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Rebel STi Kit or not

Jason Rickey , Jan 11, 2008; 11:56 a.m.

I'm really new to photography. I took a class in high school and am very interested in it but with little experience. I am going to purchase a rebel XTi and have been looking at the "kits" from Coscto, Amazon and others. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on the kit offered by Andromina due to the recommendations from this site. Then I started thinking about buying the components seperately compared to together. The kit is this; KIT INCLUDES 3 PRODUCTS: <#1> Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) + <#2> Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens [Outfit] PLUS + <#3> Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens ALL BRAND NEW Items with all Manufacturer-supplied Accessories + Full Canon USA Warranties. I plan on taking pictures of family stuff. Kids at play, sports and some senery stuff. My question is should I buy the kit with the kit lens or buy the body and EF 18- 55 lens now and save up for the zoom lens with the IS? I'm not completely sure of what the offered zoom lens is being offered above but it looks to me that neither of them are IS (what does EF-S mean?). Thanks for your input. By the way I'm trying to stay under $850 for my first purchase.


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Dan Mitchell , Jan 11, 2008; 12:05 p.m.

In general, I recommend that latter approach - get the XTi with the kit lens now and hold off on additional lenses until you've shot a bit with the kit lens. After doing that you'll have a much better idea of what your eventual lens preferences might be. You'll still be able to get the same or other lenses at great prices if you look around a bit.

One alternative to think about might be to get the XTi body only and separately purchase the newer version of the 18-55mm kit lens which has image stabilization (IS) and is reportedly quite a good performer optically, especially considering the list price of less than $200.

While you could invest in other more expensive options, until you are pretty sure what those might be - and that takes a bit of shooting to figure out - it may well be better to stick with the one lens.

The EFS lenses are designed for use exclusively on Canon's crop sensor DSLR bodies, including the XT, XTi, 20D, 30D, and 40D. The lenses are designed a bit differently - they extend further into the body of the camera and generally throw a smaller image circle onto the smaller 1.6x cropped sensor. These lenses will work only on the crop sensor bodies; they will not work on full frame bodies like the 1 series or the 5D. There are some excellent lenses among the EFS series, in particular the 10-22 ultra wide and the 17-55 f/2.8 IS. At some point, it is even possible that you'll decide to add one or more of these to your kit.

Another note: questions like yours almost inevitably get one or more replies that say "go and by the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens," either as the only lens or as an adjunct. Unless you are a bit unusual, I'm going to recommend - strongly - that you also resist that advice. I will concede that the 50mm f/1.8 is a fine piece of glass and that it sells at an amazingly low price. However, it is generally the wrong lens for someone starting out with a new crop sensor DSLR kit. I won't go into the reason for saying this right now, but I'd be happy to explain if you want me to. (It could be a good choice later on if, for example, you need a short telephoto portrait lens.)



Rob Bernhard , Jan 11, 2008; 12:06 p.m.

[[By the way I'm trying to stay under $850 for my first purchase]]

The XTi with the 18-55 and 75-300 lenses will allow you to experience a TON of what photography can offer you.

You will have plenty of time to wish for more hardware later.

Image Stabilization will not freeze the motion of your kids playing.

Dan Mitchell , Jan 11, 2008; 12:14 p.m.

Bob wrote:

"The XTi with the 18-55 and 75-300 lenses will allow you to experience a TON of what photography can offer you. You will have plenty of time to wish for more hardware later."
Thanks for saying what I was trying to say - a whole lot more efficiently! :-) Regarding IS, you are correct. It will help with subjects less active than playing kids though, and the main advantage that the IS version of this lens may be more that its image quality is improved. Dan

Amlan Ray , Jan 11, 2008; 12:19 p.m.

Get the body and the new EF-S 18-55 IS. This one seems to have better reviews compared to the earlier EF-S 18-55 (without IS and mostly sold as kit lens).

EF-S are Canon digital only lens which will work only on the cropped sensor bodies (XT, XTi, 20/30/40D, 1D Mk III etc) and not on old film SLRs.

BTW, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III is a ok type lens, fine to start with but most of the time you will need to stop in down to f/8 to get decent pictures. I hope you know that on XTi it would have a FOV of about 120-480. Since The budget is a concern you might give it a second though if you really need this one or not ... as you start shooting you will have a feel for what you need.

Good Luck

Jason Rickey , Jan 11, 2008; 12:35 p.m.

awsome input. thanks for the quick responses. I'm thinking of the IS for the wife aspect. She is a point and shoot person and I was thinking the IS would help with her a little when taking shot of the kids running around. I'm a little concerned with the slow speed of the zoom but you get what you pay for. thanks and keep it coming if theres more, which I'm sure there is.

Arie Vandervelden , Jan 11, 2008; 01:03 p.m.

Go for it!

If you're concerned about lack of IS and camera shake, set the camera to 400 iso. This will not only help alleviate camera shake, it'll also help freeze moving kiddies. Unlike most point-and-shoots which get very grainy and flat at 400 iso, the XTi will put out low noise and good colors even at 400 iso. You can do this manually or flip the camera to the sports setting.

The 75-300 has a reputation of poor image quality at 300 mm. Maybe try to stick to the 75-200 mm range. This is not a great lens, and I doubt you'll use it much. Might be an ok purchase if it doesn't add much to the overall cost of the kit.

The 18-55 is an ok lens. For many folks, that's all they'll ever use. If you do end up outgrowing it, you'll have gotten your money's worth. It's a good purchase.

However if you can get the new 18-55 IS within your budget you'll be better off. Personally I'd choose the 18-55 IS over the 18-55 non-IS plus 70-300 combo.

Rob Bernhard , Jan 11, 2008; 01:09 p.m.

[[The 75-300 has a reputation of poor image quality at 300 mm. Maybe try to stick to the 75-200 mm range. This is not a great lens, and I doubt you'll use it much. Might be an ok purchase if it doesn't add much to the overall cost of the kit.]]

In comparison to, say the 70-200 f/4 L, this lens has lower optical quality. But in comparison to having no lens at all for that focal length, it is invaluable.

Jason, and his wife, will be able to use this lens quite a bit.

[[I was thinking the IS would help with her a little when taking shot of the kids running around]]

IS only helps stabilize the photographer, not the subjects. If you're going to be shooting your kids indoors in low light you will indeed need to look at lenses with much larger apertures, but at a very significant increase in cost. However, if the light is reasonable, I would recommend (as Arie has done) to simply increase your ISO 400, 800, or 1600 and see if the shutter speeds you get allow you to freeze the motion of your subjects.

Donald A , Jan 11, 2008; 01:12 p.m.

I would make a recommendation to consider an external flash. In my personal experience this has made a world of difference in the quality of my pictures. Especially if you want to take a lot of pictures of indoor family events, i.e holidays, birthdays, an external flash will set your pictures apart from the standard point and shooter's stereotypical harsh flash pictures. I have the 430EX and it is really worth it. If money is a huge concern, you could consider the 420ex.

Dan Hall , Jan 11, 2008; 01:19 p.m.

The IS will not overcome the slow lens. With that being said, I love it. I just got a 40D with 28-135 IS kit lens and I am already looking for faster glass. Indoors with less than ideal lighting, you could have trouble. Unless you use the flash that is. I dont like artificial light myself. Be sure to consider all the drawbacks of the kit lens before you take the plunge. You may very well be happier with a faster lens. Perhaps in a few months add a 70-300 IS for the sports and stuff. It is about $500 and is a lot of bang for the buck. Again, it would be best on brighter days. Give some serious thought to the above mentioned responses you have gotten. Particularly about many lenses being sharper at f/8 or so and that means slower shutter speeds to let enough light in, and/or increasing the ISO, which increases noise, ahhhh! It is all related and I wish I would have gave it more thought before I got my 40D kit. That lens will be in the closet soon. Not that you can not get some excellent pictures with it. Just not so easy to do under low light situations. That is my main gripe. But the IS is great. I would not buy a 70-300 lens without it. The difference could be you sitting on a bleacher holding a camera with IS, or standing beside a tripod with a non IS lens. Bright daylight and a 70-300 IS would make for some great kids playing outdoors/sports photos. I am new to the DSLRs myself so take what I say lightly. Just passing on the bumps in the road I have came across in the last few weeks. It really comes down to what you want to get out of your photography and your willingness to deal with less than perfect images. That applies to us all of course. I can say with certainty to get a book and/or dvd. They make model specific books/dvds for your camera that offer great insights into getting the best results with it. If you are need it that is. I did. Actually, I bought four. The best by far was by David Busch. Starts with the most basic stuff and goes into great detail on all aspects of using the camera. He makes one for the model you are interested in. Here is a link in case you want to take a look.


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