Looking to get a DSLR

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Wolfie--RAWKs, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Wolfie--RAWKs

    Wolfie--RAWKs TPF Noob!

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    Hi, my name is Sarah, and I'm rather new here, so please excuse my inability to use all the different features of this site properly. ^^;

    Anyway, I was looking to get a digital SLR camera of good quality, but within a reasonable price range. The highest price I could probably go would be somewhere around $700-800.

    I have rather shaky hands, so something with an image stabilizer would be great. Most of my photographs are outdoors, or in dark environments indoors, and portraits of family members and whatnot. That aside, it would be fantastic if there was just a basic SLR camera for someone who is still learning, but could be versatile at the same time.

    I've been reading several books on the matter, but I would appreciate it if I had a wide variety of opinions from people that know what they're dealing with and can help me in my search for a good SLR.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    I'm pretty sure the Pentax is the only one with IS built in...unless I am mistaken.

    Not a bad option.

    There really isn't a "beginner" slr. It's all about price/performance, and usually beginners try to keep the price down that's all. You should get the nicest camera you can afford/can budget for currently. Look for a Pentax with the image stabiliser if that's what you'd like. I would say for that price, the Canon XT or XTi are a great deal...or the Nikon d80.
     
  3. MRivera

    MRivera TPF Noob!

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    I bought the pentax K100D Super with built in image stabiliser. I like it! you could activate or disactivate the IS feature if you don't want to use it. In addition, most of the pentax lenses could work with the camera and IS option. For my understanding lenses with built in IS could go high on prices if you are looking for other brand such as canon or nikon. And the price not bad around the $500.
    Good Luck
     
  4. Cii

    Cii TPF Noob!

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    Hi Sara, I too just got into the SLR thing and also have very unstable hands. But seeing how I couldn't find any cameras with IS that I liked, I'm planning on getting a tripod. I don't know if you've considered one.

    Also, appreantly, with a little practice, holding your camera to your face and using the viewfinder instead of the LCD does TONS for your shaking hands. Doesn't work for me always since I wear glasses, but might work for you.

    GL!
     
  5. KC10Chief

    KC10Chief TPF Noob!

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    I also recommend the Pentax. Get the K10D which is 10.2 megapixels. It's $744 with a lens at B&H. Then it has a $100 rebate. I've had several Pentax cameras. Never been disappointed.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart&A=details&Q=&sku=459624&is=REG

    You could get the K100D which is 6.1 megapixels. It's $499 at B&H with a lens and also has the $100 rebate.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/514248-REG/Pentax_19157_K100D_Super_Digital_Camera.html

    But if I were you, I'd get the K10D and then you could get more lenses later. Most people agree that the Pentax has the best kit lens on the market.
     
  6. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    I'd recommend a Nikon D40 with the 18-135mm lens. You can get the combo together at a discount here:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/485841-REG/Nikon_9419_D40_SLR_Digital_Camera.html

    Then add in either an SB-400 or SB-600 flash and you're good to go for all of the situations you mentioned while still staying roughly within your budget range (might be a tad over with the SB-600)

    I've used this combo before with my gear collection and it works great and can post some samples if you wish. All of the auto functions on the Nikons (full Auto ISO, auto contrast, auto sharpness, auto saturation, etc) make them extremely easy to use and get great results right off of the camera with very little fiddling required. The Canon Rebel XTi is also a camera to consider, but I consider it much more difficult to use than the Nikons for beginners since you'll need to adjust all of those things above manually.

    The Achilles Heel of the Nikon D40/x is that it doesn't have Nikon's traditional AF screw drive motor in the body, so it'll only autofocus with "AF-S" type lenses that have the autofocusing motor built into the lens itself. There's far less of a selection of AF-S lenses to choose from compared to their traditional "AF" (no 'S') lenses, and NO AF-S normal to short tele length prime lenses at this point. Maybe that will change in the future, but who knows...

    If you're ok with the limitations of the D40, it's truly a great camera. I couldn't get by with just a D40 which is why I also have a D80, but that's a pricier camera. I actually got the D80 first and then the D40 as a secondary/backup camera, and something much smaller and lighter that my wife could use too. My D80 is too big for her.
     
  7. ddailey320

    ddailey320 TPF Noob!

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    I too just bought my first SLR and went for the Nikon D40x. Still playing around with and becoming familiar with it, but loving every thing about it thus far. I think the big thing is to go and try a couple different ones out before making a decision!

    Everyone can suggest a camera but taking them for a test drive is usually the best way to come to your own conclusion.

    BTW~ Nikon's 55-200 (as well as other lens) have the Vibration reduction built into the lens which might help with an unsteady hand.

    Good luck in your decision!!
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Nikon just started shipping their 18-55VR, probably to better compete with the Pentax and I think Sony entry level bodies that have built-in stabilization. I'd expect that Nikon will probably update their D40 kits to include this 18-55VR lens pretty shortly. The two lens kits I've seen have already included the 55-200VR for awhile now.

    And yes, actual FEEL of the camera in your hands is one of the most important things. If a camera doesn't fit your hand right and you can't reach all the controls, or don't understand the menu system, then you'll have a far more difficult time getting good results than with another. The ergonomics and ease of use of the Nikons really sold me.
     
  9. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hi Sarah,

    I just bought an Olympus Evolt E-510 and I am HAPPY...

    Image stabilization, live view, etcccc..

    I spent quite a bit of time here http://www.dpreview.com/ comparing models. It helped a lot to narrow down the choices.

    As mentioned above, the camera has to "feel" comfortable so if you can, get yourself to a camera store and don't let the floor people "sell" you something....

    You may have noticed by now that everyone has a favorite brand and will defend it to the death :)

    Cheers and happy shopping, Don.
     
  10. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    That's one thing I really hate about online forums. :confused: I shoot Nikon, but I could just as easily switch to Canon tomorrow if my needs changed. I don't know much about the Pentax or Sony/Minolta systems, but the same goes for them too. There are various pros and cons about all of the systems.
     
  11. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    I'd actually reccomend picking up a used D50/D70s or a D80 body new/used. Then add a 50mm f1.8 lens as your walk around lens. The extra speed of the f1.8 will be better than Image Stabalizer in my opinion and you have much more flexibility in the future.

    I've used the D70s and 50 f1.8 as my go-to setup for awhile now and it works great. A lot of people have said that the 50mm f1.8 isn't wide enough (and may not be for landscapes), but for portrait and walk around shots, I've never had a problem. My house isn't that big and I was even able to back up enough to take a family portrait with the lens.

    If you don't care about using fast primes and aren't going to do much portrait type of photos, then I would highly recommend the D40. If you plan to take a lot of photos of people, then go a different route because it will be inevitable that you'll want to play with primes in the future. Good luck keeping up with a moving target using manual focus at 1.8.....I can barely get that DOF right with AF.

    Edit: Mav....are you aka SP77?
     
  12. kdabbagh

    kdabbagh TPF Noob!

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    Hey Sarah
    I also recently just bought a DSLR and it took me some time to choose the one I thought is good for me.

    My photographic needs are similar to yours, and after much debate I settled on the D40x with 18-135 lens and i have a 50mm and the 55-200 VR on my 'to-buy' list. I've played around with all these lenses and they'll do the trick. Very good camera, very easy to use, and superb quality. If I were you I'd go with the D40 though to stay within your budget. But be careful with the lenses as someone mentioned above they don't have the autofocus in the body.

    Also, someone mentioned dpreview.com, excellent site!
     

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