Need help to choose my first DSLR

dalex100

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Hi everyone,

I have been reading a lot about photography including books, websites and shooting for a year. I was using a Panasonic FZ-40 as my first digital camera. I'm thinking upgrading to a DSLR since I'm limited with that bridge camera.

Since the last few months, I have been looking for my DSLR : Watching and reading reviews. I have max $1000 to spend, but I prefer to not reach that amount. 800 would be ok, but if I need to, I can go up to 1k. Also, I prefer Nikon over Canon because of the camera's design. So I need some advices :


What should I do?
1. Get a D3100 or D3200 or D5100 + 35mm 1.8 and wait next year for more lenses. (Maybe a zoom).

2. Get a D90 or D300 or D7000 and use my father's old 50mm 1.8 and wait few years for more lenses.

Thank you for taking time to read and answer.

-Alex
 

MLeeK

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Option 2. It's a no brainer. They are better cameras. I'd probably use the D7000, but the nikon guys can guide you better on that part!
 
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dalex100

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Yes, it's a better camera, but people say that the lens is more important than the body. So I was wondering if it is better to save for better lens or get a good body.
 

Mach0

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Looks like you'd be saving for a while. KEH has some great deals. D7000's for under $800,d90's for about $500, and the d300for about $500-$600. It will be a long while before you outgrow any of these cameras. I'd op for a d90 or d300 and take the money and get a 85 1.8, or a 35-70 and a 35 1.8 to compliment your old mans 50 1.8 or just buy the 35-70 and the 50 1.8g. That will max you out at the $1k and you will have a good body and two lenses.
 

eric1971

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I would definitely suggest getting a nice used D90. Yes, lenses are important, but you need a body that has the dedicated controls for shooting manual. The single control wheel on the entry level cameras (option 1)would be a total deal breaker for me. You can do a lot with a D90 and at 50mm. Having the built in autofocus motor also allows you to use all the AF lenses which are generally less expensive than their AF-S counterparts. The 35-70 is also a great lens for the price, although not as useful on a crop body imo.
 
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dalex100

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Now that I removed the first choice from my list, I got only the D90 and the D300 left. Which should I choose? I saw that the D300 has more AF points. What does that do?

Edit : If I get the D300, I would get stuck with a CF card, right?
 
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MLeeK

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I'd prefer to have CF cards over SD. Is there a reason why you don't want the CF cards?

More focus points will matter depending on what you are shooting. Sports, action of any type, low light it's certainly much better to have a good solid focus system.
 
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dalex100

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I'd prefer to have CF cards over SD. Is there a reason why you don't want the CF cards?

The only reason I'm hesitating about getting CF cards is that I never used them and I don't know how they works. Of course, I know it's faster than SD, but how do I read them on my computer? I would have to get a CF reader right?
 

Yantropov

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Option 2 as dalex said, is a no brainer.

If you know that you are "into" photography and that it is a hobby that you will cherish for a long time, invest in a better product. I know it's expensive but also try to invest in good lenses. You will be better investing in good glass in the long run than investing in a DSLR body.

50mm 1.8 and you could add a "kit lens" like the 18-105mm to start would bring you around $1000. It would be a good setup to master a D7000 let say. Then your next lenses, I would invest in fast FX lenses that will maybe take few extra months to buy but will be worth the wait.

Hope it helps.
 

gryffinwings

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I'd prefer to have CF cards over SD. Is there a reason why you don't want the CF cards?

The only reason I'm hesitating about getting CF cards is that I never used them and I don't know how they works. Of course, I know it's faster than SD, but how do I read them on my computer? I would have to get a CF reader right?

Don't let the CF card scare you from getting an excellent camera, they aren't that hard to use, yes, you most likely will need a card reader, most USB card readers are very cheap, I got one for under 10 dollars and it works fine, no issues.

You have several options at your disposal to meet your budget and the options to save you the most money would be buying used:

D90 with 18-105mm
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D90 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S VR DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

D90 body only
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D90 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)

D300s body only
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D300S 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)

D300 body only
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

D200 with 18-70mm
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D200 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-70mm AF-S DX f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED Nikkor Zoom Lens

D200 body only
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Nikon D200 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)


I listed the D200, even though it's an older body, it's still a really good camera for the money, there are a ton of people that say that it renders skin tones very nicely, very nice color rendition, thow out what you've heard about Dynamic Range and Megapixels. The more important things you need to take into consideration are if you need a really good focus system like the D300 offers, 51 points is going to give you more precision than the 11 point system in the D200, the D300 shoots 8 FPS vs the D200's 5 FPS. Now the D90 and the D300 are similar cameras, they share the same sensor, but the D300 will offer more, unless you need or want video which the D90 and D300s has, which in this case I recommend a dedicated video camera, DSLRs are not really suited to video in my opinion.
 
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dalex100

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Anyone here already bought a camera on Black Friday? I am probably going to watch the deals. If I can get a good deal on a D7000, I'm going to get it. If not, I think I'm going to search a used D300 on eBay. The price difference between the D300 and the D90 is not that big. The D7000 on Black Friday will probably cost around 800$, I think.

If I got a 50 1.8 AF, should I get another prime or get a zoom?
 

gryffinwings

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Anyone here already bought a camera on Black Friday? I am probably going to watch the deals. If I can get a good deal on a D7000, I'm going to get it. If not, I think I'm going to search a used D300 on eBay. The price difference between the D300 and the D90 is not that big. The D7000 on Black Friday will probably cost around 800$, I think.

If I got a 50 1.8 AF, should I get another prime or get a zoom?

To be honest, I recommend a zoom of some sort that fits your needs, mainly because it gives you flexibility.
 

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