Don't know where to start, new DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wvuwhat, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. wvuwhat macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #1
    So, I'm still unemployed, so to stay on insurance even longer, I'm going to be taking more classes at a local community college (I already have a B.A.). Anyway, last semester was primarily web design classes and this semester I'm signed up for some photography classes.

    With that said, I need some help. My step-mother has a D60, but she wants to upgrade. I'm not sure when this will happen, but I may be EXTREMELY lucky and inherit this.

    But, it looks like that won't be happening.

    I know my 4 assignments are: Nature, People, Action, and Your choice. So, I will need to be able to do these 3 genres. I'm thinking action could be taken as capturing a slow-paced "action," so I'm not expecting to have to photograph a football game, or anything like that. So, I think for the time being, a kit lens will be ok.

    My budget will probably be less than 800, for the kit. If I can find a better body, I will probably be able to borrow lens's that my mother has (she has a few good ones).

    So, I think I want to stick with Nikon, just to have compatibility with her lens's.

    I would like to stay away from a D40, because she is trying to tell me that she hated it.

    So, what would you're recommendation be? Besides the classes, I will probably only be taking pictures of nature (mostly b&w) and maybe a few on the golf course.

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    Seriously, I'd go with a D40. You'd have money left over for a flash, camera bag, card reader and software.

    Paul
     
  3. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #3
    I'm not so much worried about the accessories. I already have a few hundred saved for all that. Plus, that's something I can buy and not worry about a huge chunk coming out of my living expenses.

    I really want to stay away from a D40, I'd like to maybe jump up to the next rung. I just don't want to buy one and have to upgrade in 6 months when I'm not happy with it, especially if I can spend a few hundred more for a better camera.

    What do you all think of the D5000? It's currently 688.xx at Amazon with a 18-55mm... I'm sure if I shopped around I may be able to find this for a little cheaper.
     
  4. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

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    Nov 22, 2007
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    Ask Apple
    #4
    I hate so to sound like an ass, but can you borrow you MIL camera?

    Also, why do you need a DSLR. Could you get by with a good point-and-shoot. There are some good deals on the old Canon G10.
     
  5. 88888888 macrumors 6502a

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  6. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #6
    The way things are looking, no, I can't borrow it. If I can talk to her, I may be able to "convince" her to upgrade. However, she's one of those step-mothers that really doesn't like her step-child, so I would probably still have to pay for it, not inherit it and definitely not borrow it. I can't even borrow a baking pan from her... This is a looong story, but I'd rather skip this route and not talk to her about it and keep my fingers crossed for her saying "here, take this."

    Those are pretty much my choices. What would you go with, I kinda like the d5000 having the articulating screen, but don't know if I'll ever use it.
     
  7. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
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    Alaska
    #7
    Canon T1i fits right into your price bracket with a kit lens and is a very respectable little setup right now.

    The same can be said for the Nikon 5000...about the same either way.

    Those are the class leaders for your budget....maybe the new Sonys, but I'm unfamiliar with them. Check out dpreview.com for details on either of those.
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #8
    If you can't even borrow a baking pan from her, what makes you think she'll loan you her lenses?

    You said you were only looking at Nikon cameras because you could borrow lenses from her. The best solution for your budget and needs might be a Pentax. With Pentax cameras you can use a vast array of vintage lenses that have exceptionally good optics and that come at double-digit prices on eBay and Craigslist. Worth considering, unless you really will have regular access to good Nikon lenses.
     
  9. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #9
    Good point. She'd be more willing to lend me a lens, because of the fact, she has 3 or 4 that she doesn't use at all. I like the Pentax recommendation, but would like to spend a little more and get a Nikon. I think that 688 is a good deal for a Body and kit lens, can anyone tell me otherwise?
     
  10. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #10
    Umm... 'K.
    Let me be the first to suggest that you go the used route.

    $800, and whatever you saved for accessories is a bunch, but I really see no reason for you to settle for a body that is subpar. Your assignments seem like they can be handled with a wide-short telephoto, so a kit lens will be sufficient.

    If you're looking for a decent price on a used camera, I can recommend KEH. A 20D will run you about $325, and you can get a kit 18-55 lens for about $120. Spend another $90 for a 50 f/1.8, and spend the rest of your budget on a decent tripod. A flash would be great to get, but hardly necessary for an introductory class.

    This way you won't have to borrow anything from your MIL, even a baking pan.
     
  11. Gatteau macrumors 6502a

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    May 23, 2009
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    Italy
    #11
    With the D5000, you won't be able to use just about any lens as the D5000 only autofocuses with the latest AF-S (and old pro AF-I) lenses. All AF lenses won't autofocus on a D5000.

    Check if the lenses you have have "AF-S" on them, if they do you're fine.
     
  12. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #12
    Two Cents

    I'd go for a used D50. You honestly don't need the megapixels (unless you're planning on making large, poster-sized prints), and the bodies go for about the same price as a used D40 on eBay at ~$250. As it has an in-body autofocus mechanism, you'll be able to autofocus with bargain gems such as the 50mm f/1.8D, which can be had for a mere $100 or so (a used 18-55mm non-VR AF-S kit lens can be had for a little less, even), letting you use the remainder of that ~$800 budget on a flash, tripod, or an even nicer lens.

    The best thing to do, though, would be to go to your local camera store and actually fiddle around with all their cameras to see which brand/camera feels best to you, while trying to ignore whatever sales pitch you may be receiving. Just because your stepmom hates D40s doesn't mean that you will. (Also, it's odd that she upgraded to a D60 despite her anti-D40ism, since, as far as I can tell, their bodies are identical down to the button placement, as are their respective interfaces. I suspect she only only loves it for the megapixels. So sad.)

    And then I realized that I pretty much made the same suggestion as Lovesong, except with Nikon instead of Canon. Kudos to me.

    I guess that's two votes, now, for buying used.
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #13
    Yes. The D50 is the best long term value because of the in-body motor.

    If you are buying a new body then avoid the low end Nikons ad get at least a D80 because of the in-body motor.
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    Just to be clear, "latest" is somewhat of a misnomer, Nikon has been producing AF-S lenses since 1998- while concurrently producing AF-D lenses which require an in-body focus motor. There are few focal lengths which aren't available as AF-S (or HSM for Sigma) and these days it's getting less and less of an issue unless you have a specific need- lots of older AF-D lenses aren't nearly as good as their modern counterparts and the prices of those which are have skyrocketed enough that it's often best to seek out at least a Sigma equivalent. Mostly, it's an issue if you're seeking out a specialty lens, as those haven't always been near the top of the list for reformulating (Nikon generally redoes the optical formula these days when they produce an AF-S equivalent to take advantage of modern glass and coatings.)

    Paul

    I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "long-term" at this point since the sensors are getting older and will degrade or fail with time.

    I also think for a new photographer it's a moot issue- there's not much in AF-D-land that's not represented in AF-S/HSM-land with much better performance. Buy the time the budding photographer is practiced enough for specialty lenses they'll be looking at their next body anyway.
     
  15. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #15
    I'm not sure I agree about the sensor degrading/failing over time, as it seems the other components in the camera (namely the shutter/mirror) is the part that fails long before any of the electronics do.

    I agree with you on the AF-D thing though. A good number of the old AF-D stuff is outclassed by modern AFS equivalents, and as you mentioned before, AFS is nothing new it's been around for more than a decade now. It's not like buying into an AFS body limits you to only a small subset of available lenses.
     
  16. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #16
    My ol' D50 is still working just fine....

    People get so caught up in having the newest and latest fad, but the old models can sometimes best the best proven workhorses. Purchased it for around $300, and made that back in two shoots.

    You could get a D50 body for around $250 used. That would be my suggestion. In eight months, you'll wish you had the $400 back.
     
  17. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #17
    I know it's a bit off-topic, but since it was brought up, figured I'd respond.

    Some of the AF-D lenses are very close optically to the newer AF-S lenses, and when you consider the price difference on the used market, they're a definite bargain if you have a body that can AF with them. And... less to break. No built-in motor to go haywire, which I've had two fail on me (one Canon, one Nikon.)

    Used, near mint 80-200f/2.8 AF-D (2-ring) can be had for $700-800, less than half the price of the (now discontinued) 70-200f/2.8 AF-S VR model, or the very expensive current VRII model. Optically, very little to complain about with the older 80-200f/2.8 AF-D- it's a great lens. Pro caliber image quality.

    Previous version 300mm f/4 prime AF, mint condition - approximately $500. Excellent optics. Pro caliber image quality.

    "Nifty-fifty" 50mm f/1.8 AF-D. I got mine (an earlier Japanese made version) for $100, mint condition. Won't autofocus on a D60 or D3000/5000. Will AF on a D50, D70(s) or D80 or higher series.

    The point simply is that with even a D50 ($250) and a couple of older, mint condition AF-D lenses, one can begin to aquire very good glass for a lot less than you would normally think - provided you have the screw-drive focus motor in the camera. Without that, a new Nikon enthusiast would be looking to spend a lot more $$ to get the same performance optically (unless manually focusing is your thing.)

    I'd second the D50 purchase over a D40 or D60 any day of the week. Six megapixels, but almost the same pixel density on the sensor as the D700, so the image quality is really not an issue, unless you want huge prints. The camera is slightly bigger (more like a D80) in the hand which for some people makes it more comfortable to grip than the D40-60 series.

    Sure, you'll outgrow the D50 in time, but you'll get your money's worth before that happens. And, your lenses will likely move on with you if you buy wisely. Don't put all your money into a body at first, if you can help it. If you carefully shop for mint/excellent condition used, you let someone else take the depreciation hit, and when you spend your money, your lenses will hold their value and your investment will be a good one. Just do some research. There's plenty of information out there.

    Just a few thoughts for the OP to consider.
     
  18. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a

    epicwelshman

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    Nassau, Bahamas
    #18
    I'm going to stay out of the lens discussion because I simply don't know enough to comment, but I definitely second the D40/D50 used argument.

    The newer, better cameras are nice to have, but when we boil the art of photography down, they don't do anything that the D40/50 etc. can't.

    I got a D40x 2.5 years ago and loved it to pieces. It did everything I needed, and the only reason I picked up a D90 was because I needed a second body for weddings and the low-light performance on the D90 was better.

    All things considered, especially your financial situation, if you insist on sticking with Nikon buy the cheapest camera you can, buy used lenses, and rely on your skill to grow.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
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    #19
    Digital sensor modules have a finite lifespan. The cost of a shutter replacement is $250, the cost of a sensor replacement is likely to be higher and over time the sensor module will move out of the parts inventory while I'd bet that the shutter module is shared by later models.

    I did some research and some math, and it's probably true that the number/size of hot pixels over time is small enough that it shouldn't make a noticeable difference for anyone who's not transatlantic or transpacific aircrew and even then I'm not sure- we know there's a 100x increase in radiation, but I'm not sure if it creates an equal or exponential increase in sensor defects. (.2u defects average every 122 days- if it's linear that'd be every ~61 days in Denver and every 2-3 flights.)

    Paul
     
  20. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #20
    Alright. So, I have it down to these:

    D40 - 461.xx
    D3000 - 495.xx
    D5000 - 687.xx

    I'm really starting to be tempted by the D3000, especially because it's only 30 bucks or so more expensive than the D40. All of these come with the same 18-55mm lens. I am not sure the whole HD video thing and articulating display are worth the price difference b/w the first two and the D5000.

    So...D3000?
     
  21. mike dunx macrumors regular

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    Oct 15, 2006
    Location:
    Central FL
    #21
    id say the d3000 is the best choice out of the 3, but you are really limiting yourself on len possibilities & flash sync capabilities by not choosing the d50

    if you want more power than the d50 than a used d90 would be a very nice alternative
     
  22. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #22
    If those are the choices, I'd say go for the D3000, as (at least on Amazon) it comes with a VR lens and the D40 does not. Also, the 10 MPs will hopefully keep any megapixel insecurities at bay for a year or two.

    Again, I'd recommend a D50 over any of those. You'll be thankful when you only have to pay $100 instead of $450-500 to autofocus a nifty fifty(mm large-aperture lens) on your camera. Think of it this way: all of these cameras are entry-level, and when you stop being as unemployed, (and likely before then) you'll want to upgrade, regardless of what you get now. Until then, the D50 is the most cost-effective choice, despite being an older camera.
     
  23. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
    #23
    Agree with you. My old Rebel XT is working fine, too. The only problem I have had with the sensor is a little dust every couple of years or so, which has been removed as needed with a Sensor Dust Arctic Butterfly.
     
  24. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

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  25. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

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    Sep 26, 2007
    #25
    I hate to say it, but I dropped the classes. With the holidays and being unemployed it just isn't worth my money (right now). I think, for the time being, I may pick up a Canon 780/790, forgot the model number, and fulfill my need for a camera. If money allowed I would get a D5000 with at least one extra lens, from all the reviews I've seen. So, I may get there. Here's to crossing my fingers for a job soon.
     

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