PLEASE HELP me choose a DSLR and lenses!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Anonymouslives, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. Anonymouslives

    Anonymouslives TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone, I am in desperate need of your assistance. I am to the point now of just wanting to give up on buying a camera. As you're all aware, there is pretty much always something better and more expensive, and even if you did have a top of the line item, there is always something better around the corner.

    I'm a beginner and I'd like to be able to take great pictures. I'd like to be able to take action sports photos if ever having the opportunity, but primarily, would like to take landscape, nature, family, building, etc.

    I've considered everything, starting with the Nikon D40 all the way up the the D300. I've Considered Canon in the Xsi to 50D range. I just don't know. I've heard that you should buy the cheapest body you can and get lenses, but then why do people buy the D300 at all? I've strongly considered the Nikon D90, but I don't care about the movie mode and the live-view is supposedly very bad. I've researched A LOT -and the consensus is, there isn't a consensus. I don’t know where to start, and I don’t want to regret buying something. I've also read that Nikon's customer service is terrible, and they make you pay for shipping if your item is defective.

    I really love photography and would love to get into it, but there is just too many variables and too much to weigh. There is so much going on, that it makes the whole decision even more confusing.

    Ideally, I’d like to be able to get a wide range of options, the fewest amounts of limitations, and for the most reasonable price. Then once I figure what body to get, there’s the whole lens thing. DURR! I could spend up to $2,500 to start off, but I’d like to stay way under that unless there is an amazing reason why I shouldn’t.

    Thanks so much to anyone willing to read through this whole mess and help me find a solution!
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Er, 'scuse me, but this section of the Forum is concerned with film cameras.
     
  3. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    (Someone will move this thread to the digital section for you -- no worries.)

    Here is a question for you: What do you want to use your camera for?
    Another question: What is your current skill level at photography?

    Answering those questions will help determine what camera and lens range will be best for you (i.e. low-cost beginner cameras, advanced amateur, pro level). After that, it will largely be a matter of going to stores and actually trying a few relevant cameras in your hands, to see which ones feel the best and work the best for you.

    A quick explanation though: going for the cheapest body is often a decent choice for beginners. The reason people buy the D300 (or D700, D3, Canon's high end lineup, etc.) is because they discover that they have advanced to a level where the additional features are worth the money. For example, you may decide that you need a high frame rate (the D3 can do 11 fps, the D40 can do 2.5 -- that's a huge difference if you need to be able to shoot that fast). You may want the cool virtual horizon features, the ability to use more lenses (the D40 and D60 can't autofocus certain lenses), etc.

    But for now, you need to figure out what level you are actually at, and what you want to do. My guess, if you're asking here, is that you probably would fit very well with the D40 or D60, maybe the D90 if you're a little more serious (I'm a Nikon guy, so these are what I know best). The reason is simple: these are the easiest and lightest cameras around, and are actually fun to use. You don't want to lug around a 20-pound monster of a camera if you don't need it, and the D40/D60 are light enough that you'll probably not mind taking them with you.

    Anyhow, answer those questions. Post your answers here. Then we'll work from there.
     
  4. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    There is exactly one wrong choice here -- Nikon. :p (...just kidding Nikonians). Actually the only wrong choice is to get so bound up in indecision that you never actually get a camera. All of the DSLRs on the market today are great. If there's a feature that you feel like you'd particularly need for some reason, then get a camera with that feature -- but for the most part every modern DSLR has every feature a beginner could ever want or need. So, if all else fails, the best advice is to just go to a camera store and hold each model -- one will feel right.

    Will the D300 work? Yeah -- it's a great camera, with some great features. You probably won't be pushing the limits of its capabilities any time soon, but it's a great camera. At the same time, what you really want is (a) a good camera and (b) good lenses. If the D300 is too expensive to allow you to (eventually) get both, then it's not a good choice.

    Similarly, the 50D or D90 are great cameras (and a little less expensive than the D300).

    The D40 and Xsi are too small for some people, just right for others. I find them ergonomically unsuited for me, but they take good pictures. (There's some technical issue about the D40 only autofocusing with certain lenses -- others might be able to explain more, but some cite that as a reason to buy something a step or so up in the Nikon line instead of the D40.)

    So you really can't go wrong with camera. So, then, lenses. If you're just starting out, I'm a fan of the basic kit lens. You could start out by immediately buying some $1000 piece of glass that might or might not suit you -- but I think it's far better to first figure out what your style looks like, then get glass to match it.

    Oh, and don't worry -- photography really is fun. :D
     
  5. Anonymouslives

    Anonymouslives TPF Noob!

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    I apologize for posting in the wrong section, nothing more noobish than that!

    Anyways, assuming the thread doesn't get deleted by a mod,

    To answer a couple questions:

    I'm pretty much a total photography noob, I am a technology guy, so I think I'd pick up on dslr functions relatively easy. I primarily would like to take nature, family, landscape scenery, buildings, skylines, etc and have the ability to shoot sports photography. I dont have any lenses already, so that is not a concern. Thanks again.
     
  6. Anonymouslives

    Anonymouslives TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for this response! I've heard the d40 and d60 have lens expandability issues and that would be a problem for future upgrading. In that case, what would you suggest?
     
  7. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    Good reply. You sound familiar. :) I would not hesitate to recommend that you buy the D40, D60, or D90 (again, I'm a Nikon guy -- there are equivalent Canons that will also do you well).

    Which one? The D90's main benefit, in my mind, is the ability to use more lenses (the D40/D60 can only autofocus with AF-S lenses, which are, admittedly, VERY common nowadays). The D90 and D60 have Nikon's "ADR" feature, which you might like because it will help your shadows and hilights appear a bit more like they look in real life. These are all flexible enough to do everything you want.

    As far as lenses: Nikon's standard kit lens (18-55mm) is very very good. Its only drawback is the lack of a real telephoto focal length. There are some great lenses that you can get for cheap, such as the 55-200 VR or the 70-300 VR, which would help you with telephoto applications (such as sports, often).

    Finally, take what I've said with a grain of salt: go to your local camera shop (or really anywhere the sells a few DSLRs), and try several Nikons and several Canons (and maybe a Sony, Olympus, etc.) in your hands. Take some photos, navigate through menus, try the dials, review your photos, etc. See which ones feel more natural to hold, and which ones have better interfaces (I prefer Nikon's menus, others prefer Canon's interface... it's entirely personal preference). Think about the weight of the camera, and how much you'd want to carry it with you.

    Any camera I've mentioned, or that others will mention, will be a great choice for you. So the goal now is to find the one that feels most natural.
     
  8. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    Ah -- don't worry about this if you mean upgrading your camera. Anything that works on a D40 or D60 will work on every other Nikon. Some lenses will not autofocus on a D40 or D60, but they are generally older lenses.

    There is one issue with all Nikon DSLRs except for the most new and expensive ones: DX sensor size, and DX lenses. DX lenses are set up to make a smaller image, which corresponds to the smaller sensor of "DX" cameras (including everything mentioned except the D3 and D700). These will still work on other "full frame" Nikons, but they will have to (automatically) decrease your image resolution to properly use them. In general, I wouldn't worry about that, because some of Nikon's best current lenses are DX, and the DX format is likely to stay around for a while.

    Oy, I write a lot today.
     
  9. Anonymouslives

    Anonymouslives TPF Noob!

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    Thanks very much for clearing that up, and for your help! Would you recommend ritz camera, best buy, or something else? Who seems to be the most accommodating when it comes to helping customers to test different models and lenses?

    thanks!
     
  10. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    Where are you located? Local stores are generally the best for testing things out, and may have competitive pricing (in some cases). (Users on here can often suggest a local store nearby.)

    If there's not a local camera store, Best Buy is particularly great for getting to handle the camera bodies, and there's one everywhere -- but their prices are usually several hundred dollars too high (and their lenses are usually locked away). Ritz is the same deal -- and you might (or might not, given inventory problems) be able to look at a few additional lenses there, but their prices aren't competitive.

    People disagree on this issue, but I think buying online is the way to go. The best places for that are:

    B&H -- www.bhphotovideo.com
    Adorama -- www.adorama.com
    Amazon.com

    (There are other online stores that are good (Canoga Camera, Beach Camera, J&R, etc.) However, be very, very wary of any store that offers pricing below B&H or Adorama -- there are a lot of scammers out there that set up websites pretending to sell camera equipment. If you're not using one of the above sellers, use www.resellerratings.com to check the site out first and make sure it's not a scam.)
     
  11. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    Yup, try your cameras anywhere you can find them, but unless you really want to support a specific local business (a noble goal), I'd buy online.
     

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