Entry level / hobbiest DSLR

Created by Serenova on May 17, 2012, 6:20 p.m.
  • boom. http://www.tested.com/news/44380-sonys-new-nex_f3-mirrorless-interchangeable-lens-camera/

  • @Serenova: Norm's suggestion is good, but I must ask: If you're looking for an actual DSLR, does that $600 need to include a lens?

  • Do you have any objections to buying an older generation camera? You can get some incredible deals on slightly used or refurbished hardware if you're willing to drop down a generation or two. I got my Nikon D80 with a lens (I forget which one, I think it was the 18 - 55) for $350 simply because it was one generation old at the time. It still hold its own to newer DSLRs which really only have a faster shutter speed and the ability to take video (which is a pointless feature to me) as well as some more advanced metering and onboard stuff in the options menus. There are some absolutely fantastic deals if you browse something B&H's used section (link to the used digital SLRs). I highly recommend sticking with either Nikon or Canon simply because of the sheer number of third party support for those two brands (although Pentax and Olympus aren't too shabby either, just less future upgrade potential).

    Being a Nikon person I'm not too familiar with Canon's offerings but on the Nikon side, and assuming you're going off B&H's used department, you can't go wrong with like a D5000 or D90 for the "upper end/semi-professional level". If you want pure entry level, the D3000 is a good choice.

  • I'm a big fan of the Canon 550D (aka the T2i in the US and Kiss x4 in Asia). Really versatile camera for the price. I'm pretty sure they'd be around that price, they can be sourced for about £400 here which usually equates to around $600 =]

  • @Serenova: I second the T2i. Magic Lantern Custom firmware is amazing if you're willing to flash your camera with it.

  • Remember that when buying a DSLR you aren't just buying into a single camera, you're buying into a lens ecosystem.

  • @stenchlord said:

    Remember that when buying a DSLR you aren't just buying into a single camera, you're buying into a lens ecosystem.

    ^ This which is why I recommend getting either a Canon or Nikon and just sticking with that brand, at least for the bodies. Plus there's plenty of fine quality third party lenses for both of them such as Sigma, Vivitar, Bower, etc. It becomes incredibly nice when you're able to swap lenses between different SLR bodies instead of having to buy all new kit.

  • What you'll find is there are a lot of people out there with more money than sense (I happen to be one of them... :()

    What happens is they really get into photography, get the first camera that catches their eye, start taking photos, posting them on photography forums, see what kind of gear all the other "photogs" are using and think "I should get better gear cause it'll help me take better photos". Go out and upgrade on a regular basis and sell their old gear secondhand cheaper to fund their new obsession.

    When 30Ds were selling new for $1500 I picked one up for $700 (8 months old), when Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USMs (16 months old) were selling for $1800 I got mine for $1000 and so on and so forth.

    If you go with a Canon camera check out the PotN forums. It's a decent place to get tips on how to use your camera properly and a nice place to pick up some bargains.

    EDIT: You'll also find that lenses will hold their value better than the camera bodies. I got the above bargains cause the people selling them were the kind of people who impulse buy and don't research, the same applies to when they sell items too, they don't check the market and try to sell as if it's just another electronics device which loses 20% value as soon as you open the box when this is not the case with camera lenses.

  • I'd like to bump this thread. I'm looking to get my fiancee a camera for her birthday next month. We both have our own point-and-shoot cameras but she is looking for something nicer than that as a hobby and taking professional grade pictures once she starts teaching in her own classroom soon.

    Being recent college grads I'm working with a limited budget. Can I even get anything decent for around $350? That would be including a lens.

    I'm also torn as what route to go as there are many different types of cameras out there. I assume my limited budged will steer me towards one type. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • If $350 is a hard limit it's a bit tough to get in at that price. You can get a used Nikon or Cannon for under 350 but new ones seem to start in the 400 dollar range.

    I have a D3000 and it takes beautiful photographs and fits a wide range of glass. I've seen them used for like 250-300.

  • @Vermy81 said:

    If $350 is a hard limit it's a bit tough to get in at that price. You can get a used Nikon or Cannon for under 350 but new ones seem to start in the 400 dollar range.

    I have a D3000 and it takes beautiful photographs and fits a wide range of glass. I've seen them used for like 250-300.

    Thanks. I'll look around and see what I can find used.

    I know this question is hard to answer...but Nikon or Cannon? Which route is the best for a novice?

  • @CouchPotatoTalk: I think you'll be fine with either one as a novice. I've never really used a Cannon but they take fine photos. The weird thing of that it is that once you've got one you're kind of stuck with it as your upgrade path goes to glass before a new camera and the glass doesn't work together.

    cannon and Nikon both make pretty excellent cameras though given models will have different strengths. I don't really know how Cannon and Nikon compare at the low end, for me I chose Nikon strictly on price that the Nikon model was the cheapest SLR I could get at the time and place.

    Also there's nothing wrong with Sony, Pentax, Olympus or Samsung's higher end cameras they can be a bit more difficult to find glass and accessories for. For instance I was able to get a replacement charger for my Nikon at a tiny camera shop next to my hostel in Hong Kong and all they had in the store were cannon and Nikon models. The other brands just aren't as prevelant in as many places if you're traveling.

  • Thanks Vermy! My town has a small camera store. I plan on going there this coming week and seeing what they have used and go from there. I agree that I should go Nikon or Cannon just because of the availability of lenses and accessories. I have a lot of homework to do. Thanks for all your help so far.

  • Norm hit the nail on the head... for $600 the dslrs are going to be too "entry level" that the f3 will give you the better results. Unless you plan on doing a major upgrade in a few years. Than you could go with something else so you can reuses lenses.

    As I look at the D3000 I was given through a photography class I didn't even take, I would have much rather waited and picked up the f3 or 5r/n myself

  • I like to D3100, and the D5100 both are nice cameras that I've had the pleasure of using for entry-level Nikons. The killer for the D3100/D5100 was they switched to a new battery rendering my supply of Nikon batteries useless for them. Good thing I still use my D40.

    @BlatantNinja23 At one point when I was purchasing a camera as a gift I was looking at the D3000 and didn't like what I had read about it. However, after using the D3100 I would say they did much better with the D3100 based on the limited comparison I was able to make.


  • @bjpe89: the addition of live view and video alone makes the 3100 a much better camera.