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Author Topic: Help me buy a DSLR  (Read 250 times)
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Canuck
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« on: January 18, 2013, 08:03:41 AM »

Ok I can't complain about the over abundance of TV threads on here if I don't do something about it so here goes:
I was going to buy a dSLR (my first) and I had settled on the Canon T3i because it was fairly cheap and came with a couple of lenses. But now I'm wondering if I should get the T4i instead. Here's my situation:

Canon T3i with double lens kit costs 55,400 yen (approx $625 US)
Canon T4i with EF-S18-135mm IS STM lens will cost aprox 85,500 yen but I would get back around 12,000 yen of loyalty points on my point card effectively making it 72,000 yen or $815 US.
So there's a difference of almost $200 between the cameras and this is what I think I would get if I went with the T4i over T3i (please let me know if I miss anything).
*T4i body is made in Japan whereas the T3i is made in Taiwan
*T4i auto focuses in movie mode whereas the T3i doesn't
*T4i has a touch screen. At first I thought this wasn't a big deal but when I tried it out in the store I found it to be super intuitive and helpful
*T4i has movie mode on the ON/OFF switch which is slightly more handy than T3i
*T4i has 9 point cross type AF (I have no idea what this means)
*T4i is compatible with UHS-1 cards (not sure if I need to take advantage of this

Well that's all the differences I can think of. If anyone else can fill me in on anything more I would appreciate it. I've seen different websites say that picture quality is no different between the two cameras. The real difference seems to be with the lenses. As someone new to SLRs and hence no lenses at all, is it worth giving up an 18-55mm IS lens and a 55-250mm IS lens for a single 18-135mm IS STM lens? Would I be better off with two different lenses rather than a single lens? I kind of like the idea of being able to take videos with the camera as my wife is pregnant with our first child (the reason for my buying the camera). In that case, an auto focusing body with an STM seems like a good idea. On the other hand, more likely than not if we want to catch a video quickly we'd probably just use an iPhone. If the two lenses in the T3i double lens kit are far superior to a single 18-135mm lens (for picture purposes) then I would be willing to forgo the STM lens. Alternatively, if someone thinks that another camera (Nikon D3200 or something) would suit my purposes better then let me know. I like the idea of getting a Canon (especially for that cheap f/1.8 50mm lens) but it's not something I'm hung up on.
I know a lot of people suggest to get something cheap for their first camera and then upgrade. On the other hand the T3i at $600 isn't exactly cheap and to be honest I don't plan on becoming a pro so if the camera suits me know then I'll keep it for many many years. In that case it might be a good idea not to get something overly cheap. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
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rshetts2
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 02:47:48 PM »

The major differences between the 3i and 4i that really matter are the body being made in Japan, which is considered far superior to Taiwanese manufacture and the superior auto focus, which is functional in  movie mode.  Here is a link to my go to camera review site:   http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos600d/19

The two cameras have almost identical reviews and you cant go wrong with either. 
regarding the lenses, the 18-135mm lens was manufactured in part for improved video capture as you can probably tell from the list of features here:
EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM key features

Versatile 18-135mm zoom range perfect for travel
Smooth, quiet STM focusing when shooting movies on compatible cameras
Dynamic Image Stabilizer for smooth movie footage
Fast autofocus with full-time manual override
Minimum focusing distance of 0.39m

It is a very nice over all lens with a a very good telephoto range and will give you plenty of picture taking options with out the need of a lens change.  It also has an F-stop of 3.5 thru the range versus the 4.5 of the telephoto provided in the T3i kit.   The two lens kit with the 3Ti  gives you a bit more range in telephoto but are not as high quality as the single lens with the T4i kit. 

IMHO, I would go with the T4i, for the better build and better overall lens and if I found I needed the extra telephoto range I would look at adding a larger range telephoto down the road.  The extra $200 is worth it if you will be happier with the camera.  Of course if you plan on using the camera for video at all, then the 4Ti kit is far superior to the T3i in that area and would definitely be the better choice.    Last but not least, if you plan on ever upgrading the camera body, then your most important issues will be getting superior glass ( lenses ) because thats what youll be carrying over when you change camera bodies. 

for cost comparison the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM goes for $481 on amazon just by itself.    The 55-250 mm runs for just under $200 and the 18-55mm IS lens is also just under $200 
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wonderpug
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 03:12:21 PM »

Nikon vs Canon
You could flip a coin.  You mention you're going for Canon because it has a cheap f/1.8 50mm lens, but Nikon also has a cheap f/1.8 50mm lens.  I recommend checking out both brands in a store to see which one you like better.  Try zooming to see which twist direction seems more intuitive, see if you prefer the layout of physical controls on one or the other, and see which on-screen menus make more sense to you.  You really cannot go wrong with either brand.

T3i vs T4i
I don't know the Canon models as well as Nikon, but from your descriptions I think you probably want to splurge on the T4i.  Now most of the time the recommendation is to invest in lenses first, camera body second, but in your case I think the movie mode autofocus is essential if you really do want to use it for video.  

Lenses
I don't think switching lenses is a big deal, but some people do.  Since you don't know how much it bothers you yet, I think the T4i kit gets another point in its favor because of the single 18-135mm lens.  Using that will help you get a better idea of what you like.  I think it'll also be a better fit for your video needs.

I will recommend that you do also get that f/1.8 50mm lens, if it's in your budget.  Even though I've built up a decent selection of lenses, my fixed 50mm is still my favorite.  I think it's just a magic focal length.  The f/1.8 aperture makes it easier to shoot in low light without a flash, and by easier I mean possible.  Natural light alone can make a picture of your little one 10 times more magical.  Unless you invest in an external hotshoe flash (a good investment) the built-in flash on even a nice T4i is going to be almost as bad as the flash on a point & shoot.  It's a bit better, because they have it pop up a decent distance away from the lens, but it's still not as good as being able to bounce a hotshoe flash off a ceiling or a wall.

Also, your 18-135mm lens says its aperture is f/3.5-5.6.  If you're not already aware, that means that it's f/3.5 at its widest zoom, and shifts to f/5.6 as you get to the telephoto end of the zoom.  You're probably not going to be shooting at the lens's widest most of the time, so most of the time your aperture is going to be a lot less open than the 50mm's f/1.8

The second piece of magic about the f/1.8 50mm is the focal length itself.  On digital cameras, the 50mm becomes about 75mm, which is a beautiful portrait length that makes facial proportions look better.  It can feel pretty cramped in indoor shooting settings, though, and that's a dealbreaker for some people.  An adorable closeup of the mommy holding the baby?  Perfect lens.  A picture of mommy & baby in the nursery?  Probably have to swap lenses.  

Final piece of magic is the blurry background effect.  Just amazing for portraits and baby pictures, and the 50mm will do it much better than the 18-135mm.  The general main ways of getting the effect are by having a wide open aperture or by shooting at a telephoto focal length.  The 50mm will practically blur the background all on its own, but the 18-135mm probably won't do it unless you're zoomed in a lot, at which point you're stuck with the lens's more restrictive aperture.

Sorry about the rambling, coffee is just kicking in.  Short version: go with the T4i, and if that hasn't already broken the bank, splurge on the 50mm lens as well to see if you like it, and to see how much it bothers you to switch lenses every now and then.
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Canuck
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 12:52:42 PM »

Well I ended up picking up the T4i last week.  It's a great camera.  I have no idea what I'm doing but all the pictures look way better than anything I've ever taken on a point and shoot. I also picked up the 50mm lens just for kicks. With the crop factor of the T4i (1.6x) the 50mm ends up being something like an 80mm which means it's almost ridiculous to use indoors (especially in cramped Japanese houses). I really do like it though.  I discovered that the Canon EF lenses will work on a cropped or full frame camera but the EF-S lenses will only work on the cropped sensor cameras so I'm going to try to only buy EF lenses unless I want to get something really wide. The kit lens is an 18-135mm lens so I think that will be good enough for a wide angle lens I should think.
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Clanwolfer
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 01:02:06 PM »

I love threads like these - photography is one of those things I'd love to spend more time on than I'm able to. Congrats on the purchase - I swapped up from a Canon XS to an XSi a few years ago and I love it.

Definitely jealous of the 18-135mm lens - one of the things I've found is that, while switching lenses while actually shooting (at home, or when I'm really set up somewhere) is not a big deal at all, switching it while actually doing travel-y things that don't revolve around photography is a pain. I actually ended up getting a Powershot G12 to carry in my DSLR case as a backup - I take wide-angle shots with that so I can leave my 55-250mm lens on my XSi for tight shots. I looked into superzoom lenses, and I probably could have gotten an okay superzoom for the same as that camera, but this gives me some added flexibility to have a RAW-capable camera with manual controls that I can carry around much more easily.

If you really want to start understanding what you're doing, I can't recommend the book 'Understanding Exposure' (by Bryan Peterson) enough. There's a Kindle version and having that on my iPad has been great for quickly brushing up on basic technique (and more importantly, why to pick the settings I do) when it's been a long time since I've had a chance to shoot anything.
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Canuck
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 02:30:37 PM »

I've got a bunch of books and the one you suggested is very highly recommended. I'm going to spend a lot of time just adjusting to the camera first and getting to know what all the little switches are and then I'm going to start in on the books and then once I do that I'll probably start figuring out light room. Perhaps if we have enough photographers in the forum then we can get a bit of a cold photography thread going. OO has one and it's pretty darned cool.
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