Hobby Photographer

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Patriks7, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Hey fellow Mac photographers ^_^
    I am in need of some help. I am planning on getting a DSLR soon, and need a suggestion.
    So to start off, I have maybe used one twice in my life. So obviously, I'm an amateur. Also, I am not (at least not planning to) be making money with it. I would prefer something not too big (I've seen some that are really huge without the lens) as I want to use it when I travel. My budget is around $600 (the lower the better though :p). If there is any great amateur camera coming out in around 6 months, I could maybe wait it out (as I don't exactly have all the cash right now).
    Any suggestions?
  2. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Follow some of the links in the thread stickied at the top of the forum (Links for camera and lens shoppers) and read and learn. DPReview.com is a good general review site, has tools to let you enter product criteria and determine which cameras fit your criteria, and is linked to in that thread. Once you figure out which cameras are in your price range, download the manuals from the manufacturer's site and give them enough of a review to have a basic understanding of how each camera works. Go into a store and use them a bit to see which one seems the most natural to you. Buy the one you like the best.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What you are asking about is a "camera". But what you will buy is a "system" of a lens or two, a flash unit and a dslr body. You have to first select a brand then some lenses then a body. In that order.

    THat said with your budget the selection is small.

    One thing to avoid. Every beginner thinks he will need some very long telephoto lens and then sees the low price on a entry level 200mm f/5.6 zoom. You wont use it much. Beter to spend you money are better wide angle lenses
  4. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    Def do your research, but here is a great place to start (and prob where you will end up ;) - The canon rebel XS.

    I could go on and on but value for the dollar is amazing. Compact body, and the lenses are a little more versatile when starting from scratch imo, as virtually any lens (no matter how old) will work on the rebel XS. I don't know nikons inside and out but I do know there is something about how some don't have the autofocus motors in the body, which means you have to find lenses with the motor in them - this limits what lenses will autofocus on that particular camera. This is prevalent in the lower priced bodies. From what I gather canon and nikon are both roughly equiv model for model once you get past that.

    Like I said, I did a lot of research and ended up with the XS (there is also an XSi that adds a couple features like a bigger screen and 2 more MPs, but hardly worth the money for an amateur imo)

    I paid $460 for the XS brand new from amazon, US, fully authorized retailer with warranty. A darn great camera for the money, emphasis on GREAT.

    A lot of people will tell you to try 'em all out and get your hands on them. This is true to a point, but i bought based on specs, reviews, and price, and I have not regretted the XS.

    Good luck, and remember no matter what, you cant go wrong with a DSLR - the lowest end DSLR will mop the floor with the best point and shoot.

    - Chris
  5. jaseone macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    Houston, USA
    My advice is don't ask for advice on these forums as every advice thread ends up in some pointless heated discussion between the merits of Nikon vs Canon, go read some reviews, go to a local store to hold the various models, see what you can find price/deal wise and then pull the trigger on what you like.

    Most advice you get here will be from fans of one type of camera (see the Canon Xsi recommendation above), they love their camera and believe you will too but everyone is different.

    Also ignore anyone rambling on about the effect of lenses/glass on our purchase, no matter what brand you choose you will end up with some quality choices optically.

    When shopping for a deal avoid package deals on ebay like the plague as most of the package is crap, instead shop at the bigger name stores and always google the company you are looking at buying from to see what their reseller rating etc is.

    Just get the camera of your choice into your hands and start taking photos as that is what it is all about!
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    No, only the EF and EF-S lenses will work. The old Canon FD lenses will not work without adapters and loss of features.

    The XS and XSi also lack motors, but Canon's lens line-up does not have any lenses that require a motor in the camera body. That's why it's not a problem with Canon system. Nikon, on the other hand, has a few lenses, including the very popular and affordable 50mm f/1.8, that do require a motor in the camera body in order for them to auto-focus. The Nikon D40, D40x and D60 can mount and meter with those lenses, but auto-focus will not work; you'll have to focus manually.

    Can't argue with that.
  7. Patriks7 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Thanks for that site. The reviews seem to be quite good there, but that search engine is WAAAAAY over the top for me. Since I'm a beginner, I don't really know what I'm looking for :p

    Yeah, I noticed that that happens on many sites that I found in Google, but I was hoping that here I could get some guidance about what kind of lens to get, and most importantly, a camera that isn't over the top with price, and is also a good place to start.

    And this is exactly where I get confused as s***. With all these different types of lenses
    Are there also any sites where I can find info about all these lenses? I think that would make a buying decision much easier.

    BTW, thanks for all the input so far :D
  8. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Just start with a body and the kit lens from Pentax (K200 or K-m probably), Nikon(D40, or D60), Olympus(E-420 or E-520), Sony (A-200) or Canon (Rebel XS/EOS 1000D). The kit lenses are all ok nowadays, certainly to get started with. You'll figure out what you need and what things mean by using the camera, and reading about it, once you know what you need to know.

    What would I get? I have Nikon at the moment, and it's a fabulous system. A lot of people will say 'Nikon or Canon' on the basis that they are the only two camera makers with a proper professional system (high end lenses, bodies, flash, support) but in reality I could use any of these brands as the extent of the system is not limiting me - my finds are. What I do find is that my current camera is rather indiscreet, and that bothers me, so I would probably get an E-420 and the small 25mm pancake if I was starting again. This probably wouldn't be right for you.
  9. Ridge08 macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Patriks7, do you have any friends who use entry-level DSLRs, or who are generally interested in photography? You might be able to borrow a camera for a couple days and mess around a little.

    Here`s my advice: look at which DSLRs cost whatever you decide to spend. Then go into a camera shop and play with them all. See what`s comfortable to hold. Read reviews. As you learn more about the cameras you`re considering, keep going into the shop (or even different ones every time so the staff stay helpful and maybe even give you several perspectives!) and play with them some more.

    All the technical stuff takes time to understand (I`m far from that point!) but just know that whatever camera you choose, you`ll be able to buy good lenses later and you`ll also be able to take good photos.

    If you`re buying on the web from a company you don`t know, especially if it looks like a good price, confirm that it`s legit before spending your money and possibly getting ripped off!
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I thought they had a filter for price. Specifying a type of DSLR plus a price range would be about all you need. Sorry.

    Of course, you can do that much on just about anyone's e-commerce site too. This search at B&H Photo will also give you a list of DSLRs that sell for $600 or less there: link.

    Unless what you really want is to chat about it. If so, have fun.
  11. MotleyPete macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2008
    I was in the same situation as you last year. I'm a beginner/hobbyist too, on a similar budget, so I'll just share with you my choice, because I am extremely pleased with my purchase.

    I bought:
    The Canon EOS 450D body
    A bundled kit lens (EFS 18-55mm)
    A Telephoto lens (EFS 55-250mm f/4-5.6)

    After getting a decent book on DSLR photography for beginners, I was up and running very quickly. The Canon is the only DSLR I've ever used (so I can't compare it with a Nikon of similar build/price), but I can say that my experience with this camera has so far been excellent and it certainly matches up with the good reviews that I have read in magazines and online.

    The kit lens does a fine job for general use, but I'm particularly pleased that I also bought the telephoto lens. I'm interested in wildlife, yet even when not trying to shoot birds and such I still find the telephoto useful for all manner of things. In fact the telephoto has probably been on my camera more often than the general purpose kit lens. The quality seems very good for the price and the two lenses compliment each other as a decent starter kit.

    Hope that helps.
  12. Gold89 macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    That is a very good bundle of kit for a beginner although any Canon/Nikon/Olympus/Pentax/Sony DSLR will be far more capable than yourself.

    Don't spend too much on either the body or lenses at first. Just shoot shoot shoot and the lenses you need will come to you.

    I would highly recommend the book "understanding exposure" - very useful and inspiring.
  13. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    Once you decide which system you want to buy into....I would suggest buying used gear. For Nikon...Nikonians.org: >forums>I want to sell. Some great bargains on entry level kits.
    A LOT of the equipment is "like new".

    For Canon, fredmiranda.com
  14. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    A good (and correct) clarification, but before scaring too much on the potential of stumbling across a random FD lens on eBay, we should recognize that FD lenses were superseded by EF lenses 20 years ago.

    Thus, the recommendation is: "don't buy any Canon lenses older than you are" :D

    This is one thing that I'm happy that I avoided (purely by accident). Nikon's mess of "legacy lenses vs new camera bodies" compatibility jigsaw puzzle requires memorization of some key factors & footnotes (such as AF motors), to which the simplest solution is to find one of the online spreadsheet charts that details what is compatible with what, print it out, and then keep with you anytime that you think you might stumble across a lens for sale, so that you can refer to your 'crib sheet'.

    Thus said, the user interface as to how the camera feels in the photographer's hand is something that can't be ignored, nor the general UI of the layout of the controls. Its fairly important to give all of the contenders a fair shake, and then go look at the broader "ecosystem" breadth of lenses that each manufacturer offers, so try to determine what your likely future is going to be. This is because as time goes on, you're fairly likely to add lenses, which means that you accumulate a "sunk cost" in whatever brand you've invested in and this tends to financially motivate you to stick with that brand, rather than to dump it all and move to another brand.

  15. grahamtearne macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2006
    I have a Sony a200 and I went through similar decisions as your going through. I was choosing between either the Canon 450d, Nikon d40 or Sony a200.

    While I understand that the Canon is arguably the better camera of the 3 I went for the Sony over those 2. Canon and Nikon both have great systems like others have said, but I really like where Sony is heading and they are adding new lenses and cameras all the time. I wanted a base entry camera and the 450d was a lot more expensive than the Sony and Nikon and you may think that is short sighted to pick the cheapest, well yes maybe, but not all of us want to make money with photography, we do it because we enjoy it and some people have generous budgets and others not so.

    In summary I was able to get the a200 with the kit 18-70mm lens and a 70-300mm lens for less than I would have paid for the Canon (at the time, I don't know what the prices are like now).

    I also thought it was a better camera than the aging d40 which my friend has, nice camera but has been replaced, Sony was an excellent price for what I think is a great camera. As I have not spent a fortune on Sony equipment I am not yet locked into the Sony system, but with the purchase of another lens I probably would become part of the system, and tbh looking at the higher end cameras and what people have been able to capture with them I can honestly say I am excited to be part of it.

    Get to a camera shop, hold them, test them, research, decide what you want to shoot etc and go for it. The Canon and Nikon are more stylish than the larger, heavier black Sony, but I couldn't be happier with it - and if you want live view the a300 is not much more and is the same camera with live view.

    Like the poster before said everyone will defend their own brand, I am not saying mine is the best because it isn't, but its perfect for what I want, and sometimes on forums people fail to realise that some people dont have money to waste or see it as a job opportunity, get what makes you feel happy, my friend would come on here and 'big up' his Nikon and my room mate got the 450d for Christmas and he would big up his Canon - of the 3 the Sony feels the 'cheapest' - but I love it and there is not one shot that my 450d mate has taken that looks better than what I have got - its just as much about the photographer as it is the camera!

    Look for reviews and make a shortlist then get to a shop and see what you like.

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