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Old Oct 25, 2012, 08:55 PM   #1
soco
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Entry-level, budget dSLR?

So I've been encouraged by friends and family to take my photography more seriously and given that I've always had a fascination with it, and have more and more wanted to get better and make it a real hobby, I've decided to go ahead and take the next step.

With that said, in Autumn 2012, what's the safest play for sub-$900 dSLRs?

T3i?
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 08:57 PM   #2
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I purchased a canon t3i recently and absolutely love it. It's a nice camera, and i'm only using the kit lens so far, can't wait to get a few different lenses i've been looking at.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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Stick with Canon or Nikon. They are the dominate players with the most products, accessories, and support from 3rd party vendors.

Go the local camera stores and try a few out. Also check their used or consignment sales department for a bargain. If going Canon, you can get refurbed Canon bodies and lenses from Canon USA. Also Canon will let you trade in a old Canon camera for credit.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:30 AM   #4
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The Nikon D3200. It has the best IQ of all entry level cams. And remember, the Nikons have modern D-range (14-15) stops, that gives an entire different sort of Image than the old-school ones (11-12 stops) like all Canons and the Nikons before the D90/D7000/D800/D3X
The old ones have a sort of analog colour slide image, with easy to blow highlights, the newer ones more like the impossible-to-blow highlights of negative film combined with the great shadows of slide.

And do NOT get the T4i. It sucks beyond total suckness. It has IQ worse than a D200 from 2005!

Last edited by blanka; Oct 26, 2012 at 05:36 AM.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 06:34 AM   #5
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Go to your local camera store and hold them in your hand. Decide on the one brand that feels comfortable to you. I would also say stick with Cannon or Nikon. I am a Nikon guy and would say the D3200 is the best entry level camera on the Nikon side. The T3i would be on the Cannon side. Good luck and let us know what you decided
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonut View Post
I purchased a canon t3i recently and absolutely love it. It's a nice camera, and i'm only using the kit lens so far, can't wait to get a few different lenses i've been looking at.
Can you tell me what sets it apart from others? What's so great about it?

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Originally Posted by MCAsan View Post
Stick with Canon or Nikon. They are the dominate players with the most products, accessories, and support from 3rd party vendors.

Go the local camera stores and try a few out. Also check their used or consignment sales department for a bargain. If going Canon, you can get refurbed Canon bodies and lenses from Canon USA. Also Canon will let you trade in a old Canon camera for credit.
Thanks for the tip on the consignment. Will check it out.

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Originally Posted by blanka View Post
The Nikon D3200. It has the best IQ of all entry level cams. And remember, the Nikons have modern D-range (14-15) stops, that gives an entire different sort of Image than the old-school ones (11-12 stops) like all Canons and the Nikons before the D90/D7000/D800/D3X
The old ones have a sort of analog colour slide image, with easy to blow highlights, the newer ones more like the impossible-to-blow highlights of negative film combined with the great shadows of slide.

And do NOT get the T4i. It sucks beyond total suckness. It has IQ worse than a D200 from 2005!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fireman32 View Post
Go to your local camera store and hold them in your hand. Decide on the one brand that feels comfortable to you. I would also say stick with Cannon or Nikon. I am a Nikon guy and would say the D3200 is the best entry level camera on the Nikon side. The T3i would be on the Cannon side. Good luck and let us know what you decided
I just saw the cnet review on the D3200 and they were very "meh" about it. Are they off base?
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 09:06 AM   #7
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I played around with it a bit when it came out and I liked it. If you are not against getting used gear which is the route I took you can save some money on the camera body and put more in towards a better lens. Good glass will hold its value if well taken care of. Most of the local camera shops have good deals on used body's that were traded in.

I bought my D200 used for 400 dollars and it had 8,000 clicks on the shutter.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:20 AM   #8
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Fireman32 et al have it right. At the beginning amateur level, it's more about personal preference and which brand's control layout makes "sense" to you than anything else.

Personally, I went with the Canon T3i because I found the layout and control interface more intuitive than the comparable Nikon's. But I know plenty of other people who think the opposite; my preference for Canon probably has a lot to do with the fact that the first SLR I ever shot with was my father's Canon AE-1, and despite the decades and technological leaps that separate the AE-1 and the T3i, there still some similarities in the engineering.

So go try 'em out at a reputable store. If, after doing this, you really have no preference, then you can start considering the minutiae of which brand has slightly better technical specs for what you like to shoot, in your price range.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:57 AM   #9
Mito
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You want to get better and you do think that buying better camera will make you better? Sorry I just couldnt resist...

Im shooting with Canon 50D ("old" powerful camera, its great price/performance now). I would suggest you go for 600D/650D and buy better lens. Something more universal for start and then you could upgrade to some prime lens or so.

Anyway Im shooting film as well and If you dont want to spend 900usd on DSLR which in 3 years will be old tech I would suggest you trying to shoot film!

Good Luck
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 01:17 PM   #10
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Surprised no one asked, what do you plan on shooting? Landscapes, portraits, street, events, just your family, sporting events, video? With that in mind we might be able to find you a camera lens combo that'll let you get the images you want now and have a system that'll grow with your skills.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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Canon t2i, 18-55, 55-250 kit lenses, and 50 1.8 prime for $720.

http://www.adorama.com/ICADRT2IKR.html

http://www.adorama.com/CA55250AFSZ.h...ce=rflaid62905
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 04:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mito View Post
You want to get better and you do think that buying better camera will make you better? Sorry I just couldn´t resist...
No, I'm not ignorant of the idiom that a great picture comes from the person, not the gear. My quest for a fine entry-level dSLR is based on the opinion that I feel confident in my skills and artistry behind a lens enough to warrant some concentration on the piece I capture with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paolo- View Post
Surprised no one asked, what do you plan on shooting? Landscapes, portraits, street, events, just your family, sporting events, video? With that in mind we might be able to find you a camera lens combo that'll let you get the images you want now and have a system that'll grow with your skills.
Great question. It'll be a mix of all things, but lots of nature, for sure. Mostly weather and woodlands. No macro work. All still imagery.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 04:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ctyhntr View Post
Canon t2i, 18-55, 55-250 kit lenses, and 50 1.8 prime for $720.

http://www.adorama.com/ICADRT2IKR.html

http://www.adorama.com/CA55250AFSZ.h...ce=rflaid62905
What's the difference between the T2i and the T3i? From what I can see it's the image quality, but barely.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:13 PM   #14
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One suggestions: select the lenses carefully; that's more important compared to the latest feature in the body. Why ? the lens will be with you while the body coming and going. Plus the lens is the main optical part the system. Thinks like aperture, chromatic aberration, distortion happen all here.

I would stay away from slow lenses; personally I try to not slower then f2.8. And also long-range focal-length (55-250, 70-300, ..) comes often with a quality impact.

One more EF-s can't be used on bigger cameras; the mirror would hit the lens. Another reason to select lense carefull when you plan to upgrade the entry level body with next level body.

You might know www.dpreview.com has some good reviews and forums.

Ah, and I'm a Canon fan
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ChristianJapan View Post
One suggestions: select the lenses carefully; that's more important compared to the latest feature in the body. Why ? the lens will be with you while the body coming and going. Plus the lens is the main optical part the system. Thinks like aperture, chromatic aberration, distortion happen all here.

I would stay away from slow lenses; personally I try to not slower then f2.8. And also long-range focal-length (55-250, 70-300, ..) comes often with a quality impact.

One more EF-s can't be used on bigger cameras; the mirror would hit the lens. Another reason to select lense carefull when you plan to upgrade the entry level body with next level body.

You might know www.dpreview.com has some good reviews and forums.

Ah, and I'm a Canon fan
I fully agree with you on the lens selection but as a beginner I am not sure he will want to drop the money for a 2.8 lens. I have 3 2.8 lenses on my wishlist and that would cost 7k all together. Starting out with something a little slower and less expensive will not be a bad thing. Like I said before try to get a good deal on a used body and put the extra money towards better glass.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:56 PM   #16
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I fully agree with you on the lens selection but as a beginner I am not sure he will want to drop the money for a 2.8 lens. I have 3 2.8 lenses on my wishlist and that would cost 7k all together. Starting out with something a little slower and less expensive will not be a bad thing. Like I said before try to get a good deal on a used body and put the extra money towards better glass.
Oh yeah, i know these wish List; ask my empty credit card ... I also can't effort a "fully 2.8" policy; I would love 400/2.8; just not feasible.

Little slower is ok; but 5.6 need already some good sunlight. Starting with less lens; starting with good lens ...
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 06:06 PM   #17
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What's the difference between the T2i and the T3i? From what I can see it's the image quality, but barely.
T3i has a fully articulated rear LCD screen, T2i's LCD screen is fixed on the body.

The T3i's articulated screen is actually something I use much more often than I thought I would when I bought it. But I have a habit of trying to get photos at all sorts of awkward angles (above my head in a crowd, at ground level in a swamp, etc.), and shooting in Live View with the articulated screen makes this much easier. It's also useful for taking self-portraits, since you can stand in front of the camera and see the image before you take the shot. But how useful the articulated screen would be to you depends entirely on how you shoot.

That's the biggest difference. There are some other, more minor differences. Canon's website as a good side-by-side comparison function you can use if you really want all the details. The sensor and processor are the same, so the IQ between the two should be pretty much identical.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 08:24 AM   #18
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If you need video, go for a t2i or t3i. Only go for the t3i if you need articulating screen.

If no video is necessary, go for t1i.

And whatever you take, since it's your first DSLR camera, try to buy one used. And if you like it very much, then you can upgrade to a more expensive full frame camera like the 5D or D800.

And an amazing lens you can start with, is a 17-50 lens. The Canon/Nikkor one is overpriced so get the Tamron one without VC. It's worth the investment.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 08:32 AM   #19
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And if you like DSLR's, only buy full frame glass. A kitlens is OK, but if you buy anything else, don't buy crop lenses. You are going to swear at yourself in the future when that nice full frame DSLR is delivered.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 08:34 AM   #20
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And if you like DSLR's, only buy full frame glass. A kitlens is OK, but if you buy anything else, don't buy crop lenses. You are going to swear at yourself in the future when that nice full frame DSLR is delivered.
A full-frame is probably not within his $900 budget... There is nothing wrong getting a crop-frame when starting out.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 08:59 AM   #21
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I'm not suggesting Full Frame. But if he wants, say a 35mm prime with the budget DSLR, get the fullframe lens, not the crop version. It will pay off in the future.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:11 AM   #22
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... I would also say stick with Cannon or Nikon. ... The T3i would be on the Cannon side...
While the T3i is a fine camera, I would be very leery of advice on Canon cameras from someone who can't even spell the company's name.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:29 AM   #23
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I'm not suggesting Full Frame. But if he wants, say a 35mm prime with the budget DSLR, get the fullframe lens, not the crop version. It will pay off in the future.
That's true
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 11:23 AM   #24
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Let me know where you can find a full frame DSLR and Canon L lens that will fit in the OP' $900 budget. Some of the advice given is similar to telling a kid starting out with a drivers license who wants to learn driving manual to get a BMW M3, when right now he needs just a car (any car) with stick.

The OP can always sell off his EF-S kit lenses and crop camera. The t2i is discontinued, the t3i is heavily discounted because Canon is pushing the new t4i. These 3 cameras, including the top of the line 7D have the same 18 megapixels.

Don't buy from craigslist or ebay. I've seen people overpaying, and sellers having unrealistic expectations that their 2 year old camera will sell for more than a brand new one from B&H Photo, or Adorama. On the flipside, if you get tired after 6 months, you can probably get all your money back.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 11:44 AM   #25
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And if you like DSLR's, only buy full frame glass. A kitlens is OK, but if you buy anything else, don't buy crop lenses. You are going to swear at yourself in the future when that nice full frame DSLR is delivered.
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I'm not suggesting Full Frame. But if he wants, say a 35mm prime with the budget DSLR, get the fullframe lens, not the crop version. It will pay off in the future.
IMO, This is very good advice. A full frame prime lens will be super fast, won't break the bank and could last a lifetime. It's not the most glamorous or exotic looking lens but, IMO, is one of the most versatile and cost effective camera equipment purchases you can make...even if it does put you a bit over budget now.

And, as blanka said, if you find that you're having fun with a crop dSLR...you'll have an absolute blast with full frame when you're ready.
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