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Thread: I need advice on buying first dslr

  1. #1

    I need advice on buying first dslr

    Hi everyone,
    I'm trying to figure out what to get for my first dslr. I love night photography as well as the usual every day things. Until now I've never had anything other than a point-and-shoot, and not exactly high-end ones either. i use my iphone 4s and my Canon Powershot SD1100 IS. I have been looking at getting the Canon Rebel T3i from http://www.costco.com/Canon-Rebel-T3....11760020.html I have done some research (meaning I've read the tutorials on this site ) but even though the price seems decent, I want to make sure if I'm thinking of dropping that much money I'm not being stupid about it. Any suggestions on if this is worth it, or if there's something better out there for me would be great! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    While it may seem to be a lot of money, it is an entry level DSLR and the lenses are entry level as well. They will work for you for normal photography, but the kit lenses are not terribly fast low-light lenses for night time photography. The price looks to be quite good.

    When I look at the other entry level offerings on the Costco site, I see that they have two Nikons entry level cameras as well. The D3100 (which is the same generation as the T3i, but going for far less money, with a similar kit to the Canon one), and the more modern D3200 going for the same price as the T3i, again with a comparable kit.

    In fact, looking at the website, the sale price on the Canon appears to have ended yesterday, so the Nikons are a much better deal, with the discounts ending in mid-November.

    Regardless, head in to either the store or a camera dealer and see how the cameras feel in your hands. You may find that one just seems to fit your hands better than the other, and that may swing the decision one way or the other. From a quality standpoint, both companies are comparable and make excellent products. They are the two largest producers of DSLR and divide the market share pretty evenly.
    Last edited by Manfred M; 30th September 2012 at 05:21 AM.

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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    Not sure where you live,you can't go wrong starting with a kit and then look for a 50mm f1.8 used if necessary,even new they are not expensive.I have a D3100,5100,90and7000,I would even consider getting a D90 although older technology but the two dials are invaluable,in South Africa currently they are offered at great prices

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    Manfred's advice really captures it all.

    The advances in technology that we're living through, mean that the cameras that you are looking at will be more than capable of helping you make good quality pictures. You're certainly not being stupid about it.

  5. #5

    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    Thanks everyone! The Costco deal in store actual is there for another week on the canon but I will have to see if the models for the Nikon are working to try out (they weren't last time). I have no idea where I would find an actual camera store to check for used cameras, I will definitely have to check around on that! Thanks for the advice again!

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    There isn't any right or wrong choices between similar Nikon and Canon cameras but once you decide which camp to join you will likely be sticking with that brand as it can be quite expensive to switch once you start buying lenses and accessories.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    Quote Originally Posted by Katblacklv View Post
    Thanks everyone! The Costco deal in store actual is there for another week on the canon but I will have to see if the models for the Nikon are working to try out (they weren't last time). I have no idea where I would find an actual camera store to check for used cameras, I will definitely have to check around on that! Thanks for the advice again!
    If you can get to a Costco store, that will be good enough to hold the cameras; my concern was more that you were going to order from the website, without having held the camera, looked through the viewfinder, etc. The tethering that Costco, Best Buy, etc, use is a bit of a pain, but on the other hand, it does let you hold the camera in your hand, look through the viewfinder and see how your fingers can reach the controls, etc.

    While it may sound a bit tivial, I made the decision on which camera brand to buy when handling the camera. I had narrowed things down to two brands (Canon and Nikon) for technical reasons; with the trade-offs on features and other technical issues being very close. When I handled the cameras, one of the lines fit my hands a lot better than the other, and this really helped seal the direction that I took. One of the cameras felt better and the other did not fit as well and somehow felt like might slide out of my hands more easily if I was not paying attention (the surface finish on the areas I normally grip).

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    Re: I need advice on buying first dslr

    I agree with Andrew on the importance of getting a lens better suited for dark. Both Canon and Nikon make a cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens, for about $120.00. That will let you take shots in the dim light that no kit lens will ever be able to do (unless you bring your own light). I bought my camera body-only and then bought individual lenses, but they do give the kit lenses away super-cheap with the cameras, so you may want nto go ahead and get one to get yourself started.
    Which brings me to a 2nd point, the importance of getting a speedlite flash. The little pop-up one on the cameras is ok for making fill light in the daytime, but it is pretty terrible for use as a primary light source in dim light. It casts terrible, unflattering shadows. It may also not be tall enough to shoot past the end of a long camera lens, which means it casts a lens-shaped shadow on the bottom of your pictures.

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    Don't forget the other brands....

    Yes, Canon and Nikon between them sell more cameras than probably all other DSLR sales combined. But you would be remiss if you didn't consider a Sony, Pentax or Olympus model. As has been said, ALL todays cameras perform well and it's true that some perform better than others in differing circumstances. If you can get to your Costco or another store selling cameras, it is important to hold the beast. Grumpydiver is correct - it must feel comfortable.
    And now for the insane advice. Whatever camera you're thinking of, think one model better and check out somewhere like Adorama for a second hand item. Indeed, check out somewhere like Adorama for the model you're interested in. They are cheaper used and should still be in whatever condition they are described as.....
    One last point. In the old days, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta and Olympus made their own glass for their lenses. This is no longer the case and Sigma and Tamron lenses are normally on a par with the manufacturers' lenses. So you have a choice when the kit lens ain't that good.
    P.S. My own preference would be for a Sony.
    Last edited by Cogito; 30th September 2012 at 11:19 PM.

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    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    Talking about Sony I got a change to use the A-57 here a few days back and I have to say I was very impressed in fact it felt better in my hands than my D-90 Very easy to use, has great image quality and a insane bust rate. Now the EVF is not my cup of tea but I could get use to it, only down side is if you shooting say fast action, you could miss your shot it's also a bigger drain on the battery but you should have backup battery anyways. One really nice thing about the Sony A-Mounts is you can use all the old Minolta lens from back in the 80's many of which are as good if not better than the lens of today and can be had dirt cheap, lens like the Minolta AF Maxxum 50mm f/1.7 or Minolta AF Maxxum 70-210mm f/4 (Nickname the "Beercan) Just have be careful who your getting them from.

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    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    ...Canon, Nikon ... Sony, Pentax or Olympus
    +1 vote for getting to a store and holding the camera in your own hands. In addition to the physical feel, push the buttons and navigate around the menus. See how to change modes and set (for example) an aperture or ISO setting. The user-friendliness of each will appeal to different people. Some cameras feel like cameras, some feel like computers in the shape of a camera. Even as an experienced photographer I had made a recent decision "on paper" only to be upended within 30 seconds of holding it in the store. There are reasons that each brand has its loyal followers.

    Also, think of someone you already know and would go to with photo related questions (family, friends, etc.) You may want to consider that brand more heavily as it becomes easier to share ideas, experience and (perhaps) even equipment.

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    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    I personally love my Canon Rebel T3i. I just bought it a few months ago. The reason I like it so much is because it's great for beginners, but has the ability to progress as you progress with your learning.

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    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    Regarding s/h cameras ... if you know what you want I would trust KEH and B&H and I am sure others will add a couple more to the list of stores that describe the goods conservatively and stand by them.

    EDIT .. If we knew where you are we might offer different stores becuase these are American and importing cameras into other countries can, probably will, require import duties to be paid which affects the total cost, plus freight can be a consideration, such as $100 on a $200 camera made it unreasonable for me to buy

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    Regarding s/h cameras ... if you know what you want I would trust KEH and B&H and I am sure others will add a couple more to the list of stores that describe the goods conservatively and stand by them.
    The first place I looked when I answered the question were the B&H and Adorama website; I've bought a fair bit of gear from both and visit the stores when visiting NYC. That being said, they don't come anywhere near the Costco prices on the Nikon and Canon entry level kits.

  15. #15

    Re: Don't forget the other brands....

    Wow! some great input, I'm going to hold off getting the camera right this second so I can check a few of the suggested sites and other brands out. My friend recently bought the costco Canon kit so I'm going to try and make a trip to go see her (and play with the camera!). Hopefully, even if I miss this coscto deal, they will have another one (I mean it IS costco...) but this gives me a lot of fuel for thoughts! thanks again!

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