I've decided to get serious about photography, camera recommendations?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iBookG4user, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #1
    I've really been toying with the idea of getting into photography lately and I've decided that I'd like to get serious about it. When I go to college I've decided to minor in photography and I need to start building up my portfolio. I can't do that with my camera that I have right now (a crappy Aiptek camcorder that I got for $100), so I'd like to buy a dSLR so I can get some nice shots. I should be getting about $550 within the month and when I get my paycheck on the 1st, I can add about $100 to the dSLR fund. So that'll be about $650 if I wait until August 1st to buy.

    From what I've researched so far, I've found that the Nikon D40 seems to be a really good camera that is about my price range. But, I thought I'd come to MacRumors to get some expert opinions on it. I'm not set on one brand or another, I just want to get the best picture for the price. The $650 will have to cover both the camera and the lenses, so a Camera that comes with good lenses would be best. Thanks in advance for help!
     
  2. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

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    #2
    maybe you could take a class about photography first before deciding on a camera to buy. you might have a better idea of what you want afterward. just a suggestion.
     
  3. iBookG4user thread starter macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #3
    Well, I need to have my portfolio finished by the middle of August. That's when I'm going to the East Coast to look at the colleges I'm considering and doing the interview to show off my portfolio. So I really don't have the time to do that and then get the camera and then start building up my portfolio.
     
  4. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

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    #4
    When you get into the low-end dSLR photography market, there is very little difference between the manifacturers, and what you're getting for your money. $650 will indeed buy you a D40 with a kit lens. It will also buy you either a Pentax 100D, or an Olympus E-500 with a 2 lens kit. The Nikon allows for the most expansion, in that while the D40 has no autofocus motor, when you get into Nikon, and if you get serious about it, you will have access to the most lenses and more bodies, should you choose to upgrade eventually. The Olympus is likely to be the easiest of the three to get into the SLR world, as you will have all the lenses (focal length-wise) you will need for a while, and the anti-dust will keep you from having to learn how to clean a sensor. The Pentax is the best-built of the three, and has in-body stabilization, not that that's something to write home about, but it's there, and can be useful.

    One thing to consider is that if you're going to be attending school, they will MAKE you get a film camera. For that kind of money you can get a really nice body and some lenses (used for either would work- check out keh.com), and you wont have to fret about your school having you spend more money on equipment later on.
     
  5. creator2456 macrumors 68000

    creator2456

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    #5
    I have a nice Pentax SP II with most of the bells and whistles for film and I have just decided that it is time to get into the dSLR market as well. My price range is going to be around $800, so I will look into the cameras that Lovesong has suggested. Any further suggestions would be helpful as well since I am not a "serious" photographer and the more advice the better.

    This would mostly be used for personal photos along with a semi-pro approach to photo as I am a graphic design major and having your own photo catalogue is extremely helpful, so the BEST of the best isn't necessary but something that will last me a while is.
     
  6. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #6
    Since you're pretty "iffy" about how you want to get into photography I recommend one of the following cameras.

    Nikon - D40, D50

    Canon - 350D, 400D (Or Rebel XT and XTi)

    They're very good beginner cameras, and keep in mind they're pretty either camera from both brands are pretty much the same, just an upgrade of each other. Meaning the XT -> XTi and D50 -> D40.

    They're pretty good for a budget shopper since you don't have any existing lenses the D40 shouldn't be too bad. There are some "issues" people will tell you so just research into them if you want to buy any lenses for the D40 should you get it.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    I think you should get the Nikon D40 (you don't need the 10 MP "X" model....and it's not better or worth the price difference (like I said, it's not really better, IMO)), and when you get to uni, buy a film Nikon SLR. As long as you don't get "DX" (made for digital) Nikon lenses, you should be able to use your lenses on both cameras. :)

    If possible, I would try to get a Nikon 24-85 mm AF-S lens, or something similar, rather than the kit lens (18-55 mm) it comes with. That way, you can use it on your film camera as well. If you get the 18-55 mm lens that comes with the D40 kit, you won't be able to use that lens on a film camera, since it's too small (digital CCD sensors are smaller than film, and "DX" lenses are made smaller to cover the smaller CCD sensors, but aren't large enough to cover a 35 mm film).

    Also, this lens is AF-S, which means it can autofocus on your D40. If you get a lens that only says AF, it won't autofocus on your D40 (despite the fact that "AF" stands for auto-focus :eek: ).


    If you don't like that recommendation:

    My other recommendation is to get a Pentax or Canon and follow the same advice as above. :) The Canon will be more expensive for what you get, while Pentax cameras are a bargain for what you get, although it's slightly harder to get lenses. However, there are lots of online shops that sell lenses, and everything related to retail is moving in that direction anyway, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding what you want. :)
     
  8. creator2456 macrumors 68000

    creator2456

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    #8
    I know next to nothing when it comes to the lenses and whatnot, but can you clarify this for me?

    Would the lenses I have for my Pentax SP II work with a Pentax digital?

    The lenses connect with threads, not a quick lock like i've seen on newer cameras...will this be an issue?
     
  9. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

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    #9
    Too soon to shop for a expensive camera. Take a class, use a cheap camera to learn the basics. Back in the film days that meant a Pentax K1000 and a 50mm lens. I read that Pentax is coming out with the digital version of the K1000 perhaps for the same market. My daughter just needed a camera for her art school stuff and we bought a cheap Canon autofocus outfit for less than $300 but that was a film camera. She learned the basics and may move into digital soon. As a professional photographer I see too many people buy too much camera to start with and get discouraged and quit shooting before they barely get started. Start small and work up. Shop for used also. There are good places to shop outside of eBay. Look at KEH in Atlanta. When you are ready to buy look at something like the Canon Rebel XTS aka 350D they are $399 used at B and H. KEH has several cameras/lens outfits around the same price. Friends who have cameras are a good way to shoot and learn what you like. A day of shooting with friends is a great day. I have been out sharing lenses with friends on several occasions while I was saving up to get gear.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    I'm just commenting on the Nikon D40 and D40x, not DSLRs in general. Unlike other DSLRs, the Nikon D40(x) doesn't have a focus motor, which takes up space and adds weight. Because of this, it can't autofocus using AF lenses (despite the fact that "AF" stands for autofocus). You can still manual focus using most Nikon lenses, but not autofocus. Why? Because the motor in the camera would normally focus the camera, and now it's gone! Instead, the D40(x) can only use AF-S lenses, which focus quieter and faster than conventional AF, and utilizes superior technology. The problem is that Nikon's other DSLRs can autofocus using either AF or AF-S lenses, as they all have a motor inside. They can also use AF-S lenses. This means that D40 and D40X cameras can only use AF-S lenses, which limits the type of lenses they can buy (if you want to autofocus using that particular lens).

    With regards to Pentax, I think all Pentax autofocus (AF) lenses should still autofocus on their DSLR models. In fact, Pentax just implemented their Supersonic motor system (or whatever they call it.....Ultrasonic Motor, Silent Wave Motor, etc etc) into the K100D Super and K10D models. Now, they can use the upcoming Pentax lenses that will have this technology! They don't have them yet, but Nikon certainly has lots of AF-S lenses. However, if you want to use normal AF lenses, you won't be able to autofocus using them on a new D40 or D40x.
     
  11. freebooter macrumors 65816

    freebooter

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    #11
    I'm liking my Nikon D40. The 18-55mm kit lens is good, better than the Canon kit lens 'they' say, so no worries there. A better choice might be the 18-135mm lens, though--better coverage, perhaps a bit sharper. The D40 is easy to use/learn, small and light so you'll have no prob.s taking it anywhere. I would also consider the newest Pentax K 100D Super. They just upgraded it to include some features the competitors don't have, like in-camera anti-shake.
    Either of these will get you started well.
     
  12. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Hate to say it but a lot of schools still use Film so you will be learning on film to start out, unless you are taking digital only courses. Black & White processing, darkroom work, color theory, lighting, basic camera settings, etc. At least thats what was going on 2 years ago. A whole lot to learn before heading to digital, unless the school has made the switch, which doesn't make too much sense, still want to see how long the old school way is.

    I'd recommend picking up a decent P&S where you can play with the settings and what not. That way you can atleast have some feed back in your photography before taking the plunge on a dSLR. And you can still get great shots with it as well. You might need a film camera for school so make sure you know what you are doing for school before dropping the big $$.
     
  13. Karpfish macrumors 6502a

    Karpfish

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    #13
    Sorry Dude, but you're taking this way too fast. You shouldn't really expect to buy your camera in the first week of August, and then have images good enough to show as a portfolio to colleges in the middle of August. Showing a bad portfolio cn actually hurt you.

    And also, most schools are moving away from film. I am taking some classes at UCLA this summer, and when I got here I was told that UCLA actually tore down their darkroom in favor of building a digital lab. I think a lot of schools are going this way.
     
  14. Jht macrumors member

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    #14
    I bought a D40 earlier on in the year as my first DSLR, really loving it, no problems at all, I say go for it:)
     
  15. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I'm in a small (1400 person) K-12 school which just built a 50K++ lab for the high school... and the teacher despises digital--says it won't "last" and it's not "archival quality" (doesn't matter! you can just keep moving the files to a new HDD or disc! ugh!). The money would've been much better off going towards a mac video/photo/music lab with 20 Mac Pros... grrr...
     
  16. Nanpd macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I like the idea of going with either Pentax or Nikon if you're not sure that your university doesn't require film work. I've always had Nikon (and just sold most of my film equipment on EBAY), but worked in a camera store all through law school. Nikon and Pentax have put in the most effort at lens compatibility and if you stay away from the digital only lenses, you can use a significant number of the older lenses on the digital bodies (but not necessarily the Nikon 40, which is more restricted in compatibility) and can use the newer lenses on the film bodies. I have the Nikon 50, which is now available used through several reputable dealers. If you don't need the film camera compatibility, the current Canon digital Rebel is a nice camera.

    Creator 2456:You need to check the Pentax site but I don't think the screw mount lenses are compatible. My understanding is that the K-mount bayonet lenses are mostly compatible.
     
  17. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #17
    Excuse me? You are saying, in effect, "Nikon and Pentax DSLR and film SLRs are both compatible with their lenses as long as you stay away from digital only lenses, but Canon DSLR and film SLRs aren't"? That is an outright falsehood. If you take away "digital only" lenses, all current DSLRs take lenses that will also mount on current film SLR bodies from the same manufacturer. Canon's "digital only" series is the EF-S lineup, covering the EF-S 10-22mm, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, EF-S 17-85mm, EF-S 18-55mm, and EF-S 60mm macro. These five lenses (as I write) are the only ones in Canon's lineup that will mount on a limited number of bodies (the EOS 20D, 30D, 300D (Rebel), 350D (Rebel XT), and 400D (XTi), as I write this.) All other lenses produced by Canon in the EF mount (ie: all current lenses) will mount and work properly on every EOS SLR camera produced by Canon, starting with the EOS 650 (1987) through to the EOS 1D mark III (earlier this year).

    Yes, the field of view will be different on (most) DSLRs when compared to the same lens mounted on a 35mm film camera, but that's an issue for every company that makes both film and digital SLRs (except, ironically, Canon, if you're looking at the 5D or 1Ds series of cameras on the digital side.)

    The only incompatibility of note in the Canon lineup comes about as a result of the FD-EF mount changeover ... which happened in 1987. Buy any EOS film camera, and it will mount any lens you might buy for your EOS DSLR, with the exceptions noted above. The likelihood of stumbling across an FD lens or body is very low these days, so it is not a consideration in my book (102 auctions, worldwide, on eBay as I write this comment.) I don't think I've ever seen a sale where somebody might confuse FD gear for EF gear, short of failing basic reading comprehension ...
     
  18. Royale w/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I have never had any problems with Canons. I love them. Can't make make too many other points than have already been outlined on here though.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    I agree with this post. Even if you had two months, getting your first dSLR, learning to use it well and getting portfolio-quality images in the first month isn't likely to net more than a handful of images, and that's if you've really got vision, you can execute on a new platform and you've got the right environment (since you're not going to be doing studio shots.)

    The D40 will do well, but I wouldn't expect to be able to create any sort of diverse body of work inside a month with any camera body. Get it if you want to shoot and learn and decide about your major, but don't get it thinking you're going to show up with a complete portfolio that quickly.
     
  20. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #20

    Actually Pentax screw mount lenses work fine, complete with full auto-exposure metering (Pentax is the only company that maintains that kind of legacy compatibility). You will need an adapter to allow the M42 screw mount to fit on the K bayonet mount, but it will work fine after that. Heck, with the K100D or K10D, you will even be able to use image stabilisation on those 40+ year old screw mounts too, which is pretty impressive when you think about it.

    All k-mounts should work, and if they are AF that should work as well. This is why I recommend Pentax for the OP, he's already got a film body, he might as well stay in the same system. The K100D is a fantastic camera for the money, it is built very solid and is excellent in almost any conditions you can imagine (I've taken mine to hell and back - so to speak).
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    Well you do live in New Brunswick. ;)
     
  22. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #22
    Well I did say I took my camera "to hell and back," and New Brunswick does border the USA...
    :p
     
  23. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #23
    Canon, all the way. Here are two of the main reasons:

    **disclaimer: I have zero brand loyalty, and simply use the best tools for the job. I would switch to Nikon, or whatever else tomorrow if it were better.**

    1. Noise performance. Canon absolutely destroys Nikon here. ISO 1600 images from Canon are comparable to ISO 400 images from Canon. Also, the noise in a Canon is monochromatic, Nikons is RGB.

    2. Lens Selection. In choosing your body, you are in effect choosing your lens options. You probably won't be throwing down for a bag full of L glass right now, but Canon's lens selection is the most robust.

    For those above talking about Canon lens mounts, here is a shot of my 85 f/1.2L, which is a pretty new lens, on a almost ten year old Rebel Film body. I'd actually love to take this combo out with some 3200 ISO or IR film.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    You have a valid point, and I love the disclaimer. I do plan on doing the dual Canon/Nikon deal in the future. The Canons are much nicer in low light for noise suppression. I love my Nikon and its glass. But I do wish they had an 85 1.2, shot with it once on a Canon 1D and it was awesome.

    I don't plan on switching anytime soon, but one word of advice to the OP if you do plan on doing the dSLR the entry level ones are all about the same, go test them out at your local camera store to see which ne feels better in your hands. You can still get great images with the entry level ones, you may not have all of the features of a Pro level body but it will still be a learning experience.

    And as many other posters have said you have very little time to build a portfolio, I would work at it and learn your camera, you do not want to show a few snap shots of images in your portfolio, it takes time. I worked on mine for over a year to get what I felt was a worthy portfolio. Now I continue to build it every day.

    As a good friend has said "you don't take photos, you make them"
     
  25. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #25
    Not enough can be said about this. Nikon cameras feel so ridiculously good in your hands compared to Canons, until you get into the Canon 1 series bodies, where it's sort of a tie.

    I was a bit miffed that my $3k 5D feels awkward and under-designed compared to a bottom of the line D50.

    Go play with them. At the end of the day, they're just tools as you know. Get one, and starting making photos.
     

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