Help Choosing First SLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Martin C, Nov 12, 2006.


Which SLR should I choose? (Please comment why)

  1. Nikon D70s

    17 vote(s)
  2. Canon Digital Rebel XTi

    15 vote(s)
  3. Pentax K100D

    7 vote(s)
  4. Other (State which and why)

    6 vote(s)
  1. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

    Nov 5, 2006
    New York City

    Okay, so I am pretty much a noob when it comes to SLR cameras and I was hoping for some insight on which camera I should choose. I would be using the camera for just about anything. From everyday shots, to landscapes, to sports.

    I have searched the net and have come up with a list of candidates:
    Nikon D70s
    Canon Digital Rebel XTi
    Pentax K100D

    If you have any other suggestions or wish to state your opinion on which camera I should purchase, comments are appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
  3. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    best advice there is!
    that said, I bought a K100D just yesterday and I've already become quite acquainted and shot some pretty nice pics. The SR feature is really, really nice. also, the kit lens is wonderful. i really love this thing!
  4. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    Having recently bought my first DSLR, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is to look at the lens systems for each company. If you are planning on getting serious about photography (and a slr is the first step) the lens system you are locked into will be much more important than the miniscule differences in the bodies. The truth is, all modern DSLR bodies like the ones you mentioned take very good pictures. The lens will have more to do with your picture quality than body.

    So my pick? I chose other because I would go for the Canon Rebel XT (same as 350D). The differences between the XT and XTi are small to me and the XT can be had for around $600 new or $500 lightly used. Spend the extra money on a decent lens.

    Some people cannot live with the feel of the XT/XTi body, and it doesn't make sense to drop hundreds on a camera thats not comfortable in your hand. I absolutely loved the feel of the Nikon d70, but chose the XT because I wanted the lightest option (I do a lot of climbing) and I wanted the options available with Canon glass. Someday I will probably get a full size Canon body that more closely matches the quality of the Nikon bodies.
  5. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    I have a K10D on preorder- since Pentax doesn't really have "system" lenses (every lens made by pentax at any time will supposedly fit the camera) you have a really wide range of choice optics available. Pentax made some really great optics back in the day, and since there's so many different options usually you can find plenty of lenses used in good shape. Since I have a multitude of SMC-A lenses from the 80s, a digital camera that can use them was a big deal to me, since they're very, very expensive to purchase.

    Also, I find that the kit lens that comes with the K10D/K100D is superior to the kit lenses that come with the nikon/canon cameras.

    If you can live without the shake reduction feature, the K110D is substantially cheaper and as far as I can tell, the only difference is the absense of shake reduction. However, with a substantial zoom lens (like a 70-210, which is my long zoom) the shake reduction is really nice to have.
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You're right, and that's why people always recommend Canon and Nikon. However, some might argue that the majority of people interested in buying a DSLR right now are only slightly more interested in photography than the average point & shoot user. What I mean is that some people just want to get better photo quality when they're photographing general stuff like their family, friends, the dog, and maybe some flowers in their garden. They're essentially just point & shooters who want better photo quality, and are not likely to buy more than what their 2 lens kit offers. If they buy a 3rd lens, it likely wouldn't be a 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR\IS.

    Think about the number of Canon and Nikon owners who are still on a 18-55 mm kit lens and still get results they want! They may want more lenses in the future, but the photo quality is there for them already with the 18-55 mm. These people won't be buying a $1000+ 17-55 mm f/2.8 when their 18-55 mm kit lens gives them 90% of the performance of the expensive option

    I think Pentax offers a lot of lenses for casual point & shoot types (who own a DSLR), hobbyists, enthusiast, and sorta-pro-but-not-really photographers. They also offer some pro-level lenses from what I can tell, although they don't offer a pro-level DSLR. The glass might be there, though.
    Nikon and Canon offer such a range, although a larger number of lenses, and more pro-level glass. However, that doesn't mean that the typical user cares about this. They're going to own 3 lenses, not 10 lenses. It's like software for the Mac: There aren't as many word processors available for Mac, but I don't need 10 word processors.
  7. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    Budget, overall feel of camera and available accessories should drive your purchase. You test drive your cars so do that with your camera. If the ones you like are all in the same price range then look hard at the system accessories. Somethings you want to do may not be available on all systems. Close up work or flash add ons are examples of this. Lens types vary also.
  8. AvSRoCkCO1067 macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2005
    Like many have said above, it's all about the lenses.

    I have a D50, which is an entry-level DSLR; but I prefer owning it and my $650 24-85mm f/2.8-4K IF lens :) rather than a super nice body, cheap lens combination.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are not really going to buy either of the above. What you are buying is a SYSTEM of a body and a few lenses. Over time you will replace some of it. Bodies tend to last 3 to 5 years, good lenses much longer, cheap lenses will get upgraded and then there is the strobe and other small accessories. I DSLR body is a minor part of the system and will only be part of it for 4 or 5 years. but the system, you may own that for a lifetime. So step back and think. Do you want a Nikon system or a Pentax system? After you decide then select some of those lenses. You will need at least one. Then lastly select a DSLR camera body to fit your lens.

    Camera bodies are all more or less the same. Some minor features more or less. There is just not much room for variation. Their purpose is to record the image the lens makes. Lenses on the other hand vary widely and there are a lot more of them to select from. Lens shopping is harder than DSLR shopping but the hardest part is picking a brand. Whatever brand you buy determines the brand of all future purchases many years down the road.

    All of the camera bodies are good. But what makes it hard is that in 4 or 5 years you will want to replace it and it will need to be the same brand but a model that is not yet on the market.
  10. xPismo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Canon. Due to it ergonomics. I never felt the Nikon was good in my hand.
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    In this case, since you're probably not going to end up a pro, I really think the best camera for you is the one that feels best. I'm also not going to recommend the Nikon D70s to you and just recommend the Nikon D50. It's better bang for the buck, and I have a feeling that you're going to be happier with the JPEG output from the D50. It's also noticeably smaller, but not too small, and not as cheap and plasticy as the 350D/400D.

    I'd narrow the list to Nikon D50, Canon XTi, Canon XT (save some money), or Pentax K100D.

    And I'll just say what ChrisA is saying, but slightly different: Lenses are what's important. Your lenses will outlast your camera, so think about what you want to shoot. Chances are, you want to shoot most general things that you'd normally shoot with a p&s, but better. If you know you're not going to end up as a serious enthusiast photographer, then I think any 3 of these companies will serve you well. If you were planning to go pro, I'd recommend Nikon or Canon, not Pentax.

    I think Pentax's kit lenses will be better than Nikon or Canon's kit lenses, with Canon's kit lens being the worst, and the Nikon being in the middle, or tied with Pentax. I don't know much about K-mount DA lenses, so I can't say much about the Pentax 18-55 kit lens. And since I don't think your lens needs are super high, you're best off just buying what feels best in your hand, as all 3 companies will have lenses for you.

    But if you must know....the Pentax K100D is definitely the best price performer. Great value.
  12. greenmac macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2006
    I agree about the D50 being better bang for your bucks over the D70s. I'm not sure of your budget, but if you want to take sports, you would appreciate a camera with a high fps rate, I have the D50 and 2.5fps is slow.
  13. Martin C thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

    Nov 5, 2006
    New York City
    Thank you all so much for your help, I really appreciate it.

    I have narrowed down my choices to the Nikon D50 and the Pentax K100D.

    I plan on buying from Amazon, and they have quite a few options for the Nikon D50:
    18-55mm lens: $659.95
    18-55 as well as a 55-200mm lens: $899.95
    28-80mm lens: $559.99

    Which would be the best lens for general shooting?

    The Pentax K100D on has the 18-55mm option.
  14. matt311rocks macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2006
    I just recently purchased the D50 w/ 18-55mm kit lens. I love the D50 since before this I used a somewhat recent film Nikon slr. The lense is ok. Nothing amazing there. As far as which kit lense is better I cannot say. It depends on what your general shooting conditions are and what you shoot. If you are going to need more zoom go with something like the 55-200 but if you need a wider angle and don't need as much on the telephoto end then go with the 18-55. Or better yet just buy a body and get a better lens than any of those...that's if you've got the expendable income for it.
  15. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    There's a K100D kit with Pentax 18-55 + Pentax 50-200

    At Abe's they don't have that one, but they have a lot of K100D kits that include 3rd-party lenses.
  16. bob5820 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2006
    35°0′36″N 80°40′45″W (35.0
    I’d go with the 18-55mm kit. Of the three lenses the 18-55 is likely to be the best choice in terms of usable range, though in terms of quality and performance they are all probably about the same. A 28-80 is not as useful of a range on a dSLR is it would be on a film body or a ff dSLR. While it would give you some more telephoto range then the 18-55, it’s likely that you would be better off with the additional wide angle range of the 18-55. I’d also forgo the dual lens kit. You would be paying an additional $250.00 for that lens with the kit. I don’t know what the 55-200 goes for by itself, but I can’t see it being much more then $250.00. In other words you’re not saving much by getting the lens with the kit. A common recommendation when just starting out is to get just one lens. One advantage to this is that you have one less thing to worry about while learning the basics. Another advantage is that after using the camera for a while you may decide that the 55-200 is not what you’re looking for in a second lens. Keep it as basic as possible for now. I’ll admit that I did deviate from this a bit as I did purchase two lenses off the bat (18-200 VR and the 50mm 1.8). The 50mm 1.8 is a great lens for the price (about $120.00). It gives me the ability to shoot in low light, and I learning wise I like the option of sometimes restricting myself to a fixed focal length lens.
  17. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    I'd personally forgo the Nikon entirely, and pick up the K100D with the kit lens, then shop around for a gently used film SLR lens in something like either a 50mm fixed 1.8 (jillions are available since these came stock with any pentax film SLR) or a long zoom like a 70-210. You'd probably get more use out of the 50mm but the kit lens is equivalent to a 28-80 film lens, so if you wanted more zoom the 70-210 is the way to go.

    One of the best lens series ever made by pentax was the SMC-A line from the early 80s. If you can find a 50mm SMC-A instead of buying a second lens, do that instead.

    I really think the flexibility of the pentax lens system is the best thing it has going for it right now. Really increases the versatility and value of the camera. I also have never held a Nikon digital that I really and truly liked, though the new D80 is very nice.
  18. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006

    i'd probably go w/ nikon (for no good reason) but if you do decide to do so, there's the 18-200 lens that has Vibration Reduction VR for 750 if you are lucky, probably better than both of the 18-55 and 55-200... that's probably all you need for quite a while before you get more serious
  19. Martin C thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

    Nov 5, 2006
    New York City
    Thanks for all of the great information guys, but I am still torn between the two.

    The Nikon D50 is 4.6 pounds. That seems quite heavy; maybe it is because I am coming from light Point and Shoots. The D70s however, is 3 pounds.

    The D70s comes with a 18-70mm lens for $799.95

    While I haven't tried them out at the store yet, 4.6 pounds seems quite heavy from experience handling with small 5-pound weights.

    The D70s which is 3 pounds and the Pentax K100D which is 2 pounds seem like the better option for me, since I am partial to lighter cameras.

    I am on a budget of around $850 or so dollars right now, so either camera is an option. Are there any good review sites other than DCResource?
  20. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006

    If you like the lighter weight (and I agree that the pentax is quite portable, my dad is toting a K100D these days since I ordered the K10 for myself) then DON'T take the previous suggestion of purchasing the 18-200VR for the Nikon instead of the two separate lenses. That's a pretty big honkin' lens and makes the camera far less practical to cart around. The kit 18-55 will be best for that, just as on film cameras I find myself using my 28-80 almost all the time.

    I was very happy with my pentax for the time I had it, and my dad is enjoying it now. I'm going to enjoy the K10 a little more but I think the K100 is an excellent "prosumer" camera and it sounds better for your needs than the D70s. I have never been a fan of the whole rebel range of cameras dating back to the film days of yore. I don't like the heft of the bodies and I'm not a fan of the lens system (but that's a personal preference.)

    As a bonus, the K100 is also more affordable.
  21. owaters macrumors member

    May 21, 2004
    England, UK
    Canon 400D for sure ;) You will not be disappointed!
  22. Martin C thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

    Nov 5, 2006
    New York City
    Leaving the K100D out for a second...

    The D70s and the Rebel XTi both go for the same price on Amazon. The D70s comes with a 18-70mm lens. The XTi comes with a 18-55mm lens.

    For shooting general shots, such as landscapes, architecture, plants, and sometimes sports, which lens would be the better lens would be the better choice.

    I have also heard that the kit lens that comes with the K100D is quite good. I am sure that it is all personal preference, but is there any one lens that stands out as prime along with its body?

    Nikon D70s and 18-70mm lens
    Pentax K100D with 18-55mm lens
    Canon Rebel XTi with 18-55mm lens
  23. shambolic macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Those weights sound very spurious to me - perhaps they are the shipping weights (as listed on Amazon or similar) and not the actual weight of the camera. The D70, for instance, in fact weighs 679g (1.5lb) for the body, plus around another 210g for the 18-55 lens. So approximately 2 lbs total. The D50 is a shade lighter than the D70, while the Canon XT/XTi are smaller still.

    (A good reference for these specs is B&H's web site, and for camera bodies, but not lenses, dpreview has the most in-depth reviews including full specifications)

    Even if you're buying online, it's worth getting to a store to handle the cameras you're interested in before making a purchase - the different ergonomics of the Nikon and Canon cameras are quite likely to sway you to one side or the other.
  24. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    I'm not a fan of the kit lens that comes with the Rebel XTi. There's just something about it I don't like. I feel like that's where they made some compromises to keep the camera in the sub-$1000 range. I've never been a fan of Canon's recent kit lenses, whereas pentax is known for having good kit lenses.

    None of these are going to be fantastic, as we're still largely in the consumer range. for the money, though, I'd say the Nikon lens is better.

    I'd also say that the 18-55 is probably the more useful lens, though there's not a HUGE difference there. 18-55, at least on the K100, is a 1.5 equivalent, so it's the equivalent to a 28-80. I have a (comparitively ancient) 28-80 that lives on my camera because I've found it fits most shooting situations really well. Only occasionally do I break out the 28 mm wide angle, the 50mm, or the long zoom. By and large, this is the lens I use, and i highly reccomend this range for versatility.
  25. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Considering that there is a multiplication factor, choose the 18-55 for now. I'm not sure why a 28-80mm lens would be cheaper than a kit lens but it sounds far too cheap for Nikon.

    That said, I'd choose the Pentax anyway. It's less of a low end camera than the D50 because Pentax is less concerned with stealing sales from their other cameras.

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