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akademus
11-14-2012, 05:40 AM
Hi all,

I don't really want to sign into photography forums to ask this, but I assume many of you are using digital SLR's. I'm thinking about getting myself upper entry level digital SLR and I narrowed my choice to Canon 550, 600 and 650.

I feel like 550 is kinda outdated, but really sure is price difference between 600 (T3i) and 650(T4i) really worth it. I'm not much of a Nikon person, so I'm not really considering it. Had good experience before with Canon so I would like to continue using it.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

RebelHill
11-14-2012, 05:54 AM
Well, having done pretty detailed comparative studies between the different SLRs out there I can tell you this for certain... 550D was the WORST camera on the market at the time of its release. the 18MP apsC sensor pushed the individual pixel size too small, causing fringing and other artifacts (it was visible in the pics in some of their own sales brochures ffs). I see that the 650 has the same basic sensor spec, but seems to have been "tweaked". Has it made a difference... can't tell you... but for the past couple years now, comparing any non Pro end Canon to any other maker in the same "bracket" has always come out in favour of others.

ShadowMystic
11-14-2012, 03:18 PM
I have a Canon t3i, and I've been pretty happy with the quality.

All pictures in this gallery were taken with it:
http://shadowmysticstudios.daportfolio.com/gallery/702188

bobakabob
11-14-2012, 03:31 PM
Go for the 650 if you're into Canon but Nikon make better lenses and their cameras aren't too bad either.

RebelHill
11-14-2012, 04:23 PM
... Nikon make better lenses

Not entirely true. Across the whole range of both manufacturers, what u tend to see is that Nikon lenses deliver a level of sharpness in the central portions of the frame that equiv canon lenses cant quite match, but canon lenses generally have a more constant sharpness level across the diameter of the lens... apples and oranges some might say. But that matters not a jot if the sensor lets you down, and on detail in, high zoom comparisons, this more recent canon 18mp apsC doesnt perform as well as others. A couple of the recent nikons got the newer sony 16mp sensor in them, and that's one hella good sensor.

ShadowMystic
11-15-2012, 03:20 AM
I still believe the t3i is a solid first DSLR. Just do your research. I spent almost a month reading reviews before purchasing.

RebelHill
11-15-2012, 04:01 AM
Yeah, to hell with reviews I say... do tests!!

Left image... 550D Canon... Right, SonyA55. Both images were taken at the same settings, and using the SAME lens, a sigma 20mm (to eradicate differences in lens detail). Notice the difference in detail... Look for instance above the toad's eye, where u have the (christmas light) cables... notice there are 2 very close to one another right there... In the sony image, they're clearly distinguishable as 2 cables, in the canon, they're kind of blending into one another. Notice as well the building to frame left, in the background. Notice the edging along the top of the roof, and how the canon shows fringing, and less sharpness.

ken_g9
11-15-2012, 06:50 AM
Wow! The Sony A55 has greater clarity and sharpness...are they both in the same price range?

GoatDude
11-15-2012, 08:02 AM
R.H., are you comparing Raw output from each camera? "In" camera sharpening can have an impact. I've noticed that Canon cameras have less aggressive sharpening by default.

RebelHill
11-15-2012, 08:11 AM
R.H., are you comparing Raw output from each camera? "In" camera sharpening can have an impact. I've noticed that Canon cameras have less aggressive sharpening by default.

Yeah... I do know what Im doing. All shots were recorded in RAW and "8bitted" in photoshop to further eliminate any possible effects from using the manufacturers own import/convert software.

Aside from the pedantism though... The problems shown are to do with the fact that the canon 18MP apsc sensor packs too many pixels in too small a space, this is responsible for fringing effects, which you also see in compact cameras (tiny sensors) to an even greater degree. Canons "fix" for this was to use a more aggressive lowpass filter in these models, which causes the unsharp appearance... this is a standard strategy employed in a LOT of canon cameras, most clearly in many in their compact range.

That said... its not ALL rainbows (advance pun)... I have another pic I shot of an LCD tv... in the sony image (which can see detail in the screen pixels) you get heavy moiré... in the canon, none...

I suspect that much of this has to do with canon aiming more to provide "simplicity" for consumer/hobby level users. Go do similar checks on their higher models (5d, etc)... hells NO... stunning cameras, none of these issues.

Similarly... if u take a 450D which uses an earlier sensor with fewer MP... again... better images. The faults not the camera per sé... its the sensor.

ShadowMystic
11-15-2012, 02:41 PM
Can't argue with that though my results have generally better so it comes down to glass.

I plan to get a 7d or 5d later on so my EF glass will be compatible.

Does Sony have a Pro level camera?

bobakabob
11-15-2012, 03:44 PM
Not entirely true. Across the whole range of both manufacturers, what u tend to see is that Nikon lenses deliver a level of sharpness in the central portions of the frame that equiv canon lenses cant quite match, but canon lenses generally have a more constant sharpness level across the diameter of the lens... apples and oranges some might say. But that matters not a jot if the sensor lets you down, and on detail in, high zoom comparisons, this more recent canon 18mp apsC doesnt perform as well as others. A couple of the recent nikons got the newer sony 16mp sensor in them, and that's one hella good sensor.

Hmmm, the build quality of Canons compared to Nikons just isn't great. The low end models are especially cheap and plasticky by comparison, likewise with lenses. Lots of comparisons of sensors from relative models on the web. The 5d Mk II & III are good cameras but always seem just a wee bit noisier than Nikon rivals because of the obsession with pixels. Give me oranges any day :)

ShadowMystic
11-15-2012, 04:15 PM
Hmmm, the build quality of Canons compared to Nikons just isn't great. The low end models are especially cheap and plasticky by comparison, likewise with lenses. Lots of comparisons of sensors from relative models on the web. The 5d Mk II & III are good cameras but always seem just a wee bit noisier than Nikon rivals because of the obsession with pixels. Give me oranges any day :)

I love my canon... DOn't make me regret choosing the 'wrong' one.

lol

JonW
11-15-2012, 04:39 PM
Save up some more money & get the out going 5d2 & then you have full frame. To save a bit of money I use some of my old Mamiya 645 lenses. Any of the Canon or Nikon cameras outperform 6x7 medium format.

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GregMalick
11-15-2012, 04:55 PM
I was thinking of getting a T4i and use it for a video project.
I've read good things and the T4i is at the limit of my budget.

Am I crazy or sane?

RebelHill
11-15-2012, 05:27 PM
Tbh, at the base end for build quality, Id not rate the canon or nik or any other against one another... any of em take a spill onto a hard surface u can kiss em goodbye a lot of the time.

Sony do do higher end models... but... I really WOULD recommend the (regular end) sonys for consumer/hobbyist types... theyve got stacks of great features, tricks... u name it, awesome all rounders. They are also the next gen of the long standing minolta dynax series cameras (which sony bought lock stock and rebranded)... this means u can get second hand minolta lenses on the cheap, and as one of the few companies to make their own glass 9historically), minolta made some VERY good lenses over the years. So the opportunity for folk to stock up on glass on the cheap is there too.

But for folks more serious, Id stick with a more serious maker.

The one thing you really cant fault though, are sonys sensors... they virtually invented ccd and have pretty much led on this area of digital imaging ever since, and their current 16MP sensor is superb... AND it features in the current nikons (those with the 16mp obv). This, btw, is about as high as you can go on apsC sensors... the 18 is just too much of a push, which is canons major downfall here, playing the big MP game.

Just for compare (and disclosure) i run a nik d300s, 12MP. the attached pic being taken on the same. the thing to note is the big fat star just off centre frame, which is jupiter, and the 2 lil dots at its 7oclock are its innermost moons, io and europa. Pretty sharp! This is also taken on a 20mm lens (so not xoomed in to pick up extra detail) and funnily enough the SAME sigma lens used for the can/son shots above, again showing... that softness... aint the glass)

JonW
11-15-2012, 07:10 PM
Attached, an image/render I did in Feb 2011. I've split the image in two as it's very large, just stitch the 2 halves together, it's a jpg 10 compression, each of the files are 4.1 mb compressed. Shot with 5Dmk2, 16-35 mk1 @ 19mm Raw file, saved as DNG as CS1 will not process image, remapped with Ptools to correct lens distortion so 3d objects line up correctly. The rest of the work was done it PS CS1.

The 16-35mm mk1 lens in not the best, but with a bit of work for critical shots one can't complain! If I can, I prefer to use prime lenses. There is a couple on my list (17mm & 24mm shift) but unfortunately there are a few other priorities!

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bobakabob
11-16-2012, 09:17 AM
I love my canon... DOn't make me regret choosing the 'wrong' one.

lol

Sorry, I'm a terrible camera snob and love the banter :)

colkai
11-16-2012, 11:11 AM
I love my canon... DOn't make me regret choosing the 'wrong' one.

lol

You N me both.
I moved from a Sony F828 to the Canon 550D after wanting one for ages and ages.

Sucks when you're told the thing you have hankered over for years is a steaming pile of doo-doo.

:cry:

snsmoore
11-16-2012, 02:18 PM
If you don't mind a smaller sized camera, I've had good results with the Panasonic GH2, and with the micro 4/3 format, you can adapt just about any old lens to it. I've alse picked up some amazing prime lenses for under $15 at garage sales. It's also a lot less intimidating in a public setting. ;)

There are also some good hacks for it (i.e. Vitaly's GH2 hacks which bumps up to video to really high bitrates, etc.) And now with the GH3 soon on the horizon, there could be another option.

bobakabob
11-16-2012, 03:29 PM
You N me both.
I moved from a Sony F828 to the Canon 550D after wanting one for ages and ages.

Sucks when you're told the thing you have hankered over for years is a steaming pile of doo-doo.

:cry:

It's not, it's a bloody good camera. Problem is, there's always something better...

ShadowMystic
11-16-2012, 09:45 PM
Oh, I know there is always something better and more expensive. No matter what any one says here I'm satisfied with what I have and when it come times for a new one I'll upgrade to something better if necessary. Maybe a 7d or 5D. That's far off yet though.

JonW
11-16-2012, 10:24 PM
A Phaseone 80mp digital back!

bobakabob
11-17-2012, 02:05 AM
A Phaseone 80mp digital back!

Lol. Too noisy.

Ryste3d
11-17-2012, 02:15 AM
Just for show: This is my rig and I love it. 7D and 550D... over all great quality and superb video....

arsad
11-17-2012, 03:23 AM
When I bought my 550D in 2010 it was the best if you consider price and quality.

Now I have the 5DMkII, but I still think that the rebel line is quite good for beginners.
They are easy to use and produce quite good quality if you know how to use them
and use good glass (which is way more important than the body!!!).

My advice is:
- don't spend too much on the body,
- avoid kit glass (18-55, 55-250 and the like)
- and get a good lens or two in your desired focal length.
(preferably EF mount, as you can use them later on FF bodys)

Welcome to the wonderful world of photography ;)

GregMalick
11-17-2012, 02:15 PM
Thanks arsad.
I've been doing a lot of reading and YouTube watching.
Everything you said is pretty close to the same conclusions I've been reaching.
Amazon has a T4i with 18-135mm EF-S IS STM Lens for $1100. That's only $300 more than the body alone.
OR I could go for the T4i with the 18-55mm EF-S IS II Lens for about $250 less.
The STM lens has had some pretty good comments about it and the larger focal range might be more versatile while I'm learning the camera.

It seems to me that choosing lenses is the trickiest part for photographers - not only cost but there seems to be a lot of subjective opinions in the matter.
There's some rental places here in Hawaii that rent lenses and that might be a good way to spend an afternoon or weekend with a couple lenses and get a feel for which ones I like.

Hey, Ryste3d! Nice rig.
I'll initially be doing a lot of tripod shooting since I picked up a steel monstrosity from a rummage sale at my church.
Very heavy but stable as hell.

BTW, I appreciate any wisdom you guys can toss my way on this matter.

JonW
11-17-2012, 04:35 PM
Have a look at "The Digital Picture", fairly good reasonably objective reviews. I personally wouldn't get an ordinary lens to start with. Get a 50mm f1.4 & then look at the 17-40. If you can stretch the funds go for the 17-40 first. I would steer away from telephoto first unless you have an absolute specific need.

Nothing wrong with a good old solid tripod! It's going to be great in keeping the micro movement at bay that digital SLRs are capable of recording in those critical shots. Use mirror lockup as well where you can.

colkai
11-18-2012, 07:19 AM
It's not, it's a bloody good camera. Problem is, there's always something better...

Indeed, I do love it, but I will grant, the kit lens are not exactly super sharp, still, RAW with some work gives a decent enough result.
That said, moot ponit anyhow as since I lost my job, zero chance of buying a good lens, before that, I'd set my sights on saving up for an L-series lens.
I'd even considered as a lower price option the Tamron zoom, 70-300 but alas, now require a lottery win, hey ho, such is life.
At least I actually own the Canon though, not had it a year yet and so far taken some 6,500+ photos hehe...

rwhunt99
11-18-2012, 03:35 PM
I have a T1i and it is a 15MP resolution camera, I thought the 550D was the international version of the same, but I might be wrong. That said, I love it, I have been a photographer for many years, pro and hobbyist and I don't have much to complain about as long as you understand where this model fits in the grand scheme of things. I am going to get the T4i for Xmas, primarily for the articulated screen, the better live focusing in video mode and the improved auto focus sensor. The T4i is basically the same as the 60D but with the improved auto focus hybrid sensor and a bit more plastic. For general photography, it should do the trick.

You didn't mention exactly what you want to do with the camera you buy, that can make your decision a bit easier.

Any camera you drop will mess it up. I remember falling fifty feet in a mountain climbing accident and my Canon A-1 didn't survive, but I managed to get only a few cuts and many bruises. One other thing, if you have been happy with a camera, then don't let anyone else tell you it is a piece of crap.

rwhunt99
11-18-2012, 03:43 PM
I have a T1i and it is a 15MP resolution camera, I thought the 550D was the international version of the same, but I might be wrong. That said, I love it, I have been a photographer for many years, pro and hobbyist and I don't have much to complain about as long as you understand where this model fits in the grand scheme of things. I am going to get the T4i for Xmas, primarily for the articulated screen, the better live focusing in video mode and the improved auto focus sensor. The T4i is basically the same as the 60D but with the improved auto focus hybrid sensor and a bit more plastic. For general photography, it should do the trick.

You didn't mention exactly what you want to do with the camera you buy, that can make your decision a bit easier.

Any camera you drop will mess it up. I remember falling fifty feet in a mountain climbing accident and my Canon A-1 didn't survive, but I managed to get only a few cuts and many bruises.

JonW
11-18-2012, 03:53 PM
As already mentioned, put other glass on a Canon body. You can get a stack of lenses for next to nothing. The only thing, is that you have to use the camera on manual, the meter works to some degree, but being digital just take a few pre-shots for correct exposure. Quality wise I have the Canon 135mm f2.0 which is considered one of the best lenses. My Mamiya 80mm macro takes better quality images than the 135mm. Ok, it's manual & it slows you down but for shots that don't need fast action it's a great lens.

As mentioned above. Use RAW, & if necessary process the same image in RAW a few times to pick out different aspects of the image. It's surprising how much you can improved an image with not that much work. If you start off with JPG, it's like in the old days, you have thrown away your negative or transparency & have to work from the pharmacy print.

Taking a bit of extra time, tripod, shade the lens, mirror up, proper f stop for the situation. ISO100, will save a lot of tedious work on the computer.

GregMalick
11-19-2012, 01:43 AM
You didn't mention exactly what you want to do with the camera you buy, that can make your decision a bit easier.Well my particular project is to film a screen play I'm finishing up this year.
Luckily it's not some big action film with a lot of exterior shots. It's a children's film.
Most of the scenes can be filmed inside my home or yard.
There might be some establishing shots (Hawaii is beautiful, you know).
So mostly medium shots and closeups. But I'll have to see.
That's why I was thinking of a pretty simple setup with a T4i and zoom. I sure can't afford a set of Canon "Luxury" series 25mm, 50mm, and 100mm lenses.
Lots of stuff for me to learn about cinematography but the best way to learn besides reading the books I have - is to just start.
oh yeah the books I'm reading right now are DSLR Cinema & DSLR Filmaker's Handbook.

BTW, I continue to look forward to your thoughts and word of wisdom.
I'm personally running pretty short on the latter.

rwhunt99
11-19-2012, 02:41 PM
Sorry for my double post, it disappeared and I didn't see it, must have been a glitch ;p

I would go with theT4i, for the reason I mentioned, better focusing in video mode. Earlier models the focusing was set at the beginning and you had to stop and reset focus if the subject moved.

That said, I have to admit, my little Sony handicam works great. It is HD, 15x zoom, image stabilized, and I think I get pretty good sound all with a memory stick and makes it easy to load and edit, true it records at 1920 x 1080/60i in 16:9 and with the T4i, you are talking 1080p/30. One thing you are gaining (with the T4i) is much more control in the quality of the pictures, not that you can't bring the video from the Sony into After Effects and tweak, but doing it in camera is better.

However; in movie mode, the camera must be set on M and adjusting both aperture and shutter speed to get the right exposure. I admit I haven't done much shooting in movie mode so not sure how difficult that will be, other than checking exposure before switching to manual will probably do the trick.

Hope this ramble helps a little bit :)

JonW
11-22-2012, 11:02 PM
Film 645 v Digital 21mp (both with Mamiya 35mm lens)

Attached is the original Velvia 645 transparency, scanned on a Scitex scanner CMYK scan at 300 dpi for an A3 print over a decade ago (a very nice scanner).

Second image is from a Canon 5D2 with the same Mamiya 35mm lens. I have sharpened the image to give it a similar look to the Velvia scan.

I've got the 5D1 as well (12mp), there is not a lot of difference between it & the 5D2 so didn't bother posting an image. I keep the 5D1 as a back up & would have so hesitation using it for a job.

Velvia
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5D2
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GregMalick
11-23-2012, 08:58 AM
Black Friday: T4i dropped another $50 on Amazon so I ordered it.
Looks like I'll be spending the next couple weeks learning this puppy, preparing to shoot pics & video during Christmas Vacation in Indiana with our families.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I may be back with more questions.

Twisted_Pixel
11-23-2012, 09:39 AM
Nice to see so many DSLR users on here.

I make attempts of decent image capture with a Nikon D7000.

Can't fault the camera, user may need an upgrade though.

akademus
11-28-2012, 07:05 AM
Sorry for my double post, it disappeared and I didn't see it, must have been a glitch ;p

I would go with theT4i, for the reason I mentioned, better focusing in video mode. Earlier models the focusing was set at the beginning and you had to stop and reset focus if the subject moved.

That said, I have to admit, my little Sony handicam works great. It is HD, 15x zoom, image stabilized, and I think I get pretty good sound all with a memory stick and makes it easy to load and edit, true it records at 1920 x 1080/60i in 16:9 and with the T4i, you are talking 1080p/30. One thing you are gaining (with the T4i) is much more control in the quality of the pictures, not that you can't bring the video from the Sony into After Effects and tweak, but doing it in camera is better.

However; in movie mode, the camera must be set on M and adjusting both aperture and shutter speed to get the right exposure. I admit I haven't done much shooting in movie mode so not sure how difficult that will be, other than checking exposure before switching to manual will probably do the trick.

Hope this ramble helps a little bit :)

Is that Manly wharf on the picture?

GregMalick
11-28-2012, 08:36 AM
Black Friday: T4i dropped another $50 on Amazon so I ordered it.
Looks like I'll be spending the next couple weeks learning this puppy, preparing to shoot pics & video during Christmas Vacation in Indiana with our families.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I may be back with more questions.


Dropped another $100. Cancelled original Amazon Order and re-ordered.
I received a notice today that it shipped.

bobakabob
11-28-2012, 02:03 PM
Indeed, I do love it, but I will grant, the kit lens are not exactly super sharp, still, RAW with some work gives a decent enough result.
That said, moot ponit anyhow as since I lost my job, zero chance of buying a good lens, before that, I'd set my sights on saving up for an L-series lens.
I'd even considered as a lower price option the Tamron zoom, 70-300 but alas, now require a lottery win, hey ho, such is life.
At least I actually own the Canon though, not had it a year yet and so far taken some 6,500+ photos hehe...

Kit lenses tend to sneered at by pros but they're still capable of good results. It would be self defeating for the manufacturers if they didn't show off the potential of the camera. Fast Prime lenses give the very best results and some essentials are very cheap e.g. 24mm, 50mm.

Zooms vary so much in quality and here you really do get what you pay for. The worst extreme versions are like staring down the bottom of a proverbial milk bottle. The Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 is pin sharp, as good as any prime but unfortunately comes with an eye watering price tag :(

Some examples of my own (Nikon) stuff here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnyrem

dsol
11-29-2012, 08:34 AM
I've got a 550D (T2i as it's called in the States) - had it for two years now and have got nice results with it. I deliberate spent less on the body in order to have more money to spend on lenses - and have a nice set of primes and one nice L-series zoom too (which cost about 3 times as much as the original body).

For video DSLR users these days, the most interesting camera I've seen recently is that new-ish sony one that shoots up to 60 FPS at full 1080p. I think it's the NEX-5. It's not a true DSLR as the term means - it doesn't have a mirror assembly so you can't shoot "through the lense" - but for video you can't do that anyway (as the shutter stays open).

T-Light
12-05-2012, 07:50 AM
In defence of the 550D chip.
Canon admitted a couple of years ago that the 550D, the 600D, the 60D and the 7D all use the SAME chip. The only physical difference potentially affecting image quality was the 7D's ability to correct for back focus. They say you have to look at the chip as the 'film' and buy the body based on varying features and build quality.

Something else to note, there's an awful lot of trickery going on in modern cameras. To get over physical difficulties in lens manufacture, newer compact cameras use a lot of digital correction to account for lens distortion, chromatic abberation and chip noise. This manipulation has found it's way into some DSLR's (including the 5D mkIII). The slightly older canon cameras (550, 600 (7?)) only have noise reduction, the 60D has a little more of it (CA if using a canon lens) and I'm guessing the 650D will have it too.

Two things I've found that can affect softness.
1) Trusting the camera to tell you it's in focus! Canon DSLR's don't use the imaging chip to focus, they have a separate focus sensor which, depending on your lens, isn't neccessarily going to give you accurate focus.
Switch to live focus whenever possible.

2) lens misalignment.
Look out for those loose adapter rings.

Picture below is from my 60D with a Zenitar 16mm fisheye. The closeups below the main image are 1:1 chip/pixel resolution. This is from the jpeg, not the raw CR2. This image is a good example as the zenitar can produce clarity like this one day and if its alignment is off, a mushy mess (ala Rebel Hill's example) the next.
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