I've taken the SLR Plunge... Queries please..

Robert B 2

Standard Member
Hi there.

Next week, I'm going to take the plunge and finally buy an SLR. I've decided to go with the Canon 350D, and am going to get the Tamron 70-300mm lens with it. However, I do have some questions that I'd be grateful for help with...

1) The black 350d with EF-S 55mm lens costs £450. But for £10 more, the silver 350D comes with the USM 55mm lens and a Canon bag. What does the USM lens do, and why does all of this cost only a tenner more? Do people not buy silver or something?

2) Is the Tamron 70-300mm a decent lens? I will pay £100 for it with the camera from Jessops.

3) Can anybody recommend a cheap bag that will be padded and have room for a camera and two lenses? Ideally I'd like to pay 15-25 quid.

4) I've noticed a Sandisk compact flash card at 1GB will set me back about 20quid inc P+P. But cheaper brands seem to give me twice as much for the same cost. Can these cheaper brands be trusted?

5) Is it worth me paying £50 for 3 years accidental damage cover at Jessops? Also, I know dust getting on the sensor can be a big problem- how do people avoid this? Is it possible to completely avoid? Does this not deplete the sensor over time? Is simply facing the body towards the ground and quickly changing lenses sufficient?

Ok, sorry to ask so many questions. But I'd be so grateful for help. I've been reading through this excellent forum and people seem to know their stuff.

Cheers, Robert :D
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Hi the Canon 400d has just been anounced, it has some great improvements over the 350d including sensor dust cleaning. I'd hold off for a month if you can. The 400d may just be the thing for you, but if not the 350d price will drop further. USM is an Ultra Sonic Motor in the lens, I think faster and quieter etc... Personally I'd not pay for the extra insurance as I bet you could get it covered on your house contents for less. Sandisk Extreme CF's are great. Mind you don't get stung with a fake though off ebay, there are currently loads! I'd say 80% of current ones on there from one particular seller are definately fake.
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
Hi Jameson,

Thanks for that info. I'm aware of the 400d and like the look of that anti dust technology. But to buy the 350d with a 300mm lens, and a bag and 1GB memory is going to cost me £600 at the cheapest.

I can't see the 400d falling to this level for at least 6-12 months to be honest. So I have to go with affordability ungortunately.

Have you any tips on avoiding dust on sensor problems?
 

h4rri

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
Have you any tips on avoiding dust on sensor problems?
Usual is don't change lenses in the field, avoid keeping caps off for a long time etc. Keep the lense you are changing to handy so it's the shortest time off the body.

To be honest it isn't that much of a problem, someone on here [who shall remain nameless] put his camera away with no body cap so dust aplenty and we managed to clear that with careful methodical cleaning.

I'd do a bit of reading on the Tamron lenses, not used them but heard they are good. You should also be able to get a Canon 70-300 deal from some places.

Whats the best deal you have found so far bud?
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
h4rri said:
Whats the best deal you have found so far bud?
Alright h4rri,

If you want the stuff new and don't want to use ebay then Jessops can't be beaten.

A black 350d plus 18-55mm len has just fallen to £450- plus, they then let you have the 70-300mm Tamron half price (£100.) So Jessops works out the cheapest if you want a bigger lenswith it too.
 

h4rri

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
Alright h4rri,

If you want the stuff new and don't want to use ebay then Jessops can't be beaten.

A black 350d plus 18-55mm len has just fallen to £450- plus, they then let you have the 70-300mm Tamron half price (£100.) So Jessops works out the cheapest if you want a bigger lenswith it too.

Nice deal mate, see if they will give you a deal on any accessories too, Skylight filters etc. If you want CFII cards have a browse of my previous threads. 2Gb can be had for as little as £27 delivered :)

Welcome to the forums and world of the dSLR too btw ;)

Before you commit to any accessories have a look about on the net, most places have cheap deals. Tripods and straps [better than the bag] can be had for next to no money these days. Bear in mind places like Aldi also regularly do deals on stuff like this too.

I also found in my little independant dealer a box of filters and hoods for £3-4 too, saved me a fortune :)
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
h4rri said:
Nice deal mate, see if they will give you a deal on any accessories too, Skylight filters etc. If you want CFII cards have a browse of my previous threads. 2Gb can be had for as little as £27 delivered :)

Welcome to the forums and world of the dSLR too btw ;)

Before you commit to any accessories have a look about on the net, most places have cheap deals. Tripods and straps [better than the bag] can be had for next to no money these days. Bear in mind places like Aldi also regularly do deals on stuff like this too.

I also found in my little independant dealer a box of filters and hoods for £3-4 too, saved me a fortune :)
Cheers fella. I'll be sure to start posting up pics in the photo contest once I get started with the DSLR. I can't wait. I'm so sick and tired of my point and shoot.

I'm prob going to go for a sandisk CF card just so I know it's a reputable make. I get a GB for 20 quid inc P+P. Jessops charge 39quid for the same thing!
 

Chunder

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
1) The black 350d with EF-S 55mm lens costs £450. But for £10 more, the silver 350D comes with the USM 55mm lens and a Canon bag. What does the USM lens do, and why does all of this cost only a tenner more? Do people not buy silver or something?
No idea why black would be more popular than silver (looks less "toy-like", perhaps?) but I'd recommend looking into whether you can save much by not buying the kit lens with the camera. It's OK - especially when you're new to the dSLR world, but you'll probably outgrow it quickly. It's not great optically, and isn't very good in low-light.
It may be more cost effective to get something shorter (e.g. a Canon EFS 10-22mm, or the Sigma 10-20mm; see this discussion on Flickr - lots of examples and recommendations!); I'd heartily recommend looking into the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 - it's really cheap (as far as lenses go, anyway!) and gives fantastic results even in very low light situations.

2) Is the Tamron 70-300mm a decent lens? I will pay £100 for it with the camera from Jessops.
I've never used one, or seen one used, but these Flickr images seem to suggest that you can get really good quality pictures with it.
There's a Flickr discussion group here - it may be worth checking through the pictures, and maybe asking for opinions of the members there...

3) Can anybody recommend a cheap bag that will be padded and have room for a camera and two lenses? Ideally I'd like to pay 15-25 quid.
Depends on the sort you want. I used a shoulder bag for ages (your basic rectangluar bag, with a long strap) - it was OK, but awkward and not very protective. I recently got a Lowepro rucksack that is absolutely fantastic - easy to carry, protective, spacious... maybe slightly out of your price range, but worth checking what else they have in their range, as something may suit.

4) I've noticed a Sandisk compact flash card at 1GB will set me back about 20quid inc P+P. But cheaper brands seem to give me twice as much for the same cost. Can these cheaper brands be trusted?
Cheaper memory cards are generally OK, but you'll really notice the difference in transfer speeds if you compare them to something like the Sandisk Extreme III series. It never really used to be an issue for me, but having upgraded to a camera that can easily generate 5MB jpegs, or 20-30MB tiffs, I really appreciate having the quickest downloads as possible!
Get a (USB 2.0) memory card reader, too - they're pretty cheap, and make it much, much, much easier and faster.

5) Is it worth me paying £50 for 3 years accidental damage cover at Jessops?
No - unless your contents insurance doesn't already cover accidental damage (check the conditions for what they call accidental damage; also verify whether you need to declare the camera, especially if you carry it all around together).
There have been some recent articles (somewhere! sorry!) about the warranties provided by companies when you buy from them, and concerns/investigations that they are very expensive, and don't actually provide a good level of cover. Your mileage may vary, though.


Also, I know dust getting on the sensor can be a big problem- how do people avoid this? Is it possible to completely avoid?
It can be a problem, if it builds up over time - but by "problem" I only mean that it can spoil your photos; I've never heard of it damaging a camera.
Here's a picture of mine - it's not visible when viewed small (unless you look carefully!) but if viewed larger, or printed - as I discovered - then it becomes really apparent!



Does this not deplete the sensor over time?
As far as I know, the sensor is sealed in - the dust does not actually get to any damagable surface. If, however, you wipe or brush the sensor, then there is a risk that you can scratch the cover.

Is simply facing the body towards the ground and quickly changing lenses sufficient?
This helps lots, apparently - although if you're in a dusty (or humid) environment then you can still get crud in there. I was advised that most of the bits that end up on the sensor actually come from the mounting thread/plate - as you screw in (or unscrew) the lens, the grime falls off... and if your camera is facing upwards, then the bits fall inside.
It's damn tricky trying to change the lenses quickly when the camera is upside down though :(

Hope that some of this helps!
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
Thanks Chunder and Harri.

Chunder,

Do you routinely have your sensor cleaned? I heard that it can be sent to the manufacturer who charge to clean lenses of dust.

I'm getting itchy feet now. I wonder if the 350d will plummet in price once the 400d is announced... Although I'll go on waiting for eons.

H4rri,

I use photbucket already. Tbh I've gone off it a bit as it seems to add noise and "fizziness" to my pics. I think it reformats pics and wrecks them a bit. I'm looking out for a better photo host.
 

h4rri

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
H4rri,

I use photbucket already. Tbh I've gone off it a bit as it seems to add noise and "fizziness" to my pics. I think it reformats pics and wrecks them a bit. I'm looking out for a better photo host.

Yeah found that too, I host my own these days. Do you have any webspace anywhere you can use?
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
h4rri said:
Yeah found that too, I host my own these days. Do you have any webspace anywhere you can use?
I'm intending to get web space in the next month or two. How much does it cost for a GB, say? Do you have a site? Can webspace be bought from BT and the likes?
 

Chunder

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
Thanks Chunder and Harri.

Chunder,

Do you routinely have your sensor cleaned? I heard that it can be sent to the manufacturer who charge to clean lenses of dust.
No - I bought myself one of the blower things, but it didn't really help much - although after a prolonged and tedious cleaning session it has made a bit of difference.
Not too sure how/if/where you can send the camera to for cleaning - but that's an option (I've heard that you can send it to Canon once for a free clean and check-up; no idea if they then charge for others).
There's also a cleaning method called the "Copper-Hill" that involves making a swab to clean the sensor. I may give it a go one day if I can find the right bits and pieces for sale anywhere :)
 

h4rri

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
I'm intending to get web space in the next month or two. How much does it cost for a GB, say? Do you have a site? Can webspace be bought from BT and the likes?
Yeah have a site www.randomphotos.net

Got the domain from 123-reg.co.uk and they can host too but I have a server I host it all on :) Lots of people do free webspace and more often than not it's only limited to the amount you can transfer each month [bandwidth] rather than physical disk space.

Have a look around at free web hosts and just pick one mate, I use PS to resize all images en-batch to 800x600 and just upload them :)
 

WSB

Novice Member
ok- i've stayed quiet long enough(!)...I bought my 350D about 3 months ago and have been waiting...and waiting....to be able to provide some valuable insight to the forum...the problem is that I'm not too crash hot at the moment so heres an amateur opinion.....
After reading up loads it was a toss up between the Nikon and the Canon so off I went to BH (as I was in NY) to test them both. Read that the lens that comes with the body isnt great so I opted for the Canon with a 18-200 Sigma lens and havent looked back since. Luckily a friend at work is quite into his photography and he has 4 or 5 lenses and advised me that since buying his 18-200 (alot more expensive then the Sigma) its been on his camera 95% of the time. He picked me up a unbranded 4 gig card for 80 dollars and I also got the Extreme 1 gig card for a great price a bit later on. Have I had any trouble with either card? Nope- both are good although the usb2 card reader is a good purchase.
Having just read about Canon introducing the 350 replacement...am i gutted i didnt wait? not in the slightest- you can wait and wait and theres always going to be something on the horizon...at the time of my purchase it was the impending arrival of the new Sony.
So I had the camera, mem, card reader. Next came the filter- I'm still not too au fait with all that but I went with a bog standard UV filter.
Moving on to how I was going to carry all this around- theres alot of options and alot of specialist camera bags but I went for a Adidas rucksack that goes across your chest and over one shoulder only(dont know the name of this type of rucksack). Anyway- it has a side zip and made access to the main compartment super easy so I could be walking along and pull out the camera for a quick shot at whim....to protect the camera is was placed inside a lowepro camera bag- again- not sure of the type but the camera with the lens fitted quite snugly and it had a top lid so I just placed it with the lid open and the camera facing the zip on the rucksack- which is fine for walking but if i was gonna run i'd shut the lid of the camera holder to be on the safe side. The bag was also a perfect size for my tripod - lightweight and somewhat basic (Slik Pro 330DX) but i'm happy with it.

So thats my story....hope it helps....maybe...just maybe...I'll be able to enter something in the photo of the month one day!!!!
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
Thank you for your post WSB.

I think I am going to go ahead and get the 350D next week. Like you say, you can go on waiting forever and a day.

Out of interest, are UV filters really necessary. Is there any chance I can damage the sensor if I don't use one?

Cheers
 

WSB

Novice Member
I use the filter as....well....as a form of cheap insurance. I'm quite active and often walk around with the camera and whilst i'm not rough with it I feel the need to protect the lens to a great a degree as possible. Its much cheaper to change a $20/$30 filter than it is to replace a lens that may accidently get scratched.
I'm not sure what other forum members think but theres generally two schools of thought- one pro and one anti.
The pro-filter group would add the use of varying filters (ND, polarizing) to enhance your photographs.
the anti-filter group would say that you'd lose quality by adding a filter and whats the point of having a good lense if you are going to negate it by putting a filter on it.
If you do decide to go the filter route then I'm sure some nice forum member with more knowledge than me could provide you with some quality filter brands that dont cost an arm and a leg.
 

PLASMABABBY

Active Member
Bristol Cameras now have the Canon 305D with kit lens for £425.
Dixons have it for £449.50. If you use a discount code you can get £20 off that price i.e. £429.50.
BUT if you pay with an Egg Card and access the Dixons website via the Egg website you can get 5% instant cashback credited to your Egg Card i.e. £21.48 thus making the total effective price for the camera with kit lens of £408.02
If you can't find the voucher code (which was working last night) PM me.
I'm almost tempted myself.

Using this method the Nikon D50 works out at about £341 - a bargain I think.
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
PLASMABABBY said:
Bristol Cameras now have the Canon 305D with kit lens for £425.
Dixons have it for £449.50. If you use a discount code you can get £20 off that price i.e. £429.50.
BUT if you pay with an Egg Card and access the Dixons website via the Egg website you can get 5% instant cashback credited to your Egg Card i.e. £21.48 thus making the total effective price for the camera with kit lens of £408.02
If you can't find the voucher code (which was working last night) PM me.
I'm almost tempted myself.

Using this method the Nikon D50 works out at about £341 - a bargain I think.
Thanks for the idea Plasma! I din't have an Egg Card, and in any case, I think it is worth paying £450 at Jessops as they then let you have the Tamron 70-300mm half price (that is, £100). So I think I'm better off doing that. Unless anybody has a better value (and safe) suggestion.

I ordered my Sandisk 1GB chip today- £21 + postage. I throw down the gauntlet to anybody to beat that for the sandisk.
 

Waveform

Novice Member
Robert B 2 said:
Thanks for the idea Plasma! I din't have an Egg Card, and in any case, I think it is worth paying £450 at Jessops as they then let you have the Tamron 70-300mm half price (that is, £100). So I think I'm better off doing that. Unless anybody has a better value (and safe) suggestion.

I ordered my Sandisk 1GB chip today- £21 + postage. I throw down the gauntlet to anybody to beat that for the sandisk.
sounds like a good price but is that the standard Sandisk card? Not sure what other people on the forum think but I would go for the Extreme III (and did in fact), twice as much @ ~£40 but a heck of a lot faster according to these tests here particularly if you are shooting RAW (6.3MB/sec vs 1.1MB/sec)
 

Radiohead

Member
Robert B 2 said:
Thanks for the idea Plasma! I din't have an Egg Card, and in any case, I think it is worth paying £450 at Jessops as they then let you have the Tamron 70-300mm half price (that is, £100). So I think I'm better off doing that. Unless anybody has a better value (and safe) suggestion.

I ordered my Sandisk 1GB chip today- £21 + postage. I throw down the gauntlet to anybody to beat that for the sandisk.
The Tamron isn't worth £200 and it's a stretch at £100 to be honest. Buy the body and kit lens and ket the Sigma 70-300 APO instead - a far better consumer zoom.
 

beachy

Active Member
Radiohead said:
The Tamron isn't worth £200 and it's a stretch at £100 to be honest. Buy the body and kit lens and ket the Sigma 70-300 APO instead - a far better consumer zoom.
one stop digital are doing the sigma 70-300mm apo (much better than the tamron) for £120 that includes delivery, they are a hong kong based shop, but they do seem safe and have a lot of good reviews. WWW.ONESTOP-DIGITAL.COM
 

Robert B 2

Standard Member
Radiohead said:
The Tamron isn't worth £200 and it's a stretch at £100 to be honest. Buy the body and kit lens and ket the Sigma 70-300 APO instead - a far better consumer zoom.
What is better about the Sigma? I'm starting to think I should get the body and lens somehwere cheaper and order this sigma separate. Which means I will need to urgent action ebcuase I need the camera soon for a trip.

Will the quality of pictures be better with the sigma? To be honest, I'm not that bothered about fast zooms and things like that. I mainly take photos of buildings and landscapes so I don't really need all-action super fast zooms. Providing the lens can take a decent quality picture I'll be happy. What is the difference between the two in terms of quality?

Thanks for the comments Radio and Beachy. :smashin:
 

Chunder

Novice Member
If you're looking for lens bargains, I've had extremely good experience with an eBay seller called 123fstop - he's usually got a bunch of lenses available (US imports I suspect, with the promotional discount applied for)... but they're brand new, covered by the warranty, and are at great prices.

Fast service, friendly, cheap - everything that you don't get from your local Jessops :) (Apologies to anyone who works at one - perhaps my local branch is the stinker of the bunch?)
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
As far as dust is concerned on my Nikon D70, the camera allows a "dust reference" shot to be taken and then in the sotware on the PC it will "remove" the dust specs on the pcitures that get uploaded.
 

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