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Best DSLR under $700?
Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like some recommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use it primarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kids sports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for a good entry level SLR. Even better if I can get one one with an extra lens for that price..

My research at this point has me focusing on the following three:* Canon EOS 400D* Nikon D40 or D40x* Olympus E-510.

Any thoughts? suggestions? user experiences? Other models to consider?.

Thanks in advance...

Comments (18)

Cooldad wrote:.

Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like somerecommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use itprimarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kidssports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for agood entry level SLR..

To do all that and do it well will cost much more than $700.......a great lens just to do kids sports will be in the $1400 range........BUT a good place to start would be the 400D body and the 18-55IS lens, NOT the standard kit lens. This would put you in the $700 neighborhood..

Start looking into the 400D and Canon SLR Lens forums for more suggestions when you're ready for another lens.Regards,Hank..

Comment #1

Costco.com - $599.99 After $100 Off.

Nikon D40 6.1MP 2.5"18-55mm Zoom55-200mm ZoomBonus 2GB SD.

Http://www.costco.com/...e=BC&topnav=&browse=&lang=en-US&s=1#..

Comment #2

Danthi wrote:.

Costco.com - $599.99 After $100 Off.

Nikon D40 6.1MP 2.5"18-55mm Zoom55-200mm ZoomBonus 2GB SD.

That's a low level entry package if you don't want to upgrade, meaning that many optional lenses will not auto focus (including some of Nikon's best prime lenses). You see, there's no focus motor in the body of the camera..

Regards,Hank..

Comment #3

Hi.

I am in a similar position and considering the same range of cameras. Although another one I am looking at (and leaning towards) is the Pentax K100d Super. I am not in the states but you may be able to get this camera with 2 kit lens (18-55 & 50-200) for around your $700. Or it may be worth looking at this camera with the 18-250 lens (either Tamron or Pentax badged)..

Hope this helps more than confuses..

Cooldad wrote:.

Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like somerecommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use itprimarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kidssports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for agood entry level SLR. Even better if I can get one one with an extralens for that price..

My research at this point has me focusing on the following three:* Canon EOS 400D* Nikon D40 or D40x* Olympus E-510.

Any thoughts? suggestions? user experiences? Other models toconsider?.

Thanks in advance...

Comment #4

In that price range and those choices the E-510 kit is by far is the best value. The body has built in Image Stabilization that works with the two lens supplied in the kit. The kit lenses are higher quality than the 'standard' kit lenses supplied by most manufacturers in their entry level DSLR kits. On thing the Japanese understand is glass and lenses. If you read the independent reviews in the British camera magazines one thing they are all consistent on is that the 'standard' kits lenses in the E-510 kit are equal to the mid-level lenses of other manufacturers. BH Photo currently is offering this kit for $650.00.



Good luck with your decision!.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...;at=Brand_Olympus&basicSubmit=Submit+Query..

Comment #5

Nikon D40 or D40x if you want the best. The kit lenses are excellent, too...

Comment #6

Read the review section of this site. The reviewers are much better informed and have used all these camera's for an extended time. Most users on this forum only have experience with one maybe two models..

Canon 400D (or 350D if you want to save a little $)Nikon D40/D40xOlympus E-510Pentax K100Sony A100.

All of these fit in your budget and are very competent. Check the reviews and figure which is best for your needs...

Comment #7

BA baracus wrote:.

Read the review section of this site. The reviewers are much betterinformed and have used all these camera's for an extended time. Mostusers on this forum only have experience with one maybe two models..

Canon 400D (or 350D if you want to save a little $)Nikon D40/D40xOlympus E-510Pentax K100Sony A100.

All of these fit in your budget and are very competent. Check thereviews and figure which is best for your needs..

Plus one on this advice. All the cameras recommended above are good cameras that will produce excellent photos and most likely serve the needs you listed. They all emphasize different things, however, and have different strengths and limitations. Read the reviews, understand the limitations and if they apply to you (they may not), then actually handle all the cameras that you can and see if they are comfortable to work with..

Wish I had an easier more clear cut answer for you, but I will say this: those that only give you the perceived strengths of their particular camera and the weaknesses of the ones they didn't buy aren't telling you enough. Look in the reviews section here and pay attnetion to the strengths and weaknesses listed for each and decide which apply to you and your needs..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #8

Cooldad wrote:.

Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like somerecommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use itprimarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kidssports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for agood entry level SLR. Even better if I can get one one with an extralens for that price..

My research at this point has me focusing on the following three:* Canon EOS 400D* Nikon D40 or D40x* Olympus E-510.

Any thoughts? suggestions? user experiences? Other models toconsider?.

Thanks in advance..

All of these are good choices. I'd get the D40 or D40x with the 18-55 and 55-200VR lenses. It's true there is no focus motor in them, but you still can choose from dozens that do. Note that there is a non-VR version of the 55-200 that you should avoid..

If you'd rather avoid changing lenses, either of the Nikons with the 18-135 would be good. No VR on that lens, though...

Comment #9

BA's advice is the best advice you've gotten so far..

I'm new to dslr and I have the E-510 2 lens kit. I'm pretty satisfied with it as an all around camera..

Shot with a friend's Rebel xti and it's nice, too..

Cruise on down to a camera store and see what feels right, too, after you follow the suggestion of BA re the dpr reviews..

Keep in mind that no matter which one you get, someone will tell you why it's no good...

Comment #10

And include the Sony A100 in your list. Ergonomics are great, kit lens may be the best of the group, and according to Popular Photography test of stabilization it is best of the body ISS and right with the in lens systems. Oh yes, it also takes really great pictures. Check the Sony DSLR forum for bunches of examples...

Comment #11

.....it has it's limitations albeit not a bad price for starters, but you should know AutoFocus is supported only with AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses..

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...productlist.jsp&A=search&Q=*&bhs=t.

Regards,Hank..

Comment #12

(OK, my 2nd attempt, 1st attempt was lost when IE crashed on me).

With a budget of $700, you might want to get creative...

I would highly suggest you stay away from a new body. You will get more value from a used body..

I'm a Canon user, I'm on my 3rd Canon DSLR, I started with the Rebel (300D), progressed to the 350D (XT), then moved up to the 40D this past September..

You will find some great deals on the 300D and the camera is still great, however, I'd suggest staying away from it. Look for a used 350D or a 10D or 20D. These are all great cameras. I did a quick completion search on eBay and found quite a few packages (camera, lenses, cards, flashes, etc) that sold for around $500..

If all you get is the body, you'll need a lens (or two). For your all purpose lens, I'd suggest the EF 50 f/1.8, it is a decent enough lens and better yet, is $70 new. It won't work for sports, unless you are the referee. For sports, you need to figure out if it is indoors or outdoors or both. Indoor sports will require a fast lens (f/2.8 or so) these tend to be a lot more $$. You can get away with a slower lens (f4) but have to be aware of the limits..

You won't need a flash up front, however, with 3 kids you will outgrow any built in flash rather fast (I have 3 kids, I know this). Don't skimp on the flash. A new 580EX2 will run about $350 (shipped), not cheap, but wiell worth it. You might be able to find a used 550EX online for considerably less. The 430EX is a great flash too, I don't have one so I cannot comment on it. I have a 420EX, it is not made/sold any more.



Don't forget the "other items":.

- Flash cards (prices have come down, but could run you $50 for a couple).

- Camera Bag (~ $25 - $50 for a decent bag).

- Software (Photoshop/Elements are the 'norm', you could try out Gimp though for free).

Hope that helps...

Don't get too locked into the body at first. The digital SLR market is still growing, there are new models coming out each year. By picking up something that someone is unloading to move up to the latest and greatest, you can save a lot of $$ and not skimp. The rumours have it that the XTi replacement is coming due from Canon. The first month of a new release of a model will see an increase of older models in the used market (read: XT's and XTi's)..

There are also a lot of people with new cameras for Xmas who will be selling the body that it replaced...

Also: Though I am a Canon freak, I will tell you that if you go with Canon or with Nikon you will be all set. Find a camera and jump in!!.

Good luck, hope this helps..

=Glen=-.

Http://www.pbase.com/gsansoucie..

Comment #13

I bought my first DSLR Camera not so long ago a Nikon D40, I always wanted the Rebel XTi but I took a few weeks to go and try them all in store, and to me the D40 body was the one I was most comfortable with so I ended up getting it with the 18-55 kit lens. Just don't forget about all the little extra because in 2 month I have spent about 1000$ on extra stuff: Tamrac bag, Manfroto Tripod + Head, 55-200 VR , Epson P-200 , Cleaning Kit, Memory Card, Clear Filter (for protection), Wireless Remote.

I strongly suggest looking at the used market, that's something I failed to do and that could save you alot of money..

I own a Nikon but I have lot of fun playing with my friends cameras too (Canon & Fuji)I think you should go to a store and ask to try a few in your list..

One think I learned tho , and that may not apply to you is that most likely the limitation won't be with the camera but with your own skills because I saw some amazing shots taken with a D40 here that made me realize how important the person behind the camera his...

Comment #14

All of the cameras you mention will be able to fit your needs. I know you haven't mentioned it but many first time DSLR purchasers base the camera on megapixels, it looks like you haven't and that is the right thing to do! MP isn't really that relevant, especially for 4x6 or 5x7 prints..

The kit lenses that you can get with the camera bodies will probably fulfill most of your needs however the kids sports ones may provide some challenges. You didn't mention what sports they play or the type of venue they play in. Photographing sports in a gymnasium or arena is going to have different lense requirements than soccer in an open field in bright sunlight. Generally speaking, indoor sports lighting is not as bright as you may think and this would require a faster lens (fast being a low aperature - F number - such as F2.8 or F2.0). This is important in your decision as you need to look at lens and accessory availablity for the brand you purchase..

Keeping on the subject of lenses, I wouldn't recommend going out and purchasing a bunch of lenses when you buy the camera. I do this for two reasons, firstly, using a 18-55 kit lense will allow your to get an idea of how much zoom range you may need. With sports you will likely need more than 55mm but don't just buy any zoom to start with. This brings me to my second reason, kit lenses have variable aperatures (ie F3.5-F5.6) which means, depending on how far you are zooming, your minimum aperature will vary...it will be F3.5 at 18mm but perhaps F5.6 by the time you get to 40mm. This will be a great learning tool for you to see the types of aperatures you may find you need in your longer zoom lense to get the shutter speeds your need or even the depth of field (amount of background/foreground that is "blurry"). The bottom line is that while you could get a two lense kit, the longer zoom may not meet your needs and the "deal" you got by purchasing the second lens with the body may be wasted as you find you need to get one that was a little faster or perhaps without a variable aperature.

This isn't all that big a deal but it does affect your field of view. The Nikon has a 1.5 crop factor meaning your 18-55mm lens has the traditional film SLR field of view of a 27-82mm lense, the Canons are 1.6 crop factors and the Olympus is a 2.0 crop factor. Crop factors are not "more zoom", it does not get you any closer to a subject, it just means that if compared to a film SLR, you would be only using a portion of the frame..."cropping" or cutting of the edges...changing the field of view..

Another thing to keep in mind is that kids are generally in motion, don't get sucked into people telling you that image stabilization (in-body or in-lens) will allow you to use a high aperature (like F4.0 or F5.6) just like it was an F2.8...it doesn't work that way. Image stabilization if for still photography...moving subjects (unless you are panning) will still blur regardless of how good a stabilization system there is..

One thing you will notice is that the DSLR cameras of today (any of your choices) will be much more responsive than any point and shoot. Generally there will be very quick focusing and when you press the shutter, the camera will respond almost instantly...for sports or kids this is huge..

Those are my thoughts (and lessons I have learned). That said, I haven't even suggested a camera to you. This is intentional as you need to be happy with your purchase but more importantly need to be able to make an informed decision...but I had to recommend a camera, I would suggest a Canon, personally I would recommend a used 20D or 30D (nice autofocus systems and great lense/accessory availability...not just canon but third parties like Sigma or Tamaron). One big difference with the 20D/30D models is the size of the camera. some feel they may be too big for them...personally, I found the size helped me balance the camera better...

Comment #15

Cooldad wrote:.

Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like somerecommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use itprimarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kidssports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for agood entry level SLR. Even better if I can get one one with an extralens for that price..

I want to do the same things you do and I ended up getting a used Canon 350D with the kit lense in mint condition. I actually purchased a 420EX flash just prior to getting the camera. Camera and flash cost under $500 combined. I just purchased 2-2gb cards, wireless RF remote, case and 2 extra batteries. The next step is to get a lense or two. Without lenses, I would estimate my total investment to be about $600.



I usually like to get the latest stuff, however, since I am just beginning I wanted to save some money and learn first before putting down big bucks on a camera. I feel the 350D gave me a good price point and is a camera that will give me a good tool to learn on as well as giving me great pictures. I am really satisfied with it so far...

Comment #16

With what you've invested in your "starter" (I say starter, but as you are well aware, you can get a lot of use out of your setup), should you lose interest in photography, you will get just about all of that back if you sell it off..

=Glen=-.

Http://www.pbase.com/gsansoucie..

Comment #17

Hank3152 wrote:.

Cooldad wrote:.

Hello folks...looking for my first dslr camera and would like somerecommendations and info for which ones to consider. Will use itprimarily for photographing family (3 kids), sporting events (kidssports), and family vacations. Looking to spend less than $700 for agood entry level SLR..

To do all that and do it well will cost much more than $700.......agreat lens just to do kids sports will be in the $1400range........BUT a good place to start would be the 400D body and the18-55IS lens, NOT the standard kit lens. This would put you in the$700 neighborhood..

But good lenses to do kids sports can be had for much less than $1400. $1400 gets you pro level glass, which is overkill for taking pics of 5 year old Johnny running around a soccer field...

Comment #18

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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