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Need help choosing a D-SLR


Dave
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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!

 

Dave--

 

Video on any entry-level DLSR will suck, I would not use that to differentiate.

 

I like the Nikons so I'd go in that direction, but honestly all three of these are going to serve your needs. The 3i was introduced in 2011 and the 2i in 2009, so I'd shoot for the 3i if you want Canon.

 

These are all good entry level shooters so you'll make a good choice with any of them. Nikon, though, gets my vote.

 

Jim

 

Dave--

 

Video on any entry-level DLSR will suck, I would not use that to differentiate.

 

I like the Nikons so I'd go in that direction, but honestly all three of these are going to serve your needs. The 3i was introduced in 2011 and the 2i in 2009, so I'd shoot for the 3i if you want Canon.

 

These are all good entry level shooters so you'll make a good choice with any of them. Nikon, though, gets my vote.

 

Jim

 

And read Ken Rcokwell's site about buying a camera. The bells and whistles won't help much, it's how you use the camera that dictates good photos. Bad composition can't be fixed!

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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 can't speak to the Nikon, but I'd spend a little more and go for the T3i over the T2i. One of the biggest benefits is the rotating LCD screen of the T3i. Plus you get two years worth of sensor improvements, which helps with lower-light shooting the most.

 

The T3i uses essentially the same sensor as my 7D and it's amazingly good. Plus, it has fantastic video capabilities. I wouldn't discount video, as the quality you'll get is beyond all consumer-level camcorders. Note that you won't get continuous auto-focus while doing video though.

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I've read about all I can possibly absorb right about these two cameras. The D3100 and the T3i. I don't think I can read any more yet I still don't know the right answer for me. I'm leaning towards the Nikon and a couple of lenses. The 200mm and the better 50mm f/1.8.

 

I know megapixels in this range are just sale tactics but the Canon is higher so I wonder if I would see a difference. Say shooting wildlife pretty far away. Would I be able to bring it in close and notice a difference between the two? I'm guessing if I shot the subject with the 200 it might not matter but not sure.

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Dave,

 

I am going to against the grain here and suggest something a bit different. Last year I spent quite a bit of time researching DSLR not only from a quality perspective but overal value. Many will dissagree with my suggestion but because of price, performance, and overall value I selected the Sony A200 and have been very very pleased with it. It was about 25% less than the Canon, and 40 less than the Nikon and "close" in overall performance. Sony makes the high end sensors for Nikon and many other MFG so they mainly differ in lens, body, etc, I was able to get the camera with 2 lens for about $350. Only the most scrutinizing photo buff can tell the picture quality difference and when I looked at the difference between the Nikon and Sony I could see the any difference until I got to very high ISO settings which I rarely use. Justs my two cents.

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I've read about all I can possibly absorb right about these two cameras. The D3100 and the T3i. I don't think I can read any more yet I still don't know the right answer for me. I'm leaning towards the Nikon and a couple of lenses. The 200mm and the better 50mm f/1.8.

 

I know megapixels in this range are just sale tactics but the Canon is higher so I wonder if I would see a difference. Say shooting wildlife pretty far away. Would I be able to bring it in close and notice a difference between the two? I'm guessing if I shot the subject with the 200 it might not matter but not sure.

Dave,

1. re: the tsunami: Canon is in trouble, Nikon is not. I'm actually a Canon guy but most of their production is in Japan. Nikon has several factories around the world now. You may never see a 'made in Japan' sticker on anything from Nikon again. I just bought a Canon 70-200 f4 L IS USM lens because they're getting scarce - did not have to pay a premium thank goodness. I would recommend Nikon for this reason.

 

2. over time, glass is usually you're biggest expense. Buy good glass; it's worth it. However, to start, the kit lenses with most Canons & Nikons today are pretty decent. Not great, but decent.

 

3. don't be fooled by the f4 issue; if you get image stabilization the lens can act like a 1.8.

 

4. there is not much to choose between Canon & Nikon these days in terms of quality; they're both excellent manufacturers and make great products.

 

5. if you do decide to go Canon, I would go T3i at this point; I'm sorry I didn't wait just a bit; I bought a T2i.

 

6. I think, since you're starting out, a zoom lens would be the best option. Purists will say to get non-zoom lenses, but zooms have the advantage that you don't have to pack a really heavy camera bag.

 

7. OK, reality check: shooting wild life from a distance requires huge lenses; a 300mm is bare minimum; most pros uses MUCH longer lenses.

 

8. finally, remember, once you start buying more glass, you're pretty much locked in to that manufacturer, unless you have a big bank account. :)

Edited by ikon
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Question for you guys on lenses. The two bodies I'm looking at have the "kit" lens of 18-55mm. Is there an advantage to getting a better lens for everyday shooting? Lower light lens? 35mm or 50mm? I'm a newbie so thanks for your input!

 

I'm also looking at the 200 or the 300 as secondary lens for wildlife. Both have image stabilization.

 

Example of the Nikon:

 

Brand Name: Nikon

Model: 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Lens Type: zoom

Minimum focal length: 55

Maximum focal length: 300

Weight: 1.17 pounds

Length: 4.8 inches

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A few more points to add from others comments:

 

1. f/4 with IS will ONLY equal a f/1.8 lens where hand shake is a problem. The f/1.8 lens will BLOW away the f/4 lens in almost everything else, sharpness, bokeh (blur of the background), SHUTTER SPEED and in many cases color quality.

 

2. Unlike buying a point n shoot, when buying a DSLR you are buying into a "lens system". Sony can't touch Nikon/Canon in this area. Remember, the camera will only last so long, take care of your lenses and the will last MUCH longer than the body.

 

3. Regardless of what lens you get, get a "fast 50". It's more of a portrait lens and then images will blow away that kit lens. On top of that, it only cost about $100. The rare case where an inexpensive lens is also a good lens.

 

4. Anything over 12mp should be fine, I would be more concerned with image noise than squezing out a few more mega pixels.

 

5. Wildlfe? If that is your subject, be prepared to spend some BIG money. As mentioned before, a 300mm is the bottom end of what you will need, even then you will most likely need a 1.4 or 1.7 teleconverter.

 

6. Both of the cameras you are looking at are cropped sensors. This is actually good for wildlife or sports. BUT, pay attention to the lens you buy and if possible, don't lock yourself into a cropped sensor. Down the road you may want to go full frame and any cropped lens is not going to work well.

 

7. Wildlife? You are really going to need a tripod if you seriously want to shoot wildlife. My tripod/ballhead setup ran just at $1,000. You can get cheaper, but like many things in photography, going cheap will actually cost you more in the long run.

 

All this said, just starting out I would say get the kit lens AND the fast 50. Figure out what you want to shoot and how serious you want to get. Build your system over time. If all you want to do is point and shoot, then this setup may be all you need.

 

Can't beleive I missed this category to the forums. While geekaccountant is my name here, the name I use other places is geephotant (geek-photographer-accountant).

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Question for you guys on lenses. The two bodies I'm looking at have the "kit" lens of 18-55mm. Is there an advantage to getting a better lens for everyday shooting? Lower light lens? 35mm or 50mm? I'm a newbie so thanks for your input!

 

I'm also looking at the 200 or the 300 as secondary lens for wildlife. Both have image stabilization.

 

Example of the Nikon:

 

Brand Name: Nikon

Model: 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Lens Type: zoom

Minimum focal length: 55

Maximum focal length: 300

Weight: 1.17 pounds

Length: 4.8 inches

 

 

Take a look at the 70-300VR, it's not a lot more money ($520 vs $360) and I think you like it better. Keep in mind, at f/4.5 neither of these or ideal. But they are a good start. The 70-300 will also work on a FX body (full frame), I think.

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A few more points to add from others comments:

 

1. f/4 with IS will ONLY equal a f/1.8 lens where hand shake is a problem. The f/1.8 lens will BLOW away the f/4 lens in almost everything else, sharpness, bokeh (blur of the background), SHUTTER SPEED and in many cases color quality.

not sure where you're coming from. f1.8 is never as sharp as f4. It is possible that a particularly good f1.8 lens might be sharper than a poor quality f4 lens, but that would be rare. Most lenses are sharpest in the middle of their range. An f1.8 stopped down to f8 will be sharper than it is at f1.4. IMHO bokeh is highly overrated.

 

2. Unlike buying a point n shoot, when buying a DSLR you are buying into a "lens system". Sony can't touch Nikon/Canon in this area. Remember, the camera will only last so long, take care of your lenses and the will last MUCH longer than the body.

totally, totally agree. Most of us can't afford Leica or Hasselblad lenses, so Nikon/Canon are the best we can get.

 

3. Regardless of what lens you get, get a "fast 50". It's more of a portrait lens and then images will blow away that kit lens. On top of that, it only cost about $100. The rare case where an inexpensive lens is also a good lens.

The best portrait lens is slightly telephoto. So, for example, with a 1.6x DSLR sensor, a 50mm would be a good choice because it will shoot like an 80mm, which is a good portrait length. On a full frame sensor it would be a bad choice.

 

4. Anything over 12mp should be fine, I would be more concerned with image noise than squezing out a few more mega pixels.

generally agree. That said, getting a low noise camera that also has lots of pixels is a win-win.

 

5. Wildlfe? If that is your subject, be prepared to spend some BIG money. As mentioned before, a 300mm is the bottom end of what you will need, even then you will most likely need a 1.4 or 1.7 teleconverter.

yeah. 300mm is really pretty short for wildlife. Most pros I knew in the 70s used 600mm or longer.

 

6. Both of the cameras you are looking at are cropped sensors. This is actually good for wildlife or sports. BUT, pay attention to the lens you buy and if possible, don't lock yourself into a cropped sensor. Down the road you may want to go full frame and any cropped lens is not going to work well.

I used the feel this way. Not any more. I believe the cropped sensors are going to get better and better and the days of full frame sensors are numbered. I have fallen in love with how light and portable good digital lenses are.

 

7. Wildlife? You are really going to need a tripod if you seriously want to shoot wildlife. My tripod/ballhead setup ran just at $1,000. You can get cheaper, but like many things in photography, going cheap will actually cost you more in the long run.

excellent point. It's very difficult to shoot wildlife handheld. Also, good wildlife photography takes enormous patience.

 

All this said, just starting out I would say get the kit lens AND the fast 50. Figure out what you want to shoot and how serious you want to get. Build your system over time. If all you want to do is point and shoot, then this setup may be all you need.

we're pretty much on the same page. I only suggested to stick with the kit lens to start just so Dave can get really used to the camera and lens. Then, when he's more comfortable, go for more glass.

 

9. Dave, this isn't really something to do with what to buy but, whatever you buy, spend time to get so familiar with the controls it becomes 2nd nature.The biggest secret of pros is that they know their gear so well they don't even think about it; they can concentrate totally on the shot itself.

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I am in awe of all this camera knowledge you guys have. Thank you for your help.

 

If you want subforums or anything else for this new off-topic section just let me know. If you guys start talking camera stuff I'm sure to learn!

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