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A little advice, purchasing first DSLR camera

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Armueller2001, Jul 23, 2012.


  1. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Alright fellas, my fiancee (soon to be wife) and I will be headed to Europe for a 12 day Mediterranean cruse. We had a point-and-shoot camera that just went out on us, so we figured maybe it's time for a nicer camera. I don't know a whole lot about apertures and F-stops, but I am looking forward to learning. A camera that is beginner friendly would be great.

    The one I'm leaning towards is the Nikon D3100. I can buy the camera by itself cheaper, but I'm not sure if I will need the 55-200mm lens in the future. What is the benefit to buying the additional larger lens? Will it be necessary for beginners or is it for more advanced photographers shooting fast motion and the like? I also like the fact this bundle comes with beginner books and DVD's.

    http://www.costco.com/Browse/Produc...kon d3100&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode matchallpartial

    Also considering the Canon Rebel T3.. I don't want to start a flame war for Canon/Nikon though!!

    Any advice? :hyper:
     
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
  3. We have a Canon T3. My wife mainly uses it for basically a fancy point and shoot camera. I don't know if she's ever used it in manual focus mode, and while we have a telephoto lens, she doesn't use it much. My point is entry level DSLRs are made for novices, and usually have some kind of catch all setting (Auto on our Canon), that should be fine for your fiancée. Don't get the big lens unless she plans on taking photos in manual focus mode, or a lot of telephoto stuff. My wife doesn't use the big lens too much because she says it's too big. I hear that all the time, so... ;)

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Mike,

    Which Nikon did you ultimately decide on?
     
  5. kesh

    kesh

    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    The D7000. I really wanted a Canon (for stupid reasons not related to camera quality), but the wife wanted the Nikon. We found a great deal at Costco on a package.

    -Mike
     
  7. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks for the info guys. I think my main thing is I'm just not sure if we're going to need the 55-200 mm lens. Is that mainly for distance shooting or more for quality close shots? It makes sense to buy it as a bundle now vs separately later.
     
  8. Personally i would not buy a 3100, the D7000 is cheap enough now and is really a lot better than the 3100.

    Secondly, i would stay away from the kit lens, and from zooms for that mater.
    I know it might sound a bit old school but i really believe that it is a good move to start with a good prime lens (fixed focal lens, as in not a zoom!).
    It will allow you to shoot in more different environments as most prime lenses are a lot faster, will be cheaper, and mostly will make you think more about your composition (zoom with your feet rather than your lens) while at the same time giving you one less element to worry about.
    I started with a 18-200 zoom lens and quickly regretted buying it when i bought my first prime! Have not used the zoom since.

    So my recommendation would be buy a D700, and a 35mm 1.8 dx G. on a DX it will act as a 50 which is a good middle ground to start learning with, from there you can get something longer if you are into portraits, and something wider if you are more a landscape/ street guy.
     
  9. Drunk Heffalump

    Drunk Heffalump Tone that I have. Skill? Oh, that? Well....

    Feb 28, 2009
    Great White North
    Here to help, and using the KISS system you'll be fine

    Used to sell camera's at one point so....

    Get more camera than you can handle, not a lot more but something that you can bang away on and later you WILL grow into it.
    This'll save you money, better resale if it's not for you and if it is you'll have a decent backup when you smoke the big dollars on the serious stuff

    More megapixels are NOT necessarily a good thing unless you're planning on going beyond 20 x30 blowups. More pixels tend to generate 'noise' Not so much in camera bodies that are a few thousand but more so in the area you're looking in. So be willing to trade down on pixels if you can trade up to number of frames in a burst. BTW the number of pixels is how the salesman makes your eyes shine and get more cash out of your pocket when you know jack about cameras. It SOUNDS good, but isn't always.
    Spend more on the lens and less on pixels, trust me.

    Lens envy: Or Aww his is bigger than mine.
    Simply put telephoto brings far away stuff closer so what are going to be your PRIMARY focal points? I imagine mostly you and her in various locations from your trip yes? Meaning you'll be standing right there and in the shot So say a 500mm is useless, whereas a good 80-200mm will suffice for most of your trip

    Want the math?
    Fstops equal faster shots allowing you to work in dimmer conditions, it lets more light in, it's like opening your eyes really wide really fast. So a F2.8 is considered a fast lens, pricy too! Whereas a say an F4.5 to F5.6 isn't. There's about a grand difference BTW
    Click here....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number

    With Cannon there's slightly more selection, a smidge less in price and they're a tad more common than Nikon.
    With Nikon you get superior optics right out of the box, and at the end of the day, besides skill/composure/experience it's optics that'll make or break your shot.

    I'll take a gander at your selection, stand by....

    :D
     
  10. kesh

    kesh

    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    If you get the 18-200 VR it is (almost) all the lens you will ever need.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/18200.htm

    Is the 55-200 the VR one? If not don't get it.

    VR is amazing, allows you to use 200 Zoom handheld in not great light.
     
  11. Drunk Heffalump

    Drunk Heffalump Tone that I have. Skill? Oh, that? Well....

    Feb 28, 2009
    Great White North
    Buy it, the price is right, you'll have a decent enough camera, enough 'lens' to meet most expectations and you won't be overwhelmed by menu's.
    Just get a larger and faster memory card.

    AND BACK YOUR SHOTS UP. DAILY!!!

    Thanks for listening

    :D
     
  12. Nikon or Canon is more personal preference than anything else, go to a camera shop and get your hands on the models you are interested in!

    I was originally going to buy a Canon 550D, but didn't like it when I got my hands on it, went with a larger bodied 60D. The inner tech is going to vary between Canon and Nikon, at some points on will be better than the other, but it is always a state of flux, both makers produce excellent cameras!

    One with with a DLSR system, if you start getting a few lenses, the camera starts becoming the desposable part, so think of it as buying into a system (depending on how dar you want to go).

    These days the kit lenses are genenerally pretty good! I do agree that fast primes are lovely, but you can get excellent results with a kit lens too, and having that control over focal length may be more friendly to a beginner :)

    If you want to take pictures quickly, you want either more light (lower f-number = larger aperture = more light in (this also results in a shallower depth of focus)) or higher ISO (which is electronic gain in the camera, this can get noisy with the higher settings).

    Also, while I'm not familiar with Nikon, I'm sure they'll have an "Auto" function, like Canon's which will give you pretty good results if you are new or don't have the time to learn/want the camera to make the choices :)
     
  13. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    The wife has a D7000. The kit lenses aren't bad and are great for everyday shooting.

    Edit: She is excited about these new Micro 4/3 cameras with interchangable lenses. They work like a DSLR without a mirror. Highly portable, light and take great shots. Priced similar or less to a DSLR.

    Here is the Panasonic version. Check the reviews.

    http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC...UTF8&qid=1343052796&sr=8-6&keywords=Micro+4/3
     
  14. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX

    He takes some really nice landscape and still life photos but I would not recommend this website for advice. When I first started out I followed some of his advice and while some things were somewhat helpful other things ended up being horrible advice. Especially do not follow his advice if you are taking pictures of people unless you want a lot of clownishly oversaturated red and orange faces. He also constantly gives advice that he doesn't follow such as "don't be obsessed with gear" while he seems to be constantly obsessed with gear.

    bc
     
  15. Honestly just about any DSLR is going to be a step up from all but the most expensive P&S cameras. It's an upgrade worth making :)

    That being said, depending on the skill level and knowledge of the photographer, the gear will only help you so much. I have friends that can wring every ounce of awesome from a shot with a P&S camera, I would have to take 20 shots with my DSLR to come close.

    I personally am a "For fun" shooter, so I'm using a Rebel T2i with the kit 18-55mm lens, I also have a 55-250mm tele, and a 220x flash. My only regret is not getting the bigger 75-300mm telephoto lens, just so I would have the extra reach when I need it. I do most of my shooting in either landscape or sports mode since that's what I'm generally shooting the most, I let the Faeries in the camera do all the hard work and just focus on composition. I'm completely happy :) .

    Oh, and the Canon/Nikon debate: it's just gear ;)

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  16. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Armueller,

    As you can see from the varying advice above there's a lot of different strokes for different folks based on what you want to do with the camera and how serious you want to get. First off to answer your main question the 55-200 is not really faster or better than other lenses, it's just longer for when you want to either increase the distance between you and the subject (to avoid facial distortion in portraits or to shoot pictures of the outsides of bears rather than the insides) or if you want to take pictures of stuff that is further away and bring it closer (your kids playing soccer, etc..). It's a perfectly capable lens for basic stuff but it in no way approaches the quality of a professional zoom such as the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8. Not that you need it to.

    You haven't really said where you want to go with your photography so none of us can really answer your questions about what to get with any real authority. If you're just going to be using it as a fancy point and shoot then the D3100 with a package deal will be just fine for you. If you want to get more serious with your photography then as Carlos suggested primes are great to start with in that regard.

    For your vacation though to be quite honest since you're just getting into this I think the 18-55 kit lens will be just fine. For what it is it's not bad. You might consider the 35mm prime though later on.

    Regarding camera body - any dSLR on the market is going to allow you to shoot quality images but there are some bells and whistles that some have and others don't. Regarding entry level Nikon - the new D3200, by all accounts, has significantly better image quality than the D3100. Even though it has more megapixels (which is mostly irrelevant for most of us) it also has lower noise at high ISO. It's just a better sensor all around. The D7000 is a heckuva camera indeed. Among other things it's built for durability, has a built-in motor that will allow you to use some older/cheaper lenses, more focus point options, has higher max shutter speed and has a commander mode that will allow you to use the built-in flash to control off-camera flashes. Basically the D7000 is a camera that some professionals are using even though Nikon doesn't consider it part of their professional line of cameras. The D3200 is a lot of camera for the money though and has a better sensor and greatly improved video recording features over the D3100. Actually the D5100 is a great camera too and shouldn't be ignored. You might even find it cheaper than the D3200. One thing about the D3200 is that it has the shortest battery life of the bunch.

    bc
     
  17. kesh

    kesh

    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    He's great for gear knowledge, not so much for technique. He's also cool to hate on for some reason.
     
  18. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I don't hate him, broseph. I used to follow him and ultimately just found his advice on photography lacking and likely to send new photographers in errant directions when it comes to shooting people. As I said in my first sentence - he takes some really nice landscape and still life photos. I love his use of color but just not when it comes to human faces. A lot of people do just bash him personally but conversely a lot of people treat his advice as gold. I just don't feel it's a good starting point for new photographers.

    bc
     
  19. tuBass

    tuBass

    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    look into the canon g12. it's the ultimate vacation camera. I have a couple of professional photographer friends that don't even take their big DSLR cameras with them all the time because they know the g12 wil give them everything they need
     
  20. Whichever camera you choose, also pickup a nice cheap point and shoot you can fit in your pocket. There will be times when a DSLR is inconvenient to carry along but a point and shoot will be a perfect solution.
     

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