Beginner with $2,000. what to get?

GrandMasterK

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For all-around general purposes. My experience with photography is non sophisticated shooting on an older panasonic lumix Z30 with a fixed lens and the camera on my phone. Lets exclude flashers, remotes, lighting equipment out of the budget. I've heard it wiser to resist the vanity of a high level model camera and go with something more modest and splurge on lenses. I intend to buy most if not all equipment used. There is a T2i at the thrift store down the street for $400. I wonder....get that and use the rest on lenses (no idea what lenses to get as a good base) or aim higher for the camera. I don't know what to expect as far as disappointing lack of features. I would hope anything I get shoots great in low light or nighttime. Snaps quickly. A full range of settings to adjust picture quality. Is compatible with common quality lenses so I never feel I have to upgrade because a lens I want doesn't fit on my camera. A canon, because of the possibility of sharing equipment or collaborating with friends (who all have canons). I want the ability to shoot near and far. Thats about it Help me out guys, thanks!
 
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GrandMasterK

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Also I'd like to add that id be interested in investing another $1k by the end of the year to more complete my gear.
 

tirediron

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I'll preface this with the statement I'm a Nikonian, NOT a Canonite, so my advice may not be 100% accurate, but that doesn't sound like a good deal on that T2i, especially when a quick hop over to Adorama's website (you are in the US, aren't you?) reveals this deal. I'm a HUGE fan of buying used; my favorite camera store is Craig's List, BUT... I would not advocate getting a used body at a thrift store (1) because if a problem occurs next week, you're almost certainly out of luck, and (2) because based on your post, I suspect you're not yet knowledgeable enough to accurately assess the condition of the camera.

The T3i in the link, comes with a lens and is a factory refurb, meaning that it should be as good as new, and will have some sort of guarantee. I would suggest buying that and NOTHING else to start. Learn to use it, and see how your photographic tastes develop (pun fully intended). You may well find that you learn to like shooting something you never thought of. If you'd asked me 30 years ago I would like shooting fashion, I would have told you that you were on glue, but I love it...

So, by the camera, and once you know what you NEED, then buy that. There's nothing worse than buying a shed-load of gear only to find out it sitting dusty in a closet next year!
 

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What are your photographic goals? What type of photography interests you? You mentioned low light, so your quest could start there. Consult the specifications and read some reviews of several models. Be ready to purchase one or two high-end lenses as these will generally allow more light into the sensor. Will your friends let you borrow their lenses? You could start with an inexpensive lens, and borrow a better lens to see if that is what you want to purchase.

Shop wisely by comparing prices from different sources. Be aware that some less costly deals may not include full warranty coverage.

If you opt for a better body, your skills will "grow" into it.

Be aware also that there is a difference in sensor size between the entry-level bodies and "pro-sumer" bodies. The larger sensors will want lenses capable of delivering more light, but those lenses usually cost more as well.
 

AlexanderB

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Consider a smaller camera, like OM-D.
 
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GrandMasterK

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Photography I enjoy the most are blur-less captured motion. But I'm also really interested in capturing scenes for inspiration or possibly to be used as reference for art. I've never had a camera that could snap a pic of someone moving rapidly and get a clear image. I think the idea of that excites me the most. I played with rebels and a slew of D series cameras at best buy and the rebels seem much more idiot friendly. Its hard for me to commit to the idea of getting a cheaper camera knowing that if I get addicted i'll end up splurging for a really nice one several months laters and be tasked with hawking off the one I have. I'm curious, will all lenses that work with say a T2i end up working with something more robust like a 6D or a 5D? Also I've seen around the internet that there are newer versions of the same kind of lens. I think one was in reference to the "kit lens" that comes with the 60D and someone stating to get the body only because the updated version of the lens was far superior. I'm worried I won't understand when I'm investing in a quality lens of certain magnitude and when I'm getting a cheaper version. I'm not aware of whether or not the "kit lens" that you get with most cameras is a quality well-rounded lens or if it supplies a very narrow range of usefulness and hinders you as a photographer right out of the gate.
 
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GrandMasterK

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and yes my friends (who are mindless hobbyists) are more than willing to let me borrow lens in circumstances where were actually with each other. They were interested in having the same benefit from me. Like all over-ambitious beginners I find myself highing the high-mid level cameras like the 60D, 7D, 6D, 5D mark II and I guess a 70D is coming out. I don't know how reliable the analytics of snapsort.com are but the 6D seems to come out ahead in every shoot-out. It's probably obnoxious to even think about that kind of a camera to start off on but on the other hand, as a film and art student increasingly interested in the art of image, I can't see myself getting something and letting it turn into a bored hobbyists closet dust bunny. Usually when I get toys like this I become obsessive very quickly and living in downtown Chicago I feel that I am going to be all over this like a cheap suit. Thats the voice in my head I am fighting for getting something modest with the idea of upgrading later on. But as I said, the usefulness of lenses and what type of lenses is beyond me right now and I assume most people would rather get a 60D with two-three lenses than a 6D with one lens (even though I know I'll buy at least one more extra lens before the year is out). SOMEBODY SMACK SOME SENSE INTO MEEEEEEEEE!
 

play18now

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First-off, like tirediron, I am a huge fan of buying used. I'm also a Canon user personally, and I think that $400 for a used T2i is rather steep. For example, the last used camera I bought was a 5D Mark 1, and I paid about the same. The 5D was where both the 5D Mark 3 and 6D are right now, as their lower range full frame camera. Also T2i's are selling for about $300 on ebay at the moment. I prefer the full frame sensor for the kinds of photography that I do (mostly landscapes and low light stills). If you want to shoot very sharp images of something moving very fast (i.e. sports photography), you will probably find yourself wanting something that focuses and shoots a little faster than the T2i or T3i. I have a T3i as well and though it was newer and supposedly a tad faster than the 5D, I would often find myself missing focus and I actually prefer the my 5D for that. If I were you, I would look at the 60D. The body will run you between 500 and 700 depending on if you buy it new or used. Significantly better autofocusing than the T3i, and shoots about 60% faster than the T3i. Use what you've got left to buy the best lens you can. Canons lenses that have "USM" in the name have their best focusing system, and full-time manual override, which is really nice when you're shooting something that's moving. I don't know much about the Nikon cameras, so I can't comment on them, but from what you've said about what you shoot, I have the feeling you would be looking for a faster system rather soon if you went with the T2i. Best of luck to you, I wish I had your problem.
 

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I would say get a Nikon D5200 which cost around 750$ new or less used.
In the rest of the money you can get good used lenses.
I would advise to get these lenses used

16-85mm VR
70-300mm VR
50mm 1.8G

You will still have money left to buy either another lens or accessories.

The D5200 is worth the extra cash from the T2i or T3i, its more modern, better low light better IQ, more MP its simply more modern and better.
 

sandollars

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I would say get a Nikon D5200 which cost around 750$ new or less used.
In the rest of the money you can get good used lenses.
I would advise to get these lenses used

16-85mm VR
70-300mm VR
50mm 1.8G

You will still have money left to buy either another lens or accessories.

The D5200 is worth the extra cash from the T2i or T3i, its more modern, better low light better IQ, more MP its simply more modern and better.

Except, He is looking at Canon...
 

goodguy

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I would say get a Nikon D5200 which cost around 750$ new or less used.
In the rest of the money you can get good used lenses.
I would advise to get these lenses used

16-85mm VR
70-300mm VR
50mm 1.8G

You will still have money left to buy either another lens or accessories.

The D5200 is worth the extra cash from the T2i or T3i, its more modern, better low light better IQ, more MP its simply more modern and better.

Except, He is looking at Canon...

We all need to keep all our mind open :) maybe he will see the D5200 indeed the superior camera and well worth checking.
You never know.
 

gconnoyer

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Take Tiredirons advice.

I'll add to it and say spend your money on a good body, and then a third party 24-70 2.8 or a good prime. Until you figure out your "needs" for whatever you get into shooting.

-A good body (will be a good platform for whatever you want to do, and whatever lenses you want to add onto it)
-third party 24-70 (will give you the same sort of zoom range as a kit lens, with way better results and will probably keep you happy long enough to not just start buying lenses to have new ones)

I bought a D700, and Nikon 24-70...and over the past 2 years or so have only felt the need to add 2 lenses. The 24-70 really gives you a versatile lens to work with and I think did the job for me long enough to figure out I needed a 70-200 (which I still would like to pickup a nikon)
 

DGMPhotography

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Since I don't know what your photography aspirations are (and you probably don't know either), I will just tell you what I would get if I had $2k.

I enjoy shooting portraits and events/performances. So from scratch I would get a decent starting body, like the Nikon D5200 or D7000 for around $800. Then I would spend about $200 on a nifty fifty (prime 50mm f/1.8). Then I would probably want to spend $380 on a 55-300mm, and around $300 on a wide-angle lens and some extension tubes/attachments. Then the rest on a tripod, 3 strobes w/ light stands & umbrellas, 5-in-1 reflector, backdrop/studio stuff, camera backpack, and basic accessories like lens hoods, filters, extra batteries, etc.

But like the others said, starting off, it's probably best just to get a camera (like the D5200 or D7000) and experiment with the kit lens until you discover what you enjoy doing, and then go from there.

Good luck with your decision!
 

texkam

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Canon T2i or better.
50mm 1.4
Yongnuo YN-560 III Speedlight

Learn to use these, then you'll know how you'll want to spend the rest. At that point expect a new computer or at the least, another hard drive on your list.
 

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