snubbr.com

Newbie 1st DSLR purchase - some questions...
Evening all!.

I'm a newbie looking to buy my first DSLR and I am having some troubles getting through the minefield of information. I'd appreciate some help from you knowledgeable types!.

I am coming to the DSLR market from a history of point and shoot 35mm compacts and digital compacts. I'm looking to take things to the next stage and am keen to learn about photography along the way. I must be honest and say that I know nothing about this art form at the moment..

So what I am looking for is a DSLR that will give me a good intro to photography. A nice 'auto' setting to get me going and get some confidence up taking some good quality pics, then the facility to "go manual" as I learn and experiment. Good quality photos in auto mode are a must as my wife will want to use the camera, but is not interested in learning about photography in the same way that I am..

My ball park cost wise is in the region of the Canon EOS 400d, Olympus E-410, and Nikon D40 or D40x, but I may be persuaded up to the Nikon D80 level if it's really worth the extra cash in the long run..

The one area that I am most confused on at the moment is lenses. Is it true that the bundled lenses that you get with these entry level DSLR's are not very good? I don't think I am going to be too keen on changing lenses all the time, so I would like to go for a versatile option. A friend recently bought the d80 with the 18-135mm lens, and this seems like a good place to be (rather than the basic 18-55mm). Should I go body only and spend a bit more on a better lens? Stick with brand lenses, or look at the likes of Tamron and Sigma? Is VR technology worth investing in? So many questions!.

I am not biased towards any brand in particular. I just want to get the camera that is right for me now, and which is future proofed enough that it will last me for 2-3 years as I learn about photography..

In terms of usage, it will just be used for general day-to-day stuff. No motorsports or anything demanding like that. Just family stuff, some indoors, some outdoors, some scenery, holidays, kids, etc, although I will experiment with more things as I start to learn..

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer me. Happy to answer any questions you may have...  .

Toby..

Comments (19)

A good place to look for lens reviews:http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/.

Of course almost every lens will have it's detractors and defenders but it will give you a good idea on what lenses are worth the money and what aren't. Large range zooms are nice 'do it all lenses' but the larger the zoom range the more lens designers had to compromise. VR or IS is nice for low light shots if the subject isn't moving too fast but obviously don't stop subject motion only camera shake. For someone just starting out, the kit lens will be head and shoulders above your point and shoot anyway and is a good place to start. After a few thousand photos, you'll have a better idea of what you need for your next lens...

Comment #1

Much as I love the DSLR, your situation sounds to me like just about the perfect use case for an "advanced" point and shoot camera - generally called a bridge camera here in the forums..

This will give you all of the automation you and your wife are used to with any other point and shoot. However, they offer much more in the way of control (up to and including full manual) and vastly improved lens designs. With the exception of how to properly change lenses, there isn't much you can't learn on a bridge camera..

They suffer from digital noise, particularly at high ISO (sensitvity) settings as compared to a DSLR. It's the physics associated with trying to build such a small sensor. However, unless you shoot in adverse conditions, can't use a flash, and want to blow the pictures up bigger than 8x10, odds are you'll rarely see this difference..

Other usability differences exist. Shutter lag, viewfinder brightness, speed of writting to the memory card - these are all better on a DSLR. You're going to pay in every respect to get the advantages though. The DSLR will be bigger (wife will hate that), more complicated (wife again), louder in operation (scowls at the next family wedding), and many times the price once you buy all the lenses..

There are many thorough reviews here on DPreview of bridge cameras. They're also more readily available at the local electronics store - and correspondingly easier to return if you get one you don't like...

Comment #2

Toby Henderson wrote:.

So what I am looking for is a DSLR that will give me a good intro tophotography. A nice 'auto' setting to get me going.

That's pretty much every camera.

My ball park cost wise is in the region of the Canon EOS 400d,Olympus E-410, and Nikon D40 or D40x, but I may be persuaded up tothe Nikon D80 level if it's really worth the extra cash in the longrun..

It won't take better pictures than any of the others. IOW, if you don't know why you need the D80 you wont miss the features it has that the others don't..

The one area that I am most confused on at the moment is lenses. Isit true that the bundled lenses that you get with these entry levelDSLR's are not very good? I don't think I am going to be too keen onchanging lenses all the time, so I would like to go for a versatileoption. A friend recently bought the d80 with the 18-135mm lens, andthis seems like a good place to be (rather than the basic 18-55mm).Should I go body only and spend a bit more on a better lens? Stickwith brand lenses, or look at the likes of Tamron and Sigma? Is VRtechnology worth investing in? So many questions!.

Any lens you get right now will be far better than you are a photographer. Get the kit lens and learn to get the most out of it. When it comes time to get another lens don't go too versatile on the lens - all lenses are a compromise and to get a long zoom range you're going to make sacrifices elsewhere. You need to decide for yourself - what's more important? Versatility or image quality. But for now it's like learning to play guitar - learning on a $4000 Fender Stratocastor won't help you learn the basics any more than learning on a $150 guitar. Get to the point where you're better than the $150 guitar then move on - and by then your needs will have dictated your next move..

In terms of usage, it will just be used for general day-to-day stuff.No motorsports or anything demanding like that. Just family stuff,some indoors, some outdoors, some scenery, holidays, kids, etc,although I will experiment with more things as I start to learn..

Get an external flash and a good tripod - those will be your best lenses..

All the camera manufacturers you cite make great cameras. But if you want the best 'system' to buy into, the one that will give you the most versatility and options, you can't go wrong with Canon or Nikon...

Comment #3

Have you considered this one at all?.

Http://www.dpreview.com/previews/panasonicdmcl10/.

If I was using a camera with your purposes in mind I'd go for that one..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #4

Are generally conceded to be quite good unlike most kit lenses..

The E410 dual lens kit or if you want Image Stabilization the E510 dual lens kit will give you a focal length range of 28mm to 300mm equiv range in only 2 lenses and the whole kit is still very light and easy to carry..

Or the E410 with the Leica 14-150mm (28-300 equiv) is an image stabilized lens makes a nice addition to the 410 and gets you the entire range in one lens.A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #5

What are you planning on taking photographs of?.

I would recommend going with either Nikon or Canon. These are the two big guns of the dslr's. They have great choices available in their lenses. If your just shooting for fun and not planning to make any money selling your photos don't be afraid to look into the Sigma and Tamron lenses. I have used both and have good experiences with them both. I have sold photographs taken with these lenses..

I started out with Pentax before buying the Canon 40D. You don't want to be like me and invest alot of money into a camera and then realize would should have gone a different direction. I still have my Pentax and I used both cameras all the time..

Just remember this, get what you (want/need/can afford) now but don't settle for something and then spend more money later because you feel you didn't make the correct choice. Try and pick a camera that has lenses that will fit other cameras made by that perticular camera company so when you do upgrade in a year or two you don't have to buy all new lenses...

Comment #6

You would need to spend a lot more for better lenses. The pro lenses are generally over $1000 each..

Nikon's kit lenses are mostly excellent. One possible exception is the 18-200 which ironically, is by far the most expensive of them..

The D40x and D80 are pretty much equivalent except that the D40x can only use AF-S lenses and is much smaller..

The Nikon 18-135 lens is good, but does not have VR (Nikon's term for image stabilization). It still might be your best bet if you don't want to change lenses...

Comment #7

Toby Henderson wrote:.

My ball park cost wise is in the region of the Canon EOS 400d,Olympus E-410, and Nikon D40 or D40x, but I may be persuaded up tothe Nikon D80 level if it's really worth the extra cash in the longrun..

Since ego is such a big part of photography ask yourself these questions. The questions may save you some money later as once you start with a brand it is often cheaper to stay with them because of your investment in lenses..

Do you like to upgrade to the latest and greatest? If yes, Canon possibly Nikon.

Do you like the status of a name? If yes, Nikon possibly Canon.

Do you like to march to the beat of a different drummer? If yes, Olympus.

Are specifications more important than the image? If yes, Canon or Nikon.

The MadTexan had excellent advice when he suggested you investigate prosumer superzoom cameras. Panasonic is the current darling. I know Olympus and Canon both have one. I don't know about Nikon..

REd..

Comment #8

Red13 wrote:.

Toby Henderson wrote:.

My ball park cost wise is in the region of the Canon EOS 400d,Olympus E-410, and Nikon D40 or D40x, but I may be persuaded up tothe Nikon D80 level if it's really worth the extra cash in the longrun..

Since ego is such a big part of photography ask yourself thesequestions. The questions may save you some money later as once youstart with a brand it is often cheaper to stay with them because ofyour investment in lenses..

Do you like to upgrade to the latest and greatest? If yes, Canonpossibly Nikon.

Do you like the status of a name? If yes, Nikon possibly Canon.

Do you like to march to the beat of a different drummer? If yes, Olympus.

Are specifications more important than the image? If yes, Canon orNikon.

The MadTexan had excellent advice when he suggested you investigateprosumer superzoom cameras. Panasonic is the current darling. Iknow Olympus and Canon both have one. I don't know about Nikon..

REd.

Mostly agree with this post, but do you mean to tell me that the 90% of pros that shoot Canon or Nikon are concerned about specs more than the images they get paid for?.

I think Olympus is a valid option, but both Nikon and Canon offer _slightly_ better image quality due to the larger sensor...

Comment #9

Greg Nut wrote:.

Mostly agree with this post, but do you mean to tell me that the 90%of pros that shoot Canon or Nikon are concerned about specs more thanthe images they get paid for?.

No, a pro, one who is earning their living from photography has equipment that maximizes their income and income is based on a lot of different areas of the camera. The image quality on most cameras today is not an impediment to making money. The speed of focus, shutter lag, reliability etc. are impediments to making money..

I think Olympus is a valid option, but both Nikon and Canon offer_slightly_ better image quality due to the larger sensor..

The larger sensor is only better if you have the lenses to take advantage of it. From a pro point of view, if you must pp the edges because you have lousy lenses then you're wasting time and we all know time is money. If higher ISO's are your thing then smaller sensors are a drag because you are likely adding a noise reduction step and time is....

I went off topic of the original poster but if he and his wife go to the store and handle each camera he will have a better idea which one fits his/her hands. He/she is unlikely to out grow any of his camera choices unless he decides to take up sport photography or some other equipment demanding genre..

REd..

Comment #10

Why do you say that the 18-200mm (VR) is not a good lens?..

Comment #11

Toby,.

I am also an SLR newbie. I bought a D80, SB600 flash unit and spent the extra to buy the 18-200mm VR lens..

I don't envy you because I know how difficult it is to choose between the options..

I think the most important thing is stay within your budget. If you decide to buy an SLR , from what I have been told, the external flash unit is probably a good investment..

For me, the main thing that the D80 offered that the D40X didn't was a bit more flexibility in lens choice because the D40X requires a lens that has the autofocus built in (I believe - do a camera by camera comparison on this site). D80 also had "nice to have" features such as having the settings of the camera displayed on the top of it, whereas you have to find these settings via the D40X menu..

Both the Canon and Nikon are good brands. If I had bought the Canon EOS 400D, I would probably have bought just the body and bought the lenses not as part of a kit, but after a day of shooting with my D80, I agree with the advice that you have been given about the photos being limited by your ability, not the camera's. ;o(.

My friend has just bought a D40X and she said it would be nice to have the settings on the camera easily displayed. The Canon EOS 400D may offer this. I was told by a few people that the Canon EOS 400D had info more easily displayed than on the D40X. With the combined weight of the 18-200mm lens (heavier than any of the kit lenses) and the bigger D80, my set-up is significantly heavier than my friend's - D40X and either of kit lens 55-200 & 18-55mm. Some people say that the bigger size of the D80 is better for them due to the hand hold, so this is a personal choice..

I probably could have researched the Canon EOS 400D a bit more. It may be worth seeing if it has some of the features that the D40X doesn't, such as flexibility in lens choice (ie. doesn't require a AF-S lens...I think that is the terminology). I was a bit paranoid about dust getting on the sensor and so, that, and just the ability to take shots immediately, was why I went with the 18-200mm lens. The Canon EOS 400D does have a dust reduction system. However, I was told not to use this as a factor in deciding between the different cameras..

I believe that Canon also offers better photo software with it, then the Nikon. The Capture NX software is an extra purchase for the Nikon and the software that comes with the camera is quite basic. You may be able to play with trial versions of the software from the manufacturer websites. I think at a beginner level, as long as you shop around and get good value for your purchase, and as long as you have tried out the cameras in the shop and confirm that they are suitable for your needs (In hindsight, I would have tried out the cameras a lot more before I had done so much reading on this forum, because really it is the use of the camera that is important...I did things in the reverse order and had a bit of a bias to Nikon without having even picked up the Canon...).

I know that if someone had said to me that they had got me a Canon EOS 400D , I would have been just as happy with it as with a Nikon..

I think if you are going to spend the extra for the D80, you really need to be sure that you will use all of the extras that it provides and probably also that you will really really get into the photography bug. Otherwise, I don't know whether the extra features are worth the extra expense. You could always start on a D40X or a Canon EOS 400D and then once you have exhausted everything that these cameras can do, with possibly a couple of additional lenses (once you determine that you actually NEED them) and then after a few years you could sell it on ebay and upgrade to a D200 or a Canon 4D (i think)....It is lot of expense to buy the D80 when you haven't fully justified that you will use all of the extra features..

I hope some of this helps, but it is only my opinion and may not necessarily be correct..

One thing I did find was that this forum was much more informative then the guys at the camera stores..

Anita..

Comment #12

Thanks for all of your advice, folks. Very much appreciate it all....

Toby..

Comment #13

I hope this response isn't TOO long (actually I had to break it up since I exceeded the character count), but I just love helping people in your position with advice!.

Toby Henderson wrote:.

Evening all!.

I'm a newbie looking to buy my first DSLR and I am having sometroubles getting through the minefield of information. I'dappreciate some help from you knowledgeable types!.

I am coming to the DSLR market from a history of point and shoot 35mmcompacts and digital compacts. I'm looking to take things to thenext stage and am keen to learn about photography along the way. Imust be honest and say that I know nothing about this art form at themoment..

Have you looked at some of the review sites yet? Dpreview is actually one of the worst sites to start off with in regards to reviews for a beginner like yourself. Dpreview pixel peeps a lot which isn't a bad thing but it deals with lots of tests, usually VERY technical in nature. I don't know if you've looked at them, but be prepared for lots of graphs, 100% crops, and NO explanation of terms in text for things like ISO, aperture, noise, signal, etc (it's assumed that you will know many of the basics being dealt with)..

I know there is a lot of information to digest, but popular sites that are quick and to-the-point are dcresource.com, cameralabs.com, and imaging-resource.com. I know for a fact that Cameralabs has a youtube channel, and does reviews, not so sure about the two others. The cameralabs videos are super helpful and I highly recommend you check them out. All of the cameras you're looking at have been covered, and they are just the right length in time..

These are some great, amazingly user-friendly sites that I highly recommend visiting too, but for when you get a camera finally (they are a bit over your head now, but am putting this here for reference):.

Http://www.canon.co.jp/Imaging/enjoydslrhttp://www.pbase.com/otfchallenge/the_basics.

And there's always the books "Understanding Exposure" Bryan Peterson and "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby..

So what I am looking for is a DSLR that will give me a good intro tophotography. A nice 'auto' setting to get me going and get someconfidence up taking some good quality pics, then the facility to "gomanual" as I learn and experiment. Good quality photos in auto modeare a must as my wife will want to use the camera, but is notinterested in learning about photography in the same way that I am..

I would skip auto if you were you. P mode is the optimal place to start. It sets exposure (shutter speed, aperture, in some cases ISO too) like auto mode but opens up options that range from minimal and easy to grasp (white balance, exposure compensation, etc) to more advanced (metering mode, RAW, custom functions, color profile). The actual settings that auto modes use can be very quickly configured from P mode as well for others. "Manual" is a loaded term too. Just because you can shoot manual does not mean your pictures will instantly look better or that you will be more proficient.



My ball park cost wise is in the region of the Canon EOS 400d,Olympus E-410, and Nikon D40 or D40x, but I may be persuaded up tothe Nikon D80 level if it's really worth the extra cash in the longrun..

These are good places to start, but the D80 is significantly better than the D40/D40x soley for focusing points and it can autofocus with a wider variety of lenses. I would seriously consider it. The price of all these cameras will be dropping too since successors are rumored be just around the corner..

The one area that I am most confused on at the moment is lenses. Isit true that the bundled lenses that you get with these entry levelDSLR's are not very good? I don't think I am going to be too keen onchanging lenses all the time, so I would like to go for a versatileoption. A friend recently bought the d80 with the 18-135mm lens, andthis seems like a good place to be (rather than the basic 18-55mm).Should I go body only and spend a bit more on a better lens? Stickwith brand lenses, or look at the likes of Tamron and Sigma? Is VRtechnology worth investing in? So many questions!.

I've never used a kit lens, but they're really not so bad. They just get a bad reputation since they aren't as fast/quiet to focus and may not be as sharp stopped down. Do you really need more though? Third party brands (Tamron, Sigma are the most popular) may be exactly what you're looking for though - they avoid the official manufacturer high price tag and are still very competent. You should also look into "cropped" lenses (EF-S, DX, all Olympus 4/3 lenses) as well, since they are smaller/lighter/sometimes cheaper then full frame equivalents (there is a debate about cropped lenses not working on full frame cameras, but it is too costly for you to worry about at the moment. I believe that 2/1.6/1.5/1.3 crops will always find their place as well.).

VR/IS/OS/whatever image-stabilizing technology you want to call it is very important too! I consider having it in all of my lenses (or body if you take that route)! The amount of keepers you will have is a feature that I find priceless and I wouldn't even dare you to pass it up, unless you're shooting primarily in very well lit situations (outdoors, full sun, LOTS of indoor lighting)...

Comment #14

I am not biased towards any brand in particular. I just want to getthe camera that is right for me now, and which is future proofedenough that it will last me for 2-3 years as I learn aboutphotography..

This might not actually be a good philosophy, since once you buy a DSLR, you buy into the system - bodies, flashes, lenses, accessories, features, workflow, etc. It will help to do some research or even consult a salesman or more educated friend in this regard or even consider a more advanced P&S, as you're basically buying the entire system in those cases, since they can never be upgraded on their own..

In terms of usage, it will just be used for general day-to-day stuff.No motorsports or anything demanding like that. Just family stuff,some indoors, some outdoors, some scenery, holidays, kids, etc,although I will experiment with more things as I start to learn..

This is leaning towards the high-end P&S market, or it sounds it. On the case of DSLRs though, have you actually had a chance to play with any in store? Hands on experience is one of the most valuable choices you can make in a decision (even if you don't know what you're doing, there's always a GREEN mode on the dial and you can shoot like that), and make full use of any 15/30 day return policies or even give the heads up if this is what you'll be doing. If you have a SD/CompactFlash card too, you can use them in cameras in store too and keep the images, very valuable (just fill the card with your own images or notify an employee so it doesn't look like theft if they see you take a card out or put one in)..

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer me. Happy to answerany questions you may have...  .

Toby..

Comment #15

Hi,.

Can I (dare I) suggest a different policy?.

You would like a camera and your wife will/may use it. You've experience of 35 mm and so on. So dare I suggest that you move in several carefully co-ordinated steps? Going from film to digital can be a culture-shock, to use that welll know Japanese expression. So I suggest you look for a fairly versatile compact P&S, with a viewfinder (you won't cope otherwise) and a manual over-ride: meaning EV compensation. Or, perhaps, a compact with a choice of "P", "A" and "S" modes. This will ease the transition to digital and - this is very important - later on it will be your carry-everywhere pocket-camera..

And it may well fit your wife's pockets or handbag ("purse" in the USA - I think). I don't know you or your wife but I do know that my wife always choses the P&S when taking pictures and at times we fight over it because both of us want a small but brilliant camera to carry around. Olympus, Pentax, Leica/Panasonic and Ricoh are the ones I'd look at..

Later on you can get the "bridge" or dSLR you hanker after but it might be easiest to move carefully at this point and not bite off too much in your first mouthfull. And as I said you'll then have two usefull and complementary cameras to use..

Regards, David.

PS I'm not so sure about the earlier comment on pro's cameras. For a start, I don't think either firm make MF cameras. But my idea of a pro camera is something like a Bronica, Hasselblad, Rollei or Sinar etc. Have a look at the Sinar Hy6 to see a pro camera, or anything that will take a 33 or 39 megapixel back...

Comment #16

Was standing where you are now .......... bought the nikon d40 with the 18 - 200.

1) good glass is forever.

2) low cost of body and you'll want to move up later because of improved technology and your ability.

3) photos as good as the d80 simpler to use ( how many appliances do you own that you use only ten percent of it's capabilities ).

Check out ken rockwell.com..

Comment #17

Rather similarly I recently got a nikon d40x with the 18 to 135 lens..

The lens has it's limits (vignetting and whatnot) but is considered one of the best bundled ones offered by anyone and gives great versatility. There is a more extreme nikon telephoto available with vibration reduction that has quite a following but is bigger, heavier and more expensive..

The d40x is cheaper and more svelte than the d80. If bulk and money are no concern, the d80 has more direct access to more manual tweaking options for more advanced use, though the d40x is quite flexible and a very good performer..

Now I'll throw in a couple of questions..

What specifically are you shooting with now? And what do you hope to get from a dslr that you are not getting from your current camera?.

I personally wanted better low light performance than a compact camera (in my case a canon g7) can deliver along with a broad zoom range...

Comment #18

Researching wrote:.

Why do you say that the 18-200mm (VR) is not a good lens?.

It's pretty good, certainly adequate for most purposes, but decidedly less sharp at the extremes of focal length than the 18-55 and 55-200. I use it professionally, and no client has ever complained, but I'm pickier than they are...

Comment #19

Click Here to View All...

Sponsored Amazon Deals:

1. Get big savings on Amazon warehouse deals.
2. Save up to 70% on Amazon Products.


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

 

Categories: Home | Diet & Weight Management | Vitamins & Supplements | Herbs & Cleansing |

Sexual Health | Medifast Support | Nutrisystem Support | Medifast Questions |

Web Hosting | Web Hosts | Website Hosting | Hosting |

Web Hosting | GoDaddy | Digital Cameras | Best WebHosts |

Web Hosting FAQ | Web Hosts FAQ | Hosting FAQ | Hosting Group |

Hosting Questions | Camera Tips | Best Cameras To Buy | Best Cameras This Year |

Camera Q-A | Digital Cameras Q-A | Camera Forum | Nov 2010 - Cameras |

Oct 2010 - Cameras | Oct 2010 - DSLRs | Oct 2010 - Camera Tips | Sep 2010 - Cameras |

Sep 2010 - DSLRS | Sep 2010 - Camera Tips | Aug 2010 - Cameras | Aug 2010 - DSLR Tips |

Aug 2010 - Camera Tips | July 2010 - Cameras | July 2010 - Nikon Cameras | July 2010 - Canon Cameras |

July 2010 - Pentax Cameras | Medifast Recipes | Medifast Recipes Tips | Medifast Recipes Strategies |

Medifast Recipes Experiences | Medifast Recipes Group | Medifast Recipes Forum | Medifast Support Strategies |

Medifast Support Experiences |

 

(C) Copyright 2010 All rights reserved.