Starting in DSLR?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Buschmaster, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #1
    Hi guys, here is my situation, I want everyone honest opinion, and though I may not want to hear it, I may need to hear it for my own good.

    Right now, I'm using a Sony Cybershot DSC W-50 camera, it is a point and shoot digital with a very nice 2.5" screen. I love my camera for taking pictures around my family, shooting quick videos, or out with my friends. However, when I'm trying to snap some really professional macro or outdoor shots, I feel like I could do better. I want to get started in the DSLR world.

    I'm just about to enter college (August 23rd) however, my birthday (September 1st) is also coming up. I may be able to swing a DSLR for my b-day, but it's not very likely as they are so expensive. The thing that is working in my favor is that my father really liked photography when he was younger. He has an SLR Canon. Either way, I really want to explore what's out there and know what's best for me and keep working to find a way to get it. So, knowing that I'm about to enter college, and knowing that I'm just going to be a DSLR beginner, I'm guess you guys will suggest whatevers lowest end cheapest. However, I want something with some kind of lasting ability. I want to be able to use it a lot for a while as I can't be upgrading to a new camera all the time. I've really liked what I've seen of the Olympus E-Volt series. It'd be really nice to take a good plung into 8 megapixels. Wouldn't you say? Also, any suggestions for a nice place to buy these would be great. I've been checking out B&H, Amazon, and Ebay. Sorry for the long post, thanks for sticking with it if you're still reading it, and if not...

    Condensed version!
    -Currently use DSC W-50
    -Want a DSLR
    -Needs to be inexpensive
    -Needs to still not suck
    -Like the Olympus E-Volt Series
    -Need to know where to buy
     
  2. blodwyn macrumors 65816

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    #2
    One important thing to remember is that you will typically change camera bodies over time, but will keep and add to your lens collection. This means your decision on a vendor will probably set your path for quite a while in order to maintain lens compatibility. It would be hard to go wrong with Canon or Nikon, they both have excellent product ranges and track records. I would go and try models within your price range for feel and usability. It's a personal thing, you can take great shots with most cameras so the way it feels to you makes a difference. Good luck.
     
  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    Olympus is probably the best choice for someone with no legacy since the range is completely digital. You don't have to concern yourself about lens compatibility. All of Olympus E-series bodies and lenses work together fully. The dust reduction system has been working for me for over two years and shows no sign of stopping.

    None of the other camera companies can claim that they're all digital or don't allow 35mm->digital compromise.
     
  4. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I don't understand the compromise part...

    Olympus is a good company, however their image quality is not as good as Canon or Nikon. Even worse, their sensors are smaller thus resulting in a higher pixel density, less wide angle capability, and a degradation in image quality. Their lens lineup is not as extensive and not as widely available. Plus, there are less users of the cameras and so there are less people to help with camera specific technical problems/questions.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #5
    Your answer to this question will go a long way to helping us tell you what you might wnt to get..... What do you NOT like about he Sony W50?

    What do you hpe to be able to do with a DSLR that yur can't with a Sony point and shoot. Of course the SLR can do stuff the P&S can't but specifically what do YOU find lacking in the Sony?

    For example: I use a P&S and this one suffered from a long shuter lag and made action photography nearly impossable. SLRs typically have zero lag. I needed that feature more then any other. Bt perhaps there is something else about our Sony DCS W50 that is making you want a DSLR? On the other hand maybe there is something your like about it and would like this on a DSLR?
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    I agree with the above (as I've edited it) The reason you buy a camera with interchangable lens is so you can interchange them. Nikon and Canon have by far the largest and best assortment of lenes. I always tell people wanting to get into SLRs to select a lens or two or three FIRST. Yes pick out the set of lenses you want to own in a year or two and then pick the camera body. If you find that you really like the set of lenses that Nikon makes then buy a nikon body to fit those lenses. Or maybe you find you like the lenses that Canon sells and you've picked out three that you "must have" so then buy a 350D, 20D or whatever to fit those Canon lenses.

    When looking at lenses don't forget to look at the used market. Nikon has been making lenses for 50 years now and most of those will work with the new Digital bodies. Canon lenses for the last decade or two will fit the new Canon DSLRs. Lens technology moves slowly my 1970's vintage macro lens still makes an image sharper than my D50 can record.
     
  7. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 18, 2003
    #7

    Just as a point of clarification, all current Canon, Nikon, et cetera, lenses are compatible with their digital offerings. Not having any preexisting lenses removes a disadvantage for Olympus, but lens compatibility with digital systems isn't really an issue unless you are trying to use very old lenses...and in the case of Canon, I'm pretty sure you'd have to go back to the FD mount (physically incompatible) to find a lens that doesn't work with digital.
     
  8. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #8
    Well, just to make it more confusing.....

    Canon EF-S lenses won't mount on Canon digital bodies that have a full frame sensor, i.e. the 5D and the 1DsMkII.
     
  9. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #9
    To the OP: do your homework and search on this site as well as on the ones which provide reviews of various digital camera systems..... I think you'll find that most people gravitate towards Nikon or Canon rather than the Oly DSLRs..... There is more to digital photography than the number of megapixels offered in a given camera body.
     
  10. VanMac macrumors 6502a

    VanMac

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    #10
    Just ask your Dad for his Canon, then he has an excuse to upgrade :)

    Edit: Just noticed it's not a DSLR.....hmmm.....Well, maybe just ask him to buy you a Canon, and then you can share lenses???
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    Yeah, I'd recommend this as well. I did the same thing before buying my Nikon D50, but I found that once I bought my camera and started shooting, what I wanted changed slightly, and so did my lens choices, so it doesn't always work until after you get the camera. :eek:

    I think Olympus is good, but I don't like going through the menus on the Olympus cameras (I've only used the E500 so far). If you want good value for money, I guess Olympus is a great choice. My friend loves his. In fact, all these "starter" DSLRs will can be used to take some really great photographs, so the most important thing is for you to go and shoot whatever it is you want and enjoy it, because the only thing that's stopping you after buying your camera is laziness. ;)

    Pentax also offers a lot for the money, but not too sure about their lens options for digital. I'm excluding lenses from like 40 years ago, though, since you'd probably not look into them too deeply.

    However, maybe the best thing to do is to ask your dad whether he has ever thought about going digital and getting a DSLR, and if he says "yes I have, and wanted to go with Canon again if I could", then maybe going with Canon is cheapest, since you can share lenses. :confused:
     
  12. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #12
    They also won't mount on the 1D series, either (1.3 crop factor) - they're designed for cameras with the 1.6 crop factor. They won't mount natively on the 10D, which has a 1.6 crop factor, but you can modify the lens if you have one of those, and there won't be any problems (unless you inadvertently mount it on a full frame body :eek:.

    But having said that, how many people are going to fork out the money for a 5D, 1D, or 1Ds body? Not all that many, and you'd expect those who do to know what they're on about.

    But I strongly second the recommendation to pick out lenses that you'll want to buy down the road, and buying a body to suit. It was that that swayed me to the 20D over the 350D - the feel of the heavy lenses (the 100-400 in my case) on the 350D was not good. The 20D was a much better feel. If you can find a shop that stocks the lens that you want, try it on the various bodies, and see what suits you.

    Off to the zoo on Sunday to play with the telephoto zoom. *droool*
     
  13. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #13
    Right now, they all feel very large, but about the same to me. I think I could get used to just about any camera in a short amount of time. I'm not a fussy guy when it comes to things like that. My friends with their iPod Minis all thought I was crazy when I got my 4th gen iPod Photo... Is there much of anywhere to go with an Olympus or is it a fairly low-range company?

    Not exactly sure what that means, but thanks for the tip! I've always wondered if the dust reduction actually works. :)

    Image quality is very important to me. My friend and I make frames and we give these to friends and family as gifts, so being able to take a very clear picture is very nessicary.

    I like that I can whip it out and take a picture realllllly quickly. It's start up is amazing. I like that its focus is really sharp. I want an adjustable shutter for sure. I don't like not being able to toy with that very much. I'd just like more options overall, and a nice zoom couldn't hurt. I'll need a camera with a nice macro mode, though, because I certainly love macro photography.

    That would be fantastic, however, it is a very old camera I'm sure. I'll ask him tonight if he can find it and take a look at all of it. I've really wanted to mess around with it ever since I found out he had it, but I've been nervous I'll break it. He DID graduate high school in the early 70's, so the camera would be from around there. Just something to keep in mind, if the lenses are truly that compatible.

    So what I'm gathering is that Canon's are the concensus here. I've looked very little at Pentax. They're very... different?
     
  14. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #14
    Update!!!!

    My dad has a Canon AE-1. The Speedlite 177A. At least according to the user manual.:)

    He said he looked into it and they use a different setup now, so we probably wouldn't be able to share lenses.
     
  15. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Problem is... often a beginning SLR user doesn't really know which lenses they would like to use. Even if you know all about the use in theory, it can be diffcult to know which ones will be useful in practice.

    The lenses are by far the most important, in terms of SLR tech...so one should go with the body that provides a lens range that you like (quality, features, price etc) - but to find which ones you'd like you have to narrow down what kind of photography you enjoy most, what kind of quality you demand, and how much you're willing to pay. My advice would be to stick with Canon or Nikon, as they have the most extensive (mostly) affordable lens range.

    I recently bought a Canon, and am basically fully invested in their range and will be in the future.
    As some have suggested, you have to ask yourself what you want to see out of an SLR camera that you're note getting with your W50.

    For me, I wanted to do 'proper' photography- learn about manual exposure and so forth - basically more control, on top of image quality, and a larger focal length range. Also narrow depth of field. I guess I didn't really know what I was getting into when I got an SLR, but loving every minute of it.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    All DSLRs will be better than what you have now, and you'll definitely be able to get sharp photos from any of the cameras out there. :) Some people have just been around longer and make relative comparisons between companies. Generally, these things matter little. The lenses you use have a greater effect on sharpness and photo quality than anything else, and Olympus is supposed to make some very nice lenses.

    You wouldn't really use a macro "mode" with a DSLR. You'd get a macro lens......one which will let you focus on the subject even if it's very close to your lens and will give you a magnification ratio of 1:2 or 1:1.

    Well I don't think Olympus is a "low-range" company, although they don't sell any professional grade DSLR bodies if that's what you mean. They're not a bad company, but not as big as Canon or Nikon, that's all. However, that's not to say that all other companies are not good companies. Apple isn't the biggest and doesn't have the most software available, but they do sell some decent stuff. ;) And you're not likely to buy more than a few lenses anyway because of your needs and $$$, so as long as you know Olympus has lenses for what you want to do, go with Olympus.

    I have a Nikon D50 and am very happy with it. :)
     
  17. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #17
    What are people's thoughts on the Pentax *istDL? As seen here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...9724-3567803?_encoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=502394

    I really think there are a lot of lenses available for this kind of camera, and they seem to be coming from a lot of different companies and price ranges. Pretty nice.

    I also really like the large screen on this and it has a nice price tag to boot. Good for a beginner?
     
  18. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #18
    Ahh, I slipped with the macro thing. Sorry. I knew better, I promise.:eek:

    I'm fairly sold on a camera from each company, now it is just tricky to eliminate the others until I can decide which is the camera for me. I'm trying to pick what is important, the Pentax holds a slight lead but here's how I see it:
    Pentax *istDL
    Canon Digital Rebel (Original)
    Nikon D50
    Olympus E-Volt E-500
     
  19. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    The AE-1 is a great camera ... I use one alongside a 2001 Kodak digital P&S; the Canon of course has the lower shutter lag and better viewfinder situation of the two. However, the AE-1 takes Canon FD lenses, which were abandoned in favor of the EF mount for use with the EOS system.

    I have plans to replace both cameras soon with a Nikon D50; the lens on my AE-1 wouldn't work with a Canon anyhow. I could just as easily go with a Canon, given my great experience with the AE-1, but I just like the feel of the D50 more...they both seem to be excellent cameras. Likewise for you, if all the SLR lenses available to you at this time are Canon FD you might as well go with whatever camera feels best in your hands and gets out of the way most readily for you; convenience and comfort are, of course, subjective, so you'll need to go try the cameras.
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    So now the Olympus is last place? I think it's likely better than the original Rebel. I know the original Digital Rebel is cheaper at Amazon, but still. A lot of the features found in the Rebel XT were "turned off" in the original Digital Rebel, so you won't be able to access some features found in the XT version. The features are there, but you can't select them because Canon didn't enable them.

    Oh, and you may want to check out the Samsung GX-1S or L if you're already checking out the Pentax line. Samsung and Pentax are sleeping in the same bed, and the Samsung models are basically Pentax models anyway, but with a different Samsung badged lens made by that Schneider company (forgot the name). It also uses the same mount as the Pentax, so it should be able to use all of Pentax's lenses. Just a thought, as you could get the same camera from either company, and the prices may be different.

    Have you tried www.dpreview.com to read reviews? They're ok. Don't listen too much to their resolution tests and such. They're a very picky bunch of people over there, and you likely won't see the differences they're talking about unless you zoom into a photo as much as you can. However, their in-depth reviews offer a lot of info if they do review the camera you're after.
     
  21. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #21
    Haha, not last place, I was just listing them. As far as what I'm reading right now, and you guys can help me out here...

    Pentax K110D
    Pentax *istDL
    Nikon D50
    Olympus E-500
    Canon Digital Rebel

    And I'll check out the one you mentioned just now, chances are it'll jump up into 3rd.
     
  22. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #22
    Before you make a decision you need to (1) read reviews and (2) actually handle the various cameras, see how they feel in your hands, and investigate the various lenses available in each system. DO NOT BUY A CAMERA WITHOUT HANDLING IT FIRST! A camera body can have a bunch of great features but if it doesn't feel right in your hands, you won't enjoy using it and won't get the best results from it. Think ahead, too: are you going to want to buy something else, a more advanced body in a few years? If so, will you already have accumulated lenses which can be used on that body? Do each of these camera systems have a lot of good lenses available? For instance, since you are interested in macro photography, does each of these camera lines offer one or more good macro lenses? (I can tell you that Nikon does, but I don't know about the others.)

    You might also want to wait a little while and check out the new Nikon D80, which should be coming into stores in September. It will be positioned between the D50 and the D200, moving beyond the D70/D70s. As far as the Digital Rebel, I don't think the original version is available as a new body any more, you would have to get one in the used market. I believe only the 350D/XT is available new.

    Good luck in making your decision!
     
  23. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #23
    Thanks for the tip. Pentax and Nikon appear to be about the same with macro lenses, with Canon a short length behind (nothing to count it down and out) and with Olympus way lagging behind I can kiss the E-500 goodbye!

    So, the Pentax K100, K110, and *istDL, all appear to be very similar on the surface. Any suggestions on which is best?
     
  24. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #24

    without a doubt the K100D is the way to go, it's the only one of those 3 with sensor-shifting Shake Reduction built in, which means you can gain a couple extra stops even on lenses from the 60s or 70s (which, unlike the other brands, will have complete metering support as well)
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    The K100, I think. It's the one with built-in image stabalization (ie: anti-shake) technology, no? I didn't suggest this one to you before because all the cameras you had on your list were $599 and cheaper, and the K100 was around $700, and you said you may not even be able to get one because of the price.

    Um......if you really like the Pentax models, then get the K100 as the 1st choice if cost isn't a factor. It's the best of the bunch. The Pentax K110 is not as good, but has a higher model number. ;) And again, since the Samsung GX-1S is very similar to the Pentax *ist DS, but with a different body and (I think) different menu system, you may as well consider that camera as well if the price is lower. The Samsung may be even better than the Pentax. ;) The Nikon D50 is around the same price range as those two, so I'll also recommend that one. You also implied that you were most interested in Pentax and Nikon.

    Anyway, if I were you and was interested in Pentax (1st choice) or Nikon (2nd choice?), which I believe is what you implied, then go with (in order):

    - Pentax K100 (because it has optical stabalization)
    - Samsung GX-1S or Pentax *ist DS (whichever is cheapest)
    - Nikon D50 (great company and a nice camera)
     

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