I’ve been looking at DSLRs recently, and I’ve pretty much settled on the Canon Digital Rebel XSi. I just haven’t quite decided on what lens or lenses I should get at this point. I have found the camera body + 18-55 kit lens for about 130-140 more than just the body. There’s basically three ways I can see going:
(1) Kit lens + $150-200 zoom lens in the 80-300 range.
(2) Buy the body only and get a $200-300 dollar 18-200ish lens
(3) (2) Plus a simple 50mm fixed lens
I am on an extended around the world type backpacking trip, so that’s how I’m going to be using it. Landscapes of buildings, terrain, and candids of the locals are the biggest three things I will use it for. A distant fourth would be wild life. Really, for the first two wider is basically all that matters. For the third, zoom is really nice for taking a picture without shoving a camera in their face (and getting out of giving Indian kids their 10p ). I’m probably not going to be taking landscapes and pictures of people at the same time, so I don’t think I would change lenses too much.
However, the thing I come back to is that I just think carrying around more than one lens is going to be a pain in the ass. I’ve used a DSLR, and to be honest intellectually I understand that changing lenses takes 3 seconds and isn’t hard at all. But emotionally I just like the ability to go from shooting a landscape of a temple to a zoom in on a cute kid eating icecream without digging around my bag.
The hesitation I have is that by reading the reviews, people seem to imply that I am making vast sacrifices in image quality by going for an ultrazoom. I get the feeling that these people are picking ridiculous nits, and since I’m not trying to sell any pictures to a magazine, everything I take will be fine. That’s where option 3 has come from in my mind. If I just have to get a perfect shot of something, I can use the 50mm and do anything I am capable of. But then again, I don’t want a $130 dollar paperweight, and the changing lenses thing comes back.