Old 03-13-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
ns4eva
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Question NS Pocahontas Camera Suggestion

I am needing suggestions from individuals that are familiar with Norfolk Southerns Pocahontas Division and Virginia Division.

I live pretty much in the heart of the Pocahontas Division and have been railfanning it for a couple years now. I recently have been trying to get into the "photography" side of railfanning (not just find a train and take pictures). The only still picture camera that I own is a Kodak Z700 Zoom Digital Camera and was wanting to upgrade to something that doesn't limit me so much.

I have been researching on the Canon Digital Rebel XSi for a couple months and I believe it would be a good start for me. Now, my question is, if I were to just buy the camera body, what kind of lens/lenses would you suggest for the areas surrounding where I live? Also, would just getting the kit lens be a good start?

Note, I am on sort of a budget at the moment.

I have been trying to research online about what the different lens specs mean but usually I end up confused. I'm just use to looking at the megapixels and ##x optical zoom of the point and shoot cameras. So any short or long explanation as to why you suggest the lens/lenses you do would be greatly appreciated! Also, if you know of any good links for reading up on the subject would be appreciated very much as well.

Thanks for any responses! I'm hoping to have and be fairly familiar to the camera before I make my first trip to Cass Scenic Railroad for the 2009 Railfan Weekend.

DISCLAIMER: So I don't get flamed. Yes I have searched the forums and have found many great suggestions on questions I have. I am just looking for something more specific to my needs right now.
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Last edited by ns4eva; 03-13-2009 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Added that I'm on a budget.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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I railfan the Virginia Division somewhat on a once or twice a month basis, and use a Nikon D40 with a 18-55mm lens. I got the camera, and lens, for 549 plus tax at Walmart. I'm sure you can find some better deals on this camera at amazon or ebay for example. The 18 to 55 mm lens is a good starter lens. It also allowed me to explore more into wide angle shots, which I did not use to do much of. I enjoy the allowing of shooting wide angles, and now shoot them almost all the time. Another lens that might be good would be an 18-200 or something of that nature. I do not have any experience with Canon DSLR's, so I can't help you there.

All the best of luck, Nathan
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #3
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The XSi would be a great starter (or even final) camera for rail photography. And from what I've read about Canon's new Kit lens (and seeing results posted by folks like John Fladung), it looks to be quite an improvement over previous Kit lenses and would probably serve you well as a starter lens until your budget allows for an upgrade.

While you're doing your research, here's a pretty good resource for Canon stuff:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/

Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:47 PM   #4
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If I were you, I'd go with the XSi. It's a great starter, and with some decent glass, it'll take ya a long way! I'm currently using the XSi, and I love it. It's my first SLR, and I plan on holding onto it for a while. If I were you, I'd buy the XSi kit, which comes with the Canon 18-55mm lens. It has great IS, and overall, is a very nice lens. The Nikon D40 is an alright choice, but the XSi is your best bet, atleast in my opinion.

Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:01 PM   #5
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If money is tight, instead of the XSi and 18-55 IS ($680 at Amazon), get the XS and 18-55 IS ($500 at Amazon). DSLRs are excellent these days and yes there are some differences in features and such but the image quality will still be pretty darn good, i.e. excellent, and if you want to spend the $180, get a second lens, the 55-250 IS for $250 (or a refurbished one - that is what I have - for $215).

Oops, forgot to mention, Canon 20D, still an excellent camera, 8.2mp, much better control layout, around $400 for a used body, give or take a few on either side, if you can find one. I have not felt the need to upgrade, I have gotten more lenses instead.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
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You can click the link in the signature, and the last 10-12 were taken with an XS, and cheap glass (either the kit lens, the EF-S 55-250, or the $85 Nifty Fifty Canon EF-50 f1.

I was in the "wanted something better than a mega zoom on a budget" boat too. I'm very happy with my purchases so far.

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Old 03-14-2009, 01:31 AM   #7
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I'd normally right away say "Shoot for the Canon", but, gotta say, there's a lot of bang for the buck in this Nikon D60 kit:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-Digital-...6994029&sr=8-5

You'd get the camera package, the kit lens, a telephoto lens, a case, an extra battery, a 16 GB card (and reader), plus some other stuff. All of this comes for around $120 more than the XSi with just the kit lens.

I know this guy happens to use both of the lenses listed here:

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=8662

Good luck!

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(who happened to betray Canon for Panasonic )
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #8
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Thank you to everyone who has replied so far. I think that I am leaning towards the Canon XSi most and with the kit lens to start out with. I am however going to use this weekend to read up on the Nikon D60 kit before making any purchases. Also, thanks for the links to users that use certain cameras and lens as well.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:23 AM   #9
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If you want, here's a DPR link to their review of the D60:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond60/

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Old 03-15-2009, 03:10 AM   #10
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Another thing you'll want to do before you by is get a feel for what the camera is like in your hands. You may decide that one "fits" you better than another - some people swear Canons are too small. My own experience with a Rebel XT has been great, though, and I'm of the opinion that feel is largely a matter of what you get used to (not just when it comes to cameras - woodworking tools, for instance, would be another case),

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Old 03-15-2009, 03:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
Another thing you'll want to do before you by is get a feel for what the camera is like in your hands. You may decide that one "fits" you better than another - some people swear Canons are too small. My own experience with a Rebel XT has been great, though, and I'm of the opinion that feel is largely a matter of what you get used to (not just when it comes to cameras - woodworking tools, for instance, would be another case),

Jon

I actually went to Ritz camera and tried out pretty every camera they had(Sony, Nikon, Canon, Pentax you name it), the Nikon D80 happened to be what I chose, it fit my hands perfectly; It seemed to be built more solidly than anything else they had in the case. I will admit (for me) the XT/XTi were too small for me and the 40D was too expensive. I chose Nikon and now I wouldn't have anything else.

No matter what you choose, Canon and Nikon are the best DSLR makers.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:52 AM   #12
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I couldn't agree more with Wayne. You really can't go wrong with a Nikon or Canon SLR.

Chase
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:24 AM   #13
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Thanks once again for the added responses to my question.

Another question for ones with the Canon XSi. Say, if you had an 8GB SD card, how many high detailed JPEG, as well as RAW images could usually be stored? Also, which is recommended, a class 4 or class 6 card (I'm assuming class 4?)?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ns4eva View Post
Thanks once again for the added responses to my question.

Another question for ones with the Canon XSi. Say, if you had an 8GB SD card, how many high detailed JPEG, as well as RAW images could usually be stored? Also, which is recommended, a class 4 or class 6 card (I'm assuming class 4?)?

Thanks in advance!
Hmm, my 8GB Class 6 card can hold 1,800 photos or so, if memory serves me correctly when using the highest JPEG setting. I could be wrong, I haven't looked really. As for RAW files, I have no idea.

Class 6 is better. It's a bit faster at processing the images, and taking them in general.

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Old 03-16-2009, 02:09 AM   #15
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Hmm, my 8GB Class 6 card can hold 1,800 photos or so, if memory serves me correctly when using the highest JPEG setting. I could be wrong, I haven't looked really. As for RAW files, I have no idea.

Class 6 is better. It's a bit faster at processing the images, and taking them in general.

Chase
Wow double what I thought it would have been. Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Class 6 is better. It's a bit faster at processing the images, and taking them in general.
It depends on the camera. In a lot of cases the card speed is not the bottleneck so a faster card does not allow the camera to, for example, take more shots per second. I am fairly sure but not certain that an XSi is not going to be restricted by the speed of the card. Maybe someone can point to a specific test/review on the web that says otherwise.

It does make some difference when you are copying images off the card onto your computer. Whether enough to justify the extra expense is the relevant question.

Somewhere there is a website that reports on specific cards and cameras but I can no longer find it.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:45 AM   #17
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Whatever memory card you use, get a card reader (if your computer doesn't have one built in) and use it to download images to your computer. Downloading from the camera is always slower . . .

Jon
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
It depends on the camera. In a lot of cases the card speed is not the bottleneck so a faster card does not allow the camera to, for example, take more shots per second. I am fairly sure but not certain that an XSi is not going to be restricted by the speed of the card. Maybe someone can point to a specific test/review on the web that says otherwise.

It does make some difference when you are copying images off the card onto your computer. Whether enough to justify the extra expense is the relevant question.

Somewhere there is a website that reports on specific cards and cameras but I can no longer find it.
Ah, I forgot about the transfer speed. I can usually upload the images at a decent speed, providing the computer isn't acting up.

I was given the SD card as a gift, so I went ahead and requested the 8GB, and then still had some cash left over. Might as well go for the best.

Chase
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