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Thread: First DSLR

  1. #1

    First DSLR

    Hi Guys. I am new to the site but am very impressed with the infomation supplied by members.

    I will just jump in with my first question.

    I am about to buy my first DSLR which will be for personal use but also for use in my business. Business use is necessary and will justify the cost so here is what I need.

    I need to photograph staircases that we have manufactured which are generally in the hallway of houses. I can rarely get back far enough to get a good shot with a compact camera, so I think I need a wide angle lens. Some of the cameras out there are shipped with a 18-55 lens. Am wondering if the 18 setting will be enough or am I going to have to buy a seperate lens for these shots.

    I will also need to take shots of the interiors of churches, council chambers etc, for which we supply furniture.

    Personal use will be landscapes mostly.

    The biggest issue I have is that I have had a slight tremor in my hands since I was a teenager, so need the best stabalization I can get. Personally I think if this is built into the camera it would be more financially viable but I am open to suggestions.

    I think I could spend up to about 600 without upsetting my better half.

    Any advice would be very welcome, and I look forwaqrd to getting more involved in discussions with you guys as i begin to learn.

    Wellworth

  2. #2
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    sounds like a tripod could help, but with a good camera you can avoid the need. For two years the Nikon D90 has bested all other cameras in it's class regarding sensor quality (both ISO performance and dynamic range), and is now inferior to the much better Nikon D7000, but that doesn't make it a slouch.

    If I was in your situation I would, without a doubt, get a refurbished Nikon D90 with a Pro-Optic 14mm f2.8 manual focus lens. there are better wide angle lenses out there (namely the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Nikon 12-24mm f2.8, etc.) but this lens is simply dirt cheap compared to them, and seems to be exactly what you want.

    subtotal estimation:
    Nikon D90 refurbished - 447
    Pro-Optic 14mm f2.8 - 238
    maybe throw in a tripod anyway - 25

    subtotal: 710

    (just in case you believe me, I suggest you wait for further input )

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    Hi Wellworth,

    The 18-55mm lens on most crop factor DSLRs is going to give you about the same angle of view as most point and shoots that say, in 35mm equivalent terms, they take at "28mm", which is about half the market of P&S. Therefore, if that's not enough, you will need a wider lens more like Troy has suggested.

    You may have problems with distortion if you tilt the camera though, keep it level and waste a bit of space on the foreground floor, then crop that off in PP. Obviously a zoom will give you more versatility, but keeping it less than double/triple you budget may be tricky

    A tripod would definitely improve the quality of shots and remove the tremor issue. However, there still might not be room in the average UK hall to set one up, but I suppose you can always use it "legs together" like a monopod if need be. Or shoot through the letter box

    Being nosey, is your "better half" your wife, business partner, or both?

    I have a D5000, same sensor as the D90 and yes, I wouldn't turn down a D7000 if given one, but I have no burning desire to rush out and buy, as I know I am the limit of what my D5000 achieves, not the camera.

    If you know the market, as I suspect Troy does, going for a less well know alternative lens is a good way to stay (vaguely) in budget.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ...
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 14th November 2010 at 10:23 PM.

  4. #4
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    Ah, I forgot about the d5000! Since it technically has the same sensor I retract what I said about getting the d90, and just go for the d5000. I only fear that you will grow to love photography enough to desire an internal AF motor that the d5000 lacks. For now, that's not a problem

    Besides, cameras depreciate slowly enough that you can throw up an ebay auction and get a good chunk of your money back.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    Ah, I forgot about the d5000! Since it technically has the same sensor I retract what I said about getting the d90, and just go for the d5000. I only fear that you will grow to love photography enough to desire an internal AF motor that the d5000 lacks. For now, that's not a problem
    No, I'd stick to it to give more AF lens options.

    Although I do like the twisty screen.

  6. #6
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    Re: First DSLR

    I son't want to turn this into a brand warfare string but, have you considered a Canon DSLR? Obviously, I am a Canon user. However, I have recently been looking at the entry level Nikon cameras in order to help some members on another forum with their cameras and here is what I have decided.

    IMO, although top-line Nikons are every bit as good, and could possibly be considered better by some photographers than the top-line Canon DSLR cameras; the entry level Nikons may not be quite as versatile as the entry level Canons. here are just two examples:

    1. An entry level Canon can use ANY Canon autofocus lens. There is no concern about built-in motors such as there is when choosing lenses for entry level Nikon cameras. Therefore, if a photographer selects an entry level Canon camera, there is a plethora of auto-focus lenses, both new and used, and, both Canon OEM and third party, that are available for use on the camera. Additionally if that photographer eventually decides to upgrade to a higher echelon DSLR, the entry level camera can be used as a second body. Along the same lines, if a photographer elects to purchase an entry level Canon body; that body can be equipped with a top-line lens. Ultimate image quality is far more dependent on the lens you are using than on the body you choose. Virtually all of the Canon entry level DSLR cameras, from the 350D (Rebel XT) and the Canon prosumer cameras from 20D on are capable to excellent image quality if equipped with high grade lenses. In fact, a photographer using an entry level Canon with the highest grade lens will most likely achieve better image quality than the photographer would if using a newer and higher grade body with a kit-type lens. I shoot with older 30D and 40D bodies, which since they are equipped with top-line lenses give me excellent image quality.

    2. I found to my surprise that the present entry level Nikon cameras are not capable or Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) in burst mode. If you select AEB on any Canon DSLR and have your drive in burst mode, the camera will shoot a three shot burst of varying exposures and then stop until the shutter button is pressed again. This could be an extremely handy capability when shooting some architectural imagery - since you can combine the images into a High Dynamic Range (HDR) composite.

    3. Perhaps, the Nikon entry level models have some advantages which would offset the above (IMO) deficits. I am not familiar enough with the Nikon line to judge. Again, please don't turn this into a NIKON vs CANON vs. OLYMPUS string!

    New subject: Your lens... IMO, an 18mm (or so) lens on a crop camera (1.6 for Canon and 1.5 for Nikon) will not be wide enough to do a lot of interior photography since that focal length on a crop camera is equivalent to only about a 28mm lens on a full frame camera. That is probably not wide enough for your needs.

    I don't have a good handle on the prices of equipment in the U.K. but, if I were in the market for a setup which will work quite well for your needs, I would suggest a used Canon 1.6x camera of either the Rebel or the Prosumer xxD grade. I would match this lens with a new or used 12-24mm f/4 Mark-I Tokina lens. Add a tripod and a flash with an off-camera cord and you should have a very capable unit.

    I would definitely learn how to shoot panoramic imagery which should also be advantageous for your needs.

    You will also benefit from a fully capable image editing program such as Photoshop Elements PSE-8 which will allow you to make composite images, adjust the distortion from wide angle shots and to generally improve all of your shots. IMO (again) I don't think a photographer can come out with exceptional images without a full fledged image editor. BTW: there are free image editors such as Picasa available but, the price of PSE-8 is so low and the capabilities so great that I would choose that as my editing program
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 15th November 2010 at 03:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    I'm surprised that nobody has suggested, as yet, that our new friend Wellworth should handle as many cameras as possible at the local stockist first, to see which feel right in his hands.
    I think we have established in other threads that all modern dslrs are worthy, albeit with varying pros and cons. It is the handling which is so important.

  8. #8
    New Member George Hazelton's Avatar
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    Re: First DSLR

    Don't forget Pentax. With the sensor shake for shake reduction all lenses can thus give 2 or 2.5 stops longer shutter speed. From the K10 on most if not all will accomodate both in body focus drive and the newer micromotor inlens drive. ANY K mount lens will fit and can be used, albeit with some work-arounds, so there is an enormous number of used optics available. My K10 has a nicer viewfinder than its competitors, and interchangeable screens to accomodate a third party split image rangefinder for manual focusing.

    Do handle various marques in your price range! The "fit" of a camera is as important as its specifications. As a prior post suggested, any current models are probably better than the vast majority of us out there shooting.

  9. #9

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    Re: First DSLR

    Hi Wellworth,

    As an observer and a student now of digital, I think the advice given is very sound speaking from my own experience. Brand loyalty is derived from both hands-on experience and a dose of serendipity. I have changed brands over the years more times than my savings account likes, for sure, often ending up with more than one brand at the same time.

    When it comes to a bare slate, I agree that the lenses are the top of the priority list. Good advice has been offered already about that. I simply concur. Spend your money on the glass.

    I have a life-long tremor like you, so anti-shake lenses and bodies are truly frosting, but you may not find those so frequently in the auction houses ~ because that's why people are selling their older cameras. And then there are the warranties, etc. It's a rock and a hard place.

    What is important I think is for you to try to understand and predict your own behavior when it comes to the latest technology, or your relationship with it. The technology is changing rapidly, and so with that in mind, how soon do you think it is likely you will outgrow this first purchase?

    Don't stop here on your quest. The Internet is chock full of knowledge and opinion. But don't despair either. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The best advice is to do the best you can but take that first step. I promise you will change your choices as you grow into photography.

    And do get something for post processing at least as good as Photoshop Elements; full blown Photoshop if you can afford it. (Are you a student? Students get serious discounts on Adobe software.)

    The best to you,
    D.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 24th November 2010 at 01:09 AM.

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