recomendations on a camera for beginners

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kaylanrandolph, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. kaylanrandolph

    kaylanrandolph TPF Noob!

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    I have always had a passion for photography but before it was mostly taking pictures with my phone and editing them on my computer. I would like to get a real camera and explore my passion a little more. I'm looking for recommendations on a beginner DSLR that's user friendly and budget friendly for a amateur like me but also has some of the bells and whistles so I can start playing around with different settings. I would mostly be photographing people. What are some of your recommendations?


     
  2. Trever1t

    Trever1t Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is no such thing. If you are looking to become the very best photographer you can be, buy the body that is the very best you can afford. You will learn to grow into it.
     
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  3. PropilotBW

    PropilotBW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Stating your actual budget is helpful for recommendations as well. "Budget Friendly" is an extremely loose term, as photography equipment is very expensive.
     
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  4. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I dunno, it sounds to me like any entry level DSLR from Nikon or Canon would fit this description.

    I would recomment you get into a photography shop and try to handle them and pick the one you like better.

    Canon usually is considered to be more user friendly, and have better video support. They also have a cheap affordable high quality wide angle zoom (EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS) if you need that, a feature Nikon sadly lacks.

    Nikon is considered to have the better, more powerful entry level DSLRs. I would recomment you look for a D5200 or D5300 with AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and AF-S 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lenses. Alternatively you could get a Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS or Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC.

    (Nikon: VR = Vibration Reduction
    Sigma: OS = Optical Stabilization
    Tamron: VC = Vibration Control

    These shortcuts all mean the lens offers image stabilization. The presence of these shortcuts is important - without them, these are cheap older lenses)

    As the third option for DSLRs theres also Pentax, but they are pricier. Also their lens selection is, well, a really complex issue, because Pentax is kind of small and has in comparison few lens offers.
     
  5. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As stated, most entry-level cameras will fit your needs. Here's a comparison from all the different companies:

    2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $500-800

    I second the suggestion to go to a camera store and play around with the cameras. It's best to look at reviews and try to narrow it down to two or three depending on your needs, then go to the store and see how they feel in your hands.

    And keep in mind that if you're photographing people, you will likely want to upgrade to a prime lens once you figure out the ins and outs of the camera. The 50mm 1.8 is a very popular portrait lens for beginners. So once you buy a camera, start saving up again while you learn how to use it.
     
  6. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Bells and whistles" don't make for good photos. In fact, for anyone first learning photographic skills and their way around a camera, they often get in the way.

    A good beginner DSLR from any major manufacturer would be all you need.

    The body of a baseline DSLR has all of the essential "bells and whistles" and image quality of a consumer level DSLR several times its cost. However, the baseline student photographer seldom uses many of the more advanced controls offered by the major manufacturers.

    For many hobbyist photographers, there are controls on a $1k camera they would never use. Therefore, the baseline cameras from, say, Canon or Nikon offer all of the essential controls, and then some, but do not make them so evident the hobbyist is constantly struggling to understand their equipment.

    Baseline DSLR's require the hobbyist learn a control's function before they accidentally activate the feature. To find the features and use them, on a baseline camera, you will need to become familiar with their location within the camera's menus system, not as a discrete button on the camera body. Once you get to the point you know whether a feature is to be used in "X" situation, the baseline cameras offer the same image quality to the hobbyist as will the top of the consumer line.

    Therefore, operation of the baseline vs the top o' the line DSLR will be slightly slower for the baseline. That's not at all a bad thing for anyone just learning about cameras and photography in general.

    This is true of any baseline DSLR produced by Canon or Nikon over the last five or so years. For the hobbyist, owning the latest and most expensive camera is not a requirement.

    Saving a few dollars on a discontinued, pre-owned or refurbished model will offer you virtually the same image quality and the same controls. Once again, the features may exist within a menu but they will almost always be there.

    And, remember, many of the features of any consumer level DSLR will have been included to broaden the appeal of the model to the less interested buyer with a bit of extra cash. Those are features a good photographer will either disable immediately or simply never use. So don't be fooled by the appearance of a higher priced camera. You can take terrific photos with a very inexpensive camera once you learn how.



    The same can be said for most of the "kit" lenses which would be sold with these DSLR bodies. Ten to fifteen years ago, the throw away lens that came with your new camera was simply thought of as a way to allow the buyer to take a snapshot of their dog, kids, car, etc the first night of ownership.

    Today's kit lenses are quite good by comparison and offer excellent value for the money spent. Digital cameras employ "corrections" for the abnormalities which are created in the lens and the electronics of the camera. These digital corrections to known issues are what goes a long way toward the overall image quality of a baseline camera with a kit lens.



    Since known corrections exist for most major line cameras and lenses, one rather interesting thing has occurred over the last few years. Where the low cost "point and shoot" camera exists at the very bottom of the price range and the DSLR is commonly a top line camera for most hobbyists, the camera manufacturers have used their abilities to dial in these "corrections" to create a category of cameras broadly aimed at the "enthusiast" buyer.

    Whether the camera is termed a bridge compact or a superzoom, the camera has all of the essential features we would normally associate with a DSLR other than the interchangeable lens system. The fact the "enthusiast" cameras use one fixed lens is what accounts for their performance.

    By creating one system where all variables can be taken into account in the design, a bridge camera has several advantages to the user. First and foremost is cost, with an enthusiast model ranging from a few years old Canon SX 100 0r SX110 for around $100 to a slightly more advanced Sony RX model selling between approximately $500 to $1k. Using the digital corrections in response to the lens/camera system, these are excellent choices for most hobbyist photographers if money is a concern. Virtually all camera manufacturers offer such products and you cannot tell the difference in image quality in most cases between the bridge and the DSLR final result.

    You will have all of the important "bells and whistles" of a DSLR with which to learn about the rules and skills of photography when you select a brdge compact system. The bridge cameras are often quite a bit smaller in overall size than a DSLR which means they can be carried daily in a pants, shirt or coat pocket. If learning about photography is best accomplished by using a camera, this category of products makes sense when the camera can always be with you.



    I would certainly tell you photography is no different than learning how to play a musical instrument. Would I suggest any student purchase a $5k guitar just to learn the notes on the first fret? Hardly. Would I suggest a newbie hobbyist/student photographer spend their money on an expensive camera? Not at all.


    Canon PowerShot S110 Compact Camera: Still the Leader of Serious, Slim and Portable Compacts in a More Competitive Marketplace

    DPReview Gear of the Year: Canon Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D

    Recommended Cameras

    Statistics for compact cameras: Digital Photography Review
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    From solarflare's post: "
    Nikon is considered to have the better, more powerful entry level DSLRs. I would recomment you look for a D5200 orD5300 with AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and AF-S 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lenses. Alternatively you could get a Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS or Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC."

    I have shot both of those lenses on small Nikon...yeah...a pretty good, two-zoom setup. The 18mm to 105mm VR lens is pretty handy! The 55-200 VR tele is a pretty lightweight and easy to handle lens. The D5200 and D5300 have pretty decent sensors in them, and the image quality is high, and the cameras offer flippy screens, which makes low-angle viewpoint shooting easy to do. I am biased toward Nikon, but have owned three Canon d-slr cameras in the past decade...Canon works too, but I think the roughly two-stops greater dynamic range the new-era Nikon sensors can bring are a big advantage to the beginning shooter, who likely will appreciate not having the highlights blowing out so frequently.

    The D3200 and newer 3xxx models cost less, but omit the flippy screen.
     
  8. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have to agree with Derrel, the newer Nikons are good for the money. You didn't say what budget you had but even if it's just a few hundred bucks you could go with a used Nikon D80 or D90 and have all the bells and whistles you could want for learning. If you enjoy it and want more then go for better equipment once you have a better feel for what you want. You may want to go up to a top of the line full-frame camera with high dollar fast glass or just a nice D5500 with decent glass. You don't know until you get into it................
     
  9. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree, Canon will give you the best "bang for the buck" value for the money.
    look at a refurbished T6i, 650D, etc. and 18-55 STM and 55-250 STM which includes the regular one year warranty
     
  10. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Nikon has in most cases more advanced sensor with better low light performance and much better dynamic range.
    For a beginner with a small pocket there are (as few people before me suggested) few good cameras to start with

    Nikon D5200 or D5300, good cameras with good auto focus system, articulating screen and more then enough bells and whistles for the beginner.
    If you want to spend even less you can go with the Nikon D3300, it has about same sensor as the Nikon D5200 or D5300 so the image quality and low light performance is almost identical but the auto focus which is more then ok still is not as good as the one on the D5200/5300.
    It will have the same basic button layout and functions but not a lot of bells and whistles, I own the D3300 which I am really impressed by considering how cheap it is, in my eyes best bang for the buck.

    Either way get the camera with its kit lens (18-55mm VR) and I would recommend adding the Nikon 50mm 1.8G which is a prime lens with does a lot for little money.
    Gives you fantastic image quality, very strong low light performance good for general use, walk around and portraits.
     
  11. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    true, Canon has the most advanced, best "IQ" image quality, selection of lens, AF, etc.
    that's why most pros use Canon ... duh !)
    but check them out at a store !
     
  12. tiaphoto

    tiaphoto TPF Noob!

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    I would recommend the Nikon D3300 or the D5300. My first camera was the Nikon D3100 (the older version of the 3300). The camera was my most affordable choice, with such a great and easy user interface. I could imagine how awesome the features of the 3300 are now! Did you have a preference of brand, however? From my understanding Nikon, Canon and Sony all have great beginner cameras. I am just more familiar with Nikon. I would recommend going with something you know you will feel most comfortable with regarding size, features and interface. Let us know what you end up choosing! Good luck!:1247:
     
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