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DSLR for a N00B Recs

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've had an old Minolta XG-1 that I've used on and off for a while, but never really got into it, simply because learning on a film camera is a bitch because you have to wait to get the photos developed (tho I do love film).

So I'm looking for some recs for a new DSLR. I'm looking for something that's good for a beginner to learn on, but powerful enough that I can keep using it and don't have to buy a new one when I get more experienced. I'm also planning on traveling extensively with this camera so it preferably be rugged/reliable and also set up so that it's really convenient in terms of transferring photos to the internet and/or a blog. Also since I'll be traveling I don't want to be carrying around a ton of lenses/flashes/etc... if poss.

Any recs?
post #2 of 21
http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=213934
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
KNEW there was a thread, just couldn't find it thru search. Thanks. EDIT: That dude's requirements aren't similar enough to mine to rely on that thread, so although it's helpful and I'll def read through it I think this thread is justified.
post #4 of 21
^ are you serious?

even if the requirements arent exactly the same there are plenty of cameras mentioned in that thread that will fulfill your requirements also

no need for a new thread

fwiw if you want travel go with micro 4/3rds. i'm saving up for a gf1 as i like the f/1.7 stock option and gf2 is a different beast altogether

dslrs are not what most people are looking for. they just think it looks cooler or looks photographer like because its bigger
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
even if the requirements arent exactly the same there are plenty of cameras mentioned in that thread that will fulfill your requirements also
Dude I'm not like refusing to read the thread, I know there's some good info in there to check out, I just for example haven't set a price limit yet and a few other things that might provide some recs that wouldn't be included in that thread.
Quote:
fwiw if you want travel go with micro 4/3rds. i'm saving up for a gf1 as i like the f/1.7 stock option and gf2 is a different beast altogether
I'll look into it, thanks. TBH I don't know much about digital cameras, or photography in general. My friend who's a photog major taught me enough so I can set the aperture/shutter speed and take photos with my Minolta but that's about it hah.
Quote:
dslrs are not what most people are looking for. they just think it looks cooler or looks photographer like because its bigger
Yeah but looks are the most important part I want people to think I'm a really good photographer when they see me taking photos.
post #6 of 21
The pentax k-x comes in a really cheap package, around $500-600 with two lenses. If you get that and a f 1.8 or 2.0 lense with it you'll be golden. I find the camera to be equivalent to the $900-1000 canon/nikon in quality.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The pentax k-x comes in a really cheap package, around $500-600 with two lenses. If you get that and a f 1.8 or 2.0 lense with it you'll be golden. I find the camera to be equivalent to the $900-1000 canon/nikon in quality.

Meh I was thinking about that but my photo nerd friends said that if I ever wanted to upgrade it might suck, and that they only have a limited selection of glass, which is why I should go for a Nikon or Canon which has a better selection and they work on a wider variety of their cameras.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLay87 View Post
I've had an old Minolta XG-1 that I've used on and off for a while, but never really got into it, simply because learning on a film camera is a bitch because you have to wait to get the photos developed (tho I do love film).

So I'm looking for some recs for a new DSLR. I'm looking for something that's good for a beginner to learn on, but powerful enough that I can keep using it and don't have to buy a new one when I get more experienced. I'm also planning on traveling extensively with this camera so it preferably be rugged/reliable and also set up so that it's really convenient in terms of transferring photos to the internet and/or a blog. Also since I'll be traveling I don't want to be carrying around a ton of lenses/flashes/etc... if poss.

Any recs?

There is some good advice in the other thread but I won't be an asshole and tell you to read it. Unlike the typical SF responses, you asked, so I'll try to help you out.

Since I recently went through the same decision, here's what I came up with.

The micro 4/3 camera body is nice - very nice, but I decided against it because of the lack of a viewfinder. The whole reason I wanted a DSLR was for fast response time. I have two little kids and point-and-shoots just don't respond fast enough to catch the images I wanted. The micro 4/3 is better, but because there is no viewfinder and you use the live view screen for everything, the response time is still a bit slower - just enough where I could notice it.

For quality optics I think it's tough to beat the Pentax line, and the K-X is very well priced. Highly recommend, and the handful of pros I talked to had nothing but lavish praise for the Pentax line.

Sony is a good choice too as the reincarnation of Minolta in the digital SLR world. The entry-level Alpha camera is really inexpensive and a great value.

Of course the entry-level Nikon and Canon camera bodies are a great choice, and this will give you the most flexibility when you want to start buying additional lenses. Don't fall for the belief that you have to buy a Nikon or Canon to get the lens flexibility you need. Any of the manufacturers here are going to have plenty of options for upgrading lenses, but with Nikon and Canon you'll have literally hundreds and hundreds of options instead of dozens and dozens. No matter which brand you buy, you'll be able to find what you need. It can just get a little overwhelming with Nikon and Canon.

Last one I'm familiar with is Olympus. The big advantage to an Olympus DSLR is that the four-thirds platform makes for a much smaller and lighter camera than the above (excluding the micro four-thirds.) Olympus lenses are really exceptional quality. You won't find the bewildering array of options that you'll find with Canon and Nikon, but the ones that are available are fine lenses.

I bought an Olympus E-420 as I came to realize that no matter how good the camera was, if it was too large and too heavy, neither I nor my wife would ever want to take it with us anywhere, so what is the point? Have been very happy with it so far and got a great deal.

A disadvantage to the Olympus line for me is that they elected not to produce the equivalent of a 50mm prime in a fast aperture. That's an important lens for me as a lot of the shooting I do is of the kids inside in low light. I haven't found a workaround that I like yet - there is a Rokinon "light bucket" in f1.8 that sells for only about $275 (!!!) but it's manual focus. You can also buy an adapter that allows use of the old Zuiko 50mm primes from the 1970s (which sell for $50 to $75) but of course that means completely manual shooting - no auto metering or anything. Still pondering what I want to do to solve this issue.

Good luck and let me know what you think. To sum up, for portability Olympus wins. For overall quality, Pentax is tough to beat. For growth and flexibility in the future and the most robust selection of used lenses, Nikon or Canon.

Cheers.

Matt in Atlanta
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
My friend is selling his Canon 20D with a bunch of lenses/accessories, which I'd probably be able to get a deal on. Anyone have any experience with this camera?
post #10 of 21
don't listen to your photo nerd friends. pentax is a great system for travel. they have a full line of aps-c prime lenses, which nobody else has really gotten around to. the k-5 is also the smallest dslr for advanced amateurs. if i wanted a dslr for travel, i wouldn't even consider other manufacturers because their advanced amateur models are larger and they only have one standard aps-c prime in the system, except for canon, which doesn't have any.

but indesertum is right. you should be looking at mirrorless instead.
post #11 of 21
one of the current Pentax dSLRs + 35/2.8 DA Macro Limited or the 31/1.9 would be a hard combo to beat for someone new to dSLRs.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLay87 View Post
My friend is selling his Canon 20D with a bunch of lenses/accessories, which I'd probably be able to get a deal on. Anyone have any experience with this camera?

I use a 20D. Most annoying thing for me is the tiny LCD screen - 1.8" and low resolution, WAY below what you'd get on even a P&S nowadays. It's 8MP - still capable of taking great pics, but not as much leeway for cropping/large prints. No video, obviously, if that matters to you. No spot metering. Still uses CF memory. There have certainly been improvements in AF speed and high ISO performance since it was released 6+ years ago. Still a great camera, but 6 years is an eternity when you're talking digital cameras.

For the m4/3 lovers, Panasonic is selling the GH1 with 14-42 kits lens for $375+tax if you go through the Panasonic facebook page...not sure of the exact details, but it's mentioned on the m4/3 forum on dpreview.com.
post #13 of 21
D3100 w/the kit lens is prob all u need, Nikkor 35 1.8 on top would be even better Good low light performance Good resolution Really light + easy to handle Movie capability
post #14 of 21
I'm spoiled and tend to underappreciate all the nice things I have, but I still LOVE the Panasonic DMC-GF1. Check it out.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLay87 View Post
Meh I was thinking about that but my photo nerd friends said that if I ever wanted to upgrade it might suck, and that they only have a limited selection of glass, which is why I should go for a Nikon or Canon which has a better selection and they work on a wider variety of their cameras.

Just because there are more cheap lenses doesn't make canon or nikon better tbh. Don't get a nikon. I have a d50 and a photo studio I help has two d300's. Their menus never make any sense at all and are just awful.

Also, unless you plan on having 20 lenses who cares if there isn't as much selection. Have 5 price leves of a basic 50mm f1.8 is worthless.
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