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View Full Version : Need purchase advice for a school



MarkP
01-23-2007, 09:02 PM
I am looking to buy several different types of digital cameras and am hoping someone can provide
some advice.

A very small point-and-shoot camera
criteria:
- small
- money is not an issue
- large quality lcd screen
- image stabilization
- good quality images (no specific MP is required)
- good optical zoom
I have been looking at the Canon SD800 IS. Does anyone have any other models they
could recommend me look at?

A basic camera with controls
criteria:
- money is not an issue
- large quality lcd screen
- image stabilization
- good quality images (no specific MP is required)
- good optical zoom
- good control over images
I have been looking at the Canon A710IS or the Powershot G7. Anyone have any other models
they could recommend me look at?

A decent entry-level SLR
criteria:
- good quality images (no specific MP is required)
- good optical zoom
- image stabilization (not sure if this is an option??)
- money is not an issue
- large quality lcd screen
- good options for quality lens
I have been looking at the Canon Digital Rebel XTI. Does anyone have any other models they
could recommend me look at?

Thanks!!!!

AlexMonro
01-24-2007, 02:26 AM
A decent entry-level SLR
criteria:
- good quality images (no specific MP is required)
- good optical zoom
- image stabilization (not sure if this is an option??)
- money is not an issue
- large quality lcd screen
- good options for quality lens
I have been looking at the Canon Digital Rebel XTI. Does anyone have any other models they
could recommend me look at?

Thanks!!!!

For an entry-level DSLR with image stabilisation in the body, you might want to consider the Pentax K100D or Sony Alpha A100. Canon and Nikon tend to go for putting IS in the lens, which has pros and cons.

The optical zoom depends on what lens you fit. Most DSLRs have the option of being supplied in a kit with a lens of around 18-55mm, but you could get the camera body only and add whatever lens you want. In addition to the camera manufacturer's range of lenses, you could also look at third party lens makers, such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. I believe Tamron have recently announced an 18-250mm zoom, the widest range (14x) currently available, but several lenses of less individual range are likely to give better quality.

Tom_N
01-24-2007, 02:55 AM
For point-and-shoot cameras, I would be wary of cameras with "too many" megapixels. Virtually all of these cameras have tiny sensors. Cramming lots of pixels onto the sensor may be an invitation to lower picture quality.

I'm guessing that 5 to 7 megapixels is the sweet spot for point and shoots. But I'm sure there will turn out to be some examples of cameras that do OK despite having more megapixels. Your best bet is to check out reviews for specific models you're thinking about buying.

A DSLR, with its large sensor, can provide 10 megapixels and good high ISO performance without breaking a sweat.

Tom_N
01-24-2007, 03:38 AM
I have been looking at the Canon Digital Rebel XTI. Does anyone have any other models they could recommend me look at?


The Nikon D80, or the Canon EOS 30D (which is currently about the same price for just the body, from a reputable mail-order dealer, if you can take advantage of the double rebates). Each works out to about $1000 for the body.

These are the cheapest cameras in their respective lines that offer large viewfinders. Neither is "entry-level" from a marketing perspective, but both are reasonable choices, especially if people will be using the camera a lot.

The D80 is more of a "prosumer" camera with a mix of "consumer" features (editing in-camera) and "professional" ones (wireless flash control, an AF assist lamp, spot metering on any auto-focus point). Other strong points include the reach and quality of the kit lens (18-135mm) and the LCD.

The 30D is more of a "workhorse" camera, based on its construction, the option to shoot at 5 frames per second, its high-ISO performance, and a 100K-cycle-rated shutter (I think it has this; I could be wrong).

mattdm
01-24-2007, 06:55 AM
Particularly if you get the Canon A710IS for your middle camera, don't rule out the Fujifilm F20 (or F30/F31fd, or the upcoming F40 which replaces the F20 line). Although it doesn't have image stabilization, it has very good high ISO performance, which is better in many situations.

For the second camera, I'd say the A710IS is probably a better value for the money than the G7. If you actually have money you need to get rid of, the G7 is pretty nice.

For the dSLR, again you say that money is not an issue, but, how much is money not an issue? Ideally, you'd want to save some money for buying one or more decent lenses to accompany the camera body rather than just sticking with the boxed offering. It'd be really helpful if you could put a dollar cap on this.

MarkP
01-24-2007, 04:31 PM
The SLR will be used by students to train them to take advantage of all of the controls to take good quality images. I know very little about lenses, so if it is better to buy a third party lens, that is what we will do. As far as dollar amount, ideally we would like to purchase a SLR and a lens for around $1,200 - 1,500.


For an entry-level DSLR with image stabilisation in the body, you might want to consider the Pentax K100D or Sony Alpha A100. Canon and Nikon tend to go for putting IS in the lens, which has pros and cons.

The optical zoom depends on what lens you fit. Most DSLRs have the option of being supplied in a kit with a lens of around 18-55mm, but you could get the camera body only and add whatever lens you want. In addition to the camera manufacturer's range of lenses, you could also look at third party lens makers, such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. I believe Tamron have recently announced an 18-250mm zoom, the widest range (14x) currently available, but several lenses of less individual range are likely to give better quality.

MarkP
01-24-2007, 04:33 PM
We are unable to get rebates, since it will be purchased from a school (way too complicated). We will most likely be purchasing from a site such as, http://www.bhvideo.com


The Nikon D80, or the Canon EOS 30D (which is currently about the same price for just the body, from a reputable mail-order dealer, if you can take advantage of the double rebates). Each works out to about $1000 for the body.

These are the cheapest cameras in their respective lines that offer large viewfinders. Neither is "entry-level" from a marketing perspective, but both are reasonable choices, especially if people will be using the camera a lot.

The D80 is more of a "prosumer" camera with a mix of "consumer" features (editing in-camera) and "professional" ones (wireless flash control, an AF assist lamp, spot metering on any auto-focus point). Other strong points include the reach and quality of the kit lens (18-135mm) and the LCD.

The 30D is more of a "workhorse" camera, based on its construction, the option to shoot at 5 frames per second, its high-ISO performance, and a 100K-cycle-rated shutter (I think it has this; I could be wrong).

MarkP
01-24-2007, 04:35 PM
But doesn't the A710IS provide less controls than the G7? As far as dollar amount for the DSLR -- around $1,200 - 1500.


Particularly if you get the Canon A710IS for your middle camera, don't rule out the Fujifilm F20 (or F30/F31fd, or the upcoming F40 which replaces the F20 line). Although it doesn't have image stabilization, it has very good high ISO performance, which is better in many situations.

For the second camera, I'd say the A710IS is probably a better value for the money than the G7. If you actually have money you need to get rid of, the G7 is pretty nice.

For the dSLR, again you say that money is not an issue, but, how much is money not an issue? Ideally, you'd want to save some money for buying one or more decent lenses to accompany the camera body rather than just sticking with the boxed offering. It'd be really helpful if you could put a dollar cap on this.

Tom_N
01-24-2007, 06:03 PM
The SLR will be used by students to train them to take advantage of all of the controls to take good quality images. I know very little about lenses, so if it is better to buy a third party lens, that is what we will do. As far as dollar amount, ideally we would like to purchase a SLR and a lens for around $1,200 - 1,500.

If this is for providing training equipment for students, maybe you should go with DSLRs such as the Nikon D50 or the Canon Digital Rebel XT (not XTi). You could buy two of those, with their respective 18-55mm kit lenses, and memory cards, for $1500 or thereabouts.

MarkP
01-24-2007, 06:43 PM
why do you suggest these based on the fact they will be for students?



If this is for providing training equipment for students, maybe you should go with DSLRs such as the Nikon D50 or the Canon Digital Rebel XT (not XTi). You could buy two of those, with their respective 18-55mm kit lenses, and memory cards, for $1500 or thereabouts.

mattdm
01-24-2007, 06:55 PM
The SLR will be used by students to train them to take advantage of all of the controls to take good quality images. I know very little about lenses, so if it is better to buy a third party lens, that is what we will do. As far as dollar amount, ideally we would like to purchase a SLR and a lens for around $1,200 - 1,500.

The lenses wouldn't necessarily be third-party -- the Nikon and Canon lens catalogs are pretty huge too. Sigma or Tamron lenses might be the most cost-effective approach, though.

If basic education is the goal, I think you could do with the Nikon D40, which by all reports has a pretty decent kit lens. You can get it with that lens for under $600. Then, I'd suggest spending the rest of the money on additional lenses.

There's an 18-200mm with image stabilization which people are very excited about and which would cover pretty wide ranges of shooting. It's about $750, but apparently very backordered. (If you *could* get that, skip getting the kit and just get the body plus this.)

So instead, I'd go for adding third-party wide-angle zoom, and a small selection of prime lenses, including at the very least the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.

mattdm
01-24-2007, 07:07 PM
But doesn't the A710IS provide less controls than the G7?

They're really quite similar. The G7 has prettier menus. I think you can select levels of sharpness in the G7 and I'm not sure if you can do that in the A710IS, but neither has anything like RAW mode.

Tom_N
01-24-2007, 08:30 PM
why do you suggest these based on the fact they will be for students?

If you have a class of 20 students, it's probably better to have one of "last year's model" in every student's hands, than to let half of the students use fancier cameras while the other half goes without. (Or than to force teams to share cameras in situations where that doesn't contribute to learning.)

The D50 and the XT are cheap right now because the XT is discontinued -- and the D50 probably will be within months. But that doesn't mean that the main exposure modes (A/Av, S/Tv, P, M) are absent from these cameras, or that there will be no future lenses (they use the two most popular mounts), or that you can't teach composition guidelines (like rule-of-thirds, contrast, etc.) because, *gasp*, the camera body design is a year old!

cgl88
01-25-2007, 05:19 AM
You almost must buy a dSLR given this is for class/learning. You're more likely to make 'manual' mistakes than you would with a p&s. As such, a nikon D40/D50, Canon XT would fit the bill. Sony a100 is good value but right now nikon/canon offer the best lens options in the future (check out their 50mm lenes for just over $1,500 Cdn!). Since budget is not a worry, get a nikon D80 or an XTi.

The A710 is a good second camera, but not a good first one if compared to the G7. The moment you try a G7 you'll hardly even want a dslr!

mattdm
01-25-2007, 05:48 AM
I don't know how set you are on the categories above, but on reflecting on a few of the posts above, I wonder if you would be best served by eliminating the middle category and buying several Fuji F20s for the first category and then as much dSLR gear as you can afford. Depending on the number of students, multiple bodies, but again, *definitely* multiple lenses.

And perhaps some filters -- polarizing, and really, to protect your investment, I'd say this is *definitely* a case where having a UV filter always attached to the lenses is a no-brainer.