Old 05-18-2006, 04:56 PM   #1
trainmonster
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Exclamation Finally set for a DSLR-need lens input

Hi all,

Finally things are set for a new DSLR purchase.

I know that I'm going with the 30D.

1) Is there any local store, in the central Pa. area, that any of our Pa. regulars here can recommend? (Lewisburg/Harrisburg area) I'm weird that way-I wanna handle before I buy. I don't like to hassle with shipping/returns, so I don't mind paying more within reason. And it'd be nice to walk out with new camera in hand. Or am I better saying the heck with it and using B&H?

2) The real issue is lens choice. I shake too damn much to do telemashes-not my thing anyway-but I'd like recommendations on a good IS zoom. (Canon only)

Some say the 28-135 is good, others not. That range I'd be happy with. I'm a railfan photographer, not doing this for a living so I need to budget accordingly without cutting corners on a less than good lens without going overboard. I'd be pretty pissed here in Pa., where it's hard to get stuff if I had to return something so I want to do lots of homework first.

3) CF cards-what has been your experience? (Speedwise, compatibility and failure-wise)

I know there's other threads on this but wanted to start my own for these specifics. I know I won't get steered wrong here.

Thanks a lot!

Rich

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Old 05-18-2006, 06:47 PM   #2
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Congrats, Rich, glad you're able to make the plunge. Just FYI, for budgeting concerns, B&H is offering up some killer deals on their DSLRs with some packages coming with CF Cards and/or lenses, some starting around the $600-700 area. But, if you can afford the 30D, then it's a no brainer!

1) Not sure what the Williamsport area has to offer, but I can say that I fully trust B&H with everything. I never handled the XT, the 70-200mm f/4.0L, the tripod, or the 50mm f/1.8 lens before purchasing from them, but I can understand the desire to have a local place to take your gear if something's not right.

2) I would like to have the range like a 28-135, but I opted for the L-series 70-200mm instead based on feedback I got. I didn't see the need for IS to be honest with you since I don't shoot in low light. From what I understand, the IS allows you to shoot at lower f/stops in lower light situations; I'm not sure of the benefit in broad daylight. It gets pretty windy up here in the northern plains and holding a 6"+ lens at 200mm seems like it would be a problem, but I haven't experienced any blurring problems or anything of the like since the exposure time is always pretty high (1/500s or quicker). Just my opinion, but I don't see the need for IS in the conditions I like to shoot in.

3) I use Sandisk 512mb standard off-the-shelf at Best Buy and haven't had one iota of trouble. Not sure what the appeal is for 'Extreme' or 'Ultra' CF card writing ability while railfanning, but the basics more than meet my needs. Like IS, I see the 'Extreme' options as sort of a waste for shooting trackside.

Sorry I can't be of more help, but I can't wait to see the LVRR images from the 30D!!!
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:22 AM   #3
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The 28-135 is good, but you have to rember, on digital it comes out to about 45mm ont he wide side, which isn't all that wide. if you wanted the "true" 28-135mm range, you could opt for the 17-85mm IS lens that canon makes, which will give you the same range as the 28-135mm lens would give you on a film SLR.
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Old 05-20-2006, 04:00 PM   #4
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All of my photos on here since November of last year have been taken with the 28-135 IS lens. In fact, when I purchased my Rebel XT, I opted to purchase just the camera body without the kit lens, since I hadn't heard much good about it anyway and figured that I would put the $100 or so saved toward a good cf card. So far, I have been pleased with the performance of the lens. Although it may not match the sharpness of the much more expensive L-series lenses, it is overall a good, durable product for the price. I've also found the 28-135 range to be a perfect fit for everything I photograph - which, besides trains, mostly includes landscape photography. Since you said "telemashes" aren't your specialty, you'd probably be fine with a 135mm maximum.

I also was attracted to the 28-135 lens because of the IS feature. Although I wasn't sure if I would need it, I didn't want to regret buying a non-IS lens down the road. Now that I have gained experience, however, I would agree with what Chris said and say that for a railroad photographer, IS is not really necessary on a telephoto lens the size of the 28-135. Based on what I have observed, the IS lets me reliably bring the shutter speed down to 1/30 without needing a tripod. Anything lower that 1/30, and chances are I'll get a blurry picture if I don't have the camera on a steady surface. To be honest, though, if you're out taking photos on a bright, sunny day with an ISO setting of 200 (generally what I have my camera set at), your shutter speeds will likely be around 1/320 or 1/500, which I've found are more than fast enough to offset any shaking of my hands.

One more thing...as for a CF card, like Chris, I also bought a standard Sandisk card from Best Buy - I got a 1GB one, which is the size I would recommend, especially if you ever get the desire to shoot in RAW mode. Sandisk cards haven't given me a problem so far; I had a 128mb card in the point-and-shoot digital camera I used before getting the XT.

Good luck on your purchase!
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Old 05-21-2006, 01:12 AM   #5
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One thing about cards. I've got two 512s and one 256 which was the first one I got. I could have got a 1 GB card when I bought the 512s, but what happens when a card goes bad? It hasn't happened yet and hopefully never will, but the 512s have been good for me. If one goes bad, I've got another one. On the othr hand, if you can buy two 1 GBs, then the problem is solved.

I'm jealous. I'd love to lose the extra 0 I've got and go from my 300D to a 30D.


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Old 05-21-2006, 02:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mw25
Now that I have gained experience, however, I would agree with what Chris said and say that for a railroad photographer, IS is not really necessary on a telephoto lens the size of the 28-135.
Not necessarily. If you are very far away from your subject:

Image © Frederick W.
PhotoID: 141984
Photograph © Frederick W.


IS may be useful. That is, if you don't want to lug around a tripod or are in a hurry.
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:00 AM   #7
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Well, I went and done it now! Ordered the 30D from B&H, a 1Gb Sandisk, and this lens. I thought I was insane! - now this proves it!

I looked at many reviews for hours from different sources, and concluded this'd be the only lens I'd be happy with. Now I will be able to do some telemashes, and there won't be any issues with sensor dust from changing lenses. Image stabilization is a must as I'm no spring chicken.

Bloody well about time... last time I was able to make this kind of purchase was 1982.

I'll probably look to sell the film camera (New F-1) to recoup some of this.

Thanks for the feedback here!

Rich

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Old 05-21-2006, 07:41 PM   #8
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Interesting choices. If you're in the market for a wide angle in the future you might want to look at a Tokina 17mm. You might want to hang onto the F-1 since its a very good body and for the rare occasion that your new digital SLR poops out.
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:23 PM   #9
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Hope you ordered a back brace with that lens!!! I'm sure the balance will be better on the 30D than on the XT though! Congrats!!
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamReeves
Interesting choices. If you're in the market for a wide angle in the future you might want to look at a Tokina 17mm. You might want to hang onto the F-1 since its a very good body and for the rare occasion that your new digital SLR poops out.
Yeah, I know... I'm just thinking about recouping some of the insane cost of this stuff. I'd only sell the F-1 if I got an offer I couldn't refuse. All of my pics here from the 80's were shot with it.

This is supposed to be a heavy lens-hope I'll be OK hand holding.

To boot, I got a nice coutesy call from B&H today-Sunday-saying that all is fine and they are shipping tomorrow. No one I dealt with ever did that!

Rich
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Old 05-22-2006, 04:02 AM   #11
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Congrats! Hope you enjoy the Canon as much as I've enjoyed mine. The 1 gig card is def the right choice for having single card weekend trips if you shoot raw, and you can get an unbeleivable ammount of standard shots on there for just playing around!
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:34 AM   #12
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OK, I got it! That lens is a monster-measure it in pounds, not ounces! I did some experimental hand holding and I think it'll actually be more steady for Mr. Fat Fingers here.

Just hafta wait 'till everyone is asleep and set it up with no interruptions.

Rich
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Old 05-26-2006, 05:09 AM   #13
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Did you get the pack mule to go with it to transport it? Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine.
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