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Archive 2012 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?
  
 
Occulai
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


My girlfriend's sister is a junior in high school and has taken two years of photo classes doing primarily B&W film work. Her family was hoping to get her a new camera for Christmas (hopefully of the Canon DSLR variety). As always is the case, the budget is entirely too tight to buy all of the fun toys we wish we could. Budget is somewhere in the range of $500-560 range if my girlfriend and I both chip in some extra. The options I am looking at involve some combination of a used T3i or 50D and either that 18-55mm kit lens, the 50 1.8, or the new 40mm pancake. As you are the all-knowing internet, I was hoping that you might be able to offer some advice, or maybe point me in the direction of a good deal. Thank you all in advance!
I bought my first DSLR when I was getting ready to graduate highschool (brand new 20D w/ 85 1.8) and I remember how happy that made me and how much fun I had, so I hope that she can have that same experience.
-Jason



Nov 15, 2012 at 05:17 AM
jeraldcook
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


My two suggestions would have been either a T3i or a 50D as well. For a female high school student I'd lean towards the T3i since she probably has small hands. And from a creative photography perspective, that swivel LCD can be very handy as well.

And I'd vote for the 50 1.8 over the 40 2.8 but admittedly I've never used the 40mm so that advice is worth about what you paid for it.



Nov 15, 2012 at 05:31 AM
RogerC11
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


I would suggest a t2i with kit lens and 50 1.8. and use the remainder of the money for accessories such as memory cards and what not.


Nov 15, 2012 at 05:36 AM
KCook0
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


I got my refurbished 50D from Canon online, it came with the kit 28-135. Which gives decent results, but is a bit of a beast. My guess is that a teenager would appreciate the video capability of the T2i or T3i. As for lenses, let her make those picks.

Kelly Cook



Nov 15, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Psychic1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


T3i - 18/55 - 270exII


Nov 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM
nburwell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


RogerC11 wrote:
I would suggest a t2i with kit lens and 50 1.8. and use the remainder of the money for accessories such as memory cards and what not.


I agree with Roger here. I think the T2i would suffice for here, and it would save the family a little bit of money. However, they could put the remaining amount on what they were to spend towards accessories that she will definitely need.

-Nick



Nov 15, 2012 at 03:43 PM
saneproduction
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


T2i or t3i with 18-55 IS kit lens and 50 1.8


Nov 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
jasonpatrick
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


I totally agree with recommending both the 50mm 1.8 and the 18-55mm IS kit lens. You won't find two other lenses in Canon's whole line up with as good of a value/dollar ratio. I would let those lenses drive what body you buy, but also agree that the rebel line is the way to go.

you're looking at 180-210 for the lenses used, which leaves you 350 or so for a body. You can get a t2i for that price.



Nov 15, 2012 at 04:02 PM
mmurph
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


I sold my T3i in June when I bought a T4i.

I **really** have to recommend that you stretch a bit and buy a T4i over the T3i. The auto focus in still mode is so much better! The T4i has the auto focus of the 60D.

It also has a lot of very nice features - touch screen LCD, auto focus in video, etc. But the auto focus is so much improved over the sometimes very frustrating T3i that I just can't recommend the T3i at all.

You can find a new T4i body on the Buy & Sell here for $600. You can probably pick up the 18-55 kit lens for $60.

You can always add better glass later. She is likely to have the T4i for 3-5 years (eventually as a second camera.) The 40 mm is a great lens, but she can save and add that later. You can still get the 50 1.8 for $70 used instead to save money (maybe out of her Xmas/BD money, etc.)

As a 25+ year pro, I was quite happy to use the T4i for everything except low light/high ISO event work (at 6400 & higher.) It really is a great camera that has somewhat slipped through folks radar.

My favorite camera used to be the Canon 1DsII - I just loved that camera. In many ways the T4i reminds me of that camera - it is my second favorite camera ever, behind the 1DsII. The T3i is far, far behind in my assessment.

Sorry for the strong sell - you might poll folks who have used both cameras. For me the T3i was **meh**, while the T4i is **WOW**

Cheers! Good luck.

Michael




Nov 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Occulai wrote:
My girlfriend's sister is a junior in high school and has taken two years of photo classes doing primarily B&W film work. Her family was hoping to get her a new camera for Christmas (hopefully of the Canon DSLR variety). As always is the case, the budget is entirely too tight to buy all of the fun toys we wish we could. Budget is somewhere in the range of $500-560 range if my girlfriend and I both chip in some extra. The options I am looking at involve some combination of a used T3i or 50D and either that 18-55mm
...Show more

I might lean used 50D just to get micro-focus adjustment (so AF won't be quite as frustrating) and nicer body controls. Although if you think she might like to do movies too then the T3i is the way to go.

Maybe a used 18-55 IS kit lens (which actually is VERY sharp and you can do quite a lot with that lens) and the 50 1.8 if she might want some low DOF to play around with.



Nov 15, 2012 at 09:48 PM
 

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Occulai
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Thank you all for your advice! There seem to be many votes for the 18-55mm kit lens. I know there have been some different iterations of that lens, and my only experience is with the original 18-55mm that came along with the very first rebel. Correct me if i am wrong, but are you all suggesting the 18-55mm IS II that is the current kit lens for these cameras? Is there a 18-55mm IS that came after the very first 18-55mm? I also very much like the idea of letting her pick the lenses - though it would suck a little bit to open up toy on Christmas that you can't play with right away!
-Jason



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:46 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Occulai wrote:
My girlfriend's sister is a junior in high school and has taken two years of photo classes doing primarily B&W film work. Her family was hoping to get her a new camera for Christmas (hopefully of the Canon DSLR variety). As always is the case, the budget is entirely too tight to buy all of the fun toys we wish we could. Budget is somewhere in the range of $500-560 range if my girlfriend and I both chip in some extra. The options I am looking at involve some combination of a used T3i or 50D and either that 18-55mm
...Show more

Having steered a few people toward their first DSLR, I might recommend the t2i (perfectly functional and excellent image quality) and the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens as a good place to start. I'm generally against either of the two primes you suggested as a starting point unless your new shooter has very strong feelings to the contrary and understands his/her reasons for this. And the whole "start with a prime" business is antiquated old-school thinking that makes little or no sense to day.

Dan



Nov 16, 2012 at 05:41 AM
svassh
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Watch for Black Friday deals the major retailers typically have stellar deals on the Rebel line with the kit lens. You may even find a deal in your range on a T4i. As others have said the T2i and T3i are both outstanding starter DSLRs but if she is serious after 2 years maybe its time for a pro body like the 50D? The Canon Loyalty Program has some great deals also on refurbs you should check out. They typically have a Black Friday deal also.


Nov 16, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Wahoowa
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


If you don't mind a little work, I got a T4i deal that I end up having a T4i + 40mm Pancake for under $400. It was a promotion from Adorama that included the camera, the lens, a Pro9000 II printer and Photoship/Premier Element software. Of course, the final price is after the Canon $400 rebate and the sales of other items. (This deal was on the front page of Slicksdeal.)

The Adorama promotion already ended, but it appears to me that this sort of deals pops up here and there.



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Ralph Conway
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Just ask her, what she needs.


Nov 16, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Betacamman
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


If I may put out a note of caution, I would want to be sure she's handled any camera she might be interested before buying one for her.

I say that because I've found that how a camera feels in your hands is often an important factor into how much it will get used and enjoyed.

The Rebel and the xxD line have similar designs, but different ergonomics. I can say that my hands cramp up trying to use any of the Rebel line for any extended period of time, and as a result, I've owned only xxDs or 1Ds.

As long as she's done at least that much, I'd feel more comfortable making a purchase.



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


gdanmitchell wrote:
Having steered a few people toward their first DSLR, I might recommend the t2i (perfectly functional and excellent image quality) and the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens as a good place to start. I'm generally against either of the two primes you suggested as a starting point unless your new shooter has very strong feelings to the contrary and understands his/her reasons for this. And the whole "start with a prime" business is antiquated old-school thinking that makes little or no sense to day.

Dan



f/1.8 is a lot different than f/5 or whatever the 18-55 is at 50mm though....



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Ralph Conway
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


Betacamman wrote:
If I may put out a note of caution, I would want to be sure she's handled any camera she might be interested before buying one for her.

I say that because I've found that how a camera feels in your hands is often an important factor into how much it will get used and enjoyed.

The Rebel and the xxD line have similar designs, but different ergonomics. I can say that my hands cramp up trying to use any of the Rebel line for any extended period of time, and as a result, I've owned only xxDs or 1Ds.

As long as
...Show more

+100



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
John P Mulgrew
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


My cousin's 9 year old would go with me sometimes to shoot sports. I had a 50D for her and she had no problems using it.

Heavy crop but here at 9



She took this a couple weeks later



And here at age 10 with MKIII I think and 400 2.8 IS



She lost interest as most kids her age would and it's a shame she had a real good eye. Anyhow if a 9yr old could shoot a 50D then a HS student certainly can.



Nov 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Which DSLR to give as a gift?


To no one in particular and everyone in general, a word or two about the notion that beginners need professional equipment.

Hogwash. ;-)

In fact, most young shooters (and I was one of them, and I watched a bunch of others including my own kids) are thrilled to have a "real DSLR" that is not a supposed pro-level camera. For a person who has not owned a current high-end DSLR but who has perhaps dreamed of "doing photography," something in the "rebel" category (current the t1i, t2i, etc cameras) seems like a wonderful and amazing thing. And having such a camera, which feels so cool to them, often inspires them to develop a stronger interest in making photographs as they put this gear to work.

And you know what? It wasn't that different for most of us. In an era when high end meant something quite different, very few of us started with such gear. In my case, I started with hand-me-down cameras from my Dad. (In retrospect, he may have at least partially been passing off the old gear so that he would have an excuse to buy the cool, new stuff, but I digress... ;-) And I was thrilled to have a "real camera" - and it inspired a passionate love for photography early on.

As a teacher, I've watched a similar process at work among thousands of students over the years. A few decades ago I had the realization that the best students I had, the ones doing the most creative and effective work, were not those who were supplied with pro level gear right off the bat, but rather those who were thrilled to acquire adequate gear and passionate about figuring out how to use it to do creative work. On the other hand, too many of those who started out with the really expensive latest-and-greatest gear... focused on the gear and all too often lost interest in the work itself.

skibum5 wrote:
f/1.8 is a lot different than f/5 or whatever the 18-55 is at 50mm though....


That's a funny argument, since a) yes, f/1.8 is different than a smaller aperture and b) the range and flexibility of a zoom is different than that of a single prime. I guess I could write that the f/1.8 lens doesn't work nearly as well at 18mm... ;-)

The real question is what provides the most useful functionality for this new photographer at this point in her development. (It almost might not be a bad idea at all to ask her, if she is at a point where she has developed some experience-based and knowledgeable options.)

I've counseled a number of people who were starting out with DSLRs to forego the old-school advice to "start with a single prime and suffer for a while," instead strongly recommending that these new photographers start with the inexpensive zoom, shoot a lot, learn a lot, and discover the nature of their particular interest and then use their experience to begin to acquire better and more specialized gear... if their interest ends up going beyond the entry-level sort of shooting for which the zoom is so fine.

Let me offer two examples:

During the last year, somewhat to my surprise, my wife began to express an interest in doing photography more seriously. Now I could have "set her up" with my old 5D (big!) and perhaps loaned her my 50mm prime or any number of other L and non-L lenses... but instead I helped her decide to get a t2i plus the kit lens. Now, at that point, if you had asked either of us where her budding photography interest might have led, we couldn't have answered correctly and our guesses (and yours) would have been very, very wrong. While my guesses might have ranged from "the EFS kit zoom will be sufficient" through "maybe she'll want to get the EFS 55-250 at some point" to "she'll probably want what works so well for me"... What actually happened? She ended up developing a strong interest in close-up photography. So she added a "diopter" close-up "filter" to the kit lens and went about enthusiastically and happily photographing the small world of flowers and foliage and insects and more. This became her primary interest, and when it came time to get a "good lens," that lens turned out to be something neither of us could have anticipated, a 100mm f/2.8 IS macro, which now essentially lives on her camera.

One of my sons is another example. Some years back I gave him an old 8MP "rebel" DSLR with - you guessed it! - the kit lens. Like my wife, he went off and started shooting, learning a lot about the many things that one needs to learn about when a novice DSLR photographer. His interest gravitated toward what I might loosely describe as "street photography" (though that's not quite the whole story), and his interests led him away from shooting DSLRs at all! He moved to film, began collecting a fleet of wonderful old, inexpensive rangefinder cameras, finally including an old beaten up used Leica.

My point is that the most important objects at this very early stage include having the opportunity to experiment and basically doing a lot of shooting with a goal of finding out the extent and nature of one's photographic interest - not in following someone else's notions of "the right way" to shoot and so forth. The inexpensive rebel-style bodies and the kit lens are virtually ideal at this stage. (And if one does decide that, say, a 50mm f/1.8 prime is important after shooting the kit zoom for a few months... then they can get one quite cheaply.)

Betacamman wrote:
If I may put out a note of caution, I would want to be sure she's handled any camera she might be interested before buying one for her.

I say that because I've found that how a camera feels in your hands is often an important factor into how much it will get used and enjoyed.

The Rebel and the xxD line have similar designs, but different ergonomics. I can say that my hands cramp up trying to use any of the Rebel line for any extended period of time, and as a result, I've owned only xxDs or 1Ds.

As long as
...Show more


I've actually found more or less the opposite to be true in the real world. Most buyers select a first DSLR on a more or less random basis (a friend recommends the brand, a family member already owns it, there was a sale) and whichever brand they select becomes their idea of normal. In other words, they adapt to what they have.

The "just by how it feels in your hands" thing is especially irrelevant when a new photographer is involved, since a taste for one sort of feel or another develops as one's skills develop, and it is too immature at first to use as a basis for making a decision.

And, finally, again to no one in particular... any time the subject of gear, kids, and parents comes up... we need to acknowledge the danger (and we've all been susceptible to it) of trying to live our lives through our kids - our own offspring, nieces and nephews, etc. Yes, the danger can also exist with spouses - one reason that I was very careful to not push my gear choices on my wife when she was getting her DSLR. I know, from my own experience, that we can get this warm, proud feeling when someone who might be dependent on us seems to acquire our own interests, and, yes, we can occasionally use this as an excuse to exercise our Gear Lust and buy new stuff. Watch out!

Dan




Nov 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM
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