Need some advice on buying my first camera

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by casual167, Dec 17, 2013.

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  1. casual167

    casual167 Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I'll start by saying that by no means am I photographer but I do enjoy taking pictures of sports, vacations, and scenery. Unfortunately it's been mostly with my cell phone and my girlfriends cheap point and shoot. But recently, my son was born so now I've been looking for a nice quality camera to capture all those new born moments. I've been reading so many reviews in this past month or so and since I'm an amateur and don't really have the knowledge to understand all the different features and capabilities I figured I would ask the experts here for some advice. I'm looking for a really nice quality camera because I figured as I begin to learn and understand all those features and capabilities, I'll already have to camera with them and I plan to have this for awhile by the way. Anyway, here's my info so if anyone could help me out I would appreciate it

    Budget

    * What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
    $800 - $900 max

    Size

    * What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?
    Doesn't matter

    Features

    How many megapixels will suffice for you?
    at least 16 megapixels

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
    Not sure

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    very important. I want to take high quality pics

    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
    not really

    General Usage

    * What will you generally use the camera for?
    family gatherings, vacations, sports, scenery

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    Don't think so

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Yes a lot of indoor shooting for family gatherings

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    Yes

    Miscellaneous

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    No

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?

    Sony NEX6
    Nikon D5200
    Canon Rebel SL1
    But not picky and looking for any suggested ones


    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

    Hotshoes would be nice for flash and other accessories. Image Stabilization. Others would be nice but not required
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    All three have excellent image quality and quick operation. The differences are mainly size and whether it does what you want.
    As far as size is concerned the Nikon is that largest and heaviest (555g compared to 407g for the SL1 and 345g for the NEX 6. But the Nikon has a few advantages over the others including more megapixels and a fully articulated LCD. Like the D5200 the Canon SL1 is a full featured DSLR, but its smaller size may make it harder to use for those with large hands. The NEX 6 is a mirrorless, large sensor camera, with fewer readily accessible manual controls than the two DSLR's and a less protruding right-hand grip. All three have hotshoes, manual controls and image stabilization (in the body or in the lenses).
     
  3. casual167

    casual167 Member

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    Thanks for the response. Of those listed, which would you think is more suited for me?
     
  4. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    learn and understand all those features and capabilities . . . Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
    not really


    That is a confusing position, as the most important "capabilities" to learn on any advanced camera are the basics of manual control. No camera automatically produces brilliant images, no matter how fancy it is.

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    very important. I want to take high quality pics . . . * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    Don't think so


    More confusion. The only benefit of high quality images is for big prints. I suspect that you really want nicely exposed photos without blur. Which does not demand a very high quality camera. But does mean learning the basics of manual control, especially for indoor photography.

    All three of those cameras are nice. NEX-6 has the advantage of low weight, falls behind in lens selection. D5200 has the most features, which can be intimidating for some beginners. The SL1 is kind of a compromise solution, sitting in between the NEX-6 and D5200. Each of those brands has its fans.

    Kelly Cook
     
  5. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The Nikon D5200 is excellent for most uses, especially if you intend to purchase a long lens in addition to the standard 3x zoom lens that comes with the camera. Long lenses are easier to handle with a larger DSLR (though the D5200 is not particularly large it is considerably larger than the SL1 or the NEX 6). The SL1 is great for those who prefer Canon products (Canon is the most popular digital camera brand) and want a smaller DSLR. The NEX 6 is one of the top small, mirrorless cameras because of its image quality and it's great for those who value portability over full featured DSLR's like the SL1 and D5200.
    Here are some sample images:

    Flickr Search: nikon d5200

    Flickr Search: canon sl1

    Flickr Search: sony nex 6
     
  6. casual167

    casual167 Member

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    Yeah the manual exposure modes is one of the things that I'm not too familiar with but want to learn more about. As far as the image quality, your right in that I meant to take nicely exposed pics without the blur. Sorry if what I'm saying sounds a little confusing but I'm new to all of the terminology and not sure how to really explain it
     
  7. casual167

    casual167 Member

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    I was looking at the Nikon D5200 because of the lense selection that's available although I probably won't be getting too much into that until I'm comfortable on how to really operate it. Maybe just get a long zoom lens with the kit to start with. The reason I looked at the Sony NEX 6 also was because of the size and portability but I'm learning that they dont' have as much of a lense selection as the other two. They all pretty much have the same features though am I correct?
     
  8. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Learning manual control is not terribly difficult. And it can be done in steps, at your own pace. There are lots of web sites and blogs that explain manual control.

    I don't know why that "image quality" question is even in the questionnaire. How many people say "nope, don't care about image quality"??? IQ is a very good question for experienced photographers who already understand all the trade-offs. But pointless for beginners.

    All three cameras have the same basic capabilities, but exactly how you get to use those capabilities is different.

    The Canon and Nikon have traditional optical viewfinders. The Sony has a slightly smaller EVF. You may find the DSLR viewfinders a little more comfortable. Or you may find the Sony EVF more pleasant, there is no universal agreement on this.

    The Sony has very simple looking menus, like a compact camera. The Nikon has "list" menus, just like the professional DSLRs. Canon tries to go both ways. Canons have a "quick" menu that lays out the most common settings on one screen, plus buries the more obtuse settings in separate lists on other pages. With the quick menu you pick off the tile with the setting you want to adjust, then move the control wheel to make the change. Or, with this new SL1, the screen does have touch, so you can just double poke the tile, and then poke the ikon for the desired value. The Nikon and Sony do not have a touch screen.

    The LCD screen on the Nikon does fold out, which can be nice for closeup shooting. The Canon and Sony do not have this feature, but that absence is one factor that allows their designs to be more compact.

    All of these have one wheel for making adjustments. Both the Canon and Nikon have wheels that are kind of skinny, the Sony has a fatter one. The Canon wheel is located on the top deck just behind the shutter button. So you move your forefinger from the shutter to work the wheel. Both the Nikon and Sony have their wheels on the back side of the camera in the upper right-hand corner. You have the option to work that wheel with your thumb. Some folks have a strong preference for one style or wheel or the other. Some don't care at all. Just something to consider.

    So spend some quality time at your camera store with all of these.

    Kelly
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  9. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The Sony website shows 21 e-mount lenses for their NEX cameras, which is a substantial number. I wouldn't let lens availability be the deciding factor.
     
  10. casual167

    casual167 Member

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    Yeah I definitely will. I just wanted to get some advice from users because some websites tend to be bias in their reviews so it's hard to tell whats good in actual everyday use. You were very informative though and I appreciate that. I know I have a lot to learn so I'm going to start with the camera and its functions first and then look into the different lenses later on
     
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