Help with Digitital SLR Selctions for specific needs

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by nomad21, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. nomad21

    nomad21 TPF Noob!

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    So, I'm an 18 year old who will most likeley be studying Photojournalism in college next year. I've always been interested in photography but spending this year in Germany as an exchange student, and having the opportunity to travel and live here, documenting my experiences with Photos and essays has convinced me to pursue photography as a major hobby and ulitmately as a part of my job. I suppose I want a durable and light/smallish camera/lens package that I can travel with, and the best options for flexibility and features I can afford. I like to shoot almost everything but with a focus on Architecture, Landscapes and Portraits. I do very little in the way of action shots (so far) and I rarely need big zooms. As far as money I will probably have around 600-700 dollars although the realm of possibility could stretch to 1000 if it was just something AMAZING. I've tried looking myself and the options are just too vast. I need a good reference point to start with and explanations of some of the features that make these cameras special wouldn't hurt. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Welcome to the forum :)

    So where in Germany are you? ;)


    As for the camera, a Canon 400D might be a good choice (which some say is too small and light for their hands), not sure about the price though.


    Then I would get the best zoom lens you can afford with it (probably best to avoid the kit lens).

    Or go for two prime lenses, a wide angle and a 50mm, could be well affordable and is very versatile for your sort of photography.

    Of course also Nikon has some smaller lightweight dSLRs, and other manufacturers as well. I'm not an expert with theirs though. the d50 might be an option.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I assume the budget you gave is your total budget, not just for the camera body? In which case your options are a bit limited. You could get a good dSLR for the money but then there wouldn't be much left for lenses. For that reason I'd take a look at the "entry-level" dSLRs, and not necessarily the latest models - maybe something like a Canon 350D (aka XT), Nikon D50, Pentax DS etc. I would also consider "refurbished" models if you can get one with a good warranty. For example you should be able to get an XT for around $500 and a 17-50mm f/2.8 for just under $500. Or as Alex said you could get some primes; a 50mm f/1.8 is great value, but it would be difficult to get a telephoto more suited to portraiture (like an 85mm) and a really wide lens for under $500. If there is a chance that you'll be earning money during your year in Germany, maybe you don't need to buy all the lenses now and a standard 'kit' zoom would do for a while, but do be prepared to be paying at least as much for lenses as for the camera before too long.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful choosing a specific camera, I do think any of the "entry-level" models from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus etc would suit your purposes and fit comfortably within your price range... the problem, whatever system you choose, is going to be getting lenses within that budget too.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you simply want to study photography and do something else for a living please ignore what comes next.

    If you are going to do real, honest to goodness, international PJ work then get something that doesn't reflect too much light or make a good target. No, that isn't a reference to Nikon although it is one of the reasons they are black. I'm trying to point out is that what you are planning is a dangerous endeavor.

    As the world goes along and radical extremism gets more blatant, PJs are gong to become even more popular targets than they are now. For a job that can get you killed in a very public manner it doesn't pay very well from what I hear. It is also insanely hard to break into. If this discourages you then you probably need to rethink your future.

    If it doesn't then good luck and hats off to you!

    mike
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, not all kind of PJ involves travelling to critical regions

    well, common soldiers are not paid well for that risk either.
    One of my relatives is in Basrah from time to time, his paycheck does not reflect the risks which come with it at all.

    this is the way this world works. often you can earn more money by being lazy and risking nothing than by risking a lot and being idealistic/identifying with your job.
     
  6. nomad21

    nomad21 TPF Noob!

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    Interesting. I'm in Bielefeld, Nordrhein Westfalen. Yeah, I figured that it is a rather tight budget to be trying to get some nice gear. I mean I will have more money since I've got a full ride to college but I don't know if I'm ready to spend so much just yet. Both the Nikon and Cannon look wonderful. It seems that my budget would limit me to one or the other and I see that Lenses make the camera so I guess any more info on lenses would be nice. And the whole name of the lenses would be better than just XT because I don't know what that is. As far as the warnings go, I'm down for it. I'm really into writing and I'm probably a better writer than photographer so this is really more of an additional skill to get work easier because as you said "its insanely tough to break into." I love the idea of doing current events work and travel photography/writing, definitely from a foriegn base.
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    XT is the name of the camera (the other name for the Canon 350D) - not the lens. We could tell you the whole name of any number of lenses but it wouldn't really achieve much. Looking at specific lenses isn't much use until you know what kind of lenses you want, and consider what focal lengths you need, whether you need a large maximum aperture etc... for example for both landscape and architecture, and potentially for general photojournalism, I would want a good wide angle lens - something like a 10-20 or 12-24mm on one of these digital cameras - but that would not be cheap. However for photojournalistic work there may be times when you won't be able to get that close to the subject and you may end up needing a fast 300mm with a teleconverter... and then we're well outside of a $700 budget. In other words you might need a super-wide, a super-telephoto, and everything in between. Sadly you can't have that and a dSLR body for $700. If you want to get good lenses within your budget, then for the moment at least I recommend narrowing down your priorities, for example which is more important to you? The portraiture? The architecture? Etc.
     
  8. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Since you want to get into photojournalism I'll assume you know what the focal lengths mean, max aperture, etc. So tell us what rang eoyu are looking for in terms of length and aperture, then we'll mold camera and lens names around that.
     
  9. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    if you do architecture, stay away from Olympus simply because of the 2x crop. I'd lean a little toward canon because you can eventually upgrade to full frame, and then you'll know the meaning of wide angle.

    But really, any camera you buy will be able to take the shots you want, and the kit lens can do most of that (though with some trouble doing portraits with such a small aperture).
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Re architecture... full frame maybe, but I'm thinking perspective control is pretty important too. If you have the money for either of course.
     
  11. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    ah yes, another reason to go with canon (nikon will work too). Tilt Shift Lenses.
     
  12. forzaF1

    forzaF1 Ultimate Ferrari Tifosi

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    If you could stretch just a little bit, definitely go with the Nikon D80. Wonderful camera.
     

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