How to pick your first Digital SLR camera?
Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:38 PM
Im sure the following information will be useful for those wanting to get into photography.
There has been numerous amounts of questions related to "What camera should i buy" - for your first digital SLR camera.
The following information is just from my knowledge and experience. Im no professional, but just wanting to help others.
Feel free to add to this thread too
If something I have written is incorrect please do let me know. NO need to be an idiot about it in the post.
HOW TO PICK YOUR FIRST DIGITAL SLR CAMERA!!
1) What do I like to photograph?
Just ask yourself this question. Once you have found your answer, picking a camera will be much easier.
Why? Well different cameras/len combos acheive different things. Sure point and shoot cameras are just,
a one peice package, but knowing what you would like to shoot would make picking a camera and matching
the right lens a whole lot eaiser.
Examples of different types of photography:
- Lowlight/night time
- Indoor (eg clubs, etc)
- etc etc.. There are soo many different flavours
2) Know how a digital camera works and its jargons!!
Know how a digtal camera works. Start with the basics of how the light enters perhaps.
Knowing this basic knowledge will aid you later on.
Eg) In digital cameras the light enters thru the lens, then the apeture and finally the sensor.
The Apeture will decide the amount of light entered into the camera while the sensor will convert this process
into an image. Knowing this little basic knowledge will aid in taking photographys. If you dont know this then taking photos
in manual mode will become a much harder process. (This is just basic information and not in depth)
Understand the jarons - Eg) ISO, Apeture values, metering system, histrogram, shutter speeds etc.
Gravy has posted a great tutorial - Please read the sticky section.
3) Now its time to pick your SLR camera
If you couldnt answer the first question then keep thinking. Atleast choose something? Why, well keep reading
So different types of photography requires different features.
Not every single digital SLR camera has the ability to do everything.
The following is a rough guide of choosing the right camera to your specific needs!!
----------The camera must have a high shutter speed (to capture sharp unblurred images)
----------Ability to take continous shots
----------Large frame rate (eg, 6 upwards is quick)
----------Large autofocus points (the more the better if you wanna autofocus a subject)
-Low light/night time shots
----------Low noise at high ISO levels (once again ISO, noise etc is explained in the sticky thread)
^ THIS SECTION STILL NEEDS TO BE FINISHED..
Compare different cameras to your budget price range:
See which features attracts you. Compare these features to others and make a note of it!!
Does the camera have auto sensor cleaning? (not necessary but most new digital cameras have it)
Is it quick to start up?
Does it provide good waranty and aftersales support?
Do many users use this camera? - find out the ratings - perhaps ask in here?
Can I fit different types of accessories to the camera?
What kind of memory card does it take?
What resolution can the camera go up to?
What is the max ISO?
Have a feel of the camera
Best thing to do is go into a store and get a feel of the camera. Come SLRS are too bluky, some functions are not easy to access quickly..
Some buttons are not in the right spot etc etc. So get a feel of it before buying anything!!
The body isnt everything:
Just remember the body (camera) isnt everything to creating stunning shots. The lens also plays a huge role. The image clarity, sharpness, detail etc is all varied across different lens.
Types of manufactures:
Good entry level SLRS: a rough guide (all under 1k with standard kit lens)
-Canon 400d, 450d, 1000d
-Nikon D40, D60
Just remember there is a bit of a difference when it comes to comparing budget entry level slrs to the more consumer market level SLR cameras. These cameras generally have more megapixel (not that it means much) and is generally quicker. The price tag is generally about 100-300 dollars more than the basic entry level cameras. What sort of cameras am i talking about? Well for example, canon 350d (8 megapixel), and say the fully budget entry level D40 (6 megapixel).
Best to research as much as possible before buying
If you really wanna get into photography and you are on budget, then theres no harm in buying a 2nd hand digital SLR camera. Practice on this to get the hang of all the features and then perhaps in a years time once you are comfortable and able to expand your phtographic skills; buy your next slr camera.
Reading all the guides/tuts will only come useful if you practice. Practice Practice Practice!! Its the only way to take great shots.
Just go out one night and explore what the camera can do. Explore all the manual functions. Experiement with different settings with different subjects.
Its the only way to become good.
Work in progress i guess.. hmm
hope this a good idea tho or i just wasted 15mins typing this up lol
Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:48 PM
Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:54 PM
Edited by dunn, 10 August 2008 - 10:54 PM.
Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:04 PM
It was just going to be basic, but then realised its gonna need more detail lol..
So i will keep working on it to finish it off slowly.
Posted 11 August 2008 - 02:29 AM
Sure there are others like sony, pentax etc competing and providing good alternatives to the big brands, but then again there is a reason why Nikon and Canon are still number 1.
my advice for that is to not give out advice unless u really know what ur talking about, no offence, everything else is good so far.
heres some advice from a working pro and someone who works in a professional camera store too:
1)Nikon and canon are top due to their strong marketing and saturation of their products, particularly the entry level ones, not because it is the best in everything. They have excellent marketing strategies, why else would ppl come into my store or other stores demanding IXUS cameras and overlook other brands which perform much better, just cos its a Canon......?
----------Ability to take continous shots
----------Large frame rate (eg, 6 upwards is quick)
----------Large autofocus points (the more the better if you wanna autofocus a subject)
if u write this u should delete the D40/D60 series from ur recommended list then. As it has slow frame rates, only 3 FOCUS POINTS compared to 9 and 11 from canon and pentax ones, and top shutter speed of 1/4000th. Not to mention it can only focus with AF-S lenses as the camera body lacks a focus motor.
I would replace the K100D with the K200D - $599 body only with in built shake reduction, 11 focus points, 60 weather sealing points makes it a water/sand/dust resistant camera, sensor cleaning, etc, and not to mention the most accurate white balance for jpegs for entry level ones - better value for money than a crippling Nikon or over hyped Canon both with no IS or VR. And no entry level cameras will do 6 frames per second atm, not new anyway.
2) PLEASE PLEASE look past the camera makers for lenses, Canon/Nikon/Pentax/ etc makes some of the best 135 format lenses in the world but also some pretty shite ones too. So DO LOOK AT 3rd party manufacturers such as Sigma being the biggest one, Tamron, Tokina, etc. They also make the equivalent lenses of the camera makers and at better optical quality sometimes too - where u can pay half or 1/3 of the price and walk away with something more superior in image quality.
for lens reviews and comparisons please go to www.photozone.de
i would delete minolta from the list since they folded and were absorbed by Sony and keeping the konica minolta mount or combine with sony, can combine fuji and nikon since they use the same lens mount, as well as pentax and samsung.
3) my word of wisdom - Canon and Nikon in Australia do not honour INTERNATIONAL WARRANTIES bought outside of Aus. If u bought a lens or camera from hong kong for example and say it comes with international warranty - it is a lie. In the chance of a repair needed u will need to send the item back to the country it was bought in and to that shop for anything to happen. If u bought it from B&H photos from the US, u will need to send it back to them, cant send it to the local Canon rep. At the moment only Pentax honours international warranties and import items.
4) dont let the memory card speed game fool u. For example, an Ultra II SD card will write at 15mb per second, Extreme III at 20mb, and Extreme 4 at 40mb............does not always mean u can continuously shoot more images or upload faster photos. You are still limited by by the buffer of the camera whether in jpeg or raw format, and also the usb connection of the computer. As for entry level cameras, dont expect the buffer to hold a lot of photos and write them onto the card until it starts slowing down.
you dont need to pay for the fastest card possible, even for motorsports. Extreme 4 cards are loved by digital medium format shooters for high end cameras for a good reason, where a single raw can generate 100-150mb per second, and Tiff files at 500mb sometimes, not your piddly 3mb image
Card recovery can be important for users wishing for protection and added security in case a card loses its data or accidentally erased. The Extreme 3 SD card pack comes with a disc recovery program that is very good at recovering deleted files on cards.
Bigger isnt always better, remember the adage of dont put all your eggs in one basket, same goes for memory cards. A 16gig card might seem so damn handy as it can store so much, but what if it craps itself one day and u lose everything on it? And cant recover it all back? Suddenly the prospect of having 2x 8gig cards sounds more safer, or how about 4x 4gig cards?
Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:45 AM
Only way i can improve and learn
I will edit a few things out.
But i thought i put it in there for those who are on a budget and just want a full entry level camera?
Point taken there.. I guess it was just my 2cents..
Great point there
Posted 16 August 2008 - 06:53 PM
was looking at harvey norman catalouge and they have a Nikon D60 with a 18-55 and 55-200 lense kit for only $837 (save 100 bucks it says)
then i read camel toes post and it said remove the D40/D60 from the list, i was DEVO!!!
c ya think ill stop lookin till chrissie and then u c something and u r suddenly wanting 1 straight away, lol
still on the look out
any1 got a cheap 2nd hand D SLR?
$900 is the limit but will deff not spend over 1K!!!!!
suited to drifting etc. (good zoooom lens)
Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:53 PM
Well once i sell my car, i will be selling my canon 350d (body) for maybe 300?
Or i might just keep it as my backup camera.. hmmm
Posted 18 August 2008 - 07:59 PM
PM me if u r selling Sidd....i may be interested
What lense would adapt to the 350 & suited to drifting etc? i know that a 15-55mm is good for like every day use...right? haha
Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:52 PM
i sold a 30D for $650 before, mentioned it on here but no one was interested
Posted 20 August 2008 - 05:12 PM
I will let you know if i do end up selling it. Thinking of using it as my backup or take overseas/parties type camera, and use my new one for shoots(if i do buy a new one).
Posted 20 August 2008 - 10:07 PM
if your buying a D SLR you Really need sensor cleaning, unless of course you aint going to change the lense...
a digital SLR has one downside, the CCD is open to the air... (even if it is only open for a split second it is open to the air..)
so when you swap lenses you really need to do it where there is NO dust
racetracks are BAD for this...
any camera that has a CCD cleaner of some sort will stop you having to clean it more often.,..
a decent camera store will do a ccd clean for about 90
i regularly check the cond of my CCD thru a shoot, i take a shot at the cloyds or sky and shoot at F22 and then check the imnage for any dark spots...
so a camera with a CCD cleaner for a novice is a god send...
my choise for a starter would be a 450D but i am biased as i shoot canon...
it has 9 points of focus, 12mp CCD cleaner and AI Focus (tracking focus) and any lense you buy for it will fit any other body (apart from EF-S lenses..) it will do about 3.5 FPS...
the d40 or d60 is also a fantastic camera, and i am sure a Nikon user will vouch for one of those too as an entry level jobbie..
remeber though that if you go down the SLR path for ever will you be bringing a bag with you
and like Yoda you will walk like...
Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:42 AM
at least if it doesn't work out for you then you didn't fork out a fortune for it. i'll write up a more detailed break down later tonight.
Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:28 AM
Nothing wrong with buying 2nd slr cameras. Just gotta know what to look out for when purchasing.
Perhaps the professional photographers on this site can give a quick run down?
Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:28 AM
still paid 3500 for it...
it had done 16k images which is nothing for a 1D...
bought it from a reputable camera store i buy all my gear from...
Posted 21 August 2008 - 03:31 PM
SONY A200 TWIN LENS KIT
2.7" LCD screen
DT 18-70mm & a 75-300mm lens
Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200
Do you think that this would be a good camera? (good for taking drifting/motorsports in general)
Has anyone used the A200?
or heard anything about it?
Harvey Norman have got the A200 for $896 with one ONE lens, $4 extra and u get a second lens
PS: Mike what store do u buy all ur goodies from?
Posted 21 August 2008 - 09:58 PM
But "Continuous shooting rate: Up to 3 frames per second" -- seems slow tho!!
But i can post up some useful info for you when you get your camera and head out to the track to take some shots.
There are various methods of panning, but here are some basics to get you started, you will probably find you then adapt this to suit your own style….
- Set the shutter speed to 1/320 as an absolute maximum, any faster and you won’t get the blurred effect.
- Change the focus mode to “AF-C” (also known as ‘AI_Servo’, or whichever setting on your camera will continually re-focus as you pan) if possible, this will force the camera to continually refocus, important when a car is about to pass at 80mph.
- As a dry run track a car as it passes, find a good level of zoom so it fills the viewfinder nicely when in front of you.
Shooting (Side-on Pan)
- Track the car through the viewfinder at the earliest possible opportunity
- Hold the shutter release down half-way to initiate focus
- Continue to track the car with the button half-pressed, the camera will continue to refocus
- Fully press the shutter release at the point where you want to capture the car
- Continue to track the car in a smooth movement
The most important thing is to ‘follow through’, there should be no pause or abrupt end once you have taken the shot, continue to pan smoothly and you are more likely to get the shot.
MORE info see here: http://www.dslruser.co.uk/forum/viewthread...&rowstart=0
Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:24 PM
after a few hrs extensive testing and mucking around shooting subjects
i found the A200 to be unspectacular, in a sense its perfect for the beginner who do not really wish to upgrade or improve their skills and knowledge, and can produce good results in low iso and average in high, esp indoors. Very easy to use with menu and low learning curve though.
the DRO - Dynamic Range Optimizer works well in contrasting or harsh light, but will produce more noise
however, it still has more features than the crippled D40/D60 range from Nikon, at roughly the same price for kit lenses.
Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:18 AM
Sorry to steal this tread but i need some help with a slr and a lens combo
First of all i have a canon g9 a point and shoot which i recommend for anyone who wants to learn the basics of photography, this camera has full manual modes and slr feature which are quit cool.
When I first started to have an interest in photography I didn’t know anything about how a camera takes a picture and how to take a good photo. So I went for a g9 which was best of both worlds because I can just leave it in auto and take happy snaps or fine tune it to take a good photo. Well…… for amateur standard anyway
I want to buy a slr now and cant deciding between a canon 40d or a Nikon d80
And i have no clue what the number on the lens mean
The 40d combo has 17-85 mm
And the d80 has 18-200mm
as they as silmiar price
The photo ill be taking more would be landscape, Portrait, low light but want to try action or moving objects
Or if any other lens would be better of what I do pls recommend
Edited by donny, 22 August 2008 - 11:46 PM.
Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:17 PM
Found a thing on shooting drifting on that same website Sidd
Drifting can require a different approach to normal motorsport photography due to the unusual movement of the cars and lower speeds. As the majority of a drift occurs on a corner you will get the same focus issues as with ¾ pans, and you will also have the problem of smoke to confuse your auto-focus system.
Due to the madness that normally accompanies a drift (smoke, flames etc) you can get away with faster shutter speeds and still come away with a shot that implies plenty of movement. However if you can find an angle where a drifting car passes your position in a conventional way you can still use a standard side-on panning technique and get good results, you will probably need a much slower shutter speed (i.e. 1/100) though as the car will be moving much slower than normal.
1/320 – Relatively fast shutter speed but lots of movement visible due to smoke etc
1/100 – Car passed me without moving towards or away from me (despite pointing directly at me) therefore a standard pan was achievable with no blurring to the car
1/100 – Same shutter speed as above but car was moving towards me, therefore half of it is blurred
Posted 24 August 2008 - 09:46 AM
they have a Pentax K200D in the JB brochure for $697!
as camel toe said before, I think that this should be alright for what i want judging by his comments?
what lenses would be good for motorsport (probably drift mainly) that would attach to this camera
really thinking that i might get this.
PS: Sorry for bein a pain in the ass & askin soooo many questions!
Posted 24 August 2008 - 06:18 PM
these prices only take into account the body no lenses, also in pounds so you'll have to convert it:
Canon 300D (2003)m 6.3MP
Second Hand: £130
Brand New: £760
Nikon D70 (2004), 6.1MP
Second Hand: £170
Brand New: £650
Canon 5D (2005), 12.8MP
Second Hand: £850
Brand New: £2539
Canon 1D MK.II (2004), 16.7MP
Second Hand: £2000
Brand New: £5999
Nikon D200 (2005), 10.2MP
Second Hand: £550
Brand New: $1300
As you can see you can save a significant amount of money buying a second hand body and if your lucky you might find them sold with a lens of some sort.
This is not bad if some of you are looking at infra-red photography. i might buy an old 300D or something and convert it to infra-red only to take some more creative shots!
My best advice is to just read up as much as you can on the camera's you are looking at and ask people who actually use them. don't trust the sales guy at the camera store, i've found that sometimes its a bit difficult to talk to them because they have no effin clue what your talking about. so its usually best to go in knowing what you want and just asking for it
Posted 25 August 2008 - 03:48 PM
theres a huge difference in the prices for 2nd hand ones...
where do you go fro 2nd hand ones....cashies? haha
i know what you mean bout the DONT ask the sales guy at the camera store...i can c it now 'hey im after a camera for motorsports etc, was thinkin the Nikon D60?' Sales guy 'oh yer that would be a great camera to choose, that one is perfectly suited to motorsports and sports in general'
i wont mention the store *coughharveynormancough*
when i bought my video camera i said to the guy i want one that shoots onto a DVD or hard drive NOT one with a cassette tape.... he said yer no worries
i didnt even think to check and he sold me a Cassette tape one, took it back spoke to the manager he asked the guy if he sold me it his like yer, manager says he wanted a DVD or hard drive one NOT a cassette tape. the sales guy said nah he didnt say that he said i want a video camera not a particular one.
i could of shot the wanker in the head!
PS: what store would be best to go to in Adelaide for DSLR....obviously not Harvey Norman
Posted 25 August 2008 - 05:01 PM
JB - im sure someone there will know about cameras
There should be one in every westfield.. i forgot the name now.. hmm
Perhaps if i sell my car this weekend, i will be upgrading my camera etc.. So i might sell the 350d.
But im not sure if it will be good enough for motorsport.
otherwise will be a great camera to learn on and experiment.
Posted 25 August 2008 - 05:28 PM
harvey norman, JB Hi Fi arent really places to go for advice on cameras lol
when u want the best and honest advice, u go speak to photographers, not salesmen, we have photographers at my store such as myself, and some at Diamonds and Teds on Rundle st, Photographic Wholesalers, and L&P Photographics etc
Posted 25 August 2008 - 07:15 PM
i wouldn't even recommend camera stores like teds, etc for advice. i don't have anything against them but unless you know the guy is a good photographer there is always the thought on the back on my head that they just wanna make a sale!
one thing though, i went to JB hifi to buy my lens and i got it really cheap, so definitely do your research first and see how much you can haggle down the price, i saved over $100 on my lens and it was only $50 more then buying online.
Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:00 PM
Ive herd good things about the d60 and was wondering if this would be a kit suited for me
The things i manly want to shoot
Going to the park with nephews,
And some sports
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Also where is a good place to find 2nd hand cameras?
i want to spend around $800. i know its not much but its all i can afford atm.
Edited by chasebro, 04 September 2008 - 03:13 PM.
Posted 04 September 2008 - 04:00 PM
This will not be enough reach for motor sport at all.
Otherwise it is a good lens for everyday thing, like you said - taking nephews to the park etc..
The D80 - comes with 18-200mm lens.
A great camera and much better than the d60
It has autofocus capability with all nikon AF lenses, while the d60 requires that feature inbuilt into the lens (someone correct me if im wrong)
I think this camera will be more suited for your needs.
The extra reach from the lens will be much better in terms of what you would like to do..
The best place for 2nd cameras is either on SLR forums (eg, canon forums, nikon forums, photography forums etc), ebay or your friends etc..
If you were choosing between the d60 and d80 go with the d80
edit: perhaps ask camel toe on here if he has any 2nd hand bodys/lens suited for your needs. He works in a photography store and is a professional photographer!!
Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:43 PM
which is why biased ppl shouldnt give out advices, its dangerous and can be misleading.
nothing wrong with buying from EBAY if u buy from a reputable seller, such as DigitalRev who are known the world over. As long as one is aware of the international warranties on Canon and Nikon being non existent - u have to send it back to wherever u bought it from.
I think u mean an AF-S lens from Nikon, and yes its something to worry about as it doesnt comprise 90% of consumer Nikon and pro Nikkor lenses especially the slightly older full frame lenses. And also 3rd party lenses only has some lenses catering to the D40/40x/60 crowd
no theyre not, they are priced higher than the entry level Nikons - this goes for 1000D, 400D, and 450D - in Australia, HK, anywhere in the world, even at cost price
the earlier 18-55mm kit lenses from canon and nikon are both not so good, the Mark II updated versions of each coming with VR and IS perform much better. But the best kit lense is the Pentax 18-55 in both original and Mark II update.
but what is a kit lens? the 18-70mm was originally sold as the kit lens and it performed pretty decently for the price, and the same can be said for the pentax 16-45 earlier too.
no its not! they both weigh next to nothing for being the cheapo plastic fantastic consumer lens they are. The only 70-300 that weighs and costs a lot more is the IS version
- semi-pro: Nikon D300
- enthuasist/semi pro: Canon 40d/50d
forgot to add the pentax K20D and Sony A700 in the enthusiast/semi pro level
ummm u realise the bigger the aperture the more light meaning a decrease in image quality right? especially around the borders for softness.
when a lens is stopped down, there will always be an increase in image sharpness and clarity and colours as there is less light coming in and more detailed revealed. Typical rule of thumb is always stop down 2 stops to get the best results for a lens, or sometimes 3.
A zoom lens usually performs best at f8 and some peak at f5.6 such as the revered sigma 17-70mm and other optically excellent lenses, a zoom with a constant f2.8 for example usually performs best at f5.6 not always f8. A prime lens, such as the cheap canon 50mm f1.8, peaks at f5.6 for its utmost sharpness and clarity in centre of subject and borders. But there is a decrease in the bokeh (background blur separation of subject). So u need to balance out the bokeh and stopping down for sharpness depending on your subject intention
and stopping down further than f8 for any prime lens results in diffraction - a loss in image quality.
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