My first SLR, which one to choose?
Hi, after some carefull reading and forumstalking i've decided to get my first SLR(yay!). The problem is that with all these different models out there i'm kinda confused on which is the one for me/my needs..

I don't have much, barely any, experience in Photography so this is all pretty new to me. I have done some reading and intend to read alot more to be clear on the basics before I start shooting . Links to helpfull guides will be apppriciated..

Enough smalltalk! I've been looking at the basic SLR's out there and have got a few models i'm interested in. The Nikon D40,D50, Pentax K100-D and the Canon 350D. Now these are all pretty similar models, some are older but still..

Now the Nikon D40 is at the top of my list at the moment, it's fairly cheap(499e) new and the Kit lens is not too bad either. But will the Kit lens be enough? The D40 is barely in my Budget(500-600e) so I couldnt afford another lens for a while..

If I bought a second-hand D50 or a K100D(wich is on sale for 399e-kit) I could afford another Lens and maybe even a flash in the same package..

The Canon would be in the same pricerange as the D40, maybe a little cheaper and would work with other than just AF lenses. How does it compare to the D40 in imagequality?..

I have only tried the D40 and a Canon 400D(they did not have the 350D)in a shop and I really liked the light weight and compact body of the D40. I haven't tried the D50 or Pentax yet(all tho I intend to) but I know that they are both larger(and heavyer) than the D40. How big of a difference doe's the weight difference really make in everyday use?.

I would be using the camera mostly for Nature/wildlife pictures but would also like to try out some street/city stuff. Some low-light/night-time shots at occasions as well. Handheld mostly as I do not intend to buy a tripod yet, as one is heavy to carry around. Action photos are not that important to me..

I have been looking at "Superzoom" / "Bridge" camera's aswell but I feel that they will be too limited and that I will have to uppgrade fairly quickly..

Photograpphy is something I have always enjoyed, all tho I have not had the time or opportunity to get my own camera. I like the way you can make simple things into art and the fact that you have too look "outside the box" for those extraordinary shots. I also realise that it will take time before I actually start getting good pictures. Michael Schumacher didn't win the Formula-1 GP he's first season either ..

I didn't intend for this post to get this long but ofter I get carried away. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Any and all tips/suggestions will be greatly appriciated.Apologies for my English, it is my 3'd Language...

Comments (12)

I chose K100D because it's broader feature set compared to D40, also Pentax has rebate promotion last month. D40 seemed nice, but not having image stabilization or exposure bracketing made me feel K100D was the more complete package, for less too...

Comment #1

(for normal read: not captive or at least semi-tame, and not absolutely massive)..

Most 'kit' lenses are meant to be small, light, and inexpensive, and are targeted at the most common uses touristy landscapes, family portraits, individual portraits. Olympus is a bit odd in that they've produced kits with two lenses (at varying times, a 14-42 or 14-45 plus one of two different 40-150 variations)..

Most wildlife won't get anywhere near close enough for the kit lenses to be meaningful. Serious wildlife photographers aren't carrying long, heavy, expensive lenses and tripods for kicks...

Comment #2

I would take the D40, and later buy a 55-200 VR lens..

If you go with the Pentax, which is a great camera too, I would buy the body with a 18-200 lens or even better a 18-250. The price will be less or equal to Nikon package, but you won't need to switch lenses..

'Practice doesnt make perfect, perfect practice doesnt make perfect. Practice makes improvements and improvements lead to excellence!'Just practice!.

Fujifilm Finepix E550 and F20Pentax K100d..

Comment #3

If I may summarize: you're new to photography, you want an SLR, you want to take nature/wildlife photos, street, and night / low light photos. And you want to do this for a budget of 600 euros or less. I think it's tough for an SLR to do all that without spending a lot of money on expensive lenses..

Perhaps you should get the Panasonic FZ18. It's not a DSLR, but it has a fantastic zoom range (28mm - 504mm equivalent), a high speed lens (2.8-4.2 or is it 2.8 - 3.1??) and image stabilization. With the long focal length, high speed (wide aperture), and image stabilization, you could take wildlife photos. For night photos, the 2.8 aperture is not great but is useable. I don't know what lenses are best for street photography, but I suppose the very versatile zoom range in one lens would be convenient. Plus the FZ18 has SLR-like controls.

Even if you do get a DSLR in the future, you could keep the FZ18 as a backup camera, or if you need to use a fast telephoto..

Note: I don't have an FZ18, so all my information about the FZ18 is only based on what I've read and seen on this website...

Comment #4

CreaDVty gave you good advice. If you are not willing to spend the time to learn photography, use your dslr's creative modes, and learn the basics of photoprocessing, you probably should not buy a dslr. If you are willing to do these things, then any of the dslrs mentioned above will suit your purpose. Keep in mind that you are buying a system and that the lenses ultimately are much more important than the camera body. Therefore, consider what lenses you will need before you decide on a camera body..


Comment #5

If you really want a dslr and are new to slrs you need to ask whether you want to carry one lens or two and keep changing them. The Tamron 18-250 is a very good lens, sharper than it should be even at 250mm but really only goes on Pentax or Sony - I mean, the common complaint in Canon or Nikon forums is it isn't stabilised, so you either have to carry a tripod everywhere, which defeats the point of a one-lens solution, or you get a camera with stabilised sensor ie Pentax or Sony..

The Panasonic FZ50 is as big as a dslr but has a very good lens so might be worth thinking about as it's well within yur budget...

Comment #6

No one said I wasn't prepare for some learning? If shooting in auto mode would be all i'm after Dsl'rs would not be the right place to look, I agree . Shooting in the "creative" modes is exactly what I'm after, Post processing on the other hand is very new for me, how important is it?.

I am drawing closer to the D40 and do have a couple upgrade lenses in mind for when the time comes. The Pentax didn't feel right when I tried it in the shop, cant really find any second-hand D50's I like either..

Thank you for your tips and opinions...

Comment #7

Aldor wrote: "No one said I wasn't prepare for some learning? If shooting in auto mode would be all i'm after Dsl'rs would not be the right place to look, I agree . Shooting in the "creative" modes is exactly what I'm after, Post processing on the other hand is very new for me, how important is it?".

Sorry if I misjudged you. We see lots of folks who think they can buy a dslr and use it like their old P&S and, miraculously, their photos will look like they were taken by a pro. The fact is, their photos might not be as good as those taken with their old P&S. This is because P&S cameras are designed to make decisions for the photographer regarding shutter speed, f stop, sharpness, contrast, and so on. The result can be a reasonably good photo but selsom is pro quality. The automatic modes of a dslr do the same thing as a P&S, whereas the creative modes are designed to let the photographer make the decisions.

Moreover, NEARLY ALL users of dslr cameras photoprocess their photos to produce the desired effect. Thus, to answer your question, post processing is critically important and will provide the "pop" that you undoubtedly hope to achieve in your photos..


Comment #8

Thanks for you comments Jerry..

I got a-lot to learn before I can fully take advantage of the "creative" modes on a SLR but learning is part of th fun ..

Comment #9

If someone as technologically challenged as me can learn the basics of photoprocessing, you certainly can too..


Comment #10

Jchoate wrote:.

If someone as technologically challenged as me can learn the basicsof photoprocessing, you certainly can too..


Hehe, there is hope .

I have decided to go with the d40, as an upgrade lens I'm looking at a 55-200mm VR. I've also reconsidered getting a tripod and then stumbled over sort of a compromise, what do you guys think about this?.


It'ssmaller than a regular tripod and can be strapped around poles,trees etc. It's alot easier to carry around and will fit on a biketrip for ex. Its also cheaper...

Comment #11

I would not recommend a DSLR as a starter camera. You should look at one of the bridge cameras, learn to use it, figure out what you wantyou will probably not outgrow it anytime soon..

Comment #12

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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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