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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:14 AM   #1
Lommi
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First camera under 600 dollars

Hi long time lurker, first time poster

I'm looking for some help deciding on my first real camera. It should preferably cost under 600 dollars in order to stay within my budget. The main pupose of this camera is to shoot some quality pictures from my vacations, and because of that it should not be huge, in fact the smaller the better as long as it doesn't compromise too much on the quality of the images. It should be noted that i have nothing against buying used gear.

I hope i have come to the right place to ask this, and all feedback is appreciated
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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I like Canons but Nikons are as good. Think about the 550D (T2i) or EOS M. Both take great pictures.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Given that size is important look at Micro 4/3. E-PL5 for example.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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I have been looking at the Sony NEX-5R and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are they good options or should I opt for something different. I like the EOS M, because my brother also has a Canon Camera which means that I can use his lenses if I get one. One question about compability between lenses, can some lenses work on both Canon and Sony cameras or are they brand specific?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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I 2nd that... Many pros are ditching full frame for MFT, and other mirrorless systems. You can start with the kit lens, and grow with some ad-ons, if your budget allows. There are some amazing lenses in the MFT world. The lens sizes/prices are much better than other formats. To me, MFT just seems like a well-balanced system, that can take outstanding pics & video.

And the E-PL5 is amazing. It takes pics as good as its OMD brother, but at 1/2 the cost and 2/3 the size/weight. I have one and love it! Panasonic MFT cameras probably take better video, but image quality is on par with Oly. The Olympus systems have in-body stabilization, which is why I chose them. And the E-PL5 is probably the best bang for the buck, right now, on the Olympus side. Panasonic makes good bodies too.

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Given that size is important look at Micro 4/3. E-PL5 for example.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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The Olympus systems have in-body stabilization, which is why I chose them.
Can you please explain what it does and why it is an advantage since I'm really new to this world
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Can you please explain what it does and why it is an advantage since I'm really new to this world
Welcome to Earth.

Personally I use a Sony NEX 5N. Same APS-C image sensor as a typical 16MP DLSR but without the bulky mirror. Micro 4/3 is similar but uses a smaller sensor.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:57 AM   #8
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Can you please explain what it does and why it is an advantage since I'm really new to this world
Image stabilization does just what the name suggests: it reduces blur due to camera shake (i.e. your (in)ability to hold the camera perfectly still), which can be a problem at slower shutter speeds. This is a particular problem with longer lenses, which require higher shutter speeds to begin with. Whereas without IS you might be able to handhold a 200mm (equivalent) lens at 1/250s, IS might get that down to 1/60 (or lower, depending on how steady your hands are).

IS can either be in the lens (like Canon, Nikon, Fuji) or in the body (as Olympus, Pentax, and others). The advantage to in-lens IS is that the image is stabilized in the viewfinder as you compose the photograph. The disadvantage is that every lens must be specially built as an IS lens. The advantages/disadvantages of in-body IS are the opposite.

I have never owned a single IS lens, FWIW, though I never shoot above 90mm, so perhaps IS would be lost on me, anyway.

As for the initial question, unless you have a particular need for a DSLR, I'd go with a camera like the Sony Nex series or one of the micro 4/3rds cameras. They give you excellent image quality in a far less bulky camera. For the bulk of users, I really no longer see the point of a DSLR.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 11:58 AM   #9
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COvered above...


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Originally Posted by Lommi View Post
Can you please explain what it does and why it is an advantage since I'm really new to this world
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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Probably best to lurk on DPReview, or other photo sites. There's a micro four thirds forum there, as well as NEX, etc.

Stabilization helps eliminate shaking when you take photos. This is really useful in low-light situations, where the shutter stays open longer. It's also useful in situations where you're zooming, and shaking is exaggerated. There are basically two types of stabilization - in body and in lens. So, if you don't have in-body stabilization, you don't get stabilization unless it's in the lens. This makes the lenses a bit more expensive and bulky. At least, that's my take. So, in-body stabilization gives you the option of buying lenses without stabilization. Then again, some people don't care for any stabilization.... YMMV.
All true.

The downside of in-body, though, is you don't get a stabilized image in the (optical) viewfinder. For EVF cameras, this is not an issue, and thus in-body makes a lot more sense than on a DSLR using a TTL optical finder.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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Welcome to Earth.

Personally I use a Sony NEX 5N. Same APS-C image sensor as a typical 16MP DLSR but without the bulky mirror. Micro 4/3 is similar but uses a smaller sensor.
I was really initially leaning towards the newer version of that camera (NEX-5R) and i still fancy it. I just have the feeling that it is more geared towards video recording than normal still pictures. Is that correct, and do you recommend that camera ?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 01:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lommi View Post
Hi long time lurker, first time poster

I'm looking for some help deciding on my first real camera. It should preferably cost under 600 dollars in order to stay within my budget. The main pupose of this camera is to shoot some quality pictures from my vacations, and because of that it should not be huge, in fact the smaller the better as long as it doesn't compromise too much on the quality of the images. It should be noted that i have nothing against buying used gear.
I just bought a used Canon Rebel for my daughter. The thing is tiny, well for an SLR. A used XTi and a 18-55 mm lens would cost under $300.

I don't like the Rebel nearly as much as my Nikon D200. The user interface is not as good, takes forever to do simple things that are fast on the Nikon. Perhaps the Canon pro level bodies are better but then they are not so light and small. My D200 is a "tank" built with a metal (not plastic) body weather seals and so on. It's about 2x the weight of the Rebel. The Rebel works well if you will keep it on ful automatic mode but it is harder to dothings like adjust the fill level of the flash outdoors or use rear curtain flash sync or even selecting an autofocus point. All those things are slower. But for vaction shots a 18-55 "IS" lens is ideal. (you will not need a long telephoto lens. Youmight think you want it but no you don't)

You might want to look into the new "mirror-less" cameras The Nikon J1 looks interesting but it's not an SLR.

The for new cameras the entry level Nikon is good and close to your budget.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 03:05 PM   #13
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I just bought a used Canon Rebel for my daughter. The thing is tiny, well for an SLR. A used XTi and a 18-55 mm lens would cost under $300.

I don't like the Rebel nearly as much as my Nikon D200. The user interface is not as good, takes forever to do simple things that are fast on the Nikon. Perhaps the Canon pro level bodies are better but then they are not so light and small. My D200 is a "tank" built with a metal (not plastic) body weather seals and so on. It's about 2x the weight of the Rebel. The Rebel works well if you will keep it on ful automatic mode but it is harder to dothings like adjust the fill level of the flash outdoors or use rear curtain flash sync or even selecting an autofocus point. All those things are slower. But for vaction shots a 18-55 "IS" lens is ideal. (you will not need a long telephoto lens. Youmight think you want it but no you don't)

You might want to look into the new "mirror-less" cameras The Nikon J1 looks interesting but it's not an SLR.

The for new cameras the entry level Nikon is good and close to your budget.
A D200 and a Rebel really aren't in compatible classes. A D200 is a pro-sumer model, more in line with the XXD series (30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, etc). The Rebel is comparable to Nikon's D3XXX series (and before that the D40 series).

I would hope the D200 is better built than a Rebel.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 03:24 PM   #14
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I was really initially leaning towards the newer version of that camera (NEX-5R) and i still fancy it. I just have the feeling that it is more geared towards video recording than normal still pictures. Is that correct, and do you recommend that camera ?
5R appears to be a great little camera, I can't imagine why it wouldn't be just as good a still camera as any other mirroless system. I don't use my 5N for video at all, I do love the SEL 50mm f1.8
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 07:27 PM   #15
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For the next few days, the EOS M + 22mm lens is on sale for $299 at a number of online retailers (B&H, Adorama, Amazon)... which is half the usual price. If I were just starting I would definitely take advantage of that deal. There's also the EOS M + 18-55mm for another $50. If you do get one, be sure to update the firmware to get much better autofocus performance.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 10:18 AM   #16
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For the next few days, the EOS M + 22mm lens is on sale for $299 at a number of online retailers (B&H, Adorama, Amazon)... which is half the usual price. If I were just starting I would definitely take advantage of that deal. There's also the EOS M + 18-55mm for another $50. If you do get one, be sure to update the firmware to get much better autofocus performance.
How does this camera compare to something like a T3i with a 18-55 lens when taking photos at social gatherings, outside, etc.? (not pro photography) Also, which of the two lenses would provide better performance for such things as macro photography (ex: taking an up-close photo of a watch), something like a school graduation, and taking photos of pets at the park? Obviously one of them is a zoom lens, while the other is fixed... It's just that they charge around $250 for either or lens if you want to buy it separately, compared to similar DSLR lenses which can be bought for under $200...
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 10:54 AM   #17
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How does this camera compare to something like a T3i with a 18-55 lens when taking photos at social gatherings, outside, etc.? (not pro photography) Also, which of the two lenses would provide better performance for such things as macro photography (ex: taking an up-close photo of a watch), something like a school graduation, and taking photos of pets at the park? Obviously one of them is a zoom lens, while the other is fixed... It's just that they charge around $250 for either or lens if you want to buy it separately, compared to similar DSLR lenses which can be bought for under $200...
Neither of those lenses will focus close enough to have a watch face fill the frame. For that you will need either an extension ring, close up diopter "filters" or (best) a macro lens. You will likely need a tripod and a way to light the watch.

The SLR is going to be the fastest handling camera. It will also have an optical through the lens viewfinder. The mirror-less cameras will be smaller.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 12:58 PM   #18
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There are good deals to be had right now. I'd look at the cheap bodies to save up and get you a nice standard prime with the kit zoom. As jabbott mentioned, the EOS M at 300$ is a really good deal. The biggest problem with that is that there are very few native lenses for that camera right now. Seeing how few lenses Canon released for EF-S, I wouldn't hold my breath for lenses on the EOS M. The 22mm looks like a really nice lens though.

I'd try looking for a t2i or t3i, I've seen some for 300$ with the kit lens. Honestly, they don't offer much less than the t5i... I find there's a bit of a lack of cheap interesting lenses for EF-S though. There's the 100$ 50mm f/1.8, but it doesn't have very good auto focus and is a bit too telephoto to be useful at all times. They're fairly small as far as DSLRs go but they still are pretty hefty. I'm looking at swapping my t2i with the few lenses I have for a Sony nex 6 in the coming months.

In Sony NEX land, I think the 3n is kind of under rated. It's main problem is a lack of dedicated control buttons. But at 450$ it's a good with the nice retractable zoom. Being an E-mount camera, you can get the really nice sigma 19 and 30mm primes for like 200$ (you can probably still find that deal somewhere, the older model was 200$ for both).

There are also some cheap MFT bodies that will leave you enough budget to get a lens with it. However, I'm not really familiar with them so I wouldn't know what are the good deals right now.

I wouldn't write off Nikon either. But I think they're 1 system has a too small sensor and a DSLR is probably larger than what you're looking for.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 08:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Lommi View Post
Hi long time lurker, first time poster

I'm looking for some help deciding on my first real camera. It should preferably cost under 600 dollars in order to stay within my budget. The main pupose of this camera is to shoot some quality pictures from my vacations, and because of that it should not be huge, in fact the smaller the better as long as it doesn't compromise too much on the quality of the images. It should be noted that i have nothing against buying used gear.

I hope i have come to the right place to ask this, and all feedback is appreciated
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the Canon Powershot SX50 HS as a possible candidate. Perfect size, shoots in RAW, ridiculous zoom reach, high-speed video for slow-motion, can be bought for $399, so you have change to get a cheap travel tripod. Only possible thing I can think of that may be missing is image stabilisation, and, yes it can do macro.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 10:18 PM   #20
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After doing about 4 months of research, I just purchased a Nikon D3100 that was bundled with a 18-55mm kit lens plus a 55-200mm lens for $499. I was looking for an entry level DSLR and had been looking at the D3100 and the Canon T3 and T3i. From what I have read, the user interface of the Canon cameras is very complicated for novice users. The Nikon D series cameras have a Guide mode that is awesome, you input information about the picture that you want to take and tells you what settings to use and why. I love it, and I've only had it for 6 days!
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Old Jul 8, 2013, 04:02 PM   #21
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The Panasonic GX1 at $199 is a screaming deal right now if M4/3 floats your boat.
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