Options for entry-level DSLR

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by redy, Feb 25, 2010.

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  1. redy

    redy New Member

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    Hi,

    I am looking to gift my wife an entry-level DSLR. She is a total beginner. I am just looking for information on my options on a budget upto 800$.

    I am just having difficulty enumerating the options first leave alone comparing them. From what I have seen so far:

    Nikon: D3000 and D5000

    Canon: Rebel Xs, Rebel XSi, Rebel T1i and Rebel T2i

    Pentax K-x

    I wanted to know if there any further alternatives. Once I get the list down I can begin comparing but as of know I am not sure what the options even are, hence the question.

    Thank you very much for your patience and help.
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Have you all considered that a DSLR might be too much camera for your wife, since she is a total beginner? You can't really get that much out of a DSLR unless you're willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to use its many photographic features, such as its manual exposure controls. With DSLR's you also have the factors of changing lenses and using the viewfinder, not the LCD, to frame your photos (more expensive DSLR's do let you frame your photo with the LCD but the process is often very slow). Generally, beginners start with less challenging point and shoot cameras and, once they get some experience, move up to a DSLR. For instance, a compact ultrazoom like the Sony DSC H20 is not too expensive, has excellent auto features that are good for beginners plus manual exposure controls that your wife can experiment with when she's ready.

    Nonetheless, if you still want a DSLR for your wife, I recommend the Nikon D3000. It doesn't have "live view", which means you cannot frame the photo with the LCD, but it has a very user-friendly menu system that will help your wife learn how to use the camera. The other cameras you mentioned have more features but are harder to learn, especially for a beginner.
     
  3. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Andy on the beginner topic. Just because DSLR cameras have greater capability and an Auto mode does not guarantee happy results from that Auto mode every time. Point-and-shoot cameras are designed for ease of use and fill that need very well, better than DSLRs. Here is a link to another thread on the whither DSLR or not question -

    DSLR or megazoom?

    As for your DSLR list, in my view the Canon XSi and Nikon D3000 are great economy choices. May want to also look at the Olympus E520.

    The Nikon D5000 is more semi-pro (but a beginner can easily ignore the advanced stuff, it's buried in menus anyways). The Canon T2i has killer video if the intial blurbs have that right. This budget level also covers the Sony A500, which has simple controls, very nice liveview LCD, exceptional automation, and "new" lenses that are on a par with the other guys. (Sony haters beat up on Sony lenses for years, old grudges.)

    More threads on DSLR selection -

    Which one: Canon Xsi or Nikon D3000?

    DSLR-Need help

    Kelly Cook
     
  4. redy

    redy New Member

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    Thank you both for your advice.

    I should have specified or been more clear. My wife has a fair deal of experience with point and shoot. I meant she was a beginner to the DSLR scene. She loves photography and I want to encourage her to take it on as a hobby.

    I am getting the impression the camera is not as important as the lens, but thats more relevant as she moves along. But for now I am looking at an entry-level DSLR.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    You can download sample images from reviews to check out the lenses. Generally it's the very high contrast subjects that show lens issues. With low contrast scenes most any lens will be Ok.

    Kelly
     
  6. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    With a budget of up to $800 you can afford the Nikon D5000 that Kelly mentioned. It's not quite as user friendly as the lower priced D3000 but the D5000 is a better camera - faster, better image quality, has HD video capability, live view capability, a movable LCD - overall an excellent camera. The D5000 comes with a good, general purpose lens.

    Here are links to DCR's review and some sample photos:

    http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/default.asp?newsID=3981&reivew=nikon+d5000

    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/d5000
     
  7. redy

    redy New Member

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    Just wanted to thank you guys. I went with Canon Xsi as my wife didn't want to spend 800$ plus we didn't need video. Kind of a compromise between budget and features I guess.

    Anyway we like the camera very well. Thanks for all the advice.

    Already feeling the need for lenses. I am interested in isolation photos and so want a telephoto lens. Wife likes landscapes, would like a wide-angle. In any case the lens probably have to wait.

    Once again thank you very much.
     
  8. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Let us know when and if you need any advice about lenses and we'll be glad to help.
     
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