First-time purchase -- how much should I spend?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Yorick, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Yorick

    Yorick TPF Noob!

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    Hi folks. I've been wanting to get started in photography ever since I started getting National Geographic as a kid. I figure that 15 years of being a wannabe is plenty, and that it's better to get started as a slacker college kid who hasn't done anything dumb like getting married ;)

    I've had the chance to mess around with my father's cameras some -- he has 2 SLRs, a Pentax Spotmatic and a Pentax P3. I've more or less made myself comfortable with the basic controls. I've budgeted about $450 for the whole shebang, including lenses, accessories, cases, and a book or two. I don't want to buy anything that I don't need, but at the same time I'd like some room to experiment. I'm mainly aiming towards outdoor and nature photography, so a fragile/cheaply made camera probably won't do it.

    I looked at the Rebel T2, Elan 7N, and the N80, but the last two would probably put me over budget and I've heard mixed things about the Rebel. So it looks like I'm going to be aiming for one of the older manuals like the AE-1, K1000, or Spotmatic. So now I have 2 questions:

    - How much should I spend on these? Looking at keh.com, I see "Excellent" AE-1 bodies for as little as $90 or as much as $250. Are these likely to be significantly different, or does this just reflect how much the previous owner was able to squeeze out of KEH?

    - What lenses should I get? I know to get a standard angle lens, but beyond that I'd like to have maybe 1 or 2 more to experiment with. What are some other "must-have" lenses?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    As you are finding out $450 is not going to carry you very far when you are looking for a whole kit.

    Going used may be a good idea, there are lots of older, well made cameras available. If they are in good working order, there is no reason they won't be just as good as a new model. Price difference may have to do with service. If a camera needs a CLA (clean, lube & adjust) it will be cheaper than one that has recently had the service. If you are comfortable with E-bay, there are usually quite a few deals to be had on a whole system...camera, lenses, filters, flash, bag etc.

    You should try to look ahead and think if you will want to upgrade at a later time. If you do, you might want to consider a system that will allow you to upgrade without doing a wholesale change. This includes going digital. You might want to get a digital SLR someday. If you do, you might as well start with a system that is compatible with the digital system that you want to get.

    For this reason, I would suggest a new Canon or Nikon. The entry level models are made with a lot of plastic rather than metal but otherwise are fairly robust.

    I would suggest getting a 50mm or 35mm prime lens with whichever camera you choose. Then if you find that you want to get a wider or longer lens, you can go from there.

    Other accessories to get would be a tripod, a cable release, some basic filters.
     
  3. Fullpower

    Fullpower TPF Noob!

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    i have quite a bias, for the N80 was my last "new" camera before my latest new camera. it is a fine instrument, will do anything you want to do in the 35mm world. batteries last a long time, they are pretty tough, i carried mine a lot on motorcycle.quite a capable unit, and prices have dropped a bunch in the last few months. go check out the pawn shops, maybe find a bargain. good luck. dean.
     
  4. Yorick

    Yorick TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I'm willing to spend a bit more than $450, but not much. I want to be sure I'm going to commit to this, and I'll be using the camera as manually as I can anyways. I'd also rather not blow the bulk of that on the body and then not be able to afford a decent lens.

    Anyhow, I've decided to grab a new body, a 50mm lens, and a few filters. The Minolta Maxxum 5 seems to have the most features for the price and has some very good reviews, but is Minolta still good at the higher end?

    Also, is the N75 worth considering? The lack of a manual ISO setting seems like it might be a stumbling block for learning.
     
  5. Fullpower

    Fullpower TPF Noob!

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    get nikon equipment, and spend money till it hurts.
     
  6. Fullpower

    Fullpower TPF Noob!

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    actually i think it WOULD be wise to "blow the bulk of it on a body" you can easily add to you lens collection in the future. really check around prices are dropping every other week in the 35mm world. the N80 is well within your budget.
     
  7. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Canon Elan 7N with a 28-105mm lense = 500$ I love that camera. It's what I got but I did grab the Canon 75-300mm IS lense which was just about the price of the camera and kit lense =P. But I totally love that lense too =D
     
  8. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Err. My bad. The price of body and lense wasn't that much. I was thinking about how much it was with the bag I got.
     
  9. alexlang

    alexlang TPF Noob!

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    what i did:
    Canon 7n body
    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    UV filter
    Polarizing filter
    small bag

    all for 500 bucks at BH

    i really recomend this for several reasons
    -Canon is a good quality company (i chose canon over nikon because of canons 70-200 f/4)
    -the 50mm is cheap but very good quality. it has a wide aperture for low light and the prime makes you focus on composing the shot and moving around for angles rather than just zooming in and out
    -those are the two essential filters
     

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