Digital SLR Camera discussion thread

Just like “filmers discussion thread” but for Digital SLR cameras.

I’ll start:

Well, I am thinking of buying a Digital SLR camera sometime. But want to research what is best and learn more about it.

How is the Canon Powershot S5 IS? I wanna pay like $400 at the very most.

I’m quite new, so…just help me out on what’s best and all.



This is probably the wrong forum for it, maybe just conversation would be more appopriate.

Having said that, I hope Gilby keeps it on RSU. I think it’s something lot’s of unicyclists are interested in (getting good riding shots).

Look forward to seeing some of the replies. I’m saving up for a digital SLR myself.


Are you certain that the Canon you quote is an SLR?
It looks to me that it is a regular digital in the style of an SLR, nothing wrong with that, my Fuji camera is exactly that type of thing and I have been perfectly happy with that for several years.
I believe that the SLR Canons are branded EOS rather than Powershot.

A digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera would cost a lot more than $400.

Take a look at the Canon PowerShot A620. I have one and it takes great unicycling photos. I bought mine 2 years ago for $337 US. That included shipping.

Yeah, now I am really wanting the Nixon D40.

How is that?


Is that not a Nikon, the Nixon will probably look fine to start with and then do something underhand and illegal.:smiley:

The Nikon D40 is a great camera. I bought one almost a year ago, and have found it fantastic. As an entry level DSLR it is perfect. Ok, 6mp isn’t that high compared to some cameras, and there are some natty little features it doesn’t have, but I’d still recommend one to anyone looking in to getting in to photography.

I’ll point out though that I’m not a great photographer myself - however, with this camera it makes me look like I know what I’m doing and turns out really good results too :smiley:

Just to keep this on topic for RSU, have a look at some of the photos I took at Ride The Lobster with this camera;

Edit: Some of those photos were taken with a bigger lens than the standard 18-55mm it comes with. I bought a 200 and a 300mm zoom lens, which I used for the eagle and moon shots.


That is a great camera for the price, however, in today’s standards it has a rather low pixel count. I would also recommend looking at BH Photo rather than somewhere like BestBuy. True camera stores have much more background knowledge.

So the Nikon D40 is a good choice.

What about the Sony DSC-H50?


I was looking at that Sony actually. It had a good review in the local paper.

But over here in Aussie…it costs almost twice as much.

I think I might be getting a Panasonic TZ15 as a point and shoot camera and maybe the Sony DSLR or a Canon.

Again, it isn’t a DSLR - a DSLR has separate lenses, which is useful for some people - although carrying around multiple lenses is a right hassle.

It is also worth remembering with DSLRs, that you typically can’t record video on them.


One question is what do you see yourself wanting to do in a few years time?

I had a few bits from my 35mm Canon SLR 15 years ago that was perfect for my Canon DSLRs, and will work perfectly with the 50D that’s coming out in the next couple of months!
I’ve seen many people upgrade to the next Canon body as they’ve come out, using the same old lenses. If you’re with Nikon or Canon you should have that future-proofing - in the future you can use this one that you buy as a spare body (I hate shooting with only one body, you lose so many chances) and build your collection of lenses, flashes, bodies how it suits you - also there are many third party accesories available. you’ll get less options if you go for something that isn’t Canon or Nikon.
By the way, I’m talking true SLR - not Powershots, etc.

I’ve got a Canon PowerShot S5IS, which I upgraded to when my S2IS broke down.

It’s a great camera for taking riding. It’s bulkier than a pocket camera, but a lot less so than a DSLR, and it has a lot more functionality than a pocket camera does. It has a huge zoom compared to what you’d have on a real DSLR, full manual controls (although the manual focus controls suck), a flip-out LCD that really helps with shots from odd angles, and it’s cheap enough that you can let it bang around in your bag without caring too much. It also has a movie mode that’s quite good.

It has its limitations; the lens isn’t nearly as high-quality as a good SLR lens, there’s little control of depth of field, and it does poorly in low-light situations (lots of noise at ISO > 200). But generally it’s quite a nice camera.

I also have a Canon 450D (Digital Rebel XSi), and the shots from it are noticeably better in terms of detail and dynamic range. But even though it’s quite small for a DSLR, I usually don’t take it riding with me.

More zoom then DSLR eh?? Bigger that this?

Well gee, that seems like a bit more than you’d be carrying around in your CamelBak.

The S5IS has a 420mm-equivalent zoom. A 420mm image stabilized SLR lens would be a foot long, weigh several pounds, and cost over $1000. With the S5IS (or any of the other prosumer megazooms) you get that zoom range for $350 in a small form factor.

Things to know:

  1. Don’t post camera threads in If a moderator sees this, maybe they can move it to Just Conversation, where it belongs.

  2. The purpose of an SLR camera (though it kind of belies the acronym) is to be able to change lenses. This is in most respects a “serious” camera, though there are many levels of seriousness. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, small or good-for-the-trail camera, an SLR may not be what you want.

  3. If you don’t need an SLR, perhaps this thread should be allowed to die and you can start a new one with a better title in JC.

  4. If you do want to get into SLRs, start with the lenses rather than the camera. If you have any existing lenses that could be used with one of today’s (or even tomorrow’s) DSLRs, first decide if you want to build upon that brand (meaning to buy that brand of camera), or would you rather start from scratch now.

  5. Once you choose a line of lenses, you have a wide choice of cameras to fit. Canon and Nikon have the most extensive choices of SLR lenses, running from consumer level all the way up into full-on pro stuff. I like my Canon stuff, though the Nikon stuff is also very good. Both cost about the same though the Nikon cameras seem to cost a bit more.

  6. Among other things (like changing lenses), one of the big advantages of a DSLR is the large “film plane”. That is, the image sensor is usually quite a bit bigger than what you get in a small camera, especially pocketable ones. That means it can shoot quicker, and work in much lower light, than the smaller ones. Also it can tolerate higher ISO levels without looking really grainy. For example, with my Canon 20D, ISO 400 produces grain you can’t even see without looking closely. My Casio pocket-sized camera, at ISO 400, makes really grainy images. Anything above that is, to me, unuseable.

  7. On the trail, it is highly unlikely I’ll be carrying my heavy DSLR, especially with additional lenses. The pocket camera rules there, unless the purpose of your trip is to take pictures.

Exception that proves the rule?

We need to make the distinction between Point & Shoot, Bridge and real SLR cameras here, since some people are likely to get a bit confused.

Cameras like the Canon S5 IS, Sony DSC H-50, etc etc, are all so called ‘bridge’ cameras. They don’t have interchangable lenses, they use the same tiny imaging sensors you get in compact cameras and mobile phones, and have generally very poor and limited optics, compared to a comparable SLR lens. They are useful as a step up to real DSLRs, and since they usually shoot video (increasingly in full HD too) they can even be used alongside a DSLR.

I’ve been a Canon DSLR user for a couple of years, starting with a 350D, and moving up to a 40D earlier in the year. I would recommend one of the ‘big two’ brands of Nikon or Canon, since they have the most compatible lenses available, a wide range of second hand kit and you’re much more likely to bump into a Canon or Nikon user while out and about and really annoy your girlfriend by talking about cameras for hours.

You can get hold of second hand 350D or 400D Canon DSLRs for a few hundred dollars. The easiest way to get cheap kit is to have a friend who is a photographer, since they will upgrade at some point and you can have first dibs on older equipment for good prices. Check ebay, or craigslist too. They’re good sources of older lenses, which due to the interchangable systems that Canon and Nikon use still work on new cameras.

Hmm, didn’t mean to write a real epic of a post there, but hopefully that’ll help some people. If you want to know more about different cameras and stuff, or how to take better photos, then fire away and I’ll see if I can answer here.


One note here: SLRs can shoot quicker in the sense of using faster shutter speeds for a given amount of light, but often prosumer fixed-lens digitals have better burst rates because they are mechanically simpler. (They don’t have a mirror to get out of the way). Also, I’d note that the shutter speed is more a function of having better optics than the sensor size; the high-ISO graininess is a function of the sensor size.

SLRs have a more satisfying thunk when you take a picture.

True. Unfortunately you can’t turn it off when you want to, unlike with my pocket camera where you can choose from different canned sound effects to accompany shooting. I can even choose a “Boiiing” sound. Or nothing, or the fake click-and-mirror sound that I use.

Another aspect of the speed thing: SLRs generally have the option of having much “faster” lenses. That is, lenses with a wider minimum aperture setting. This is especially true if your point-and-shoot has a lot of zooming range. These lenses usually only go down to about f4.5 or so, where you can get SLR lenses down to as low as f1.2 (if you spend enough). This can make a huge difference in low-light situations, such as photographing Freestyle competitions in a gym that’s not very bright (few are).

There, I made it a unicycle thread! :slight_smile:

I didn’t realize a lot of those “bridge” cameras also had tiny image sensors. This is perhaps the biggest difference between them and the SLRs. For maximum resolution and speed, you want a “full-frame” DSLR. That means the image sensor is the same size as the film plane in a 35mm camera. These cameras are fairly easy to identify, as I don’t think you can find any for under $2000 US or so.

I’m not sure that full-frame really is necessary; it seems that the resolution and low-light performance of good DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors has already met or surpassed that of traditional film cameras.