Advice on buying first DSRL...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bodhi395, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #1
    I've always been interested in photography and even had a film SLR a number of years ago, although I didn't use it much. I've more recently just used point and shoot digital cameras, but now am looking to step up and make photography more a regular hobby. I want a DSLR, but don't want to spend over $1000. I've been looking at the Nikon D5000 and the Canon T1i and Canon Xsi. I am having trouble deciding though, since they are very similar.

    I went to the store and tried all of them in my hands, and liked the Nikon's feel. Should that be enough to make me buy it, or should I weigh other factors?

    There also is a deal on Amazon for the D5000, plus two lens for around $860, which seems like a good price.
     
  2. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    May 29, 2007
    #2
    You might look at what Canon and Nikon have in their lens catalog. If you can decide what kinds of lenses you might want to end up with later, that is a better approach to driving your decision between Canon and Nikon. Bodies come and go (& will be replaced every few years), lenses are forever (well, decades anyway).

    With that said, when I got my Nikon D200 four years ago, I based my decision on how it felt and handled compared to the Canon 30D.
     
  3. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

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    #3
    Here is a short & to the point answer.

    You have already gone out and demo'd the bodies. You have decided that the Nikon feels better in your hands. Those are two steps that are usually suggested on the forums, when people ask your question. Since you have already decided that the Nikon feels better in your hands, then I would suggest going with the Nikon. Now you need to sort through all the various "Promo Packages" that are offered, and find what fits your budget, but at the same time find which lenses permit you to shoot what you are interested in shooting.

    Link the Amazon deal, and we'll be able to give you better input.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
  5. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Since you've already seen them in person, hopefully you took some shots and were able to use the LCD to review pictures. In my humble opinion, the D5000's screen... well... sucks. It may not be a deal breaker for you, but it was for me, especially when learning. In my mind, I want to take a couple shots, then compare them, zooming way in to see what kind of detail I got and if the shot was blurry or not.

    If you're set on Nikon, I'd recommend either the D3100 (that was just released) or the D90. The D90's probably a bit more than you need at this point, but if you're already spending some big $, you might as well get one to grow into. Again, just my 2 cents.

    Here's the specs on the LCDs ::

    Nikon D3100 - 3 in. 230,000 dot (whoa, that surprised me, honestly; not sure I'd recommend that now)
    Nikon D5000 - 2.7in. 230,000 dot
    Nikon D90 - 3 in. 920,000 dot

    Canon XSi - 3 in. 230,000 dot
    Canon T1i - 3 in. 920,000 dot

    Canon's holding an event in NY on September 2 and 3, and Photokina is coming up at the end of September, so you will probably start seeing some good deals on all kinds of photo equipment coming up here shortly.
     
  6. esaleris macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I would suggest pulling up the manual to see how easy it is to navigate changing all the settings. While a lot of Nikon advocates love the ergonomics of having all buttons at easy reach, there's something to be said for a pretty robust menu system as well. But they are different. Either way, look through the manual to see how the functions work. I'm have a Canon and despite having a passing knowledge of DSLRs, I have a difficult time figuring out how to operate similar functions on a Nikon when friends have let me borrow theirs to take a shot for them - it's a bit different. See which style you like.
     
  7. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Considered the Sony a55? It's getting quite alot of attention and DPR gave it a gold award.
     
  8. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #8
    Is the screen resolution really that important? I thought most people who use a dsrl use the viewfinder mostly, and don't use the screen all that much. Also, the D5000 has an articulating screen which I like, and is not offered on any other camera in this class.
     
  9. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2008
    #9
    I don't find it all that important. I use it mostly to check for exposure/color balance/etc rather than focus. It's definitely nicer to have a higher resolution screen, but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me (then again, my first camera was my mom's old Pentax film SLR). I like the D5000, though I don't own it (there's one at my job).

    As stated, you'll probably be able to find better deals soon, once the D3100 actually starts shipping and once all of the Photokina announcements are out.
     
  10. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

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    #10
    Most of the time, screen resolution is not all that important*. Some people think it is, but that's because they get caught up in marketing features. As the last poster stated, the screen is used to check focus, histogram, & to move through the menus.

    (*) Denotes Importance. For some applications a higher resolution screen does help, like using Live View to compose an Architectural Shot, where critical focus is important.

    IMO, the most bang for your buck, is going to be a used Body & a couple of used lenses. I would rather buy quality over new features. "I will use the B&S Board on Fredmiranda.com as a reference."You can find gently used D90 Kits with the 18-105 VR for about $800. If someone is throwing in either another lens or a Speedlite, then that will take the price up to your $1000 price-point. However, that would be a good starting set-up.

    The post' regarding the Menu layout, is of some importance, but to each unto their own. I bought into Canon, because of Ergonomics, but then again, I bought into Canon, when Digital was in its modern infancy. In 2002, DSLR bodies cost upwards of $2,000 just to buy something that would be considered comparable to the D90/50D. When I went Digital, I stayed with Canon, but I could have switched to another system. I did find the Canon menu to be easier to use, however, the menu's have since changed in 4-5 years. I shoot Nikon @ school, and once I became accustomed with Nikon's menu system, I have found it easy to use too.

    If & When you move up the ladder through the various bodies, you will find that the menu's are more customizable. I've used/ shot with everything in the Nikon line-up from the D100 (2003) to Present (D40 to D3). The menu's have become much easier to use & understand with time. And at the same time, screens have increased in both dimensions & resolution, which has assisted in making it easier to check for proper image exposure. :cool:
     
  11. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #11
    the LCD screen size really doesn't bother me. Back in the "film" days, there was no such thing, thus you needed to get it right.
     
  12. Orange™ macrumors 6502

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  13. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #13
    The D90 is alot more money and doesn't seem to offer that many features above the D5000 to justify me spending the extra hundreds of dollars.

    I have looked into the upcoming D3100, and am wondering if that camera would be better than the D5000?
     
  14. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

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    Orlando, FL
    #14
    Ya'll must be better photographers than me :) Seriously, I've used my T1i for almost a year now, and use the LCD to review almost every shot. Maybe I'm just too much of a perfectionist...

    My mother-in-law got an XSi a month ago. I was showing her some things and snapped some photos that looked good when reviewing on the screen, and looked terrible on the computer. Granted they were non-flash photos in low-light using the kit lens, but still. Usually photos are hard to recreate, if you catch my drift. I want to know that I have it right the first time, and for me, the best way is to review on a nice looking LCD. Just my two cents.

    +1 for Fred Miranda. I bought two lenses (the Tamron, and the Canon zoom in my sig) a couple months ago for $700. Together, they would have retailed for around $1300 new.
     
  15. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #15
    ^
    That is why i never trust the LCD. Even on my 40D stuff would look different on the computer. After a while, you just "know" or get a feel for compositions and such. I do have to say I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the viewfinder of my 1Ds.
     
  16. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Yea it seems like it pretty much is better.

    In any case you should probably postpone your decision till Photokina in the end of september to see what new stuff the different manufacturers have to offer. Alot of new cameras will be announced and some current models will likely drop in price.

    You still didn't answer if you looked at the Sony a55?
     
  17. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I haven't looked at the Sony, since I've mainly focussed on Canon and Nikon. What types of lens can the Sony use?

    I should wait, but am getting a little impatient and would like to buy in the next week or two.
     
  18. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Well Sony uses the Alpha lenses which have been used by Konica-Minolta SLRs before, and now Sony's. So there is quite a big assortment available.
    Here's the glass Sony and Zeiss make currently: http://www.photoclubalpha.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/A560_15-bigweb.jpg

    I think you'll be able to find whatever focal length / f stop you are interested in, but the used market is probably not as good and effective as Canon/Nikon. But still, after Canon's EOS and Nikons F mounts, the alpha mount must be one of the biggest lens markets around. There is both Tamron/Sony making the cheaper glass and Zeiss making the top-of-the line glass.
     
  19. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

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    #19
    Stick with Canon or Nikon if you are wanting to do this long term.

    When picking a brand in photography - you are buying into an ecosystem, not buying a camera.

    Books, aftermarket support, strobes, forum support ect... favor Nikon and Canon. Sony is kind of a freak to be honest.

    Go over to Kirk Photo and see the support they give Sony vs. Nikon or Canon. Go to Amazon and see the after market support for Canon or Nikon vs. Sony. While you are there, check out the books for Sony vs. Nikon or Canon; yep its pretty lacking for Sony. Hey, look at Flash support; Nikon and Canon are well supported....Sony, not so much. You better love the HVL-F58AM Flash from Sony, because that is all Sony offers I think. 3rd party lens makers... again, Sony has some support but nothing like what Nikon or Canon command. Another idea, look at what people who get paid to do this use. I see a lot of Canon White and Nikon Black... never see Sony Silver.

    http://kentkc.blogspot.com/2008/08/nikon-and-canon-beijing-olympics.html

    This may change over time, but why be crippled with a poorly adopted platform that is marginal at best?
     
  20. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

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    #20
    Gotta agree wholeheartedly here. The Sony may be OK for the casual photog that buys with a couple lenses and sticks with that rig indefinitely, but if you want something that'll grow with your experience and changing interests, Nikon or Canon is the way to go.
     
  21. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

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    #21
    Ding, Ding, Ding!!! BINGO.....

    Sony has almost zero support from anyone in the Accessory & Aftermarket world.. My father shoots Minolta, and has been shooting Minolta for 40 years. With the Sony acquisition, the cost' to buy into the Sony/ Minolta line-up, grew exponentially. Sony is WAY overpriced, and the body ergonomics are horrible. (Ex. When the Sony Speedlite, was the Minolta HS-5600, it only retailed for $350, now it retails for $500. That is quite a jump for the same flash.) As Full of Win pointed out, you are buying into an ecosystem. You've gotta think long-range here.

    Yes, Zeiss is the King of Kings, when it comes to Glass. However, part of the Zeiss deal is marketing. Especially when it comes to Sony. The lenses in Sony Point & Shoots & the Alpha Series Line-ups, have the Carl Zeiss name, however, its not true CZ glass. CZ glass is equal to Hasselblad Bodies. :D However, most of us in the real world, cannot afford $30,000 Bodies & $4,000 to $10,000+ prices per lens. :eek:

    Honestly, I have never seen a working Pro, promoting gear for Sony. (This is just an example: The Sony 300/2.8 cost' $6300. That's $1800 more than the Canon 300/2.8). Is the Sony name worth $1800?
     
  22. M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

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    Jan 4, 2008
    #22
    I purchased a D5000 last year, and I've thoroughly enjoyed that camera. I wouldn't purchase it just because of the articulated display, but I'll tell you that it has been convenient on more than several occasions. I would probably purchase the newer D3100 now given the choice, though I haven't looked much into that newer camera.

    I've tried several of my friends' Canon cameras, and I'm not very fond of their menu system and button layout. I'm sure it has to do with me being accustomed to the D5000, but I don't see myself purchasing a Canon down the road.

    If you'd like to see some examples of images taken with the D5000, you can view my flickr (in my signature down below). I'm not saying they're great images, but they're just examples of what I've produced with this camera.
     
  23. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #23
    Well, I couldn't wait and bit the bullet last night and went with the Nikon D5000. I found it for $650 on Amazon, with free shipping and no sales tax. Seemed like a good deal to me, although maybe if I had waited a few weeks I might have found something better, who knows. I also decided to get only the one lens kit, and then if I wanted to buy a second lens later I would have more options.

    I'm happy with Nikon, and think it probably is better than Sony right now, since I would have a much wider ecosystem, as others have said.

    I'm excited to start learning how to use the camera and become a better photographer. Before now I've basically only used a point and shoot, so getting a SLR is a big step up.

    Thanks for everyone's responses, very helpful!
     
  24. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

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    #24
    ^^

    Enjoy it! Be sure to visit the Photo of the Day thread after you start shooting, too :)
     

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