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  1. #1
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    Photographers - digital camera recommendations - DSLR

    What would you recommend in a digial camera - DSLR? I have a Canon P&S, but want a DSLR for more options. I've always liked Canon and Nikon. I will probably buy something used off Ebay. I like taking nature, outdoors, and travel photography. My budget, probably
    $350-$650. Thank you

  2. #2
    Cycling for Life
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    There are as many right answers to that question as wrong ones - as many different suggestions as there are individuals using this forum.
    A few suggestions Id make; stick with a big name brand (canon, Nikon, etc.).
    Make sure it uses a memory system (card) format that is not being discontinued anytime soon.
    Make sure you are able to get an extra battery for it.
    While a large number of mega-pixels is nice, the lens taking the picture is probably more important- fortunately these can be upgraded later.
    The (relatively) new Image Stabilization technology in the lensí is pretty handy, especially for us that donít generally pack a tripod everywhere.

    Getting a good camera body that works well for you is important, all the other stuff can be upgraded later. Start watching Craigslist and visiting larger camera shops that sell used equipment to get a feel for what you like.

  3. #3
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    Can't go wrong with canon or nikon, but $650 is going to be tough to get a body and a good lens.

    If you're shooting nature them you're going to want something at least 200mm.

    But if you like the great outdoors, then maybe a wide angle.

    Tamron make a nice 18-270mm lens, but it starts at around $500.

    If you're stuck with the price range I'd look at an all in one like a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150.
    It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

  4. #4
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    +1 on Craigslist.

    If it's your first dslr, buy used. I picked up a 4 year old (I think) Canon 350D with a 18-55mm lense for 300 bucks.

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    I love my Pentax gear. You can get a great k-x with an 18-50 and 55-300 kit for under $500. These are great in low light but not weather resistant. If you shoot mostly in the daylight I would highly recommend a Pentax k10 or k20 which are both weather sealed and can be had for 300 for the k10 and 500 for the k20 and both are "prosumer" level bodies.

    See my Flickr gallery for some examples of the work.

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  6. #6
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    I've used Nikon gear for 22 years so I will admit a bias here! That said, Canon does make good stuff; I find Nikon to have the superior interface, making it easier to use all the features. Your budget for a DSLR is quite low, for new gear, anyway, but I think you could score a decent used camera within that range. My first DSLR was a Nikon D200 w/ 18-200VR lens, and it was great. I moved to the D700 only because I wanted to use old FX lenses like the 16mm and the 600mm and wanted the better low-light performance it offered at the time. I think you could source a D200 or D300 w/ 18-200VR for somewhere around your budget if you scour online. If you were going new, I would suggest the D7000 as it has excellent features and could be a camera for life. You can check out the shots I've taken with both cameras at my site: http://www.fradale.net/

  7. #7
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    One of the things that you need to take into account if buying a 2nd hand DSLR is checking that the shutter count on the camera is still relatively low. You wouldn't want to buy a 2nd hand DSLR that is coming to the end of the shutter life. If you have to replace the shutter you would have been better-off buying a new camera.

    I have a Canon 40D that has a manufacturer's advised maximum shutter count of 150,000 exposures. I need to download the small free program 'EOSInfo' to determine the exact shutter count. I'm guessing I'm somewhere between 25-30,000 exposures taken, in the past 3 years. A 40D with this sort of exposure count, I think would be a good buy for a camera body.

    The 40D uses the APS-C system, which isn't full frame, but the picture quality is very good even with basic lenses. I only have kit lenses and I'm happy with the results ... WildWassa on deviantART

    The square format is my preferred cropping of the camera's rectangular image.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 09-05-2011 at 01:03 AM.

  8. #8
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    Last edited by flipr; 09-05-2011 at 05:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    I have a Panasonic gf1 micro 4/3 camera. It has a sensor that's almost as large as a dslr but in the size of a point and shoot. There's quite a few lenses available for it as well.

    You could prob get a used Panny gf1 for real cheap on ebay.......

  10. #10
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    Just depends on what you want to do. Ditto on the Nikon-Cannon comments. Either are great. I have owned both.

    Now... If you just want snapshots... Just stick with a point and shoot. If you want to push your limits, I'd suggest waiting and saving a little more cash. The LENS will be the most important part of this purchase. Whatever you get, make sure it comes with decent glass.

    Remember, a good lens will take nice pictures even on an inexpensive camera, BUT, a crappy lens will take crappy pictures even using the best camera that there is. There is a LOT of crap glass floating around out there... Even the name brands make cheap crap with lots of distortion.

    Save up, and do it right the first time. It's cheaper that way. I don't mean save up $3000... But I doubt you will end up happy at your target price range.

    Lots of advice here: Digital Grin Photography Forum - Powered by vBulletin
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  11. #11
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    I'd recommend getting a refurbished body/lens combo from the Canon store. Even better, if you have an old Canon camera (anything, doesn't have to be a dSLR- just buy one cheap off CL or Ebay) you can get an additional 20% off their refurbed prices. I'm pretty sure this means something like a Canon T2i plus the ever-popular 18-55 IS lens for around $500... can't beat that deal.

    If it's specifically for biking (or if you at least plan on using it for that), I'd recommend one of the smaller bodies like the XS, XSi, or T2i... much lighter and easier to pack on a ride.

    I personally use a Canon 50D along with my new/used do-it-all lens, the Sigma 18-125mm OS. However, I also use my 50D for portrait pictures, landscapes, and skiing shots (6.5 fps is very nice).

  12. #12
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    Look into micro four thirds format cameras.

  13. #13
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    Newly converted Sony Alpha user here. Sold my Nikon d80 a while ago and went with the Sony A55. Love it. You could get a Sony a35 with 18-55 lens, 16 MP, HD video with continuous auto focus (translucent mirror), 7 frames per second, and the ability to shoot hdr images built in. No computer software required. 630 bucks brand new.

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0370684

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  14. #14
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    I got a T1i used with the canon 18-55mm lens. It is perfect for mountain biking, light, compact and good pictures. If you watch craigslist and ebay you might come across one for a good deal. There a lot of scams out there in craigslist land with cameras so be aware and ebay can escalate prices to near MSRP for a used camera.

    Alternately check out costco or the package deals from sites like adorama. You might have to go over your budget a bit but you get a new camera, sometimes a couple of lenses, extra batteries, filters cases etc.
    Try this: HTFU

  15. #15
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    Don't think you can go wrong with either Canon or Nikon. I bought a used Nikon D5000 that came with 18-55 and 55-200 DX lenses and it's been awesome (a bit of overkill for me but the price was impossible to turn down). Nikon cameras focus accurately/quickly and are known for durability as well...

  16. #16
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    I'm a Nikon guy, switched from Canon back when film was in vogue. I'd look at a D5100 package w/18-55 zoom which will run you a bit more than $650 but its worth it. Save up and buy yourself a decent zoom or better yet get a nice prime (or 2) in the focal length(s) you like and use your feet to "zoom". I own some of Nikon's better zooms and have gone back to just using one or two primes - they are much lighter and it takes some exception zoom glass to beat the IQ. Translate to very expensive and heavy zoom glass to beat a prime.

    In the Nikon world check out the 50mm 1.8, or 35mm 1.8. If you like some close up stuff save for a 60mm micro 2.8 which is also a decent portrait lens. If you are really stuck on a zoom and need a wide angle checkout a Tokina 12-24mm zoom. The best cheaper long zoom I have played with is theNikon 70-300mm. Good luck.
    Wally

  17. #17
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    If you find a deal on it used or want to consider expanding your budget a bit, the Canon 18-135 is a killer walk around lens & comes as a kit lens in t3i's, 60D's and on up. I've got a 60D that I freaking love but I think even used it's going to break your budget. Once you use an 18-135 lens though, you'll never want to put an 18-55 back on your camera.

  18. #18
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    Once you use an 18-135 lens though, you'll never want to put an 18-55 back on your camera.
    That depends if you shoot Canon or Nikon. The Canon 18-55 is not very good.
    Nikon's 18-55 on the other hand is a very competent lens. Tack sharp, working image stabilization, tiny, light and dirt cheap. Obivously not the right choice to shoot wild animals in the dark, but other than that it is actually a very useful general purpose lens (I can't recommend Nikons 18-135mm though, I used to have one and it's definitely the weakest of the 18-xx zooms Nikon makes).

    Most people only have the 18-55s because they came with the camera, but I actually bought a new one recently as a lightweight option. Great for biking/hiking/climbing sort of stuff, whenever I can't carry my bigger wide-angle. It has no optical flaws, and if I smash it I'm only out $80. The only real nuissance are the rotating filter threads, makes it harder to use grads or polarizers.
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  19. #19
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    ah yes, good point...I can't speak for Nikons because I've never shot with 'em, their 18-55 might be the bomb. But the Canon 18-135 is oh so purdy. Believe it or not, I occasionally borrow the 24-70 L glass from work when I go to some events, and find myself switching back to my 18-135 cheap-o kit lens before too long because I miss the extra flexibility in focal lengths & the contrast & clarity are THAT good, it can seriously almost keep up with the L glass that costs 5x as much.

  20. #20
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    keh.com usually has a good picking of used cameras and is good to deal with.

  21. #21
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    The cool thing about DSLR cameras are that you can buy cheap camera to start, just get nice glass. As you upgrade your camera, you keep the lenses. I started with cheap Canon Rebel XT, then switched to a T1i when they were new. Now there are better, but I'll stay with the T1i for a while. I have some decent canon zoom lenses, but nothing beats primes... and if you really get into photography you'll probably end up with some. Tamron makes some decent lenses, I have my eye on the 200-500 mm zoom, but it's like $1000 new and I don't know if I want to spend that on a tamron. I have some pretty expensive Canon primes, but at least they are made by Canon...

    Anyhow, I have used both Nikon and Canons and they are pretty much comparable (don't flame me for tha). I personally started buying Canon lense so now have to stay with Canon unless I want to start all over.

  22. #22
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    I second keh.com. I've had good experiences selling and buying from them.

  23. #23
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    Love my Nikon D90! Should be able to find them used by now.

    Adam
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  24. #24
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    I have larger hands, and have always needed a pro sized DSLR w/ battery grip. Although the Nikon D200 is older tech, it is a very nice camera, and does great when the light it there. I would choose Nikon also because you can pick up old lenses, both auto focus and manual focus (Canon guys are buying them left and right too!!) for pretty cheap, and have lots of fun. Start out with a nice camera, and one lens....then continue to build as you can.

  25. #25
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    I recently sold my Canon 7D and wish I didn't, but I just didn't use it that much. I found myself using the P&S quit a bit more. I ended up splitting the difference with a Canon SX30IS and it's a pretty good camera.

    Amazon.com: Canon SX30IS 14.1MP Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 Inch Wide LCD: Camera & Photo

  26. #26
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    I'm leery about buying used, especially if can't play with it before I buy, I have bought from KEH with good success, but they are a very reputable company.
    I shoot a Canon 40D and have several lenses from Sigma 10-20, Tamron 28-75, Tamron 70-200, Canon 85 1.8, 430 EXII flash. It can get expensive.
    Nikon, Canon, both are good but if I was just getting started or wanted one good camera I would seriously look into Sony. One reason is they have built in image stabilization and will work with any lens that will fit on the camera. Get one with a kit lens and then you can add to more later.
    With my Canon I have to buy a lens with that feature and they cost more.

    I haven't checked on prices lately but Adorama and B&H are a couple of good and honest places.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sk8er07999 View Post
    Newly converted Sony Alpha user here. Sold my Nikon d80 a while ago and went with the Sony A55. Love it. You could get a Sony a35 with 18-55 lens, 16 MP, HD video with continuous auto focus (translucent mirror), 7 frames per second, and the ability to shoot hdr images built in. No computer software required. 630 bucks brand new.

    Micro Center - Sony a35 DSLR Camera + Zoom Lens SLTA35K

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    I 2nd this. My first dslr was an a33 and I've been loving it. I was stuck between the Nikon d3100 and waiting for a Canon T3. I decided to just get the a33 and it's been an awesome camera. I feel like it shoots better video than the nikon or canon I was looking at. Having the image stabilizer in the camera body is pretty rad too, even though the lenses aren't any cheaper.

  28. #28
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    Nikon D40 is all I ever needed...

  29. #29
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    I don't want to take this thread to far off track, but I am a guy who likes to take pictures, but knows very little about cameras.
    I have what I consider to be a decent point and shoot Panasonic Lumix TZ5. It takes pretty good pictures and works fine for me most of the time.
    Where my camera falls short sometimes, is its ability to focus quickly, or to take a second picture right after the first. This is a problem for trying to capture wildlife, or my sons football games.

    So, the question is, how would I know if I bought a camera, how much better it would be in these areas? Do they give specs for focusing speed or anything like that? Do cameras vary widely in this area, and would a nicer camera make a big difference?
    Thanks

  30. #30
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    After all Sony NEX is my choice. No pure DSLR but APS sensor, good high ISO performance in solid, compact & light body. For landscape 16mm lens is enough. The video mode is good too.

  31. #31
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    i would say depends how serious you want to get.

    canon makes point and shoot style cameras that can produce professional quality photos, I know of a photographer who uses them for shoots that cost thousands of dollars.

    canon powershot g12

    shoots raw, can accept bigger flashes on the hot shoe, as well as pocket wizards for off camera flash use

    if you want a DSLR, I would go with something like a canon t2i, base level but still shoots very good video as a plus. super light and small as well. pretty inexpensive used

  32. #32
    Velebit
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaycagney View Post
    canon t2i, base level but still shoots very good video as a plus. super light and small as well. pretty inexpensive used
    Agree, I own Canon DSLR with few lenses and use them for hiking and for some more easy MTB routes. For hard MTB routes during last year I use most of the time Sony NEX-5 and 16mm lens. NEX is light with very good APS sensor. My gallery related to MTB routes are available at: MTB mountain bike routes in Croatia and neighborhood. Thanks for visit.

  33. #33
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    Panasonic GH2. Amazing quality, small size. Done and done.

  34. #34
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    Well, it's been three months... wonder if you've gotten a camera yet.

    If not..

    I have a Nikon D40, and my daughter has a Nikon D40x

    I got mine from a local through CL for $500... with a package of lenses, bag, etc.

    I then turned around and sold both original lenses on ebay, picked up a better lens and new bag, and was happy.

    Then I got the itch for a bigger lense, then a wide angle (which cost almost as much as the original camera package....

    just like bikes... it never ends!

    Add to that... tripod, monopod (first the cheaper ones... then more expensive but better ones), a flash, remote...

    But I do heartily recommend the Nikon D40
    I don't want to take movies with my camera.
    I don't want or need 12+ megapixles.
    I don't need to take 6 fps (although it could be cool sometimes )

    It's a good solid camera that has been working for me for over a year now and I even carried it in a bag on my HT when riding the Cascade Huts ride around Mt Hood, OR... dusty bumpy roads and trails.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel View Post
    That depends if you shoot Canon or Nikon. The Canon 18-55 is not very good. Nikon's 18-55 on the other hand is a very competent lens. ...
    what Nikon lens beats this one? Canon EF-S 17 - 55 mm F2.8 IS lens: Digital Photography Review
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  36. #36
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    Sounds like you got a good deal. I was looking at a Nikon 3000 at Best Buy and they were out , then went into Walmart and on their clearance shelf was a Canon XS with a 55mm lens and Canon bag - $318 out the door, couldn't resist this deal. I bought a 50-250mm lens off Ebay(NIB - $150). I put a camera backpack on my Christmas list.

  37. #37
    Look at the time!
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    Nikon also makes a 17-55mm f/2.8. Like the Canon, it is supposed to be optically superb. The Nikon is a slightly older design without image stabilisation. Both are also large, bulky, expensive and heavy. Typical wedding shooter lenses.

    These don't really target the same audience as the 18-55mm kit zooms, which are light, portable, cheap, and, in case of the Nikon, surprisingly sharp.
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  38. #38
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    My personal choice is a Nikon D300 with the lightweight 18-200mm. But this is still a bulking setup for biking. Might want to consider a 3/4 DSLR or a high end P&S.

  39. #39
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    love my Canon S95 for a point and shoot.....

  40. #40
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    Spend your money on a lense, that is the most important part. the body you can go with a older one like a pro sumer if you know your way around things.

  41. #41
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    I can't recommend the Canon EOS 600D enough. It is a camera I have owned for awhile now and not once has it let me down/had any problems.
    It's about £400 over here so I'm not sure how much it would set you back.

  42. #42
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    If you're talking body only, then I'd go with a Canon 50D. It has decent focus tracking, a pretty fast FPS rate, and sits very nicely between that pro and consumer level camera. I have one that I use as a back up/short lens camera, and it works pretty well for ice hockey, which I shoot for two pro teams. You can see what's possible with the camera on my website. photographybyjax dot com Every photo on there was done with a 50D, so it's a pretty nice camera. I need to get out and shoot some mountain biking, but I always wanna ride so I never do!

  43. #43
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    I would not get an old camera like a 50d. Newer cameras can double as video recorders.

    non-dslrs jsut don't have the moving object focus speed yet. Even the best of the non-dslr, dh2 can not sport, and its $$.

    I recommend newbs to buy:
    portable tripod (Pedco UltraPod II)
    remote control (cheap $10 one on ebay works fine)

    cameras (check your hot deals forum for these dslr kits, both of the these deals were posted in the last 3 months on slickdeals)
    if you take pictures of movement
    eg. Nikon D5100 16.2-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera bundled w/Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens $700 + FS
    or
    eg. Canon T3i Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II Lens & EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Lens = $814 @
    cheap 50mm 1.2 lens (~$135)
    check flickr 50mm f1.8II group for example shots with cheap lens

    if you do not take pictures of movement
    nex 5n (small) , or panasonic gf3 (smaller), canon s100 (smallest)

    You do not need a $$ lens yet. Learn the kit lens + 50mm prime first, then you will know if you need it. If you look through most of the pictures posted here, they are not at apertures less than 5.6. You will need to learn post process as well, its mandatory if you want the best pictures possible.

  44. #44
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    I've been enjoying my Canon XS, I admit I haven't been using as much as I should, and with the 55mm and the 50-250mm lens, I think this will keep me happy. I got a Canon backpack for Christmas. I don't think you can go wrong with either a Canon or Nikon - I had good luck with my Canon P&S, plus I got a great deal.

  45. #45
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    I've been shooting a first gen Canon 5D for a few years now and love it. Its been a great camera and shows no signs of letting me down any time soon. Has well over 20,000 clicks threw it and not a single hickup. its a little advanced for a novice or newer DSLR shooter as it has not preset modes. But Its a great buy on the used market these days and you get a true full frame camera. Prior to the 5 I shot a 20D that I still own. Camera is almost bullet proof one of the best Mid level DSLRs ever made IMO. I have a few friends that keep a 20 in the bag as a back up because its that reliable. I've seen used ones selling for 200-300 recently and with good glass its still a great camera to get started in the DSLR world.

  46. #46
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    there is nothing wrong with older gen dslrs. for a newer buyers, most will get better value by purchasing a kit. The image quality / $ spend will be higher. Also buying used equipment with no warranty require more knowledge as there are many things to look out for. Even purchasing new camera equipment, you need to check for a bunch of things but at least you have a year to warranty if you have problems

  47. #47
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    I just recently got the Canon T2i and all I've been saying is WOW. I was only using Olympus DSLR cameras until a friend lent me his Canon 5D MarkII to play with. That's when I realized how sub-par my cameras have been thus far. I know I know the 5D is in its own league, but still. So that got me playing around with more price-friendly Canons and led me to the T2i. The kit lens is decent, does its job. I ended up getting the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens for portraits and the ability to capture my kids precious moments indoor (and in low light). Damn, I don't even take that lens off anymore.

    For a non-DSLR, only consider the Canon S100, it's a bit pricy, but its performance is unmatched. My wife carries it everywhere and at a quick glance, people can't tell if the picture came from my T2i or her S100 (with lots of light).

    To sum it up, if you want a camera to keep for a long time that out-performs anything in its price range, get the T2i. The T3i is the more recent model, but the T2i actually outperforms it almost everything...and it's cheaper.

    snapsort . com / compare/Canon-T3i-vs-Canon_EOS_Rebel_T2i

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