Quite overwhelmed with choices, please help with process of elimination...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by TimmyD11, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. TimmyD11

    TimmyD11 TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to get serious about photography again...well, amateur serious...

    Now that larger sensors are appearing in point and shoots I thought about going that direction.

    For a while I was actually somewhat impressed and satisfied with pictures taken on my Galaxy S6 smartphone.

    And I especially liked the built-in HDR feature on this smartphone...

    so I thought about getting something even better, hopefully and possibly with a built-in HDR function on it.

    But my cell phone failed me at a big event I recently had (no zoom, little control over tricky lighting situations) and that has got me looking at cameras again.

    So I am willing to go up to $1200 for a premium point and shoot bridge camera or a body and starter lens (and may purchase other lenses as I need and can afford them in the future) .

    I might even spend a little more if I can be convinced I need to for some upgrade or feature.

    My passion is wilderness - backpacking, canoe camping and hiking - and taking pictures while doing these things.

    I'm not afraid of a little bit of weight (DSLR and lenses) but wouldn't mind going mirrorless and lighter if it's just as good...and there was a pretty good selection of pretty darn good and affordable lenses.

    Part of me wished mirrorless killed off DSLR...or mirrorless never came about...because I don't know how to pick one.


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When you go backpacking, canoe camping and hiking do you ever go for more than a day? If the answer is yes then you want a smaller APS class DSLR (think Nikon 5xxx series). Simple reason is power. If you avoid using the back LCD on the DSLR it will run for a week on a single battery charge and take 1000+ photos. I shoot Fuji mirrorless now and I love it but I bought it with spare batteries. When I travel I'm always charging batteries in the car. The EVF in a mirrorless camera eats power. I've been out with my camera and a charged battery and if I keep the EVF powered I can run down a battery in a day. I carry at least one spare out walking around. Go canoe camping over a long weekend with a mirrorless and you'll offset the camera's weight advantage with the spare batteries you're going to feel you need.

    If you want to avoid the size and cost of a DSLR then a compact is a great choice -- the battery issue comes back because to use a compact you typically need an LCD or EVF, but with a compact the spare batteries seem less of a burden since the camera is substantially smaller. The compact will have a fixed lens but that could be an advantage given where you're using it. I'd be reluctant to do too much lens changing out in the field with an ILC -- you're going to start accumulating dirt on the sensor. Apart from the fixed lens and zoom range the compact is going to have a smaller sensor and that does limit the camera's usability in low light conditions -- not an issue outdoors in the daytime. I frequently use a compact and I love it; I carry it with me out walking a running errands.

    Joe
     
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  3. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is no clear choices. All modern interchangeable lens cameras deliver a great image. It is hard to go wrong with camera. I presume you want something on the small side for hiking. Take a hard look at mirrorless, especially MFT. The problem with APS-C and FF mirrorless is the benefit of the small body is overshadowed by the large lenses needed to cover the sensor. MFT has high quality small lenses fitted to small body mirrorless cameras.
     
  4. jpross123

    jpross123 TPF Noob!

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    Like Gary said, if you want portability you should go with mirrorless. The body will be much smaller, and the lenses won't be as heavy as well. For mirrorless I would probably go with Sony. They are coming out with a lot of cool technology lately
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You have a very good budget for better than any brands starter bundles. The question is what do you want to carry? I am a little biased since I have shot Nikon for decades (did own Canon for a little while). But I think going by reviews and testing labs like DXO. Nikon puts out the best bang for the money (right now) for DSLR's. But if you don't want to lug them around or have the space for them. I think mirrorless is a good idea. Your not stuck with a single lens. And they are even more compact than a bridge camera. I have looked at nothing mirrorless so cannot give any advice on brands for it.
     
  6. TimmyD11

    TimmyD11 TPF Noob!

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    So, according to Digital Camera Magazine, the Canon T6i, the Canon T6s, the Canon 70D, the Nikon D7200 and the Panasonic GX8 are all supposed to be really good cameras for the money in my price range.
     
  7. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just switched from Nikon to Fuji and very happy with my new xt2. With your budget look at the xt20 or you can pick up a nice deal on a xt1.

    Ysarex makes a good point about battery life but the extra batteries do not, in my opinion, weigh as much as the difference between carrying a DSL vs a mirrorless. It might make up the difference in the weight of the bodies, but not when you add in the lenses. The lenses, for Fuji anyway, are much smaller and lighter than what I had with my Nikon.
     
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  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    According to testing lab DXO. The D7200 (newest version is D7500) is at your budget with starter lens package. It is actually the highest rated APS-C camera tested (crop sensor). The good thing about the Nikon D7xxx series is they have a body focusing motor. So, they will AF with any of the older Nikon AF lenses that don't have a focusing motor in the lens. The new lenses (AF-i, AF-s, AF-p) have motors in the lenses. But the older lenses still perform very well. And much cheaper used than some of the new ones.

    The D7500 and a kit lens is just slightly above your budget. It tests slightly lower than the D7200. Has slightly less dynamic range but slightly better low light performance (iso) than the D7200.
     
  9. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    While I completely agree with Joe on battery life. I've owned a number of mirrorless and dSLR's and the mirrorless batteries were all much smaller than my dSLR batteries and it wasn't a big deal to toss an extra or two into a pocket. Remembering to do so was the hard part, carrying an extra battery was the easy part.
     
  10. TimmyD11

    TimmyD11 TPF Noob!

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    Well, if dxomark means anything, with the exception of 2 versions of the Sony A7 starting at $1600 all the highest ranked cameras are well over $3000 full framed cameras until it gets to the $1200 Nikon D7200 with an APS-C sensor. Not only that, everywhere I go to look to possibly purchase the D7200 it gets a full 5 star review, not 4.5 like most everything else. Is this camera the best bang for the bucks at $1200? Is a camera with an APS-C sensor inferior to a camera with a full frame sensor, which can still be gotten with some cameras under $1200?

    Weight shouldn't be too big of an issue no matter which way I go. I will be taking pictures of landscapes primarily so I will have a wide angle lens or wide angle zoom lens which won't weigh much. I'd love to take pictures of wildlife but good telephoto lenses cost an arm and a leg and I don't see myself carrying one of those into the backcountry (unless I'm flown in by bush plane, which has crossed my mind!)...and it may be a while until I do an Alaska road trip or whatever.

    Not sure yet but the D7200 seems to stand out right now until something else does.
     
  11. TimmyD11

    TimmyD11 TPF Noob!

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    Having said that, what is the best camera with a decent sensor and very good built in zoom lens (focal length AND quality) in the $1200 range?
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I bought a Nikon D610 body with thge Nikon MB-D14 battery and vertical grip accessory a couple weeks ago from ProPhoto Supply for $849, with the charger and three Nikon batteries.The camera had 4,802 shutter clicks on it. So there ARE some good, good deals out there! I buy from ProPhoto Supply because their prices are very good.

    I dunno..as far as GOOD-shooting cameras for low money...my money goes to Canon 5D (the 'classic' model) for $375-$400 used; the Nikon D600 for $600 or so used; the Nikon D7100 used; the small-body Nikon D5200 or 5300 or newer for $395 or less, used.

    USED lenses as well, the way to go!

    Sony X-series 1-inch sensor camera with the 24mm to 200mm "e-quivalent" zoom lens is a nice pocketable camera known for good image quality.

    RE: the D7200....YES, it is the best APS-C sensor camera of all on the market. The sensor is ISO invariant...this is a BIG deal!!! A refurbished D7200, or a clean, used one would be a GREAT camera! The D7xxx models can use the older, Nikon AF or AF-D lenses with fulkl autofocusing, which is a great way to save money, by getting a camera that can use the 1987-era and newer "screw-driver focusing" AF and AF-D mount lenses: the D3xxx and D5xxx series or Baby Nikon bodies MUST have the AF-S or AF-P lenses for full autofocusing, and the AF-P lenses work only on the very-newest Nikon models.

    Honestly: I think the D5400 or D3400 with the AF-P VR models of the 18-55mm and 70-300 AF-P VR lenses is the BEST VALUE when bought as a kit!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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