Looking to buy my next camera: DSLR

Mischief007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
4,710
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Car(s)
1995 Chevy Camaro Z28, 04 VW Jetta GLS
I know nothing about these cameras other than Canon and Nikon having some amazing products. The choices are out there though and I am reading through it all but still need some help.

So what am I looking for:
1) Amateur photographer
2) Will be taking pictures of race cars, nature, etc
3) Will be taking videos so it should take good quality video
4) Fairly fast boot up time
5) > 2 GB storage (xD is limited)
6) Budget of $500 CDN just for the camera
7) Long battery life (My Fuji F10 currently lasts about 3 weeks taking pictures)
8) Can't be huge but can be a bit bigger than my F10 that I currently have

Anything else I can think of, I'll post. Ask me questions as well. I know there are a lot of people here who know more from personal experience than me trying to read reviews.

Thanks
 
Last edited:

Shawn

Lexus? Oh shi-
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
13,988
Car(s)
MkVI GTI w/DSG
For $500, your only real choices are the Nikon D60 and the Canon EOS 450D. They're pretty similar, except I know Nikon has some helpful things for true photography beginners.

I honestly don't see why anyone would buy other than Nikon or Canon...
 

nomix

True Viking
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
7,293
Location
Norway
Car(s)
Tend do walk the 40 meters from my bed to lecture.
I honstely DON'T see why anyone should ever constrain themselves to only Canon and Nikon unless they have very specialized needs (full frame (add Sony) or they freelance for a newspaper that use one of the above mentioned brands, and the OP isn't one of them).

Truth be told, Canon and Nikon make great dSLRs. And so do Sony, so do Pentax, so do Olympus and so on.

Never ever listen to anyone who tells you 'go for x dSLR, I've got it, it's great and the best'. That poster is most surtanly wrong. One might argue that the best dSLR on the market is Nikons D3, a professional model, but that's just if you're after a sports camera, if you do landscapes, studio work etcetera, then the best models for you would be Sonys a900 or the 1DsMk3 and 5Dmk2 from Canon.

Anyhoo. The real answer is simple. If you are able to get to a decent camera shop near you, go there with money in hand, tell them how much you wish to spend, that it's a set limit, and ask to be shown ALL cameras in your price bracket. Then pick the one that fits your hands the best. That is the best model for your hands, and as the differences in other aspects between brands are really quite miniscule, it also means that is the best camera for you.

The best camera for me might be something completely different. Only I know that, when I've tried to hold it.

And Shawn, as for why. In body IS, lenses, ergonomics, different sollutions and so forth. You really can't argue realisticly for anyone limiting themselves to two of the five big brands. That's not sensible.
 

Solberg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,489
Car(s)
Porsche 997 Carrera S & 2012 Ford Raptor!!
Get a Fuji S9600 or something smiler if you need video or do give up on it and get a Nikon D60 or D40x if you don't need video .

How important is the video?
 

nomix

True Viking
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
7,293
Location
Norway
Car(s)
Tend do walk the 40 meters from my bed to lecture.
Didn't see the thing about video.

But lets jump right into it. Video on a dSLR is a bad idea at this moment in time, simply because the technology is not mature enough. There is (as far as I know?) no autofocusing while using video, and the result of that is that you -must- use manual focus. Which is quite alright with a 50 000 $ professional television camera, but not on a dSLR. It would be a pain in the ass.

In short, take video of your list of priorities, it will severly dissapoint you in terms of usability. And it's out of your price range.

My advice would be to check out the beforementioned models (1000D, D60, but also other models, if you come across 400Ds, they might offer good value, both D40 and D40x are almost as good as the D60 in most aspects, Olympus offers the E-420 in your price range, but you might be able to find an E-510 which as built in IS, Pentax is offering the K-m, and the K200D might pop into the picture, not to forget Sony with their a200, which will also deliver), and make sure the grips work well in your hands.

:)
 

Mischief007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
4,710
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Car(s)
1995 Chevy Camaro Z28, 04 VW Jetta GLS
Get a Fuji S9600 or something smiler if you need video or do give up on it and get a Nikon D60 or D40x if you don't need video .

How important is the video?

I just came back from a local rally event and all I took was videos. I'd rather have video so it is towards the top of my priority things to have.
 

SileNceR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2004
Messages
889
Location
Warrnambool, VIC, Australia
Car(s)
1998 BMW E39 540iA, 1979 BMW E21/4.0i
Manual focus would be ok depending on the lens.

For example my 50mm f/1.4 has full time manual and it has quite a nice feel; as long as using liveview or a anglefinder it should be easy enough to spot the focus.
 

Mischief007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
4,710
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Car(s)
1995 Chevy Camaro Z28, 04 VW Jetta GLS
So again, doing some more research leads me to SLR-like cameras instead. I found a few examples and we have a very good camera store here in town so I'll head over there this week to see what they suggest as well. I have a running list so far.
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
2) Will be taking pictures of race cars, nature, etc
For movement, an SLR is a must, but it probably doesn't matter which one as they all are much faster than point and shoots.

3) Will be taking videos so it should take good quality video
Um...you should be aware that DSLRs are not built with video in mind. Video shooting in DSLRs is a feature in it's infancy at the moment. You can also forget shooting video of anything that moves because, if it will even autofocus during video, it's very slow and they are subject to "jelloing" because of the rolling shutter.

See http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08090101nikond90samplegallery.asp for D90 sample videos.

A cheap point and shoot will be much better for shooting video. I wouldn't ever consider video to be a feature involved in the decision-making process of buying a DSLR.

The only DSLRs that shoot video are the Nikon D90 ($1000 body-only) and the Canon 5d MkIII ($2700 body-only) and their video features are very limited next to any old point and shoot.

4) Fairly fast boot up time
Again, not an issue with SLRs. They are built with speed in mind.

5) > 2 GB storage (xD is limited)
All DSLRs use either SD or CF cards. Most SLRs made in the last couple of years, and certainly new ones, will support cards with capacities higher than 2GB.

6) Budget of $500 CDN just for the camera
OK, that narrows it down quite a bit. Your options are basically the entry level models from each maker:

Nikon D40/D60 (you might find some deals on the D80 for only a little bit beyond your budget)
Canon XS
Sony A200
Olympus E410
Pentax K-M

All are around the $500 price point. Don't let the term "entry-level" scare you, though. These are all powerful and competent photography machines. The difference between "entry-level" and "high-end" is basically weather sealing and fancy features that you'll probably never use as an amateur.

Personally, the only one I'd seriously stay away from is Olympus, as they use a smaller sensor than other DSLRs. This will result in poorer noise performance and there far fewer lenses available for it as the 4/3rds sensor system as it is a relatively new standard.

I'm not too informed on Sony or Pentax, but I know that I just personally don't really like them in terms of their usability, ergonomics, and their viewfinders in particular. But, hey, that's just my opinion. I'm not saying that you should definitely, absolutely go with Nikon or Canon, but I will say that you can't go wrong with either one.

The differences between all of the cameras in one particular class are mostly in features, not image quality. You will shoot very much the same photos with a D3 as you will with a D40. Ultimately, get whatever camera feels most comfortable in your hands and on which you like the controls and ergonomics.

7) Long battery life (My Fuji F10 currently lasts about 3 weeks taking pictures)
DSLRs today are pretty good with battery life, but I always have spare with me.

8) Can't be huge but can be a bit bigger than my F10 that I currently have
Then you'd better stay with the entry level models (mentioned above). All are around the same size and weight and as small as one can possibly make a DSLR.

I just came back from a local rally event and all I took was videos. I'd rather have video so it is towards the top of my priority things to have.
Then keep your Fuji F10 for shooting video, and get a DSLR for any shill shots that matter. Seriously: DSLRs are not

do landscapes, studio work etcetera, then the best models for you would be Sonys a900 or the 1DsMk3 and 5Dmk2 from Canon.
If you do landscapes and you can arsed, you use medium format film for absurdly high resolution ;)

That said, I read that the Canon 5D is the sharpest camera you can get for landscapes, as DSLRs go.

So again, doing some more research leads me to SLR-like cameras instead. I found a few examples and we have a very good camera store here in town so I'll head over there this week to see what they suggest as well. I have a running list so far.
The problem with "SLR-like" or "bridge" cameras is that they are just point and shoot cameras with SLR-style bodies. You will be limited to the same problems as any other point and shoot. If you want to shoot anything that moves, you'll become frustrated that you didn't get a real SLR instead.
 
Last edited:

SuperStalin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
1,173
I've had the chance to try out a lot of point & shoots, and I have to say: if you want video buy one of 'em.
Buying a DSLR for the needs you mentioned is kinda like shooting a mosquito with a cannon.

The p&s you should look at:

Soon Canon SX1 will be available, so you might want to take a look at it
I hear it will have HD video capability. ( it's similar to the old S5 IS which I tried, and is great ).

Canon G10 it's a tank among compacts. It has a fine 1-1.7" CMOS sensor, it takes fine pictures for a compact. Takes 16:9 pictures, and has a lens which is great for landscapes. The price is probably within your range.

Panasonic Lumix LX2 or LX3 it's the best little compact I've tried. They have GRRRREAT wide-angle lenses, can make 16:9 pics, can shoot okay video ( LX3 shoots HD 720p @ 24fps ).

The only compact I liked more than the Panasonic LX was the Fuji F31fd ( and F50fd should be similar ), but
the LX3 is so much nicer to use and has better video and shoots better landscapes.

Out of the DSLR-like cameras, I own a Fuji s6000fd which is amazing, and makes fine 640x480 @30fps video,
and has amazing low-light capabilities, but has no stabilization.
The successor to this model is the Fuji s100fs which has stabilization, and the same albeit more mpixel SuperCCD sensor,
and a cool 28-400mm lens ( covering everything, from landscapes to portraits and macro shots )
It's very versatile and a great value for the money... unless you grow out of it... then you'll be stuck with it :)
 

Shawn

Lexus? Oh shi-
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
13,988
Car(s)
MkVI GTI w/DSG
Except neither of those take video.

I thought the D60 did video, but I see it only does stop-motion video, which I think even my D40 does. :dunno:


I honstely DON'T see why anyone should ever constrain themselves to only Canon and Nikon unless they have very specialized needs (full frame (add Sony) or they freelance for a newspaper that use one of the above mentioned brands, and the OP isn't one of them).

Truth be told, Canon and Nikon make great dSLRs. And so do Sony, so do Pentax, so do Olympus and so on.

Never ever listen to anyone who tells you 'go for x dSLR, I've got it, it's great and the best'. That poster is most surtanly wrong. One might argue that the best dSLR on the market is Nikons D3, a professional model, but that's just if you're after a sports camera, if you do landscapes, studio work etcetera, then the best models for you would be Sonys a900 or the 1DsMk3 and 5Dmk2 from Canon.

I did not recommend a camera because I own one, everyone here I've seen here has either a Canon or a Nikon. Every review I've read for entry-level DSLRs has compared Canon and Nikon. Every camera store I went to only offered me Canon and Nikon as my best bet.

And you're recommending him D3s and Sony A900s? You do realize his budget is $500? I didn't say the D60 or Rebel XSi are the best DSLRs money can buy.
 
Last edited:

SileNceR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2004
Messages
889
Location
Warrnambool, VIC, Australia
Car(s)
1998 BMW E39 540iA, 1979 BMW E21/4.0i
The Canon and Nikon are the way to go if you want the ability to upgrade cheaply using second hand lenses/flashes etc down the track - simply because there are so many more of these around.

It also means there is a plentiful supply of cheap 3rd party knock offs for things like battery grips, batteries, remote triggers etc.
 

Shawn

Lexus? Oh shi-
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
13,988
Car(s)
MkVI GTI w/DSG
^ And that's a great reason why a beginner like Mischief should go for one of the two.

Also, as I said in my first post, the D60 has little helpful hints you can bring up on anything that gives you a little description. It's really useful for people who want to do some good photography but don't really know what anything other than W/B does.
 

jmb

Active Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
311
Location
Ely
Car(s)
BMW 120D M-Sport
For $500, your only real choices are the Nikon D60 and the Canon EOS 450D. They're pretty similar, except I know Nikon has some helpful things for true photography beginners.

I honestly don't see why anyone would buy other than Nikon or Canon...

There are plenty of other choices! The new Sony ones are getting good reviews wherever I read about them, and they are good value. Your point about there being more lenses and accessories is valid, although remember the majority of old Minolta glass will also fit the Sony range as it's the same mount.

I'm very happy with my A100 still.
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
I thought the D60 did video, but I see it only does stop-motion video, which I think even my D40 does.
If, by "stop motion", you mean "continuous shooting mode" ... every DSLR does that.
 

Shawn

Lexus? Oh shi-
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
13,988
Car(s)
MkVI GTI w/DSG
If, by "stop motion", you mean "continuous shooting mode" ... every DSLR does that.

Yeah, but I think the D60 actually connects them together and saves it as a movie file.

Useless, I know. But that's not something I've got on me D40x.
 

Mischief007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
4,710
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Car(s)
1995 Chevy Camaro Z28, 04 VW Jetta GLS
I'd rather have a camera that does video then the other way around plus I really want to carry one thing. We've got a great camera store in town which I'll go to on Saturday but so far I'm down to these three knowing that DSLR is not for me at this point. Thanks to you guys for that decision. That's a good thing.

- Canon Powershot SX10 IS 10 MP
- Nikon Coolpix P80 10.1MP
- Panasonic Lumix FZ28 10.1MP

I'm still going to stop by the store and see what they have.

Thanks for clearing a few things up.
 

SileNceR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2004
Messages
889
Location
Warrnambool, VIC, Australia
Car(s)
1998 BMW E39 540iA, 1979 BMW E21/4.0i
if the Canon G9 does video (i'm not sure?) it might be worth a look. It has a hotshoe so you can add a flash later on (or do off camera flash) which would make it super-versatile and they take great shots
 
Top