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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

A friend buying a new Canon EOS 60D has me loosely contemplating my first foray into the DSLR world. Since DSLR tech still seems to be evolving at a fairly quick rate, and a search in these forums didn't reveal a lot of info, I have 2 questions:

1. Camera recommendation

Since I am not even sure exactly how much I would use a DSLR, or how difficult it will be to understand all the theory and work all the manual controls, I'd like to limit my initial financial outlay, while simultaneously also not cheaping out to the extent that the quality of results are significantly worse than a small step up could produce.

What are people's recommendations? At this point, I'd probably mainly be using it for rally shots & video, car shows, and potentially travel (but think the added weight & bulk might push me to just stick with a simple point & shoot for international travel).

The Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera Kit with Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/744400-REG/Canon_4460B016_EOS_60D_DSLR_Camera.html) seems like a potentially viable candidate for a mid-level DSLR. Some advantages are: not that cheap, but not that outrageously priced either; I have a friend who just bought one (though I think he got the one that comes with a 18-135mm lens, I believe), so we could learn together; and also the HD video capability. Thoughts? Will the 18-200mm lens included in the kit be flexible enough & good enough for a total noob, like myself, to get up & running, and figure out whether DSLRs are for me, or whether I should just stick with an easy-to-carry point & shoot?

I see people mentioning an 70-200mm 2.8 L series lens for rally use. Would the 18-200mm kit included lens at least still produce satisfactory results to start with, while I figure out whether DSLRs are for me / how far deep I want to get into this?

And, lastly, does Nikon (or anyone else) produce anything comparable or better in a similar price range? I know this is something akin to the PC vs. MAC religious war, but I would at least like to understand the options out there. I see a lot of people are bigger advocates, in general, of the actual glass itself, as it lasts longer, and view the body as just a temporary 3-5 year home for the glass. With that in mind, is Canon or Nikon glass significantly better than the other? Or do they (and 3rd party options) all have a wide variety of options at multiple price points?


2. Dust & moisture contamination prevention

I saw in one previous thread someone mentioned a Kata dust & moisture contamination prevention hood for about $100, and I've seen some pics of rally photogs using clear plastic covers/hoods, and mention of a clear lens cover/filter for protecting the lens. What is the best equipment & recommended practices for reducing the likelihood of dust & moisture from contaminating the camera body & lens? Is it a given that one will have to self clean (I wouldn't even know where to start) or have a shop clean the equipment after shooting at a rally? Just looking for feedback on dust & moisture contamination prevention tips, and what to expect in this regard.


Thanks for any advice & feedback that anyone is willing to share.
 

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R6 300 FOC!
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Being a Nikon guy, I haven't known too much about the Canon line of cameras until recently. I bought a T2i Rebel last year to start shooting some video on DSLR and it has been a lot of fun, and totally different experience to shooting with my Panasonic gear. It kinda takes me back to shooting on 16mm film, because you have to set up the shots a lot more and get the exposures dialled in. I think the T2i is cheaper than the 60D. The kit lens will get you started for sure. Just remember that you'll be upgrading the body every few years as technology improves, but good glass will last a long time. I'm currently still shooting pics and video on the same Nikon glass I bought 12 years ago.

As for the second part of your question...

Nothing will keep out all the dust and moisture. If you plan on shooting a lot of rallies with it, expect the camera to take a beating. It's the nature of the game...I buy all my cameras expecting to get pennies for resale (and people wonder why photographers try and charge for photos/video! hehe). A damp cloth at the end of each day will go a long way towards keeping it in somewhat good condition. A bag that is designed for the camera you choose is the best bet, as it will give you the best ergonomics and usability (able to reach the buttons, etc.).

You HAVE to get a UV filter for the front of the lens to protect from rocks. It is cheap insurance. If you don't, you WILL get a rock chip (or worse) on the front element which will cost you more to fix that it will to replace the whole lens.
 

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Being a Nikon Guy as well, I dont know much about Canon.
However I know that with Nikons 70-200 vs and 18-200 I found the 70-200 to be A LOT sharper than the 18-200. Also the variable max aperture of the 18-200 when zooming can be annoying.

Like Warwick said - that filter that you screw onto the end can save you a ton of money later with rock chips etc!
Dust unfortunately is just part of the deal, rain covers can work. Even something as simple as a dish cloth over the top of your lens / camera can help a little. But its definitely tough on gear.
 

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My primary body is a 7D which claims to be at least reasonably weather sealed, though most of my lenses aren't. I just use the Optech rainsleeves which are basically camera shaped clear bags with a cinch on the lens end. They're cheap ($6/2) and I've re-used them a number of times. I've shot in some pretty strong downpours with no issues with the equipment. http://www.amazon.com/Rainsleeve-Di...FDYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299075584&sr=8-1

Dust is a given, try to avoid changing your lenses on the stage, if you do have to, do it inside a car. Try to use lenses that have internal zoom mechanisms, meaning they don't extend or retract in length when you zoom. The exposed joints suck dust in like a vacuum. As Warwick says, use a good quality UV filter. Learning how to clean your own sensors without having a heart attack helps too. :)
 

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If you go canon, buy just the camera body and get an L lens. If you are serious about it you'll thank yourself later. The quality of the lens (not just build quality but photo quality) is vastly superior. Take a photo with the cheap kit lens and then a photo with an L lens and you'll be amazed with the quality difference. Also, the resell value is much better on L lens glass. I just sold one of my L lenses for practically what I paid for it 6 years ago.

I'll echo everyone else. Filter on the end of all lenses and protect your gear with a plastic bag, or rain sleeve, or a fancy cover. I've used Petrol rain covers on my large video cameras and just large plastic ziploc bags on my smaller cameras and I've never had issue with dust or water.
 

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Retired Rally Photographer
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If you go canon, buy just the camera body and get an L lens. If you are serious about it you'll thank yourself later. The quality of the lens (not just build quality but photo quality) is vastly superior. Take a photo with the cheap kit lens and then a photo with an L lens and you'll be amazed with the quality difference. Also, the resell value is much better on L lens glass. I just sold one of my L lenses for practically what I paid for it 6 years ago.
Yes. If you buy a $50,000 camera and a $30 lens, you'll have a $30 photograph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Yes. If you buy a $50,000 camera and a $30 lens, you'll have a $30 photograph.
Sure, but while I understand the principle, the Canon EOS 60D is not a $50k camera, nor is the Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens a $30 lens. While I'd love to get an L lens setup, 2 L lenses (required for both ends of the zoom range, since Canon, understandably, doesn't make a 18-200mm L lens) + a current body capable of shooting 5+ fps would put me around the $4k mark ... which is about 3 times my current desired budget.

After doing some more reading, it seems that while the Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens may be significantly less sharp than an L lens, and may show some aberrations at either end of the zoom range, it's not an absolutely terrible lens either. And one advantage of shooting with a single 18-200mm wide zoom range lens (while understanding the limitations) is that there's no hassle with carrying an extra lens, and the associated risk of dust exposure when changing lenses.

At this point, I doubt I even qualify for amateur status, so (if I do decide to take the plunge) I think I'll probably just start with a Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera Kit w/ Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens (~ $1300) ... though I must admit I do find it tempting to pay the ~ $600 to upgrade to the EOS 7D body for the 8 fps burst mode, additional dust & weather resistance, and self cleaning sensor.

Disadvantages of the 7D vs. the 60d seem to be: more expensive, heavier, uses battery quicker, CF vs SD media, 27 vs 9 point AF (yes, people say the 9 point often seems to work better than the 27 point with non-removable grid), and non-swivel LCD (less convenient, but may be more sturdy, not having a hinge/being able to swivel). And, at ~ $600 more vs. 60d, it would probably be smarter to save that towards upgrading glass at a later stage, if I find I progress and enjoy the hobby.

Also, it doesn't seem like going much lower than a 60D is worth it, since the T2i & T3i aren't actually that much cheaper (~$250 & ~$100 respectively), and lack certain features, such as the > 5 fps burst mode, useful for fast moving subjects such as race cars.

Thanks for the link to the Op/Tech rain sleeve & the advice to use a simple UV filter on the end of the lens - those seem like economical options that should help keep the majority of dust & water off the camera.

Thanks for all the input & advice. Additional feedback/advice still welcome on the issue.
 

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Sure, but while I understand the principle, the Canon EOS 60D is not a $50k camera, nor is the Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens a $30 lens. While I'd love to get an L lens setup, 2 L lenses (required for both ends of the zoom range, since Canon, understandably, doesn't make a 18-200mm L lens) + a current body capable of shooting 5+ fps would put me around the $4k mark ... which is about 3 times my current desired budget.

After doing some more reading, it seems that while the Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens may be significantly less sharp than an L lens, and may show some aberrations at either end of the zoom range, it's not an absolutely terrible lens either. And one advantage of shooting with a single 18-200mm wide zoom range lens (while understanding the limitations) is that there's no hassle with carrying an extra lens, and the associated risk of dust exposure when changing lenses.

At this point, I doubt I even qualify for amateur status, so (if I do decide to take the plunge) I think I'll probably just start with a Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera Kit w/ Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens (~ $1300) ... though I must admit I do find it tempting to pay the ~ $600 to upgrade to the EOS 7D body for the 8 fps burst mode, additional dust & weather resistance, and self cleaning sensor.

Disadvantages of the 7D vs. the 60d seem to be: more expensive, heavier, uses battery quicker, CF vs SD media, 27 vs 9 point AF (yes, people say the 9 point often seems to work better than the 27 point with non-removable grid), and non-swivel LCD (less convenient, but may be more sturdy, not having a hinge/being able to swivel). And, at ~ $600 more vs. 60d, it would probably be smarter to save that towards upgrading glass at a later stage, if I find I progress and enjoy the hobby.

Also, it doesn't seem like going much lower than a 60D is worth it, since the T2i & T3i aren't actually that much cheaper (~$250 & ~$100 respectively), and lack certain features, such as the > 5 fps burst mode, useful for fast moving subjects such as race cars.

Thanks for the link to the Op/Tech rain sleeve & the advice to use a simple UV filter on the end of the lens - those seem like economical options that should help keep the majority of dust & water off the camera.

Thanks for all the input & advice. Additional feedback/advice still welcome on the issue.

Given your requirements why haven't you looked at the Sony a33 or a55?

They are internally Nikons (d3100 and d7000 respectively). They shoot 7 and 10 fps, have a fixed pelicle type mirror reducing dust spots and cost less. The sony G lenses are decent and the Zeis lenses are great.

Just wanted to toss it out there, a longer post to come when I am not on my phone.
 

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A suggestion... if you have a camera shop in your city, see if they rent L lenses. There are a few places in St. Louis that rent lenses, usually $25 or $50 a day (depending on the lens). When I went out to Pikes Peak a few years ago I rented a 300mm fixed lens and a zoom lens just for that event. You could then test out what lenses you like and if you feel they would improve your photos.
 

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Every setup has advantages and disadvantages. Do your own research and match the data against your needs. If dust/water tight are most important, you should really look at the Pentax cameras. The newest models are finally up to snuff on AF and FPS and give you a setup that is weather proof and one in which you can use any lens from the last 60 years. I rent most of my lens' from cameralensrentals.com as it is hard to beat their prices. I just used the Sigma 70-200 2.8 this weekend at 100AW (rented locally) but I also really like to use the 50-135 2.8 which is tack-sharp.

Again, the best advice I can provide is to weed through the fanboy comments and rely on your own research for your own needs and budget.
 
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