Can someone help me choose?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Traverse, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #1
    I'm torn between two drastically different cameras at two drastically different price points.

    The Nikon Cool pix point and shoot.

    The Nikon D3300

    I'm a noob at photography, but love it. I want to learn more about cameras and and methods of photography in general (my best friend's an art major and can teach me things) and turn it into a serious hobby. So the DSLR seems overkill at $499, but I'm worried that I'll be underwhelmed with the $199 point-and-shoot. I really didn't want to spend over $200, but I want this to be a good investment.

    Currently I'm an iPhone only user, but honestly I'm disappointed with the iPhone 6's camera and just want something with less grain in low lights (I know grain is inevitable) and just better, sharper photos than an iPhone can provide.

    Can some of the photography savvy users help me? Do you think the cheaper P&S is worth it as an upgrade to the iPhone or do you think I should go all out with the DSLR? Do you have any suggestions on better DSLR? I can't (won't) spend more than $499.

    I appreciate it.
     
  2. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #2
    I would perhaps look into Mirrorless cameras. They are great cameras and a lot of photographers (even pro photographers) utilize them or even have switched over to them. Best Buy carries the Sony series. The Sony A5000 is a great camera, but it lacks an optical viewfinder and favors a powerful live viewfinder (digital screen). The A6000 I believe adds on an optical viewfinder, but it grows a bit in price. Olympus and Fujifilm carry great options as well and I personally love what they have to offer.
     
  3. Policar, Dec 6, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014

    Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/c...black-ef-s-18-55mm-is-ii-lens-kit-refurbished

    Not to get into the Canon vs Nikon war (both are great and the above suggestion to get an off-brand mirrorless, worst of both worlds, makes me chuckle a bit, unless you really know what you want... I, too, am drooling over the X100T because I rarely change focal lengths and the GH4 and A7S seem to have some cool video modes, but for general purpose photo use they're way too wonky and nothing beats an optical finder, which at least the X100T seems to pull off) it's just cheaper on the low end to go Canon and their refurb stuff is clean, just like new with warranty, too. $260! And that lens is actually pretty darned awesome (just not for super shallow DoF) and the camera is ok.

    If you're looking to get into photography as a serious hobby and have even the slightest technical bone in your body (f stops, focal lengths, shutter speeds, etc. intrigue you and don't scare you) the dSLR route will give you room to grow, and offer the most seamless and well-trodden path toward merging technique and technology to creates aesthetics. You're gonna love it! If you just want to focus on composition and taking family photos outside or with a flash then a point and shoot is fine. Some high end point and shoots (the new Sony) are legit dSLR replacements for wealthy travelers.

    If not the Canon, the D3300 is certainly more camera than the Canon T3. At twice the price. :(

    The P&S is a nice stopgap in theory, but uh... I'll take the iPhone. The mirrorless market is too immature to invest in unless a specific camera matches a specific need.

    You will want to add more lenses eventually. The Canon has the excellent $100 50mm f1.8 (slightly-wider-than ideal portrait lens) whereas Nikon's 50mm f1.8 is twice the cost... but Nikon has the $200 35mm f1.8 (wide enough to be general purpose, by far my preference for general use focal length but it is just a matter of preference), which Canon lacks entirely. Canon has fantastic 55-250mm and 10-18mm zooms for extremely low prices, too.

    Nikon has the 14-24mm G and some nice mid-range primes and Canon has the best 70-200mm, but you're looking at $2000 per zoom or $600-$2000 per prime at the other significant points of deviation in their line-ups. At the low end Canon wins for cheap zooms.

    All the talk about better or worse sensors is mostly irrelevant in dSLR land, though the D3300 will outperform the T3's sensor in all respects. SLIGHTLY. Unnoticeably, for the most part, unless you set out to measure it and then you're not really focusing on photography but measuring, which is a valid but unrelated hobby. :)
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    Both kinds of cameras are good. You keep the shirt pocket sized cameras with you all the time. But the iPhone can serve this function.

    You use the SLR when the primary activity is photography.

    Don't buy a new SLR. Get a used SLR for under $200. The Nikon D50 is a GREAT one to start with because it has the in-body focus motor so you can use the lower price "AF" "AFD" type used lenses. You can still do professional quality work with the D50 and have an SLR body and lens for under $200.

    Later you upgrade the body and or the lens and sell the D50. Used SLR equipment's the way to go. You can always sell for about 80% what you paid.
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #5
    On the high end DSLRs, with a fast lens, there is really no grain worth mentioning, unless you need fast shutter speeds.

    If you want to get into photography the D3300 is an excellent choice. I would not opt for a P&S.
     
  6. dave61 macrumors newbie

    dave61

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    #6
    If you want learn, get a DSLR

    The best way to learn about photography is to play around with exposure speed, depth of field and so on. With a DSLR you will have more control than using a P&S. As someone else says, starting second hand is a good option.
     
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #7
    I started out with the D3200. It was a great intro to photography. I'd recommend the DSLR as others have said, you get more creative control. The only downside to a DSLR is the size, but you will learn that you are either doing photography or something else. Point and shoot is when you are trying to combine photography and something else (like say attending a party). Never the best idea for great photos.
     
  8. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #8
    Thank you all for the replies. Now I just have to decide between the D3300 or a second hand one. I'm not big on refurbished or used electronic devices, but I suppose factory refurbished is good.

    I also hate to spend $499 on a camera, but I've never had a decent camera. The iPhone is great, for a smartphone, but I'm ready for something more powerful.
     
  9. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #9
    Lots of people buy a DSLR and decide it's not for them (or like me) get bitten by the bug and trade up. That's why you can get a real bargin on second hand gear. Lots of it hardly used. Best advice is find a good local camera shop. Most sell second hand cameras. Maybe not as cheap as EBay, but you can handle the cameras and get a limited warranty normally. A good all round lens like the 18-55 VR should be pretty cheap to. The quality isn't bad either.
     
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Yeah, don't ignore refurbs. Blinq eg had some older model Olympus micro four thirds cameras with decent kit zooms on sale for as low as $154 US. That's a heck of a deal. I got a E-PM2 for about as cheap, and then when I got a newer better Olympus I had another camer I could use with the lenses and other accessories. I also got a couple of Canon SX150s for $39 I use with hacked firmware for certain things.

    And you might look at superzooms as well. It's not just the superzoom; it's that they are bridge cameras that often offer a lot of manual controls, like a DSLR or M43, and really decent quality for having a smaller sensor. And they are frequently terrific bargains.
     
  11. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #11
    The Nikon coolpix is a super zoom, but I wonder if it will really be worth the $200 jump. Most reviews say it's just "okay."
     
  12. Zaqfalcon macrumors 6502

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    #12
    As a couple of other people have said, if, as you say, you want to "learn more about cameras and and methods of photography" then you will need to get a camera capable providing you control of aperture, shutter speed, ISO and focus so that you can see what effect these have on the exposure (the amount of light in a photo, photo-graphy means drawing with light), the relative movement, depth of field and bokeh etc.

    A few point and shoots can provide you with these controls but not many and they tend to be expensive. A DSLR will give you these controls and much better image quality due to the physical size of the sensor and the quality of the lenses.

    There is no real need to fear buying second hand, modern cameras are well built and have very little that can actually break on them, despite the advertising hype and consumerist throw away society we live in, there is very little difference between today's DSLR and one from a few years ago in terms of ability to produce a great photo. 'Mirrorless' being the latest trend and technical marvel. Also; unless you need to print out massive prints (6MP=A3@300dpi), there is no need to get a large megapixel count.

    This is especially true when talking about the lenses, some of mine are 30 years old and still second to none (e.g. Minolta 200 2.8) and even new lenses are still based on the same designs (“Ye cannae change the laws of physics”).

    Finally; don't buy into the Canon is better than Nikon is better than Sony is better than Olympus is better than Pentax BS. All of the top manufacturers make great cameras that are capable and suitable for your needs and very able to create your vision.

    The important thing is that you take the time to find what feels comfortable to you in the way it feels in your hands and makes most sense to you when playing with the dials and menus; everybody is different and prefer different ergonomics. The likelihood is that once you start with a system you'll probably stick with it as you build up a collection of lenses suitable to your photographic style and the design you're comfortable with is carried through into future models.

    Good luck and enjoy!




    www.zackerythomas.com
     
  13. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

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  14. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    The Olympus OM cameras have better ISO performance than some DSLRs and faster AF. Not to mention the lens selection outside of manufacture lenses is phenomenal. The Sony A7 cameras have FF sensors that outperform a lot of DSLR sensors and have become primary cameras for some photographers. Of course, the price is a lot more than the OP is looking for. Video viewfinders do have their upsides, like having WYSIWYG shooting. You have to rely on the light meter in a DSLR where you can physically see the setting changes made and how they affect the exposure with a video viewfinder.
     
  15. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #15
    Thank you all for your replies and advice. I have decided to pick up the Nikon D3300 new.

    The reason I didn't go with used/refurbished is because I don't have a used camera store in my area, and I don't want to order a camera without physically using it. I was able to go to my local Best Buy and pick up/use the D3300 and like it. Also, I'm new in photography and don't know enough about lenses yet. I want a ready to use camera with a decent lens. As I learn more over the coming months I'll add to the lens collection.

    Again, thank you all for your help and I did look at all your links. :)

    ----------

    You know more about photography than me so I wanted to ask. You mean that with a good enough camera you can take night shots with little/no grain? I thought grain is a result of insufficient light no matter how good the sensor is (though a good sensor can reduce it).
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #16
    It obviously depends on how little light there actually is, but with a modern ff dslr and a really fast lens you can take practically grain free images at very low light.
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #17
    You can remove grain with post processing. DXO optics pro 10 is one of the best. You can get a free trial on their website.
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #18
    Yes. I forgot to mention that. Since the OP might want to get photo editing software anyway, Lightroom does an acceptable job at removing some grain, too.
     
  19. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #19
    Thank you again everyone! Merry Christmas to me!!! :D

    DISCLAIMER: not my ugly table cloth.
    [​IMG]

    I'm impressed by the quality of these pictures (even the out of focus ones when I was learning how to focus. :eek:

    Right now I'm using all auto settings, I can't wait to start making manual adjustments. One thing I don't like, viewfinders are a lot harder to use with glasses. :(
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #20
    Congratulations! Welcome to Nikon. Looks like an early christmas :) I am happy for you.

    There are eyepieces that you can buy that might make using it with glasses easier.
     
  21. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #21
    Thank you, I'm going to look into those and a good tripod.

    I wish Apple still developed Aperture, iPhoto not great at handling these larger images. I'm going to see if I can get lightroom cheap through my school.
     
  22. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #22
    You might get away without your glasses (depending on your eye issue) by adjusting the optic wheel by the viewfinder. It has a +/- on it and is called a Diopter adjustment control. Also I would recommend downloading the (free) Manual viewer app for your iPhone or iPad.
    Congrats on your new camera. Don't forget to post your stuff on here. Most people will offer helpful critique rather than just flaming you. More friendly than a few sites I've been on.
     
  23. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #23
    I've adjusted it for my glasses, but I'm going to attempt it without (I doubt it will work though because I'm incredibly short sighted).

    I need to get an imgur account or flicker account because these images are large.

    One question. I can import in their RAW format and store them as RAW, but if I want to sync them to iOS devices do I need to convert them to PNG or JPEG?
     
  24. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #24
    There is really no point to transfer a whole raw file to an iOS device.

    I recommend you get some other app than iPhoto. Maybe look into the adobe Ps and Lr subscription. It also comes with Lr for iOS. It then syncs copies to your iOS device for editing.
     
  25. Traverse thread starter macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #25
    I hate to get another software subscription right now, but the standalone lightroom is a lot too.
     

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