Beginner's Questions: Nikon vs. Sony Digital SLR Equally Good? Best First Lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Augenblick, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Augenblick

    Augenblick TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I am just getting started in this. I have narrowed my choice to a Nikon series digital SLR vs. the Sony Alpha 100. I am leaning towards the Sony since I have difficulty holding a camera still sometimes (routinely use ASA 800 in my Nikon AF).

    Please let me have advice on three questions:

    Is the Nikon significantly better than the Sony? Or can I go with the Sony for the more stable platform?

    I am a real beginner. What would be the ONE MOST USEFUL LENS to get first? What would be the second most useful and the third most useful lens?

    What accessories do I REALLY need? Not the bells and whistles but really useful items that will help me take better pictures.

    I am an amateur and this will be for my own enjoyment, cityscapes, landscapes, people, shots of Broadway at night.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hello there, welcome to TPF!

    Some Nikon users will say yes, Sony users will say no. There will be a long argument which doesn't really get anywhere. But we can't do that yet because you haven't said which Nikon :D But short answer; whatever you are happiest with.


    The first most useful lens? For a beginner? The kit lens, it basically comes free with the camera anyway. Second and third? Wooooah now. If you're a 'real beginner' then you probably need to just play around with that kit lens for a while to work out what sort of focal length you prefer. Often I would recommend a 50mm prime, but there's no point doing that unless you know you would shoot at 50mm. In the meantime, let's just start with a more basic question: What kind of shots are you most interested in? Small animals shot from far away? Tiny animals shot very close? Individual portraits? People in groups? Big open landscapes? In other words, try to narrow down your area of interest and that, along with a bit of experience, will tell you what kind of lens is most useful for you.

    First, a book. Preferably several. Honestly, getting a better understanding of photography will help you take (technically) better pictures. And while reading said book/s... keep shooting! Practice, practice, practice!

    OK, for something more specific, a tripod. A good solid tripod.
     
  3. Chickenhawk

    Chickenhawk TPF Noob!

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    Choose the camera you are comfortable with, both are exellent, then get a tripod if you are shaky, camera bag and a couple of memory cards.
    You will probably get something like a 18-70 lens with the camera. The others are up to you - 70-200 and a good macro lens like the Sigma 105. It depends what you want to specialise in. :)
     
  4. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    Check out this review on the Sony. Near the end, they compare it against the Nikon D200 and the Canon 30D. I'm partial to the Sony since I have a Maxxum 7D, but I won't tell you what to choose.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra100/

    MOST USEFUL LENS - I would have to go with a 18-200mm zoom (at the best quality you can afford). I've got one, and I probably use it 90% of the time because of its range. You can get wide angle and telephoto without changing lenses or packing around extra glass.

    ACCESSORIES - Extra battery, 2 memory cards, uv filter (again, best you can afford - I like Heliopan - put it on and leave it on), camera bag, microfiber lens cloth, tripod and/or monopod, and an external flash (if you think you'll need it).
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    buy whatever feels better in your hands. If you choose Nikon, the 18-200VR, 18-135, or 24-120VR would probably be your most flexible lenses. from there, you can figure out what your needs are.
     
  6. Augenblick

    Augenblick TPF Noob!

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    Wow! What a great series of responses, thanks everyone very much.

    I will try to see if I can borrow a friends Nikon D70 or 80 to compare with a friends Sony, that sounds like the best way to go. Definitely will get a tripod, definitely will read books while shooting with the lens it comes with. After that I will see, ZaphodB you are correct, will need to get better idea of where I want to go with this before proceeding.

    The only question I still have is regarding the Sony for steadying. Remember I have to use ASA 800 in my Nikon AF or the pictures are blurry (ASA 400 doesn't work for me). Is the Sony steadying feature really that good? Would it make a difference for someone who has to use ASA 800 film? Or is it more of a technical gimmick-selling-point and if I really like the Nikon just get the Nikon and don't worry about it?

    Again, thanks all around for your help. Good luck everyone!
     
  7. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    It will give you about 2-2.5 stops. It does work. My Minolta has the same feature.
     
  8. brighteyesphotos

    brighteyesphotos TPF Noob!

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    One of the things about the Sony that is not in the Nikon is the fact that the Image Stablizer is in the body, not the lens. I have the Sony and I have to admit, I got it because it feels more comfortable in my hands than a Nikon did. However, I have Minotla's film cameras and I love them. But having the ImageStablizer (Steady Shot) in the body and not the lens means I don't have to buy pricey lens.
     
  9. TheJudge

    TheJudge TPF Noob!

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    I can give some advice since I owned both.

    I will try not to think of the Alpha as a Minolta product or compare it to the 7D. I was the first 7D owner in Central Texas, and I loved the camera from the first shot. However, the Alpha is no D. The anti-shake is a great feature, great for lens additions ( no bull, every lens is anti-shake) This will also help teach you to CALM down when shooting by showing you how much it is correcting.......learning aid too!!! I have talked to Sony direct and from the information they gave me,,,,,,,I have no idea where they are going........cheap mass production, or quality products with less volume.

    Nikon-- great company, great versatility, and after market out the wazooo. Small fact-- the sensor is made by Sony, although not the same in both cameras, but made by Sony. No real advantage, but you get into firmware and Nikon has a slight edge. When you grow, Nikon will grow with you and you have ALOT more options with Nikon.

    As stated before- You make the decision, with what you are comfortable with.........the main factor should be application, and future applications.

    My suggestions with the price range you listed:

    Nikon D80-- great camera, better than the Sony or Cannon, but you pay more too. Features are alittle bit more for the experienced user, but learning is half the fun.

    Nikon D50-- Great camera, 500 sync flash speed WOW. Features are more tailored for those starting out. I recomend this one over the Sony esp starting out.

    Sony Alpha-- great product ( Maxxum 5D in drag ) Anti-shake works, and is great. If you go Sony-- well, this is your only option.

    Bottom line-- you will be happy with either one .........just get your hands on both and take some shots,,,,,,,,,,,your hands and eyes will tell you which one is for you....and avoid the CANNON RULES NO MATTER WHAT mentality. ( cannon only used as example) If you want more information, I will gladly post more



    Judge
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would go with the Nikon unless you want to be trapped in Sony's world of accessories
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Yes, much better to be trapped in Nikon's.

    Sorry, but every manufacturer wants you to use their own lenses and accessories. And every system also offers third-party options. With Nikon you can choose from Nikon, Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, etc. With Sony you can choose from Sony, Minolta, Tamron, Sigma, Tokina etc. Both systems are restrictive, but neither "trap" you. So unless Nikon have recently made their dSLRs work with every photographic lens and accessory ever made by anyone, I don't really see your point here.
     
  12. Chickenhawk

    Chickenhawk TPF Noob!

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    The Sony Image Stabilisation really does work and it's built into the body, so every lens works with it.
    Sony don't have a vast range of lenses at the moment but this will change as Sony claim to be committed to DSLR production - and they are a very competitive company.
    At the end of the day it's your decision and you should really try both cameras and chose the one that you feel comfortable with.

    Whatever you chose you will be getting a good camera. :)
     

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