Best value DSLR with one (superzoom) lens

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Rick Bowlby, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Rick Bowlby

    Rick Bowlby Guest

    I know this is a very subjective question but I will ask it anyway...

    I have owned film SLR cameras for around 30 years, which I use mainly
    when travelling. I have taken around 6000 slides. Most recently I have
    used Canon - first a 1000FN, more recently a 300V - with 28-200mm lenses
    (Sigma and Tamron). I have found that the convenience of a single lens
    when travelling is worth the loss of quality at some settings that
    sometimes resulted.

    So - I have decided to take the plunge and go digital. I have been very
    happy with my Canons and all things being equal would stick with that
    brand, but are all things equal? I have a budget of up to GBP650
    (including batteries, memory cards etc). Can anyone suggest an
    appropriate combination of DSLR + superzoom lens within that price
    range?

    Thank you for any comments
     
    Rick Bowlby, Jan 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. Canon doesn't have a superzoom. I've tested two independents - the Sigma
    18-200mm OS (on Sigma) and the Tamron VC 28-300mm (on both Canon full
    frame and APS-C). Obviously the Tamron has no real wide-angle end on
    APS-C but a very impressive tele reach. While the Tamron appears to be
    optically very good, the stabilisation is quirky. The Sigma is just not
    very good at all unless you turn the OS off.

    You will note that both are stabilised. I would not use a superzoom with
    an effective reach over 300mm in fullframe terms, and the associated
    good macro/close up abilities, and the associated very limited maximum
    aperture, without image stabilisation.

    For your price I'd say a Sony Alpha 200 (not yet available, due next
    week) with either a Sony 18-250mm zoom or the Tamron 18-250mm zoom. This
    particular lens design is probably the best superzoom currently made (it
    beats all the 18-200mm designs for sharpness and clean imaging).

    Your price might just be possible with the Sony branded version - it's
    the same lens at heart but the Sony has a faster focusing mechanism. The
    alternative could be a Pentax K10D (price just dropped because of the
    K20D arrival) with their similar, slightly wider aperture, 18-200mm, or
    again the Tamron 18-250mm; or the Nikon D40X with the 18-200mm VR
    stabilised Nikon lens (or Sigma alternative).

    The only option which doesn't tick the right box is Canon, whose 1.6X
    sensor factor immediately makes the 18mm end less wide-angle, and which
    offers no in-body stabilisation, and doesn't have a Canon own brand
    superzoom, or a stabilised superzoom - the Sigma is pretty much the only
    choice and the combo of a Canon 400D plus Sigma won't give you the
    optical quality or zoom range of the Sony+18-250 or Pentax+18-250.

    You could just continue to use your 28-200mm, whichever you find
    sharper, on a new Canon 400D with 18-55mm kit zoom lens, or maybe no kit
    lens, and use the saving to buy a Tokina 12-24mm wide angle zoom (or
    Canon, Tamron, Sigma of similar range). You would have two lenses then,
    and although 200mm is similar to using a 320mm on full frame, as long as
    you aware of the very real risks of camera shake and switch to higher
    ISOs and faster shutter speeds, you should be OK. The old superzoom may
    not be as good on the digital format as a new purpose-made design though.

    Our daughter's Canon kit has a 400D with the kit 18-55mm and an early
    (secondhand) Canon image stabilised 70-300mm covering the tele end,
    where the IS stabilisation is extremely beneficial. Now if you can do a
    search and hunt down such a lens that's a reasonable kit. I do not
    advice the closest thing Canon has a stabilised superzoom, the full
    frame 28-135mm IS. It's neither fish nor fowl when used on the smaller
    digital format, and it's not much better than independent brand optics
    either.

    David
     
    David Kilpatrick, Jan 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. Rick Bowlby

    Paul Giverin Guest

    Why doesn't it tick the right box? The Nikon and Pentax have a 1.5 crop
    factor. The difference between all three cameras at 18mm is not a lot.
    I've got a Canon 28-135mm IS. Its not too bad. I use it as my walk round
    lens although it is quite a heavy lens and you can feel it after its
    been round your neck for an hour or so. Its a little bit soft but
    certainly better than the 18-55mm kit lens. 28mm isn't very wide on a
    1.6 crop (or 1.5 for that matter ;) but it gave me an excuse to get a
    Canon 10-22mm which is wide enough and is admittedly noticeably better
    than my 28-135 in terms of image quality. Of course the 28-135mm is half
    the price of the 10-22mm so you get what you pay for.

    I think there are a lot of 28-135's going cheap at the moment because
    its used as the kit lens on some 40D's and new owners are flogging them
    on.

    --
    Paul Giverin

    British Jet Engine Website:- www.britjet.co.uk

    My photos:- www.pbase.com/vendee
     
    Paul Giverin, Jan 26, 2008
    #3
  4. Rick Bowlby

    Rick Bowlby Guest

    Thank you David and Paul for your useful comments.

    I definitely want the single-lens solution, for convenience when
    travelling. I think I may wait to see how the new Sony is received, and
    either go for that or something else, plus the Tamron 18-250, which
    seems to be well thought of for the price and is available for about
    280GBP.

    Thanks again,

    Rick
     
    Rick Bowlby, Jan 28, 2008
    #4
  5. Rick Bowlby

    chalkstream Guest

    Rick,

    I did the same thing with almost the same budget and after a great
    deal of research settled on the Nikon D40 and Nikon 18-200 VR lens on
    the advice of this website http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm.
    The camera comes with an 18-55 kit lens (It's very good) for about
    £300 - it comes with a battery and charger - but there may well be a
    seller who does body only. I bought the Nikon 18-200VR lens for £420
    from an Amazon trader last November so I suspect it will be cheaper
    now. You will need to buy a memory card. I've been very pleased with
    the set up and it's the best compromise I found.

    Malcolm
     
    chalkstream, Jan 30, 2008
    #5
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