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Old     (mike_t)      Join Date: Aug 2004       01-08-2006, 10:02 AM Reply   
OK... I'm going to invest in a new digital camera, and a couple of good quality lenses. I will be taking a lot of pics of wakeboarding, but also everyday shots of the kids. Looking for imput on what everyone is using for their great shots!
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 1:32 PM Reply   
How much do you want to spend ?

The Canon XT is a nice camera that takes really great photos.
As far as a lens I'd recommend the 70-200L f/4 or f/2.8 for wake pics.

The Canon 17-40L is a nice for a walk around lens but it's only a f/4 so it won't be great in low light situations.
Old     (elduche)      Join Date: Aug 2005       01-08-2006, 3:13 PM Reply   
I have the XT and am very happy with it. Its my First digital SLR that I moved up to from an old Nikkon film SLR. While I agree with Walt that the 70-200L lens is great, its also fairly expensive. I know lenses are important but if Mike is asking what kind of set up he should get, does he need the L lenses?

Mike, you really can't go wrong with the set up Walt suggests, but it does depend on how much you want to spend. I think the 70-200 L lense costs more than the XT itself.

I have found that the Canon 50mm f 1.8 II is a very good lenses for portraits and is very, very inexpensive ($50 Canadian). For a zoom lense, the 70-300 is not on par with the 70-200L, and I hope I don't get laughed at, but I have found it suits my purposes and can take some fairly decent photos. I also bought it for $200 Canadian.

Good luck with your search. You could also check out some of the forums and reviews on, as they have some good info usually.
Old     (mike_t)      Join Date: Aug 2004       01-08-2006, 3:52 PM Reply   
I'd like to keep it around $2000, and want to get the most bang for my buck. I've read a lot of great reviews of the 70-200L f/4, and will probably get that. Don't think I'm ready to put out for the f/2.8.

I'll look at the reviews for the 17-40L and the 50mm f 1.8 II for the daily use.

Thanks for the XT info, I'll look at that too. This will be my first digital SLR, I've got an older canon rebel, and a canon s400 point and shoot.

Also, any recommendations on where to buy?
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 4:10 PM Reply   
Last time I looked you can pick up the 70-200 f/4 for about 550.00 or so at b&H

If you want to shoot wakeboarding buy the 70-200. IMO the focus on the 75-300 is way to slow and the image is know where near as sharp.

For the camera itself I've had really good luck with Costco. You can't beat there return policy and the price is decent too.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 5:44 PM Reply   
You could get the XT with the kit lens and the 70-200 f/4 and still be under 2k.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-08-2006, 7:07 PM Reply   
Walt I don't know what 70-300 you and Duncan are talking about for $200 Canadian since the 70-300 is $565.00 US and just came out. (there's a 75-300 III for under $200, is that what you're talking about?)

The 70-300 is every bit as sharp as the 70-200 in spite of the fact it's not an L and there is nothing wrong with it's AF speed. It's lighter, a bit more compact and not white. After I compared those 2 lenses for IQ my 70-200 f4 promptly went on Ebay. With 2K to spend I'd say get the XT, 70-300 and 17-85. You would have 2 very sharp lenses with image stablization which cover most of the focal length you need. I know IS isn't necessary for shooting wakeboarding but it sure comes in handy for shooting everything else.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 7:14 PM Reply   
The only lens the I gave a price on is the 70-200L.

But Your right I was thinking about the 75-300 when I said it was slow at focusing. (My bad)
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 7:28 PM Reply   

Did you read a review on the 70-300 some where ?
If so could you forward a link so I could read up on it ?
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 7:33 PM Reply   
Here we go.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 7:41 PM Reply   
It sounds like a nice lens but I'll stick with the L glass when possible.

Here is a quote from the review.

My biggest disappointment with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM Lens is the lack of sharpness. Canon's 70-200mm and 100-400mm L lenses are clearly superior in sharpness to the 70-300 DO. The 70-300 DO is very soft wide open - especially at 300mm. Even the Canon EF 75-300mm IS USM Lens is sharper wide open (and slightly faster at some focal lengths) and not much different at all other focal lengths. Stopping the 70-300 DO down 1/2 stop or more improves sharpness significantly, but even at f/8 I was not totally satisfied. My best results were at the lower focal lengths.
Old     (mike_t)      Join Date: Aug 2004       01-08-2006, 8:06 PM Reply   
OK, so I'm sold on the 70-200mm, sounds like a great lens for wakeboarding, and sounds like I'll probably need the 17-40L as well; so, what difference would the Canon 20D make as opposed to the XT? If I have the extra cash to spend, should I do it? Is it worth it? Or maybe another lens... Also, I'm looking into photograpy classes at the local JC, anybody find that helpful?
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 8:13 PM Reply   
The XT is a nice camera and you'll probably be very happy with it.
I have a 20D showing up tomorrow so I can give you comparison later.

You might look at the 17-85 that Rich mentioned because there would be no gap in focal length.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-08-2006, 8:16 PM Reply
Old     (sanger215guy)      Join Date: Oct 2004       01-08-2006, 9:41 PM Reply   
Walt the lens I have Quantaray 70-300mm was $134.00. Not the best lens out there but so far so good for my rookie shots. Your lens was definately faster to focus.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-09-2006, 5:47 AM Reply   

I had the 70-300 DO (review you posted) as well and it's not as sharp as this lens. The only detriment to the new 70-300 is a rotating front element and no ring USM. But since I don't use polarizers/grads or manually focus much that wasn't a big deal to me.
Old     (elduche)      Join Date: Aug 2005       01-09-2006, 7:14 PM Reply   
Sorry Rich, I was speaking of the 75-300, my error. I know its cheap but I have had some decent photos with it.

Walt, with respect to the focusing speed, does it really matter with wakeboarding? I shoot most of my photos from in the boat, and at that point, the rider is always the same distance from the boat. Often I just set the custom functions to focus with the * button on my XT and leave it at that.

Mike, I looked at the 20D before by the XT. I didnt find any significant difference between the two, expect for the price, and I actually prefer the smaller XT as it is easier to pack around. Some people have complained though about the XT actually being too small and feeling strange in thier hands. The 20D is definately a more substantial camera in your hands, no doubt about it. The way I looked at it was the XT was a great start with a Digital SLR.

(Message edited by Elduche on January 09, 2006)
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-09-2006, 7:42 PM Reply   

A fast,accurate and sharp lens is just flat out better IMHO.

Here's a few test shots that I took today with my new 20D. Their nothing great but I was having fun.
Old     (elduche)      Join Date: Aug 2005       01-09-2006, 7:57 PM Reply   
Hey, those are great! What lens? What do you think of the 20d so far. When I tried it, I really liked the feel of it in my hands. I'm not sure but I think the viewfinder and the shot info inside the viewfinder are a little bigger on the 20d? I also like the jog wheel on the back. makes accessing the menu nice and quick!
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-09-2006, 8:04 PM Reply   
I've only taken a few shots so far but would agree with everything you just said.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-10-2006, 6:59 AM Reply   
My main point was when it comes to image quality and AF spped you'll give up nothing with the new 70-300 compared to the 70-200f4. But you can't go wrong with either especially if the main focus is WB shooting.
Old     (sordave)      Join Date: May 2002       01-11-2006, 12:23 AM Reply   
I shoot with an old digital rebel (waiting for new canon to be released so I can buy a 20D for less $$$). The spot focus is OK with an USM lens, but sucks in AI Servo (if and when it kicks in). For wakeboarding, I always prefocus and turn the lens to manual and get some pretty good shots - See profile pic.

I shoot a lot of my kids soccer with a Sigma 100-300 F4 which takes great shots when the drebel catches focus. I borrowed a friends 20D, put my lens on it, and the focus tracking a soccer player was night and day. Way more keepers and the thing fires like a machine gun. The preview was instant with very fast CF writing.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-11-2006, 6:12 PM Reply   
"I shoot a lot of my kids soccer with a Sigma 100-300 F4 which takes great shots when the drebel catches focus. I borrowed a friends 20D, put my lens on it, and the focus tracking a soccer player was night and day. Way more keepers and the thing fires like a machine gun."

I'm glad you posted that. I have seen a few threads lately where the poster has recommended putting all your $ into lenses and not worrying about the body because supposedly the glass makes all the difference. While I wouldn't argue that L glass is worth the extra money it isn't much good if you don't have the AF performance to go along with it.

I haven't used the XT but I have owned the 10D, 20D, 1D and now 5D and I can tell you that having great AF which you get with the 1D and 5D (followed very closely by the 20D) makes all the difference in getting the tough shots and all the L glass in the world won't change that.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-11-2006, 6:56 PM Reply   
You have a point but if I remember right the post that you are referring to the guy was on a budget.

So I see it like this....If your on a budget and your options are a (20D with middle of the road glass) or a ( XT with High end L glass)
Your going to maximize the performance of the XT and do the opposite with the 20D by not using the better glass.

I viewed Scotts post as a compromise to money limitations and I still agree with his suggestion.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-12-2006, 8:48 AM Reply   
Maybe I had a bad 10D (I know Scott is OK with his) but that body wouldn't hardly focus properly with L glass let alone anything less exspensive and from what I have gleaned in talking with other 10D owners I think mine was a pretty average sample.

On top of those bodies I mentioned I have owned / * currently own the following

300 f2.8L IS
70-200 f2.8L
17-85 IS
85 f1.8
50 f1.4
50 f1.8*
35 f1.4L
70-300 DO
70-300 IS*
15 f2.8 FE*
Tamron 28-300
Tamron 28-75 f2.8
Sigma 18-200
Sigma 18-125
Sigma 18-50 f2.8?

You're probably laughing right now as I'm such an obvious gearhead but I can honestly tell you the $350 Tamron 28-75 is just as sharp at the $1200 24-70L and at 50mm alone the 50 f1.8 ($80) is sharper then both of those. The 70-300 f4-5.6 IS ($550.00) is every bit as good up to 300 as the 100-400 ($1400) as well (and it's IS is way better). My point stays the same based on my experience, give me a 20D and the Tamron 28-300 or the 10D and the 70-200f4 and I will come home with more keepers with the same IQ with the first combo because I can stop down (better 20D high ISO performance) and because the 20D's AF is that much better.

I guess I came back to Scott's original post because it was just a little too blanket a statement for me based on everything I have owned and used. I gained better image quality just by moving from the 10D to the 20D then I ever have changing lenses over the last 4 years.

There are low cost lens "nuggets" out there if you know where to look.

But as always YMMV.

Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-12-2006, 6:10 PM Reply   
The 50mm sounds like a sweet little lens.

Do you have a online gallery of your photos ?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-12-2006, 8:20 PM Reply   
Yep here it is (but I need to put a few more photos up on it)

If I put as much energy into my photography skills as I do into playing with all the gear it would be much better!

That 50mm is amazing for the price, everyone should own one!
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-12-2006, 9:03 PM Reply   
Nice stuff Rich.
Old     (allen)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-13-2006, 5:22 PM Reply   
Ant Bug was just telling me about that 50mm I'm gonna get one for sure
Old     (antbug)      Join Date: Jul 2004       01-13-2006, 5:30 PM Reply   
Yup I love my 50mm f1.8.

Walt ~ you would love it too.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-13-2006, 6:47 PM Reply   
For 80 bucks I guess I better get one.
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       01-13-2006, 9:16 PM Reply   
here's an explanation of my "blanket statement:"

i would rather have a half decent body and a great lens more than a great body with a decent lens. my reasoning for this is that half decent glass will only EVER yield half decent shots. imperfect color, abberation, etc could all be present even if youre using the best camera body. IMO by using solid glass you are giving yourself the possibility to shoot a nice crisp and clear picture. now the question is how noisy the image will be at ISO 800 or if the AF was fast enough to catch the image...things of that sort. issues like this are the things ive had to learn how to account for since my 10D is basically useless at anything higher than ISO 400. the AF and color have been acceptable, but possibly because ive never used a 1D or 20D for any length of time.

in the end im stuck with my 10D as im a poor, poor ol' college student. ive figured out how to make the most of this body because its all ive got, and im sure thats the reason why im thinking the way i do. i think that when i drive back to school tonite im gonna take surface streets through the rich neighborhoods in the case that some rich dude just got off work late and wants to rear end someone.
Old     (fly135)      Join Date: Jun 2004       01-14-2006, 1:11 PM Reply   
I'm looking to spring for a digital SLR sometime soon as well. The 20D is what I'm looking at because of the 5fps continuous shooting. And after seeing the shots you guys are getting I'm plenty satistied with the image quality. A couple of question. Correct if I'm wrong but isn't the focal length of the lens different on the 20D than a 35mm SLR by a factor of about 1.6x? I.E. a 50mm lens would be really an 80mm in terms of one is used to on a 35mm SLR.

Also I curious as to how well manual focus works with these lens. Is it pretty universal that you can use manual focus? I mention this because Rich said something about manual focus being unimportant in reference to a USM lens. Do most of these lens use a diagonal split-image for focus?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-14-2006, 3:53 PM Reply   
A 50mm lens still has a 50mm focal length regardless of the sensor size. The image appears magnified because the crop fills the image plane. That along with the increased pixel density that most crop sensors offer gives any focal length lens more resolving power and perceived reach (within the cropped FOV only however). So Field of View wise, yes a 1.6x sensor will make a 50mm lens appear similar to an 80mm on a FF sensor or 35mm film body.

Split image focusing screens are no longer standard on Canon bodies but are available for use on bodies such as the 1 series and 5D (they have the interchangable screen feature.) I have found the AF on new Canon SLR's/EF lenses to be plenty accurate so I don't manually focus much. Lenses with ring USM like the 70-200f4 allow you to manually focus even while in AF mode while the 70-300 I mentioned above must be switched to MF first. (a pain if you like to manually focus) But all the USM lenses manually focus very well but the std screen makes MF tough compared to a split screen.
Old     (getssum)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-19-2006, 12:35 PM Reply   
Just wanted to let you all know that the PMA's are coming in Feb., so if you can hold off on buying a new camera until the replacement for the 20D comes out, do so!
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       01-20-2006, 7:34 AM Reply   
Maybe this? (with a 40 f1.2L !!!???)


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