Getting into digital Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Simgar988, May 31, 2010.

  1. Simgar988 macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2009
    I used to be into 35mm b&w photography years back. I'm interested in renewing the interest with a nice digital camera. Whats good these days? Is it best to go used if I wanna save some money? Figured I could get some good advice here! Cheers
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Too vague. A "nice digital camera" can mean a lot of things.

    Too vague. Lots of brands and models are considered "good" for their niche.

    Generally, but this is also pretty vague. Some used equipment lasts decades. Others not so much.

    Perhaps you'd like to be more specific so people can actually help you.
  3. Simgar988 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2009
    I don't really know what I want, hence the vagueness. A nice SLR camera with removable lenses and a screen. Price range between 400-1000$ I don't want a camera that 15 yo girls use for facebook pictures. You get the idea
  4. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    In the UK at least, which is all I know, used DSLRs go for stupid money. As such I would only buy a new one, unless I had some specific purpose in mind. All the DSLRs and all the micro four thirds cameras currently made are great, so you have a choice of Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, possibly Samsung. You can't go wrong if you don't have super-specific uses in mind.
  5. Pikemann Urge macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2007
    There are a few things I can suggest, based on experience and doing lots of reading. Pentax and Nikon are great because there are so many lenses they can take. Both systems' lens mounts go back a long way, so you can imagine how many lenses there are that you can choose from.

    Pentax offers better value for money. For example, Pentaxes have in-body image stabilization. Nikon makes you buy the expensive lenses. I like Nikon for its pro cameras but for other uses, Pentax is at least as good if not better.

    I suggest having a look at the following bodies on Then see what they're going for second-hand. There are a few things that are of critical importance with digital SLRs: long exposure performance (early cameras developed hot spots after a few seconds) and noise. Also, consider things like frame rate etc. Well, enough lecturing. Have a look at these:

    Nikon D200

    Nikon D60

    Nikon D40X

    Pentax K20D

    Pentax K200D

    In addition to those, check the two cheapest bodies from each manufacturer that are currently being made. If you can or want to spend more, go the next models up.

    Check forums like for options on lenses; then check for how they actually perform. Many Nikon lenses aren't really that good, so don't buy on name alone. Check this for subjective Nikon lens evaluations (scroll down):

    I hope I've been of some help.
  6. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    In North America, you save a fortune by going used. I have stopped buying new for photography. DSLR bodies drop like a rock in price as new generations come out, by buying used, you drastically reduce the cost of ownership.

    I am going to talk about Canon because that's what I know best. Nikon and Pentax also make good cameras. Sony cameras are decent, but I know of a number of people that regretted going down that road. If a DSLR is too big, Olympus micro 4/3 cameras are worth a look.

    For Canon, the best deal right now seems to be a used 40D. Great LCD, decent low light performance, and if you have a bit of time to look, you can get one for $500. That leaves you some money for glass. A 20D with $800 glass would likely get you better pictures than a 40D with $500 glass, but the 40D is a much better camera and the 20D's are getting pretty old (I still use one, but it is getting tired).

    What focal lengths are you looking for? Remember most DSLR's have a 1.6x (Canon) or 1.5x (Nikon) crop factor, so if you used to like a 50 mm lens, to achieve the same look you need a 30 or 35 mm lens on most DSLR's.

    If you don't know what focal lengths you are interested in, I'd buy an 18-55 IS for ~$100. Take a few thousand shots with it, then buy a new piece of gear that allows you to capture the shots you love to take, but can't with what you have. Another cheap starting lens is the 50 1.8 (~$100) which allows you to effectively play with Depth of Field.

    Resist the urge to buy a xx-300 with the camera. Many people buy these lenses thinking they are what they need, but they are too slow to use in most situations they want to use them in. Also don't waste your money on cheap filters to "protect" your lenses, they do very little to protect the lens and just murder the contrast in your pictures.
  7. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I find it interesting that i am seeing more and more people who are buying their first (D)SLRs are buying Nikon. This is a stark contrast to just a few years ago. Canon has lost 50% market share in the lower end, but the majority of pros still shoot Canon. Nikon has come back strong (remember when they had just the D100 and D1/D2 and D70 for such a long time, and didn't release anything?), which is great for consumers.

    I also credit Nikons' marketing team, although Ashton is still a tool; which is ironic, as that is what cameras are!

    Only you can make a decision that is right for you. For me, I don't buy into all the gimmicks that they use nowadays. I really like my camera and get great prints from my gear. I think megapixels still is a huge selling point, but video is quickly catching up as a deciding factor.

    I don't use video, so I couldn't care less about that. I don't use a high frame rate (it is nice to have, just incase..mine shoots 6.5 fps), and I don't usually shoot above ISO 400. Thus my next camera is going to be a 1DS2 MK2, or perhaps a 1DS3 if the price drops enough, and Canon prices the 1DS4 at $6500...

    As far as buying used, that is all I do. After buying a 30D new ($1500) and then selling it 6 months later for $800, I vowed never to buy new again, and I haven't..err, i did buy an XSI new, but i got the XSi+ 18-55IS + 50-250IS for $720 new. Sold the XSi for $400, the 18-55 for $100 and the 55-250 for $180, so i didn't make out to bad. Also bought a Sigma 10-20mm for $250 and sold it for $350..
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Any DSLR in your price range will take great pictures, from girls for Facebook or from boys for pr0n or anything in-between our outside those boundaries. If you don't know what you want feature-wise, and you can't narrow your price range, then you need to do significantly more research or be more open with yourself about your abilities and capabilities, because if you can't take excellent images with a DSLR used by 15 year old girls, you're not likely to take excellent pictures period. The camera is a tool, and all the tools manufactured today are excellent for general-purpose photography. Some tools are better than others for specific niches, results or genres, but that's more of a photographer convenience than anything compared to any film camera you've ever used.

    Right now, you're basically saying (if we travel back in time to when you owned a 35mm body) "I want to take some pictures of stuff, which camera body and lens should I get? Which film is best for pictures of stuff? What developer is best for developing pictures of stuff? What paper should I be printing my stuff pictures on?" If you expect to get an actually useful answer, you have to ask an actually informed question, otherwise people are simply going to throw random answers at you without any reasonable method.

    There are no horrible DSLRs, there are simply DSLRs which are suited for shooting certain things and DSLRs which are suited for photographers with certain skill-sets.

    If you really can't commit to doing actual research to figure out what requirements you are most likely to have, then you need to pick a system and purchase the least-expensive body that manufacturer makes and the kit lens that comes with that body by default. Shoot for 8-10 months, then sell it and get what experience tells you will work best next. Seriously.


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