Looking for a first camera

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by brian87gt, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. brian87gt

    brian87gt TPF Noob!

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    My wife has always had an interest in photography, and I was looking to get her a decent camera for valentines day. I was looking at a Nikon D 80, but no nothing about what to look for. I would like camera with a good lens for my son's hockey games. Thanks
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The Nikon D80 is an excellent entry-level camera with features and quality to keep a serious amateur happy for a long time, HOWEVER, if you want it for your wife, then rather than buying the camera and giving it to her, buy a nice card, put a picture of a camera in it, and say, "When would you like to go to the camera store? My treat!"

    Cameras are very personal things, and what may suit you may not suit your wife. Ergonomics are very important, and if she finds the controls uncomfortable, it might not get any use. Go into the camera store, tell the counter-person what your budget is and see what the options are.

    As far as lenses go, what's your budget? The Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR is an awesome lens, but at something close to $2000, it may not be ideal...
     
  3. brian87gt

    brian87gt TPF Noob!

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    I'd like to stay under $1000
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Macro might work; it's got decent range (FL equiv 300mm on a APS-C sensor) and while they call it a macro, it's not a true macro, being only capable of 1:3.5 vice 1:1, but it would be a good close-up lens. There are however reports of varying quality. Try your local used store, see what they have?
     
  5. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    Under $1000 personally I'd look towards Pentax, don't get me wrong Nikons are a very good camera but in the sub $1000 range the I firmly believe for the average photographer they provide the best value for money.

    Given the lack of a true proffessional camera if a photographer is looking towards professional use it's possible they will find Pentax limiting BUT for anyone else it's a good choice.

    For your budget you have the option of a K20D probably with a kit lens or the K200D with enough in your budget for a couple of lenses.


    That said the latest Pentax User magazine mentions a patent that Pentax have apparantly applied for that appears to be a Med Format. So maybe their proffesional angle will go along the lines of replacing the excellent 645 with a digital version.
     
  6. brian87gt

    brian87gt TPF Noob!

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    I was wanting to stay under a $1000 for everything. Thanks
     
  7. sultan

    sultan TPF Noob!

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    The Pentax K200D and K20D are great cameras. Solid build, good image quality (in RAW; their JPEGs are not as good), and good prices make them my cameras of choice. Don't forget about glass though. Suggestion: Look for a K200D + 18-55 II + 50-200 for around $700. Great kit to get you started.

    The Nikon D80 is a good camera, but is no better and actually inferior in many ways to the K200D (the Nikon has no built in stabilization, no weather sealing, and a higher price). The D90 has better image quality, but still has the same disadvantages as the D80, including an even higher price (that is certainly out of your budget if you include glass).

    Canon's Rebel XSi is a nice camera with good image quality, slightly better than the K200D, but is smallish, plasticky, not sealed, and simply not as well built. Also, there aren't many old lenses that will work on Canon because of the FD to EF switch in the late eighties.

    Sony has some nice options, but their lenses are rather overpriced and they don't have as strong as legacy in photography as Canon + Nikon + Pentax. Still, take a look at them and you may find something you like.

    Olympus digital sucks because it's super-small format four/thirds and has NO compatible legacy lenses.

    To pick, try holding the cameras in your hands, and see which one feels good. Pay some attention to price and features though. :)
     
  8. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    I agree that it's best to let your wife help pick it out -- camera preferences often come down to such things as feeling in the hand and weight. (Or, in the case of my girlfriend, whether or not it's pink.)

    To your questions, though, the D80 is a great camera. Paired with the kit lens and a basic telephoto zoom, you should be able to get great pictures for well under $1000. One of the Nikonians around here can probably recommend a couple of good lenses to go with it.

    As a Canon guy, another option I'd suggest is the Canon 450D, with the 18-55mm IS for wide to normal shots, and the 55-250mm for telephoto -- the whole set should be under $1000 at Adorama or B&H, and the lenses have gotten good reviews. (They're not professional level, but they still take very, very good pictures.) I personally find this camera too small for my tastes (big hands), but it might fit your wife's hands perfectly. (That's what I mean about trying them out.)

    Hockey is...difficult. It's just dark in most arenas, and hockey is very fast-moving. So to get the pictures you need a pretty "fast" lens -- but fast telephoto lenses are inherently expensive. So what I would do in that situation is get a 50mm 1.8 ($90 in Canon, $125 in Nikon), get as close as I could to the action, and then crop the photo. It's not an ideal solution, but it's cheap, fast, and should be effective...at least until you catch the photo bug and start seeing $2000 telephoto lenses as an absolute necessity of life...
     
  9. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    Excellent summary sultan :)
     
  10. brian87gt

    brian87gt TPF Noob!

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    A good deal?
    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Digital-28-70mm-70-300mm-Accessory/dp/B001A3S3LO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1234230924&sr=1-1]Amazon.com: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi 12MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with Sigma 28-70mm & 70-300mm Lenses + 2GB Pro Accessory Kit: Camera & Photo[/ame]
     
  11. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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  12. brian87gt

    brian87gt TPF Noob!

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    Non-IS?
     

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