First DSLR Options

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dqniel, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. dqniel

    dqniel TPF Noob!

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    Because of my accommodations available by working for Circuit City, I have a tough decision deciding what I want to buy. The disadvantages to my accommodations are that I have to wait 4-6 weeks for arrival and I also have to pay tax. The following are the prices I can get a dSLR for:

    Nikon D40 w/ 18-55mm kit lens - $439 + tax
    Nikon D80 body only - $799 + tax (I would have to wait a few paychecks for this as I only have $1000 available for the body, lenses, and accessories)
    Sony A100 w/ 18-70mm kit lens - $549 + tax

    I also get 40-50% discounts on Konica, Pentax, and Nikkor lenses.

    We also have accommodations through Pentax but they haven't updated it to include the K100D yet. I assume that when we do get our updated accommodation list it will discount the camera by about 30-40% off of the retail price because that's what the *iST is discounted. The problem is that the K100D interests me the most because of the sensor cleaning, styling, and IS. Just shopping around on the net I see:

    Pentax K100D w/ P-FA 50mm f/1.4 - $660 (no tax)
    Pentax K100D w/ 18-55mm kit lens - $500 (no tax)
    Pentax K100D w/ P-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - $540 (no tax)

    I shoot mostly landscapes and do not care too much about low light performance although it is a plus.


    For the given prices, since they're sure to change your perspective on price to performance ratio, what do you think is the best pathway for a rookie DSLR user with no glass or accessories?
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Just get what feels best.
     
  3. hippychick

    hippychick TPF Noob!

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    40-50% off of nikkor lenses? WOW! I'm jealous. Maybe I should get a job at circuit city lol.

    My best advice is to thoroughly research each camera, lens system and what other options they offer. Nikon is known for great lenses and their CLS (creative lighting system). More than likely you'll stay with whatever Brand you choose, so choose wisely and based on what YOU are going to shoot now and in the near future.

    How a camera feels in your hand is also a very important factor.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  4. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    I'm partial to the Sony A100 because I shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D. Sony did a pretty good job at upgrading the 5D body from Minolta, and I've toyed around with the camera a bit.

    The biggest thing (next to how well you like the controls on the camera body) you should probably look at are lens prices and options.
     
  5. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    Just as a little FYI, the Sony has anti-shake and sensor cleaning functions comparable to the Pentax. Having shot for over a year with the Minolta 5D that the Sony is based on, I can also tell you that it is one of the most ergonomically designed and most user-friendly DSLR cameras in the world. Without even breaking open the manual, I knew how to use almost every function within 2 hours of picking it up for the first time.

    As far as the best path for a rookie with no current investment or brand loyalties, I say try them all out and decide for yourself. Decide which one feels best in your hands and is easiest to operate. If it doesn't feel right in your hands and you hate how to access functions to change settings, you'll be less likely to pick the camera up. Glass shouldn't even be a consideration, as there are plenty of fine quality lenses available for all of the systems.
     
  6. dqniel

    dqniel TPF Noob!

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    I really like how all of the cameras feel in my hands with the exception of the xTi. I have tiny hands and even I think it feels "cluttered" on the right side. How is the kit lens that comes with the Sony? If it's of decent quality, I might just get it because of the great history of glass you can use on it since they decided to use a mount compatible with the old Konica Minolta stuff.
     
  7. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    If the kit lens is the 18-70 AF DT, it's a really good lens. This was one of the few that Minolta made just for the digital SLRs just before sony picked them up. I've got the 18-200 AF DT and it's outstanding in compactness and quality. Just make sure it's the "DT" lens.

    And I still think glass should be a consideration. What I was getting at was that the nicer lenses from, say Canon, that have image stabilization built in are more expensive than a similar quality lens without the stabilization. Since Sony has sensor stabilization, you can get away with cheaper high-quality lenses.
     
  8. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the longer the lens though, the harder it is to compensate shake by sensor motion.
    For a 500mm i would not want to rely on sensor-anti-shake, but would always prefer in-lens stabilisation.

    please all shout at me if i am wrong ;)
     
  9. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree that in-lens stabilization on very top end lenses is probably better than sensor anti-shake. But at 500mm, I would be relying on a tripod. The in-camera stuff is getting better. I think Sony claims something like 3 to 4 stops with their anti-shake sensor, but in one of the in-depth reviews I read it was more like 2 to 2.5. Anybody know what the Canon lenses are claiming?
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    at 300 and 400 i personally rely on a tripod if i can, but if i have to pan some weird motion or i have to shoot free handed for other reasons, then I am happy that my stabilisation is in-lens.

    with canon it depends on the lens. i think they claim 2-3 on average, which seem more realistic than the sony claims. but then again i am not sure if it is really canon claiming that or if it was some independent test. i hardly ever listen to the blah blah of the producer, but prefer to rely on some other opinions (even though noone is unbiased) ;)
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I can happily recommend the K100d, the SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4, and the 18-55mm. For a cheap kit lens the 18-55mm is actually pretty good, maybe no better than the competition optically but excellent design and feel.
    If when they get around to discounting the K100d they do the same with the K10d, you may want to consider that for the 10 megapixels and more importantly weather sealing (you did say you mostly shoot landscapes). Any *ist or k-series dSLR will be compatible (i.e. will meter) with any Pentax K-mount lens, any Tokina, Sigma or Tamron K-mount lens, as well as probably any Vivitar, Chinon, Cosina, Ricoh or other K-mount lens, plus any m42 screw-mount lens with the appropriate adapter. Just one point though, the K100d doesn't have automatic sensor cleaning... or if it does I haven't noticed it :lol:

    I'm no fan of the design of Canon's lower-end dSLRs either, and I'm generally not very qualified to talk about Canon so I won't. However do bear in mind that currently only Canon offer a full-frame 35x24mm sensor. Doesn't bother me, may do you so I thought I should mention it.

    With Nikon I'd definitely consider the D50 over the D40. The D40 has a better viewfinder, bigger LCD and has 3200 ISO. But the D40 will only accept lenses with all the autofocus mechanism in the lens, so no autofocus with the many lenses that use the old "screwdriver" focusing system. The D50 doesn't have that limitation. Other than that, compatibility between various lenses and Nikon dSLRs is something I'm not going near. Even Nikon users can't seem to agree on that sometimes. But of course availability of compatible lenses for any Nikon dSLR is unlikely to be a problem.

    Minolta/Sony... great glass, wonderful ergonomics on the 5d and 7d, very similar on the Sony Alpha a100. But... Sony-branded Minolta lenses do not appear to be the cheapest around, and the cost of the old Minolta stuff is rising accordingly. On the other hand if your store still has a decent stock of Minolta or Konica-Minolta lenses and offers a good reduction on them, it could be well worth it.
     
  12. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ZaphodB is right, the K100D doesn't have the sensor cleaning, the K10D does. The K10D also has 10 MP instead of 6, weather sealing, and more of the controls are on the body as switches instead of in menus. This is all good stuff. But when it comes down to it, how large are you going to print? My understanding is that 6 MP is enough for good 11x14s. I'll never print bigger than that, and if I do, I'll get out my 35mm Olympus and shoot on ISO 25 film. :D

    Bearing this in mind, I decided to go for the K100D and have some money left for a bag, memory, proper NiMH AAs and a charger. Alternately, you could buy a lens with the price difference. I'm sure you're aware about Pentax's latest round of rebates? They will give you quite a bit of money back if you buy a package. Have a look at pentaxslr.com and poke around, and you'll find the form in PDF format.

    As for the image stabilization in body vs. in lens. I personally cannot afford stabilized lenses; they're quite pricey. So in-body stabilization is the way to go for me. Also, although camera shake is amplified with longer lenses, Pentax's system "knows" how long your lens is, and adjusts the anti shake mechanism accordingly. Even on older, K-mount lenses, if they don't have the electronic connections to tell the camera, you can program it in yourself.

    My first SLR was a Pentax, the optics have always been top shelf. My K100D is no different. The kit lens is actually very good. Popular Photography has a buyer's guide on the newsstands now that has a full review of the K100D. Further back in that same issue, it has reviews of the two "Schneider-Kreuznach" kit lenses. I have that in quotes because they are re-badged Pentax lenses. Supposedly, Schneider did some performance and quality checks on the lens before they allowed the use of their name on them. Both the 18-55 and the 50-200 got very high marks.

    I shoot a lot of landscapes too, and the anti shake feature means that I don't have to take a tripod very often. That, and the fact that the Pentax bodies have great color accuracy and are superior performers in low light. (very little noise)

    Canon & Nikon are very good too. They both have a well-earned reputation for quality. Canon seems to be more cutting edge, Nikon seems to value backwards compatibility and ruggedness a bit more. (at least until the D40 came out)

    Comparing the lens reviews of the Pentax kit lenses vs. the Sony/Minolta, the Pentax's are better.

    So my recommendation is for Pentax. Think outside the box. ;)
     

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