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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if there are any photography enthusiasts out there? I'm thinking about buying a digital SLR and looking for recommendations. I have my eye on the Canon XSi or if I'm willing to loosen the purse strings a little, the Canon T1i (i like the HD movie capability).

Thoughts?
 

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Hey FT,

I count myself an 'enthusiast' :D

When ever friends and family ask me for advice, I typically give the same canned response, but I still believe it down to the core.

Pick a bunch of critical/core functions (e.g. movie capabilities etc.), then look and physically play with every camera in that class range. Ergonomics and physical compatibility - how comfortable and natural the thing holds in you hand is the biggest factor.

Are you comfortable with the weight? Say you go on a strenuous 5 hr hike, take your children to Disneyland and walk around for 10 hr etc. Is the grip too big/small etc.

All cameras these days are capable of producing incredible images, only the worse pixel-peeping, gear-geek, fan-boys will suggest one company produces better products than the next. They all produce lines large enough that you can grow into (i.e. all offer enough variety of quality lenses for your future needs).

When buying, if being most frugal, very seriously consider buying used. Both lenses and camera bodies seldom have problems, you just need to know what to look for if buying private. There are a few great companies in the US which sell high quality used camera gear, have great reputations and return policies. Let me know if you're interested in going this route and I'll send you some links.

Happy shooting!
 

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Sampson gives very good advice here.

The only other thing I could suggest would be to check out the Digital Photography Review site, which has very in-depth reviews of many cameras:

http://www.dpreview.com/

In terms of photography (as opposed to cameras), some of the more useful resources I've found include:

The Luminous Landscape: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

The Creative Digital Darkroom: http://www.creativedigitaldarkroom.com/

Cambridge in Colour: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/

and my two favourite classic books on the subject:

Looking at Photographs, by John Szarkowski: http://www.artbook.com/9780870705151.html

Dialogue with Photography (interviews with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century):
http://www.dewilewispublishing.com/PHOTOGRAPHY/DIALOGUE.html

Both of these are available from Chapters or Amazon, or through your local bookstore.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey Sampson, sure I would love to see some links on buying used. Paying $1k (Canon T1i) for a camera that I "want" is a bit steep for my liking.
 

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Hey FT,

The three companies I buy from are:

www.keh.com
www.adorama.com
www.bhphoto.com

They all rate their equipment differently, and have different standards. Pricing is usually quite similar among the three companies, and inventory can vary, but KEH usually has the most.

KEH has by far the most conservative ratings scale,

so EX (excellent condition) from KEH = EX+ (excellent plus) from adorama = 8/10 from B&H Photo.

If you want "like new" equipment, I would stick to those ratings at a minimum.

Last consideration is shipping cost. Fortunately due to NAFTA, there are no duties you need to pay (even though most of the stuff is manufactured in Asia - go figure? :confused:)

The cheapest method is always USPS, you pay GST+PST (HST now I suppose) since they do not charge brokerage fees. Any courier will charge you brokerage on ground transport (UPS is the most commonly used by these companies) - they will not do USPS. Most Canadians chose UPS ground because it is cheapest, but UPS will charge upwards to $50 for 'brokerage/handling' - so instead, seriously consider an air shipping method, you avoid the brokerage fee (its bundled in) and get the package sooner.

If you don't want to buy from the US, here's a site which compares pricing for new camera gear sold in Canada.
http://www.photoprice.ca/

the best Canadian pricing is usually from (a plug for my local store - but they really are awesome)
http://www.thecamerastore.com

Best luck and let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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I can second B&H. I've purchased camera equipment from them both directly from their New York store and via mail order. They are a really good source for camera equipment, esp. lenses.

If I were purchasing today, I'd buy the body and purchase a nicer lens. The consumer quality lenses leave a lot to be desired.
 
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