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Canon Rebel XTi or Canon EOS 30D?

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm doing it!! Gonna plunk down my life savings into a digital SLR and it is between these two cameras. I have read, and asked, and subsequently lean one direction and then the other!! Can you all help me? I want to take awesome macros of insects, etc, and spectacular shots of birds. Add big game shots to that list since I will be travelling to Africa soon, and that is the reason for my "ya gotta make up your mind NOW, idiot" quandery. I'll be buying the body only, and then adding quality lenses (I hear the kit lens is inferior). I'm planning on getting a 17-85 mm lens. I was also going to buy a 300 f4 lens with image stabilizer and a 1.4 extender. Then someone said I really should get a 100-400mm telephoto instead. Aaarrrggghhhhh!!!!!!!! I don't want to make any mistakes at this price. Please help...........

Pine City, MN(Zone 4a)

I have the XTi (its body is smaller and lighter than the D30). I think they both take awesome pictures. I got the XTi cause it was smaller, cheaper and has more MP's. I sitll wonder if I should have gotten the D30, but I LOVE my Rebel. I also have the 70-200mm F4.0L IS USM lens, with the 1.4 extender, it's a great combo. And I like my kit lens just fine, though lots of people say to get an zoom IS lens.
I think you will love either one. But the lenses really depend on what you want to use it for. Good luck!!

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

If the use on your Africa trip is for Wildlife photography then I would say get the 100-400MM Tele Zoom lens but You'll most likely find out that in Wildlife photography one never has enough focal length :). A prime fixed focal length lens like the 300/f2.8 is faster and sharper then the zoom lens and would allow the use of an 2X teleconverter without loss of autofocus but the disadvantage is that you have to reposition yourself in order to get your subjects nicely framed.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

While I've never been on a safari, I agree with PanamonCreel on the 100-400's versatility. It would also give you great focal length coverage with your 17-85. The 100-400 has a push/pull zoom mechanism that takes some getting used to.

If you want to take lots of macro shots, I'd recommend a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. Another option would be a 500D close-up filter with your 300 or 100-400 lens.

You might have to register to see the Canon forum, but here's a (somwhat heated) discussion on FredMiranda concerning an XTi vs. 20D purchase. The 30D is a minor upgrade to the 20D, so most comments will apply:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/556036

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

I think that IS is Image Stabilizer, but what is USM? And what is OL?
Will those extenders work with a 100-300 mm IS lens instead of getting a 100-400 mm for those long shots? Or are they only for fixed length lens? Do I know what I'm talking about? No. I took all these notes at a program given by a well-known pro here, and now I'm wondering what they all mean!!!! Aarrgghhh!!!!!!

Have I made this connection correctly? - The larger the aperture on the lens, the better, but therefore more expensive. Like 2.8 vs 4 or 5.6...
And that zoom lenses, though allowing greater versatility with the distance, lose some of the sharpness of fixed lens.

I thank you all for all of your help.

Pine City, MN(Zone 4a)

I use a Kenko pro 1.4 extender on my 70-200 F4.0L IS USM lens, works great. USM is ultra sonic motor (I think).

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Joan - Do you use that to shoot birds?

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

USM is Canon's mechanism for automatic focusing - Ultrasonic Motor (USM)
In what context was OL used?

The extenders only work with some lenses - a good reference can be found at bhphotovideo.com - search for the Canon 1.4 extender, then click the compatibility chart on the "features" tab.

You've got it ... the larger apertures let more light in and are considered "faster" - they allow you to shoot in lower light than "slower" lenses. A f/2.8 lens is considered a fast, while an f/5.6 is much slower.
You're also right that a fixed length lens will be sharper than a zoom, athough some high-end zooms are quite sharp.

I ran across this Canon lens FAQ site that might be helpful: http://photonotes.org/articles/beginner-faq/lenses.html

It is confusing, but hang in there! You are doing the right thing by plowing through to understand what will be the best setup for your shooting style.

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

Yes, IS is Image stabilizer, USM stands for Ultrasonic Motor which is a fast Auto focusing motor used in the lens.
Don't know about OL.
For some abbreviations, terms, etc. look here http://photonotes.org/dictionary/

The Tele converters (extenders) can be used with most lenses but you may loose auto focusing ability.
In general You loose one F-Stop with a 1.4X and two f-Stops with 2X converters. So if you use a f4 lens with a 1.4X converter you would get a max aperture of f5.6 and with a 2X converter you'd get f8. Auto focus usually only works equal or below f5.6 so you would loose auto focus ability with a 2X converter on a f4 lens.

The larger the max. aperture (smaller the f number) the "faster" the lens since it "collects" more light but this also means that the lens is bigger, heavier and usually much more pricey than a lens with the same focal length but smaller max. aperture (higher f number). For quick approx. calculation take the focal length divided by the f number of the lens and you'll get the approx. diameter of the front lens element. So a 400mm f4 lens would have 400 / 4 = 100mm dia. front lens element (100mm/25.4 = ~ 4 Inches) whereas a 400mm f5.6 lens would have a 400 / 5.6 = ~71mm = ~2.8" front lens element.

A good zoom lens is still very sharp and in its "sweet spot" of the zoom range is close to or even as sharp as a prime fixed focus lens. I personally always prefer the zoom over the fixed due to versatility.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Hi Linda - Joan has the 70-200mm F4.0L IS USM lens that she uses with the extender, and really likes. That is where the OL came from. Sounds like USM is a good thing.

I'll check out that lens site right now....

Do you think the 100 - 300 mm lens would be sufficient for wildlife photography in Africa? We'll be in Jeeps, and the guides will use the best positioning possible - depending of course on the animal involved. (I would prefer distance with elephants and hippos!! And probably lions, too!) I know the bigger the lens, the heavier, and I don't want overkill with the weight. Will be using the side of the Jeep in place of a tripod. I threw in the macro wishes, because if the lens can overlap, with the use of extenders or diopters, that would be best, I would think. Birds and insects will be my photography focus back in the States.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

On the 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM ... it's a f/4.0 and a "L" lens. The "L" is Canon's designation for their high-end lenses, all have a red band around the end of the lens.

I'm not familiar with the 100-300. The 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens (not the "DO" version) has Image Stabilizaton (IS) and may be another one to consider ... shooting off the side of the jeep, the IS might help.

Your safari sounds like such a fun adventure! When are you going?

This message was edited Jul 31, 2007 2:47 PM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

September! I want to get this camera so I can practice and learn BEFORE I go!! (Good luck there...)

Still reading the Canon lens link - I have really learned a lot so far! Even about the L lens!

Haven't read about the DO version yet. You're still way ahead of me. Heehee....

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

OK. I have done a lot of reading since we last met! Those were fantastic sites.

Here's what I'm thinking: I'm getting the 30D.

Lenses that I'm focusing on are the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I also looked into the DO version of that lens and need to do a little more research. It is between the two for my telephoto zoom lens.

It is also between these two for my all-around lens: EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. Leaning towards the second for indoor shots without flash.

Adding the 500D diopter for the 70-300mmm along with the Kenko extender tubes set (for macros).

All of the lenses seem to run at 1 1/2 pounds.

What do you think?

This message was edited Jul 31, 2007 11:13 PM

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

I love my 100 to 400 lens, so much that it is rarely off of the camera. That said, I often lust for more focal length, rarely less. LOL If you shop around you can often get different "kit lenses" and package deals. Mine was the 17-85, the 100-400 and a 2x teleconverter as well as other peripherals.

The Rebel XTi is getting great reviews. I hear that it is also self cleaning which would be a huge plus. Dust spots are a pain

ETA - If you're going to be carrying your camera on your shoulder a lot get yourself a soft, stretchy strap. Quantaray (Ritz/Wolfe Cameras) makes a couple of different ones under $15. A photo vest is also a good investment allowing you to carry batteries, filters, cards etc as well as ID and cell phone, etc

Also...IMHO...go with the 100-400 if you can. This one covers the 300 and let's you get just that much closer.

Stacey



This message was edited Aug 1, 2007 6:37 AM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

I saw a bad review for the 70-300 lens last night, and it also apparently rotates, so can't use polarizer. Also the USM isn't the ring type...so I'm back at the drawing board. Does anyone have the DO model?

The problem with the 100-400 is the weight - three pounds. I may have to eat that and get it anyway. DH says he's not carrying any of my lens around. LOL It seems he thinks that I am going to abandon him completely once I get the DSLR.

Floridian - that sounds like a great kit. Do you recall where you got it?

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I had the 70-300 DO for a while, but ended up selling it ... for me, the image quality was not what I expected. I think the 100-400L is a better lens ... it is larger & heavier but adds reach & image quality ... perfect for a safari. It also works well with the 500D and teleconverters.

I had and liked the 100-400L but sold it when I got a 400 prime. I like the prime, but often miss the flexibility of the 100-400 ... I would buy it again.

How much hiking will you be doing? As Stacy suggested, a vest and a good strap can help with the weight. I like the Op/Tech Pro Loop straps ... they are strechy/soft but also have a second webbed strap to stop them from being too bouncy with heavier gear.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

This is the month that people expect Canon's announcement of the EOS 40D as a replacement for the EOS 30D. I am waiting to see what new features the 40D will have, and to decide whether it will be worth the extra cost as compared to the 30D.

I will probably purchase just the camera body and add a good Canon macro lens for closeup flower and insect photography. Later, when my budget allows, I will get a longer focal length lens for nature photography. I don't have any pending trip, so I can afford to wait some. I expect that 30Ds will be discounted after the 40D launch.

MM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Wish I could wait, but time is running out - fast!!

The 100-400 looks good, I just worry about its weight. We will be in the jeeps, hardly much (if any) hiking in Africa. Will visit a village on foot, but I would use the wide angle there (17-55mm).
Definitely want a vest and good strap. I'll look into the Op/Tech. Currently have the Audubon binocular harness strap, but I think the 30D camera and 100-400 lens weight would be waaayyyyy too much for it. Probably hang to my knees!! Or drag on the ground...........

So, you all think that the EF 100-400 f/4.5L IS USM is the way to go? (I haven't found it outside the L series) What do you think about the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM?

Dang!! It's a good thing I've been saving my money!! Whooeee.......

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

To me the 100-400 is the way to go, it has a nice zoom range and is compatible with the extenders.
Get a large enough camera bag where you can fit this lens for longer excursions where you have to carry it.
I get a big grin in my face when I hear you say that 3 pounds is heavy for a lens, I myself have a 13 pound lens that is about 21 Inches long and I wish to have a mule with me when I take it on excursions :).
Btw. get a bean bag which you can rest your lens on when taking shots from the truck.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

13 pounds!!! What is it?! I guess I'm just a wimp.

We have weight limitations. I've learned about the bean bag - and in this instance, because of the weight limitations, it will consist of a zip-loc bag with beans or rice purchased in Africa! And given away at the end of the trip.

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

Oh it's a 300-800mm f/5.6 Sigma Lens. Beautiful lens but a gym membership required in advance to be able to lug it around :)

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

LOL and Omigosh!! Are you a professional photographer?

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

No, also not a PI to look into windows with that huge lens :). It's a recent "present" to myself to help me get the closer pictures on my wildlife scare excursions ;)

Think about it you could get a 1200MM f/4 lens from Canon (custom orders only) which weighs in at about 30 pounds at the cost of an upper class luxury car ;)

Pine City, MN(Zone 4a)

I love my 70-200 lens, my first (and probably last, they're so pricey) L glass. But even with the extender, it might not be enough reach for you. Before, I had a 75-300 IS USM Canon lens. Worked great, but needed a little more sharpness. I mulled it over for at least a month on which lens to get. The 70-200 with the extender cost $1,200. The 70-300 costs about $500.00.
But I am happy with my L lens.
The bigger lenses are priciers (L glass I mean), and just too heavy for me.

Pine City, MN(Zone 4a)

Here is a small album where I put some test shots with the 70-200 lens.
http://www.pbase.com/joanmn/testing_70200mm_f40l_is_lens

I returned the first lens, kept the second. REally, I think the only problem was the learning curve with the upgrade on both lens and camera.

This message was edited Aug 1, 2007 2:38 PM

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

CJ ..

Some additional resources, (jes in case) ..
> http://www.popphoto.com/cameralenses/4245/editors-choice-2007-slr-lenses.html

- Magpye

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

OK. Maybe a change of plans. I went to the store and touched and felt the camera (30D) with the kit lens - EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - then came home and checked reviews about the lens, and it is well-liked. (I didn't realize that there are two different kits.) So now I'm thinking about maybe holding off on the 17-55mm lens and trying this one out first. Maybe I won't want a 17-55 lens then.The only drawback is the 17-55mm is a f/2.8...but the reviews said the 28-135 took great low light shots. I'll lose some wide angle too. But this will lower the total price by some $700! (And by buying the 28-135 as part of the kit, around $280 is knocked off its price, so would hate to pass this up, only to buy it later.)

I am thinking this is what I should do. I still have to get all the accessories - cards, battery packs, backpack, 500D diopter, Kenko tube set, etc.... Maybe a polarizer?

Now, I can afford to go either way, but I don't want to be stupid just because I can afford it. It just seems logical to me.

So, what do you think, dear advisers? You have been such a great help to me. I couldn't have come this far without you!!! Thank you, thank you!!

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Dang it!! Now I'm thinking that I should just go for the 17-55, having just read some great reviews on it.
You pay for what you get, right?
Aaarrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

ceejay, I bought from Express Cameras. Here's a link to the 30D packages. http://www.expresscameras.com/search.asp?string=EOS+30D

And the Rebel XTi: http://www.expresscameras.com/prodetails.asp?prodid=620725

Be careful here...The really "good deals" are often plastic cameras as opposed to the metal bodies. Also, they are expensive on some things, shipping and insurance is 5% of the total cost.

The good thing is you can dicker with them. For instance I don't need or want a tripod, lens cleaning kit, small (less than 2G) CF card, filters, batteries, etc. (These things are available other places for very low cost.) They can and will rearrange the packages to suit. Try to get them to throw in an extended warranty...those are really expensive now.

See what they have to offer then comparison shop. Making the plunge into DSLR can be and can get very expensive as you add accessories.

BTW: One thing that camera makers do not tell you is that the number of times the shutter will fire is finite. I don't know how big that number is, 50,000, 60,000 or 100,000. My 20D has reached that unknown figure and the whole shutter mechanism needs to be replaced to the tune of $670. I opted to buy a new 30D body instead. (Hopefully my 5yr extended warranty will cover that but I'll deal with that later.)

Good luck on your search!

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Floridian. The 30D is listed for 100,000. Curious to know if the warranty covers when you get beyond that......

How long have you had your 20D?.

This message was edited Aug 2, 2007 10:10 PM

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

I got my 20D March 25, 2005 and the shutter failed June 21. 27 months and 4 days to complete (Err 99) failure. I have been without my big lens since. It has been a very long, sad time. Both the new camera and the lens are due in early next week. Good thing since I'm committed to a Special Olympics photo shoot on the 11th. I was dreading the thought of canceling.

Where did you find the info on the shutter?

I don't know yet if the extended warranty will cover the shutter. I won't know til I have the camera back long enough to send it back in with the warranty information. I sure hope it does. I hate to think that when one spends that much on a camera it becomes a throwaway so quickly. It might be a good question for Canon directly,,,

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

I doubt that the warranty will cover shutter failure. The shutter and also the mirror mechanisms are wear parts like brake pads or tires on a car for example .
I don't think that any manufacturer actually gives an official minimum "shutter life" number, under the table they give an expected life expectancy which on newer cameras is around 100K, most will likely exceed that number but some may fall short of the number.

As for your lens: For an everyday lens look for something with a "good wide" zoom range.
Can't give you any recommendations since I'm using Nikon and didn't see anything comparable to my 18-200mm VR lens in the Canon world. The EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM seems to be the closest I can come up with and reviews are generally positive on this one.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

I got the 100,000 from Canon's press release on the 30D http://www.dpreview.com/news/0602/06022114canoneos30d.asp

Yeah, I'm thinking I should just go with that kit lens at this time, although I lust for the 17-55mm f2.8... Definitely getting the 100-400 lens. Thanks for all the recommendations on that. Found a great Canon forum web site, and that is the most highly recommended lens for wildlife - by a long shot. But I can't find that site for anything, right now, or I'd share it with you.

Thank you all again! You've been more help than you'll ever know! :-)

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Prob'ly an utterly useless post .. .. lol ..
But, tis another test/review of your prospective Canon EOS 30D (from July 2006) ..
http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/2665/camera-test-canon-eos-30d.html

- Magpye

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

You won't regret it that's for sure and that lens is very versatile. Try playing with it between 300 and 400 and you'll see the difference. A trip to Africa, how exciting! When are you leaving? Have a great time!!
We will be expecting pictures!

That'a a great link, Mags. Makes me feel better about going for the 30D...I love my 20D and would have happily replaced it. The price was about the same for both so I decided to try the 30. Come on Tuesday!

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Well, Magpye, it's good to be reinforced in one's decision. So not useless....

I'm getting ready to order....

I leave Sept 8, and I need to get some practice in first. What a drag. :-D

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

CJ,

"I leave Sept 8..."

Maybe I'll photograph your departure with the new Canon 40D. (grin)

MM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

Low blow, MM! LOL!

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

CJ,

Actually, according to this, http://www.electronista.com/articles/07/08/03/canon.eos.40d.leak , I won't be photographing your departure with the new Canon 40D. Apparently the 40D won't be shipping until September or October.

MM

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 9a)

You're just going to keep rubbing it in, aren't you!!!? :-P

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