Just Starting...Completely Overwhelmed!

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by kochi, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. kochi

    kochi Member

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    BUDGET
    $500-$1000 body
    $200-$400 all-purpose lens

    SIZE
    Somewhat important, as I am a small woman. Lighter is preferable.

    FEATURES
    Megapixels: At least 10.
    Optical Zoom: Standard = 3x-4x
    Image Quality Importance (Scale of 1-10): 10
    Manual Exposure Modes? YES!

    GENERAL USAGE
    What will you generally use the camera for?
    Family & friends, action, macro, outdoors, nightlife.

    Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    Yes.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Yes, this is important to me.

    MISCELLANEOUS
    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    No.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    Canon T2i and Nikon D5000/D3100. I want to do photography as a serious hobby. At the same time, I do not want to have to upgrade my camera every few years.

    Additional features I'd like:
    - Image stabilization
    - Weatherproof (not needed, but would like)
    - Prefer buttons to touch-screen
    - Simple-to-use menus
    - Good viewfinder
    - Video is LOWEST priority - could do without it all together
    - Compatability with variety of lenses (particularly macro lenses)

    Questions I Have:
    1. Should I buy the bundled lens with body, or buy the lens and body seperately? Can anyone suggest a good quality all-purpose lens?
    2. Is lens compatibility even important for someone with no existing lens collection??? I am looking to build a collection up, though.


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2015
  2. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    The cameras you listed are all decent choices, all popular. To get fussy about it, the D3100 is the most recent design. But that is offset by Nikon's pattern of replacing their entry level models more frequently than the competition. So in terms of looming obsolescence, these 3 cameras are pretty much a wash. If you bumped the budget up to the Nikon D7000, that is a "hot" model. Gonna be in fashion longer than the others.

    They are all pretty even on the features you listed. Except none are weatherized. At this price level only Pentax can claim that.

    Links to more thoughts on the subject -

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.co...buy/18538-moving-point-shoot-digital-slr.html

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/21482-camera-wifey.html

    Lens type selection will have a bigger impact on your satisfaction than brand or body design. And it's very easy for a complete beginner to guess this wrong. The standard "kit" zooms, 18-55, are actually quite cheap, only about $100. So the safe path is to start out with just this one lens. Let your own experience guide you on what other lenses would work for you. Another post on DSLR lenses -

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/5473-post2.html

    Kelly Cook
     
  3. ifse

    ifse Well-Known Member

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    Kelly covered the key points. As a recent owner of a D3100 I'd like to add the following: At least in the U.S. the D3100 is bundled with a 18-55 mm lens, and you do not have the option to buy a body alone.

    Addition of other lenses, especially a telephoto, depends on what you'd like to shoot, but in general you can get a better discount if you buy everything in one package than if you get a basic D3100 bundle now, and add other lenses later. It is a bit more difficult to decide what to buy before you had a chance to play with the camera, but the price difference may often be $100-150.

    I listed my reasons for choosing the D3100 in this thread: http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/24779-canon-rebel-nikon.html
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I recently went DSLR-shopping with a friend, also a small woman. We focused on four cameras, the Nikon D3100, the Canon Rebel T2i, the Canon Rebel T1i the Sony A580. We did not try out the Pentax K-X or K-R - too bad because they are excellent cameras. All these cameras are fairly lightweight, for DSLR's.

    All the cameras had a different feel but ultimately my friend decided she liked the Canons the best. I could see why. The Canons are wider and not as chunky as the others, making them easier to handle. The viewfinder of the Canons seems larger as well, but that may have something to do with the shape of the camera.

    As far as image quality and performance are concerned, all the DSLR's I mentioned are excellent. Ultimately, like my friend, it may come down to a question of ergonomics - which feels better to you.
     
  5. kochi

    kochi Member

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    Thank you guys for the replies! I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. The more I think about it, the more the ergonomics of the camera seems more and more important to me. I will have to go back to the store and check out the feel of the cameras. I definitely need to do a lot more research on lenses before I go spending money on them. I will probably get the bundled lens, in any case.
     
  6. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    While checking those ergonomics, also include the lens. Keep in mind that DSLR cameras are fundamentally different from compacts in that your left hand cradles the lens, does not grip the body. So the lens feel does count here. The lens may have odd balance, or the zoom ring may be in an odd place (along the length of the lens barrel), or the effort to adjust the zoom may be too high or too low. For me this is a big plus for Canon, minus for Nikon. Nikon fans are free to disagree.

    weird Kelly
     
  7. digitalsyn

    digitalsyn Member

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    Sort of curious, how much experience do you have with photography and what type? I would imagine you would want to factor this in as you don't want to pay for a camera which has features that you won't get too much use out of
     
  8. kochi

    kochi Member

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    @digitalsyn, My experience is mainly p&s - things like vacations, family, friends. But I am looking to get into it as a serious hobby, particularly macro-photography, and feel limited with just p&s.

    @Kelly, I am left-handed so am curious if that might affect how I hold the lens. I would hope it would give me better control, and maybe negate any big issues with lens ergonomics.

    Do big box stores let you try out lenses in the store, or am I better off going to a camera store? Sorry if this is a stupid question!
     
  9. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    For macro work (or even general closeups) a fold out LCD is nice. This feature is found on the Canon EOS 60D, Rebel T3i (may not be in the store yet), and Nikon D5000/7000.

    Leftys get no respect. All of these cameras are designed only for right handers. You may (or may not) be a little more comfortable with a "vertical grip" attachment. Though this option is generally available only for the more expensive models.

    Do try to find a legit camera store. The security tethers in big box stores are a pain. Plus the serious store is more likely to have other lenses for you to try.

    Kelly
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  10. ifse

    ifse Well-Known Member

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    I am a "reformed" lefty. One thing I like about Nikon DSLRs is that some of the control buttons on the rear panel are on the left of the LCD display so they can be maneuvered with your left thumb, and you can depend less on the right hand. That's one reason I felt more comfortable with the D3100, after years of using only Canon cameras.
     
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