what can i get for $1000?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by minchman, May 29, 2008.

  1. minchman macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2008
    Hi everyone,
    Want to make it clear that I'm the absolute beginner's beginner in photography.

    I can get the Canon 40D with stock 28-135 lens for $1100. I know this is a prosumer camera, but with the recent instant rebates, it seems like a good time to jump in. Can I learn and develop my techniques with this kit?

    I can also get the Nikon D40 with an additional 18-200 lens for about the same price. This is Nikon's low end DSLR but the lens has had rave reviews.

    Which of these kits would you recommend? Do you think it's overkill? Should I just stick with the stock Nikon kit for $500 first and see where the photobug takes me? Thanks for your advice in advance!
  2. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Nikon D60 w. 18-55mm kit lens = $700.
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 = $109
    Nikon SB-600 = $185

    = $994

    Voila. Use the extra money to put a down payment on a gallon of gasoline.

    Do yourself a favor and get the D60. The D40 is a generation of technology behind, and the price of the D60 is great.

    Get a speedlight. External flashes are worlds better than the thing that pops up of the top of your camera. Seriously - worlds better.

    Get a good low-light/portrait/people lens. The 50mm f/1.8 is both a great lens to learn on and a great lens in its own right. Look at the customer reviews on Amazon. Something like 170 reviews and a 5 star average. People seem to like it (plus, ask people on this board). Plus, it will introduce you to the very important notion that the point of a DSLR is that you have the option to use different lenses depending on what you want to do. So yeah, get a separate lens and learn its value.

    This is a very good beginning dSLR package.

    Don't get the 40D. I have no problem with Canon - I just have a problem with the setup you mentioned to learn on.
  3. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    I would suggest getting the low-end camera from either Canon or Nikon and the kit lens. Save the money for later purchases.

    The 18-200 is an excellent lens to take everywhere. But don't spend that much in your first lens. Wait and see what type of photography you prefer and then buy another lens.

    The Nikon D40 is an excellent camera, as for the D60 (the new model) it is almost the same. Depending on your budget you may want to buy the D60. As for your first lens you could choose the 18-55 VR or the 18-70. Both are good lenses to start, tho the 18-70 is superior than the 18-55.
  4. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Check this deal out also.


    $830. Again, use the extra $200 to buy yourself a speedlight. Personally, I'd advise going with the option I mentioned in my previous response.
  5. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    The D60, as recommended, could be a good option. If you're hesitant about getting the 40D at this point, and you're considering Canon, the 450D/Rebel XSi is another good option; just got a very good review over at DPReview.com

    Alternatively, you might consider a used 30D, which can be had for around $650 if you hunt, and is a really nice camera.
  6. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    The 50mm is a great lens, but it is worth noting that it won't autofocus in the D40/D40x/D60. And manual focusing with this lens in a D40/D40x/D60 can be a real pain.
  7. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Well [explative]. I did not know that. That's annoying.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Don't all these bodies have a focus indicator light in the viewfinder area? I find even on my D2x that if I'm in MF mode in the studio, I'll rely on the green dot more often than not.
  9. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    Please tell me this doesn't work with old MF lenses?:eek: Do this relies in the lens or the body?

    I have been using MF lenses for 5 months now and haven't ever used or heard about this feature (or if I did, I never got to put further attention to it).
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    (1) You will get the most "bang per buck" if you put more of your budget into llenses and lighting than a camera body. In the end when you show some on your portfolio of your work no one will be able to see which body was used but your collection of lenses adn lighting equipment defines the type of photos you can take. So choose you lenses first

    (2) You should not spend all your $1,000 at once. As a beginner yo don't know what you want. Buy the "kit" lens then shoot 1,000 or so frames. Then go back and look at what you missed buy the equipment that would have helped you not to have missed. For example if you review your work and find you are many times zoomed all the way in and still the subject s not framed as closely as you'd like then think. Could you have walked up closer? If not then you can justify a longer lens. But maybe what you see are pictures that could be improved by isolating the subject with a narrow depth of field or that were in low light so then you want a "faster" lens but not a longer one. You don't know yet and cant until you go and shoot many shots and have a body of work to look at. So have your money

    (3) Every lens is a compromise. Even if you find a good review each lens has a range of application and there is always much that it can't do. Even thiose 18-200 "ultra zooms" just don't have aperuters wider then f/5.6 nor do that match the image quality of a more specialized lens. But the 50mm lensopens up to f/1.4 but it si fixed at 50mm. Every one of them is a compromise and you give up something

    (4) once you buy into a brand like Canon or nikon switching is expensive and not fun. So think ahead about where you want to be in 5 or so years and where your next $1,000 is gong to go and the next $1K after that. SLR system tand to last for decades even if you'd swapped out bodies three times yu will still have Nikon or Canon or whatever. Think about the brand you lie to be stuck with.

    (5) Note that the Nikon D40/D60 lacks an in-body focus motor and can only autofocus lenses that have their own in-lens motor. All older and higher model Nikon body have motors.

    (6) With a limited budget buying used equipment makes a lot of sense. Pick up a used D50 rather then a new D40. It's better and cheaper.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    All my AF bodies have the focus indicator light. Going way back to my N2020 and N90. The D50 has it too. The N90 for had arrows to tell you which way to rotate the ring to get better focus. The D50 has just a green light that is very sensitive and comes on when the lens is in focus. It works with AF lenses and MF lenses.

    But even with the light the non-digital bodies had beter viewfinders with the split prism focus aid.

    The "in focus" light is totally controlled by the body. A Nikon lens has no way to "know" if it is in focus and just gets a forward/stop/back signal from the body if it is AF-S if not AF-S then it doesn ot even get that as it is controlled by the mechanical screwdriver.
  12. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Amen to that.

    I never thought of using the focus dot as an aid to manual focusing, which is sorely needed due to the limitations of the current focusing screens. I'm going to have to play around with that feature some and see what the limitations are - i.e.: moving the camera's focus sensor, effect of aperture selection, DOF preview, etc. A big cheer for the power of Internet forums. :)
  13. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    You can get a variety of third party focusing screens at different prices.

    The only issue is that the prisms affect autoexposure a little bit.
  14. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    None of the cameras are 'too hard' if you're keen. Glass will make the most difference photographically but the body IS important. So many people just say 'glass' when that's not the whole issue. Feel and viewfinder are most key, imo of the body's features. I use a D70 which does the job. The viewfinder and screen are small though. My dad has a Fuji S3 Pro. It's a fine camera but everything's so fiddly! He's much more considered than me so it's not such a problem having to rotate the mode dial to change ISO, say. Drives me insane. That's an extreme example, but bodies fit people.

    Go try some things out. The 40D is great value in the UK atm, I wouldn't be too shy about trying one out. I'd buy it over the 450D atm, as there's little price diff here.

    Also look at pentax, possibly olympus and sony, depending on what you're into. Canon and Nikon can be relied upon to be around for a good while. I rather like the current pentax dodas though. Weather sealed and all.
  15. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    One can never stop learning.:)

    Thanks for the info ChrisA and compuwar. I'll try it after work and see how much it helps me getting a correct focus with a 50 f/1.4.

    Yes, the viewfinders of the film cameras are amazing. My dad has a F2 or F3, not sure, but the HUGE viewfinder and the prism are awesome. You get correct focus very easy.
  16. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    You don't have to buy a 40D with the kit lens if you don't want to, but that one is a pretty nice lens, anyway. You can always buy it with the kit lens, then sell the lens if you want and buy a "nifty 50" for portraiture and such. The "nifty 50" costs around $70.00 for the f/1.8 version.

    A 40D body (with the instant rebate) costs around $900.00 at the moment. I bought one without any lenses, since I plan to use the lenses I already have for my XT. These lenses are very sharp, and with the XT, produce outstanding images. The lenses are Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 which I use for landscapes, and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 that I use to take photos of my family and things like that.
  17. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I can't believe no one has asked this question yet… maybe I missed it.

    What do you want to take photos of?

    This will determine what you want. Note, however, that you don't have to make a decision; it just makes things easier if you do.
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    He said he had a $1,000 budget. Spending $900 on the body and $100 on the lens is not the best way to allocate funds. I'd recommend a more even split with roughly $500 spent on the body and $500 on the first lens or two. I think a 50/50 split gives a good bang per buck unless you are really straped for cash and then you only option is to buy the cheapest body and cheapest lens

    I'd pick out $500 worth of glass, maybe not buy it all at once but pick it out then find a $500 body that fits the glass. Which body hardly matters, neither Nikon or Canon make a bad one.
  19. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008

    He said that he has $1,100.00, which would pay for a 40D with a kit lens, or a Nikon. Some folks are buying the 40D with the kit lens mentioned above, and then selling the lens for around $300.00. But if he still does not want that lens, or the trouble of having to sell it later, then he could buy the body plus a nifty 50 for roughly $1,000.00, try that for awhile, and then buy more lenses when he has the cash.

    I understand that bodies come and go, but both Canon and Nikon lenses, at least the best ones are quite expensive. I also agree with you that a great lens or two can be an excellent investment before a good to great camera body, but I would still think twice before getting stuck with a mediocre body for three of four years.

    I also agree with a poster above who said that he can do very well with the kit lens.
  20. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    Used 30d - $550
    Tamron 17-50 f2.8 - $350
    Sigma Super DG 500 flash - $100

    = $1000. No tele range but it will kill in low light.
  21. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    To the OP, if you know nothing about photography, why spend $1000 straightaway?

    Why not get a point and shoot that also allows full manual control, then you can focuss on learning about shot composition, lighting, f stops and all that, then a year or two you'll know much more about what you want.

    I got a Canon PowerShot for £100, and it's been amazing, letting me ease into setting my own values for some shots, and seeing what values the auto-settings pick for other shots.

    P&S are much lighter and smaller too - you learn more from the small camera that's in your hand, not the big heavy camera locked away in a drawer at home. You'll also have some money to buy external flash, cheap tripod etc and learn how to start using them.
  22. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    I was about to do this when I bought my Nikon. I was going to buy an advanced P&S, but finally I decided to take the plunge and buy the Nikon. And I think it was the best decision I could make. You'll outgrow a P&S very easily if you are really interested in photography.

    If you don't feel very interested, or don't think you are going to like photography, then hear what RedTomato says.:)

    But if you like photography, believe be, you won't care about bringing with you a heavy camera wherever you go. Tho I do recommned getting the entre level camera, as I said previously. And a kit lens that has a normal zoom. I think the best are the ones in the 18-55 range. You can easily stay with that lens for some months before you buy another lens. A 50 prime is nice, but you'll find yourself wanting something wider many times.

    EDIT: If you want to learn for the time being composition and the basics of photography, then get a film camera. Very inexpensive and much better than a P&S for learning photography. In fact, I think film cameras are the best to learn, and the ones that make you prouder when you take a good photo.
  23. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    If you really know what you want to capture though, there's no harm in picking up another lens instead of the kit one..

    In my case, I knew the kit lens wasn't what I wanted, and so I picked up an XTi body (beautiful camera) and I got a pretty good quality lens (10-22/3.5-4.5) which actually cost me more than the body and I couldn't be happier! :D

    Just don't forget that if your budget is only $1000, keep some money aside for those small accessories that can sometimes make or break a shot. ( Filters, flashes, tripods)

    If however you really haven't a clue of what you want to capture and you're just trying to experiment, forget what I said and go for a kit or as Tomato said, a high-end P&S!

    Have fun with photography and good luck!
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I think the above is spot on. Just to add a few things:

    1) How to decide if you are really interested in Photography enough to justify the SLR. Ask yourself why you are leaving the house. Are you going some place and want to take the camera to record some memories of the trip or event or is the primary reason to go so that you can create some photos. If the later case then you want the SLR. So are you wanting to "preserve memories" or create images. The vast majority are in the first category. But if you are thinking different then you might be able to justify the larger camera

    2) Film can fit in well with a digital system. You can buy an older model manual film body and it can share lenses with a new Nikon DSLR. There are some technical limitations to watch out for. But if you plan ahead, for example you could get a fully mechanical (works with no batteries) film body and a new 50mm auto focus lens for well less than $200 total. Shoot that for a while then later buy a used D50 for $325 and continue to use the 50mm but now it will auto focus and interchange with the 18-55 that came with the d50. You don't have to spend $1,000 to get a quality SLR system. $150 will get you started. And that $150 film system can produce better image quality than most dSLRs

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