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Author Topic: buying my first DSLR  (Read 8898 times)

urgannagru

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buying my first DSLR
« on: April 08, 2009, 09:57:21 PM »

I know we have more than a few photographers around here

I'm looking into getting a prosumer DSLR. Ideally (at my budget range, which really isn't much) I think I want to buy a Sony a350, but the price point on an a200 is really, really, really tempting (<$400). I am thinking I might end up buying an a200 and spending the savings on some good lenses, because everyone says that the lens makes a world of difference.

I would miss the live-view if I bought the a200, but I also know that I can easily live without it. My first question is how much would I miss having the extra 4MP? Is 10MP enough?

My next problem is that I have no experience in buying lenses and have no idea what to look for. Should I ask around at a local shop and see what they say? I know there are good shops around here for used lenses (I'm also aware of the potential disasters of a used lens).

Although I am leaning towards Sony (I have loved every Sony camera I have owned, which is more than I can say for any other brand), I'm open to the idea of buying another Canon, but would really prefer a system with built in IS, and Canons tend to be expensive.

Nikon is a no-go
Pentax = maybe
Panasonic = maybe
Olympus = probably not

PS: I have shot lots of photos, have a good understanding of terms, and always shoot in RAW if possible.
PPS: This is my first purchased for me DSLR. I have worked with a few Canons and a Nikon.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 10:06:15 PM by urgannagru »
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chase!

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2009, 02:59:29 AM »

Alright first off, how Nikon is a no-go but Panasonic/Olympus/Pentax are remotely options is beyond me. I can only assume you're basing Nikon off a Point-and-Shoot camera you have used and never using their DSLR line. They're almost as if made by two completely different companies.

In my opinion it's really go Canon/Nikon or go home. While I do think Sony is something to consider, if not only for BalefireX's shots, I'm not sure if I'd pick them yet. I mean, they've done amazing things for being so new in the market but I still don't know if they're top dogs yet. They can use Minolta lenses, so that's not to much of a problem, but I think you're still going to pay a premium for their Sony badged ones. It's been at least a good year since I've looked into this stuff though, so they could have done some amazing things since then.

What you really have to think about your future with the body. The lens is going to be the most important thing along with the photographer's skill, but you need something to grow with. What I would do is look around at what lenses you'd consider and prices. And then go with that company. My personal experience is that Nikon has an overall better sharpness, but Canon has color.

Last time I was looking into this, it was between the D90 or a 50D I think. I'd personally probably go with a Canon now because color is more important to me. But I did absolutely love my Nikon D40 and wouldn't mind shooting with a similar line if I was strapped for cash and looking for a DSLR.

I hate to say this, but go into Best Buy and check out the feel of the camera's you're considering since being comfortable is a huge thing when shooting. Interface might be something big to you and there are def some pro and cons there.

I'm sure Bale will have some more updated information. I might be completely wrong as I said this I haven't looked at stuff over a year now. But I'm 100% sure you need to at least get those 3 companies out of your head as options.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 03:02:30 AM by chase! »
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~Link~

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 08:58:18 AM »

I was ready to say everything chase! did after reading your post.  Nikon/Canon all the way.  Sure you can grab a cheap kit from Oly/Pentax, but if you really take a liking to photography and DSLRs, you'll be kicking yourself when it comes time to buy new lenses.

As for the Nikon/Canon color/sharpness, I'll agree as well.  My D80 out of the box was very good, but the colors of my photos didn't quite "pop" the way I was expecting them to for such an expensive camera.  Good news is, Nikons allow you to customize the camera's color curves.  On the recommendation of some forums, I downloaded the color profile from an older D50, uploaded it to my camera, and have been shooting with it ever since.  This way you can have the best of both worlds.  It's worth noting that Canons may be able to do this as well, but I have no experience or knowledge of this. 

In my opinion, live view is useless, unless you're doing some sort of studio macro work and you can't rely on a small-ish viewfinder to get your focus correct.

As for buying lenses, if you go for Canon or Nikon, both offer lenses dubbed the "nifty fifty."  They're 50mm f1.8 primes, and both cost around $150.  I have a nifty fifty and it gets far more use than either of my zoom lenses.
10MP is plenty.  My D80 is 10MP, and I have never found myself looking back and thinking "If only I'd had more megapixels!"  If you're not going to be printing your photos on billboards 10MP is just fine.

I'd like to hear what reasons you based your Nikon no-go decision on, because it seems very strange to write off one of the two biggest DSLR manufacturers, but then give Pentax and Panasonic a "maybe."
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chase!

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 10:45:22 AM »

Oh yeah, Link shoots some amazing stuff with his Nikon.
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 10:47:51 AM »

That's the thing that's most important to me though, color, not sharpness. I really do want a good built in IS system though which is something that Canon lacks, otherwise I might get a Canon. Also, Canons image quality are (from what I have seen) really only good when you get into the $>800 price range

Lets take one camera in my price range (~$650) as a Nikon example: the D60
- No in body motor
- No exposure or WB bracketing
- No mass storage USB support
Any one of those would stop me from buying a camera
Also
- No depth-of-field preview
Downloading custom camera color curves though does sound rather appealing, and that's definitely something you can't do with a Canon (I'm not sure about the other companies).

I'm open to suggestions if someone can show me a Nikon to get in that price range including lenses
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chase!

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 11:01:12 AM »

Don't think about the money now but the money you'll be spending in the future. You will kick yourself in the ass if you don't go Canon/Nikon. You have to pay to play in this market.

I assume the D60 is the new D40x. If it's really in your price range you're still better off with that then the other 3 companies. You just have to start collecting lenses from the AF-S line. Also, the XSi (if that's still the current) is a really nice body and will honestly outlast a D60. If you plan on shooting HDR at all, Canon is the better way to go because it sets up the 3 ranges of exposure for your next 3 shots. (Nikon might also do that now?) Picking up a older XTI or XT might be something you want to consider.

By the way, live preview is a gimmick and guarantee to create bad habits.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 11:15:33 AM by chase! »
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 11:10:39 AM »

Actually if you shoot (still life) studio shots then live view is an absolute must. You get much better focus results when you can see what is in focus on a big screen and don't rely on autofocus. Fortunately I already have another camera for that, so I don't care for this purchase.

I will not be buying any lenses in the future once I buy the camera, at least for a couple of years, due to cost. Whatever I buy now is what I use for at least that long. Unless I win the lottery, which I don't play.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 11:12:32 AM by urgannagru »
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chase!

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2009, 11:17:08 AM »

Well if the D60 uses the same lens the D40 did, it's a really amazing lens out of the box. It's actually leap years better then what the XSi comes with (if it's the same as the XT/XTI) The no motor thing isn't an issue if you don't plan on buying more lenses.
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bliq

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2009, 12:34:39 PM »

Well, I'm no pro photographer but I bought my wife a Canon XSi last year for our anniversary to capture photos of our family.  The XS is a 10MP version but I don't know what else you give up.  To be honest, my uncle has a D40 6MP and the photos look just as good to my untrained eye.  I really can't tell though we aren't blowing them up to full size either.  Also, our XSi has live image or whatever it's called and we've used it maybe 2 times.  apparently it's not good since it opens the shiutter and allows dust to get to the sensor.  the XSi cleans the sensor everytime you turn it off though.

Considering our n00bness, the XSi has been really easy to learn on, and it's pretty comfy- we can shoot 300-400 shots and more in a day easily.

The D40 wasn't as nice to hold as the XSi was.  And the screen on the XSi is pretty big.  We get about 600-800 shots on a single charge with the XSi.

We've been able to take photos at a distance of about 60-80 feet with a 75-300mm lens at max zoom with no IS without bluriness if we adjust settings.  We also sometimes use a monopod to help steady the shots.  The 18-55 IS that comes with the camera just allows us to be less careful and use it more as a point and shoot.
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bliq

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 12:37:02 PM »

Well if the D60 uses the same lens the D40 did, it's a really amazing lens out of the box. It's actually leap years better then what the XSi comes with (if it's the same as the XT/XTI) The no motor thing isn't an issue if you don't plan on buying more lenses.

The XSi has an 18-55 IS lens which is different than the XTi/XT lens.  It's supposedly pretty good, though I'm not a good judge.

btw, have you checked out www.dpreview.com for reviews on all these cameras?  it was indispensable as I did my research.
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