Recommendations most welcome!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by John J Gold, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. John J Gold

    John J Gold TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for my first DSLR and having read countless reviews, comparisons, and other well-intentioned (I think) buying guides I noticed there's a stream of what I think is melted solder running out of both of my ears.

    First and foremost, I'm trying to stay around $500US. I'm disabled and the bulk of my photography is done on a volunteer basis. I have a couple of paying gigs every year but they're pretty limited and I'm really not able to physically do more than that.

    Anyway, here are my primary needs for a camera. (Sorry if I get long-winded - it's a bit of a curse)

    Most of the shots I take are outdoors. I photograph our municipality's events: concerts in the park and picnics, etc. During the colder months we have indoor shindigs like the Halloween candy giveaway (which includes a parade with the Village fire trucks, too, so it's both categories). Then there's the Christmas party with pictures of the crowd and families plus photos of the kids with Santa & Mrs. Claus; our biggest fundraiser of the year, Soup On Sunday; and the Easter Party & magic show.

    So I take a mix of posed and action shots; some wider angle group shots and/or panoramas for web page headers; as well as some video. For the concerts mainly I take quite a few pics of people dancing near the bands which also runs into low light issues.

    I've been using a FujiFilm S3500 for about 5 years after retiring my first FujiFilm P&S. "Ole Faithful" has become "Ole Unreliable" over the last year. The settings started arbitrarily changing at the worst possible time - Hmmm is there a good time?

    Besides my obligations, I really want to start taking photos of the beautiful city of Buffalo, which has been my home for the last 14 years. So I don't want to skimp even though I'm trying to not break the bank.

    Many of the aforementioned articles I've read say "avoid kit lenses like the plague" (more or less) but I've noticed quite a few folks here say they're not so bad. So advice here is needed.

    I've been primarily looking at Nikon D3400/3500 bundles with the 18-55mm VR and the 70-300mm telephoto lenses which come with a variety of filters and accoutrements, most of which I probably don't need.

    I have a relatively good tripod which has served me very well for the last few years. I'd really like to get an extra battery and a good "external" flash (auxiliary?).

    Because I take some video at the concerts I'm waffling a little about an external mic. However, I can't remember which model has that port.

    That's the bulk of what I'm looking for. I'm most likely going to making the purchase within the next week or so. Any deals you can share will be deeply appreciated! I'm incredibly grateful for any help you can share!

    Thanks!


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    My advice based on a mostly digital experience sine 1998 or so,and (mostly) d-SLR rigs since Feb.2001? My ex-wife and I bought and used a pair of Fuji bridge cameras...the S 5000? And the subsequent model,the S 5500? d-slr's i bought and used were, in order. the Nikon D1 in early Feb. of 2001, Fuji S1 Pro, Nikon D1h, Fuji S2 Pro, Canon 20 D,Nikon D2x,Canon 5D + full outfit (2xL zooms 24-105 f/4 L IS USM + 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS-USM)+ 580 EX-II flash,50/1.8 +50 1.4, 85 EF 1.8, 135/2 L , 135/2.8 S.Focus, Nikon D3x in 2012 (used), Canon Rebel XT,Fuji S5 Pro (barely used it), Nikon D610,Nikon D800. I bought a lot of cameras, including a few digital P&S models too, like the Canon PowerShot G2 and later G-3 models, plus the CoolPix S___? (12 MP from roughly 2008?).

    Of that long list of cameras...the best sensors were ALL found in the later models,like the D3x,D610,and the D800. The 5D "classic" however had/has a good sensor,perhaps the best sensor performance up to ASA 1,000 to be had in the $300-$375 used price range in the current marketplace...but the 2009-introduced D3x was possibly the best all-around camera I have ever shot.

    Long-winded...as typical. Now...my advice....buy either a used camera that retailed at $2600 to $7995 when it was brand-new...most are available now for $500 or less used...
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Nikon D3400 + 18-55 VR AF-P+ 70-300 AF-P VR with those,exact lenses, the VR AF-P models, would be great. Look at the mic port; between the D3300 and D 3400 one HAS a external MIC port, the other does not... the D3500? I would buy an earlier-gen. model,to maximize value.
     
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  4. John J Gold

    John J Gold TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Derrel! Haven't been able to find a 70-300 with VR in any of the bundles I've seen although both lenses are AF-P in all that I've looked at. What's a good site for used gear besides eBay?
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Although it is considered "outdated", the Nikon D40 was a pretty good camera...now available at near-giveaway prices on e-Bay. For what? $40-$100, many with the old but desirable 18-70 DX zoom...
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    KEH.COM has long been one of the USA's largest used dealers... MPB.com has a lot of offerings...there is also a relatively large used inventory at a new dealer...photopro.com???
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Caution on the kit.
    Make absolutely certain that the 70-300 in the kit is the VR model, and NOT the non-VR model.
    Usually the kits include the non-VR lens, to hit a low price point. But it is the long lens that needs VR the most.
    Here are a couple options:
    D3500 + 18-55 for $400
    A refurbished D5600 + 18-55 for $500

    IF you REALLY need the long lens, then get the 70-300 VR lens refurbished from Nikon for $200
    Personally, I would get, the 18-140, as a general purpose (GP) lens. It would replace both the 18-55 and 70-300 for most stuff. Then use the 18-55 just when you want a light small lens, for a light carry.
    The 18-140 is MY own GP lens on my D7200.
    https://www.adorama.com/nk18140r.html (refurbished for $250)
    For low light work, I would get either the 35/1.8 or 50/1.8.
    The 35 is a "normal" lens on the D3400, the 50 a short telephoto.
    https://www.adorama.com/nk3518r.html (refubished for $160)
    https://www.adorama.com/nk5018gr.html (refurbished for $170)​
     
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  8. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Have you thought of mirrorless.....?????
     
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  10. dunfly

    dunfly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. John J Gold

    John J Gold TPF Noob!

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  12. John J Gold

    John J Gold TPF Noob!

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    Missed out on the D5300 but got the 70-300 VR lens. Found a few good deals on a D3400 with the standard 18-55mm VR lens.

    -Used D3400 $297+shipping
    -Refurb-black only-$349

    I admit I'm a little nervous about buying a used camera although the seller has a high feedback rating Going to sleep on it. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

    Here's one I saw on Amazon for mid- to high $300s. Can't remember if it is $359 or $389.
    https://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D3400-Digital-Camera-18-55mm/dp/B0727RH23G
     

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