First Camera Showdown - Help me pick the best camera for me!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 0000757, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. 0000757 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    #1
    So I'm interested in getting myself my first premium camera. I'm looking at 4 low-cost cameras right now: the Canon Rebel T3, Nikon D3100, Nikon 1 S2, and Sony Alpha a3000.

    My main purpose for this camera is to take high-quality shots as well as for use in photographic competitions for an organization I'm part of (TSA). I also want to have a good HD video recorder for job purposes and other reasons.

    I don't need fancy features, I just want 1080p video recording and a camera that produces high quality images both indoors and outdoors with vibrant colors that isn't too hard to use.

    Out of these 4 cameras, which one would you recommend for an amateur photographer/intermediate videographer.

    I'm also open to suggestions for other cameras (different models or different brands), but I want to keep this under $550-600.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  2. suprakc macrumors regular

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    Jun 15, 2013
    Location:
    Utah
    #2
    I would highly recommend the T3i, a.k.a. 600D (note the "i"). Much better than the T3. For Nikon, D3200 over the D3100. I know its a bump, but you will be glad you chose either of these over the lower end models. Also consider mirrorless, as they meet your needs very well, perhaps better than a DSLR - Especially if you primarily plan to shoot video or take photos in .jpeg format, rather than RAW.

    I would go to best buy and hold these models, so you can get a feel of which one stands out.
     
  3. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    I second this.
    Nothing like holding it and testing it out! All these cameras will be fine. Choose what feels right.

    Id be careful with the Nikon 1 system, because of the tiny sensor.

    There is huge disadvantages with tiny sensors.
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #4
    Might throw a Panasonic in there as well if interested in video; they often are a step ahead of comparable cameras in that area (Pannys had 1080p at 60fps, eg, when similar ones from other competitors were at 30fps).

    But costco has a two lens kit Canon T3 on sale for a great price right now....
     
  5. mofunk macrumors 68020

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #5
    An entry level DSLR is not a premium camera. Most of what you find in an entry level camera you can find in some point and shoot cameras.


    Video capture is not that easy to do on a DSLR. If the majority of your camera work will be video then get the DSLR that has the swivel screen. Canon T3i like suprakc said. Second choice is Nikon D5100

    Get the body and a better kit lens.
    Nikon body + 18-105mm or Nikon Body + 18-140mm
    Canon body + 18-135mm

    Buy the DSLR Body and get a better lens. You can buy new for the body and get a used/new lens.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com

    third choice Nikon D7000 (or used D7200). Better image capture. Better Battery life. Dual card slots. Lots of room to grow.
     
  6. artfun macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    #6
    My favorite camera for now is Sony a6000. With aps-c sensor it gives you the equal to dslr picture quality in smaller body.
    The only concern is the lack of good lenses for e-mount. I would definitely jump on a6000 myself if only the system has decent fast mid-range zoom like 17-50 f2.8.
     
  7. kallisti, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    kallisti macrumors 65816

    kallisti

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #7
    Just addressing the photography side of things and ignoring the videography element, what exactly do you plan on shooting? Sweeping landscapes? Portraits? Moving subjects (sports, cars, etc.)? Wildlife? Candids in low light? Studio-type shots where you get a magazine-type look (either of people or products)?

    What subjects are you going to capture for your "photographic competitions?" What effects are going to be important for this (as an example, do you need to "blur the background" for what you want to achieve)?

    You are kind of asking for the "Impossible" camera that can do everything well, is easy to use, and is dirt cheap. It doesn't exist. Ironically, "fancy features" tend to decrease with the more money you spend on a camera--less "fluff," more of what actually matters.

    It's hard to make any helpful recommendations without having a better understanding of your needs and expectations.
     
  8. 0000757 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #8
    Just basic varying shots. It's all just situational based (I.e. my competitions we get the theme when school starts) and my work shots are just for documenting. Something that can just take high-quality everyday shots.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    You missed the important part of kallisti's question: What lighting conditions do you expect to take the pictures in? From how far away, of what sort of subjects?

    There's a huge difference between an everyday office building and a high school theater in terms of what capability and more importantly what lenses you'll need.

    Every camera and each lens has trade-offs- you need to know what's important before you can decide if something fits your needs better than something else. More importantly, adequately addressing difficult technical conditions (very low light, very long reach) is increasingly expensive.

    Paul
     
  10. 0000757 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #10
    Lighting can be varying. I don't anticipate any low-light shots, just varying indoor and outdoor shots. Probably more indoor florescent light shots out of any other.
     
  11. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #11
    Going to be difficult to find a used D7200. The cameras not been released yet!

    ----------

    What glass are you thinking? The D3300 with a 35mm prime is a nice entry level DSLR. Either that or the kit 18-55mm lens which is good for the price.
     
  12. mofunk macrumors 68020

    mofunk

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    Americas
    #12
  13. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    #13
    Look at Panasonic GH4; it shoots 4K video. You can use frames from it as jpg stills. You can also tell it to record 1080p with amazing detail. It is also a good still image body.

    GH4 will run around $1600 for the body.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    I'd look at the Olympus OMD series the EM5 or the EM1. Both offer excellent features, and take great images. There's also a good selection of lenses.

    If you wish for an even more compact camera, take a look at the OLYMPUS PEN E-PM2. It has many of the features found in the OMD series but in a much smaller battery. I use the OMD for my normal stuff but when I go on vacations where a more compact camera is called for, I take that :)

    The Panasonic GH4 is a good camera as mentioned, but I like the Olympus because the image stabilization technology is baked into the camera not the lens. Panasonic does the lens stabilization thing like Nikon.
     
  15. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #15
    You want to take into account the computing power needed to processes 4k footage.
    I only see 4k as something for pro-production companies.not really practical for consumers.

    For 1600$ you can already get ff bodies like the D610, sony a7 or 6d.
     
  16. jclo Editor

    jclo

    Staff Member

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #16
    Seconding this. At that price point, I think you'll appreciate the portability and the image quality that Olympus has to offer. The OMD EM1 and EM5 are quite a bit out of the price range you mentioned, but the EM10 with kit lens isn't too far over and it's a lot of bang for your buck.

    Also, check out the Sony Nex 5T. It's right in your price range and a good choice.
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #17
    Then it honestly doesn't matter- any of the choices aren't likely to have discernible differences between them. Lens availability and price as well as ergonomics are likely to be your biggest issues. There's still some risk of the smaller market-share vendors tanking in the next year or two- but outside of that things are pretty open.

    Paul
     
  18. 0000757 thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Dec 16, 2011
    #18
    Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions.

    I've finally decided I'm going to go with the Canon Rebel T3.
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    Theone thing to think about is that if you buy a Canon body (the T3) then you will need to buy a Canon lens. You can't mix and match brands. So think about which lenses you might like to buy now and in the further

    If you think you light like the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 then you need to buy the Nikon body because if you buy the Sony body you'll be buying Sony lenses.

    If you are on a budget look into used lenses. Canon and Nion have the best used market

    At the high end both Canon and Nikon make good lenses but at the low end. I think Nikon's entry level lenses are better made. If you are looking at the entry level 18-55then Nikon's is better. I also like Nikon's flash system better. Canon has some other advantages. All three of these bodies are useless without a lens and that is the most important part. Shop for the lens with more care then the body as that is what matter the most.

    I like Nikons ergonomics best but Canon normally wins on a feature checklist.

    Chose the brand. Whatever brand body you buy you will be buying that brand's lenses and o on and then when you replace the body, that brand again. I guess I'm saying "plan ahead."

    ----------

    This is a perfect example off what I always like to say. Choose the brand based on the availability of the lenses you will likely buy. It's the LENSES that matter the most. An f/2.8 "standard zoom" would be nice to have.
     
  20. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #20
    Unless you purchase the the Sony E-mount or buy into Panasonic or Olympus with M43. Because of the reduced flange distance on these mirrorless cameras, you adapt lenses from Canon EF, Nikon FX, Leica M and others.

    By pushing the backplane forward, you emulate the distance of these system's native mounts by adjusting the focal point to the sensor.
     

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