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Looking for a new camera...need advice
HiThis is my first post here and I'm looking for some advice..

I am a novice when it comes to photography but I've come to realise my current camera (a Fujifilm S6500fp) doesn't cut the mustard..

I am looking for a camera that will give me excellent photos in the daylight but also excellent photos in low light (as I will be taking photo's of my church events which are very low light)..

I was initially hoping to find a compact point and shoot camera that will do the job but after getting some advice on another forum (although not a photography forum), I've been directed in the way of DSLR (The main suggestion being the Nikon D50)..

Can someone please give me advice on a camera (and lense if DSLR) to get that would achieve the results I'm looking for. Please bare in mind I know nothing about SLR cameras (the people in the other forum got very technical, talking about BGLOD, shutter actuations, etc but I know nothing about these)..

Thanks in advancep.s. my budget would be around 300 ($600)..

Comments (18)

Gazfocus wrote:.

HiThis is my first post here and I'm looking for some advice..

I am a novice when it comes to photography but I've come to realisemy current camera (a Fujifilm S6500fp) doesn't cut the mustard..

I am looking for a camera that will give me excellent photos in thedaylight but also excellent photos in low light (as I will be takingphoto's of my church events which are very low light)..

I was initially hoping to find a compact point and shoot camera thatwill do the job but after getting some advice on another forum(although not a photography forum), I've been directed in the way ofDSLR (The main suggestion being the Nikon D50)..

Can someone please give me advice on a camera (and lense if DSLR) toget that would achieve the results I'm looking for. Please bare inmind I know nothing about SLR cameras (the people in the other forumgot very technical, talking about BGLOD, shutter actuations, etc butI know nothing about these)..

Thanks in advancep.s. my budget would be around 300 ($600).

For 300 there is just one (very good) DSLR option at the moment: the Nikon D40 with the standard zoom lens. It is an excellent, easy-to-use DSLR..

Don't be put off by thinking that it is too complicated. It can be, but to start with you can just put it on 'Auto' mode and use it like a glorified point-n-shoot..

You still need to know what you are doing a bit... in low light, for example, you need to use the highest ISO setting to allow you to get a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake. or of course you can use flash, but in a church that won't look so good as most of the background will be black - the flash is only powerful enough to light up the foreground. If you can get someone to switch all the lights on you should be able to use the available light to get much better quality pics than you would get with a compact..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

Mike703 wrote:.

For 300 there is just one (very good) DSLR option at the moment: theNikon D40 with the standard zoom lens. It is an excellent,easy-to-use DSLR..

Don't be put off by thinking that it is too complicated. It can be,but to start with you can just put it on 'Auto' mode and use it likea glorified point-n-shoot..

You still need to know what you are doing a bit... in low light, forexample, you need to use the highest ISO setting to allow you to geta shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake. or of course youcan use flash, but in a church that won't look so good as most of thebackground will be black - the flash is only powerful enough to lightup the foreground. If you can get someone to switch all the lightson you should be able to use the available light to get much betterquality pics than you would get with a compact..

Best wishesMike.

Thanks Mike. Would you recommend the D40 over the D50/D60? My only concern with the D40 is the lack of autofocus motor in the body (something I've told to be careful of as it can make looking for lenses more difficult)..

Thanks..

Comment #2

Mike,.

I was going to make the same recommendation. I see D40's with the 18-55 lens in the mid $400 range. That's an outstanding camera that will deliver very good results.Brent..

Comment #3

Gazfocus,.

I suggest that for the vast majority of photographers, the lack of a screw drive AF motor is less of an issue than some folks think. Nikon is getting to have a pretty comprehensive line up of AF-S lenses that don't require the old screw drive system. Given your budget constraint, I'm guessing that you will build your kit around one or two of the excellent modern AF-S lenses anyway. (and unlikely to include some of the classic and expensive screw drive lenses like the 85mm f1.4D)..

Regards,Brent..

Comment #4

BrentR wrote:.

Gazfocus,.

I suggest that for the vast majority of photographers, the lack of ascrew drive AF motor is less of an issue than some folks think. Nikonis getting to have a pretty comprehensive line up of AF-S lenses thatdon't require the old screw drive system. Given your budgetconstraint, I'm guessing that you will build your kit around one ortwo of the excellent modern AF-S lenses anyway. (and unlikely toinclude some of the classic and expensive screw drive lenses likethe 85mm f1.4D)..

Regards,Brent.

Thanks Brent. Can you recommend a good zoom lense for the D40? (keeping in mind the need for low light, etc).Thanks..

Comment #5

Thanks Mike. Would you recommend the D40 over the D50/D60? My onlyconcern with the D40 is the lack of autofocus motor in the body(something I've told to be careful of as it can make looking forlenses more difficult)..

The D60 is 450 so out of your price range (and has the same autofocus motor issue). The D50 was discontinued two years ago, replaced by the D40 - you would need to get a second hand example of the D50. It does have the advantage of an in-camera autofocus motor, so works with all Nikon AF lenses, which is why examples of the D50 are still sought out. But since you don't have old Nikon lens collection that you want to retain the use of, I'd go for the D40..

You are correct that the D40 needs to be matched with lenses that have an autofocus motor in the body, but there are plenty of these lenses around, not only from Nikon (the AF-S series) but also from third-party manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron. Unless you need something wildly esoteric (unlikely for a relative beginner) it won't be a problem..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #6

A quantitative figure on merit you might use to help you decide is:.

Figure_of_merit = (ImageStabilizationFactor)(MaxPracticalISO)/(f-stopSquared).

Where ImageStabilizationFactor = 1 for no IS, moving subject, or tripod; 2-3 otherwise...

Comment #7

Ok guys, thanks for the advice. I will look into the Nikon D40. Are Nikon generally the best DSLR's? How does the D40 do in low light situations?.

Thanks again.

P.s. if I'm going down the DSLR route, can someone suggest a good compact camera (to fit in my pocket on holidays and stuff)? Thanks..

Comment #8

You should read (portions of) this thread:.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=28141694.

There is no "best" camera. Olympus, Nikon and Canon all make great products with a host of strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about this situation, is that we the photographers benefit..

In your case, the D40 was suggested because it's known to deliver excellent photographs and value in the price range you quoted..

Regards,Brent..

Comment #9

Probably the best deal on will be the D40 packaged with the 18-55 DX lens. If possible, consider upgrading to the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR DX lens. I think the VRII will serve you well in low light situations..

Your next lens would be something longer. I would consider the 55-200mm f4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR lens. This give you a pretty good range of focal lengths..

I admit that I'm not an expert in the Nikon consumer lens line up. Maybe get started with a 18-55mm then go to the Nikon lens forum and debate your next move a bit further.....

Regards,Brent..

Comment #10

Here's why I said.

Figure_of_merit =(ImageStabilizationFactor)(MaxPracticalISO)/(f-stopSquared).

Where ImageStabilizationFactor = 1 for no IS, moving subject, ortripod; 2-3 otherwise..

The figure of merit is based on your desire to take photos in a dark place..

If you run the numbers you'll see that a camera with ISO 1600 and f/3.5 lens is about equivalent to ISO 400 with an f/1.8 lens..

In your case lens choice may be the critical factor...

Comment #11

Following overwhelming suggestions, I'm looking at the Nikon D40 and I was just wondering if the differences on the D60 are worth the extra money?.

As I said, I am a beginner, and I am particularly looking for a camera for low light photography. Would I therefore need a VR lense? How does the D40 cope with low light?..

Comment #12

I am not sure I agree with the majority advice you have recieved so far. The key words in your original post is *events* in the phrase "church events"..

For still shots of church interiors, stain glass windows etc the D40 or indeed almost any DSLR and either a steady hand, a monopod, a tripod or a VR lens will be fine. (An Olympus would perhaps be least favourite for high ISO work). But for events which mean people and movement you have 3 options:.

A) use flashb) a good low light prime and no flashc) a good low light zoom and no flash.

Because of the lack of a focus motor with the D40 you essentially lose option b) (Ok you can buy a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 but it will cost you as much as the camera) and you really need other lenses as well.).

In the church you will need a big flash (SB-600 or better still SB-800). These will set you back 150-200..

C) A D40 and Tamron or Sigma 17/18-50 would be a good combination (Make sure you get the modern versions of these lenses with built in focus motor) You might also consider a Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5. Any of these will near double the total cost but are much more flexible than the Sigma f/1.4.

B) You cannot realistically pursue this option with a D40 or D60. You need either a used D50 (or reconditioned if you are lucky) or D80. You can then get a 50mm f/1.8 for less than 100 for low light work and/or look at used Tamron or Sigma zoom f/2.8 lenses (The in lens focus motor versions are too new to be available as used buys).

I use both a D80 and D50 for low light work. My most recent shoot in a church is here:.

Http://placidod.zenfolio.com/p173685346/.

And this shot was taken in very poor light:.

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

ISO 3200 on the D80 f/2.8 1/60th Sigma 17-70 at 17mm..

(All the above were shot in RAW).

Most of my lenses were bought used..

P.S. Your Profile does not identify your country. You will sometime receive more helpful advice if it is..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #13

Thanks for that info. I am somewhat reluctant to buy a used D50 a) because of the age, and b) because sellers aren't forth coming about how many photo's have been taken with the camera..

The pictures you have are of a different nature to the ones I will be taking (although still good to give me an idea). I want to try and keep the 'dark' but pickup the bands which have lights above them (obviously with a flash, all darkness is completely lost)..

I am in the UK by the way, but again thanks for your advice, I will have a look for a used D50 too..

Comment #14

Gazfocus wrote:.

Thanks for that info. I am somewhat reluctant to buy a used D50 a)because of the age, and b) because sellers aren't forth coming abouthow many photo's have been taken with the camera..

I understand your caution. You can read the shutter count on any Nikon from the exif information in the photos using a free download like Opanda. The design life of the D50 is around 50,000. If you can find one with say 10,000 clicks on it you should be OK. Best arrangment is to find a friend of a friend who is upgrading which will reduce the chances of a problem..

The pictures you have are of a different nature to the ones I will betaking (although still good to give me an idea). I want to try andkeep the 'dark' but pickup the bands which have lights above them(obviously with a flash, all darkness is completely lost)..

Maybe something more like this?:.

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

P.S. I bought my D50 12 months ago reconditioned for 220 with just 20 clicks on it..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #15

Wow that pic is outstanding and just the thing I'm looking for. Where did you buy your D50 from out of interest?.

What lense would you suggest for low light with the D50? (Found a D50 on ebay (body only) but only taken 3800 shots..

Thanks..

Comment #16

With the D50 you can use all the AF Nikon lenses: by far the best value is the 50mm f/1.8 which you can get in the UK for just 80 and would be an excellent lens for low light work.Best wishesMike..

Comment #17

Am I right in thinking that the lower the f number, the faster it is (and therefore the better for low light)?.

I generally don't mind paying more for a lense if the D40 is a better camera than the D50. Which would give the better spec?.

My initial budget was 300 but I know I will have to exceed that to get the results I want..

ThanksLooking for a beginner DSLR for low light. Help ..

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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