Entry Level DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Frozonecold, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. Frozonecold macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I am looking into buying a DSLR camera and I want to know what y'all recommend as a good entry level DSLR. Thanks.
     
  2. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    #2
    For the Nikon team, I'd suggest a used LN-/EX+ condtion D70 for ~$400, or a used/new D80 for $600-$800. Either of these would give you plenty of room to grow and save you enough money to start building a lens collection.

    The D40/40x/60 are fine cameras in their own right, but are crippled in that you can only autofocus with AF-S lenses, which (apart from 2 macro lenses) means slow, compromised consumer zooms, $$$ fast pro zooms, and $$$$ exotic super-telephotos. On these cameras, some of Nikon's best lenses like the fast 50's are manual focus only.

    Someone else can chime in on Canon options.
     
  3. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #3
    You can't go entirely wrong with Canon or Nikon as they are the top two brands with the most bodies and lenses to choose from.

    Me however would recommend the Olympus e-400 range of cameras, they are cheap and robust and good quality and they have a lot of automatic functions, ideal for the beginner. They are also entirely digital with no legacy film lenses (or issues) to choose from so things like automatic focusing is standard with all their lenses.

    A standard which also allows Olympus to work in partnership with other camera manufacturers so that all their lenses work with each other so if you decide Olympus are not for you, you can ditch the body later on and buy a Panasonic or a Pentax camera instead, thus offering you more choice without giving up the glass you have already bought.

    Unlike the Nikon as mentioned above with the lack of auto focusing which is maybe something you might not want to deal with as a beginner, you'd want that choice maybe and not be restricted.

    What do you hope to do with such a camera anyway as thats important.
     
  4. Frozonecold thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I was leaning towards a Nikon, but many people are telling me to go Canon. I was aware of the AF-S lens thing, but aren't most of the good lenses AF-S lenses anyway? I was thinking about a D60, what is the difference between the D60 and the D70?
     
  5. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    #5
    The D70 is older (2004 vintage) but was widely regarded as one of Nikon's best. The D60 is their newest entry level camera, but like the D40/40X before it, won't autofocus with some of Nikon's best lenses. You can read all about these cameras in mind-numbing detail here: dpreview

    I personally prefer Nikon also. Nikons simply feel better in my hand than Canons. Higher end Canons (40D and up) are nice, but the lower-end models feel like cheap plastic (a shame, since the old Canon A-1 I have from 1981 reminds me of how much better everything was constructed back then).

    Perhaps you should rent some bodies and lens combos before you make your purchase. If you're in the States, lensrentals rents Canon, Nikon, and Sony Alpha.
     
  6. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #6
    If you want to keep the budget respectable, you're looking at the Canon XT, XTi or XSi. Or the Nikon D40/40x/60. Or one of the other brands.

    I would suggest going to a BestBuy and playing with the different cameras. I had every intention of getting the Nikon D40 before I went to BB. Played with the XTi, the D40 and even the Sony A200. The Canon felt best in my hands.

    As for the AF-S lens situation, it's true that the D40/40x/60 won't auto-focus with anything else. Personally, this sealed the deal for the Canon for me. However, if the Nikon's felt better to me, I would have gotten the Nikon. There are 3rd party lenses that work for Nikon that can auto-focus. At the time, I wanted a fixed-focus lens between 25 and 35mm that was fast. Sigma makes a 30mm f/1.4 lens that auto-focuses for Nikon, so that was an option.

    Anyways, I ended up wiht the XTi with the 18-55 IS. My next len will be the 50mm f/1.8 ($85).

    ft
     
  7. Frozonecold thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 23, 2005
    #7
    I will definitely go check out best buy. I would have rented some bodies and lenses but it is too expensive. I don't like the idea of a plastic DSLR, so I may lean more towards Nikon.
     
  8. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    #8
    well, they're all plastic until you get to the magnesium alloyed bodies of the 40D/D200/D300; it's just that the Canon Rebels feel more cheaply made.
     
  9. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    Portland, OR
    #9
    Just to point out one error in this post, 4/3rds lenses won't mount to a Pentax camera. If you get an Olympus and don't like it (unlikely) then the other brands which can accept it's lenses are Panasonic and Leica.

    SLC
     
  10. jacintosh macrumors newbie

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    Jan 13, 2008
    #10
    Rebel XT

    I just purchased my tiny plastic XT and I'm very happy with it! It got the camera and the 18-55mm lense, along with battery for $389 off of eBay. That wasn't much more than I paid for my point and shoot Nikon Coolpix! It works great! Looking forward to getting a telephoto lens to go with it.
     
  11. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #11
    My bad whoops. :)
     
  12. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #12
    +1 for the Canon Rebel (whatever the latest version is) with black body.


    I admit I am biased towards Canon, and can only go on the past.

    Been shooting Canon since I bought my first 35 mm camera back in 1972, it was a range finder style camera. I did have one non-Canon SLR back then that had a screw on thread lens, I dumped that and got a Canon AE-1.

    Been stuck on Canon ever since, never ever had any issue with a Canon camera. Even my Canon A-1 that hit the floor of a restaurant in Mexico continued to work until I retired it for a Canon F-1.

    I am sure others have had the same history with Nikon.

    On a related note .... when it came time for me to buy an Auto-Focus camera back in 1988 I figured it was a chance for Nikon, Minolta or someone else to steal me away from Canon.

    I went to a Camera Shop and told the salesmen that I wanted to buy one of those " new fangled " Auto-Focus cameras and could I test one from each maker. At that time many of the offered lenses had a HUMP on the bottom that house the AF motor, Canon did not. ( +1 for Canon ). My first test was camera noise when focusing. Here again Canon was the quietest. ( +1 for Canon ). Now for the final test ... Focus Speed ... for this test I took each camera with a 50mm lens, spun the focus ring to the closest focus point. Then I pointed the camera to the other side of the store and pressed the shutter button, again Canon was the fastest. ( +1 for Canon )

    End score was Canon =3, all others =0.

    Now I gotta tell ya at that time Canon was revolutionary in making the focus motor the barrel of the lens. Buying the Canon EOS-650 meant I had to buy all new lenses again, as there was no " backwards compatility", one or two makers allowed the use of older non-AF lenses on their AF cameras but of course no AF functionality.


    Timies sure have changed over the last 20 years in the Auto-Focus area and I guess many makers are pretty much about even, though I guess each one may have a feature or two where they shine above the others.

    That is where you job comes in, identifying those features and deciding which one is most important to you.

    Pick out several models and go to www.dpreview.com and read their reviews. They even compare the reviewed camera to competitors with image comparisons.
     
  13. LoCarbHotrod macrumors member

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #13
    I was in the same boat as you, and after reading hours of reviews, comparing photos, and actually holding the 3 DSLRs in my hands, I ended up with the Sony a200, and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

    The a200 just felt better in my hands, nice chunky grip, great ergonomics, and rotating info on the LCD.

    I was looking at the D60 quite a bit, but to me the Sony was a better deal. It has in body Image Stabilization, so no matter what lens you use, it will be anti-shake. The d60 only has VR lens, and the XTi doesn't have either. Also I discovered that Nikon uses Sony sensors! The menus aren't deep in the a200 and image quality is superb, even at higher ISO's. Best way to decide is to actually go to a store and hold/play with them. Honestly though, all cameras mentioned in this thread are excellent choices, and will wipe the floor with point-and-shoots.
     
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #14
    Just wanted to clarify this statement. Both the Nikons and Canons do IS/VR via the lenses. While the D60 comes with an VR lens, the D40/40x do not. As for the Canons, the XSi comes with an IS lens, but the XTi does not. The difference is that with Canon, you can buy the camera "body only" and purchase whatever lens you want. That's what I did (XTi with the 18-55 IS lens).

    ft
     
  15. phiberglass macrumors 6502a

    phiberglass

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    Oct 3, 2007
    #15
    I would go with either Canon or Nikon, no other brands.

    Canon XTi and the Nikon D60 would be great camera for entry level.
    (Go Canon :D)
     
  16. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #16
    Why, you are doing the guy a disservice by advising him not to explore all options! Nikon and Canon have their weaknesses too ya know!

    SLC
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    Depends on your definition of "good". Two of the lense I lke are the 85mm f/1.8 and the 50mm /f1.4 neither of these are AF-S. If you think you might wat an 80-200 f/2.8 zoom the non AF-S version is much lower in price. So you have to look at the total system of body and lenses that you might want. In the end the DSLR body is not the larger part of the system.
     
  18. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    #18
    As a recent purchaser of an entry-level DSLR myself, I would say that from my perspective most of the advice in this thread is very good. I went through many of the same debates. The Olympus E-510, the Canon Rebel XTi, and the Nikon D40 wound up at the top of my list. I chose the Nikon because a) it felt the best in my hands, b) I know people who love their Nikons to death, c) it was very affordable and came with a pretty darn good kit lens to get me started.

    Now that I've started shopping for another lens, I will add that it's true the AF-S requirement (for autofocus) on the D40(x)/D60 is a little constricting; but considering how much I love the rest of the camera it's something I can deal with. It's also something that will only get better with time -- Nikon just made this switch to lens-based focus motors recently, whereas Canon has had it for a long time. Nikon (and Tamron and Sigma) will be releasing more and more AF-S lenses as time goes on; I know some are scheduled to come out this year.

    They're all going to take great photos, and they all have a few tradeoffs. I think the Nikons are particularly easy to work with for newbies...but playing with them yourself is really the only sure way to make the right decision.
     
  19. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Please search the forums… there's a wealth of information there.

    dpreview is also another good source
    kenrockwell is either loved or hated
    bythom is yet another source
     
  20. form macrumors regular

    form

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    #20
    I went Canon long ago and as far as entry level cameras go I have had no complaints. I bought the rebel XT, now available used for under $300, and just recently upgraded to a 20d.
     
  21. gamerz macrumors 6502

    gamerz

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    #21
    This might be a myth but...

    How is the Image quality on the Canon XT, XTi, and XSI compared to the D40, D40x, D60? Somewhere I read that the Rebel line-up only took good quality pictures with good lenses, whereas the D40(x) and D60 took good photos without having to have a good lens.

    Just curious.
     
  22. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    #22
  23. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    #23
    Hey! I have a Canon A-1 - there is PLASTIC on that body around the prism housing of the viewfinder.

    By the way you mention the 40D - that also holds true for the 10D / 20D / 30D.

    The AE-1 Program had less plastic on it than the A-1 - I ended up with the Canon F1 w/AE Finder as my last manual focus film camera.

    Actually the use of composite materials will lighten and strengthen a camera - composites can be lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel.

    Does anyone really buy a camera with the KIT lens?

    I've always as a rule bought the body, then picked out the lenses that I was going to use.

    A comparison of " kit " lenses is fine -IF- you are going to buy a kit lens!

    Given that all DSLR's have a filter of some sort in front of the sensor that sort of inhibit the sensor.
    I am about to spend a ton of money, ($6,000 for 6 Megapixels ) to get a good Black&White digital camera - no sensor filters that blur images ... I'd say it's a bit of a myth ... but then there is all that image processing going on inside the camera. Why buy a good camera and put a not so good lens on it?
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #24
    The D60 is newer, produces better image quality, and is what I'd choose.


    And regarding the whole "AF-S" issue with the D40X and D60: I'm sorry, but the entire issue is blown out of proportion if you're not looking for a truckload of primes. Also, there are good AND bad lenses are available in AF-S. The kit lens is, while great for a kit lens, it isn't so great in the grand scheme of things, and it's AF-S. It has been for years. It's not exactly an expensive lens, either.
    A lot of Nikon's lenses should be getting updated, albeit some are being done a bit slowly. There are a LOT of AF-S lenses now, and the majority of Sigma's lenses are also compatible with the D40X and D60. There's something like 50+ lenses available for the D60 from these 2 companies alone.

    If you want the 50 mm and/or 85 mm prime lenses, then you're out of luck. Nikon 80-400 mm.....out of luck. The old version Nikon 80-200 mm f/2.8 model......out of luck (newer one is AF-S, though). There are several other lenses that you won't be able to have AF for, but there really aren't that many.

    The only thing Nikon really hasn't addressed are the primes. You said he only has the option of "compromised consumer zooms, $$$ fast pro zooms, and $$$ exotic super-telephotos", which sounds like all the zooms, and some of the primes. Like you said, there are also macro primes with AF-S. I have the 105 mm VR macro, which has AF-S. You also mentioned the super-telephotos. Ok, so maybe he won't be going to get those $5000 lenses, but he's taken care of well unless he's looking for a handful of primes, and several zooms without AF-S.



    Anyway.....the D60. Based on the D40X, a really great, very popular camera that many people love and enjoy using immensely. The D60 is just a better version of that. Hopefully that's good enough for you, because it's good enough for most people out there.

    Canon XSi......like the features. I don't know if I like the ergonomics though, because this XSi is a different size and shape than the 300D, 350D, and 400D before it. I usually say that Canon's low end truly is "low end", but with this new camera, I don't want to say anything yet. From the samples, I'm not particularly impressed with the image quality. Personally, I think the image quality peaked at the 350D, while the 400D was a step back in image quality. This is judging from photos taken in reviews as well, where people did say the same thing about the image quality. It gained some features, but it was like a .1 upgrade to the 350D rather than a new model. The Canon 40D is wonderful though. What a great step up.
     
  25. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Yes, quite a few people do. I wouldn't if I have the choice, but I can understand some people who do.

    @gamerz
    I think you have drawn the wrong conclusion: it's that Nikon's kit lenses are better than Canon's kit lenses, not that Nikon's sensors handle bad lenses in a better way.

    But let's be honest here: the difference in image quality is not as big as some may want to make you believe, it's rather small. And most of the IQ problems stem from the lenses and not the sensor. So if you spend only $100 on a lens, you won't get as good a result as with more expensive lenses (save for the nifty fifty, of course, which generally have very good IQ).
     

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