Do you non professionals still use DSLR's? And why?

Started Feb 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Midwest Forum Pro • Posts: 18,305
Re: dSLR can be themost cost-effective route

Hatstand wrote:

Midwest wrote:

I like to bring this up when the subject of dSLR cost comes up... it does relate back to the thread topic so I hope you'll bear with me.

My first dSLR, a Canon XSi, was bought two years after introduction as a closeout at a department store. I think I paid $575 at the time including the 18-55 IS kit zoom. I bought a pair of new/unused lenses on Ebay that the buyer must have gotten with a 'kit' and didn't need (55-250 IS zoom, and 50mm 1.8). That was another $250 for a total of $825.

(I'll leave off the cost of a spare battery, a couple of polarizers, etc.)

Last fall I snagged a deal with a Canon T3i, the 18-55 and 55-250 kit zooms, and a pro level Canon photo printer (plus another $100 worth of extras - 13x19 photo paper, SD card, spare battery, extra cable). Everything was new, no refurbs or anything. It cost me $999 and came with a $400 rebate, making the actual cost $599, no tax, no shipping. I sold off those two kit lenses (I already had them in perfect shape), sold my XSi camera body on Ebay (almost like new with box and all materials) and the net cost of upgrading my camera body and acquiring the printer, paper, and etc. ended up being $137 - including providing free shipping and paying seller's fees on Ebay. I've left nothing out. $137.

My total investment after three years, in a dSLR system that I am very happy with, is under $1000 and I'm set for this year and probably next and maybe even the year after. I watch the bridge zoom and 'compact' users racing to get on line for the next $500 or $600 release of their camera, over and over (hoping for "dSLR-like" image quality they're not going to get) and it becomes clear to me that the dSLR is not always the expensive route in photography. It seems to me it's mostly the new-model-chasers who are the ones saying 'dSLR's are too expensive, you have to buy thousands of dollars and lug a bag of glass, etc. etc.' And while some poo-poo the kit lenses, Canon's are actually quite good performers.

And, for some reason, the Canon Rebel series (T3i, T4i, 600d, 650d, whatever) even appears to be less expensive than the indisputably less-capable M mirrorless model.

Back to the thread topic, that's one reason why this non-pro is using a dSLR and will gladly continue doing so.

You make a very good point.

In my case though, airshow photography really benefits from big focal lengths, and those lenses for a DSLR (400mm or more) really are big, expensive and unwieldy. Even 300mm lenses with TC's are a bit much for me. This is a major attraction of superzooms for me - I get the massive "reach" in a package that is small, light and yes - much cheaper, even if I replace my superzoom periodically.

I get 600mm equivelent from my FZ, or 900mm when I stick my Canon TC-DC58A on it (which cost me 75 UK pounds). And I get f2.8 thoughout the entire zoom range with the FZ200. Thanks to better IQ on a DSLR, you can use shorter equivelent focal lengths, and crop the results - but you're still looking at a very big, heavy and expensive lens.

For you to move from (or add) an FZ200 after your FZ150 at least is for a decent reason - that new lens. I suspect that both cameras together cost more than what I've spent but you're buying what I think is the most intelligent choice of 'bridge' camera out there. Perhaps you'll trade off the FZ150, which I am sure is still worth a piece of change.

I think you'll be really happy with the FZ200. While others keep coming out with 'new' superzooms that just add a few features and maybe bump the zoom length, Panny made some serious moves with the FZ150 and 200 - respectively, dropping the MP down some and then using a fast lens that will also help with IQ in most cases by allowing the ISO to remain low.

As for my setup and what I've spent, I had no plans to upgrade my XSi as of about last August. A toddler at home and this still-rotten economy result in tight money here. When I saw that deal at B&H I started thinking and realized that it would cost me nothing to upgrade my camera body 3 years, or a small amount if I wanted to keep the printer. I hadn't done printing before but I'm sure glad I kept it because good photos at 13x19 are pretty impressive. I suspect Canon was trying to move some inventory since they've got a newer model out (the T4i, mine is the T3i) but the T3i was fine with me. It let me bump my MP from 12 to 18 (for better cropping) and has better high ISO performance (which I really need and want for getting high shutter speeds).

Your FZ's are certainlyl very good choices for shooting airplanes, with their long reach.

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