Cheap DSLR Camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rs7, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. rs7 macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2008
    #1
    If I'm correct...I believe 35mm cameras actually take better pictures than the basic digital cameras that most people have today (I have a Canon A570). DSLRs are the only digital cameras that actually take pictures of great quality, and that take pictures almost instantly (versus having to wait a few seconds to take a picture). I'm not sure if what I'm saying is right...I'm not too experienced with cameras. If what I'm saying is true..what is the cheapest decent DSLR?

    Thanks
     
  2. ipodtoucher macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

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    #2
    A lot of people enjoy the Canon XS or XTi. And with Nikon, there's the D40 (No in body AF motor(have to buy the expensive lenses)) And then there's the new Lumix 4/3rd's camera that has all the functionality of a DSLR with a smaller camera. But you have to know you won't be getting the same as a 35mm camera, for that you have to go higher end like for Canon the 5D Mark II up, and for Nikon the D700 up. This probably confused you a bit, but i hope it helps a little :)
     
  3. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #3
    You can look at Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax or Olympus. They all have good quality low priced DSLRs Don't expect to take better pictures though just because you have a better camera. The photographer make the most difference. You have to be more specific on what exactly you want from this camera then we can give you some better recomendations. Ask yourslef.

    Do I want more lenses?
    Do want something lightweight?
    Do I need it to have flash?
    What's my price range?
    What features do I need?

    Come back with some more information and we should be able to help you better.
     
  4. rs7 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2008
    #4
    I'm not really sure. I'm just a teenager. I love photography and think I take some pretty good pictures for the camera that I have. I don't really understand cameras that much...I usually use the autofocus and such :). I plan to take a photography class at some point in high school so I can learn.

    I like to take pictures when sightseeing. I don't take pictures of people too often.

    My price range is very very limited...it seems like a basic DSLR goes for ~$600 though :\

    Also you said that a better camera doesn't necessarily mean better pictures. It always seems though that with DSLRs, you don't have a lot of the problems associated with a basic digital camera, such as getting a blurry picture when you take one while moving...

    Thanks again
     
  5. ipodtoucher macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

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    #5
    Well I have been in the same predicament. Luckily my grandmother got me my first DSLR as an early graduation gift, and turns out that I ended up at an art school studying to be a fashion/commercial photographer. Since money is an issue try the Canon XS. If it proves to be too much but you still want the greatness of a DSLR, maybe try the Canon G10 while pricey I've played with it and WOW, its pretty amazing.
     
  6. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    A DSLR does improve on many things that other cameras don't have so I think it's really good to get one even at your age. The subjects that you take pictures of are the same as what I like to take. So basically any DSLR will work.

    I would go to the store perhaps Best Buy or other Camera Stores in your area. Try out a bunch of cameras and see which one feels best in your hands. Don't look at just Nikon and Canon Despite what people may tell you. For someone like you buying into to the system is less important.

    Infact I would suggest not buying Canon or Nikon as you can get a much better bang for your buck looking elsewhere. Such as Sony, Pentax or Olympus. They offer more features for a better price.
     
  7. rs7 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2008
    #7
    Thanks for all the info. Can you explain the flash and lens part. I think that a flash on a DSLR is quite large...it's necessarily on a regular digital camera sometimes even during the day, but would it be needed on a DSLR? And why would I need different lenses? The camera will have it's own zoom, correct?

    Thanks
     
  8. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Flash is generally only necessary if you need to shoot indoors. Otherwise you usually don't need it. Most DSLR's come with one on the body. However they are subpar and don't produce very good images. so if you ever decide to shoot indoor get an external flash.

    For lenses, Yes DSLR's in your price range will come with a 18-55mm Zoom Lens or 18-70 if you go sony. You would want a different lens if you need to zoom in farther or perhaps you want a nice wide angle shot. There are many different types of lenses that do many different things. macro lenses for example are for really up close shots that put a different perspective on things. For the type of shooting you do a wide angle could be useful.

    Also the lens that comes with the camera isn't great. It's not bad just average. you can get much higher quality lenses that are "faster" meaning they have a larger Aperture. Aperture is basically the Diaphragm of the lens or how much light is allowed in. Kit lenses are f 3.5-5.6 usually. That's a pretty small aperture. The smaller the number the larger the aperture so an f2.8 lens has a much larger aperture and is also faster because of it. when i say faster i mean a faster shutter speed or how fast the image is captured.

    I know some of that seemed pretty complicated but don't worry you don't have to worry about all this if you just want to shoot. Chances are the Standard lens will be more than sufficient for you.

    If you have anymore questions feel free to PM me.
     
  9. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2008
    #9
    Flashes are great, because often enough lighting is what makes or breaks a photo. Outside in the bright sunlight, you wouldn't think people would need a flash but they work great as fill flashes--they get rid of those harsh shadows that the sun casts on a bright day. Also, indoors, if the ceilings are lightly colored and low enough, you can bounce flash off the ceiling, or even a nearby wall to get a much more natural look than straight-on blasting the subject with light.

    As for your lens question, lenses are often much more important than the body. There are superzoom lenses that cover wide-angle all the way to telephoto, but you compromise image quality for that convenience. There are macro lenses, prime lenses (no zoom, but it usually means that they're great at collecting light for low-light situations), telephoto lenses, and "normal", everyday-amounts-of-zoom lenses. They all have their different purposes and being able to switch lenses is one of the best advantages of buying a DSLR. It may seen inconvenient at first but having different lenses for different situations often leads to the best image quality. Remember, having a great lens on a low-end body is much better than having a low-end lens on a great body.
     
  10. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816

    ProwlingTiger

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    Jan 15, 2008
    #10
    I've seen some excellent pics come from a P&S camera. And I've taken many a good one myself with my Canon P&S. Don't discredit them :D

    But, I wouldn't talk you out of a DSLR. The entry level market is suited just for your type.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #11
    Depends on how you define "basic digital cameras," what particular film is being used, which lenses, what the photographer is trying to achieve...

    All DSLRs from all manufacturers that are currently on the market will take excellent, publication-quality pictures in the right hands.

    I am going to flat-out disagree with this statement. Photography is about light. If you control the light, you control the image. While there are situations where control of the light is next to impossible, and you have to wait for the right light, for most images having control of the light will make them better- indoors or out.

    The counter-argument is that by going Canon or Nikon you will have a much, much larger selection of bodies, lenses and accessories to choose from. You will be able to pick up lenses almost anywhere in the world should you need to, and you will be able to use and trade lenses with a much larger selection of photographers. It is also increasingly likely that we'll see one of the players with less market share exit the DSLR business in the next 18 months.
     
  12. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    If your just getting into photography your not to worried about this. That is why i said it's generally not necessary.

    There may not be as many bodys but there are certainly many accessories for all of them. Any of these players offer great entry level bodies that are in most cases superior to Canon or Nikon. You have to think as if your are the OP he is not going to be a large buyer of lenses. I'm sure that any of the brands have plenty of lenses to satisfy him. People don't seem to understand that even if they did go out of business someone would take them over. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it.
     
  13. forbes macrumors newbie

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    Feb 18, 2009
    #13
    Hi to answer your original questions:

    DSLRs will, in general, give you much nicer pictures than compact digital cameras, all else being equal. I just bought a Nikon D60 (a fancier version of the D40 already mentioned) and compared to my trusty old Fuji F30 (which is an excellent compact camera), I'm getting a far better selection of pictures.

    I think this is for a few reasons. Firstly, I find the DSLR autofocuses quicker than a compact, so you don't miss that moment waiting for the camera to focus ("hunting" I think it's called), so you get that shot you wanted rather than something a few seconds later. This is particularly useful for pictures of people and animals! Secondly, the DSLR has a better lens than a compact, and a bigger sensor behind it (even if the megapixel count is simliar) so you get better image quality. Thirdly, without a flash, the DLSR has slightly better low-light (e.g. indoors) performance, so you get sharper pictures. Fourthly, the DSLR has a viewfinder rather than a screen you look at to compose your pictures (although some now have both) and this gives you a much better indication of what part of the picture is going to be in focus. Finally, the Nikon lens I have has vibration reduction built-in (other brands have this feature in the camera) and I think this helps me with my none-too-steady hand.

    All this does though come at a price: the camera is more expensive of course, first of all, although as the others have said all the entry-level models are perfectly OK. The camera is more bulky, so you will probably also want a bag to protect it, and it certainly won't fit in your pocket.

    This price though buys you flexibility: when you have more money you can buy new lenses, which will give you even better image quality, wider angles, better zoom, and so on. You can also upgrade to a better camera body and keep the lenses that are compatible.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do!
     
  14. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #14
    If you want access to many lens models, your best inexpensive bet in the Nikon realm is a used D50.
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #15
    That's the biggest mistake most folks make- they don't start by trying to understand and control the lighting- which is why most beginners never progress to working with light. The sooner you master lighting, the better your pictures will be.

    But nowhere near as many- say our intrepid photographer decides to take up underwater photography- Ikelite doesn't make a single Pentax-compatible housing. Want a Kirk L bracket? Plenty for Canon and Nikon with and without battery grips, but only one for two Pentax models and one for older Sony models that's on "while it lasts," want a set of Kenko extension tubes? Canon or Nikon only...

    It always amuses me that people who make the argument against getting a D40 because it won't AF with AF-D lenses (but will with a metric buttload of others) think it's ok that other manufacturers don't have a full line of lenses. Again, our new photographer doesn't know what sort of photography they'll enjoy the most- so having a wide range of available lenses becomes important if they decide to specialize in something that requires a certain lens type.

    Show me where I can get lenses for a Yashica FX-D. Both Pentax and Minolta have already been taken over once- if they can't be made solvent by their new owners, what says anyone else would be interested? Hoya is losing money on Pentax, Sony's about to reorg, and Alpha doesn't even get a mention in their Q3 results- the Cybershot folks do, and it's been six months since the announcement of a Sony Pro Photographer's group- that's it on the DSLR front for Sony- if the Yen stays high and the US and EU stay depressed there may not be room for more than 3-4 DSLR players. We know that Canon and Nikon are profitable in the segment, I'm not sure anyone else isn't in the red for their DSLR business (Oly's got bigger financial problems at the moment than their imaging business.)

    The DLSR market has been expanding, so there's been room for marginal players, and even in that environment, Olympus bled red ink for years, Pentax and Minolta both went under and got their assets bought out- Samsung has their own camera, Sony bought Minolta- so who's going to buy the next failure?
     
  16. cube macrumors G5

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  17. apearlman macrumors regular

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    Red Hook, NY
    #17
    Learn on your current camera before you shop for a new one.

    I'm going to mention a couple of ideas that haven't been mentioned yet (that I can see)...

    First, I bet you can get much better photos from your current camera. The A570 is great, and it offers full manual controls -- in particular, aperture and shutter speed. I would recommend a class (which you mentioned might be possible) or a book (such as Peterson's "Understanding Exposure") that will help you get the most out of the camera you already have. Then, once you know how the camera is limiting you, you can shop for something more capable.

    DSLRs do not take pictures of great quality. People do.

    It's true that a DSLR operates faster than most point & shoots. It will focus faster and impose less "shutter lag." But you can work around this disadvantage with techniques such as a half-press of the shutter to prefocus and reduce lag.

    For example, if you're getting blurry shots (as you mention in a later post), you might try to figure out if the problem is shutter speed or misfocus.

    Personally, I think it's much easier to learn the basics on a basic camera than to learn the basics on a complicated camera.
     
  18. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #18
    To say you have more lenses availible from Canon or Nikon Compared to Sony is unfair. Sony can go all the way back to the Minolta days. Do you have any idea how many lenses that is? There are plenty available. If you got to camera stores there is always used Minolta lenses.

    Also your giving out only certain brands for accessories also unfair I'm sure that someone makes these products for the other brands.

    Minolta didn't go under not sure if your aware of that or not? Sony just bought them because minolta was selling it's Camera Division. There are plenty of companies that I'm sure are interested in Camera companies. Also if people like you weren't telling everyone not buy these brands because everyone is going out of business maybe the problem wouldn't be so bad.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    Yes, technically getting taken over saved them from going under, but their shareholders took the offer despite management's waffling over the deal.

    I don't believe there's a financial analyst who'd have given Pentax another five years in business had they not been taken over. Also, the camera division was losing money- Hoya bought Pentax for the endoscopy business- speculation at the time was that they'd sell off the camera division after the merger- looks like they couldn't find a buyer though (rumor was they wanted to sell to Samsung due to the close integration.)

    More tellingly, here's what Hoya's CEO Hiroshi Suzuki said in '07-


    (emphasis mine)

    Also, despite some profits in optical systems, Pentax's CEO at the time didn't think they could float the company without endoscopes:
     
  20. Phatpat macrumors 6502a

    Phatpat

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    #20
    Not to nitpick, but nikon's 18-55, 55-200, and even 70-300 af-s lenses are by no means expensive, as far as lenses go...
     
  21. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #21
    well, yeah, but i think the OP is thinking in terms of image quality...and even the best of the point-and-shoots can't compete with the worst DSLR in non-ideal lighting conditions.

    you can learn the basics without every holding a camera, actually. an SLR, though, will make it easier to play around with the settings, since they don't require 10 button presses to get there.


    to the OP: consider high-end P&S cameras, like the Canon G10, Nikon P6000, and Panasonic Lumix LX3. full manual control that's more accessible than a "normal" P&S, RAW-capable, and more portable than an SLR. if you're set on an SLR, take a look at Pentax (K10/K20D), in addition to Canon (Rebel series) and Nikon (D40/50/60). i'm not impressed with Sony, and Olympus seems to only exist for those who want a tiny SLR...

    finally, i don't recommend "Understanding Exposure." just read about it online, or have someone teach you. the only reason it's recommended is because it's easy to read. its content can be questionable.
     
  22. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Can I ask what's wrong with Sony DSLR's? I'm just curious.
     
  23. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816

    ProwlingTiger

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    #23
    Hopefully nothing. I shoot with a Sony Alpha frequently as my second body.
     
  24. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #24
    I use sony as my only body that's why I'm wondering what's wrong with them.
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #25
    No, it's accurate. For instance, KEH shows us 5 focal lenghts of used Minolta AF primes, ten samples total- only two lenses wider than 50mm, one 16mm Fish Eye and one 28mm prime. I think every store I've been in over the last 20 years has had more used Nikon, Canon and Pentax lenses than Minolta.

    I'm using the brands I'd be likely to buy- I own a Kirk L bracket, I'm going to end up with a set of Kenko tubes once I've had some fun with the $8 eBay set, and since Amphibco doesn't seem to make SLR housings anymore, Ikelight is the brand I'll go with when I start diving again. These aren't marginal brands, and the point remains salient, there are fewer third-party options when you go outside Canon or Nikon.

    Minolta's imaging company was for sale because they were going under with it, and the losses would have sunk the whole company. You don't sell off a business that's doing well unless you get a multiple of about 15 or so for it- and the company "Konica Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc." of which the camera division was a part seems to no longer be producing paper, chemicals, minilabs, film, light meters, scanners or binoculars- in fact they don't seem to produce anything any longer, so while they may still exist on paper as a subcorporation of the main company, they seem to be pretty-much out of business.

    Once again, you have yet to substantiate the "plenty of companies," since most of the marginal layers have been losing money in an expanding market- hardly an attractive acquisition target.

    If these companies had been run well, they wouldn't have financial problems. All of these companies are publicly traded on the Japanese exchanges- you can look at their statements and see how they're doing. I'm hardly the voice of consumer spending, and I'm hardly the only one who's saying that at least one of these companies likely won't make it in the future. I'm certainly not the one responsible for say Olympus having to restate their projections for 2008 or who forced them to sell off what looks to be a profitable chunk of their life sciences division.

    Anyway, the fact that I'm saying it doesn't change the facts behind the statements- the fact is that Nikon is making very good profits off of it's DSLR sales, Canon's profit is down a lot, but it's still a profit-

    Here's what Hoya had to say about it's 3rd quarter Pentax results:

    "Negative growth" isn't something someone wants to purchase- Pentax lost market share during the holiday buying season- now maybe you want to purchase a camera from a manufacturer who's bleeding 1.4 billion Yen a quarter making it, losing market share against his competitors and whose main acquisition target is losing money in a growing market- but that's not the profile of a company I'd want to start buying into a system from. If I already had the system, I'd probably take the odds, but I wouldn't buy in at this point and I wouldn't go long on Hoya, Sony or Oly at the moment- I'm still doing the math on Nikon since the currency fluctuations can kill indirect investment on the US OTC market.
     

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