Need advice on buying a digital SLR for a beginner looking to shoot people

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by agent-s, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. agent-s

    agent-s TPF Noob!

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    I saw the other post about getting advice for beginner buying a camera, and was thinking if I should reply to the thread or post a new one. The difference between the two posts is I am going a little more specific about what I would like to shoot. I am an absolute beginner with photography and cameras. I have just started to look for a digital SLR and would like to do photoshoot on models in the near future.

    I wonder if any camera is specifically good for shooting people? Or the few cameras mentioned in the other post (Canon Rebel XT, Nikon D40, Pentax K10D) are good for shooting everything in general?

    I also wonder what's the differnece between Canon Rebel XT and Canon Rebel XTi?

    About lenses, are Canon, Nikon and Pentax pretty much all give the same quality?

    I heard it from a salesperson in BestBuy when he compared a Canon and a Nikon SLR for beginners that Canon has more flexibility with changing lenses, while if you buy a Nikon, you will have to buy a new camera if you want to change the lens. Is that correct?


    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. LoKaM

    LoKaM TPF Noob!

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    If you buy the D40 you don't have autofocus built in the body so you have to buy AF lenses. You don't have that problem with the other mentionned above cameras.
     
  3. running_with_scissors

    running_with_scissors TPF Noob!

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    There is not too much of a difference (in my beginer knowledge) between the different brands when it comes down to bodies and how they work for model photography. The salesperson at bestbuy was semi-Correct. The Nikon entry level dSLRs have a limitation of not having an in camera autofocus motor, so if you want to use autofocus, you have to get AF-S lenses which are generally more expensive because they have a built in motor.

    A Good site for Camera reviews is http://www.dpreview.com/ They even have some comparisons in there.

    Things that the XTi Has over the XT are (1) self cleaning sensor, (2) Increased Resolution 10mp vs 8mp, (3) larger viewing lcd.. and (4) it is newer so has some slightly different technology in the sensor i believe. Those are the main ones but there are more I am sure.
     
  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    The Nikon D40 isn't really intended for model shoot or anything that advanced. It doesn't have the traditional auto-focus screw drive motor built into the body, so if you want autofocus you can only buy "AF-S" equivalent lenses, which severely limits your lens selection (you can still manually focus), and AF-S lenses tend to be more expensive. If you wanted to used a fixed focal length large aperture prime lens (like an 85mm f/1.8 or f/1.4, both are great for portraits and people type shots), almost all of Nikon's normal and short tele primes are AF-D and not AF-S, so the D40 won't autofocus with those either. When you do have a lens that will autofocus, your framing can be pretty limited by only having 3 AF sensor zones vs 5 or 11 or more on the higher end cameras. You can always focus and re-frame, but that can be pretty bothersome.

    That said, I have a D40 :lol: but I don't use it as my main camera. I have a D80 for that, which is what I'd suggest going with for anything more than a casual shooter. It's a far more capable camera. It also fits my hand better, has a battery grip available (which I don't use for the additional power but rather for the much improved handling and balance when you have a bigger lens and a flash on it).

    Vs Canon, I find the Nikons much easier to use, I like the ergonomics better, the menuing system better, and all of the automated functions like Auto ISO, Auto Sharpness, Auto Contrast, and Auto Saturation make it easy for beginners to get great results, or even for pros who shoot in more photojournalist type situations who just need to be able to point the camera and shoot and not worry if all the settings are right or not. This won't matter as much if you're in a studio setting or someplace with relatively constant lighting, in which case you can dial in your camera to the look that you want and then won't want or need to adjust it.

    Completely untrue. I have two Nikon DSLRs (D80 & D40) and 8 lenses which I can swap at will. Only three of them are AF-S though, so only those three will auto-focus on the D40. The rest I'd have to manually focus.


    For your needs, between the Nikon D40 and the Canon Rebel XT/XTi, I'd go with one of the Canons. If you were considering the D80 instead, I'd definitely go with that over the Rebels. I don't know anything about the Pentax system unfortunately. Also, don't just compare specs. Try them out for feel and reach too, and see how easily you can handle them and reach controls. The ergonomics of the Nikons and how well the D80 fit my hand is what sold me. I found the Canon Rebels too small, and the bigger 30D at the time to be too big. Plus the automated stuff on the Nikons is a huge help for my type of photography too (chasing my 9 month old around the house. :wink:)
     
  5. agent-s

    agent-s TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for the help! :) I really knew nothing about lenses, cameras, and just photography in general. I am definitely knowing much more after reading the replies :) Thanks!
     
  6. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dear god in heaven. Do you mean to tell me that a professional photographer couldn't take a D40, their set of gear and get magazine quality photos out of it, especially considering they no doubt have COMPLETE control over the environment? This isn't to suggest that the OP will be pulling pro-quality photos out of the D40's hind parts, but its totally irresponsible to set them along a "gear" mindset, that bigger is better - technically sure, but on an aesthetic level, untrue.
     
  7. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

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    Best Buy is absolutely the last place you should go to shop for a camera if you are a beginner. The fact that the guy told you that alone tells me he doesn't know the first thing about the cameras he is trying to sell.

    That said, if you are only going to shoot people (portraits), have you considered getting a used Fujifilm S3 or the new S5? Skin tones on those cameras are excellent.
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Nope, I never said that. The reason I'd recommend something more than a D80 in this case has everything to do with ease of use, being able to quickly make adjustments to keep your shoot moving, and having full AF support for any AF lens Nikon makes. The technical image quality will be the same between the two cameras, but the D40 will take a lot longer to setup for different types of shots, and also takes a lot longer to adjust on the fly. The OP also never said they'd be in a studio environment where they'd have full control over everything.
     

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