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Thread: DSLRs - Where the hell do I start?

  1. #1
    MWF
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    DSLRs - Where the hell do I start?

    So I've been told I have an eye for photography and an aged Sony Cybershot just doesn't cut it. I've played with other people's DSLRs and have managed some pretty good results and I'm working up to getting one for myself.

    The trouble is it's an utter minefield and an overdose of information so before I venture out and start looking what questions do I need to ask, what do I need to know, what should I be looking for and so on?

    I'll start with something second hand most likely but having looked at a few online it's a chunk of money to spend and get things very wrong!

    All helpful suggestions, tips and things to avoid gratefully received.
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    Read this URl, its a good place to start: http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/2/266...a-buyers-guide

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    Previously known as zephyrus17 GaryC's Avatar
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    My advice, start with a basic (new) dSLR with a kit lens first, and then start shooting! The brand doesn't matter too much, but do stick to the bigger brands due to increased forum support and lens range. In the long run, if you do develop the dSLR bug, the lenses will out-cost the body, so the body doesn't *have* to be that cutting edge. Also, some brands cost more than others, but not by much. I personally shoot Pentax due to the image stabilization being in the body, so the lens costs are very cheap.
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    To backtrack a step further, ask yourself how much camera gear you're willing to actually carry around for that improved image quality. If compactness and light weight are a concern for you, also consider mirrorless cameras like Micro 4/3 or Sony NEX that provide 90-100% of the image quality for less bulk and weight.

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    MWF
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    Trouble is I've shot other people's DSLRs and been really pleased with the results. And while I've shot some nice pics on Dearest's Nikon Coolpix P500 I've grown increasingly frustrated by the limitations. I want the zoom on my hand, not on a motor.

    And I first got into photography years ago courtesy of a friend of my mother who taught me all about shutters and F stops etc and even sourced me a gorgeous 1950s Kodak Retina 1b 35mm on which I took some stunning stuff and which I wish I had kept.



    It even had a mini light meter that slid into the flash mount.
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    WillDAQ: To use the technical terms: "the Mustang is to aerodynamics what horse shit is to fine dining"

    Dr Grip: Brilliant!

    EyeMWing Because what fun is a silicone dick if you don't try putting it in somebody's backside at least once.

    Jay IKEA now ranks up in my awesome list, quite near bacon and blowjobs.

    Cowboy I've never gotten so drunk I wanted to rub one out while shoving a fire extinguisher up my ass.



    Remind me never to have him round to dinner!

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    Once again, read this link as a starting point http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/2/266...a-buyers-guide it's better to buy a dSLR or mirrorless camera with some information and WHY you want to get one rather than random snippets of disjointed advice.

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    MWF
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    I read it already. I want a DSLR I just want to buy the right one and know what future expenses I might incur.
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    WillDAQ: To use the technical terms: "the Mustang is to aerodynamics what horse shit is to fine dining"

    Dr Grip: Brilliant!

    EyeMWing Because what fun is a silicone dick if you don't try putting it in somebody's backside at least once.

    Jay IKEA now ranks up in my awesome list, quite near bacon and blowjobs.

    Cowboy I've never gotten so drunk I wanted to rub one out while shoving a fire extinguisher up my ass.



    Remind me never to have him round to dinner!

  8. #8
    Hormone Induced BerserkerCatSplat's Avatar
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    The next relevant questions would likely be one of budget, and what you plan to take pictures of. An entry-level body (Nikon D3200, Canon Rebel T-series, etc.) and a two-lens kit (18-55, 55-300) is a pretty good all-purpose beginner setup, but if you have more specialized pictures in mind, that may not be the right setup for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWF View Post
    I read it already. I want a DSLR I just want to buy the right one and know what future expenses I might incur.
    That's the thing, there is no 'right' or 'perfect' camera and even if there is, it really depends on your individual needs or wants, nobody else can answer that for you. To me that means you don't know enough to even go shopping. You obviously know a lot about cars, and if an ignorant friend came up to you and said 'I need you to recommend me a car' and you give him whatever your wealth of knowledge can afford, and he just replies back 'I don't know, I just want a NICE car' you'd probably want to smack him in the head.

    Everyone wants that one single easy, obvious answer. You have to do a bit of comparitive shopping, trying cameras yourself. Most everyone these days have a few or many friends that own dSLRs, give them all a free try, see how the ergonomics are, ask them what expenses they end up incurring because everyone is different. Some are perfectly happy with their kits lenses, a cleaning kit, bag, a basic tripod and never really move on. On the opposite end others go crazy, buy all sorts of expensive fast lenses, hi tech tripods, a million accessories... etc. And then most of us fall in somewhere in between that spectrum,

    You have to ask yourself.
    1. What kind of photograph do you wish/like/seek to do with your first dSLR setup
    2. What is your intial budget?
    3. How much do you realistically plan on shooting, how much does it fit in your lifestyle/schedule, or is it something that you will take out once in a while, amaze yourself with the occasional shots, then put it back in the closet for several weeks to months.
    4. Do you plan on using your dSLR kit for specific work-related/commercial/paid work?

    These basic questions only you know the answer to, thus will help you decide on where and what to shop for. We of course cannot answer these for you.

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    MWF
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    That's more what I was looking for.

    1. I want to use the camera for a variety of things. Great pics of my kids, awesome landscapes, cool car pics, airshows, vacations, wildlife. I want something that will do all that at a reasonable entry level and not disappoint.
    2. Still working on that, hence the thread.
    3. Once I have it then it will probably go pretty much everywhere with me, bar when I am at work. I don't have enough hobbies and my other half and I get out to all sorts of things and I want access to something that will do a good job.
    4. Purely as a hobby. If something else comes of it then that's a nice by-product.
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    WillDAQ: To use the technical terms: "the Mustang is to aerodynamics what horse shit is to fine dining"

    Dr Grip: Brilliant!

    EyeMWing Because what fun is a silicone dick if you don't try putting it in somebody's backside at least once.

    Jay IKEA now ranks up in my awesome list, quite near bacon and blowjobs.

    Cowboy I've never gotten so drunk I wanted to rub one out while shoving a fire extinguisher up my ass.



    Remind me never to have him round to dinner!

  11. #11
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    More questions:
    1. Do you expect to be doing much action photography (sports, car races, etc.)?
    2. Do you expect to be doing much in dimly-lit environments such as indoors or at dusk/evenings/etc.?

    The first will define the relative feasibility of going mirrorless (which can, if chosen correctly, give up nothing in the way of control) vs. SLR, and the second will determine how quickly you buy another lens for your camera setup.

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    Previously known as Speedtouch Davetouch's Avatar
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    1) Go to Jessops.
    2) Try out most expensive cameras you can afford with Canon and Nikon written on the front. Don't bother with anything else.
    3) Choose the one you are most comfortable in using/handling. The controls are different and you may prefer one or the other.
    4) Go to Amazon and buy the one you want.

    Simples.
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    People can help more if you can state an approximate budget?

    Rough idea of prices
    http://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk/
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    So, that's all good.

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    DSLRs - Where the hell do I start?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWF View Post
    That's more what I was looking for.

    1. I want to use the camera for a variety of things. Great pics of my kids, awesome landscapes, cool car pics, airshows, vacations, wildlife. I want something that will do all that at a reasonable entry level and not disappoint.
    2. Still working on that, hence the thread.
    3. Once I have it then it will probably go pretty much everywhere with me, bar when I am at work. I don't have enough hobbies and my other half and I get out to all sorts of things and I want access to something that will do a good job.
    4. Purely as a hobby. If something else comes of it then that's a nice by-product.
    Responses:
    1. ok that's a good start but too broad based. Experienced photographers will tell you that the wide variety of types of photography is less dependent on which specific dSLR body you purchase, but the types of lenses you will eventually buy to meet those needs, as portrait lenses (for the kids), wide angles or telephotos (for landscapes), airshows/wildlife (expensive telephotos) car shows and vacations (high quality fast apeture zooms) are all different purpose lenses which will produce better results than the kit lens that will presumably come w the camera you buy, will probably so some of he above things, but none of them really well.
    2. that is still not helpful, please put in some rough dollar range to give folks here a remote idea what to recommend.
    3. If you intend to take it everywhere then go light and as small as possible. Trust us on this, unless you're a pro who take large gear all the time because you're paid too, a large bulky dSLR will grow tiring to carry around sooner than you think.

    Since you're at the level where you're asking these basic questions, you're best off buying something that is far from the latest and greatest high end camera. For one you probably don't want to spend or afford such cameras (>$1000) and many of the features and controls will probably be confusing and lost on you initially. At the most buy a mid level to beginner basic dSLR body with a reasonable sensor, decent low light ability and spend more time learning about and investing in lenses. If that is something you don't wish to do, then investing in any interchangeable lens camera system is an expensive waste of time.

    Use your starter and learn th basics of photo settings and how they pertain to the types of photography you want to do, really learn those basic before you entertain the idea of buying lenses, and 'to get nicer pictures' is not a good enough reason. Gain enough knowledge and experience to give an intelligent answer to 'why do I want to buy xxxx lens as part of my collection?' It's like people who buy expensive fast cars or nice shoes and have no clue why except that they're told to.

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    Vambeer's Avatar
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    I've been where you are and i will just state my current three choices.

    1. Nikon D3100 (Low budget, decent features, pretty good image quality, Nikon -in case you are a fanboy-, very good lens diversity)

    2. Nikon D5100 (in the middle in terms of money, better image quality, Nikon, same with lenses)

    3. Pentax K30 (more expensive, probably the best image quality amongst its competitors -arguably the best sensor in the entry/mid level category-, kinda weird controls but you can get used to them, waterproof body -a useful extra-)

    From my experience and digging, these are the best entry level dSLRs in the market. I don't include the D3200 because apart from the pixel count, there is nothing seriously different compared to the D5100, and the latter is way cheaper. I also don't include Canons because in my very limited experience, you have to spend more to get the image quality you get with the Nikons. I have "test-shot" with all 3 of them and the Pentax is by far the best in terms of image quality for the money although for non-experienced amateurs like us, one of the Nikons, preferably second had is the best choice. I am currently trying to raise money but if you find something worthwhile do share... I hope i don't get bashed to death for the simplicity of my answer by the more experienced here but as i found the more you look into it the more complicated you become...
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    From what I've read, you want a general use SLR that just has better quality and functionality over a point and shoot. I don't know why Edkwon is so confused by that response, many people buy DSLR's solely for that reason. As helpful as your advice is, I feel like you may be over-specifying his needs. If he doesn't mind the extra weight of an SLR (which really isn't that much if you don't carry more than 2 lenses at a time), then something like a D7000 is perfectly viable. The plastic fantastic 50 1.8G will cover so many needs like portraits and car shots, and even landscapes.

    I never understood the weight argument that so many people bring up. I never carry more than 2 lenses and I don't even use a backpack.

    edit: although the NEX is seriously brilliant....
    Last edited by Pininfarina_; October 30th, 2012 at 7:41 AM.
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    47
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    Nikon D7000, 18-200mm, 50mm 1.8, and you're done
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    Brazilian Consultant Redliner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pininfarina_ View Post
    The plastic fantastic 50 1.8G will cover so many needs like portraits and car shots, and even landscapes.
    Quote Originally Posted by 47 View Post
    Nikon D7000, 18-200mm, 50mm 1.8, and you're done

    This.

    Also, in my humble opinion:
    1- Try out and buy the one you found most comfortable to use. You can´t go wrong with the big brands (Canon, Nikon, etc.)

    2- Don´t get too worried about buying a fancy, mid range or top of the range. Entry level DSLR of today are incredible capable and can give some older mid and top range DSLR of a few years back a run for their money. You most likely will have no idea how to use all those features in the first few months (perhaps even the first years) anyway.

    3- From the get go, buy a 50mm/1.8 and an external flash. You can get a lot of fun and good pictures with the lens kit and those 2 additions.
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    Previously known as epp_b Top Geek's Avatar
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    Someone emailed me about exactly this a little while ago, so I'll just copypasta my response to that email:

    I wouldn't get caught up in camera "brand wars". Your pictures will depend far more on your learning and experience than they will on the camera you use.

    What you choose should depend on your preferences, subjects and style, but SLRs are all essentially the same; the more expensive cameras just make things faster and easier in certain situations.

    There are no technical insufficiencies in any modern camera: ignore megapixels, number of focus points, screen size, max ISO, FPS, etc. They are all more than enough these days.

    Go to a few stores and try out various cameras within your budget. Buy whatever feels most comfortable in your hands and whatever makes it the easiest for you to setup the exposure. These are the two things you will notice most often when shooting.

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