Looking into an affordable DSLR camera.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by quagmire, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #1
    I am looking into getting a DSLR camera as I have a growing interest in photography especially as I love to photograph my cars and take pictures of planes. I am looking for a decent affordable DSLR camera. I have read that Nikon and Canon are pretty much on the top of the market. On Newegg, they have the Nikon D60 10.2 MP DSLR for $539. I am trying to avoid going over $600 with the absolute ceiling of $700.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16830113088
     
  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #2
    The D60 is a nice camera, but if you're trying to stay within your budget and you want another lens besides the kit 18-55 zoom, you can forget about it unless you're OK with a garbage lens. The main problem is going to be that the camera doesn't have a built in focus motor so you can't Autofocus with a non AF-S lens and the AF-S lenses will cost more (new or used).

    Take a look at Sony or Pentax for a better way to save a buck or two and have a little more left over for a nicer lens. All DSLR's these days are awesome, and where features are similar, you'd have a hard time distinguishing between prints from any of them. Meaning that they are all equally capable.

    If you must go Nikon or Canon, stay with a body that's a generation or two old and get it used.

    A used Pentax K100D super, and an 18-250 superzoom can come in for about $700.00 and that'd cover all your needs nicely for a while. Take a look at KEH.com for a nice selection of used equipment, they are a very reputable company to do business with.

    SLC
     
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #3
    I should just have a standard Pentax line. The K20D is really coming down in price now, and is, yet again, an outstanding camera.

    I'd go with something like a D50 (skipping over the D40/60/5000), which can autofocus with all Nikon autofocus lenses.

    Get a 50mm or 35mm 1.8 and you're in business.

    Didn't I just made this post earlier today?

    Also, be sure to check out Adorama and KEH for the best selection and arguably the most reliable vendors for used camera equipment.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    Don't think so much about the SLR body. If you have specific interrests in cars and planes think about the LENSES you will need for those subjects. Looks at both Canon and nikon and then buy into the brand that has the best car and plane lenses.

    The Nikon D40 and D60 can't use some of nikon's best car and plane lenses so be careful and think ahead about what you will get next.

    Also think about the flash system and lighting and color balance and noise. All those things that do no show up in the specs.

    All that said. You be much better off with a used Nikon D50 than a new D40 or D60. The D50 is about $300 and can use any of the Nikon AF lenses made over the last 20+ years. And you just might want to use some of those. If you have more money to spend then look at the D80. But really for your subjects you don't gain mush with a D80 over a D50.

    Look at the Nikon 10.5mm fish eye too. A really fun lens if you like car interiors.
     
  5. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #5
    How is this Canon? Same price as the D60.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16830120278

    Right now, I am just getting my feet wet for photography. While the lens the camera comes with may be crap, I am sure it will be better then my old Pentax point and shoot camera. As long as the camera's I am looking at have good upgrade potential for lenses in the future, I am perfectly happy to deal with the crappy stock lens while I venture into photography.

    And I am not limiting myself to Nikon and Canon. I just hear they are the top DSLR makers right now.....
     
  6. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #6
    Yeah, you did. I'm sure by Wednesday you will have posted again. I have a fairly standard answer for external hard drives.
     
  7. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #7
    And I am not limiting myself to Nikon and Canon. I just hear they are the top DSLR makers right now.....


    And they likely will be for a long time, unless Sony steps up more. Nikon and Canon have more resources to use in developing and selling their equipment, and that's why you hear more about them, along with their legacy of cameras and lenses.

    If I was starting out today (as I was a little over a year ago), I'd go with a D50 and either a 50mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.8. Add in a used 85mm 1.8 for about $350 and you're set.

    As mentioned earlier, I'd stick to somewhere like Adorama and KEH for used stuff. Get something from a place that deals heavily with photography.

    Here's a D50 right here: http://www.adorama.com/US 344936.html
     
  8. thomahawk macrumors 6502a

    thomahawk

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    Osaka, Japan
    #8
    find a Canon XTi from craigslist or ebay/amazon

    better than spending 700 for a XSi the XTi is nearly the same charm for about 300 to 400
     
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #9
    You mean they can't autofocus with some of Nikon's best lenses. They can still use them. And unless you're shooting sports or something else that moves fast, you shouldn't rely on autofocus anyway - I greatly prefer to focus manually whenever possible.
     
  10. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #10
    Easy to say, but only a few really do it or prefer it.

    I think of the D40/60/5000 as basically crippled cameras.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #11
    There's almost nothing Sony can do to "step up" anywhere near Canon or Nikon for the next 5-7 years. More importantly, Nikon's actually still showing camera unit profitability in the last fiscal year- unlike pretty-much anyone else. But in pure sales terms, Sony would have to kill everyone else, take all their market share (that is lose none of it to Nikon or Canon) *and* erode market share from Canon and Nikon to do anything major in terms of gaining on either- that's simply not going to happen when Sony is losing money. I'm also not sure we're not going to see internal politics come into play as DSLRs start to pick up camcorder features- the new bones of Minolta versus the old Handycam unit isn't likely to bode well for the DSLR faction if it comes to a grudge match. All the tour of Eastern Europe slides in the world aren't going to shift the actual numbers enough to give Sony the position they've been trying to brag their way into for the last ~3 years. I mean at least they're not *cough* *Pentax* *cough* losing market share in a growing DSLR market, but they'd have to produce a real miracle to dent the market, especially since there's a lot of upgrade churn at the high end with a significant lens lock-in, and that's where the profit margins are the best. You're still looking at around 40% each of the global market for Canon and Nikon, so a mythical Sony that could take out Pentax, Oly, all the smaller niche players and take 7% of Nikon and Canon would still be even (but that'd be an impressive feat in and of itself absent the DSLR market caving in.)

    I think of the D40 as a great bargain, there are enough AF-S/HSM lenses to cover about anything out there, and they're all modern optics with much better performance than most of the AF-D lenses of the past. Since the average DSLR buyer still is under 1.5 lenses, it's a moot point for most people who own a DSLR. What you're saving on the body should go into the glass, as the glass should amortize over 10-15 years while the body's going to be replaced in 3-5.

    Also, the D40 is what gained Nikon share over Canon- because the price/profit point they hit by not including the screwdriver focus motor worked well- hence no rush to go back on the AF-S compatibility march with the D5000. The only real losses with a DX body are the 35-70 and the 80-200, and you can pony up for the AF-S version of the 80-200 for about $300 more. On the 35-70 front, the difference in cost is going to be worth a D90, though even on DX the venerable 35-70 doesn't hold up well against its newer replacement.

    The D40 and D60 most certainly *can* use Nikon's best car and plane lenses, but Nikon's *best car* and plane lenses are way more than the OP's entire budget (400/2.8, 500/4, 300/2.8, 200-400/4, 70-200, 24-70.)

    It really doesn't matter though, if the OP is budget-strapped, their best options for lenses for airshows are going to be newer Sigma units, and they'll come in anyone's mount.
     
  12. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #12
    ^ Well said. The D40/D60 are far from "crippled", especially given that most buyers are not going to go much further than the kit lens anyway. These are fantastic entry level, backup, or lightweight cameras. A professional might not want to rely on one (though, really, there's no reason they couldn't), but for its intended market, they're fantastic. Especially at their current price points - a DSLR for $499 is an amazing deal.
     
  13. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #13
    Like I said, I am very much a beginner and only have dealt with point and shoot digital cameras( I have had very little experience with old film SLR camera's with photography class in school). By car and plane shots, I mostly am talking about still photo's for now with the car and plane just sitting there or in the sky.

    I am just looking for a good new( I don't like used equipment. I am sure there is nothing wrong with them, but I like to know I was the only owner of the things I buy) beginners DSLR and the D60 and the Rebel XS seem to be the perfect camera for the job. Now the question is which one to go for?
     
  14. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #14
    Good and informative post, compuwar. I learned a lot reading it.

    I shouldn't be so harsh toward the D40 and its brethren. After all, I had one myself for a time. Its pixel size is very large, beneath only the D3/x/700.

    You didn't mention, though, that until the 35mm 1.8 came along, there was virtually no option for wide angle primes within Nikon's lineup for D40/60 users to autofocus with, and there still isn't much of one at this moment. The 14mm, 18mm, 20mm, 24mm, and 28mm are all AF-D lenses. Yes, there's Sigma (particularly with the 30mm 1.4), but even with that, Nikon seems amiss by leaving some photographers out in the cold within their own lineup in terms of wide angle primes. Or else they're tacitly conceding ground to Sigma and others for the time being.

    I don't like used equipment. I am sure there is nothing wrong with them, but I like to know I was the only owner of the things I buy

    If bought carefully, you can save a lot of money with used equipment in photography, particularly glass. If you know what to look for in person and what to read for online, you can save a lot on someone else's moving on, moving up or some kind of misfortune.
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #15
    The 14mm doesn't do well on digital and is so much more expensive than the camera that it's simply not a likely purchase- even on film where it worked well it wasn't a hugely popular purchase. I don't think I've ever known anyone who had an 18mm, even in the film days- but at both those focal lengths autofocus isn't really that critical for most shots anyway.

    Sigma's been offering primes, Nikon's been offering zooms- Nikon really doesn't expect the beginning photographer to want a bunch of limited focal length lenses, hence their priority has been in improving the consumer-grade zooms rather than replacing older short focal length lenses. Nikon's actually somewhere between 1.6 and 1.8 lenses a customer, so they've been selling more lenses to more customers than the average DSLR manufacturer (which lived at 1.2-1.3 for the longest time) mostly due to ultra long zooms like the 18-200 and two-lens kits, so you can see why they're not in a rush to spend resources on lenses that aren't selling and haven't traditionally sold in significant numbers.

    Their formula is so successful that (a) they overcut production on most of their products when the economy nosedived and (b) they're increasing per-camera lens sales and (c) they've gained more market share than any other manufacturer and (d) they made a (small) profit on their DSLR business when pretty-much *everyone* else lost money. They're not going to change a winning formula without a lot of good reasons.

    Sigma offers a lot of fixed focal length lenses that will AF with the D40 and are likely about as good as the older AF-D Nikkors, including:

    4,5mm f/2,8 EX DC HSM
    10mm f/2,8 EX DC HSM
    14mm f/2.8 EX
    30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM
    50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

    In the much more popular wide angle zoom category you get:

    Tokina:
    12-24 f/4 AT-X 124 PRO DX II

    Tamron:

    10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD New
    17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II
    18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II
    18-270mm f/3,5 -6,3 Di II VC LD

    Sigma:

    10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
    10-20mm f3,5 EX DC HSM
    12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM
    17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 EX DG
    17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro HSM
    18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 DC HSM
    18-50mm f2,8-4,5 DC OS HSM
    18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro HSM
    18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM
    18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS
    18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM
    24-70mm f2,8 EX DG HSM

    Nikon:

    AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3,5-4,5 ED G
    AF-S DX 12-24mm f/4.0G ED-IF
    AF-S 14-24 mm f/2,8G ED
    AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3,5 - 5,6G ED VR
    AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF
    AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF
    AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
    AF-S VR DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
    AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF
    AF-S VR DX 18-105 f/3.5-5.6G ED
    AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED-IF
    AF-S VR DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
    AF-S 24-70 mm f/2,8G ED
    AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
    AF-S VR 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF

    I'd bet even money that the 14-24mm outperforms the old 14mm, the 20mm and the 24mm AF-D primes wide open through most of its range (but I can't even really be bothered to hunt down the MTFs, my old 20-35mm AF-D is at least as good as the 24mm, and probably the 20mm too.) If there was a significant market for wide primes, you'd see more than Sigma making them. So, if you look, you can see everyone's doing wide and ultra-wide angle zooms. Modern zooms are a fairly good argument against primes until you get over about 200mm- and low-cost zooms that go with low-cost cameras are more attractive to more buyers than expensive primes, no matter what their focal length. Nikon will replace or kill their AF-D lenses once they're out of stock- but if you look at the number of manual focus lenses that Nikon still offers today, you can see that it may be quite a while until they retire the whole catalog.

    Nikon's been doing a fair job of upgrading and adding to the lens catalog where it makes sense (despite the overabundance of overlapping consumer zooms- which are really a testament to them wanting to improve their low-end offerings no matter what-- remember it wasn't more than a couple of years ago where Canon's kit lenses sucked ear wax and Nikons were still pretty decent.) Remember that Canon owned the tilt/shift space for the longest time and Nikon's pretty-much offering as many options now- and those are low-volume sales lenses.

    I own three primes- 24mm, which I *never* shoot with, 300mm/4, which has been loaned out for a few years now, and 400mm which I shoot a lot with. My wide angle needs are met with a Sigma 10-20mm, and a Nikkor 20-35mm which gets little use, and most of the time I'm in manual focus with it anyway. My wish list for primes is 200mm micro, 85/1.8 and either the 105 Micro or a Tamron 90mm macro- because I don't think a wide prime is going to get me any significant detail increase in anything that I can't shoot and stitch with a closer lens. There may be a market for wide primes, but frankly if there were, Sigma couldn't keep that 30mm on the shelves as it's at a great price for a fast/wide prime.

    Our budding photographer isn't going to miss a focal length, and so all they're going to miss is shallow depth of field and low light capability- you have to pay to get those, though they're cheaper and better than they've ever been in history. You want sub 4-second 0-60, you're not going to get that on a budget either, no matter how cool you think the new cars look... It's still cheaper and more available than ever though.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #16
    I've bought two new DSLR camera bodies, and one of them lasted about 45 days before it got traded with a pile of money for a used camera that I'm still shooting with. I don't think I've purchased a new lens for myself in more than 15 years. I don't have an aversion to buying new, but there are so many people who overbuy and under use photography gear that you can do very well if you buy carefully.
     
  17. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #17
    I am leaning towards the D60, but what are the general cost differences between Nikon's AF-S lenses and Canon's EF's(since the XS has the motor built into it)?
     
  18. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #18
    Canon's EF-S lenses are not the same as Nikon's AF-S lenses. EF-S lenses can only be used on Canon's bodies that allow for them. Trying to use them on a full frame Canon body would result in a broken camera.

    Some Canon EF lenses are cheap, like the 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8, both of which I'd recommend if you go the Canon route.

    I'd avoid the D60 and go with the D40, if you want to get one of those two. The D40 has fewer megapixels, but also less noise and has everything you need at a lower price.

    Some Nikon AF-S lenses are cheap, like the 18-70 (has to be used now) and the 35mm 1.8, which is listed at about $200.
     
  19. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2004
    #19
    I believe the lenses are generally comparable pricewise. The motors are actually built into the lenses themselves, not inside the camera.

    Anyway, it's best if you go to a store and test the cameras in your own hands. Play around with it, see what you like better. Then decide what suits you better. If you've got bigger hands, the Nikon will be a better fit for your hands. So what it comes down to really, is ergonomics. All brands of digital cameras will be of excellent quality, but yes, generally Nikon and Canon are always at the top of the pack.

    I would look at the Canon Rebel XS personally. It's a newer camera with a CMOS based sensor, and can be found fairly cheap new. You can grab one for about $450 (or even cheaper if you look around), and grab maybe a $200 lens. I'd try that, and grab a Canon 28-105mm lens. Rounds out perfectly to your budget. BUT, you can grab the D40 for almost half the price though, so if you're wanting to save some money, go this route.
     
  20. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #20
    Does the XS have less noise then the D60?
     
  21. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    #21
    Yes.
     
  22. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #22
    These days, noise on all cameras is well-controlled and unless you plan on shooting in the upper end of the ISO spectrum (> 800), you won't be able to see any difference.
     
  23. fishkorp macrumors 68020

    fishkorp

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    #23
  24. maeman macrumors newbie

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    #24
    DPReview's tests show the XS has better high ISO performance than the D60, at least with default noise reduction settings anyways.
     
  25. quagmire thread starter macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #25
    I went with the D60. It felt better in my hands then the XS did. Felt more solid to me, IMHO.
     

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