Want to buy my first DSLR - advice please.

Lightning Count

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So I am looking to buy a DSLR camera, I feel I have gone as far as I can go with my compact digital camera.

Things/features I would like

Image stabilisation either in-camera or in the lense.
Full viewscreen support. - Poor eyesight plus manual viewfinder FTL.
RAW file support.
Preferably to come with a good 18 -55mm lense.
Ease of use - inlcuding any editing software that comes with it.

My budget is around ?450.

I know we have many keen photographers here, so all help appreciated. :mrgreen:
 
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sifu

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well in that price range, i suggest the same that nomix has suggested to all. Give them a go in a store, how they feel and how you like to use em. There are no huge differences in performance between brands when they are about the same price.

I went with canon, but thats because i had plans to make it work with older lenses, and by the time i bought my entry level dslr, canon did work better with m42 lenses (metering and non-glass adapters => cheap adapters) than other brands.
 

he-he

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I'm a Canon girl, but only because when I got my first DSLR Canon were way ahead of Nikon. Nowadays there's not much in it at the entry level. A friend has that Nikon, and another the D3100; both think they're great and have never had any problems. I think, although I could very well be wrong, that Nikon has IS built into the camera, whereas Canon doesn't which then pushes the price of the lenses up. Also, the comparable Canon models are the 450D (but doesn't have video) and the 500D (quite a bit pricier). But as sifu says - try them out. One make may just feel better than another. Enjoy it, whatever you get :D
 

Labcoatguy

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If you aren't afraid of being potentially locked into orphaned SLR systems, Olympus and Pentax all have in-body image stabilization in their cameras, and Olympus at least does live view pretty consistently across its range. Otherwise, as said above, pick the best Canon and Nikon models you can fit in your budget, and try them out in person. Take a coin with you to help make the decision.
 

the Interceptor

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I've met a lot of happy campers in the Olympus entry dSLR corner lately. In-body stabilization and a very good JPEG engine make the cameras entry-user-friendly.
 
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ALXBWSCREW

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The D3100 is a seriously good camera and, like sifu and nomix pointed out, the best thing to do when searching for a new DSLR is try as many of them as you can. Some consider Canon's ergonomics superior but some can't stand it so it's basically up to you to decide. As far as I know if you want to get into filming as well, Canons are superior (but I don't know exactly how much of that translates into their entry-level models).
 

LP

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For canon: Check out the 550D, it's considered to be a baby 7D (which is higher up in the line-up).
 

Redliner

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For canon: Check out the 550D, it's considered to be a baby 7D (which is higher up in the line-up).

I can vouch for the 500D.
Had it for nearly 3 years and it?s been flawless.
 

cvrefugee

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I'm a Canon girl, but only because when I got my first DSLR Canon were way ahead of Nikon. Nowadays there's not much in it at the entry level. A friend has that Nikon, and another the D3100; both think they're great and have never had any problems. I think, although I could very well be wrong, that Nikon has IS built into the camera, whereas Canon doesn't which then pushes the price of the lenses up. Also, the comparable Canon models are the 450D (but doesn't have video) and the 500D (quite a bit pricier). But as sifu says - try them out. One make may just feel better than another. Enjoy it, whatever you get :D
Nikon does not have image stablilization built into the camera body, you're thinking of Pentax and Olympus. I've owned the Canon Rebel T1i (500D) for almost two years and it's been a great camera. I do get jealous when I see someone with a 7D or 5DMKII but I can still pull off some great shots every once in a while. Lots of people love its successor (T2i/550D) but now the T3i/600D is out.
 

LP

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The T3i(600D) is a joke. It's just a T2i(550D) with a swivel screen and a bigger price tag. Do not want.
 

Chaos

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I'm going to vouch for the 550D as well. My T2i/550D will do nearly everything a 7D can, albeit at the expense of better noise performance and burst capture rates. If you're not going to do heavy video work, there is no reason to get the 600D over the 550D, and even then that's still a moot point since it's really just the swivel screen and I believe in-built flash control.

The best advice has already been given, however. These days, Canon/Nikon, whatever, all offer nearly identical models. It all comes down to ergonomics and what you need. Test them all out, feel the weight, how they feel in your hands, and where everything is located. That should be the main thing when it comes down to it.
 

LP

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Since it's most likely that you'll be choosing the Nikon or the Canon, here are some video reviews for each of the aforementioned models.

 

Lightning Count

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Thanks for those videos LP, they helped out a lot, loads of good info.

I'm gonna go out at some point and try these camera's for real in a shop, but I'm definitely leaning towards the Nikon D3100
 

edkwon

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Image stabilisation either in-camera or in the lense.
Full viewscreen support. - Poor eyesight plus manual viewfinder FTL.
RAW file support.
Preferably to come with a good 18 -55mm lense.
Ease of use - inlcuding any editing software that comes with it.

My budget is around ?450.
First of all, thank you for mentioning a projected budget which many ppl who ask this question always seem to forget. The Nikon D3100 is a very good choice for a new, entry level dSLR. Try one out in the store, compare to a comparable level Canon 500D or 550D (?) and see which controls you like better.

In camera IS: the only bodies as mentioned by others are Olympus and Pentax (choices on cameras and new lenses more limited), some Sony Alpha dSLRs also in body IS. Otherwise with Nikon and Canon, IS is featured in the lenses only. But depending on what kind of shooting you do, IS isn't always necessary if you invest in proper lenses and have good technique.

Full viewscreen support - I assume you mean shooting live view mode on the LCD, basically many ppl will respond: if you don't use the manual viewfinder, whats the point? Seriously, if you plan to shoot with a dSLR and don't want to frame with the manual viewfinder, you might want to consider other options like the micro 4/3rds cameras by Olympus/Panasonic or the Sony NEX or Samsung ILC cameras. Most dSLRs have very slow AF using full live view mode for shooting stills, and its a serious waste of performance potential as well as shooting speed.

RAW file support - they all shoot in RAW, this is a given with dSLRs.

Comes with a good 18-55 lens. Well honestly, most of the kit lenses that come with the camera are the same and frankly, mediocre. So that won't be a factor in your decision making. Once you get your camera you will start saving money for a proper high quality zoom or prime lens anyway.

Ease of use: this depends on the individual camera and your preferences. For this you will have to try them out yourself, that's a highly subjective thing that differs from person to person. I've never used any editing software that came with any of the cameras I bought and prefer to use Adobe Lightroom for 99% of my photo editing. Get a program like that which you can use no matter which camera you buy.
 

cvrefugee

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Make sure you're comfortable with the menus and button layouts of each brand. When I use a Nikon I feel like I'm using a camera for the first time, not to mention the ass-backwards zoom :p
 

Chaos

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Make sure you're comfortable with the menus and button layouts of each brand. When I use a Nikon I feel like I'm using a camera for the first time, not to mention the ass-backwards zoom :p
Lol, despite the fact that I have a Canon, I think we're the ones that are backwards. :p (All of Canon's own lenses notwithstanding) The 3rd party lens manufacturers all rotate the way Nikon do.. it's really confusing when I throw on a Sigma lens.
 

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The T3i(600D) is a joke. It's just a T2i(550D) with a swivel screen and a bigger price tag. Do not want.
:shakefist:

...I wanted a tilty-swivel screen and it was nearly the same price as the 550D :p.

@ Lightning Count: Some really good advice in this thread, I'd only just be repeating it. You won't go wrong with either, but I would suggest a Canon 550D over a D3100 if you're going to use the video mode regularly. Otherwise, the D3100 is a great starter :).
 
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