Sunday, November 9, 2008

Buying a Digital SLR Camera

Canon Rebel XSi Digital SLR

I've decided to buy myself a digital SLR camera. I, like always, did a lot of research on what to buy, and I ended up deciding to buy the Canon Rebel XSi. I've been interested in photography for quite a while. I owned a Canon Elan 7E and was pretty happy with it so I decided to stick with the Canon line.  It has the additional benefit that I can use most of my old lenses on the new camera, so I should save some money since I won't be buying all new gear.

This is actually a little unusual for me.  When I buy electronics, I almost never buy the entry level.  I'm a firm believer that you should basically buy the upper middle of a product line.  You should not buy the best because usually the price premium is too great to justify the benefit you get out of the extra features.  You usually should not buy the entry level either because the manufacturer often saves the better, more useful features for the step up models.  The upper middle of a product line tends to be where the sweet spot is in terms of price and performance, so it is what I generally recommend people do.

Now while I could have afforded to buy the step up model, either the EOS 40D or the EOS 50D, I decided that this time the entry level model just made more sense to me. The step up features did not seem to mean too much to me.  The step up models have better construction, higher ISO settings, and a few more controls to tweak.  None of these are a show stopper for me, and not worth the price gap of over $300, or over a 50% premium.  The resolution of the XSi is actually better than the 40D and slightly under the 50D but I don't expect this to make much difference.  Photography at high levels depends much more on your lenses than it does on the camera body, so for me I think it is all a wash.  So this time, I decided to save the cash and hopefully use the price difference to buy a nice lens or two.

I also decided to just save some money on this purchase.  It is not as if I'm worried about my finances, far from it, but it cannot hurt right now to be a little cautious just in case.  In fact, I'm saving money mostly because there is a host of other things I want to buy and I did not want to go overboard buying too much photography equipment; especially when you consider the fact that I've taken a few years off from this hobby and I'm not so sure how much energy I'm going to put back into it.

So if anyone has any experience with this camera, or any of the other ones I've mentioned, let me know what you think.  I'll be buying it off Amazon soon, much like I will be for most of my purchases going forward, to get around some of the things going on in California.  More on that later ...


  1. If you've got money to burn, consider the new 5D. Read the blog below and watch the HD video that was shot with the camera.

    You mention that with this new camera, you're going to reuse all your old lenses. There's the 1.6x crop factor with the consumer dSLR lineup. This means you'll probably end up needing to buy a new wide angle lens (the kit lens is mediocre at best). The 5D has a full frame sensor, so your lenses will act just like on your old elan.

    It's this crop factor issue that's kept me on the sidelines on buying a dSLR... I don't want to buy new wide angle lenses, but I also don't want to drop a couple of grand on the 5D.

  2. Yeah, not so happy about the crop factor.

    I considered dropping the two grand it would take to get the 5D, but it really is just too much to be spending on the camera body. I really want to start shooting again, but want to walk, not run, into it again. If I take it serious, I will eventually get a much better body; one with a full frame sensor.

  3. [...] I did loosen up the purse strings ever so slightly.  I bought myself a 50″ Plasma TV , a new Digital SLR camera, and a host of things for the apartment (including upgrading the apartment itself).  I even bought [...]

  4. [...] This past weekend was my birthday. I turned 31. Being who I am, we did not do too much. I prefer to stay at home which makes it pretty easy to not spend too much money.  We got up in the morning and had homemade waffles.  Shortly after that I got to open up my birthday gift.  My fiancee got me a new tripod, the Manfrotto 190XDB, to go along with my camera. [...]