Looking recommendation on DSLR

soufiej

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Others have mentioned mirrorless cameras, as well as other makes such as Pentx, Olympus, Leica and Sony. I felt I should at least stick to Canon and Nikon given that they probably have the widest and most readily available kit. have you any thoughts?


Certainly, that's why I placed those thoughts in my post.

Do not get caught up in the "this, not that" BS. Modern digital cameras are quite capable of producing as good an image as you can accomplish as a student photographer. The base line camera from any modern camera manufacturer will far exceed your capabilities for a long, long time.

The Canon/Nikon issue is truly a non-issue given the amount of processing power found in today's photo software.

You will need software to turn any photo you take into something more than a mere sketch of the moment.
Until you process the photo you have nothing more than bits and bytes on a storage card.

The better the camera you use, the more sophisticated your software should be to take advantage of the superior image quality of a DSLR. There are several very good to excellent freeware processors if your budget is tight. Freeware processors will be sufficient to get you through the early stages of learning photography. Unfortunately, you still largely get what you have paid for with software.

The paid for and licensed software processors are more complete and far more capable of literally transforming an image from so so to exceptional;
Once you have your camera in hand and you are on your way toward learning how to be a better than average photographer, you will probably want to consider which software to purchase and use. Do not become entangled in a software debate at this point. Buy a camera and begin taking photos. Every day you are not taking photos is another day you have learned nothing about photography.

At the time most people are asking for a camera recommendation, they are only focused on the camera and the purchase of the camera consumes most, if not all, of their available budget. That's a bit like buying a kitchen range and forgetting all the pots and pans needed to cook a meal.

You really must have decent software to process your digital images if you want anything more than to view them on your computer screen. Even if that is the extent of your purposes, software will take your monitor's view and transform it into a totally different thing.

Given this necessary processing outside of the camera, it is really a time waster, IMO, to concern yourself with the more insignificant differences between camera manufacturers when it comes to image quality. Those are age old debates which come from the days of film cameras and today only really apply to a photo taken as a "Jpeg".

Any modern DSLR (and many of the less expensive "compact" cameras) offer the shooter the choice of storing their image data as either a Jpeg or in "RAW capture". Very briefly, since this is not relevant to your actual purchase of a camera, a RAW image is seen as the digital equivalent to a film negative. It is a larger data file which does two things at its base.

1) It offers the photographer the greatest amount of image data available for processing therefore making processing and editing a more flexible option. As the digital equivalent to a film negative, it must be further processed outside of the camera to see the full image quality of the photo. You would never use a RAW image to send as a photo over your smart phone.

2) It takes up more file space on your storage card due to the greater amounts of data contained in the image file.

A Jpeg is a smaller file which takes up less space in storage. There are even size selections the photographer can select - much like the available options for file size in an MP3 audio file - which will compress data into smaller and smaller packages. If your intention is simply, say, to attach an image file to a text message, then using the smallest file size will provide the best and fastest function. It will not provide the best image quality since the reduction in file size is accomplished by compressing the data, which means you are discarding data to achieve a compact package.

Shooting in Jpeg is fine for social media purposes but not for serious photography. For that you want to use RAW capture. Any modern DSLR provides a RAW capture option. Any one, so this is not an issue of which to buy. It simply exists in any camera you would select.





For the most part, debates regarding Canon vs Nikon or Sony or Pentax are centered around how each manufacturer deals with creating their Jpeg images. How colors are arranged and how details of the photo/image file are saved and discarded resulting in a characteristic look to each manufacturer's Jpeg result. (Obviously, there is more to this than compression of a simple data file but this is where most of the discussion still centers.)

Once you learn the in's and out's of the processing software you will be using RAW data files.
Therefore, what any manufacturer provides as a Jpeg "look" is rendered all but meaningless. Since you determine the final look of your photo through software processing, I would say it would be all but impossible for even the fairly knowledgeable photographer to determine whether any single photograph had been taken with a Canon or a Nikon or a Sony, etc.

Therefore, I wouldn't get myself hung up on such ideas as "this, not that". Buy the camera that has the ability to work with you, which is normally in the feel of the camera in your hands and the accessibility to menus. Any digital camera lives and dies by way of its menus. If they are difficult to access or they are confusing to the student photographer, your results can and probably will reflect the fact the camera is still controlling you.

As I said, I feel a touch screen as found on the Canon Sl1 is ideal for the student photographer as it lays out on your LCD viewing screen the functions which will affect your photographic image quality. No hunting through menus or searching for features. They are there in front of you and they can be changed by simply touching the screen.

On the other hand, say you select the Nikon D3300 which lacks a touch screen. Every function represented by the SL1's touch screen is accessible through a menu system. You simply need to learn how Nikon has laid out is control button technology to access its menus and where in the menu you need to go to access a feature or change a function. They too will then pop up on your LCD viewfinder screen.

IMO this small feature makes a far larger difference for the average, and certainly for the student, photographer than will the age old Canon vs Nikon debate.
Consider you will not be using Jpeg storage for your more serious photography and you should see the differences are so minimized that debating which manufacturer's product to select based on this, not that is merely debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Either Canon or Nikon offer excellent image quality from their baseline entry level camera. They also offer the widest selection of lenses and accessories plus the advantage of tutorials geared to your specific camera. I personally wouldn't get sucked into this camera has this and that camera does that. Whatever you select at any price range up or down the line will have trade offs and you can't afford to buy every camera so as not to encounter a trade off.

Whatever you buy from either company will far exceed your ability as a student photographer to create interesting photographs. You just need to begin shooting photographs.


You needn't debate any more. Really, you will only get yourself to a point of paralysis by questioning the small bits that are far less valuable to the process than will be you simply having a camera in your hands and learning photography by taking photographs.

In closing, in case you didn't bother to look at the links provided, I'll close this with a quote from the Rockwell article ...


"What camera do I suggest for my friends and family when they ask? What's the best camera that can handle every kind of photo situation, but still lightweight and at a reasonable price?

The Nikon D3300.

You can pay a lot more, but no camera does anything significantly better than the D3300 for most people's photography ...

Better pictures come from knowing how to take better pictures, not from a better camera ...

If you already have a preference for Canon, the Canon SL1 is even a little bit smaller and equally excellent. The differences between the SL1 and D3300 are a matter of which fits your hands better or which has controls or menus that you personally might find more convenient. I prefer the D3300, but if you're already shooting Canon, the SL1 is just as fantastic."



Buy a camera and begin taking photos. Until you do that simple step, you are not learning anything more about photography.
 
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Jim Walczak

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I haven't read all the responses here, so first and foremost, please forgive me if I add anything terribly redundant. Second, please keep in mind that these are simply my opinions and experiences, so please use them as such.

Right of the bat here, I would like to make a few comments regarding the topic of "brand". For the most part, any major brand name is fairly irrelevant in that I am a strong believer that it's the photographer and not the camera that takes great pictures. In other words, it's not so much about the gear as much as the person using it. That said however, I must also add that I am a BIG fan of Nikon now. Again this is just my own experience, however I grew up shooting Canon 35mm and when I first got serious about DSLR's, Canon seemed like a logical choice. I immediately had problems however as I quickly discovered that Canon had in fact abandoned their old customers when they went to their EOS system....none of my older Canon lenses would work on the EOS bodies, so in addition to the camera, I had to start forking out even more money to replace all my lenses. Ok...fine...it happens. Later, when my 40D developed the ever infamous and highly ambiguous "E99 error", I discovered how truly deplorable Canon is with it's customer service. In the course of 2 months, the estimate on my repair went from $100 to around $450 along with the suggestion that I simply buy a refurbished camera from them instead...in essence, the ol' "bait and switch con". On that issue alone, I will NEVER buy Canon products again, nor shall I EVER recommend them.

It's true that virtually any large manufacturer has a margin of unsatisfied customers, however if you do a bit of research, you'll see there are MANY people such as myself who've had such problems with Canon's customer service. I even remember a few years back where people were forking out cash for the highly prized L lenses only to find out that Canon was having quality control issues...people were spending as much as $2000 or more for a brand new lens, and being forced to wait up to 6 months to have the lens properly calibrated....brand new and out of the box they didn't focus correctly.

In any case, I've been shooting with Nikon for a couple of years now and I have to say that I'm quite pleased with their products. Even if I didn't have the bad experiences I did with Canon, having used Nikon for a bit now and knowing what I now know, I'd recommend Nikon over any other brand of DSLR out there. Pentax, Olympus, Sony and even Sigma do make some very fine cameras, however if you do the research and compare, the Nikons seem to lead the pack on virtually every front from image quality to their exceptional low light capabilities. And unlike Canon, Nikon also has the distinct advantage that you CAN use many of their older lenses. Such lenses are often manual focus, manual exposure, however a lot of those old Nikkors are REALLY sharp lenses and you can often find them for a steal. In fact, I recently snagged an old Sears (yes, Sears and Roebuck) 28-200mm...sure it's an old "department store" lens, but it's in pristine condition, it's built like a Russian tank and wow...it cost me an absolutely staggering $5. How do you go wrong with that? So on the issue of brand alone, while again this is just my own opinion, I say Nikon all the way!

As far as which body to choose...considering the price range here, that can be a bit more complicated. I ran that "£300" thru Google and it seems to convert to around $460, so I will proceed on the assumption that this is correct. That's not bad per say, however it is going to limit your options as you'll also want to leave some room in the budget for a lens or two...after all, a DSLR camera body is pretty useless without a lens. With this in mind, my first suggestion is simply; don't get caught up in the megapixel race! For example, you could get a refurnished Nikon D3300 which is 24.2 mp for $399...and it's a pretty decent entry level camera, however that would likely leave you a bit short for a lens and for that same money you can also get into a something used as well. For example, I recently snagged a used D7000 for $380 and in this case, the camera is -pristine- with less than 6000 clicks on the shutter. Yes, I lost a few megapixels and a few newer features, however I gained a more substantial camera body (better build/more durable), a better imaging sensor (which will produce images comparable, if not superior to the D3300 despite the mp difference), a better viewfinder, more AF points, a faster shutter, yadda, yadda, yadda. Because I do semi-pro freelance work, despite having a lower mp count, the D7000 is actually a better camera for me. In short, don't base your decision on megapixels alone...just because something has more megapixels doesn't mean it creates better images. Compare ALL the features of the cameras your considering side by side. I really have nothing against the entry level bodies...I recently used a D5300 as a backup for a commission and was in fact quite impressed with it, however I really feel you get a lot more by going to the more mid-level bodies...something that should indeed last you for a few years to come.

Next to that, again considering your budget I would seriously consider going used here. The simple fact of the matter is that the technology on cameras is developing so fast, that anything you buy brand new today is going to be "out of date" in a year or two anyway. Right now the 20+ mp cameras are all the rage...give it another year or so and that will likely be in the mid 30's. That said however, particularly as a novice you should also ask yourself if you really need that kind of resolution. As I person who again considers himself a semi-pro freelancer, my Nikon D90 has in fact served me VERY well...I've done some really great enlargements (with a little help from Photoshop) that absolutely defy it's comparatively humble 12 mp sensor. The D90 is a GREAT camera...I've really loved mine and had it not of been for dropping the damn thing and breaking it, I would NOT have considered an upgrade for quite some time. In fact one of the main reasons I went with the D7000 over another D90 was the HD video capabilities and extended ISO range (not to mention the totally bitchin' dual memory card slots, LOL)...it really had nothing to do with the mp count at all. What's more is that for a relative novice, you're probably not going to get too much more out of a new camera (or even a refurb) than you would used, even if the prices were the same. As such, if you're a smart shopper, you can usually get A LOT more bang for the buck if you shop used. For example, while shopping around for that D7000 (another great camera btw), I ran across a few of the D90's in very good condition that were around or under the $250 range. In fact I just took a peek at B&H Photo and at the immediate moment they're listing 2 D90's...one is refurb for $509 and the other is used, with the condition listed as "8+" for only $249...for those on a budget who need to make pragmatic compromises, that's a BIG difference indeed.

So with all that said, based on your budget and your aspirations, that would be my own personal suggestion...check the reputable online retailers who deal with used gear (B&H, Adorama, etc) and find yourself a used D90 in decent shape, then use the rest of your budget to get a lens or two. Since you said you're interested in both landscapes AND "people", you'll likely want to consider 2 lenses...something on the wide side (a Nikon 18-55mm kit lens is a great place to start), along with something that covers the 80-120mm range which most folks recommend for portrait work and such. If you should find this out of your price range, then maybe consider taking another step back to the D80's or even the D50's/D70's...they're still very decent cameras and you can often find them with a lens or two well under the $200 range.


Again, jaded as they may be, these are just my own opinions...if you find wisdom in my words, then please use them as you see fit.
 

beagle100

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I agree, entry level Canon models will give you the best "IQ" image quality. The professionals mostly use Canon and you might as well start with the best.
The White House

That said almost any DSLR or mirrorless model camera will probably work fine.
 

Bebulamar

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I think you should also investigating the mirrorless cameras too. They may be better for you.
 

Jim Walczak

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The professionals mostly use Canon

I'm curious as to what information or specific statistics you have to back up that claim? I'd also be curious to know which professionals use Canon and which use other brands. For example, I might see where sports photographers may be interested in L lenses due to the focus speed, but what about portrait studios or architectural photographers? What are the percentages of people who may use Nikon vs. those who use Sony or Pentax? For that matter, what's the percentage of professionals still using old Hasselblads with the newer Phase 1 backs?

I would be very interested to see some detailed specifics on this.
 

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One tip is not to try and master everything about digital photography immediately. I would take your time and fine tune a specific aspects at a time. It may sound annoying, but in the long run I believe you will have a better understanding of each area versus just a vague general understanding of it all. For now to start learning I would use the magnifying glass at the top right corner of this screen and start searching this forum. Everything you probably want to know is in here in some form, shape or fashion. There are others on here that can provide you with better technical aspects of cameras, lenses and such. I am a Canon guy, it is what I'm used to and I like it. But despite whatever camera you get I would start with learning about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO just as a start. I feel those are three top areas to know in order to effectively shape an image. Plus if you get those under wrap, you can shoot in manual a lot easier. There are tons of other things to know though, so I am sure someone may think you should learn something else first, but this is just my opinion. If money is not an option I would buy a Canon 5D mkIII. It has full frame sensor and I have heard a lot of great testimonials from users. Of course everyone's camera opinion will differ, "to each his own". Best of luck and if there is anything I can help you with don't hesitate.

Thanks a lot for your post. I realise people don't want to 'break' themselves writing forever in order to teach me a bit about photography. I have managed to gather that ISO, apperture and shutter are a good place to start.
I think from information I have got in 'decoding' the numbers and letters after the manufacturer name that a budget of £300 is really not that much for affording anything more than an entry level camera. However, I am also thinking that an entry level DSLR will probably give me more than I need to get me started in learning about all the main functions to create the images I want. I see you are a Canon person - is there a reason you did not choose Nikon? In honesty, is there much between them? And most importantly, is one manufacturer's entry level camera better geared for a newcomer?

Thanks for your reply.
I like Canon because when I looked for my first DSLR the Canon 7D really caught my eye and I liked the reviews that I read about it. I don't really have a reason for not choosing Nikon. As far as I am concerned Nikon is a great brand. I have seen amazing images done by Nikon photographers as well. I have seen amazing images come from all types of cameras. There are differences between Nikon and Canon, but mostly I think they are all opinionated differences when it comes to brands more than the actual camera. In my opinion I think the Canon rebel series cameras are great intro DSLRs if you are not looking to drop a ton of money and want something to introduce you into photography. They have the shutter and aperture priority as well as manual mode and auto and a bunch of other cool things too. I have seen great images come from rebels. I am sure many people on here will turn there nose up at them, but hey just remember it's all about you because in the end you are the one who will be using it and learning from it. Plus there are amazing deals on Canon rebels. There are quite a few different models, you should just search and compare them. There are people on here that can give you great specs on them, there might already be forums about them I am sure. I am not a very good technical expert on cameras, lol. Sorry I cannot be more of assistance in providing you better technical advice, I would probably be mistaken if I tried. But I am sure whatever you choose, you will enjoy it and learn a lot. I started out with a Fujifilm Finepix s3300 bridge camera, I think, its been a while. I learned a nice bit from that lil guy. Good luck though!
 

beagle100

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The
Sony A6000 and A5100.
Rudi


Thanks Rudi.

I think I am realising that it is better to go for a camera that does one thing really well than a camera that tries to do both. For this reason, I am placing less emphasis on video and instead hoping to opt for the best entry-level camera that is most easiest to use (for newbies) and has the widest available kit. Obviously it needs to be well-tired and tested and for that reason, I was thinking it would have to be between Canon and Nikon.

Any thoughts?

true, Canon and Nikon offer the widest "available kit" and selection of lens but if you don't shoot sports or action also consider the mirrorless options
 

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Canon SL-1....one of the most abysmally poor viewfinders ever offered in a d-slr...a touch screen combined with sensor technology from 2009...uggh. Go to a store and look through the SL-1, then calmly put it back onto the display peg, and then pick up the Sony A6000...equally awful viewfinder image in that...then buy yourself a discounted, prior-generation Nikon D3200 and a VR-equipped lens, or two. Then BUY yourself a copy of Lightroom, and learn to use both the camera, and the software.
 
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dowlers44

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Others have mentioned mirrorless cameras, as well as other makes such as Pentx, Olympus, Leica and Sony. I felt I should at least stick to Canon and Nikon given that they probably have the widest and most readily available kit. have you any thoughts?


Certainly, that's why I placed those thoughts in my post.

Do not get caught up in the "this, not that" BS. Modern digital cameras are quite capable of producing as good an image as you can accomplish as a student photographer. The base line camera from any modern camera manufacturer will far exceed your capabilities for a long, long time.

The Canon/Nikon issue is truly a non-issue given the amount of processing power found in today's photo software.

You will need software to turn any photo you take into something more than a mere sketch of the moment.
Until you process the photo you have nothing more than bits and bytes on a storage card.

The better the camera you use, the more sophisticated your software should be to take advantage of the superior image quality of a DSLR. There are several very good to excellent freeware processors if your budget is tight. Freeware processors will be sufficient to get you through the early stages of learning photography. Unfortunately, you still largely get what you have paid for with software.

The paid for and licensed software processors are more complete and far more capable of literally transforming an image from so so to exceptional;
Once you have your camera in hand and you are on your way toward learning how to be a better than average photographer, you will probably want to consider which software to purchase and use. Do not become entangled in a software debate at this point. Buy a camera and begin taking photos. Every day you are not taking photos is another day you have learned nothing about photography.

At the time most people are asking for a camera recommendation, they are only focused on the camera and the purchase of the camera consumes most, if not all, of their available budget. That's a bit like buying a kitchen range and forgetting all the pots and pans needed to cook a meal.

You really must have decent software to process your digital images if you want anything more than to view them on your computer screen. Even if that is the extent of your purposes, software will take your monitor's view and transform it into a totally different thing.

Given this necessary processing outside of the camera, it is really a time waster, IMO, to concern yourself with the more insignificant differences between camera manufacturers when it comes to image quality. Those are age old debates which come from the days of film cameras and today only really apply to a photo taken as a "Jpeg".

Any modern DSLR (and many of the less expensive "compact" cameras) offer the shooter the choice of storing their image data as either a Jpeg or in "RAW capture". Very briefly, since this is not relevant to your actual purchase of a camera, a RAW image is seen as the digital equivalent to a film negative. It is a larger data file which does two things at its base.

1) It offers the photographer the greatest amount of image data available for processing therefore making processing and editing a more flexible option. As the digital equivalent to a film negative, it must be further processed outside of the camera to see the full image quality of the photo. You would never use a RAW image to send as a photo over your smart phone.

2) It takes up more file space on your storage card due to the greater amounts of data contained in the image file.

A Jpeg is a smaller file which takes up less space in storage. There are even size selections the photographer can select - much like the available options for file size in an MP3 audio file - which will compress data into smaller and smaller packages. If your intention is simply, say, to attach an image file to a text message, then using the smallest file size will provide the best and fastest function. It will not provide the best image quality since the reduction in file size is accomplished by compressing the data, which means you are discarding data to achieve a compact package.

Shooting in Jpeg is fine for social media purposes but not for serious photography. For that you want to use RAW capture. Any modern DSLR provides a RAW capture option. Any one, so this is not an issue of which to buy. It simply exists in any camera you would select.





For the most part, debates regarding Canon vs Nikon or Sony or Pentax are centered around how each manufacturer deals with creating their Jpeg images. How colors are arranged and how details of the photo/image file are saved and discarded resulting in a characteristic look to each manufacturer's Jpeg result. (Obviously, there is more to this than compression of a simple data file but this is where most of the discussion still centers.)

Once you learn the in's and out's of the processing software you will be using RAW data files.
Therefore, what any manufacturer provides as a Jpeg "look" is rendered all but meaningless. Since you determine the final look of your photo through software processing, I would say it would be all but impossible for even the fairly knowledgeable photographer to determine whether any single photograph had been taken with a Canon or a Nikon or a Sony, etc.

Therefore, I wouldn't get myself hung up on such ideas as "this, not that". Buy the camera that has the ability to work with you, which is normally in the feel of the camera in your hands and the accessibility to menus. Any digital camera lives and dies by way of its menus. If they are difficult to access or they are confusing to the student photographer, your results can and probably will reflect the fact the camera is still controlling you.

As I said, I feel a touch screen as found on the Canon Sl1 is ideal for the student photographer as it lays out on your LCD viewing screen the functions which will affect your photographic image quality. No hunting through menus or searching for features. They are there in front of you and they can be changed by simply touching the screen.

On the other hand, say you select the Nikon D3300 which lacks a touch screen. Every function represented by the SL1's touch screen is accessible through a menu system. You simply need to learn how Nikon has laid out is control button technology to access its menus and where in the menu you need to go to access a feature or change a function. They too will then pop up on your LCD viewfinder screen.

IMO this small feature makes a far larger difference for the average, and certainly for the student, photographer than will the age old Canon vs Nikon debate.
Consider you will not be using Jpeg storage for your more serious photography and you should see the differences are so minimized that debating which manufacturer's product to select based on this, not that is merely debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Either Canon or Nikon offer excellent image quality from their baseline entry level camera. They also offer the widest selection of lenses and accessories plus the advantage of tutorials geared to your specific camera. I personally wouldn't get sucked into this camera has this and that camera does that. Whatever you select at any price range up or down the line will have trade offs and you can't afford to buy every camera so as not to encounter a trade off.

Whatever you buy from either company will far exceed your ability as a student photographer to create interesting photographs. You just need to begin shooting photographs.


You needn't debate any more. Really, you will only get yourself to a point of paralysis by questioning the small bits that are far less valuable to the process than will be you simply having a camera in your hands and learning photography by taking photographs.

In closing, in case you didn't bother to look at the links provided, I'll close this with a quote from the Rockwell article ...


"What camera do I suggest for my friends and family when they ask? What's the best camera that can handle every kind of photo situation, but still lightweight and at a reasonable price?

The Nikon D3300.

You can pay a lot more, but no camera does anything significantly better than the D3300 for most people's photography ...

Better pictures come from knowing how to take better pictures, not from a better camera ...

If you already have a preference for Canon, the Canon SL1 is even a little bit smaller and equally excellent. The differences between the SL1 and D3300 are a matter of which fits your hands better or which has controls or menus that you personally might find more convenient. I prefer the D3300, but if you're already shooting Canon, the SL1 is just as fantastic."



Buy a camera and begin taking photos. Until you do that simple step, you are not learning anything more about photography.


A very straight-talking reply. Thank you for al of this. Actually I have photoshop CS5 already so I can save worrying about software but I completely understand your point. I have, however, come across photographers a while back that stand by statements that if you are using software to "improve" your photos, then you aren't taking them right.

A debate for another time.

But thank you for putting a reply in Lehman terms. Any technical jargon is going to confuse me unless properly explained. Photographers with something more to say means I can trust your opinions. Cheers
 
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dowlers44

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I haven't read all the responses here, so first and foremost, please forgive me if I add anything terribly redundant. Second, please keep in mind that these are simply my opinions and experiences, so please use them as such.

Right of the bat here, I would like to make a few comments regarding the topic of "brand". For the most part, any major brand name is fairly irrelevant in that I am a strong believer that it's the photographer and not the camera that takes great pictures. In other words, it's not so much about the gear as much as the person using it. That said however, I must also add that I am a BIG fan of Nikon now. Again this is just my own experience, however I grew up shooting Canon 35mm and when I first got serious about DSLR's, Canon seemed like a logical choice. I immediately had problems however as I quickly discovered that Canon had in fact abandoned their old customers when they went to their EOS system....none of my older Canon lenses would work on the EOS bodies, so in addition to the camera, I had to start forking out even more money to replace all my lenses. Ok...fine...it happens. Later, when my 40D developed the ever infamous and highly ambiguous "E99 error", I discovered how truly deplorable Canon is with it's customer service. In the course of 2 months, the estimate on my repair went from $100 to around $450 along with the suggestion that I simply buy a refurbished camera from them instead...in essence, the ol' "bait and switch con". On that issue alone, I will NEVER buy Canon products again, nor shall I EVER recommend them.

It's true that virtually any large manufacturer has a margin of unsatisfied customers, however if you do a bit of research, you'll see there are MANY people such as myself who've had such problems with Canon's customer service. I even remember a few years back where people were forking out cash for the highly prized L lenses only to find out that Canon was having quality control issues...people were spending as much as $2000 or more for a brand new lens, and being forced to wait up to 6 months to have the lens properly calibrated....brand new and out of the box they didn't focus correctly.

In any case, I've been shooting with Nikon for a couple of years now and I have to say that I'm quite pleased with their products. Even if I didn't have the bad experiences I did with Canon, having used Nikon for a bit now and knowing what I now know, I'd recommend Nikon over any other brand of DSLR out there. Pentax, Olympus, Sony and even Sigma do make some very fine cameras, however if you do the research and compare, the Nikons seem to lead the pack on virtually every front from image quality to their exceptional low light capabilities. And unlike Canon, Nikon also has the distinct advantage that you CAN use many of their older lenses. Such lenses are often manual focus, manual exposure, however a lot of those old Nikkors are REALLY sharp lenses and you can often find them for a steal. In fact, I recently snagged an old Sears (yes, Sears and Roebuck) 28-200mm...sure it's an old "department store" lens, but it's in pristine condition, it's built like a Russian tank and wow...it cost me an absolutely staggering $5. How do you go wrong with that? So on the issue of brand alone, while again this is just my own opinion, I say Nikon all the way!

As far as which body to choose...considering the price range here, that can be a bit more complicated. I ran that "£300" thru Google and it seems to convert to around $460, so I will proceed on the assumption that this is correct. That's not bad per say, however it is going to limit your options as you'll also want to leave some room in the budget for a lens or two...after all, a DSLR camera body is pretty useless without a lens. With this in mind, my first suggestion is simply; don't get caught up in the megapixel race! For example, you could get a refurnished Nikon D3300 which is 24.2 mp for $399...and it's a pretty decent entry level camera, however that would likely leave you a bit short for a lens and for that same money you can also get into a something used as well. For example, I recently snagged a used D7000 for $380 and in this case, the camera is -pristine- with less than 6000 clicks on the shutter. Yes, I lost a few megapixels and a few newer features, however I gained a more substantial camera body (better build/more durable), a better imaging sensor (which will produce images comparable, if not superior to the D3300 despite the mp difference), a better viewfinder, more AF points, a faster shutter, yadda, yadda, yadda. Because I do semi-pro freelance work, despite having a lower mp count, the D7000 is actually a better camera for me. In short, don't base your decision on megapixels alone...just because something has more megapixels doesn't mean it creates better images. Compare ALL the features of the cameras your considering side by side. I really have nothing against the entry level bodies...I recently used a D5300 as a backup for a commission and was in fact quite impressed with it, however I really feel you get a lot more by going to the more mid-level bodies...something that should indeed last you for a few years to come.

Next to that, again considering your budget I would seriously consider going used here. The simple fact of the matter is that the technology on cameras is developing so fast, that anything you buy brand new today is going to be "out of date" in a year or two anyway. Right now the 20+ mp cameras are all the rage...give it another year or so and that will likely be in the mid 30's. That said however, particularly as a novice you should also ask yourself if you really need that kind of resolution. As I person who again considers himself a semi-pro freelancer, my Nikon D90 has in fact served me VERY well...I've done some really great enlargements (with a little help from Photoshop) that absolutely defy it's comparatively humble 12 mp sensor. The D90 is a GREAT camera...I've really loved mine and had it not of been for dropping the damn thing and breaking it, I would NOT have considered an upgrade for quite some time. In fact one of the main reasons I went with the D7000 over another D90 was the HD video capabilities and extended ISO range (not to mention the totally bitchin' dual memory card slots, LOL)...it really had nothing to do with the mp count at all. What's more is that for a relative novice, you're probably not going to get too much more out of a new camera (or even a refurb) than you would used, even if the prices were the same. As such, if you're a smart shopper, you can usually get A LOT more bang for the buck if you shop used. For example, while shopping around for that D7000 (another great camera btw), I ran across a few of the D90's in very good condition that were around or under the $250 range. In fact I just took a peek at B&H Photo and at the immediate moment they're listing 2 D90's...one is refurb for $509 and the other is used, with the condition listed as "8+" for only $249...for those on a budget who need to make pragmatic compromises, that's a BIG difference indeed.

So with all that said, based on your budget and your aspirations, that would be my own personal suggestion...check the reputable online retailers who deal with used gear (B&H, Adorama, etc) and find yourself a used D90 in decent shape, then use the rest of your budget to get a lens or two. Since you said you're interested in both landscapes AND "people", you'll likely want to consider 2 lenses...something on the wide side (a Nikon 18-55mm kit lens is a great place to start), along with something that covers the 80-120mm range which most folks recommend for portrait work and such. If you should find this out of your price range, then maybe consider taking another step back to the D80's or even the D50's/D70's...they're still very decent cameras and you can often find them with a lens or two well under the $200 range.


Again, jaded as they may be, these are just my own opinions...if you find wisdom in my words, then please use them as you see fit.


As I said to a previous poster, I really appreciate the time you took to write such a lengthy response to my thread. I find that a photographer that can share extensive knowledge is worth listening to for good, honest opinion.

Actually your post had a bit uncommon with the previous poster as well but was not repetitive. Quite the opposite in fact. Having done a bit of research, it was good to hear of you promoting Nikon. After running several comparisons between Nikon d330 and canon 1200d (which I am told are the two main entry level DSLRs from the two top brands) I found the Nikon to come out on top. Then comparing the Nikon d3300 against the Nikon d5500 I realised that, for me, there wasn't a discernible difference between them to justify the increased price tag. Going beyond the 5500 was then putting me way over budget. at that point I was able to say that has a complete novice, an entry level camera at this stage probably makes the most sense, particularly as I do not intend to take up photography in any professional sense.

I would want to point out my reluctance in buying second hand. Mainly because I have a worry of no warranty or any means of judging how well it has been kept.

I did read mention of a different model of canonic previous posts which I haven't heard about up to now. I had assumed the canon 1200D was the Nikon entry level equivalent. I will have to research this model.

Thanks for your post.
 
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dowlers44

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Oh the canon t3i is the US
Get the Nikon D3300, a good camera for beginners and intermediate.
Get it with the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens.
Learn the basics of photography and then you will be able to move forward maybe adding more lenses and more accessories as you see fit.

As for where to learn the basics on photography.
I found youtube to be an excellent source of information.

Good luck


Yes, I think I started to forget the old "Google" and "Youtube" searches. I think I wanted to try Forums to get direct answers to my questions.

I realise the D3300 is the newest entry-level Nikon and it comes with the 18-55mm kit.

I think from here my next step is to research what the lens reference means and the difference between VR and VR ll kits etc

I also want to know what the newest entry-level Canon is and why you have chosen to recommend the Nikon.

Thanks for your reply
Entry level Canon is the T3i and t5i
These cameras use a 6 years old sensor thus their dynamic range and low light performance isnt as good as the sensors you will find in current Nikons.
If Canon then the only Canon I would recommend would be the T6S which is Canons newest APS-C camera, good camera but not cheap.
Comparing it to the Nikon D5500 and you are looking at pretty close 2 cameras but Nikon still has better dynamic range.
But the D5500 and T6S are probably already out of your price range.


I'd never heard of the t3i and t5i until I realised these are the US's equivalent of the 500D and 700D. Actually I've been told that the Canons entry level is the 1200D which I think is a step lower.
 

goodguy

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Oh the canon t3i is the US
Get the Nikon D3300, a good camera for beginners and intermediate.
Get it with the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens.
Learn the basics of photography and then you will be able to move forward maybe adding more lenses and more accessories as you see fit.

As for where to learn the basics on photography.
I found youtube to be an excellent source of information.

Good luck


Yes, I think I started to forget the old "Google" and "Youtube" searches. I think I wanted to try Forums to get direct answers to my questions.

I realise the D3300 is the newest entry-level Nikon and it comes with the 18-55mm kit.

I think from here my next step is to research what the lens reference means and the difference between VR and VR ll kits etc

I also want to know what the newest entry-level Canon is and why you have chosen to recommend the Nikon.

Thanks for your reply
Entry level Canon is the T3i and t5i
These cameras use a 6 years old sensor thus their dynamic range and low light performance isnt as good as the sensors you will find in current Nikons.
If Canon then the only Canon I would recommend would be the T6S which is Canons newest APS-C camera, good camera but not cheap.
Comparing it to the Nikon D5500 and you are looking at pretty close 2 cameras but Nikon still has better dynamic range.
But the D5500 and T6S are probably already out of your price range.


I'd never heard of the t3i and t5i until I realised these are the US's equivalent of the 500D and 700D. Actually I've been told that the Canons entry level is the 1200D which I think is a step lower.
Canon entry level is in this order T5, T3i and T5i
 

soufiej

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Canon EOS Digital Cameras | Canon Online Store


EOS M Series Digital Cameras | Canon Online Store


Canon U.S.A. : Consumer & Home Office : EOS Cameras


Canon has several models which are technically "discontinued" or replaced by newer models. The older cameras are still available for sale through Canon or from a few dealers.


"I have, however, come across photographers a while back that stand by statements that if you are using software to "improve" your photos, then you aren't taking them right."

No doubt, it is best to see your final image in your head and in your viewfinder before you snap the shutter. However, that advice was far more important in the days of film.

If you shoot digital and you are using RAW capture to achieve the best image quality, you really must do some editing of your images before you print or post them. Jpegs have some of this same processing performed in camera which is what gives Jpegs their characteristic look. If you like, you can send Jpeg's via social media directly from the camera and have a "complete" photo that looks fine on a smart phone screen. RAW files lack in camera processing and must be edited by your software.

RAW files are very basic data and will require some sharpening, color enhancement and other details which they lack as basic data points. Additionally, your aspect ratio will be relevant to your print size which might require careful cropping. Therefore, certainly you should do your best to get the shot in your viewfinder but, when you are shooting RAW digital, you will end up processing to achieve the best final result.

On a more practical level, digital images have some limitations not found in film. Software can dramatically improve even the best shot.
 

Jim Walczak

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I would want to point out my reluctance in buying second hand. Mainly because I have a worry of no warranty or any means of judging how well it has been kept.

I'm glad you found my comments helpful in someway and regardless of which brand you choose, I sincerely hope you enjoy your new camera for many years to come.

On the issue of used, just a quick something to consider....
While I would agree that a novice buying used equipment thru resources such as Ebay or Craigslist should certainly apply some degree of caution, if you check the large online retailers, again companies such as B&H and Adorama, I believe you'll find that many do in fact "rate" their used equipment in terms of the condition (and you can always call them and ask about specifics like shutter count and such) and I know that B&H and Adorama both offer a 30 day money back policy on used gear. Likewise, KEH offers a 14 day money back, no questions asked policy, as well as a 6 month warranty on used gear.

In other words, it's ok to be cautious, however don't over-look used gear on those specific issues alone...yes there ARE companies that do stand behind their used gear. At the very least, it's well worth taking a few minutes and looking around on their websites (if you haven't already).


Again just my own opinions...just something to think about.
 

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