Need to pick a camera from a list, for a beginner photography class in college

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by CFoss, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. CFoss macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I'm in need of a camera for photography class, and I'm not to sure what to go with. Camera Kingston, our local camera shop, has listed of several different cameras that they would recommend going with for this class.

    1) Canon T3i w/EFS18-55 IS - 18MP - DSLR - $669
    2) Nikon D3100 w/AFS18-55 VR - 14MP - DSLR - $498
    3) Nikon Dr3200 w/AFS18-55 VR - 24MP - DSLR - $649
    4) Canon T3 w/EFS18-55 IS - 12 MP - DSLR - $479
    5) Canon G12, 5X, manual control, eyefinder - 10MP - pro compact - $389
    6) Canon SX240 IS, 20x, manual settings - 20MP - compact - $279

    Please note, these are just guidelines. Does anyone have any recommendations on what camera to go with? The program I am taking is primarily a music course, though a nice camera would not go amiss. Also, is there a chance any of these cameras would be adequate for video production class? While you can rent out equipment in that class (for free), it would be useful for my picture camera to double as a film camera. However, disregard this, if the video specs are below average on these cameras (e.g. if they only film up to 720p, etc).

    I'm going to be doing a little research on this, but your opinions would be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. odagled2004 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    If its just a photography 101 course, then I'd just get a used Nikon D80 on Craigslist. I see them all the time for $300 or $400 with a couple lenses. Maybe even a D40... I see those for even cheaper. No video though. I figure you're spending a lot on the course already so might as well go the used route.
  3. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Jan 17, 2008
    Solon, OH
    It sounds like you do not have any experience with photography. All of the cameras mentioned are good. The issue here is that you don't know right now what you might want long term. Buying new can be expensive if you are not sure what your longer term interests are. I think it would be a mistake for you to get something on Craig's List. You probably don't have the experience yet to evaluate what you get. You might, however, be able to get something from someone you know. You say the school has cameras for you to borrow. That sounds like the best option for right now.
  4. mtondreo macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2011
    my wife has the T2i (difference is no flip out screenthat the T3i has) and she absolutely loves it so far. It is our first DSLR. We were having problems with point and shoots not being quick enough for our daughters dance recitals etc. Good luck on your search.
  5. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    Sorry, I should have been more specific: They only have video cameras up for rent.

    I agree with you guys, I should probably go for one of the beginner DSLR cameras. I heard the Nikon D3100 is good for that... mind, $500 is pretty expensive. I should probably check up the specs.
  6. joemod macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Athens, Greece

    I agree that you should start with the cheapest new DSLR. I 'd add Canon 1100d/T3 in the list. You may find it more user friendly.
  7. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Jan 17, 2008
    Solon, OH
    Okay. If that's the case then I would go for something from someone you know or get something new but inexpensive. I still think Craigslist is a mistaken idea.
  8. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2012
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    Having one of these myself, I can attest to its capabilities. It's quite a versatile camera for the price. Get some good glass (lenses) later on and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what it can produce.
  9. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2009
    I have a T3i and it's great for pics/video. The swivel screen on it helps out quite a bit when taking awkward photos or getting some nice low angle video shots. In terms of video, the T4i is a bit better then the T3i in that regards however, it's still up there as far as pricing goes.

    I'd cast my vote for the T3i as it takes great pics and pretty good video. Since the T4i's came out, the T3i's have dropped in price so you can pick one up for cheap somewhere.
  10. machinegt, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012

    machinegt macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2012
    Don't buy a new one

    In all honesty, i would avoid a brand new beginner level-dslr. It would actually be better to buy a used professional level-dslr for the same price.

    The professional level dslr's will have much better physical controls in order for you to change the manual settings more quickly.

    Your passion for photography will allow you to grow into this type of camera. All the entry-level beginner dslr's are really made for a specific consumer: soccer moms or very casual photographers. Because of that, they have hidden controls away into the menus because they figure soccer moms dont really care and just want to point and shoot, but instead of getting a little point and shoot they want something a little more show-offy, like a dslr.

    i've always bought used dslr's off ebay. you can find something like a full frame for the same price as a new crop-sensor dslr:

    or here is a high speed pro body nikon:

    or one for video:
  11. ctyhntr macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    The Canon T3 only shoots video up to 720. Check with your retailer, and see if they have any T2i on closeouts. Same spec as the t3i but no reticulated screen.

    Adorama has refurb t2i with the same kit lens for $10 more than your t3.

    I don't recall if it was B&H or Adorama, one of these retailers had a 50mm 1.8 and 55-250mm lens for $250.
  12. ankurshr macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2012
    Halifax, NS
    Invest in the lens not the body

    Any modern DSLR is good enough for any beginner photographer.
    All the cameras that you have listed (and all others) come with more or less similar features.

    Lenses are what makes the whole difference. Even with the costliest high-end camera, you won't get that much good quality pictures if you stick with the kit lens.

    I will highly recommend that go for a used camera body (if it comes with some lenses - even better) and experiment with lenses.

    Also, NEVER buy a camera just by looking at its specs online.
    A camera that fits good in your hands is the camera that you should buy.

    When I was researching for DSLRs to buy myself, I had almost finalized one particular model based on its specs. Then I went to the store and held it up in my hands and it felt really awkward. I finally bought a Canon T2i with a 18-55 mm f4.5 kit lens which fits so comfortably in my hands and I absolutely love it. But again, it wasn't that great before I bought couple more lenses of course :).
  13. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    Thanks for your help guys. I'm taking my video production class today, so I will check with them if they have any recommendations on what to do.

    I should have been more clear and mention that I live in Canada, so American websites tend to not be the best option (ESPECIALLY seeing how I will need this camera sooner rather than later).

    I usually hate going with used products. However, in this case, it might be the better idea. My teacher will inspect the cameras next week. He mentioned basic things, like enabling RAW pictures and using Adobe RGB over sRGB, so I'll make sure to do that.
  14. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
  15. twiggy0 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2009
    Buy either from eBay used, Amazon used, or Craigslist used.

    I'd recommend a Nikon D60 or Canon T2i. The first one can be found for roughly $350 if you do some good searching with the kit 18-55mm lens, and the latter for around $400 with the kit 18-55mm lens. After that, get a 50mm f/1.8 lens for around $80 used from either brand. (depending on the one you bought)

    Hope this helps,

    Good luck!
  16. darkprints macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    Is there a reason why you think you really need a DSLR? In your case, a Panasonic LX5 might be a better choice.
  17. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I started with a used Canon XSi from a local dealer and it served me fine. Take a look at the used department at B&H photo. You can get a used dslr with a lens for around $400.

    B&H Photo and Video

  18. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    I'm not sure what the deals are like in Canada, but there are options that take some effort that make it cheaper. Here is an example:

    Sell the 55-250, sell the printer and get the rebate, and you're looking at <$400 for a T3i kit. Look at deal sites for Canada and see what you can find. Canon DSLR sales right now are popping up daily at different sites in the US so you may have some luck in Canada.
  19. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    I would go with a used D90. The D3100 is good, but the D90 focuses better. Like the person said above B&H photo.

    Or go with what fits your hands. The midrange Nikons are good (D80, D90, D7000). Not to bulky. If you are solely shooting video with a DSLR I would go with Canon T3... Although it shoot videos better than D90, the D90 trumps it when shooting stills.
  20. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    D3100 owner, here. First off, buy a refurb'd unit, you'll save even more money. Second, it's a wonderful little camera. I absolutely love mine. The shortfalls I would pinpoint are these: the 5100 has a swivel lcd screen that seems to come in handy in weird vantage points/angles, and two, no intervalometer functionality is built in, so you'll have to buy one should you ever get into time-lapse shooting. three, no mirror-lock-up shooting. You can only lock up the mirror for sensor cleaning. Other than that it's done everything I've asked of it so far, and produces great images. The kit lens is a good little piece of glass as well. I've learned to shoot using this camera and it is easy to use and produces wonderful images.

    With the D3200 out, you should be able to save plenty of money on a D3100 used or refurbished. Your overall goal should be to save money on the camera body so that you can buy better lenses down the road.

    Another tip before buying your camera is to see what your classmates/friends are buying. If you all buy into the same brand/system, you can share/swap lenses and save boatloads of cash.
  21. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Check out the D5000 too. It's what I have. It's the step above the (current) D3100, but from last year's model. Better camera for your buck, IMHO.

    Of course for a photography 101 course, a D80 would work too.
  22. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I've ended up going with the Nikon D3100. I spent around $560 cdn (taxes included), which came with the standard lens kit and two no-name class 10 8GB SD cards.

    So far, it's done everything I want it to. I rarely use the LCD for taking pictures, and I've been experimenting with the ISO, aperture, and shooting speeds. It's taking me a little to get used to it, but I've taken some really nice shots with it today (especially by Lake Ontario).

    Thank you everyone for your help with this issue. I really appreciate it. :)
  23. joemod macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    I am happy that you are satisfied with your choice. Have fun. I guess that although you bought it for your class, you will not you use it only for your assignments :)

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