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Thread: total beginner: first dslr camera purchase

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    total beginner: first dslr camera purchase

    I am interested in purchasing a dslr this summer and need recommendations. I have a decent eye for photography (just using points and shoot) but would like to learn at the next level. I am wondering what recommendation folks have when it comes to purchasing a dslr around $1k that is decent for a beginner but also has the capability of growing with someone learning photography. So far I have been looking at the nikon d3100, nikon d5000 and Sony alpha a55. I am toying with the idea of going into business taking family photos once I master whichever camera I purchase so I would like something I could use for that until I save enough to buy something more substantial. Any input is appreciated

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    cthermans's Avatar
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    Re: total beginer

    The first dslr I purchased was a Nikon D50 and I have recently purchased a Nikon D5000 (I like the ability to take small movie clips with the new Nikon). I still like my older Nikon D50, because I am used to it and it is easy to use. Many of my friends prefer Canon's, but I learned on Nikon's and prefer them. The Nikon D5000 has many options that I have not used, but so far it does take nice pictures. I always recommend that people really research the camera they wish to purchase and compare the camera to other cameras.

    There are quite a few members on this site and I am sure they will be able to help you along the way in purchasing your camera. In retrospect I wish I had purchased a Nikon D300 instead of the Nikon D5000. So now I am saving for a Nikon D300 and passing my old camera on to my husband....maybe he and I can go on photo shoots together...there is always hope

    I have included a link that will be helpful this particular link will address the ISO on each camera and visually shows the differences. As they say a picture says a thousand words. There are also more links on the site.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d300.htm
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d50...comparison.htm

    Hope this helps, but I recommend you really research before you purchase the camera and then you will be happy with your purchase.

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    Re: total beginer

    The Nikon D5100 just came out with some very nice specifications from the old D5000 and some from the new D7000. I think it's a good camera to start and grow with. With your budget you still have $100.00 left to buy Adobe Elements 9 to start learning post-processing as well. Good luck, Mam.

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    Re: total beginer

    For that budget, I would suggest looking at secondhand equipment.

    I'm afraid that new dslr equipment soon gets expensive if you are considering purchasing to a professional level.

    Your first decision will be about which brand of equipment to purchase. And once you make this choice you will be 'selling your soul' forever because changing loyalties gets expensive. Canon or Nikon are probably the most common options which are available secondhand.

    Either will suffice. It will probably be a case of where you can find a good deal.

    And then you will need some good lenses which will probably each cost as much as the original body. Plus flash and tripod, etc.

    You may get something like a Canon 40D with say, a 24-105 L lens secondhand for a little over your intended budget. Which would just about come within the basic pro class. Alternatively a couple of decent prime lenses may be an alternative; or a different 'L' class lens. There are Nikon alternatives to these suggestions.

    There are cheap entry level cameras with rather questionable 'kit lenses' which would come within your budget but I wouldn't seriously recommend that you consider these for serious pro work.

    Buying a first stage 'cheapie' then upgrading is a possibility but that will work out expensive in the long run. So I would say that going secondhand for something reasonable, would be the best option. Although it may take a bit of searching to find a reliable deal.

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: total beginer

    Just an idea. I am using Nikon because that is the camera/lens combo I use and can speak about. The Nikon D40 is discontinued but old, new in the box, stock is still available at Ebay (checked this morning: $290). It is a basic 6 megapixel SLR but produces images of sufficient quality to sell images for stock and produce 14 by 20 inch prints (both of which I did until 6 months ago when I upgraded). I did this by buying a cheap camera and buying good lenses. You will hear a number of times that money invested in good lenses is never wasted as they never go out of style and can always be sold at a high percent of the new price, camera bodies depreciate the minute you open the box at home. True

    I would strongly suggest you get an entry level SLR and get a good tripod, adequate lenses and a decent flash. Learn where your passion lies and then splurge on the best lenses you can afford (then actually buy the even better lens) to suit this type of photography.

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    Re: total beginer

    I go with Geoff's recommendation on used equipment. Just because it's not the latest/greatest doesn't mean it won't take great pics, and you can make some serious savings.

    I'd highly recommend getting familiar with a make's generations and tiers. The best mappings out I've seen are the Wikipedia tables. Here's the one for Nikon and the page contains links to similar tables for all the major dSLR brands.

    Generally, the best value sweetspot is likely to be a mid-tier "prosumer" model, one generation back. So, the Nikon D90 or D300, and the Canon 50D are going to give you the most features for the least amount of moolah. Going any higher and getting the same price will mean going back a few more generations. Going any lower, and you can buy newer, but you're not going to get as many features or as ergonomic a UI.

    The thing is, with your stated budget, you also have to work glass into the mix. The camera body is only half the camera. The lens is the other half. So chances are good, you'll have to go with an entry-level camera. If you are going to go with Nikon, make sure you're ok with the focus motor issue. If you're going to go with Pentax or Olympus, make sure you're ok without a full-frame upgrade path. And with Sony, make sure you have actually sussed out what camera model you want (they've got some mad model proliferation at the low end).

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    Re: total beginner: first dslr camera purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by elizabethysmom View Post
    So far I have been looking at the nikon d3100, nikon d5000 and Sony alpha a55.
    Just wondering if a Canon model is a consideration?

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    Re: total beginner: first dslr camera purchase

    I personally consider a used Canon 40D as one of the great values in digital photography. I have been using a combination of 30D and 40D cameras for years and have just upgraded to the 7D which I will use in conjunction with my 40D.

    I would personally agree that an older (but still a good) camera with a top-line lens is a better investment than a newer camera with a lesser lens.

    U.S. prices for used 40D cameras run in the area of $450-500. This is an excellent value in a semi pro camera and will, if equipped with a top-line lens, far outshine any Rebel camera with the kit lens.

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    cthermans's Avatar
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    Re: total beginner: first dslr camera purchase

    After reading all the responses I agree that the lenses become the expensive part of owning a camera. If you can get a used camera that helps reduce the cost. My favorite camera is my Nikon D50 I still pack it along when I take pictures and I know it so well I tend to get better pictures than with the new camera. I stayed with Nikon because I have the lenses that fit both cameras. So yes as the other members have mentioned lenses become a big part of owning a DSLR. Several of my relatives have purchases used DSLR cameras and have had good luck.

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