(Entry Level) DSLR's - how to choose?
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  1. #1
    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Question (Entry Level) DSLR's - how to choose?

    I'm in the market for an entry level DSLR and am having trouble deciding. I have used my sisters DSLR on several occasions but am far from being a pro...I have yet to learn how to use the features on her camera. Having had that experience, I am in love with the quality of pictures vs my point and shoot.

    If you were looking to purchase a DSLR, what features would you be looking for and whats important to you and why? Any tips on how to pick a DSLR?

    BTW: the one I am considering does not have a movie/video option...how important would that be to have on the DSLR? Is it a pro or con and why?

    TIA!

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    One of my IRL friends is a professional photographer (currently architectural, but he's done a bunch of different photographies) so I emailed him your question. Here is his response. I didn't identify your gender, so you get to be a he today.

    Entry level DSLR eh?

    Depending on his budget I'd recommend at least 10 Megapixels, that's pretty much the minimum I'd be happy with in a DSLR. Lens... well, at his level of expertise, a standard kit lens (bundled with the camera) will be more than adequate. DSLR means he can change out lenses as his abilities increase. He should check out the major catalog/equipment outlets for bundles.

    I'm a Nikon fan, so Here's my 'minimum' camera from them: http://nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Digital-SLR/25462/D3000.html

    In the Canon line up the equivalent is http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&tabact=ModelFeaturesTabAct&fcategoryid=139&modelid=17316

    Sony has a similar model etc...

    Also he should check out one of the photo forums such as
    http://photocamel.com

    I'm fine with you sharing that info..

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Thanks for that post mek45.

    Libby, not much help here as I am a beginner too....but here is a website that might help you decide. Lots of info and customer reviews too........

    Digital Cameras: Digital Photography Review, News, Reviews, Forums, FAQ

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    FrugalVillage.com
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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    mek - thanks for the info

    frugalfranny - thanks for the website

    I actually got out to the camera store tonight and went in with my XL coffee and waited for a clerk who was willing to be patient and help me by explaining the diff btwn brands, features and my criteria for a camera. We basically went back and forth btwn Canon & Nikon for over an hour.

    I did look at the Canon Rebel XS however there's no video/movie option and I learned it does not have a 'spot meter'.

    I also looked at the Nikon D3000......it too doesn't have the video option however the D5000 did. Its the top of the line for the consumer level. We tried a few lenses on it and boy did they ever make a huge difference! All I could see were $$$ signs floating by

    My friend shoots with a D90 which is the bottom end of the professional level so thats definitely out of my league.

    Argh!! There's so many things to consider as well as variations/options its driving me bonkers. All I see are $$$!

    Definitely need to save my pennies which allows me time for more research.

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Does your point and shoot have video? The more I think about this, the more I think that SLRs (including digitals) are specialized for high quality still frame images, so video may actually be an undesirable feature for people who buy SLRs. How important is video for you?

    Would you be better off with a digital camcorder?

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    I dont make videos often and I don't plan to be a great cinematographer however its handy to have and on one camera. I dont plan on lugging BOTH cameras around if I go anywhere either or would prefer not to. Hence the DSLR having the video option would be great. So that would nix the carrying around a video cam too.

    Still not a bad idea - food for thought right?

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Pre-plan what you'll do if you find a nice DSLR without video for the same price (that you're willing to spend) as a not so good DSLR with video feature.

    Can you consider used equipment? Start looking for photo studios going out of business and unloading equipment for cheap?

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Here's a source for a reputable online used market: Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Exclamation Update

    To update - DF bought a D90 with extras a month back....and is kind enough to loan it to me so I can practice with it. So far...I love it! But I still have a lot to learn. It splits its time btwn his house and mine

    Now that I am not paying for a DSLR - I can focus onto my next camera adventure - updating my point and shoot? I tend to use the point & shoot more often vs DSLR and its easier to carry at all times with me.

    And if I do go anywhere with DF - he'll lug the DSLR and I'll bring the point and shoot and we can switch off back and forth.

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Would a digital camcorder be a better choice given your previous desires and current situation?

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Nope...no interest in a camcorder.

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    Registered User The Muse's Avatar
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    I have a Canon 40D, which I got as a factory refurb for about the cost of the Rebel after the next generation was released. It's a much better camera than the Rebel. You might consider buying behind the edge to stretch your money's value. Either way, the lenses are where your money is best spent, that's where you really see the difference.

    Video isn't a big deal for me, I have that on my point & shoot and rarely use it. I think that's a personal choice.

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    I have the canon xsi..bought it a year ago. The pictures are professional quality....ir's amazing!!! The previous poster is right...buying the camera is one thing...lenses are just as important. As far as video is concerned...I myself think, video camera for video.... sometimes when you mix the two....you get two different methods of pictures...neither of them exceptional.

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    Registered User low-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I did look at the Canon Rebel XS however there's no video/movie option and I learned it does not have a 'spot meter'.

    I also looked at the Nikon D3000......it too doesn't have the video option however the D5000 did. Its the top of the line for the consumer level. We tried a few lenses on it and boy did they ever make a huge difference! All I could see were $$$ signs floating by

    My friend shoots with a D90 which is the bottom end of the professional level so thats definitely out of my league.
    Thread is a little old, but I'm new here, so it's all new to me! If you have already bought a camera then disregard.

    I'm just getting into semi-pro photography, more pro-sumer I guess. I am the kind of guy who researches things to death, performs CPR to revive them, and then proceed to kill them again. I looked at all the reviews, all the pros and cons, picture quality, specs, etc, etc. I found that I liked the quality of Nikon over Canon as well.

    I was extremely interested in the D5000 for a few reasons. Namely, while it is a fully functional digital SLR camera, it still has numerous "point and shoot" settings, so you can take amazing pictures right off the bat by using the "cheat" settings, and learn about aperture, shutter speed and ISO as you go. When you do learn about proper exposures, you will likely stay in one of the (semi)-manual modes, but if you need the proper exposure NOW for that thing that's happening right in front of you, turn the dial to "auto" and click away.

    Another reason, you mentioned that your friend shoots a D90. The D5000 has the same guts as the D90, the D90 just has a few additional features and more user-control buttons. The D5000 will take every bit as good of a picture as the D90.

    I have to admit, the reason I really started looking at the D5000 was the commercial that came out that said at the end "this entire commercial was shot with one". Pretty sure they were the first one to do that. Now, that said, a DSLR is for taking pictures, and a video camera is for shooting videos. The D5000 takes very good quality video, just not as good as something dedicated to the job. I do like the fact that someday, God willing, I can get myself a ginourmous zoom lens and film wildlife from afar. Most video cameras (at least in the consumer category) don't allow for changing lenses. If video is a primary concern, I think the newer Nikons (like the D3100(?) and most of the Canon line is probably a better bet.

    So... having made my decision, I scoured the internet looking for the absolute lowest price on a D5000. I looked for used cameras on the buy and sells, craigslists, kijijis, for probably 5-6 months. I finally found a used one with lens kit on ebay for around $400 so I begged and pleaded with my wife to let me buy it as an early Christmas present. As an added incentive, I told her I would take lots of "professional" baby pictures of our son who was due around Christmas. She finally broke down and let me buy it, and I'm very happy with it. I think she's happy she let me as well, however now we have to learn to make picture frames for all the pictures that have to go up on the wall. I also used it to take the picture in my avatar. I'm hoping to be able to sell calenders, photo books and photo prints in the near future as well.

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