I want to get a DSLR, but I'm totally overwhelmed!!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by lexy32600, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. lexy32600 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #1
    I'm interested in getting a DSLR and lens for fashion and nature photography. So far I've been partial towards Nikons, so I would prefer getting a Nikon for my first camera.

    Price range is 300 - 600 USD (at the very very most) for everything if it's possible.

    I'm open to any suggestions and recommendations.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    forlod bygningen
    #2
    600 USD for a new DSLR and an extra lens might be not possible, but I don't know Nikon prices, though the lowest model will be possible. What about used equipment?
    Have you taken a look at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/?
     
  3. eji macrumors 6502

    eji

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    Location:
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    #3
    When I was first shopping for a D-SLR, folks came up with 101 reasons why Canon and Nikon were superior to the Pentax D-SLR that I eventually bought, but I've been extremely happy with it. I was looking for a mix of features (high), quality (high), and price (low) and got it in spades.

    In fact, right at this very moment Woot has the K2000D with the 18-55mm kit lens for $375 shipped. On your budget, that'll leave you some money left over for something like a fisheye or a 50-200mm lens to round things out.
     
  4. lexy32600 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #4
    I'm all for buying used, I just need help more with finding a decent priced body and getting information on lenses. Lenses are a foreign language to me and I know nothing about them xD
     
  5. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2008
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    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    #5
    Spend the most you can and start with that. Learn to use it, and slowly collect lenses once you figure out which lens may benefit you. Since I use Nikon, I recommend Nikon! :)
     
  6. bubulindo macrumors member

    bubulindo

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    #6
    Like said before...

    One of the typical advices given when someone wants a new DSLR is to go into a shop that allows you to play with it and do so with all the models they have.

    When you look at specs and prices, unless there's a big rebate, they are more or less the same (between canon and nikon) so it boils down to how comfortable you feel with the camera.

    Of course you can and should look to other brands also... Sony has been launching quite a few good cameras lately too.

    Regarding the lenses, my advice is to get a standard kit lens like the 18-55 and use it for some time so you can understand what distances will you shoot the most and if there's any type of special lens you'll need. For fashion you can pick up a 50mm (ideally 35mm) lens that are some of the cheapest you can find, for nature photography you should do alright with the 18-55 for landscapes and the 50/35 mm for close ups. Also note that the 50/35 mm lens will normally be much faster lens than the kit or zoom lens.

    By faster I mean that the the diaphragm can open much more and enable you to take handheld (or moving subject) shots in lower lighting (less chances of blur) and will also give you a wide range of Depth of Field to play with.
     
  7. Tonsko macrumors 6502

    Tonsko

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #7
    I'd recommend not getting the bottom end 'entry' DSLR. Get the middle one, so in the Canon range, that would be the 50D (or a 40D on ebay for great value), rather than the 550D. Nikon has an equivalent, but I don't know their model numbers.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
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    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    It is not very important which dslr you get in the beginning. Forget about noise charts and other techno babble. People on forums like this sometimes get caught up in technology and forget what it's all about (including myself, of course).

    I also wouldn't rule out any manufacturer, but instead try all cameras you can afford in a store. And once you get a dslr, you learn very quickly it's about lenses and not about the body. So don't spend all your money on an expensive body and a cheap lens, you'll be better off with a cheap body and a decent lens.

    I second the idea to have a look at the used market: I bought my whole equipment used and I haven't had any problems so far. I'd start with a perhaps used body and, say, a Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8. It's a very good and very affordable lens. Then go out and take lots and lots of pictures, have fun! :)

    Disclaimer: I'm a Nikon guy. I wouldn't mind switching to other brands if it weren't for my lenses with the exception of Canon. Not because Canon makes bad cameras and lenses, quite the contrary, but because the user interface doesn't feel well in my hands. It's a matter of taste.
     
  9. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 16, 2009
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    Idaho
    #9
    Start looking at used cameras and lenses. Anything three years old should be ok for what you want to do. However, it won't be long before you want something new.
     
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #10
    IMHO, if you want a DSLR, then you should give as much consideration to the digital side of the equation as to the SLR side. The fact is that most digicams will take great pictures. I own an older Olympus E20N and a Nikon D40. The newer Nikon takes better pictures than the older Olympus, but the Olympus is great. As a brand, I love Canon. However, I cannot recommend their digital still cameras. It is my understanding that Canon does not support USB Automount. This is the part of the USB standard that automatically mounts the camera on the Desktop as a storage volume whenever you connect it to your computer. With it, you can access your photographs using only the Finder. You may store [non-photograph] files on your camera. Virtually every card reader supports it. Suffice it to say, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, and most other digicam manufacturers support USB Automount. I have $5 keychain cameras that support the feature. It is baffling that Canon does not.
     
  11. npropes macrumors member

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    Jul 20, 2010
    #11
    I'd recommend looking at a used Nikon D40 Kit with the 18-55mm lens. If you're just getting into DSLRs then the 18-55mm lens is most likely all that you will be using. You can generally pick up a used D40 for $350. If you want to add another lens, the 35mm f/1.8 is great for lower light levels and a bargain at $200 new.
     
  12. Tonsko macrumors 6502

    Tonsko

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #12
    This is why you should go for the middle one of the range. I was given this advice when I bought my 350D, and didn't follow it for cost reasons. It wasn't long before I wished I had. Second hand D40 (for canon) or whatever the equiv. nikon is. I know someone who uses pentax professionally(I used to use the ME Super for 35 mm, fab camera), who loves it, just to throw that into the mix. Nikon bodies tend to be slightly larger than canon bodies, with a slightly different grip. Personal preference - get yourself down to an independant camera store, pick them up, check them out, pick the assistant's brains. The reason I said independant is because the enthusiasts are more likely to work there rather than 'best buy' (or wherever you get from in the US), where the assistant likely as not will not give a ****. Unless you get lucky.
     
  13. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    #13
  14. viggen61 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 24, 2002
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    New Jersey
    #14
    Nothing wrong with that, however, I'd strongly recommend that you physically handle the different cameras from different manufacturers, and see which ones you prefer the feel of. Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus all make good cameras, but you may have a stronger feel for one over another, even within brands.

    Canon and Nikon (maybe others, I'm just not as up on them) have different "series" of cameras. As an example only, Canon's EOS "Rebel" series (if you're in the US, otherwise the XXXD series) are all built on a physically smaller chassis than their higher series (designated EOS xD or EOS xxD worldwide). That made a big difference for me, as I found the Rebels too small for my hands.

    I believe that, in Nikon's parlance, the DX000s are the smaller chassis, "consumer" cameras, but I'm not certain.

    That'll be a stretch for new gear, even at your top end. The "kit" lens you'll get at that price won't be very effective for nature/wildlife photography. $500-600 is entry-level just for a good lens for wildlife photography, where 300mm is about the shortest you want to go. APS-C size sensors help by stretching a 300mm to an apparent 480mm, or a 200mm to 320mm.

    Many options for used gear, but harder to get a feel for them. But newer versions of the same series of cameras are usually evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, so if you went with Canon, say, trying on a 50D would be not that much different than trying an older 30D or 20D. I'm sure the same would be true of Nikon and others.

    1) Try on different cameras. You may find something you like that's only on one, and not another, and that may be more important to you than brand loyalty.
    2) see if you can borrow one or more different DSLRs from friends for a weekend or so to get to know them.
    3) check out the forums on Photo.net and the articles there for beginners.
    4) buy or borrow the latest edition of "DSLRs for Dummies". I don't normally do the "Dummies" books, but for a quick, reasonably complete (hard to do in an industry that changes monthly) overview of all things DSLR, it's hard to beat it.

    Best of luck to you!

    :apple::apple:
     
  15. Tonsko macrumors 6502

    Tonsko

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #15
    Just as an aside, the automount shouldn't really colour your judgement. I've never noticed this because I bought a £5 USB internal card reader. Take the CF card out of the camera, plug it in the front of your machine, bob's yer uncle, job's a good'un, whichever your choice of idiom suits.
     
  16. viggen61 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 24, 2002
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    New Jersey
    #16
    Agreed. Fewer problems pulling the shots off the CF or SD card directly than through the camera. Plus, it doesn't drain your camera battery!

    Besides, any camera comes with a suite of software that you install that talks to the camera over the USB, and is likely better for you than automount...

    :apple::apple:
     
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #17
    Shouldn't color my judgment? Look, I know how to use a card reader. There I good reasons to use them. I own a card reader that I purchased with my Olympus E20N. However, it makes no sense to carry around an extra piece of equipment to replace what should be a default feature of the camera. In my case, it is a default feature of every USB-compatible digital camera that I own. It makes no sense to sacrifice functionality if the sacrifice does not improve the camera's other features. Until Canon sees the light, I will just have to continue to use Nikon and Olympus and be satisfied with the spectacular pictures taken using their products.
     
  18. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    May 8, 2006
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    Englandshire
    #18
    It only takes a couple of seconds to open up Image Capture and start transferring stuff to my Mac. I wouldn't sacrifice the preferred ergonomics and functionality of one brand for another because I couldn't easily transfer non-photo files back on to a memory card while it's in the camera.
     
  19. Tonsko macrumors 6502

    Tonsko

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #19
    Steady on MisterMe, that wasn't actually directed at you. It was more for the OP as you'd specifically said that was a problem with Canons (not that I've noticed this issue with my 350D though, connects fine and is recognised as a drive). Was just offering a solution to the thing you raised and that it should not alter the OPs perception of Canons.
     
  20. Dan-- macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #20
    I'm going to second the folks and recommend a used Nikon D40. I had this camera for over a year, and have some spectacular pictures made with it. I upgraded to the D90 a while back, so it could focus a 50mm f/1.8. But now there's the 35mm version which auto-focuses on the D40, so that's less of a concern.

    I would recommend starting off with the 18-55mm lens, either the standard kit version which is easily obtainable with the camera, or the newer one with VR, and adding the 55-200mm VR lens. (You really DO want VR at those longer lengths.) Plus the $18 remote trigger. This will cover you for a wide variety of photographic situations, and should last you until you can figure out what you really want.

    Then add something from the following when you figure out what you feel you're missing, and are able:
    • an external flash
    • a 35mm f/1.8 or similar
    • a wide angle
    • a longer zoom
    The only significant downsides to Nikon's cheapest cameras bodies are the lack of in-camera focus motors. Although I believe essentially none of Canon's cameras have in-camera motors, virtually all of their current lenses have motors, so it is essentially meaningless. For Nikon, getting a camera like the D40 (or D60, D3000/D5000, etc.) limits you to a subset of the lenses available from Nikon and 3rd party mfrs. But with the kit I've suggested above, you'd be pretty well covered for about $500-$550 to start.
     
  21. lexy32600 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #21
    Thank you for all the advice everyone!

    I'm thinking of looking into a Nikon D40 or 50 as the starter and I'll get one of the basic lenses everyone's recommending.

    Thank you again for all the help!
     
  22. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #22
    The D40 is fine. You might find a refurb. Those save you and also have a warranty. I saw some advertised someplace a few days ago.
     

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