“When you buy an elephant, you’ll have to buy the rope as well…”

Accessories. The same sentiment is very much alive and well in the world of cameras – especially SLRs/DSLRs. Before making any purchase just remember that in addition to buying a $1000+ body, you’re buying into a lens system (Canon, Nikon, 4/3, Pentax), the manufacturer’s software, batteries, memory media, tripods, hot-shoe flash… Switching systems can be extremely expensive, especially if you’ve a significant lens collection.

I’d also say that buying a DSLR in no way guarantees better results than a P&S. Surprisingly I’d say if you want to do less post-processing and just be able to post your photos online, it’s a better use of time and money to buy a medium range prosumer camera. Less hassle.

There are a few cameras in the low – mid range DSLR world.

  • Olympus E-Volt E-300 ($1229)
  • Pentax *ist DS ($1299)
  • Canon EOS 300D aka the Digital Rebel ($1150)
  • Nikon D-70 ($1550)
  • Nikon D-100 ($1750)
  • Canon EOS-20D ($2199)
  • Olympus E-1 ($1999)
  • Sigma SD-10 ($1979)

All prices are kit prices in Canadian dollars. ‘Kit’ means that these SLRs come with included lenses to start you off. Quality and quantity varies. Pentax has a number of kit options and Sigma outdoes the rest of the bunch by throwing in 2 lenses and a flash as a deal breaker.

The Digital Rebel is the cheapest of the lot due to compromises in build and creative control. This is not a knock against the camera itself. It’s capable of very beautiful pictures, but it’s not as full featured as the other models listed. In my personal opinion, the camera feels less built than the rest and the kit lens was…well…it felt very cheap.

I managed to stop by my local Henry’s yesterday and talked at length with people manning the counters. My experiences at Henry’s have definitely been mixed.

I’ve had the cold fish. Think that they represent the epitome of photography and that dispensing information is a gift we mortals should be happy to receive from above.

I’ve had the pushy sales person. “This here’s the one you should be looking at…” Steamrolls over you. Ignores your less than enthusiastic replies and tries to make a sale on the spot.

I’ve had the “I’m bored of life and you should be too” guy. Got bored and left him to continue his reverie.

I’ve also had those who are genuinely interested in answering questions, talking about photography et. al. and confirming that customer ‘service’ exists.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get one in the last category. We talked for a good while about a range of topics: the upcoming D2X, the future of the aenemic DX lens lineup (I was told to keep an eye open in Spring), the *istDS, the K-M Maxxum 7-D, the E-Volt…

Decided on a whim to try the E-Volt out. I was very pleasantly surprised by the build quality and the apparent quality of the rear-mounted LCD. The camera felt…light (for a DSLR) and controls felt well-placed and usable. Unfortunately – nothing I can say about photo quality – I didn’t have a CF card to write images to, but there are plenty of resources online for reviews…

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