lesson from the rootkit fiasco? I'm willing to bet 'NO', but their other divisions do good work (and some of the best kit to get around DRM - burners, etc - have been Sonys).

It is worth noting that the Alphas are bi-compatible with Memory Stick and SD/SDHC. So they've obviously learned something there. SD/SDHC is cheap and available everywhere, and just keeps getting cheaper. This was impressed upon me sharply after I recently upgraded to a used Canon 40D, and discovered just how uncommon and expensive CF cards are becoming.
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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:53 pm

Well, it turns out that most of my friends shoot Canon.

What should I look out for when buying a second hand DSLR? Most likely an EOS 350D (that's Digital Rebel XT to some of you).

Thankyou very much for all of your advice so far... I am excited!

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excession
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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:12 pm

excession wrote:Well, it turns out that most of my friends shoot Canon.
You know, that's actually kind of funny. I'm the only one I know (aside from my dad, as we share the same kit) that shoots Pentax; I've never even met anybody else in person that uses it. :lol:

That said, have you gotten a chance to play with their rigs? While not necessarily the most important thing to look for, ergonomics can make a difference when holding the camera for an extended period of time. Does it fit properly in your hand? Does it feel solid to you? Too heavy/light? Does it feel like it's "trying to get away" from you? It may end up that you just prefer the overall "feel" of a different maker, despite being able to share kit. Not that I'm saying you should stay away from Canon or anything... :wink:
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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:27 pm

excession wrote:Well, it turns out that most of my friends shoot Canon.

What should I look out for when buying a second hand DSLR? Most likely an EOS 350D (that's Digital Rebel XT to some of you).

Here's my basic checklist:

1. Total Use: The shutter count should be reasonable. Over about 25-35k operations and you've got a heavily used camera body which may need some adjustment service in the near future. If the previous user left the camera in sequential-numbering mode the whole time, you can get this from the file numbering that is used while taking your test shots.

2. Test shots: You should be able to pop off a good 30-50 shots in multiple exposure modes, with multiple lens change-outs, in a wide range of lighting, with multiple f/stops and shutter timings (try M, Av, and Full Auto at a minimum), and produce images that are appropriately sharp relative to the lighting and aperture setting, without ever generating any error messages or lockups.

3. Mirror: Pop the lens and take a good look-and-listen. The mirror should operate smoothly, it will be noisy but it shouldn't slap or vibrate; the mirror itself should be clean, and if it isn't, the user really didn't care about maintaining the camera properly.

4. Sensor: The sensor should be clean and reasonably dust free. The 350D doesn't support LiveView, so you will need to change the exposure mode to M (manual) and set the exposure time to "Bulb", then hold the shutter release for an examination. If you find an affordable 400D, that model does support LiveView and you can just press the "Set" button on the back once to engage LiveView and the camera will correspondingly hold the shutter open.

5. Cosmetic: The body should be free of any severe scuffs or gouges that would suggest a harsh fall or a slide across a rough surface; the mounting ring in the body should be free from any serious wear marks (excessive lens changeouts) or dents (suggesting it was harshly dropped while wearing a lens); the LCD may have some surface scratching but should not be gouged (abuse) or showing signs of gradients, washout, or dark spots (component failure).

Finally, I would suggest getting a 400D (Rebel XTi) rather than a 350D, if you can find one within your budget. It will buy you at least three things that are quite useful: LiveView, a 10MP sensor, and a proxy sensor that automatically kills the LCD when you have the unit up to your face, which is really helpful for sighting the viewfinder in dim light. On the 350D (XT) and the 450D (XS), the display has to be killed and re-enabled manually, which is kind of a pain if you can't easily see the button that does it.
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Re: SLR Beginner Kit

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:53 pm

Nice checklist ludi.

ludi wrote:Here's my basic checklist:

1. Total Use: The shutter count should be reasonable. Over about 25-35k operations and you've got a heavily used camera body which may need some adjustment service in the near future. If the previous user left the camera in sequential-numbering mode the whole time, you can get this from the file numbering that is used while taking your test shots.


My Pentax "rolls over" at 9999, so 10,000 = 0. However, you can check the true shutter count from the exif data. Just load an image from the camera in PhotoME. It'll give you a ton of data. Just type in "shutter count" in the bottom space named "filter". My Pentax is currently at 18,977, though it's only at 8786 by photo numbering.

ludi wrote:
4. Sensor: The sensor should be clean and reasonably dust free. The 350D doesn't support LiveView, so you will need to change the exposure mode to M (manual) and set the exposure time to "Bulb", then hold the shutter release for an examination. If you find an affordable 400D, that model does support LiveView and you can just press the "Set" button on the back once to engage LiveView and the camera will correspondingly hold the shutter open.



You can also take the camera out, set it to the smallest aperture (f22/f32), and take a picture of the blue sky. It doesn't need to be the sky, but the sky is easy to use since it's bright enough for such small apertures and, as long as it's not cloudy, it's just one color. Look for any dark spots on the images. These are spots of dust on the sensor. Also, don't fret over spots you see when looking through the viewfinder of the camera. These most likely won't impact the image since they're either in the viewfinder or on the mirror of the camera.
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