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best entry wilderness / outdoor camera
So I'm looking for the best wilderness and outdoor entry level DSLR I can get. If I had all the money in the world I would be looking at the Olympus E-3, Nikon D300 or an equivalent Canon, but I dont so I'm trying to find the entry level solution with the best available lenses and accessories..

Ive kind of boiled it down to 5 choices..

Nikon D40 (probably get this instead of the D40x to save the cash)Nikon D40xCanon Rebel XTiOlympus E-510Pentax K10D (maybe, a little bigger).

Basically, I'm looking for lightweight and small camera body, as well as lenses that wont weigh a ton, but will get good landscape and telephoto shots, work in low light situations, and be able to stand up to a bit of abuse in the outdoors (body and lenses)..

Im sure the picture quality is pretty much the same for all of the above, so I'm really making my choice based on if one brands body and lens system stands up better to abuse and doesnt weigh a ton..

I have to say that Nikon seems to feel the best in my hands, and the viewfinder looks a lot better then the Olympus. Other then that, I have 3 old 70's Nikkor lenses and some SD cards laying around... so thats kind of swaying my vote towards Nikon. BUT I want unbiased honest opinions of anyone who has used these cameras outdoors on trips etc....

Thanks!..

Comments (5)

Codeblue20 wrote:.

So I'm looking for the best wilderness and outdoor entry level DSLR Ican get. If I had all the money in the world I would be looking atthe Olympus E-3, Nikon D300 or an equivalent Canon, but I dont so imtrying to find the entry level solution with the best availablelenses and accessories..

Ive kind of boiled it down to 5 choices..

Nikon D40 (probably get this instead of the D40x to save the cash)Nikon D40xCanon Rebel XTiOlympus E-510Pentax K10D (maybe, a little bigger).

Basically, I'm looking for lightweight and small camera body, as wellas lenses that wont weigh a ton, but will get good landscape andtelephoto shots, work in low light situations, and be able to standup to a bit of abuse in the outdoors (body and lenses)..

Im sure the picture quality is pretty much the same for all of theabove, so I'm really making my choice based on if one brands body andlens system stands up better to abuse and doesnt weigh a ton..

I have to say that Nikon seems to feel the best in my hands, and theviewfinder looks a lot better then the Olympus. Other then that, Ihave 3 old 70's Nikkor lenses and some SD cards laying around... sothats kind of swaying my vote towards Nikon. BUT I want unbiasedhonest opinions of anyone who has used these cameras outdoors ontrips etc....

Thanks!.

Hi.

Think you are going to have to make comprimises. I do not think you can have light weight AND good low light, AND rugged (weather sealed???)..

The closest you will get is the K10d ...has good high iso (though not as good as others) and a little bigger, but not huge..

Olympus E1...small rugged and weather sealed many use them for what you want, the advantage of 4/3s for teles...just not quite so good at iso 800 and up..

You could also consider an older pro grade camera, these are mostly much larger but are rugged and have good high iso for the most part..

If it was me...my choice would be between K10d, E1 or Nikon D2h.

Neil..

Comment #1

You're asking for a combination that does not exist..

Basically, I'm looking for lightweight and small camera body, as wellas lenses that wont weigh a ton, but will get good landscape andtelephoto shots, work in low light situations, and be able to standup to a bit of abuse in the outdoors (body and lenses)..

A lightweight lens won't be good in low light or stand up to abuse very well..

For landscape you'll have better options as you don't need a fast aperture (but you will need a tripod). But for wildlife you need a long and fast lens (ie heavy and expensive) to shoot in low light - low light being a heavy overcast day or darker..

The camera is the LEAST important thing - choose a lens system first...

Comment #2

Im aware the combination doesnt really exist... I'm basically asking out of the nikon d40/d40x, canon rebel xti, or olympus e-510, what camera body and lens system would best suit this application, and what one do most people use for this (if anyone is out there that uses them). A nikon d40 +telephotos, a canon xti +telephotos, olympus +telephots... which one would be the more rugid, and not huge in size or budget option ? .

Also to consider is the future... and upgrading my camera body in the future to work with the lens system I have bought into... for the outdoor, more rugid application. Is AF-S the future for nikon ? motor in the lens ? I know VR/IS is the future for canon and nikon but not olympus, and as I understand this way is better... but I'm not sure about the lens based AF motor..

The k10d is a good option, considering it's weather sealed thats a bit of a bonus, but I heard it's not as user friendly, and the low light/image quality isnt as good as others ?

Comment #3

Codeblue20 wrote:.

Im aware the combination doesnt really exist... I'm basically askingout of the nikon d40/d40x, canon rebel xti, or olympus e-510, whatcamera body and lens system would best suit this application, andwhat one do most people use for this (if anyone is out there thatuses them). A nikon d40 +telephotos, a canon xti +telephotos, olympus+telephots... which one would be the more rugid, and not huge in sizeor budget option ? .

Also to consider is the future... and upgrading my camera body in thefuture to work with the lens system I have bought into... for theoutdoor, more rugid application. Is AF-S the future for nikon ? motorin the lens ? I know VR/IS is the future for canon and nikon but notolympus, and as I understand this way is better... but I'm not sureabout the lens based AF motor..

The k10d is a good option, considering it's weather sealed thats a bitof a bonus, but I heard it's not as user friendly, and the lowlight/image quality isnt as good as others ? .

Ki10d is as user friendly as you want it to be and is not bad at low light...maybe not as good as some others (why I went with a K100d over the K10d)...my opinion is it's at least as good as the Olympus..

Neil..

Comment #4

I'm still basically a newbie, but I have chosen the D40 for my first dslr - now just waiting for it to get here. Here's my take on your situation:.

Codeblue20 wrote:.

Im aware the combination doesnt really exist... I'm basically askingout of the nikon d40/d40x, canon rebel xti, or olympus e-510, whatcamera body and lens system would best suit this application, andwhat one do most people use for this (if anyone is out there thatuses them). A nikon d40 +telephotos, a canon xti +telephotos, olympus+telephots... which one would be the more rugid, and not huge in sizeor budget option ? .

I don't have a particular type of photography in mind, just sort of want to learn it all, but I'm a small female and size/weight are important to me. The D40 felt very comfortable to me, and have been told by multiple people that the extra resolution of the D40x is not enough to make it worth it and that the D40 in some cases produces better images. You can probably get good lenses for whatever you want, whether they will be light is a different story. I'm also guessing that even a heavier lens on a light camera will be lighter than the same lens on a heavier body, if only by a little..

Also to consider is the future... and upgrading my camera body in thefuture to work with the lens system I have bought into... for theoutdoor, more rugid application. Is AF-S the future for nikon ? motorin the lens ? I know VR/IS is the future for canon and nikon but notolympus, and as I understand this way is better... but I'm not sureabout the lens based AF motor..

My understanding from the reading I've done is that AF-S is the way of future lenses. That's why Nikon felt they could remove the focus motor, because the *average* D40/x user has no old lenses to start with and all new lenses will be AF-S. My understanding is also that all canon lenses have the motor in the lens as well, and no focusing motor in the body. I read that canon changed their lens mount at some point (20ish years ago maybe?) and all lenses after that point have the motor in the lens..

All the reading I've done, especially on the forums, points to the importance of how the camera feels in your hand, so if the Nikon felt best in your hands that may be the way to go, especially if your old lenses are any good. They may not auto-focus, and depending how old may also not meter, but should still mount and function on the D40. The D40 can actually mount some lenses that are even older than the oldest that some of the other bodies can mount without modifying the lens. Here's a link to a compatibility chart of Nikon lenses to Nikon DSLR bodies: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm ..

The k10d is a good option, considering it's weather sealed thats a bitof a bonus, but I heard it's not as user friendly, and the lowlight/image quality isnt as good as others ? .

I think the part that's going to be hard in your requirements is the ruggedness/weather handling of the camera. It seems though that even the entry level ones can withstand a larger array of temperatures than they're listed for. That said, if the K10d feels comfortable enough to go with it for it's weatherproofing without risking leaving it at home because you don't like using it, then it may be a good option, but if it comes down to all non-sealed bodies then I'd say go with the one that is most comfortable to you, which sounds like the Nikon from your original post..

Hope that helps, and if I'm wrong on any of this I'm sure others will correct me. Good luck on your decision!.

Jamie.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotogrl/..

Comment #5

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