Choosing the first "better" camera

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dee_cz, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. dee_cz

    dee_cz TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I'm not quite sure if this fits into this section, but nevertheless...

    I've never had real interest in photography, but over the course of the last six months ive been taking more and more photos and started to really enjoy it.

    Now to the question: i feel that my current camera (Olympus mju700) is not enough for what I want to do. It was limiting last week, when I was shooting in low light conditions and wanted to take photos without the flash - automatic shutter speed was incredibly long, making it impossible to take anything focused without a support. Anything over ISO 200 produces grainy pictures...

    The question is, if i want to spend ~400 pounds (~<800$) on a camera, am i better off going for a low range DSLR like D40/X or EOS350D, or should I try one of the upper-range digitals like Sony's Cybershot H9/7 or Canon Powershot?

    I'm not even sure what the difference in daily usage between those really is, Sony seems to offer more options for the price, is the image quality on the DSLRs really that much better? I'd like to be able to take both thought-out and set up shots as well as spontaneous fast photos. Carrying a larger camera around isn't a concern for me.

    So, any ideas and opinions?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    A DLSR will almost certainly be better than a non DSLR. The thing to watch for is sensor size. There are some non-DSLR cameras that have larger sensors...but they cost as much or more than an entry level DSLR anyway.

    Also, a DSLR is part of a system that you would be buying into. Sure, it will cost you more because you have to buy the lenses etc....but the lenses are interchangeable, which means you can find the best lens for the job at hand rather than a super zoom that tries to cover it all. Also, the resale value of a DLSR and especially the lenses...will remain much higher than most any non-DSLR.
     
  3. dee_cz

    dee_cz TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the reply!

    Thing is, I wont be able to spend more than the <800$ on this for the entire year, should I opt for the better digitals then, because I won't be able to get hold of anything but the cheaper DSLR+stock lens at the moment? I'm tempted by the larger zoom on the Cybershots and Powershots and their image stabilization (due to the issues with my current camera). Is it something worth buying for general photography? I'd like to use it for sort of 'everything', ranging from scenery and indoor shots to car races.

    I know that's demanding a lot, but will the DSLR with basic lens still be usable for that, or is it a waste of money if I dont plan on buying more lenses soon?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Absolutely, a DSLR with kit lens is great for all sorts of photography.

    The reality is, that for many people, a non-DSLR (or digi-cam, as I call them) may be more convenient for some people. The 10X or 12X zoom lens can cover a lot of different situations. However, to make a lens like that...they have to compromise the image quality...and with a small sensor, your high ISO settings really suffer.

    You have certainly read that DSLR 'kit' lenses aren't very good...but you have to consider that they are comparing them to high level lenses. The kit lenses will compare very well against most digi-cam lenses. So don't worry about that. At the very least, a DSLR will give you the option of one day adding more to your system...with a digi-cam, the lens you have is the lens that you are stuck with for the life of the camera.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try looking into a good used or refurbished camera with a lens. There are Canons out there as well as Nikons. Look for reputable places like KEH and B&H. Here is a Nikon D50 for $499 with an 18-55 kit lens (it's fairly sharp and will do you well until you can get another. It gets a bad rep for being too plastic but should last you a year or three).

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/800522968-USE/Nikon_25231_D50_Digital_Camera_Kit.html

    The reason the D50 is so cheap is that it was replaced this year by the D40. Not to worry though as Nikon will Service it for many years to come. If you have any questions about it, the people that own them will love to tel you about them! :)

    With this outfit you could still afford to get a used zoom and one or two 2 gig cards.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unfortunately a better camera will not help much here. Low-light photos with out a flash requires a lens with a very wide aperture. They do exists but there are limits to how well this work. Even the top of the line Canon 1D or Nikon D2X will require proper supports once the shutter speed drops. The same goes for ISO. While Digital SLRs do produce less sensor noise, as the iso increases the images do start getting ugly again. It depends on what your definition of grainy is. I took an exposure at ISO200 on my Nikon D200 and a friend remarked on how grainy the image looked. That is just pedantic though as no image is grain free. At ISOs beyond 400 though the grain does start to get annoying.

    You could also consider a Point and shoot with inbuilt Image stabilisation. The Canon PowerShot are great cameras, and I do believe there are some out there with IS. You certainly won't be able to get a DSLR lens with IS in that budget.
     
  7. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    I would go the DSLR route if I were you. I bought a refurbished Canon 350D (Rebel XT) with kit lens and an extra battery for just over $525 from B&H. I have had no problems with it and I love it so far. As was said already, the kit lens I'm sure will work well for most any general shooting, but the great thing about a DSLR is that you can always get another.
     

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