What camera should I purchase?

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TPF Noob!
Jun 13, 2010
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Hello there! I have no photography experience but I have become more and more interested in buying a camera and having some fun with it. I have some specific ideas of what kinds of pictures I want to take but I always get overwhelmed and a little confused when I look at cameras online due to my complete noobness in the subject. I'm hoping that if I mention what I am interested in doing and what I am willing to spend that perhaps someone can recommend a camera for me. Here goes!

I think it would be interesting to take pictures with really close up views of things that I think have nice textures or reflective surfaces . Some examples of this that I want to try are close ups are surfaces of glass objects, perhaps colored bubbles, oils, shiny things, maybe rocks or leaves and the like. I understand Macro is related to close up shots and I am really interested in looking at small things. I have read online that some cameras work fine for macro even without the special lenses you can buy but I don't want to limit myself to lower quality pictures. I also want to be able to enlarge images that I have taken and print them off in order to hang them on the wall. I hear a high megapixel count is helpful if you want to enlarge images and so I would like my camera to be able to do that and keep the image looking nice.

As far as price goes I know a camera and a special Macro lense together can get pretty spendy and I'm willing to spend about $1,000 for both (together) if possible but I'm willing to go a bit higher if needed. It would be cool if I could buy a camera without the added lense and see if it will work for what I want to try and if not then be able to get a lense for it, I just need to know what lenses will fit the camera I get and all that. I figure if I struggle too much and/or can't figure out how to work the camera effectively then I can just sell it on ebay and get most of my money back so I'm not too worried about the investment, I just need some direction!

Thank you all in advance for any information you may have for me, and I will try to answer any questions if my description above wasn't informative enough about what I am wanting to get out of the camera.
From what I understand purchasing a camera body would be beat for you, but have a kit lens that comes with camera is also helpful in learning your camera and the art of photography. I am a canon guy, and what I have learner is that the rebel series camera is the best beginners camera. When it comes down to purchasing a macro lens I am of not help there. Good luck in starting out this wonderful art.
I'm a big fan of buying used if you can actually try it out (buying camera equipment on ebay has been not so good for me, but craigslist has given me no problems).

I'll make the same recommendation I got when I started... a Canon 40D. They're between $400 and $600 for the body only. Try to find one with box, manual, included software, packaging etc as that helps resale value (just in case). I've made a pretty good 16x20 with my 40D but I certainly wouldn't go any larger.

As for a lens, I would start with a wide-to-normal zoom like the Tamron 17-50 2.8. However, that lens is not a macro lens. For macro, I have a set of extension tubes (which I don't use much at all) and a 100mm 2.8 USM macro. Both lenses are about the same price, but you won't be able to get them both and a body for $1k.... maybe 1300.

I remember when I started... I had ideas in my head of what I wanted to shoot. Although my main love of landscapes hasn't changed, everything else has pretty much done a 180. The things I thought I wouldn't do, I now do, and vice versa. That's why I recommend starting with the 17-50 as it is a great walk-around lens. You can give yourself a few months to get an idea of what you would like to shoot that your current gear won't allow you to.
Or you could buy a used canon 17-55 IS for $100 or so... it's a pretty decent lens... that would allow you to get the macro.
just buy any brand of dslr with a kit lens. Most kit lenses will do close up macro shots. Then buy more lenses later if you feel inclined to do so.

There are many manufacturers out there: Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, etc.....
Thanks for all your suggestions! Do macro lenses only fit their respective brands? Like if I got a Canon camera would I only be able to use a Canon brand macro lense if I wanted to get one?
Every camera manufacturer has his own lens mount. So, for example, with Canon DSLRs you'll need a lens with an EOS-mount. Canon makes a incredibly diverse range of EOS-lenses, but there are 3rd party manufacturers (like Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss etc.) doing EOS-lenses as well. Often, they are considerably cheaper.
I was just looking at the Canon website and this one seems pretty good, the EOS Rebel T2i EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens Kit. Geez thats a mouthful! I looked through the details about it and it says this "Effective range: Approx. 4.0m/13.1 ft. at center, approx. 3.5m/11.5 ft. at periphery. When EOS-dedicated Speedlite attached, the Speedlite's AF-assist beam is emitted instead" Now I'm looking to try out some basic Macro stuff and to me this sounds like it isn't really possible. Is this true?[h=1][/h]
I think the detail you have pulled out there is relating to the built in flash range, not the range of the lens. Not sire without looking but the kit lens should be good for focus from about 50cm out... Any canon fans care to correct me?

Dont overlook the nikon d3100 or even the 5100 by the way, not sure what they retail for there
I think the T2i is a reasonable option. If you're going to do macro, though, you might want something that's going to perform better in low light (seems like light is at a premium in macro) and so a 40D or a 50D might do that for you a little better but still keep you in your price range. I have been looking locally and online lately and the 40D's are somewhere between $400 and $500 for the body only, and the 50D's are about a hundren more ($500-$600). You can get a kit lens to give you some flexibility, sold on their own they usually cost around $100...

FOr the macro bit, I've never used extenstion tubes so I can't comment on their effectivness, but I did just buy the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro USM for $450 used and it's pristine...

I will say that I don't see HOW a kit lens (18-55mm) could ever do macro... mine doesn't get close to macro.
Punch; 40D and 50D, are those Canon camera bodies or whatevs? My main interest is to use a couple lamps each fit with a colored lightbulb, set them up off to the sides and kind of aimed at what I'm taking a picture of and use the macro to zoom in very close to the surface of glass objects with nice textured ridges so that I can see how the colored lights from the lamps kind of reflect off of the edges of the glass piece. I really want to have a clear focus from about a couple CMs and to allow what I'm taking a picture of to fill the frame.
Yes, those are Canon bodies. I can't speak for Nikon... I have used a D90 briefly and it was quite lovely, but I don't know more than that.

I am not a macro expert, but if you want to get REALLY close up, I would think you'd have to go with extension tubes or a macro lens that can do 1:1. Apparently there are some zoom lenses that are "macro" without being dedicated macro lenses? Someone said that to me and I thought they were ridiculous but I've since heard it said elsewhere.
I second the idea of buying used, from a good seller. The past generation camera is going to be the same as the newer one for your purposes. You should be able to get a lightly used one for $300 or so with the kit lens, and that will leave you with change for a really QUALITY macro lens.

Try the kit lens first, then, realize the macro lens will let you get a lot closer, will have nearly perfect correction for every type of distortion, and will be sharper edge to edge than a regular prime lens or zoom lens.

Get a macro that is closer to 100 mm (in 35mm equivalent focal length) and that will give you flexibility to stay back from your subject a bit, in case you start wanting to shoot bugs and such. Another cool thing about such a lens is that it will double as a portrait telephoto lens.

I'm a big fan of Pentax and Olympus cameras. No one ever recommends them, because they're not as mass market as Canon and Nikon, but I think they're just as good. Optically, they may be even better. But in your case, you're going to have a harder time finding macro lenses for them, so I will stick with the Canon recommendation in this case. (I think Canons are laid out more intuitively than Nikons)
Thanks for the advice! I'd like to save money if I could, is there a certain site that deals with used cameras and accessories or am I going to have to trust ebay or craigslist?
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