DSLRs: budget and beginner friendly

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by DutchManDann, Jun 26, 2009.

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  1. DutchManDann

    DutchManDann New Member

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    I have always loved photography. point and shoot cameras just don't give me the quality I want. So, DSLRs are what I decided I want.

    I am looking for the cheapest, best DSLR I can get. I want to spend like. no more than $500 including lenses and all that.

    The camera i am considering is the Nikon D40. I know Canon and sony are decent cameras as well, but I am not as familiar with their DSLRs. I also don;t really have any idea about the different features, so please explain to me what the differences are between the budget DSLRs and what I should want/get.

    thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    All DSLR's have a much larger sensor than point and shoot cameras. The large sensor is the main reason for the superior picture quality of a DSLR. Most DSLR's from the same manufacturer have sensors of a similar size. There are many differences between a $450 DSLR like the Nikon D40 and a $1600 DSLR like the Nikon D300 due to the number of megapixels, the number of features and quality of construction. But most people who are not expert photographers would not be able to distinguish between photos taken with the D40 and the D300.

    There are more obvious differences between photos taken with DSLR's from different manufacturers. Similarly priced DSLR's from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus do have a distinctive picture quality. All brands have their followers.

    Since you are looking to spend not more than $500, you are limited to a few DSLR's. All come with their own "kit" lens, which are pretty decent lenses but only have a 3x or 4x optical zoom. Most DSLR purchasers eventually buy additional lenses, but they don't need to be bought right away.

    Here are the under $500 camera/Kit lens combinations
    1. Nikon D40/18-55mm) ~ $425
    2. Olympus E520/14-42mm ~ $450
    3. Pentax K2000/18-55mm ~ $485
    4. Sony A200/18-70mm ~ $499

    Of the four, only the E520 has "live view" which permits framing the picture with the LCD, as is done in point and shoot cameras.

    Only the D40 does not contain image stabilization or any capacity to use it in the lens (as do other Nikon DSLR's and all Canon DSLR's). The other three have it in the camera body.

    All four have good optical viewfinders.

    The D40 contains only 6 megapixels. The other three have 10 megapixels.

    The Olympus E520 probably has the most features, the Nikon D40 the least.

    All take great looking pictures. Here are some samples:
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/d40
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/olympus/e_520
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/pentax/k_m_k2000
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/sony/a200
     
  3. DutchManDann

    DutchManDann New Member

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    so which would you recommend for a beginner like me? I really have no idea about the different settings and things like that on cameras, so would a simple camera like the nikon be good?

    Also, i am looking for the most reliable camera I can. i probably won't get another DSLR for a long time, so the one I buy has to last. and also, I always was told that megapixels didn't matter a whole lot. So in theory, if I don't print really big pictures, I wouldn't need as many megapixels.

    I haven't had a whole lot of experience with pentax or olympus so that is why I am more hesitant on those cameras.
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Personally, I would recommend spending a little more and buying either the Canon Rebel XS or the the Nikon D60. The Rebel XS has 10 megapixels, live view and comes with a good kit lens that has optical image stabilization built-in. The Nikon D60 is similar to the D40 but with more megapixels (10) and the capability of using a lens with image stabilization, unlike the D40. Also the kit lens it comes with is very good - better than the one that comes with the D40. The XS/lens combination costs $535 at amazon.com and the D60/lens combination costs $538.

    Here are some sample pics.

    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/canon/eos_digital_rebel_xs

    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/d60
     
  5. DutchManDann

    DutchManDann New Member

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    I think I am going to go with the D40, but I may end up getting the canon. It depends on how much money I have. The D40 will serve my purposes very well and I love the simplicity of it. But the canon offers some features that I like and it seems better for the long run.
     
  6. jetstar

    jetstar Well-Known Member

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    Staples has the Nikon D40 for $370 this week. Just FYI.
     
  7. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Jim. I wasn't aware that you could use a VR lens with the D40.
     
  8. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    I just picked up a Sony A200. Mainly for the low closeout price. BTW, it's a common assumption that all Sonys require their Memory Stick card. Actually, the A200 was designed for CompactFlash. If you do want to play Memory Stick, that requires a Sony-to-CF adapter.

    Kelly Cook
     
  9. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Congratulations, Kelly. The A200 seems like an excellent camera. I'm looking forward to your impressions of it and to some photos.
     
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  10. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Andy. Well already I can tell I'm gonna miss live view. Toooo many years shooting with compacts! 'Tis nice that my lens filters will finally get some use again.

    It was between this or some other brand used. Such as a Canon XT, Nikon D70, or Oly E510. But I couldn't pass up a brand new camera deal. Vee shall see.

    Kelly
     
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