*Guide to buying the right entry level DSLR*

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dylan-Fishman, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Dylan-Fishman

    Dylan-Fishman TPF Noob!

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    Now, I have not been on this forum very long at all, but I have seen over 50 "Which DSLR for an Amateur?" threads. This isn't a bad thing, but It sort of clogs up the forums with the same threads. In this guide you'll find out which DSLR is right for you. I will address Nikon and Canon because these are the most popular brands. If there's a request for Pentax or Olympus then I will be willing to do add on. This review/guide will be done without a Ken Rockwell bias lol. I'm going to address pros and cons of 3 camera's from each brand. Although some may argue with me let me tell you that there is no "better" brand. It's all opinion. Don't let anyone tell you "Get a enter camera brand here, they're the bestest ever!". And always remember your camera body isn't everything, your glass needs much attention too.



    Canon Really quick all around pro for the rebels. They come in a KICK-ASS box

    Canon EOS Rebel XS-


    MSRP (retail price): 600 Kit. ABOUT 450 body only.

    Overview-
    Canon's cheapest DSLR comes in black and silver.
    10.1 Mega Pixels. Standard ISO 100-1600 and shutter speed 30 seconds-1/4000 of a second.

    Pros-


    • Smallest Canon DSLR to date (4.96 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
    • Fairly light (15.9 oz)
    • 2.5 in LCD screen
    • Compatible with over 60 Canon lenses along with the dozens of other third part lenses
    • Integrated Sensor Cleaning
    • 9 modes including the following: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, tungsten, White Florescent Light, Flash, & Custom.
    • Raw file size is 9.8 GB (relatively small)
    • 600 shots per charge w/o live view.
    • 200 shots per charge with live view.
    • 514 JPEG images in burst.
    • Shutter Lag .03 seconds (fastest in it's class)
    Cons-

    • Plastic Body (This may be a pro for some, but majority dislike it)
    • Build quality not great
    • Auto White balance isn't very good
    • Live view not great
    • Struggles at high ISO's
    Canon EOS Rebel XSI

    I'm not going to do a pro and cons list because It's basically the same as the XS. The only differences are

    MSRP: $750 kit, about $650 body

    • 2 more mega pixels (does not matter unless your printing large photos)
    • 3inch LCD opposed to the Xs's 2inch
    • XSI is $100 more.
    • a bit bulkier. Barely noticable.
    EOS Rebel T1i-

    MSRP: 899.99 Kit, ABOUT 739.99 body only.

    Overview: The T1i is considered the step out of the entry level DSLR's. 15.1 mega pixels, a better sensor, and a higher quality build make this camera an intermediete body.

    Pros-

    • Wide ISO range 100-3200 (expansion 6400, 12800)
    • Shadow control
    • Good white balance
    • 500 images per charge no flash or live view
    • 400 images per charge with flash
    • Small for this level of a camera (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
    • Start up time .1 seconds
    • 3 inch LCD
    • Full HD video recording
    Cons-

    • Difficult to use for a beginner (most of you reading this)
    • Sound on video is just o.k and there's no microphone plug in
    • expensive for a beginner
    ________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________

    Nikon-

    Nikon D40-

    MSRP: $500 Kit, ABOUT 400 body.

    Overview- This 6.1 mega pixel Nikon body is one of the best selling entry DSLR's ever.

    Pros-

    • Small (5.0 x 3.7x 2.5 in.)
    • Extremely user friendly.
    • Built for beginners, this camera has the most simple menu and processes.
    • 2.5 inch LCD
    • Many modes including the following: Digital Vari-program (Auto, Auto [Flash Off], Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up, Night Portrait), Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto ; Aperture-Priority Auto [A]; Manual [M].
      [*]Shutter speed 30 seconds to 1/4000 of a second
      [*]Cheap!
      [*]Kit lens (VR) is above average for kit lenses.

    Cons-

    • 470 images w/o flash per charge
    • 6.1 mega pixels (only matters if your printing large images)
    • Heavier than the Canon models (1 lb, 1 oz.)
    • Auto-focus lens choice is limited*
    Nikon D60-

    MSRP: Basic Kit $600, ABOUT $400-$500 body only.

    Overview: same body as the Nikon D40 just a better sensor. 10.2 mega pixels.

    Pros-

    • 100-1600 ISO opposed to the D40's 200-1600
    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Automatically turns LCD display off [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]when the camera is brought up to the photographer's eye--- very handy[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Display feature is more "intermediate"[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Shadow control[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]MUCH better in camera editing[/FONT]
    Cons:

    • 470 images w/o flash per charge
    • Heavier than the Canon models (1 lb, 1 oz.)
    • Auto-focus lens choice is limited*
    Nikon D90

    MSRP: $1300 kit, about $950+ or body

    Overview: If you have some cash to spend, spend it on this beauty.

    Pros-

    • ISO 200-3200 low noise!
    • Integrated Sensor Cleaning System
    • Records AVI video
    • Extremely fast focus
    • Compact body
    Cons-

    • Audio quality is bad
    • Kit lens doesn't compare to the quality of the camera
    ___________________________________
    ___________________________________

    Conclusion:
    Check what's in your price range and look at your options. There is not much a difference between the two brands. You have to find what's right for you. Before buying ALWAYS go to a local store and hold them. My recommendation is the Nikon D40 if you're on a tight budget. On a loose budget I'd go for the Nikon D60 and get some good glass. If anyone wants me to I'll write up a prime lens review for Nikon, Canon, & Sigma.

    Thanks for reading,
    Dylan

    PS- Please tell me if there is anything I should add, edit, or completely change. I am in no way an expert on all of these cameras.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  2. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    Where are you coming up with this "unbiased" info? There seems to be a lot of your opinion on there which if you intend to create a "buyer's guide", should leave a lot of that out and just explain the features. Plus you should include Sony, Pentax and Olympus since there are people who shoot with them as well, and possibly some higher end P&S. You need this to be much more comprehensive and include older models that people can find used (D80, D70, D200, etc.) if you intend for it to actually be something people direct to.
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    .... or you could provide links to reviews from people (excluding KR) and businesses that do this sort of thing for a living. In most cases (excluding KR) they are unbiased.
     
  4. Barking Mad

    Barking Mad TPF Noob!

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    I just wanted to throw my two cents in here, despite being a total noob to the TPF forums...I've been shooting with Sony DSLR's for three years now and LOVE them! I can't say enough good things about Sony and the support I've gotten from them.

    I am a professional blogger as well and have been sent cameras from Canon and Nikon and despite knowing they are the declared "Big kids on the block", I simply prefer my Sony's.

    I'm not versed at all well (hence why I joined the forum, I am an "accidental photographer" and really need to learn what I'm doing with this stuff), with the technical ins and outs of Canons or Nikon's or even my Sony's to be able to compare, but having shot with all three brands in comparable models, I'm just more comfortable with Sony.

    I have heard that some people "cut their shutterbug teeth" on Sony's but having spoken with Christina Mittermier and David McLain, who both use Sony's and are outstanding professional photographers, I'm more than comfortable staying with Sony and using it beyond my "formative photography years."
     
  5. Dylan-Fishman

    Dylan-Fishman TPF Noob!

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    I'll work on adding Sony & Pentax.
     
  6. Omitinibu

    Omitinibu TPF Noob!

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    I was ready to start complaining lol :lol: i always see Nikon this and Canon that.. I have a sony. Though i havnt had the opportunity first hand to compare.. I really appreciate what i have.. nikons and canons are great but ive yet to find a modle thats right for me..
    (hard core enthusiast pls be gental.. im still a newb lol and am speaking from experience lol)
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sony, Pentax and Olympus all have a good DSLR standing - their main limits are a more restricted range of lenses over the giants canon and nikon, but they can still perform very well.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What makes the T1i difficult for a beginner to use? This is a serious question and not being critical of the OP's post. Just out of curiosity as I have never seen nor handled one.
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Depends on your point of view. Some photographers would prefer to get the shot, than miss it, while they are changing lenses. Still others prefer a few top quality lenses, rather than a "range of lenses" of mixed quality.

    Moreover on a crop body, it may only require 2 lenses to cover from 27mm to 450mm. If the desired range can be covered with top quality glass, which is probably the case with all three: Sony, Pentax, and Olympus, then the number of lenses available is totally irrelevant.

    skieur
     
  10. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

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  11. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I actually agree with the OP. I know this forum is supposed to help people, but seriously, how many "Help me pick a camera" threads do we need. They need to just be in their own category. I cant believe no ones ever heard of doing research and going to a store to try them out.
     
  12. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    IMO, the guide is much needed, but should be layed out differently. rather than dividing my brand, it should divided by level of user and price. entry level, consumer, prosumer. no need to include pro since people buying pro bodies don't need a guide. and people that need a guide shouldn't be buying pro bodies. it should also include a lens guide. instead of cluttering the thread with opinions though, it should probably be linked to reviews.

    and i agree... for it to be a non biased guide it should include canon, nikon, olympus, pentax and sony. base the guide on physical differences and functionalities for example, nikon d40/d60 are great for beginners but can't focus AF lenses so thats something to consider when thinking long term. also things like used bodies d50/d200 (sorry i'm most familiar with nikon) come to mind and should be covered in a guide.
     

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