I've entered the world of Digital SLR's with my new Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT). Finally a fully fledged interchangable lens digital SLR with a reasonable sized sensor (APS-C sized, approx 2/3 of the size of a full frame 35mm camera). So far i've brought the camera, 2 GB of CompactFlash storage, 3 Lenses, 3 filters (polarising and UV) and I have a set of 'close up filters', a 52-58mm stepping ring and a spare battery yet to arrive. This is definately a more expensive package to own than a simple 'point and shoot', but I'm feeling much more comfortable, and much more powerfull with this camera than i was with my old Olympus C8080WZ Digital point and shoot camera.
Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT), 8MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, Interchangable Lens Digital SLR, Canon 'EF' mount. This camera is very small for an SLR, its actually smaller and lighter in most dimensions than my olympus (unless you have a 300mm lens attached of course), A lot of the reviews on the web complain that this camera is too small for their hands, I'm over 6' and while i could possibly do with more finger room on the grip, I have no real complaint. Those coming from point and shoot cameras will find the 350d's size to be ample, I can see however, how those who are coming from full size SLR cameras may find the larger Canon 20D a more natural fit.
Compared to my old camera, the Canon focuses extremely quickly, starts up practically instantly, has virtually no shutter lag and can take continous shots with full autofocus at 3 frames per second,which, while not substantially faster than the olympus on paper, certainly feels faster!
The manual controls are easily accessible and despite what online reviewers have said, I've never had a problem pressing the wrong button by accident (perhaps this is just due to my computer programmer fingers, your mileage may vary)
The camera came with an 18-55mm kit lens, This lens appears reasonably competent to an entry level photographer like myself although it does feel somewhat light and 'plastic'. For many of the users of this camera though, I believe the light, small lens will be a plus rather than a minus, being easy to carry while travelling or walking around.
I have also purchased a 90-300mm Canon USM lens and a 50mm F1.8 Canon prime lens, The 90-300mm has had minimal use so far, really requiring a tripod in all but the best light (those with steadier hands than me might get better results shooting hand held at 300mm, With the 1.6x crop factor of a digital slr, this is effectively a 480mm telephoto!) The 1.8 Lens has been my favourite so far, although it does present limitations in being a fixed focal length. I have enjoyed taking extremely shallow DOF (depth of field) photos with this Camera and lens, something virtually impossible with my olympus.
In total my lens selection, together with the 1.6x crop factor of the Digital sensor, gives me an effective 28-480mm zoom (about 17x) which provides plenty of flexibility, albeit requiring changing lens occasionally. If/When finances allow, I intend to move towards also having a canon 10-22mm lens for wide angle shots, a 17-85 mm IS (stabilised) lens (this is a 5x zoom, equivilent to my previous camera) and a stabilised 300mm+ telephoto.
In general I'm very happy with my new camera purchased, although i did agonise over spending an additional $500 to purchase a 20D or trading lens flexibility and some Canon features for the Image stablisation of the Minolta 5D, but i'm confident that with an amateurs budget and with the potential to upgrade in the future while keeping my Canon lenses, I made the right decision!
I'll be posting some pictures soon!