DSLR for newbie

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mvkVirtual, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. mvkVirtual macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2009
    I am looking into starting photography and need to get to know the basics. I want amazing quality shots of all sorts, such as macro, scenic (trees, coastlines etc) the usual photography, but a low price.

    1) Which cameras would you recommend? I have been looking at the following:
    -Sony AS230
    -Olympus E-600
    -Canon EOS 1000D (Rebel XS)
    -Nikon D3000

    2) What about megapixels and ISO? I know ISO is important because at the correct setting reduces noise in the picture. But how do I know how to set the ISO etc?

    So what would be the best camera for the best quality for all types of photography? I live in the UK and do not want to spend over £500. Thanks.
  2. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Personally Id recommend the Canon EOS, but it really is a very personal preference. Many of my photographer friends swear by Nikon or Sony, but Im a Canon person (My camera, scanner and one of my printers are Canon).
  3. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2006
    I was in a similar situation as you a little while ago. I personally picked up the Nikon D3000. My budget was very limited ($500 or under for body + lens). I was able to get the D3000 kit for $436 shipped, which I thought was a pretty good deal.

    I don't know your budget, but I would deffinately look into the Pentax K-X. It has great features, and since it is a CMOS sensor it has really great low light. performance (ISO). Don't get me wrong, I love my D3000, but you should deff. look into the K-X as it is only a $100 or so more.

    Also depending on your budget, you could look into a Nikon D5000, which for a little more gives you live view, a tilting LCD, bracketing, etc.

    The problem with the two low end Nikons (D5K, D3K) is that neither has a built in focus motor or built in Image stabilization. So getting those treats is dependant on your lens. (however there a few good, cheap lenses that work)

    Most importantly, try before you buy! I held a canon and a NIkon and the nikon fit my hand much better (not ideal, but better...it has a deeper grip). Also IMO Nikon makes the best feeling low end body. My D3000 feels solid whereas both the Pentax k-x and the canon feel somewhat cheap and plastic-y
  4. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    All of them are good Cameras, but really try them see how they handle etc.

    More Megapixels doesn't always mean better pictures.
    ISO is the way the sensor reacts to light, the higher the number the lower light it'll work in (to put it simply anyway).

    All and none, all are capable cameras but the most important things are lenses. Of the 4 Canon and Nikon have the larger range (and larger range of 3rd party lenses) followed by Sony (lots of old Minolta lenses work with them) and lastly Olympus.

    You've not mentioned Pentax? They'll fit in around the Sony area for lens availability.

    If you're shopping on a budget then check out www.camerapricebuster.co.uk, but I'd recommend trying before buying. After all you may love the specification of the Canon, but hate the handling once you've bought it.

    You mentioned 'all types of photography' , maybe then you might be better off looking at a bridge type camera. As £500 will probably only get you a DSLR and maybe 1-2 lenses.
  5. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    For what it's worth, I had a Rebel XS for a little while and was completely content with it; it also was my first DSLR.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are not alone, EVERY beginner makes this same mistake. They think they are only buying an SLR camera body. All those things you listed above are just one part of a "system". The system is a body and a set of lenses. The bulk of the budget (after some time) is in the lenses. Lenses last for decades, no need to replace them but SLR bodies last only until the technology moves on. Like buying a cell phone of a computer.

    But when you choose a brand you are stuck with it. YOu ext body or lens will have to be the same brand. 15 years from now if you pick Nikon you will be buying Nikon. So choose based on wh you think will have the best stuff many years down the line.

    When it comes right down to it. No one looking at a photo can guess which SLR body was used. But looking at an image I could make a good guess about which kind of lens was used. What I always tell people is that lenses make images SLR bodies capture images.

    Yes that advice about handling the camera body to see which fits in your hands best is OK advice but remember the replacment body will be the same brand and you can't handle that one as it is not yet made. So extend the advice to the entire line, even bodies you can't afford and see which BRAND of body you like best. Also look at the line up of lenses available and decide with line you would lke to buy from over the next several years. Then chose a BRAND. Once you know the brand pick a body and lens to fit your budget. At first just by the "kit" lens. Then shoot 1,000 images and only then buy a second lens.

    Short answer: In your budgt range you get the best bang per buck if you can find a used Nikon D50 or D70. About $300. THose bodies can mount any Nikon Lens made over the last 50 years so you have a wide range of options on the used market. Later upgrade the body and sell the D50 for what you paid.

    Botton line here is that you are NOT just buying an SLR body you are buying a set of parts, the SLR body not even the most important part. During your first year of buying spend not more than 1/2 the budget on the body. Durring that first year you will buy a body and "kit" lens plus likey either a second lens or a flash or maybe all of that. After that, the body will be 1/2 to 1/3rd the total cost.
  7. mvkVirtual thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2009
    Thanks guys, thats answered allot of my questions - although I still don't know what to buy.

    I'm leaning towards the Nikon D3000, I like the features, like the Nikon brand overall and the image quality seems awesome. However since I am a beginner this is a big investment for me, and just want to make sure I buy the right camera.

    The D3000 is on amazon for £368 which is a very good price I think. Any last suggestions? Thanks :)

    The Olympus E600 looks really good too. I'm completely stuck!
  8. NathanCH macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2007
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I bought the Nikon D40 about 2 years ago and I still use it almost daily. I want to upgrade, not because the D40 sucks (It's awesome) but because I want more!

    The D3000 would be a superb great DSRL.
  9. pcypert macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2006
    As others have said pick them up if you can. Also if video is a desire at all I'd go Canon... it's better implemented in the newer bodies and they have a whole Pro lineup and years of experience there to go on.

    My hands still prefer Nikon bodies, but I shoot Canon because it gets me the images I want and allows me to use the lenses I like (85 1.2, 35 1.4, etc)

  10. Rondue macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2008
    I went Nikon / i like their lens selection, doesnt seem so out of control like Cannon/ and Sony = LMAO
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I would just try out all these cameras and see which one you like best. I wouldn't worry about things like lens selection or so: all manufacturers offer a lens line-up that covers the needs of 90 % of the people, especially amateurs. Don't let people tell you that you shouldn't go for anything but Canon or Nikon, because company abc doesn't have a 50 mm f/1.2 for $2k or a loupe macro -- lenses that in all likelihood you won't buy anyway. Especially if you are a beginner, in all likelihood, you'll get the entry-level body and a kit lens -- which you can always sell later and start afresh if you want to.

    If you just want to get into photography with a dslr, they'll all do a good job. Trying the cameras is extremely important: they have to feel right in your hand. For instance, to some people a Nikon D40 or an Olympus E-620 feels just right, because they are so small. To others, they feel wrong, because they are so small. It's really a matter of taste. I like my cameras big, for instance.

    The other thing is that there are a few very nice third-party lenses (I own a Tokina 12-24 mm and a Sigma 30 mm f/1.4) -- which are agnostic as to what system you use.

    Another thing you shouldn't do is pixel peep and compare noise charts: at base ISOs (100-600/800), they will all be very good. A lot, lot, lot more important than numbers is to learn how to use light and space to compose good photographs. Here, it doesn't matter if you use a 50-year old all manual rangefinder or a Nikon D3x: if the photo is good, it's good. Unless people want to recreate a certain look, they will not ask you: oh, did you use an 85 mm f/1.2?
  12. pavenger macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2008
    Spokane, WA USA
    In short, it would be most wise of you to get either a Nikon, or a Canon camera. Like another poster said, its not all about the camera body. you will have your lenses for many many years but go through bodies every few years. I personally like Nikon, while others swear by Canon, they both make great cameras so I would suggest playing with both brands. Nikon and Canon make the best lenses and speedlights, so it would be VERY prudent of you to get either a nikon D series or a canon EOS. other brands might have a nice feel, but when it comes down to lens quality and digital menu quality on the camera, Nikon and Canon take the cake. I have a D40 I bought a few years ago and it works prefect to this day. I was given a few old Nikon lenses from my father from back in the day and they all still work perfectly. Choose a system that will outlast you. also keep in mind that lenses are a better investment than a few extra megapixels so I would suggest getting an affordable camera and trying to get nice lenses. I hope I could help in any way
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Disclaimer: I'm a Nikon guy.
    Not really, there are great lenses in any system. If you choose Sony, for instance, you have access to very nice G lenses and Zeiss lenses that rival the best Canon and Nikon lenses. New (and old) Olympus lenses also have a very good reputation, both in terms of optical quality and built quality.
    You can use older lenses with other systems as well, although Nikon has a rather unique advantage that you can take 40-year old lenses and put them on current cameras if you want.

    If one goes with Canon or Nikon, one has the advantage of a larger used market.
  14. nws0291 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    I went with Nikon. I'm also a noob with anything photography related. I tend to quickly move into the prosumer level with most of my hobbies that I pick up. What I did when deciding what camera was to first decide what I wanted to shoot. I light low light/night and wide angle cityscapes. I decided to get the D90 kit because it has fantastic low light performance without going full pro level. I also picked up the new 35mm f1.8 prime and I am still deciding what wide angle lens to pick up. The Tokina 11-16 f2.8 is prob what I will get. I don't have a need for a telephoto yet.

    Also another factor was that my mom has a d60 and my soon to be brother in law has a d90 as well. We can all share lens/flashes when needed so it reduces the initial investment in glass.
  15. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    Don't count Pentax out. Their cameras are very nice. Take a look at their offerings. Pentax has some great lenses.

    After having sold off all my gear awhile back and now looking to get back into a dSLR, I'm giving Pentax a hard look myself. I've seen many stellar images come out of a Pentax digital.
  16. yaroldb macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2007
    I went to Olympus because of the Glass. I started with an E-500 with the kit lens and have now upgraded to an E-3. The kit lens is not bad at all. You really won't be able to do Macro with any of the kit lens. Olympus has an excellent 35m marco you can buy new for less than $200. I've seen them used for about $130. It was my first lens after the kit lens and I still use it. It's super sharp.

    I've already stated that I am an Olympus guy and love the lens line up. However, you may want to stay away from the E-600. There is no RAW support on Aperture and I think Lightroom will not accept the raw files either. This means you have to convert them to DNG. This takes awhile and is not that much fun. Lightroom supports the E-620 however. I'm not sure if you're even using any of the PP software but just a heads up. Look at the e-30 if you're looking at Olympus. The body is higher cost than what you're looking at now, but once you start pricing lens, they are much cheaper than a lot of the Canon and Nikon stuff. If you're looking to go pro, then Canon and Nikon equipment is the way to go. There is nothing in the Olympus line up that can compete with say an D3s. They know that and they know it is not their market.
  17. mvkVirtual thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2009
    That's a very good point, and thanks for clearing that up. I DO however want to use Aperture 3 / Photoshop on most of my pics, so I need something that produces compatible files.
    I'm not interested in extra lenses at the moment, I have just been looking at the 'kits' they sell in Comet, Currys etc. Most come with an 18-55mm lens I believe.

    So with the bundled lenses, which has the best performance overall? :confused: I am leaning towards the nikon/canon, I personally think the E-600 has the best quality from the test shots I have seen - but like yaroldb said it uses the wrong file format.
  18. Ish macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    This may or may not be something that interests you, but it's something I didn't know about in the beginning and relates to the way you like to work.

    Looking at the low end Canons and Nikons, if you look at the back of the Nikon there are fewer buttons than on the Canon, with more of the options only available from the menu. However, some people prefer having everything together in there.

    On the back of the Canon there are a lot more buttons with direct access to some of the menu items. You can still go into the menus and find what you want but the buttons are shortcuts. It won't make the slightest difference to your pictures but you might have a preference and I've never seen anyone mention it in this forum.
  19. peterbooth macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2010
    I was in a similar situation to you (I live in NYC and didn't want to spend over $600). I take simply appalling pictures, consistently. My wife really wanted a new camera so I figured I would buy an entry level DSLR. I looked at the reviews on consumersearch.com, which is simply superb, and they suggested the Rebel Xs (approx $500.)

    Then a friend asked me to take her picture with her EOS 7D (19 megapixel approx $1800)
    "no, no!" I insisted, but she needed a picture. I took it and was amazed - she looked better in the picture than in real life.

    Now I was stuck - how could I "settle" on the 10 megapixel E1000D (rebel Xs)? I read about the forthcoming EOS T2I ($900) which was out of my price range.

    After much searching I discovered there was a store thats sells refurbished Canon cameras at a steep discount (www.adorama.com) They had the refurbished Eos Rebel T1i kit for $599. Coincidentally they were a 5 minute walk from my home, so I bought this two days ago.

    1. picture quality amazing, with fully auto settings indoor in limited life and the image stabilization enabled, even without tripod with espresso induced hand tremor - first time in my life I have ever taken decent pictures.
    2. my wife thinks (correctly) that it's too big to carry around as a regular camera so now i need to find her:D a point and shoot.

  20. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    Like the other posters have said, all of these are good cameras. One thing I think you need to decide is how serious you are going to be about your photography? What is serious to you and me may not be serious at all to someone else.

    Can you see yourself paying $200, $500, or even $2,000 for additional lenses? If so, then the advice about choosing a system that will work for you is great advice.

    However, if you are looking to get the body with the kit lens and maybe purchase one more lens, then I think all of these (especially the Nikon and Canon) are good options.

    In my case I liked the Nikon bodies, and decided to go for the D5000 over the D3000. I liked the addition of Video, and the fact that it had the same sensor as the D90.

    The advice to look at a used D50 or D70 is also good if you are going to add lenses. For example 50mm prime lenses are available for those cameras for around $100. That lens won't auto-focus on the D40/D60/D3000/D5000, and you end up paying $200 for a 35mm that will auto-focus.

    Same thing for longer zoom lenses. I was looking at a 70-300mm zoom, and the Nikon that auto-focuses on the D5000 is $500+, while the D50 and D70 can use one for under $200. There is an awesome f2.8 model for $1,500 too.

    There are cheaper lenses from Sigma, Tamron, etc as well.

    Bottom line, if you are not going to be purchasing a lot of additional lenses, then the cheaper D3000/D5000 are a great solution. Just be aware of the fact that in order to take full advantage of some of the lenses, you are going to have to pay more for them. The D3000/D5000 are cheaper bodies, but may need more expensive lenses.

    If you can see yourself paying $500+ for additional lenses, then I would look at the D90, or a used D50/D70 like the earlier poster recommended...
  21. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    Not to criticize your purchase (I'd love to have a T1i myself), but odds are you would have gotten similar image quality from the 1000D. The sensor itself that actually captures the image is the same size in both the 1000D and the 7D, with the main difference being processing and some degree of progress in sensor technology...
  22. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    The sensor between an XS and a 7D while similar size behaves very differently in low light at high ISO's. You can see examples of this at www.the-digital-picture.com to compare any two cameras.
  23. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    "Differently", yes. If you need the high ISO and accept the noise associated with it then by all means, the 7D is one of the best in the crop-league. But looking at ISO 1600 they're all very similar in image quality other than the obvious resolution-advantage of the newer cameras. (7D vs 1000D, large images.)
  24. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    While they are more similar than different when compared with a 5dII or above, the obvious advantage when comparing the two sensors is going to be for someone who needs to crop their pictures or print on large format printers given the sheer increased amount of MP the 7D offers. However, the XS is definitely an amazing sensor at an rate (it's why I personally went with an XSi - the only real limiting factor at that high quality of a sensor will be the lens).
  25. venusian macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2008
    Don't let the DNG conversion stop you! firstly, there will no doubt be an update for Aperture/photoshop - it always seems to lag for Oly. And secondly, I'm doing a DSLR course at the moment with a strong emphasis of what to do with your photos once they're off the camera. My tutor suggested we should always convert to DNG, because it's an open format and is looking set to become the industry standard. This is really important in preserving our digital history, cos who knows what might happen, if a camera company goes broke and takes their proprietary RAW format with them, you'll effectively lose your negatives. Just something to keep in mind (and Im not say Oly will go broke!!!! but some time it could happen in the long term to any of the brands)

    For lens performance check out http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/index.php
    Oly's kit lenses really rate highly compared to the kit canon and nikons :D
    Dont forget about the crop factor - you double the focal length to get the film equivalent on all fourthirds cameras rather than 1.5(or 1.6) for canon/nikon/sony (so the Oly 40-150mm is equivalent to a 55-200mm on a canon)

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