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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1

    Rebel XS + 50mm/f1.4 or Rebel XSi + 50mm/f1.8?

    Brief background: I've been saving for awhile for an entry level DSLR. Back when I was in school (5 years ago), I took a series of photography courses with my old Canon Rebel G 35mm camera. Never used anything but the kit lens. Once digital point and shoot became affordable I switched to that, but I've never really been satisfied with the depth of field options on point and shoots. I shoot mostly portraits and people in group settings; very casual photography, nowhere near professional or even advanced amateur, but I do know a bit about photography from my film days and am a designer by training. I want a DSLR mainly for casual photos of people/events (but not sports).

    I've got about an $800 budget and am trying to decide whether, given my needs and interests, I should go for the Rebel XS kit ($485) and add the Canon EF 50mm 1.4 lens ($325), for a total of about $810 from Amazon, or whether I should go for the Rebel XSi ($645) kit and get the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 lens ($85), for a total of about $730 from Amazon.

    In other words, for about the same price I could either get a slightly less advanced camera body and what seems to be a superior (but heavier) lens (I've read and seen comparisons of the 1.8 vs. 1.4 lens), or I could get the more advanced camera body and stick with the cheap starter 1.8 for now. (OR, I suppose I could really save my money and get the XS with the 1.8 for about $570).

    In terms of trying to predict my future wants/needs in a camera, the main things I'm wondering about in terms of the XS vs. XSi are:
    a) how big a difference will I really notice between spot and partial metering? They seem pretty close. This is probably my biggest concern between the two; could someone educate me on whether this makes a huge difference?
    b) I have never shot in RAW (I've used DSLRs at work and borrowed as well), and I never shoot sports, so do I really care about the lag in burst RAW performance of the SX?
    c) In "real life," it seems like people don't notice much difference from the slightly downgraded autofocus system on the SX.

    I've read some advice that says "buy a better body and invest in better lenses as you can afford them," and I've read other advice that says "buy a basic body and put the money into glass." Knowing myself, what will likely happen is that I'll buy the camera kit and 50mm lens, and other than perhaps wanting to fool around with a lensbaby because they're fun, I probably won't actually get around to upgrading any of it for a long time. So I'm looking for the combination of camera body and one of these portrait lenses that will give me the most bang for my buck right out of the gate. Portraits (including portraits of babies and children, if that matters) and shallow depth of field shots are the main reason I want a DSLR, so I'm a little torn and don't really know enough to know which combo will give me better results for the type of photos I want to take. Advice? Thanks in advance.


    please note: I am definitely buying from Amazon, because I have several gift cards to use there and that's how I've been saving for this camera, so Costco deals, etc., aren't on my radar. Also, I've done my research and am definitely choosing one of these two cameras, and am interested in advice on the tradeoffs between these lenses and these bodies, not other camera brands. thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,124
    Buy the XSi.

    The autofocus system is definitly a big difference in low light. the Rebel XT's AF vs XSi's AF was a HUGE leap.

    The 50 1.8 also is regarded by many as a better lens picture quality wise. The AF speed/noise is definitly inferior to the 1.4 but the performance is not.


    Spot metering is a huge bonus and I find it my 2nd most used metering mode (vs evalulative)

    The XSi has a bigger viewfinder and brighter.

    I personally owned an XSi before I got a too good to pass up deal on a 40D and IQ/AF wise consider it on par with 40D. Fantastic camera.

    Tim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,124
    Oh and to answer your question about spot metering it has a small area which will meter the shot for and is highly useful for comparing exposure of an area vs the scene or by ensuring a particular item is in correctly exposed.

    Plus the XSi would leave you some money to invest in better CF cards or even put some money away for a 55-250 IS lens.

    Tim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    529
    Quote Originally Posted by timmciglobal View Post
    Buy the XSi.

    The autofocus system is definitly a big difference in low light. the Rebel XT's AF vs XSi's AF was a HUGE leap.

    The 50 1.8 also is regarded by many as a better lens picture quality wise. The AF speed/noise is definitly inferior to the 1.4 but the performance is not.


    Spot metering is a huge bonus and I find it my 2nd most used metering mode (vs evalulative)

    The XSi has a bigger viewfinder and brighter.

    I personally owned an XSi before I got a too good to pass up deal on a 40D and IQ/AF wise consider it on par with 40D. Fantastic camera.

    Tim
    The f/1.4 is better at just about everything if you ask me. I bought both and found that the AF on the f/1.8 is not only noisy, but it just doesn't have as many steps in accuracy. I'd go for the XSi and just save a bit more and get tthe f/1.4... not to mention if you try sneaking a shot of someone close by with the f/1.8, you can hang it out. I love my f/1.4
    Last edited by droopy1592; 11-10-2008 at 04:31 PM.
    | Canon 7D| Canon 5D|Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS| Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 | Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II |
    my photos on flickr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    376
    I'd also go for the XSi. You can always buy another lens later.

    As for the lenses, I've got both that I use on my XTi. Actually, since I got the f/1.4 my f/1.8 hasn't been back on my camera. The f/1.4 focuses much better and provides a better background blur IMHO, whereas the f/1.8 seldom focused well, at least indoors without the flash. When the f/1.8 focuses it's very sharp, but getting it to focus properly is the hard part from my experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Amherst, MA
    Posts
    3,249
    I'd consider a used XSi and a used 50 1.4. I've purchased most of my equipment used on POTN or FM.
    Michael B.
    Canon 5D2, 550D, Sony NEX 5N, Sigma 15mm fish, 24L mkI, 35L, 40mm f/2.8, 50 1.8 II, Sigma 50 1.4, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro, 60mm macro, 100mm f/2, 70-200 f/4, 200 f/2.8 mk I, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, 430EX. Growing list of MF lenses!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    i agree with michael and droopy. if budget cant budge, then get a used 50/1.4 or save the money to get one later.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelb View Post
    I'd consider a used XSi and a used 50 1.4. I've purchased most of my equipment used on POTN or FM.
    What is POTN and FM?
    Canon 450D n00b, Kit EF-S 18-55mm IS, Canon EF 80
    -200mm, 430EX Speedlite (Incoming)
    Canon Powershot S2 IS (Now defunct)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrin/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    529
    fredmiranda.com and photography-on-the.net or something
    | Canon 7D| Canon 5D|Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS| Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 | Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II |
    my photos on flickr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,565
    Quote Originally Posted by deadman View Post
    What is POTN and FM?
    They are forums that have buy and sell sections. FM has a cool feedback system where they rate the sellers and buyers.

    If your city is anything like mine then it's not hard to find a local online classifieds site. I'm always seeing cool local stuff I want to buy, it's nice to deal face to face when buying used IMO.
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

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