Best DSLR for ~$500

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thebiggoose, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. thebiggoose macrumors 6502

    thebiggoose

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    #1
    I was planning on saving for a macbook with xmas money. but i figure that ill ahve to have a job anyway so I'm thinking about getting a dslr. i was leaning towards a rebel xt but i wanted to know what you guys think. there probably won't be money. I'd like a dslr with a kit lense or any lense and prferably a ~1 gb cf card for around $500. is this possible. what shoudl I buy. does anyone want to sell me something?
     
  2. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    #2
    Good luck with that. You're going to be spending $500 for the body alone.
     
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    I think it's worth thinking hard about why you want a DSLR. They are expensive, and to some degree, they are only really a lot better than point and shoots if you attach good equipment to them. They can be an expensive option because in the long run you'll want to think about different lenses, external flashes, filters... and so on. They also won't produce particularly improved results unless you invest the time in really learning how to use the camera (or already know).

    For $500, you're limited to used or slightly older camera. If you can go to $600 that'll give you a few more options. Older cameras (like 1-2 years old) are fine. They won't have some nicities of the new ones, but on the main issues they're pretty much the same.

    Also, you need to think out what lenses you might want in the future and think a bit about whether the company you are looking at has lenses that you'd like. Lenses are "more important" than the camera for making great pictures. On the other hand, if you find that the lenses you're interested in are pretty similar, or that lenses available for most mounts (such as Sigmas or Tokinas) are what you're most interested in, then prioritizing the body you'd like most makes sense.
     
  4. thumb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    #4
    you should look at getting a used nikon d50. don't worry about the megapixel difference between 6 and 8 (neglible effect). It is a great camera and can be found cheap in your range with lenses.

    check out fredmiranda.com, craigslist, nikonians, nikoncafe, etc.
     
  5. jpfisher macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
  6. Phatpat macrumors 6502a

    Phatpat

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2003
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #6
    Yeah, for $500 the Pentax K100d is definitely your best bet. Amazon has it for $528.

    If you strictly want to stay below $500 w/ a memory card, get the Pentax K110d, same thing, but no image stabilization. Amazon has it for $432, which leaves you plenty of money for a SD card. And this camera is no slouch.
     
  7. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    I just looked on B&H. I see 3 kits coming in at $500 or lower. So, basically, here are your choices.

    For $450, and the cheapest kit here, is the Pentax K110D.
    Check it out here
    Also, as a bonus, it comes with a 2GB memory card. This one is certainly the most bang for the buck as the kit lens is superior to the next two's. But, it's all about preference...
    (Also, right now the K110D kit on Butterfly Photo is $400.)

    And the second cheapest, at $470 is the Samsung GX-1L:
    On B&H here
    Don't know much about Samsung, but I believe that are basically a Pentax camera with a different body. Rebranded Pentax essentially. So, that being the case, it probably wouldn't be so bad.

    The most expensive, coming in right at $500 is the Nikon D50:
    You can see that here
    The D50 is a very solid camera and comes with the great Nikon name. I'm not sure it's much better than the Pentax, however, and the lens isn't really as great, and it doesn't come with the 2GB card, but it's only $50 more. Many would argue it's worth the upgrade, but be sure to gauge the feel, as both of those cameras would shoot a great picture.


    As far as overall in the brands... I'll basically just touch on Pentax and Nikon here.

    Both brands make awesome bodies. The K10D has certainly added a lot of versatility in the ways of Pentax that it seemed to somewhat lack in the very high end as opposed to Nikon's models. As far as lenses, I know there are a lot of Nikon lenses, but, any Pentax lens ever made can work on their current cameras. And you don't even need a converter for anything post 1970. That means a TON of lenses are available for this at all price ranges. And you know that they're going to want to stick with that feature, so your lenses you'd get now for this camera would probably translate into future models you may own.
    Nikon has some very very nice high end lenses, the Nikkor lenses are amazing. They also have a very wide range of accessories. There are many Nikon users, as well, so that can be an advantage because if something goes wrong, or if you want to figure something out and can't, plenty of people are there to help. Pentax is a growing name at the moment, though, so it's not like Pentax owners are nowhere to be found.

    Hope this helped. I tried to be unbiased!
     
  8. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #8
    Sorry, I stepped out of the room in the middle of my post so that's why it was really late. However, that's a GREAT price for the K100D w/18-55. There are some really great prices on K110D's, like I mentioned in my post right now, but as long as you have the money to spend, the K100D would be worth the extra.

    (I wish I had the extra.:( )
     
  9. cube macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #10
    No way (and I'm a Nikon user)

    Pentax K110D kit around $420 after rebate from Beach and Abe's.

    The antishake of the K100D would be worth it. Similar deal for $511 at Beach.
     
  10. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #11
    Isn't the D40 considerably higher than $500? Especially after a card and a lens?

    Plus, I don't see the D40 as as good of a camera as any of the others that have been mentioned thus far. It has initial product release pricing balloon right now.
     
  11. Phatpat macrumors 6502a

    Phatpat

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2003
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #12
  12. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #13
    After watching a few people make mistakes on DSLR's, I would highly suggest you read this two page thread before you make a $500+ purchase. It's the least you can do as far as research goes:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=3111907#post3111907

    *Note, I am not saying the OP of the thread I Just listed was one of the people that made a mistake with a DSLR. I'm one of those "photography" guys that friends/family come to with problems...

    A low end DSLR is still a good camera, and worth the money, if you use it as it was intended. That bolded section is very very key.

    ~Tyler


    ps
    The linked thread is dead-quiet though, so do post any questions on it here. I'll keep my eyes peeled :)
     
  13. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #14
    Being a Canon user and having the obligatory roll of starting wars with Nikon users aside, I'm also in the only camp that brings Canon and Nikon users together on, and that is the anti shake feature of other companies cameras.

    Anti shake in lens is hands down bar none better than anti shake in camera. There is math to back this up, don't make me explain it :D

    But if I were to go with a DSLR on today's market that wasn't Cano nor Nikon, I would look at what Pentax has... though looking at lens options is very important. And don't anyone bring up other DSLR companies :rolleyes:
    The set of quality lenses for Nikon and Canon are quite wide and high class, with the only nit picks being for users with a very large sum of money and a special task. But when you get down to other companies in *todays* market, you start running into limitations that effect the average photography enthusiast.

    There, did I ruffle anyones feathers? :D
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    If budget is tight get a used camera/lens. There are some good forums and if you post a WTB ad you can find a $500 system, no prolem.

    Be warned. If you buy a Canon the next lens you buy will be a canon lens. Likewise if you get a used Nikon D50 the next lens you buy will be a Nikon Lens. So think ahead don't lock yourself into one brand for the wrong reason. Lock-in is Ok if yu deside on a brand because you like what that company sells (or is likely to sell in the future) but locki-in is no good if the reason was to save $30 on a used body.

    The D50 and 300D are within your budget. Both are OK I'm a Nikon user but there is good reason to go Canon. Pick the brand first but think ahead a year or three.

    For Nikon try posting to www.nikoncafe.com I'm sure there are Canon forums too. But most are like this one. You have to post 25 or 50 posts before you can post to the "For Sale" section. This is good, you will be more educated after hangging around in the camera forms for 50 or so posts. Ask lots of quetions THEN buy. The decision of which brand you buy will stick with you for years
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    I ould have written the above. Agree 100%. Except.... While in-lens anti shake des work better and i do understand the engineering reasons It only works best in the absolute sense. In terms of benefits to cost ratio the in-body system is a win. It works only 1/2 as well as the in-lens system but costs much less then 1/2 as much.

    I have a Nikon system but I'd buy a Nikon body with in-body VR if they offered it even if I already had a VR lens.

    One more impotent issue I have with in-body anti-shake and one reason to avoid it is that the companies the offer in-body anti-shake do NOT also offer in-lens anti-shake so if you choose Sony there is no way to later ever buy one of those nice big VR Nikon lenses or one of those nice L-seris IS Canons You are stuck with only having the in-body system.
    But on the other hand the Nikons and Canons don't even have that unless you plan to buy an expensive lens later

    But then a tripod can 100% solve the camera shake issue better then any IS/VR system can

    So it boils down to what I always write here. "Think ahead five or so years." Buy into the brand name and the system you want to own years down the road.
     
  16. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #17
    And there is a reason for everything you said above. AFAIK, and this info is 6 monnths old, so who knows, but there was no system that could handle both an anti-shake body AND an anti-shake lens. The two systems conflict and would make an image far far worse as each system tries to cancel the shake, but also tries to cancel the other's movement. At least so the theory goes.

    Sony has gone with the in body, because they are probably going to go for the cheap market. Canon and Nikon are selling to people that want a little more quality, so they are investing in the in-lens anti-shake system.

    I'm sure it is not beyond technology to one day have anti shake in both,k but bets are there would have to be communication between the lens and body, which isn't happeningin today's cameras/lenses. i.e. any anti-shake technology would be incompatible with the next generation.

    Agree 100%. Knowing your camera, it's limits and abilities, and having a tri-pod mono-pod is far better than any anti-shake technology.

    Amen. That is the trade when you go to DSLRs, you actually have to do more than 10 minutes of research ;-)
     
  17. Kirbdog macrumors regular

    Kirbdog

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
    #18
    But that means I have to take my tripod with me and set it up, this is not always an option. VR/IS is a great feature that comes in very handy more then I thought it would and should not be overlooked.
     
  18. xPismo macrumors 6502a

    xPismo

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    California.
    #19
    Lots of good posts with good info. If you are thinking about getting used gear you could probably get something nice in your price point. Canon 10D bodies are going for cheap lately (seems everyone is grabbing a 20d for the d lenses) and they are great bodies. Add a 50mm 1.8 or a 28mm 2.8 for cheap and shoot away until you get some more scratch for more / other lenses?
     
  19. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #20
    Oh heavens no! It definitely should not! When I shot for our college paper we had a Nikon D70 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. I was in friggin heaven! The IS worked wonders indoors. However printing everything no larger than 8x8in in BW also worked wonders ;-)

    However "worked wonders" just means that I was impressed. It was useless for sports and moving objects of course, but it was "helpful" when you knew how to use it. But proper ISO And camera operation is far more useful. I out shot most of my staff without IS when they would use IS thinking it was saving their butts... :rolleyes:
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #21
    I would never recommend a D40 right now. It's even a bit more than the D50 from what I've seen, and isn't as good a camera, IMO. Did I mention that it's also really expensive right now for what you're getting? Dang.

    If you want a simple point and shoot DSLR, then just leave the D50 on auto mode. The D50 has more auto-focus points, and can use AF lenses (the D40 can only use AF-S lenses if you want auto-focus), so cheaper lenses like the 50 mm f1.8 are not an option unless you don't mind manual focus.

    Get that, or Pentax. Amazing bang for the buck, and the photo quality is going to be superb, like with other DSLRs. Their lineup of lenses designed more for DSLRs will grow (not talking about their lineup of smaller, "digital only" lenses, but the coating to prevent reflections that happen internally), and demand for their lenses will grow. Heard their lenses were pretty good.

    Find a D50 on sale somewhere. The only real benefit of the D40 is the larger viewfinder, which I would like to see on the D50.
     
  21. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    #22
    I have a K100D and I would absolutely recommend it hands down for that price point. Way better quality than anything else available.

    If you're not an experienced photographer, the K110 would work fine and is well within your price range. The kit lens is excellent as well.

    I just bought a K10 as a complement and man, THAT is a serious camera.
     
  22. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #23
    I don't buy this (at least, not completely). Given that anti-shake in the lens is more effective, all you need is a way for the lens to tell the body, "I'm an anti-shake lens!" Then the camera just turns off its in-body anti-shake system and lets the lens do the job. Easy.

    For bonus points, have the lens tell the body, "I'm an anti-shake lens, and my system is turned on (or off)", and let the body turn its anti-shake system on or off accordingly. I have no doubt that both Canon and Nikon could do this in their lenses without affecting backward compatibility; what is more open to question is whether they have already done so. If not, it shouldn't be too hard to retrofit it to existing lenses (probably a fifty dollar Australian job, I would think.)

    If you wanted to exploit anti-shake in the camera and the lens, at the same time, it becomes a bit harder - possibly more effective overall, but harder nonetheless. That would take much closer communication (and design work) between lens and body; I don't think Canon or Nikon would be able to do this easily. But a first step as outlined above would be a very easy one to take, if they decided to go down that path.
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #24
    True, but what ChrisA is saying is that in-lens VR/IS/OS is only better if you can afford these lenses. They're better, but since most people can't afford to buy all-VR lenses, having an in-body VR/IS/OS system is great, even though it's not the best in absolute terms.
    I believe he also meant that he would buy a Nikon or Canon body with VR/IS built into the body if it was offered, even if he owned a lens with VR. Why? Because you can turn off the VR on the body when you have a VR lens attached, while also being able to use camera-based VR, even when using typical non-VR lenses. You get the best of both worlds. You can have VR in-body, but shut it off if you own a 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR for example, since the in-lens VR is better.
     
  24. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #25
    Abstract, you're so smart.

    Marry me?
     

Share This Page