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DSLR shopping (part two)

by Rob Friesel

The DSLR hunt continues.  As I mentioned last hit around, I continue to digest all of this.  It feels like a big move.  And while it’s not like a house- or car-level Big Purchase, it’s certainly a large wad of cash than I like to drop outside of true necessity.  Thus do I continue to contemplate, to deliberate, to ruminate, to speculate, and to vacillate.

The latest exercises have been to compare the various available packages (e.g., CostCo’s D60 kit vs. Ritz’s D60 kit; e.g., Best Buy’s Canon XTi kit vs. Circuit City’s XTi kit; etc.) and then compare those against “roll your own” scenarios (e.g., the Canon XTi “body-only” and then add on a fast 50mm prime).  It’s a tough road to travel, I tell you.

One of the things that makes this tough is trying to get a more hands-on feel to it.  While we killed time this afternoon, A. & I stopped into Best Buy to examine a couple of these cameras up close.  As I mentioned last time, there is this element of mystery to the UI of each camera — how quickly will I adjust?  (And all that good stuff.)  So we got our hands on an XTi and a D60, twisted a few knobs, pressed a few buttons…  All without lenses attached, of course.  Meaning (again: “of course”) that we couldn’t actually try them out.  Blargh.

That said, both the XTi and the D60 felt solid in my hands.  Neither one was too heavy but neither felt cheap or flimsy or fragile.  So alas, there wasn’t much of a noticeable deciding factor there.  The button layouts were similar, too — at least, in the 15 minutes I spent doing my side-by-side they sure seemed similar.  The only really striking difference between the two seemed to be “the knob” that selected the different subject modes.  The iconography was a bit different on each.  I recognized the icons on the Canon right away; I’m still not 100% sure that I “got it” with the Nikon.

Where does that leave me?

Alas, not really any closer.  I would still like to get my hands on a Pentax K200D1 and get a sense of its build quality and UI.  But I have a feeling it’s going to be harder to come by one of those.  Well, onward…

  1. Yes, that’s changed since last time… []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

2 Responses to DSLR shopping (part two)

Justin says:

Have you tried LeZot’s on Church St? He’s a salesman, for sure, but he’s a lot more knowledgeable than a best buy clerk, and he might be able to help give some perspective. Plus you could price out some used glass….

As for a package, if I was going throught this again, I’d go with a body only (I’ve found amazon has some of the best prices) and start with a fast prime, then save up for a decent 18-200 or something. I never ended up using my kit lense very much, and ended up getting rid of it.

found_drama says:

@Justin: I haven’t been up to LeZot yet. Always seems to be closed when I walk by — I’m out-of-sync, apparently.

I’m definitely hearing you on the body-only + fast prime equation. This is definitely the advice I’ve received most often. And the more I think about zooming, the more I think: “Damn but I don’t even use that feature on my point-and-shoot…”

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