Best bang for $ DSLR for Student

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NiKeZz, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. NiKeZz, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010

    NiKeZz macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2010
    Topeka, Kansas
    I'm starting into my Major this Spring with my Photojournalism and I was looking to get some help as to what would be the best bang for the buck camera that is new to the market. One of the professors recommended that the camera had video capabilities due partly to the fact that there would be video assignments. It has to be either a Canon or Nikon. I've looked at Canon T2i, Nikon D90, Nikon D7000, Canon 60D.. These are about my price range. I'm just trying to gain some insight. Thanks for the help. :D
  2. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    While I am all for Canon and Nikon, why not Pentax? More camera for your money, trust me.
  4. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I couldn't have said it better myself. Moreover, you get a better, larger, and cheaper selection of prime glass if that's your thing (it sure is mine).
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I don't shoot Pentax but I do follow camera brands and their overall progress to produce a fine body and good glass. I've always shot Nikon; film and digital. Just before that it was Olympus and Minolta, but Nikon has been in my life for about 15-16 years. All I can say is that if I had to start all over again as a newbie I would go Pentax. If you want to move to Canon to Nikon then fine but you will find much more bang for your buck out of Pentax.
  6. Scuby macrumors regular

    May 16, 2010
    I'd go for the best you can afford if you're going to be using it every day - sure you'll miss the extra capabilities if you don't get them now.

    For the choice of brand, best bet is to try them. Canon and Nikon are much the same as each other in terms of quality, features, reliability, etc. But when i was buying mine i found the Canon much more comfortable to hold, just seemed to fit my hand better. But clearly, that depends on the individual so find somewhere where you can give them a try.

  7. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    If you are purchasing a new camera, the D90 shouldn't even be in the running with the D7000. The latter camera is a significant upgrade over the 2 year old D90. And the video does not compare. The Canon 60D is a more comparable camera to the D7000. There are several sites you can Google with comparative reviews.

    For me, having Nikon glass from the days of film that will still work with the D7000, the decision was a no-brainer.
  8. lyew macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
    Nikon D3100. This is the latest budget DSLR from Nikon. Excellent price for a camera of that resolution, including Nikon's latest processing engine Expeed 2.
  9. NiKeZz thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2010
    Topeka, Kansas
    It has to be a Canon or a Nikon because Western Kentucky University, the school I am attending has a stand known as the, "Hot Dog" Stand that you can borrow Canon and Nikon lenses from on a weekly basis to do assignments. I have no interest in Pentax because of that reason. So basically it's either T2i, 60D or the D7000.
  10. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Never used a pentax, except an old film SLR, and they're probably great for the money, but Nikon and Canon have the best stables of fancy new lenses. Since you have free access to them...

    What are you interested in shooting and what lenses, in particular, do you have access to? Nikon has the best wides, in general, and I've found their low end lenses are slightly better than Canon's, especially in terms of build quality and usually in terms of optics, too (going to get flamed for this opinion, of course, as it varies on a lens-by-lens basis). But Canon's stable of telephotos is unmatched by anyone in quality and variety. They also have the best tilt/shift lenses, or so I have heard but can't afford.

    On a purely camera-by-camera basis, the Nikon is better. The Nikons always are. Better low light, way better build quality, more pleasant interface, better finder, etc. I have a t2i and the finder is terrible and the camera feels like a toy. It's pretty noisy in low light and the extra megapixels are pointless more often than not. The 7d is nicer and has a way better viewfinder (and more adjustments and faster everything so better for sports), but the image quality is similar. Never used the d7000 but the d90 has great build quality and is super responsive and slightly better in low light than the Canons. I can only imagine the 60d is somewhere between the 7d and t2i in terms of build quality, identical to both in terms of image quality, and the d7000 is slightly better than the d90 in most regards. Get a 60d or d7000 based on lenses, but if you don't care about lenses (you should), get the Nikon.
  11. Stotka macrumors regular


    Jul 29, 2009
    I'm a Canon. 90% of my friends with cameras are Nikons. They are all happy, so am I :) The reason why I went with canon was better size and grip of the body and better feel of the lens and menu system for me at least. If you choose to go Canon I would recommend 60D mainly because it has the wheel the t2i lacks. And a swivel screen comes in handy from time to time. I have a 50D and when I tried the t2i I couldn't get used to the lack of the second wheel.
  12. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2010
    Hmmm. Pool Glass @ WKU. I've heard many stories. :D Though I am very familiar with WKU & the PJ Program, I never attended WKU.

    Before you start eliminating bodies, what is your BUDGET??? You haven't told us, what you can afford to spend, instead you've focused on just a couple of bodies? Since you've stated, that you will have several video assignments; will you all be using FCP for the Video Aspects?

    Just to clarify OP's perspective, Pentax/ Sony/ all other brands aside from C & N, are not viable options. Bowling Green doesn't really have anything in the way of Camera stores, and thus outside of what is in house at WKU, to buy anything requires a trip to Camera Stores in either Nashville or Louisville.
  13. penter, Dec 25, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

    penter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2006
    Hey there,

    I'm also a student. I work with video and motion graphics, and I'd definitely say that the BEST camera you could get right now is the Canon 5D MarkII, But in no way is that a bang for your buck...
    When it comes to a well-rounded performance at a good price, I believe that the Canon T2i is your best bet.
    The video capabilities of the T2i are at par with Canon's 7D (the model just below the 5D MkII), with a good range of frame rates, as well as the inclusion of pretty high-speed HD (not full HD), which allows for slow motion playback: 720p @ 60fps which, as far as I know, no other camera brand has. Also, the sensors are identical (as far as anyone knows).
    At the price, you will be able to spend a bit more money on a better lens, which is where you'll really start to notice a good difference.

    The Nikon d3100, which was just released is also a good camera. A little cheaper than the T2i. The only advantage I see in getting the Nikon is that it has AF (automatic focusing) when in video mode, but its performance isn't that great if you're looking for a polished, professional outcome.
    Plus, it's really loud when trying to focus.
    As mentioned above, Nikon's low-light capabilities are *supposedly* better.
    I'm not too sure about the lenses available for this camera, though.
    I don't really understand what Policar meant by the "fi ryou don't care about lenses, get the Nikon," but to me that sounds like Nikon has worse lenses.
    Remember, the lens is just as important as the camera itself!

    Honestly, I have nothing to say about the user interfaces themselves...

    Here are two great reviews for the two cameras:
    Canon Rebel T2i
    Nikon d3100
  14. MSM Hobbes macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2006
    NE Hoosierana
    Go to a place where you can hold the cameras in your hand, feel them, pretend that they are part of your body, an extension of you,,, play with the settings, dance through the menu, hold the camera as if you would on a hike or during a shoot [ie: for an extended period of time]. If you had this an option, I would recommend the Pentax, and also the Sony Alpha... but as these are not viable for you, then either the Nikon or Canon that best fits your hands, your desires, etc. will be best - honestly, they are all good,,, just different controls, feel, etc. I went with Canon after ~1.3 year trialling various bodies [camera bodies :eek: ], due mainly cause of (a) how it felt in my hand, (b) the controls & menu, and (c) I preferred their glass over Nikons. It also tainted my decision, rightly or wrongly, that the reputation of Nikon is more for portraits and Canon for sports / outdoors, which since I do more of the latter, this (most likely, now, incorrect) stereotyping of the two types helped push me that way. So with that all said, look at the D7000 and the 60D,,, and which one best fits your prefs. Good luck :apple:
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    60D, D90, or D7000 I suppose, just for the extra buttons and wheels. they make changing settings much easier compared to entry-level bodies. as a bonus, you get to skip the crappy pentamirror viewfinders.
  16. akbc macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    T2i, no question.
    60D too gimmicky, and not much difference with the T2i.
    D7000 is a great camera, too. But... I'm a Canon user, so I'm biased :D

    So, T2i would be the best bang for the buck if you must go Nikon/Canon.
  17. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Yeah, the pentamirror viewfinder in the t2i is horrible. Tiny magnification and really poor clarity. Its one saving grace is that it's very bright with slow lenses, with a ground glass optimized for something around f4. But that only helps if you have to use slow lenses (which I do, since I don't have much money or access to better ones). The live view is excellent, however, and the LCD is very good. The t2i may very well be the best thing going in low-end dSLRs, but you have access to the best glass. You don't want a low end dSLR.

    Choose based on lenses, otherwise just get the Nikon. Hate to say it (as a Canon owner) but if you don't shoot movies or need T/S lenses, you should get a Nikon. Better build quality, better autofocus, better metering, better low-light, etc. Unless you can afford a 5DII (worth considering!), which has flaws but is awesome for the price.
  18. standingquiet macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2010
    Birmingham, AL
    D90 is my opinion. The D7000 is a lot more money for not much more camera and the D3100 is a bit more basic.

    If you didn't need the Video i'd recommend the D80 which imo is the best camera out there which gives the biggest bang for your buck.
  19. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Too bad none of the reviews out there agree with you. They only agree on the low light part but it comes at a price and isn't a very big difference (in other words, Nikon is only *slightly* better). The other ones are very personal things. There are loads of people that find the Nikon interface horrible so they get a Canon. There are also loads of people that find the Canon interface horrible so they get a Nikon. That's why people recommend others to go to a store and make up their own mind. The only proper advise you can give the OP apart from reading some reviews about the various models. Especially since there is quite some difference between something like the T2i/D5000/D3100 and the 60D/D90/D7000.

    Since you're complaining about the pentamirror in the T2i you should do the same. The D5000/D3100 has the same crappy viewfinder since that is what you get with those entry level dslr models. If you want a good, big viewfinder you need to look at the 60D or the D90/D7000. The same goes for size (the T2i/D5000/D3100 are ideal for people with small hands, they are horrible for people with big hands; the 60D/D90/D7000 are the other way around). Another reason why one should go out and check the various models in a store.
  20. Policar, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Literally every review agrees the Nikons are better in low light. The OP is choosing between Canon t2i, Nikon D90, Nikon D7000, and the Canon 60D. The Nikons are magnesium, the Canons plastic. The Nikons have pentaprism finders, the t2i is a pentamirror. The Canons have ridiculous pixel density, which hurts low light significantly. Nikon also has better autofocus and metering, in general. The D5000 and D3100 aren't part of this discussion as the OP didn't mention them. There are tons of great Canon SLRs (the 5DII may be the best thing going for the money and the t2i is quite a deal despite its shortcomings) and tons of cheap Nikons--but among the OP's choices and given he has access to a stable of lenses, the Nikons are better cameras.
  21. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Which is about the only thing and even that is a very small difference. It comes in handy but if you're in low light situations there are many other and much better options to go for (which he'll learn soon enough in class). If you're in a situation with low light and you can't help it then yes, a Nikon might have a small advantage over a Canon. Again the low light is a plus due to the sensor that is being used in the Nikon camera's. However, that sensor also has some downsides to it so things level out again.

    A lot of people seem to be forgetting that plastics are lightweight and very strong. Being plastic can be an advantage or a disadvantage. It depends on the material used and your own personal preference (some people simply dislike plastics for whatever silly reason). You also need to take in account that the camera is going to be used for some filming. The Canons are much better in this area than the Nikons are. The 60D even has a swivel screen which the other 3 camera's haven't. This makes filming a bit easier. The power switch on the Nikons is part of the shutter release button. If you're trying to find the shutter release button it is very easy to hit the power switch and switch the dslr off. Not a good thing if you want to take a picture of a plane passing by. If you take a look at lenses and accessories than the Canons do a better job than the Nikons. Things like autofocus and metering is something that is influenced by both the body and the lens. Put on a lens without something like a usm and autofocus is slow as hell. The list is endless when comparing every minute detail of both brands. Overall they really are equal, there isn't "the best dslr" nor "the best dslr brand".

    In the end it really doesn't matter, especially for someone who's just starting with photography. They are all great camera's and they can all take pictures and film stuff. Getting great pictures takes a lot more than just a dslr body. Think about skill, lenses, etc. It mostly comes down to who ever is using the camera. So what you're doing is a very theoretical side by side comparison of some features and neglecting all the others. Ergonomics is one of the major things, it is far more important than the low light possibilities of the Nikon sensors. If you can't take pictures for quite some time or you get annoyed by the way the camera works it will show.

    The Canon 60D would be a good choice as well since it's the only mentioned Canon that is comparable to the mentioned Nikons. I'd vote for these dslr's too due to their size and useful buttons (the entry level T2i has less so you need to configure it via menus on the lcd, the same goes for the equivalent Nikon dslr's (D5000/D3100)) which make life easier.

    Just to give you another example that the Nikons doesn't necessarily be the best bang for $ (which is the question being asked, not the best camera of the 4 ;)):
    When looking at the T2i for example you can say the camera is the cheapest option, it is considered to be a mini-7D and it is good at filming. For people with small hands the camera is better suited since it is the smallest one.
    However, if you want a dslr with a swivel screen the 60D is the only option out of the 4 dslr's.
  22. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    If you want to use video then get a Canon.

    Nikon is currently a distant second place on DSLR video and Pentax and Sony are nowhere. Panasonic is OK (particularly with firmware hacks) but not so good for stills.

    The T2i is a nice camera - and I think mine is great as a second camera along with a 5DII. As an only camera the 60D is probably a good compromise - better build quality but still good value for money. The 7D would be awesome for photojournalism if you can stretch to it - better waterproofing and a metal body.

    You're lucky being able to borrow lenses - they're really the most expensive part of photography.
  23. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    Grab a 60D or D7000. 60D if you're even moderately interested in video. I do a lot of my video work with Canon DSLRs.
  24. Buried macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2010
    Bangkok, Thailand
    You're taking a course in photojournalism and with that budget I'd skip all those mediocre bodies and skip straight to the higher-tier bodies.
    Buy second-hand Nikon D300s, the best performance you can get on Nikon DX before you jump on FX, mediocre video but the image quality and autofocus etc. beats Canons 7D. A second-hand 7D is also a great alternative, as it has amazing video and good images (not as great low-light performance, but with prime lenses that doesn't matter)

    Depends on what you prefer and what feels better. If I had a choice I'd never go back to those pentamirror bodies or pentraprism with 96% The 100% pentraprism makes all the difference to me, it's what makes the D300s and 7D ultimate cameras. The T2i's viewfinder is a piece of crap, puny, small, dim. But if you want bigger than 100% jump on full-frame.
  25. FX120, Dec 29, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010

    FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    Go used?

    You can probably find a very good condition Canon 40D or Nikon D90 for much less than you'd pay new, and both offer what I consider to be the minimum feature set you want (bright and fairly large viewfinder, lots of dedicated purpose buttons, top LCD, ect).

    Spend the money you saved on good lenses.

    And unless you have the additional thousand dollars or so to spend on exterior equipment to make the video features of DSLR's useable, just get a dedicated video camera for the video assignments. Professional SD video cameras are just being dumped on the market right now for very little money, but still offer huge bang for the buck.

Share This Page