Looking for an entry level DSLR camera.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by definitive, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. definitive, Jul 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011

    definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    I'm fairly new to DSLR cameras, and recently took up interest in photography. Could anyone recommend a good entry level DSLR camera? I'm looking for something that already has a lens (and is compatible with more advanced ones), costs around $450-600, has a good set of custom features, supports SDHC cards, and if possible video recording (1080 preferred).

    Currently looking at Nikon D3000, D3100, Canon EOS Rebel XS and Rebel T3, but not sure if there's something else out there that might be better for the price.
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Is there a decent photography shop near you? All the entry level cameras offer similar features and performance (more or less) so things like how they feel in your hand and held to your face to take pictures are important. Go and try them out and see what feels best to you.
  3. definitive thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    I've already tried all of them in person at a local electronics store. Honestly, they all felt the same. I'm fairly new to DSLR, so besides physical features, I am not too familiar with the options that they all offer. That's why I've turned to this section for some advice, hoping that someone has used these cameras before (or some other ones) and could provide their own opinion on what is good and what is bad.
  4. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    I'll put my vote out for the Canon. A lot of people really like it, and it is compatible with a lot of good lenses. I have it and I like it a lot.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  5. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    What photo equipment have you used before ?

    The Nikon D3100 has a direct record button for video which is quite handy.

    Both the D3100 and the Rebel xsi come with 18-55 kit lenses though. If you really want to do video, you should think of changing the kit lens for something with a bit more range.
  6. definitive thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    About four or so years ago I briefly used a Nikon DSLR. I believe it was D300 which had a Compact Flash card. Like I've said before, I'm a total newbies, so I'm looking for something entry level, but at the same time something that's capable of many options. I'd also like to add the Canon Rebel T3 to the list of options I've looked at recently. Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated.
  7. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    You really can't go wrong with either Canon or Nikon (or other brands for that matter). I think I would stick with the most recent models from each brand, so either the D3100 or the T3.

    Depending on how much you are looking to expand the gear, the Canon may be a little cheaper and easier to get affordable lenses. Any EF or EF-s lens will mount and autofocus on it. This includes any EOS lens made in the past 30 years. Nikon can mount lens made even earlier than that all the way up to the present, but it will only autofocus on some of them. I'm not a Nikon guy, so I'll have to defer to someone with more experience to let you know which ones will.
  8. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
    Might be a little more than you want to pay but I recently picked up a T3i kit with 18-55 lens. The 1080p video recording is pretty good. You'll want to get a separate mic if you're looking to shoot real videos as the built in mic ain't that great. It was about $800 for me (I used some BestBuy coupons and certificates) but it's a really great newbie DSLR camera.
  9. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010

    All AF-S, AF-I and VR lenses work 100%.
  10. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    What are you planning on shooting? I've only used a couple of the cameras you've listed, but I can still tell you without hesitation they're all great picks for general use. Beyond that, it gets more complicated.

    Imo, the Canons are very nice for video whereas Nikon's cameras are better for low light. Under ideal conditions both are fantastic. Nikons have better noise reduction so high ISOs are cleaner, sometimes at the cost of lost fine detail. The low end Canons have cheaper build quality and slightly worse optical finders, maybe, but build quality, optical finders, and frame rate are where cheaper cameras suffer in the first place; go one step up to a $1000 camera and you'll do a lot better with either brand in those regards... Image quality is awesome on the low end across the board.

    I would say decide on the basis of which platform provides better lenses for your needs, but (with some exceptions) both platforms have great inexpensive lenses and the differences are more on the high end.

    So I'd buy based on feel, unless you know what you want to do very specifically. I bought a t2i specifically for its superior video, but it's not a replacement video camera (you can't autofocus, for one, and skew means you can't shoot really telephoto without problems). That said, it has good video quality. I recently shot this with the kit lens, 55-250mm IS, and a few cheap ($200-ish) old nikkors:


    The resolution is less than my old hv30, but the "look" is better, imo. Good latitude, way more light sensitive, and I like that the sensor is the same size as super35mm film, so it feels a bit more "cinematic."
  11. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    If you want video, then Canon or Nikon are the way to go- Nikon's done a bit more AF-wise with video, but Canon's a little better overall for it. If you want to just do photography, you'll get more features per dollar out of all the minor market players than the "big two," but won't have as many lens or upgrade choices. You may want to see what gets released in September- if the earthquakes haven't put too much of a damper on product releases, I'd expect to see Sept-November releases in time for Christmas. Video gets better each revision, so if that's an important feature then buying later is better assuming you don't miss out. Personally, I'd go with a cheap pocketable video camera separate from a DSLR.

  12. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    Both Nikon and Canon are great brands and have lenses that are terrific in the long run.
    Both are comparable. Feel the two side by side and take your pick. Perhaps look at some lenses you might want to get down the road (Macro/Wide Angle/ Long Zoom/Telephoto) and see what their specs are to help you decide. What you buy into now will probably be your brand for a long while.

    A co-worker just bought a D3000 (no video I think) and she loved how fast it was. Used it on vacation and was thrilled.
    I just bought a D7000 (out of your price range) and it is an incredible upgrade in focus-ability from my old D70.

    I'd stick with the low-low end now so when you decide to upgrade (if you do) you wont feel as bad spending $$ on better stuff.
    Comments above are on the right path…the low-ends skimp a bit on quality and build to keep the costs down. The lenses are really where you'll be spending good money but if the auto-focus is slower on a low-end camera it wont get that much better with a better lens, whereas a quicker internally focus camera will benefit more.
  13. ForeverG5 macrumors newbie


    Jul 15, 2011
    New Jersey
    If you are not opposed, I would highly suggest you look at some used cameras on eBay or Craigslist or something. For $450-600 you can probably get a used T1i that has much more control and higher quality video.
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    EVERYONE does tis backwards. You starting thinking about which SLR body to buy first. It hardly matters. What you need to pick first is a family of equipment. Once you pick Nikon you will be buying Nikon lenses and Nikon flashes and eventually a replacment body to fit your lens and other gear. So pick a SYSTEM you can live with for many years

    So think about the future and what you'd like to have in five years. Look at used lenses too. If there is some nice Canon lens you'd like to have some day, you need a Canon body now. Same for Nikon. I don't know how many people got into Nikon just because of the 80-200 f/2.8 lens

    Years from now when looking at photos you will be able to spot the ones taken with various lenes you have but there is no way you'd know from looking at a print which body you used. This should say something about how to shop.

    But no onw thinks this way they think "I have X dollars to spend. Which body and kit lens combo sells at that price point?" Then only later do they say "You means I can't use the Nikon system flash on my Canon? Plan ahead.

    Why not shop for a good starter lens first, then pick a body that fits it??

    Some people will tell you to go into the shop and see which SLR body fits your hands. So then you'd pick a brand based on the shape of one entry level body, When you upgrade/replace that body you will still be tied to the same brand. So, go to the shop and try many different SLRs and find the brand that makes sense to you and select a brand first.

    Then find a good lens that is suited to what you want to shoot. Then select a camera body.
  15. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    I sort of agree but sort of disagree.

    If the OP has some equipment currently, they'll need to decide whether they see it as something they want to use on a body they will purchase. No-one can look into the future and decide what type of lenses they will be after, especially a newbie.

    What they can do is consider the current range of options for each body type they can consider and not expect the same options for all brands. But, why should they get frustrated with complications like this.

    Buy what you need now as cheap as what you can get it. Damage limitation. If it turns out to be a mistake, fleebay it.

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