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Buying first DSLR: advice needed

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Buying first DSLR: advice needed

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to buy my first DSLR as my compact just died. I am not a professional but love to take all kinds of pictures, especially my kids
    What camera do you recommend knowing that:
    - what is most important for me in a camera is the quality of image.
    - the camera must also be quick because my little ones are in perpetual motion
    - also sensitivity is a priority since I often take pictures inside or by night.
    - finally, I need a device that is simple to use, I am a beginner and do not have much time to make it a real job. So automatic mode will be mostly used at the beginning.
    I do not need video.
    What do you think of buying an entry-level DSLR with really good lenses ?
    I never tested lenses and I am afraid of losing spontaneousness changing lenses all the time (but I may be wrong) so what combination of lenses would you advise : zoom or fixed focal ? one large range (for example 18mm-200mm) or small ones (for example 18mm-55mm and 70mm-200mm)?
    Thank you very much !


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3,683

    For entry level DSLR I would go with the Nikon D3100 or Canon EOS 1100D. I suggest you go to a shop and play around to see which suits you better (handling, menu etc.), it can be quite subjective. Technically the two are on par.

    For outdoor and travel I would go with a "walk-around" lens, like a 18-105 (Nikon) or 18-135 (Canon); both also have a 18-200 lens on offer but they are more costly and you may not need the long reach that often. (The longer the zoom range the more compromises need to be made in terms of quality)
    For indoor and low-light conditions a fast prime lens would be better when your kids are in action, e.g. a 35mm/1.8 (at least Nikon has such a DX lens, not sure about Canon).
    Or you go with a kit that includes a standard 18-55 lens and a flash, then add other lenses if and when you consider it necessary.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    7,446

    I just bought a Panasonic Lumix G3 and am very happy with it. Just been released here so it's not cheap. It's alot more compact than a DSLR and one of the four thirds mirror-less types that are gaining popularity now and according to a photographer friend no difference in quality to a DSLR and half the size. There is alot of getting used to though coming up from a compact to a professional kit so another option could be the GF3 which allows to have the lens range but more of a point and shoot type camera.

    Another good option about the G3 or GF3 is it offers good quality video option.

    Another option could be the Sony NEX-5 range which has excellent image quality and great at low light. It's extremely compact and has lens kits available. There should be a new version available in the next couple of months but the lens kit is limited and to me didn't feel as comfortable in the hand when using.


  4. #4

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    Sep 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by temajie
    Hello everyone,
    I would like to buy my first DSLR as my compact just died. I am not a professional but love to take all kinds of pictures, especially my kids
    What camera do you recommend knowing that:
    - what is most important for me in a camera is the quality of image.
    - the camera must also be quick because my little ones are in perpetual motion
    - also sensitivity is a priority since I often take pictures inside or by night.
    - finally, I need a device that is simple to use, I am a beginner and do not have much time to make it a real job. So automatic mode will be mostly used at the beginning.
    I do not need video.
    What do you think of buying an entry-level DSLR with really good lenses ?
    I never tested lenses and I am afraid of losing spontaneousness changing lenses all the time (but I may be wrong) so what combination of lenses would you advise : zoom or fixed focal ? one large range (for example 18mm-200mm) or small ones (for example 18mm-55mm and 70mm-200mm)?
    Thank you very much !
    I went through this about 5 years ago.

    Don't buy an entry level DSLR. You will grow out of it in 2 months. With this in mind, my first DSLR was the Nikon D200. This lasted me until the D700 came along with its full frame format.

    Once you start buying DX lenses, you're on a deadend path. Only buy FX lenses. For my everyday shooting I use the 24-70 f2.8. Fast for all occasions, but rather heavy.

    Good luck, once you get into DSLR shooting your life will change.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    2,164
    Quote Originally Posted by virago
    Another option could be the Sony NEX-5 range which has excellent image quality and great at low light. It's extremely compact and has lens kits available.
    A micro-4/3ds with a pancake lens sounds like the better route, with Sony taking the edge if you want low light lenses. Alternatives are Olypmus and Panasonic.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    781

    Added benefit of micro-4/3rds is that you can use any M-mount lens (Leica, Voigtlander) with a suitable adaptor, so in theory you never need a new body, you can just keep upgrading your lenses.

    Given the fact that you're primarily looking at using this for family shots and the like, I would also suggest a micro-4/3rds. They're light, compact, and extremely easy to use.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    9,658
    Quote Originally Posted by vinyljunky
    Added benefit of micro-4/3rds is that you can use any M-mount lens (Leica, Voigtlander) with a suitable adaptor, so in theory you never need a new body, you can just keep upgrading your lenses.

    Given the fact that you're primarily looking at using this for family shots and the like, I would also suggest a micro-4/3rds. They're light, compact, and extremely easy to use.
    What's the shutter lag like on those 4/3 cameras? DLSR shutter lag tends to be miniscule, and on a P&S it's still pretty terrible for action photography (I suspect that much of this is just down to crappy autofocus mechanisms, though I could be wrong).

    So I'm wondering where the 4/3 cameras sit- is there noticable lag? And how fast as AF acquisition with the Lumix?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    781
    Quote Originally Posted by jgl
    What's the shutter lag like on those 4/3 cameras? DLSR shutter lag tends to be miniscule, and on a P&S it's still pretty terrible for action photography
    Can't really comment on that since I've never used DSLR's or micro-4/3rds (currently use only film rangefinders & SLR's). However Digital Cameras, Digital Camera Reviews - The Imaging Resource! has all the stats you'd need, for example the Lumix DMC-GF1.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    9,658

    Sorry, thought you had the Lumix, and then just realised that I'm confusing usernames that start with "v"! I meant to ask virago...

    Good link though. Looks like 4/3 kit lenses or AF algorithms still have a way to go to catching up to DSLRs. 3x the AF times for the most recent 4/3 cameras. We're still only talking .3 secs, which is probably okay for shooting kids though.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2010
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    80

    Thank you for your advice on 4/3 cameras but I think I am ready to go into the DSLR world
    What do you think of the Canon D550 vs Nikon D5100?
    And do both brands have similar lenses in terms of quality? Actually how do I know whether a lense is good or not?


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