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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. First time in this subforum. I've never owned a camera in my life but have decided I have got to post some pics and also keep my family in the loop over where I am. I started out considering P&S options from Panasonic at 2,00 yuan but am now seriously considering the Sony SLT A65 with one lense or the EOS 600D with the two lenses, which I can get in China for 650 GBP, 210 GBP off the UK price. I have read and read and read reviews of the Canon EOS range and of the SLT A55 and have tried the 55 a couple of times- the A65 is too new and not available in the US as yet. I just wantred to make sure I wasn't missing something and the the 600D is good enough to keep me occupied on a steep learning curve for several years at least. I don't want to have to buy another camera for a very long time.
Intended purpose is to learn a lot about photography in all kinds of situations, while knowing that its ME, not the equipment, that's the limiting factor. And to have the capacity to expand with lenses in the medium term (next year or so). Build quality is also a factor. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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I have experience with both Canon and Sony, and prefer Canon because of their ease of use. Both are sturdy cameras and will take the abuse of daily usage.
One of the first things you have to determine is what sort of photos you would be doing most of? Nature? Landscapes? Portraits? Sports? Weddings? People and parties? These are the common subjects that are popular in today's photography.

Canon will have A LOT of support as opposed to Sony when it comes to third party lenses, batteries, battery grips, flashes etc. This will make it easier to upgrade lenses in the future because there are so much more for you to choose from (which also makes things difficult).

Go with which one fits your hands better and has an easier interface to work with
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Cheers Moky
I have been twisting and turning between these two lines for a week or more and to be honest looking at some of the lenses out there gives me a heart attack. The cheapy ones are 500 GBP for goodness sake! I am 100% sure that either range will give me good results and value, but I have to say the over-arching dominance of Canon does seem like a good thing, as none of the reviews I read talk about them overcharging or putting out garbage because of their name or anything. They seem like a good company. It's this lens deal which might be the final factor as the cheapest adntl lens from Sony is 500 GBP. So I'll be saving a lot of money on the 2-lens kit from Canon. I am also pretty sure that, even if the A65 is better, the 600d is more than good enough. Is it an (effective) 500 GBP difference? I doubt it.
I'm basically down to this
If I can only spend 10,000 rmb on a camera and lense, am i better off getting a 5,000 yuan camera and a 5,000 yuan lense or a 6,500 yuan camera and a 3,500 yuan lens? (i.e. the A55 then upgrade from the kit lens "another step up" or the A65 with the cheapest "upgrade".)
I am not intending to spend any more than this for a year or more at the minimum.
 

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The 600D is the camera I'll be getting. This is mainly because my sister has the 550D and I thought it was a great bit of kit. Before I decided on the 600D, I was also considering the Canon 60D, but at the moment the price was a wee bit too high for me. I don't know if you have seen any of the reviews over at DigitalRev TV. The 600D is reviewed by itself and beside the Canon 60D and the Nikon D5100. If you haven't seen these reviews then hopefully they will help you out.

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Hands-on Review and Field Test - YouTube

Canon EOS 600D (T3i) vs 60D: Which one is better? (plus bonus material) - YouTube

Canon EOS 600D (T3i) vs Nikon D5100 Review - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
No youtube here i'm afraid. I'm in the PRC.
I have to be honest, making this decision (and I won't be putting my money down till next Friday) has been very difficult and time-consuming, since I don't know anything about photography and am determined not to become addicted to it. It's as if I posted a thread on the main forum entitled
"Can't tell the time, never used a watch before, which is the best watch for me, don't know what I want it for and not sure how much I want to spend- please help" :think:

I have asked advice on the photography section of another forum and read (as) many reviews (as I can stomach, if I'm honest), learning a lot that I didn't know I didn't know along the way. At the moment, I'm thinking of the 550D plus 2 lense package, since
1) I'll save a little money
but mostly because
2) the 550D seems destined for icon status, with the 600D "a bit of an upgrade for some things'.
I do like the added weight and size, but the problem is that means it's bigger and heavier! When I decided to "pick up a decent camera" I most certainly did not expect to be spending $900 and I didn't imagine myself looking at the world differently. Suzhou is so different from where I grew up and none of my friends at home or even my dad have seen China at all and I'm now anxious to share it with them. Over the last few days there have been about 15 great shots I've missed due to not having a camera. I'm starting to note the light and more importantly, the expressions on people's faces, unusual collocations of objects and the dynamism of this crazy place around me.
Maybe I should be worried.
(on a sidenote, re China's "newly monied", I popped in very quickly to check whether one particular outlet had the Sony SLT A65, just after meeting a Chinese friend. She looked at the 550D and said "Ah, a basic camera". According to her, it's not a real camera if it's under $3,000!)
Suzhou's reputation for very pretty girls is not misplaced.
 

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i wouldn't let a comment from a girl make my decision on what camera to get. i have seen amazing photos come from the 500d, 550d from canon. i myself have started from a 400D! (4 years ago). a camera, no matter how expensive it is, doesn't make a person a photographer.

I would go for the 5000yuan body and the 5000yuan lens. the lens is critical because it determines the sharpness and colour rendition of the photo. it would also determine how much lens flare will be in the photo when you shoot against the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm certainly not going to let a comment like that drive me into penury, I just thought it was interesting. I'm absolutely certain that even I know more about cameras than this girl- it's just indicative of a particular mindset which I find exasperating....and which the big Swiss watchmakers love.
"Oh, this is twice as expensive? It must be twice as good!".
I'm a little disappointed that the Sony DLSR A580 has slightly less fulsome praise than the 550 as I thought that might be slightly better value and a bit different. It's still a good camera, but inexplicably, slightly less capable than the A55, despite having a more conventional image pathway using the same basic components and sensor. I'd have thought if anything the SLT would be getting confused due to compensating for the translucent mirror arrangement, but it's the other way around. The 550 definitely needs an upgraded lens from the std kit, whereas the SAL lens that comes with the A55 is apparently quite good, for a kit. I'll keep my meandering thought process offline until I make a decision. I could almost let a coin-toss make the decision for me right now.
 

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i've used an older sony (gave it to my brother), i think it was the a330, and comparing it to maybe the 450d (at the time), i would say that performance wise, the sony edged out the canon during against the sun shots. its control over the dynamic range was a lot better than canon's, but kit lens to kit lens, canon has sony beat. that was personally my experience with the two brands.

you could always look for a used canon or sony. people upgrade all the time and there are some who just have a bad "GAS" (gear acquisition syndrome) and need to upgrade all the time.

just go back to the store and try em both again, over and over. check out pbase.com and flickr for plenty of sample pics too
 

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There's a saying that goes something like this: "Camera bodies come and go, but good lenses stay."

With that in mind I would choose the kit with better lens. About which brand to choose... I don't have experience with Canon or Sony in this field (I use Nikon), I know both brands offer good cameras and lenses, so I'd suggest you try them both and see which body feels better in your hands. However when it comes to accessories and extra gear, I think, there's more available for Canon, but I could be wrong.
 

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I'm certainly biased because I've owned three Canon DSLR's, currently have a 50D. I'd say you will do nicely with the Canon Rebel, it is considered a 'starter' DSLR, but it is quite capable and you'll get great photos from it with practice. Not everyone can afford a $6,000 USD camera! I have taken beautiful shots with my old Rebel, I doubt that the image quality would be much better had I thrown several thousand more in equipment.

Make your choice and then go practice! That will determine the quality of your photography, not what logo is on the camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If I wanted a cool logo I'd get a Leica. I hope you don't think I'd take the trouble to post a thread and then make a decision in such an adolescent fashion.

I'm still trawling through websites at pace, yet, the more I read the less difference I percieve as my ultimate choice making. Looking at dpreviews excellent studio tests with their side-by-side ISO noise checker thingy, I can see very, very little difference in performance between the main contenders. One of only 3 drawbacks on snapsort.com against the A580 vs the D5100 was "increased start-up time". It's 0.3s slower.
I think even the reviewers are struggling to find a difference. It looks like a choice between the Nikon D5100 and the Sony Alpha 580 at the moment. Will update soon. I think it might come down to how the cameras feel in my hands side by side but I am liking the meatier models. The A580 and D5100 seem to have the edge in image quality over the rest but we're talking micro-differences. They seem evenly matched, with quicker AF, richer colours and fine-tuning of focus in Live view for the sony and more reliable white balance and exposure algorithms on the Nikon- by that I mean out of 500 shots you might possibly have to adjust the Exposure and WB on 1 sony pic in post processing (takes about 60 seconds?) and you might, just might miss a shot about once every month if you're very unlucky with the Nikon. The Nikon has a constantly adjusting focus in video mode, which is a bonus if it workes well, but the Sony has 190% of the battery life. I do like the multi-exposure in twilight setting on the Sony (but the Nikon might have it too), which allows quick-capture of micro-moments in bars etc.
I am glad I undertook this search as it means that whichever one I get, I know I'm not short-changing myself. As to lens choice, I'm sure there will be enough to choose from no matter which model I buy. I only want a couple.
 

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I believe you missed my point, Steve. I understand that things that are written in an online forum may not be read in the fashion that it was intended.
My point is that you may be going too deep into details that you'd not notice when you are actually taking photos. Every single camera that you've spoken about will take great photos, no worries there. I do agree that a big selling point to you should be how it feels in your hands. One small point, if you are really concerned about the utmost in image quality, buy a camera that allows micro-adjustment between the camera optics and the sensor. That will definitely increase the IQ in a noticable way.
Good luck on your search, and post some photos when you have the camera!
 

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I've recently made the upgrade to a 60d (ie the 550d's big brother bodywise, but not image-quality wise. Same sensor in the 550/600, 60 and 7) from the 350d I had for the past 5 years. I think that in the past year I really started seeing myself as being limited by the technology of my older dSLR, previous to that it was me who was not enough of a photographer to really get everything out of it. So the 550d might be just 'a basic camera' - and to be honest, that's being hipster elitist in more ways than one - but you're still a beginning photographer. It's a good fit. You'll grow into it, and by the time you seriously need a bad-ass camera (have you seen the 1D-X specs? *****...) you'll know it. It'll probably be in a few years. Don't sweat it for now.

Edit: Ah, should have read the rest of the thread. My bad, you weren't letting it influence you as much as the post made it look :')
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am a complete beginner and though I now think I know which button I want, every time I get onto a new model I'm lost again. I'm actually pretty disgusted with the A580, having just tried it out- the LCD screen is a dealbreaker- no question. It seems almost designed to be broken by accident with that hinge assembly, range of mvt is limited, it doesn't actually fit the camera and you cannot turn it round to protect it. I'm astonished this design was cleared by R&D. After reading about the build quality I was also sadly disappointed. I made the mistake of briefly looking at a Nikon D90. (Drool) Having looked at some sample pics online, it is quite clear that pixel-count isn't everything. I can just about afford it but feel it would be an un-necessarily indulgent first ever camera. It's alos heavy as anything and looks extremely complicated. I experienced the limitations of EVFs today in a dimly lit part of the store. Will be getting an OVF. The multimetering focus points of the Sony also reminded me too much of a point and click, though it wouldn't have stopped me from buying it if it had felt classier and the screen had been sensible. I'm starting to see the merits of the Canon design. It feels somehow more thought-out, compact (in a good way) and I like the contact surfaces. Will be going in to make my purchase in T minus 45 hours.
 
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