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Author Topic: Advice on 1st D SLR  (Read 3002 times)
GAULIRMORN
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« on: October 19, 2009, 07:33:30 AM »
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Which Camera? Help Please

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  Hi all,
I have been stumbling around the internet and various magazines for several weeks now, trying to suss out which would be the best camera for me to buy. It's sending me crosseyed after all this time, and have finally given up and joined the forum to ask you guys for some help and advice.
I have copy /pasted the questionnaire so you get the necessary info.
Cheers    


Budget
*I am thinking about Ebaying for an older model seeing as this will be my first camera. I have never used a Dslr before, and my current camera is a P&S Samsung. Budget would be around £500 max for the body, and if I could pick up an absolute bargain @ £500 which included a lense, that would be great.
It really depends what advice I get here...

Size
*I don't have a problem with size, so long as I can carry it long distances.

Megapixels
*I need a high megapixel as I plan to print in large format.. Full sensor would be good too.

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
I'm not really sure. I want to take landscape and eventually, macro, so I am not 100% certain what lenses I will be using yet.

How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
*10

Do you care for manual exposure modes?
*At the moment, I would just be learning how to use the camera, but manual will be important in the long run.

* Usage?
Landscape, architecture, and eventually macro. No sport / no folks / no animals.

Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
*Yes

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
*Possibly low light for architecture or maybe even woodland, but not generally as in 'taking shots in someone's living room'.

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
*No.

Any miscellaneous requirments?
*I don't know anything about any of the makes. I have used Sony P&S and camcorders in the past, but I find the lifetime on Sony products is somewhat lacking, so I wouldn't be too keen.
I might be better able to answer this question if I could make up my mind which stabilsation is better for landscape, in lens or in camera...

I have been mulling Canon over an awful lot lately, having convinced myself that my 'goal camera' would be the 40D.

Do you need any of the following special features?
(Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)
You tell me? I know WA is important, for IS see previous comment. I don't plan to take the camera out in torrential rain, though maybe a bit of drizzle might catch me having to hide it under my coat (LOL). A full sensor would be nice, and live view may help with some of the low-to-ground shots so I don't have to lay on my stomach.

Any further questions, please feel free to ask.
Thanks for all your help, guys.
Gaulirmorn

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pegelli
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 07:44:49 AM »
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My advice would be to go to a shop, hold, test and fiddle and then buy the brand that feels best in your hands.

There's no bad DSLR's these days, just some slight differences in emphasis and strong/weak points, but not that important if this is your first DSLR.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 07:47:55 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 07:49:56 AM »
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Quote from: GAULIRMORN
Which Camera? Help Please
Gaulirmorn
My requirements are very similar to yours (except for my budget and that I do gymnastics/ballet too) and I went form a £300 Leica Dlux 3 to a H3D11-50 with the option to upgrade to an H4D-60, and a Sinar P3.

Landscape-useful DSLRs are not cheap, so you might consider a large format camera and an old digiback, or buy a 5*4 and stick to film until you can afford something better.

Where are you?
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Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
walter.sk
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 08:31:24 AM »
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I would suggest that you go for a new camera rather than an outdated model from eBay.  The reason is that the current technology is better (faster processing and writing to the memory card, better battery life, higher ISO with less apparent noise, faster shutter speeds with larger buffer for more continuous shots if needed, higher resolution LCD's, etc).

Entry level Canon, Nikon or Sony DSLR's now have features and capabilities that used to be found only on their mid-to-high end cameras.  The kit lenses, inexpensively priced, have surprisingly good optical quality in many cases.  For landscapes I would suggest that you get a camera with a 2:3 aspect ratio rather than the four-thirds cameras, which have smaller sensors and a narrower 3:4 aspect ratio.

There are arguments on both sides where Image Stabilization is concerned.  The in-camera type (as in Sony, among others) is said to be less specific than in-the-lens stabilization, but I have not seen any visible difference.  I use a high end Canon with in-lens stabilization, and my wife uses an old Sony Alpha 100 with in-camera stabilization, and she gets the same percentage of sharp images when we shoot under the same conditions.  Actually, she gets more sharp ones when shooting handheld in lower light, as my wide angle zoom has no stabilization.  Naturally, any lens she uses will be stabilized.

Full frame is way beyond your budget and requires much better glass.

Coming from a point-and-shoot it sounds as if you are a bit intimidated over the need to choose all of the shooting parameters in a DSLR such as manual focus or exposure, but be assured that you can start in full auto mode or Program mode and get very good pictures, while learning one new aspect of control at a time.  In short order you will be able to choose your shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus with confidence that you will controlling the creative aspects of your final image.

Anyway, these are some thoughts that you might consider.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 08:37:26 AM by walter.sk » Logged
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 12:11:13 PM »
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They are all pretty good.  Do try to handle them.  Remember to see how easy it is to adjust the common shooting settings.  (EV +-, Flash +-, ISO, Live View, etc.)

Between exchange rates and VAT (that correct?) and the traditional GB Camera Price Gouge I'm not sure how far your cash will go so I've no specific suggestions.  I like my 40D a lot.  If you can get it go for it.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 04:12:41 PM »
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I would think that stitching is the best solution for the needs you describe.

Some more comments:

- Factor in the price of a good tripod in your buying plan,
- Stick to one good prime lens (50 or 60mm equivalent) and use it to stitch, the Zeiss 35mm f2.0 appears to be a good candidate if you use an APS body,
- I would go for an APS body instead of full frame considering your budget. Canon and Nikon are the only 2 reasonnable options when you consider the whole picture, they both offer dedicated APS lenses, but if you follow my advise above, then one normal/slightly wide FF lens might be the better option.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
jasonrandolph
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 05:03:51 PM »
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Entry-level DSLRs of today outperform the most expensive DSLRs of only a few years ago, so don't write them off.  And, as was mentioned above, your budget isn't anywhere near what it would have to be to get a full-frame sensor.  But you don't need one.  Don't write off the smaller DSLR sensors.  Keep in mind that a little over two years ago, Nikon didn't have ANY full-frame DSLRs.

I hate to say it, but your budget is a limiting factor.  You can easily get a body within your budget, but you won't get a quality lens, which IMHO is more important than the camera body for producing high-quality images.  But considering you have a point & shoot now, any DSLR will probably be a step up.

If you're going to be shooting landscapes, image stabilization shouldn't matter because you need a tripod (and you don't use IS when tripod-mounted).  

From what you said, I think any entry-level DSLR will work for you.  Because I use Nikon equipment, I'm only familiar with their gear, but a D5000 sounds like it would fit your bill nicely.  They have some nice beginners' kits available that come with one or two lenses.  I'm sure Canon and Sony have similar offerings, but I don't know what the model numbers are.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 05:55:51 PM »
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Forget a full-size sensor on your budget. That's OK, you can get really great photos with a smaller sensor, I did for several years with a Nikon D80. I have always been a fan of Nikons, and they have some pretty sweet cameras in your price range. But, Canons or other brands are probably just as good (not really, I am just being polite  ).  But realize that this choice is not crucial. Whatever camera you get, you'll learn a lot and be better prepared for choosing your next camera.
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
View my photos at http://www.peteraitken.com
GAULIRMORN
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2009, 09:51:02 AM »
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 Hi again,
Thanks so much you guys for all your advice! You have certainly given me plenty to think on... LOL!

Pegelli: thanks for your post.
I’ve seen this advised on several sites, and I’m planning on popping into my local store in the near future. I just wanted to have an idea of what make / spec I was looking for beforehand.
I didn’t want to go in with no clue whatsoever, but I guess that’s gonna be the case anyway   – LOL!

Dick: thanks for your post.
I am near Stourbridge.

Walter: thanks for your post.
Your advice on buying a newer model is backed up by advice from a ‘friend of a friend’ who is a professional photog. She said the same as you in that models improve so quickly nowadays that unless you are looking for a specific item, buying used is not always the way to go.
As I am leaning toward Canon, I guess IS in lens is gonna be my only option, and I do plan to get a tripod so I guess that means I don’t have to buy IS lenses all the time.
Am I right in thinking that I can pick up none IS lenses considerably cheaper than IS ones?
I suspected full frame would be out of my budget, which is why I was looking to Ebay. You never quite know what bargains you might pick up on there… (crosses everything, and prays like a demon!)
But I definitely need a camera that is going to ‘hold my hands’ in the beginning.   LOL!

Dark Penguin: (excellent name, by the way!) thanks for your post.
Is the 40D as good as I have read on landscapes? I must admit I was drooling when I read the write-ups about it…  

Bernard: thanks for your post.
I think given my budget, APS is the only option, and as I said earlier, I am already gravitating towards Canon. I am not sure about stitching, but I am sure it will be lots of fun trying…

Jason: thanks for your post.
   Oh, sorry, I never meant to give the impression that I was writing anything off…, I just thought I might get a better deal by buying second hand…
I figured if I could get a reasonable camera at a descent price, I would have more money to spend on glass (which I know is the most important issue at hand).
As far as budget goes, as this will be my first DSLR, I don’t want to go crazy, particularly if I have to start looking at extending my kit with ‘bibs and bobs’..., some of which I probably haven’t even realised I am going to need yet, LOL.

Peter: thanks for your post.
I know this will be my ‘learning curve’, but it is still scary making that first purchase.
Hell, it’s scary making any purchase. LOL!  
I just didn’t want to go out and get a camera, only to find that it couldn’t handle the type of shots I love taking. I’ve never worried in the past with P&S, but as I have an offer on the table to get some of my stuff printed on large format and galleried, I need to be able to provide the goods.  

 Now, what do you guys think of the Canon 450D, which is what my ‘friend of a friend’ has suggested as a starter. She shoots Nikon, but feels I would be happier with the 450D as I have already mentally gravitated to Canon. Plus, I have handled her boyfriend’s Nikon, and I didn’t really like the feel of it…
And do you guys have any thoughts on lenses, filters and tripods?


Thanks for all your help.
Gaulirmorn
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2009, 11:11:01 AM »
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Quote from: GAULIRMORN
Dark Penguin: (excellent name, by the way!) thanks for your post.
Is the 40D as good as I have read on landscapes? I must admit I was drooling when I read the write-ups about it…  

I like it.  Good dynamic range.  Live View is very helpful.  But it is only 10mp.  So be sure that isn't a problem for you.
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