Digital SLR time

gti138

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I'm looking at purchasing a DSLR for myself. I have a 35mm SLR that I havent used in quite a few years due to the hassle of film etc. Used to teach Photography as well but haven't picked up anything other than a compact for the past 5 - 7 years but am really keen to start getting back into photography.

Am looking at the entry level ones and am wondering if anyone has any experience with any of them.

I'm not tied to any particular brand but am looking at the following:

Canon EOS 1000D

Nikon D60 (preferably with the 18-55mm VR & 55 - 200VR twin lens kit)

Sony A200 or possibly A300

or perhaps even the Olympus E-520 (however I'm not sure about he four thirds lens system)

Am looking to spend about AUD$1000 - Already have a manfrotto tripod and flash left over from the old SLR.
 

melbournian

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I just bought the Canon EOS1000D, with 18-55mm and 55-200mm IS lenses, which came to about $1090, although I spent a bit more on extra battery, memory card and extended warranty. I'm very happy with it so far, not such an experienced photographer as I did it in high school with film years ago, so I'm finding it meets my needs as a (re)budding photographer very well.
 

nomix

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What camera did you use to have? Some mounts are easier than other to use legacy film lenses with. If you've got Minolta AF lenses, for instance, they will work like a charm on any Sony body. Older manual Nikkor lenses might work better on a Canon body with an adapter than on a starter/midtier Nikon body (or on a fourthirds body, in fact). If you get a D200 or D300 or upwards, the old Nikkors will do the same on a Nikon body though, so this is mostly relevant if you want a relatively cheapish camera (D40, D60, D80 or D90, if you'd go the Nikon route).

As for the systems, they're pretty much the same. All will deliver good IQ, so what becomes important is ergonomics. The ergonomics of different cameras differ more than the IQ. If you have the option, I'd go into a well stocked photographic shop, and try holdning them. Maybe even trying the menus and controls if there's a battery in them.

Also, never listen to the sales guy. He's got provision, and in most cases, each shop has a better deal with one brand than the other. Be it Sony, Nikon or Canon. It's counterproductive to restrict yourself to one, or even three brands.

I'd also look into the Pentax system, as it's a very good system, as is all the other systems you've mentioned.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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What 35mm SLR did you have? Was an autofocus model? Do you have a lot of lenses?

Nikon lenses are generally mountable as long as they're newer than mid-1970's (newer than 1959 for D40/D60).

Canon lenses should be fully-compatible if they're EOS lenses.

Minolta AF lenses are mountable on Sony DSLRs.

The others, I don't know about.

In terms of image quality, all DSLRs and more-or-less the same, you should choose based on what fits your hands and your workflow.


Anyway, my comments on these cameras...

Canon EOS 1000D
I'm sure it's a good camera, Canon's usually are. I've been giving a bit of thought to the possibility of switching to Canon lately because if their no-nonsense EOS system and because I'm starting to become annoyed at the lack of AF motor in my D40. It's a very attractive proposition not to have a slew of compatibility variables: an EOS lens is an EOS lens is an EOS lens, and that's that. The main thing that keeps me away from Canon is their inferior handling and ergonomics compared to Nikon.

Nikon D60
If you're considering the D60, I'd forget it and get the D40. There are no features on the D60 that make it worth the rather significant premium. In fact, if I were considering the D40 today, I'd forget it and get the D80. With the D90 out, the D80 can now be had for the same original price of the D40. It has pretty much the same sensor as the D60 but has many additional useful features like DOF preview, wireless flash commander, built-in AF motor, dual command dials and semi-dedicated WB/ISO/QUAL/AF/DRIVE/METER controls.

Sony [whatever]
I don't know too much about Sony DSLRs. I tried one in a store and was impressed at the ridiculously fast AF, but not much else. The viewfinders seem tiny and difficult to use.

Olympus
Nomix will probably neg-rep me for this, but I can't stand Olympus. Their sensors are too small, their viewfinders are too small...no thanks.

Pentax
I don't really know much about these either, other than that I hate the electronic focus rings. If it's a ring, it should be a mechanical connection.
 
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Adunaphel

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^ nice writeup, just one addition to it. IF your old cam is a Nikon and you have old Nikon AF lenses, get a Nikon body with built in AF motor, else those lenses won't AF on your new Nikon.
 

Adunaphel

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^ nice writeup, just one addition to it. IF your old cam is a Nikon and you have old Nikon AF lenses, get a Nikon body with built in AF motor, else those lenses won't AF on your new Nikon.
 

sifu

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Canon lenses should be fully-compatible if they're EOS lenses.
There are some EF lenses that do not work on EF-S mount. My Sigma 28-105mm for instance, if you use it wider than 50mm it will give a error.
 

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^^ Nice double post :p

IF your old cam is a Nikon and you have old Nikon AF lenses, get a Nikon body with built in AF motor, else those lenses won't AF on your new Nikon.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant by being a bit annoyed with my D40. Nikon only makes ONE sort-of-normal AF-S prime, and it's way overpriced.

There are some EF lenses that do not work on EF-S mount. My Sigma 28-105mm for instance, if you use it wider than 50mm it will give a error.
That's because it's a Sigma. You run the risk of future incompatibilities with third-party lenses.
 
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nomix

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Olympus
Nomix will probably neg-rep me for this, but I can't stand Olympus. Their sensors are too small, their viewfinders are too small...no thanks.
Well, I won't. People are entitled to their opinion. I disagree, but I won't deny you the right. :)

As for sensors, they work a lot better now than they did when I bought my first dSLR, the E-400. The E-400 was hopeless at any ISO above 100. At 100, though, it was superb.

The viewfinder could be better, but it's rarely a problem.

Pentax
I don't really know much about these either, other than that I hate the electronic focus rings. If it's a ring, it should be a mechanical connection.
AFAIK, Pentax uses mechanical connections, at least every single Petnax lens I've tried does. And they have a very, very, very interesting system of lenses. :)
 

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AFAIK, Pentax uses mechanical connections, at least every single Petnax lens I've tried does.
Maybe it was that particular lens/body, I don't know.

And they have a very, very, very interesting system of lenses.
Do tell...
 
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nomix

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Generally a nice collection of nice primes, even a couple of superb MF ones. They also give you mid-tier zoom lenses like the 17-70/4 and the 60-250/4, and have adapted their professional lenses to digital sensors with the DA* 16-50 and 50-135.

Don't get me started on their collection of Limited lenses. Yummi. :)
 

gti138

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Thanks for the info so far. The old camera's a Minolta - but I only had 2 lenses and they arent AF. So I was thinking of starting afresh (hence why I'm open to ideas)

Will probably head into a few shops this week or next and pick them up and see what they are like to hold. Also see what deals are around at the moment... :)
 

jakd

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I have an e-410 which as far as i can tell is very similar to the 520 but with less features.

Disadvantages:
If you only used manual focus on your old slr you will be disappointed by the viewfinder with the four thirds system, you will either have to use auto focus or focus using the 8x enlargement on the live view screen.

Limited lens selection-while there are a few standout budget lenses you will have very little choice within any specific type of lens.


Advantages:
Compact-Depending on the size of your hands this might be a disadvantage but i love it, it's very discreet for an slr especially when paired with the 25mm pancake lens http://www.knowyourdslr.com/siteimage/scale/800/600/18955.png

Also, i'm not sure if this apply's to the 520, but my 410 has a lot of features for the price, somewhat making up for its comparative lack of lenses/quality, unlike most other camera's in its price range it has electronic sensor dust reduction, live view etc.


Ultimately, as a happy four third's user... I would not recommend the 520 or any 4/3rd's dslr coming from an old MF Minolta.
 
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Rokovak

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I know, what about a retro-lookin' Leica M7? It starts at only $4,600!

 

nomix

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Using an M8 is using a Leica with a digital sensor. Using film will always be cooler than using digital, sorry, but that's the way it is. :D

Then again, using digital is a lot more practical. :)
 

nomix

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I assume you are talking about Luminous Landscape's review?

Good site, and the point of that article was just that, proving a point. A Leica M8 is a very capable tool for photography, and traditionally, it was considered compact and discrete. But that was compared to old Nikon SLR's, and to be honest, whatever the old Nikon SLR's were, they were clunky, big and heavy. In that context, the M3 and later models were quite discrete.

The point of the article is to show that the smaller G9 has a wider zoom range (I've only heard of one zoom lens for the M mount, and it goes 28-35-50mm in on step at a time), is smaller, more compact and so on.

If you shoot JPEG in good light, the G9 will most surtanly also give you more accurate colors.

And that was the point. The M8 is a very good tool, but it's still flawed, and for street and candid, it proved that as long as there's light, a good compact might be just as good for the job.

:)
 
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