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Need help choosing a D-SLR


Dave
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I'm hoping we have some photography people in here because I need some help! I'm in the market for a DSLR and have been reading a little bit on them. I've been reading about Canon cameras because frankly that's what i've hear the most of and am comfortable with. I'm open to other manufacturers though. I'm such a newbie on SLR's that I'm not even sure what I want in a feature set. I'll try to list some as well as other questions. I have a budget as well.

 

Best burst rate?

video at 1080p

save in raw and lower sized jpg?

good for a beginner

under $1,000 with a lens.

Want a longer lens as well.

 

What do you guys think?

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http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm#serious

 

I use Nikons, and can tell you that the base D40 with non-VR lenses was a great entry point. Not too expensive, and I get great results.

 

This guy makes his living with his cameras and I can't argue with anything that he's said on my gear. Nikon D3100 for enty level and Nikon D7000 for some bells and whistles that you probably don't need.

 

My 2 cents...let me know where you land. And check your PM's for examples that I've shot with my D40 and base lenses. ;)

 

Jim

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Oh and get this lens too if you need telephoto (you'll use it I promise):

 

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/55-200mm-vr.htm

 

I have the non-VR version and it's fine, but this is a very nice lens and worth the $250 or so.

 

Also, if you are going to shoot low-light landscapes (think downtown Menominee on a summer evening as the sun is going down), get a camera (not camcorder) tripod. Even with VR lenses, you can get some shake. The tripod eliminates that.

 

Jim

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I'd get whatever brand your friends have so you can share lenses. Best way to save some cash and not have to buy everything in your kit for yourself.

 

All of the other questions you've asked are really based on your preferences. Learn to realize that that price cap of $1000 either means one of two things: The camera will cost less than $1000 or everything you buy will cost less than $1000. And believe me, things do creep up on you that you think you want to buy such as, extra battery, tripod, case, flash, memory cards, more lenses, lens filters, external hard drives, books, software, etc....

 

My personal recommendation:

Canon T2i, 50mm f1.8, 28-135mm f3.5-f5.6. Avoid the 18-55mm kit lens. That focal range is really too small to be of great use.

Extra battery. Good case which you can put on your back, but still inconspicuous (you don't want your stuff stolen)

55-250mm lens later down the road.

 

Get used lenses if possible, as earthquake in Japan has caused lens prices to go up by around 50% across the board.

 

You'll get a burst rate of 3.4 fps, which is decent.

JPEG vs. RAW = depends on if you'll ever edit your photos. RAW lets you save your bacon if you got a semi-bad exposure or wrong white balance, jpeg images are ready to use on any machine and are much smaller.

Get more smaller cards so not all of your eggs are in one basket should something physically disappear (i'd say no larger than 8GB). You don't need the super-fast 30MB/sec cards either. Just class 4.

T2i does 1080p30 video, which should be good enough.

 

I'd also consider taking a look at this online video course: Fundamentals of Digital Photography. It's good because it's taught by the same person, you can learn at your own pace, and all of the basic concepts are there.

 

 

Everything I've recommended, I've actually had at some point, though I've upgraded to the stuff below:

Canon 7D, 24-70mm f2.8L, 70-200mm f4L IS, 50 f1.4, 2x16GB SanDisk CF cards, extra battery

 

Good luck!

Edited by dagamer34
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Dave, photography is one of my main hobbies (www.mhfoto.com and www.mhfoto.com/blog). I am partial to Nikon, but as mentioned before, if you have someone with lenses you can borrow, you may want to get what they have, although I would stick with Nikon or Canon.

 

That said, tell me more about what you want to shoot and the budget. While the price of the camera can be significant, lenses is where you can spend some real money. Get quality lenses and take care of them and they will long outlast the body.

 

Skype me and we can talk more specifics if you want.

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Jamohio, the problem with the lens you mention is the speed. At the fastest setting it is only f/4.5 which is pretty slow. Of course given the budget to work with here, you are going to be somewhat limited. My opinion is buy quality glass, even if that means doing so over time. Some of the 3rd party lenses are not bad. Say a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens. While not nearly as good as the Nikon/Canon version, it is also half the price. Also, anyone getting a DSLR should get the "fast 50" (ie, 50mm f/1.8). Cost around $100 is can produce some really sharp images with very good bokeh.

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Dang, one more thing. If you are going to shot a lot, image editing and cataloging software is a must. I HIGHLY recommend Lightroom. While I still use Photoshop for somethings, Lightroom handles 90%+. Also, once I got Lightroom, I switched to shooting ONLY RAW. Before that I would shot both RAW and JPEG at the same time and only use the RAW file if I was making a print. Lightroom makes it sooo easy to work with RAW images. And RAW is the way to go, much more post-processing room.

 

In addition to things mentioned above, you may want to get some UV filters to put in front of the glass (get the multi coated ones). Other filters (IR, CP, ND) can wait until later.

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Jamohio, the problem with the lens you mention is the speed. At the fastest setting it is only f/4.5 which is pretty slow. Of course given the budget to work with here, you are going to be somewhat limited. My opinion is buy quality glass, even if that means doing so over time. Some of the 3rd party lenses are not bad. Say a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens. While not nearly as good as the Nikon/Canon version, it is also half the price. Also, anyone getting a DSLR should get the "fast 50" (ie, 50mm f/1.8). Cost around $100 is can produce some really sharp images with very good bokeh.

 

Yea, but if he's looking at entry-level, I'd stick to the cheaper lenses to start. If this is something that he really embraces (and figures out what bokeh is :lol: ) he can always dump these lenses on eBay and upgrade to some new ones.

 

Dave, bottom line with DSLR's is you can burn some serious cash very fast. I suggest that you start basic, find out what you like to shoot and then upgrade the lenses once you know what you need. If you really think you're going to like this, then go a little over budget and get the 7100. Or go cheap and start with the 3100.

 

And read Rockwell's site for some very grounded advice on buying this stuff.

 

And then show me the gear at the meetup!

 

Jim

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I do a lot of photography as well and can chime in with a few suggestions. Geek-Acountant is right on with Lightroom being a requirement. Don't bother with Photoshop Elements organizer, it's not worth the money. B&H has Lightroom for $159 when bought with a new DSLR like a Canon T3 or T3i kit.

 

At B&H you can get the T3i + 18-135 kit + Lightroom for $1275. Is this the greatest lens in the world? No, but it has IS and a very good range for a good price. If you end up enjoying photography, you'll later buy real lenses that cost more than the camera, but this is a great set to get you started. People get hung up on lens quality, which while important, is much less important than learning to use a DSLR and learning what makes good photos.

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Thanks for all the help guys. I'm now looking at these bodies:

 

Canon T2i

Canon T3i

Nikon D3100

 

I was initially trying to stay under or around $1000. The money doesn't scare me but it was a budget I threw up there since I'm a beginner. Do you guys want to pro and con these cameras a bit for me? Camera for the beginner type shootout.

 

I definitely like the Nikon for the price vs. performance. I just don't know a whole lot about the details to say one is better than the other. The only thing I noticed on the D3100 was it was said to have focus noise while doing video and it is only 24fps on 1080p. Having said that I'm not looking for a video camera but I do see a time where I will want to capture at this hi-res. Not often, but if the camera has the ability I will probably use it.

 

I will check out B&H as well as Lightroom. I have a photog customer that uses it but couldn't reach him this morning. Also looking at Amazon. If i get it ordered in the next few hours I could be playing with it tomorrow!

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