Help buying first good camera

DallinW

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I'm trying to decide on a new camera for my wife, as a gift for Christmas. I'm running out of time.

We would both like to take some classes, and graduate from the ranks of AUTO mode, point and shoot and camera phones, to the a DSLR or Mirrorless.

The primary use would be to photograph our kids, indoor and outdoor, and capture memories of family outings. On occasion, we would like to be able to take a family photo for framing.

At first I looked at higher end point and shoots, but I think I've decided that we can get away with phones for the pocket camera purpose, and it makes sense to get something more advanced and upgradeable.

I really like the idea of touchscreen settings and touchscreen focus, but is it as good as it sounds? It sure seems like it would help when photographing the kids around the house, to rapidly focus on the kid instead of a toy or furniture that is closer... I don't know.

I got to try out an A6000 with a 50mm pancake lens the other day, it was pretty neat. I almost bought it right there, but the touchscreen A5100 was great too, and I couldn't decide.

I've used several Rebel models extensively, but only on auto mode. I really was hoping to get something a bit smaller than a full DSLR, but it's hard to beat the price of the T5 or D3300.

Am I going to run into problems not having a viewfinder on an EOS M10 or A5100?

I don't plan to buy tons of extra lenses or accessories in the future, maybe one pancake fixed lens for portraits and close ups with nice "bokeh" (I'm hardly qualified to use that word)

My initial budget is ~$450-550... help me decide.

A5100
A6000
T5/SL1
Olympus OMD M10
Canon M3 or M10
 

goodguy

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From your list I would stay away from the Canon's as they have old sensor on it, pretty poor DR and low light performance.
The Olympus is nice but it has a MFT sensor which again isnt too impressive in low light so I am left with the Sony's, I would get the a6000, I dont have a touch screen on my camera and honestly I wouldnt bother with one, its most helpful if you do video.
I also wouldnt touch a camera without viewfinder! (but thats me)
Another option if you are ok to get a camera without touch screen is Nikon D3300, the main advanatge of the D3300 over the a6000 is its access to the Nikon big lens selection, Sony is suffering from a very small lens lineup, also the D3300 will have better AF system especially in lower light conditions.
 

cherylynne1

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I love my Sony NEX-6, and it's been great for chasing my two little ones. The A6000 would be even better. For me, not having a touchscreen is a small inconvenience, but not having a viewfinder would be crippling, especially since I'm so often taking pictures in the park or at the zoo, etc, etc. The a6000 is supposed to be very good at focusing on moving subjects, so I don't think not having a touchscreen would be a huge deal. It's definitely the camera I would buy right now if I could.

I'm so glad I went with mirrorless rather than a DSLR, because I take my camera with me so much more often than friends with DSLRs, even small ones like the Rebel.

Many complain about lack of lenses, but they have enough for my needs, and that's all I care about. I use the 35 f1.8 about 80% of the time. It's bright and fast and perfect for indoors. I also have the 50 f1.8, which is good for nicer portraits, the 55-210 which I use outdoors while watching the kids play, and of course the kit lens, which I rarely use anymore unless I really need something wider.

Good luck!
 

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My initial budget is ~$450-550... help me decide.
I recommend a DSLR - used so as to get a decent camera kit at a reduced price. If she is going to be offended by receiving a used camera, then get a new point-and-shoot in your price range.

Check this out: NIKON D7000 DIGITAL CAMERA BODY {16.2 M/P} - KEH Camera

Go to digital cameras, enter your budget, and you find this: NIKON D3300 BLACK DIGITAL CAMERA WITH 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 G VR II LENS {24.2 M/P} - KEH Camera

This is the Nikon D3300 with the 18-55mm zoom lens for $451. She will love it.

Call KEH to find out what all is included, how long to ship, etc.
 

DarkShadow

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Nikon D3300 hands down.Just get it and be done with it.She should love it.You can or should be able to find a like new refurbished for about $350.00 and enough left over for maybe a decent tripod or something.
 

cherylynne1

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Oh, and one cool feature I forgot to mention about the a6000 is the built-in wifi. I've been at parties and things where everyone else is struggling to get shots with their phones and I can get pictures on my camera, have it sent to my phone, and then text it or put it on Facebook without ever having to connect to a computer. If your wife really likes social media it might be a big plus for her.

As others have said, the D3300 is a great camera also, worth looking into. Here's a quick comparison:

Nikon D3300 vs Sony A6000

I looked into the D3200 when I bought my camera, because that's what my sister-in-law had. But for me, it just felt so big and bulky compared to mirrorless, and I noticed that she never seemed to bring her camera anywhere. My camera fits in my purse and comes along to any little function.

Really, you can get phenomenal image quality from any of these cameras, so it really comes down to what feels best in your hands and how you personally (or in this case, your wife) will use the camera.
 

goodguy

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Here is another a6000 vs D3300

Sony A6000 vs Nikon D3300 | DxOMark

You will see they are pretty much identical in their performance but as I said the D3300 has 2 main advantages, the auto focus system will work much better in lower light situation like in house and the lens selection of Sony is still very small, on the other hand with the D3300 you have the option of hundreds of Nikon lenses, as long as the Nikon lens has the in body motor you can use it on the D3300.
 
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DallinW

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Thanks you for the replies! This is definitely narrowing it down. Indoor photos are imporant, but so is portability. I'd hate to see my wife leaving the D3300 at home and just using her phone.

How significant of a difference will I see in indoor situations between the D3300 and A6000? I know the A6000 has lightning fast focus, and focus peaking; these seem like great advantages. Will the image quality in low light be that much different between the D3300 and A6000? Enough to justify the much larger size of the D3300?

I'll probably only ever get 1 or 2 extra lenses for either camera, so I'm not convinced that selection is important. In fact, the only lens I can think of wanting for now would be a "prime" for indoor low light, or a portrait prime.
 

cherylynne1

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I had a little trouble finding a direct comparison, but there is a photo in this review that shows what both cameras look like at ISO 1600:

Review: Sony Alpha 6000 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera almost has it all

The D3300 is a little better, but I don't feel the difference is drastic. For me, it doesn't outweigh the benefits of going mirrorless. I would recommend a fast prime, like you mentioned (the 35mm 1.8 is fantastic, but on a budget the Sigma 30 is also good) and an external flash, like the HVL-32. Flash can make a HUGE difference in your photography. I strongly recommend reading these blogs Tangents - photography by Neil van Niekerk and Strobist

I use bounce flash and off-camera flash all the time indoors, and in my opinion it looks better than the best low light performance could. Even if you don't purchase an external flash, the Sony cameras are unique in that you can pull the pop-up flash back so it can bounce off the ceiling. I did that for a long time until I could save up for a flash. Other cameras don't have that capability, and you need to use a bounce card or something else to soften the light.

I know the money seems to be adding up fast, it's true, but that's how it is with photography, unfortunately. But honestly, if I could do it all again I would do it exactly the same way. Nothing can replace having good photos of the kids as they grow.

I really think you can't go wrong here. Both cameras are great, both will work for your needs, and if you find you really hate something about the one you purchase, they both sell really well on the used market, lol!
 
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DallinW

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My initial budget is ~$450-550... help me decide.
I recommend a DSLR - used so as to get a decent camera kit at a reduced price. If she is going to be offended by receiving a used camera, then get a new point-and-shoot in your price range.

Check this out: NIKON D7000 DIGITAL CAMERA BODY {16.2 M/P} - KEH Camera

Go to digital cameras, enter your budget, and you find this: NIKON D3300 BLACK DIGITAL CAMERA WITH 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 G VR II LENS {24.2 M/P} - KEH Camera

This is the Nikon D3300 with the 18-55mm zoom lens for $451. She will love it.

Call KEH to find out what all is included, how long to ship, etc.

I'm not sure I follow the D3300 link you've suggested. That appears to be $450 for a refurb when B&H, Adorama, and Amazon sell it new for $399. Am I missing something?
 
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DallinW

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Can anyone explain the low light AF being better on the D3300?

What if I put a 35mm prime on the sony, will it that improve the low light AF of the Sony to D3300 levels?

What about manual focus, I've looked that the studio setup comparison images on DPreview and the 6000 actually looks slightly better than the D3300.
 

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Re the KEH link: It was just the first one that came up. You obviously found a better deal.

The 35mm prime has a wider maximum aperture which allows more light transmission, so yes, there will be a better performance in low light.

Not knowing about the Sony, the Nikon can be focused manually, but I don't know why you would want to do that.
 
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DallinW

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Thanks!
 

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