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What is the best camera?
Hi everyone. I know this is a tough question as people have different opinions about this, but I'll tell you what I want to be able to do with the camera and then maybe you could give me suggestions on which would be the best. Okay, I currently have a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H2. I've had it since April of 06. It was quite an upgrade from what I had before that, which was a 2 mega-pixel Sony. Years ago I said I'd never use a digital camera, that it took away from the true talent of taking pictures.

I have got to where I really don't like my Cyber-Shot that well. It does great outdoors, it does well with close ups, and it really as been a good camera, but I want more. I want to have a camera that can get me to the next step of being a photographer. People tell me all the time that they love my pictures and ask me if I could take family photos of them or even wedding photos, but I always turn them down because I don't have enough confidence in the Cyber-shot. A lot of times I'll take a picture and it will look great on the LCD screen but once I upload it there is usually something wrongit's a little blurry or the focus is off.

So basically, I want an SLR, it has to do great indoors, something under $1000, and something that could help me start a career. I hope that narrows it down a little bit. Oh yeah, I have toddlers that I like to get pictures of, but they are fast so I need something that can get a quick shot without being blurry. The Cyber-Shot has a setting for sports on it that I use to get their photos, but when it's used with a flash it doesn't turn out well. Sorry for the long post...

Comments (20)

The one that fits in your hand best and the one that comes in at your budget. there is no best in this segment of the market or any segment really. read the reviews, understand the features and abilities, make sure to handle any of the ones you would like to consider and if it feels good in hand you'll be more likely to use it. any of them will do what you are asking of them to provide great images and be sure to not limit yourself to only canon nikon as many would like..

Olympus, Pentax & Sony make very fine cameras in this market segment that would more than serve you well and in some instances better than the big 2..

Good luck as any of them will serve you well...

Comment #1

I am fairly inexperienced, but I'll tell you what little I know so far. I have the same DSC-H2; it was my first digital camera and it was good enough for most of what I wanted to do at the time. I recently bought a Nikon D40 as my upgrade and it is awesome. It has the same amount of megapixels as the H2, so if you're looking for a real pixel upgrade, have a look at the D40x or D60... both comparable in price. My advice is spend as little as possible on the camera body, and use the rest of your budget on quality lenses.



For example, if you're looking to spend $1,000, you can pick up a D40 with the kit 18-55 lens for under $500, and have the rest to pick up a fast, quality lens, maybe the 60mm f/2.8 AF-S or something else that appeals to your needs..

Additionally, you'll have established the beginning of a camera system that will grow with you as your abilities and photography needs grow..

Just my $.02..

Comment #2

Kristen,.

Please don't be offended, but there are now frequent posts on these forums from individuals who have played around with a compact or bridge camera and now think that they can become professional photographers. Making money from photography is extremely difficult. The gulf between taking shots with a compact camera and, say, professional wedding photography is enormous..

So, if you don't understand why you are getting blurry pictures from your Sony H2, you also won't be able to even start getting the best from a DSLR. Include the cost of a photography course in your budget..

Having said that (and apologies if you already know all about apertures, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, motion blur, camera shake, etc.), I think that it is an excellent idea to get a DSLR..

What make you get isn't too important, although Nikon seems to have the best entry level DSLRs at the moment. If you mainly want to shoot indoors you will need a lens with a range of something like 18-55 or 17-70 and a good external flash. If you want to take shots without flash you need a cheap fast prime like the 50mm f1.8 lenses made by Canon and Nikon (although you can't autofocus with this lens on the Nikon D40/D40X/D60). That's about all you need to get started, plus the photography course.Chris R..

Comment #3

What make you get isn't too important, although Nikon seems to havethe best entry level DSLRs at the moment.Chris R.

You might want to qualify that statement as your biased opinion as opposed to anything quantifiable..

Proponents can make arguments for any of them as being best in this segment if you want to and given their own criteria each could be correct..

If you want to match features, kit lenses and IQ, nikon isn't the best entry camera on the market, in my opinion....

And recommending a d40 6mp camera as a good starter when the rest of the competition in this entry segment has at least 10mp is more than a little short sighted. I'm all for not buying into the mp war but for this budget there is absolutely no reason to not buy a camera with at least 10mp that will keep the OP "current" for a much longer time than a 6mp camera will for not much more money..

The d40, while good when it came out has been passed by all of the competition at this point and is lacking in features as it is at the end of it's lifecycle hence it's bargain price. that would be the last camera to seriously consider if one has any real desire to grow in taking photographs...

Comment #4

You're after low light ability, and for the budget you specified, you would do fine with any brand of dSLR and a fast lens like a 50mm f/1.8 or a 35mm f/2.

Any cheap zoom won't have good low light abilities, until you step up into the $1000 + range with things like 70-200 f/2.8 and so on..

What you have to consider, if you're going to pursue this for a career, is you're not buying a camera, you're buying into a system - asking what the 'best camera' is when you're talking entry level stuff will seem a ridiculous question to you later on when you've invested thousands on your chosen system, so now's the time to be looking seriously at that. If you were looking at say the D3 for later on, you could start with a D60 and some lenses, and keep the lenses as you move up to the more professional camera body. Same goes for Canon, you need to be looking not at what budget body you're getting now, but what lenses and pro body you're going to be going to later on...

Comment #5

Pick out a range of cameras in your price range with the features you want..

Get a few cameras in your hands and see how you like the control and menu layout..

There is a substantial learning curve with SLRs that is not there with Point and Shoots. Don't get frustrated if your pictures are initially worse with your SLR than they are with your P&S. I've read a few threads on here and met people in person who had given up or were ready to give on their newly purchased SLR and gone back to using a P&S because they couldn't 'make the SLR work'...

Comment #6

Not really a good advice....moving up from a D60 to a D3?? What lenses where you thinking of?..

Comment #7

I am not offended, lol. I know that making money from photography is difficult. I really don't mind. I'm a stay at home mom and a college student. Photography has always been just a hobby. I say I would like to make a career out of it, though I do not expect to make a living from it.

I have taken a photography course, but it was before digital cameras were popular and I do plan on taking a digital imaging course through my school. Thanks for the advice though..

Chris R-UK wrote:.

Kristen,.

Please don't be offended, but there are now frequent posts on theseforums from individuals who have played around with a compact orbridge camera and now think that they can become professionalphotographers. Making money from photography is extremely difficult.The gulf between taking shots with a compact camera and, say,professional wedding photography is enormous..

So, if you don't understand why you are getting blurry pictures fromyour Sony H2, you also won't be able to even start getting the bestfrom a DSLR. Include the cost of a photography course in your budget..

Having said that (and apologies if you already know all aboutapertures, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, motion blur, camerashake, etc.), I think that it is an excellent idea to get a DSLR..

What make you get isn't too important, although Nikon seems to havethe best entry level DSLRs at the moment. If you mainly want toshoot indoors you will need a lens with a range of something like18-55 or 17-70 and a good external flash. If you want to take shotswithout flash you need a cheap fast prime like the 50mm f1.8 lensesmade by Canon and Nikon (although you can't autofocus with this lenson the Nikon D40/D40X/D60). That's about all you need to getstarted, plus the photography course.Chris R..

Comment #8

Kristen Coleman wrote:.

I am not offended, lol. I know that making money from photography isdifficult. I really don't mind. I'm a stay at home mom and a collegestudent. Photography has always been just a hobby. I say I would liketo make a career out of it, though I do not expect to make a livingfrom it.

I have taken a photography course, but it wasbefore digital cameras were popular and I do plan on taking a digitalimaging course through my school. Thanks for the advice though..

Canon XSi looks very nice and is in your price range with the new 18-55 IS. Or Nikon D80...

Comment #9

What's wrong with my advice?? I started on entry level body, am currently on midrange body and thinking of pro body a bit later, wish someone had told me to buy pro lenses at the start, cuz my prosumer stuff ain't cutting it..

Mujana wrote:.

Not really a good advice....moving up from a D60 to a D3?? Whatlenses where you thinking of?..

Comment #10

Freealfas wrote:.

What make you get isn't too important, although Nikon seems to havethe best entry level DSLRs at the moment.Chris R.

You might want to qualify that statement as your biased opinion asopposed to anything quantifiable..

Proponents can make arguments for any of them as being best in thissegment if you want to and given their own criteria each could becorrect..

If you want to match features, kit lenses and IQ, nikon isn't thebest entry camera on the market, in my opinion....

And recommending a d40 6mp camera as a good starter when the rest ofthe competition in this entry segment has at least 10mp is more thana little short sighted. I'm all for not buying into the mp war butfor this budget there is absolutely no reason to not buy a camerawith at least 10mp that will keep the OP "current" for a much longertime than a 6mp camera will for not much more money..

The d40, while good when it came out has been passed by all of thecompetition at this point and is lacking in features as it is at theend of it's lifecycle hence it's bargain price. that would be the lastcamera to seriously consider if one has any real desire to grow intaking photographs..

What prompted this? I didn't even recommend the D40. And I am an unbiased Canon user.Chris R..

Comment #11

Chris R-UK wrote:.

What prompted this? I didn't even recommend the D40. And I am anunbiased Canon user..

Unfortunately, freealfas is a biased, Oly zealot. He has a BIG problem when ANYBODY mentions N or C. He doesn't understand that some people don't really care as much about brands (as he does) and that since there are more N & C owners out there, it's natural that there would be lots of people saying they bought a N or C camera and have been satisfied...and that when they do this they are NOT saying that the E-510, K100D, and A100 are bad cameras for the OP's stated purpose!.

Heck, I thought your "What make you get isn't too important..." caviat covered it well. However, later on in the same paragraph, you said, "...a cheap fast prime like the 50mm f1.8 lenses made by Canon and Nikon (although you can't autofocus with this lens on the Nikon D40/D40X/D60)" was perhaps a tiny bit N&C-centric...there ARE other cheap, fast prime lenses...Sony has a $300 50mm f1.4...Pentax has a $200 50mm f1.4...Sigma has their $400 30mm f1.4 and $340 25mm f1.8 which fit the four-thirds cameras. But I think your point was that at the $100 price point, nobody except N&C have players...emphasis on "cheap"..

I know that Oly has a 50mm f2.0 lens for $425, but it's not comparable because of the 2:1 crop-factor and besides, it's a macro lens. Fast primes is one area where Oly is still lacking..

My suggestion would be to get the D40 (yes, I know it's "only" 6MP) and the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro HSM lens. This combo would work very well for what the OP wants..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #12

There is no 'best' in this segment. But, probably the best value, feature for feature, is the Olympus E510. It has in body Image Stabilization, Live View, the best dust-reduction system currently available, Pixel Mapping, arguably the best kit lenses available. The list goes on.Note, I use both Oly and Nikon.shinndigghttp://www.pbase.com/shinndigg..

Comment #13

Chuxter wrote:.

Unfortunately, freealfas is a biased, Oly zealot. He has a BIGproblem when ANYBODY mentions N or C. He doesn't understand that somepeople don't really care as much about brands (as he does) and thatsince there are more N & C owners out there, it's natural that therewould be lots of people saying they bought a N or C camera and havebeen satisfied...and that when they do this they are NOT saying thatthe E-510, K100D, and A100 are bad cameras for the OP's statedpurpose!.

As opposed to saying something like this;.

"although Nikon seems to have the best entry level DSLRs at the moment.".

I guess you didn't read my post as not once did I mention Olympus anywhere in it, I just refuted the comment I quoted above from the other poster..

Qualify it as an opinion and there's no problem, state it as quoted and there is opportunity for debate. I simply did that while not offering anything else other than the fact that there are other very capable cameras out there to consider and the fact that 6mp might be limiting in light of the competition that is well withing stated budget..

Show me the bias in my statement anywhere in this thread other than to make the stated budget go further by considering cameras with more than 6mp..

I see there's a new internet police officer in town and he more than thinks a bit much of himself...

Comment #14

Being new like yourself and wanting to get the best kit and adivce available I would have to conclude that for $1000 and under there probably isn't any make which is better than any of the others..

I have changed my mind in the last month about what camera to buy more than I have changed my underpants. Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Olympus and now Sony is the order in which I was going to buy, I conclude each of these manufacturers you will be more than happy with...

Comment #15

Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh; not intended to..

I thought the poster wanted to spend around a $ 1000 on a camera, so I thought that money is an issue. Now if that's the case it will be a bit problematic to buy pro quality lenses, don't you think? Now if she/he cannot buy this quality lenses on a APS-C camera like D60....what use lower quality lenses have later on..especially on a FF body like the pofessional D3?That's what I meant.Again...sorry if I insulted you...

Comment #16

Snip! Snip!.

I know that Oly has a 50mm f2.0 lens for $425, but it's notcomparable because of the 2:1 crop-factor and besides, it's a macrolens. Fast primes is one area where Oly is still lacking..

Would the 25 mm f/14 Panasonic for the FourThirds system do? It will fit the Olympus, Panasonic and Leica FourThirds bodies... And there's no crop factor with FourThirds: unless you mean the multiplier for 35 mm film terms..

Regards, David..

Comment #17

David Hughes wrote:.

Snip! Snip!.

I know that Oly has a 50mm f2.0 lens for $425, but it's notcomparable because of the 2:1 crop-factor and besides, it's a macrolens. Fast primes is one area where Oly is still lacking..

Would the 25 mm f/14 Panasonic for the FourThirds system do?.

Yes, but again, it's not comparable to a 50mm lens on the other cameras being considered...it's like a 30mm lens on an APS-C camera...sorta..

But it's also not comparable because it's about $1100!.

It willfit the Olympus, Panasonic and Leica FourThirds bodies... And there'sno crop factor with FourThirds: unless you mean the multiplier for 35mm film terms..

I do. The four-thirds cameras have about a 2.0 crop factor and the APS-C cameras have about a 1.55 crop factor..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #18

Chuxter wrote:.

David Hughes wrote:.

Snip! Snip!.

I know that Oly has a 50mm f2.0 lens for $425, but it's notcomparable because of the 2:1 crop-factor and besides, it's a macrolens. Fast primes is one area where Oly is still lacking..

Would the 25 mm f/14 Panasonic for the FourThirds system do?.

Yes, but again, it's not comparable to a 50mm lens on the othercameras being considered...it's like a 30mm lens on an APS-Ccamera...sorta..

But it's also not comparable because it's about $1100!.

Just because it's a "macro" lense doesn't mean it can't be used for the OP's purposes. as you mentioned the EFL is the bigger issue that can be solved with other lens selections. sigma has a 30mm f1.4 and a 24 f1.8 that will serve the same purposes for much less than the panny. so lenses are available to solve the low light issues..

It willfit the Olympus, Panasonic and Leica FourThirds bodies... And there'sno crop factor with FourThirds: unless you mean the multiplier for 35mm film terms..

I do. The four-thirds cameras have about a 2.0 crop factor and theAPS-C cameras have about a 1.55 crop factor..

It's an equivalency factor, not a crop factor as there is no cropping of the image at the sensor relative to the image circle like there is when using 35mm based lenses on smaller than 35mm sensor based cameras from canon/nikon...

Comment #19

Freealfas wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

David Hughes wrote:.

Snip! Snip!.

I know that Oly has a 50mm f2.0 lens for $425, but it's notcomparable because of the 2:1 crop-factor and besides, it's a macrolens. Fast primes is one area where Oly is still lacking..

Would the 25 mm f/14 Panasonic for the FourThirds system do?.

Yes, but again, it's not comparable to a 50mm lens on the othercameras being considered...it's like a 30mm lens on an APS-Ccamera...sorta..

But it's also not comparable because it's about $1100!.

Just because it's a "macro" lense doesn't mean it can't be used forthe OP's purposes..

Yes, you're right, but most "experts" don't often recommend a macro lens to beginners as a substitute for a fast prime. I do use my Nikkor 60mm macro lens for "normal" shooting sometimes, but the Sigma 18-70 zoom sees more use because of it's flexibility..

As you mentioned the EFL is the bigger issue thatcan be solved with other lens selections. sigma has a 30mm f1.4 anda 24 f1.8 that will serve the same purposes for much less than thepanny. so lenses are available to solve the low light issues..

I agree..

It willfit the Olympus, Panasonic and Leica FourThirds bodies... And there'sno crop factor with FourThirds: unless you mean the multiplier for 35mm film terms..

I do. The four-thirds cameras have about a 2.0 crop factor and theAPS-C cameras have about a 1.55 crop factor..

It's an equivalency factor, not a crop factor as there is no croppingof the image at the sensor relative to the image circle like there iswhen using 35mm based lenses on smaller than 35mm sensor basedcameras from canon/nikon..

I'm using "crop factor" like 99% of other people use it. .

It's a stupid term. I didn't create it. I just use it because other people do..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #20

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