Camera suggestions

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by storie, May 22, 2021.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I consider myself a newbie even though I fell in love with photography over 20 years ago. I have never been able to afford a DSLR and have pushed my little power shot and now my iPhone to there limit. I am finally really considering spending some real money on either a DSLR or mirrorless. I still cannot afford a professional camera but I want to be able to get closer to professional pictures. I am attracted to the mirrorless because I like the portability aspect. But I am just not sure what the best options are? I am just not familiar enough to know what to look for. Does anyone with experience have suggestion on DSLR or mirrorless that is in the middle (not pro but not low end), portable, and they feel gives them pro-looking shots? If it helps I mostly shoot nature and landscapes but I am not as young as I used to be so I cannot always tackle the terrain and tend to zoom more than I would like. So I do know I need good image stabilization, and telephoto lens options. Thank you for any help.
  2. There are a lot of slightly used DSLRs for very reasonable prices. Older lenses are often reasonably priced, too.

    My most recent camera purchase is a Nikon D1X, which was a top pro camera not so long ago.

    When it came out 20 years ago it was over $4000, now it is $42. I already had a battery and charger
    that I had for a different camera. (But also a little heavy for a DSLR.)

    Probably a better choice is the D200 or D300, both with many pro features, again reasonably priced.

    Nikon manual focus lenses are mostly reasonably priced used, and also autofocus zoom lenses.

    Maybe my best lens deal is a Nikon AI 80-200 (manual focus) zoom lens for $10.50.
    It is the only push/pull zoom lens I have, which is a little interesting to get used to.
  3. AJG


    What is your budget? As Glen H says, there are a lot of used cameras and lenses out there and many of them are traded in by photographers who always have to have the latest and greatest and haven't used them that much. DSLRs will probably be cheaper than mirrorless since they have been on the market longer but mirrorless seems to be the way things are going, so you might want to factor that in when you make your choice. In my experience newer cameras tend to have significantly better image stabilization and autofocus. One other thing--when you put a very long fast lens on any camera it will be heavy regardless of how light the camera body may be.
  4. I have no idea what is required for 'pro-looking shots', but 16 megapixels is enough for commercial work.
    Plenty of options to choose from there, both DSLR and mirrorless, you don't say what your budget is, but you can get a perfectly capable mirrorless body for less than 200€/$/£ used.
    It's the lenses that will cost, so you need to plan the whole system, to a degree, before jumping in with the first cheap body you find.

    If size and weight is an issue, you might want to take a serious look at a micro 4/3 system (Olympus or Panasonic).
    Take a bit of time to research, most systems cover the common lens options from ultra wide to long telephoto, but not all do so cheaply.

    Edit - just read your reintroduction post, sounds like maybe ruggedness, stabilisation and good out of camera jpegs are priorities? Take a look at the Olympus E-M5 perhaps?
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  5. According to Shutterfly, 3 megapixels is enough for 8x10 or 16x20 prints.
    It isn't more for larger prints, as they expect them to be viewed from farther away.

    You do need more for a lot of cropping, but zoom lenses mean not so much cropping.

    But okay, more is better. The D200 is 10 megapixels and about $100.

    The D200 has the AI follower, so will work with manual focus AI lenses.
    There are plenty of good lenses for reasonable prices, though not the
    newest ones.
  6. If you have pushed your phone to the limit, do not invest in low end DSLRs, but aim for a real step forward. You lean towards mirrorless, so have a look at the latest Nikon Z series or Sony A7 series. Both offer options when you do want quality, but not necessarily want the top of the line.
  7. First of all you have been using mirrorless that is the P&S and Phones are mirrorless so I think you should stay with mirrorless. Using a reflex finder in a DSLR is quite diffierent. Using liveview with a DSLR doesn't make a lot of sense.
    Now find out what limit you because you're using the phone? Lenses? Fast shutter speed? Manual controls? etc.. then find the camera that solve those problems.
    robertgiles likes this.
  8. SCL


    While Nikon's D300 is dirt cheap and IMHO a terrific camera (I've easily gotten 30x40" prints from mine). and I love my mirrorless bodies as well, I'd just comment that the camera isn't going to get you professional pictures, with practice YOU might. The camera can only facilitate what you know and practice. It seems mirrorless is becoming the fashion rather than DSLRs these days, and is more versatile in that many models can use adapters for almost any older lenses if you choose to go that route. OTOH, as the market changes older, but very usable DSLRs are becoming VERY inexpensive. They are generally heavier than mirrorless, more expensive, although you can get some very nice used older models, like those mentioned above, The comments on focusing mirrorless vs DSLRs may also be important depending on your eyesight. Another factor to consider is whether you want full frame or cropped images...full frame is generally more expensive and IMHO better for wide angle shooting, while cropped is better for telephoto and long focus shooting. Your best bet is to do some independent research to narrow down what will best meet your budget and needs.
  9. The D200 or D300 can certainly produce pro results. I used mine for 13 years before having enough money for a serious upgrade. IMO, here's the tradeoff. The D200 and various other choices do not have in-body stabilization. That means you need generally more expensive stabilized lenses. Though there are a lot of decent and inexpensive old Nikkors, you'll end up raising your ISO to use them. That will show the noise limitations of the camera quite quickly. Even then, longer slow lenses won't be terribly useful without a tripod. Thus, you'll have to put your money in a better body or in better lenses. IMO, full frame has a noticeable edge over DX, not only for image quality but for shallower depth of field, which is important for isolating subjects. May or may not matter to you. You can get a Z5 with a 24-200 lens for about $1700, but I've no idea what your budget is. I have mobility limitations so I know the frustration of not being able to get where you know the best vantage points are, but I've also never had much fondness for long lenses.
  10. If you shoot landscapes, you ought to reserve some money for a tripod. Often, the best lighting is at the beginning or end of the day when it's darker and you need longer exposure times calling for a tripod.
  11. Not a bad place to look:

    Best cameras and lenses: 2021 DPReview Buying Guides

    Look at best cameras under $500 and best cameras under $1,000. One of these cameras plus a standard "kit" lens would be a good place to start and will likely cost no more than a current generation Iphone.
  12. Excellent advice. "Better" isn't always so. It's what suits your needs that matters. Determining individual features you want and will use will go a long ways in helping your decision.

    This is a little vague, as there are many kinds of professionals doing all kinds of different work suggesting all kinds of different gear.

    And keep in mind that one's equipment is going to be only one ingredient in getting a "professional" looking picture. Vision, skill, and talent will play a much more significant role in the long run.

    Remember that old annoying opinion by the man on the street ... "Great picture, you must have a really good camera!"
  13. Very clear, then, that something more versatile than a cell phone camera is wanted.
    Something that offers a choice of lenses and other parafernalia you might need to do something you might want to do.

    I don't see, by the way, where the OP expressed anything about a lack in vision, skill or talent. So why is that part of a what-equipment-to-get advice?
  14. Thank you so much. I saw several others mention the D200 or D300. I will definitely look into this. I am possibly willing to go up to a thousand. I do want a good lens though. That is quire a bit less expensive than I realized.
  15. Thank you. I am possibly able to go up to a thousand. It kind of makes me feel a little sick on my stomach though because that is a huge amount of money for me. So I would like to spend less if possible. I agree with the mirrorless. I bought a good SLR right before film sort of became unattainably expensive for mean and ended up barely using 5he camera because everything went digital. I am worried about spending huge money on DSLR when the newer technology is coming getting bigger. But I also think I can get more in a DSLR for less money. Either way I want to try to make sure to put money into something that can grow with me.
  16. Thank you very much for the suggestion. I seriously appreciate your comments! I think this may be one of the Cameras that was on my radar a while back. I have to take another look at it. I guess pro quality really has more to do with me true. I would like my photos to be sharper which is mostly me. But Some of this is actually that I have a lot of difficulty seeing the screen sometimes. I wear glasses or contacts and have a very strong prescription. So probably just having an actual viewfinder so I don’t have to deal with glare as much will make a significant difference. But I guess I mean I want a camera with good range in ISO, etc with a good reputation for crisp images.
  17. Thank you that is very much where I want to be. I want a quality camera I can grow with but can’t afford top of the line.
  18. Thank you. I will read that.
  19. Wow. Thank you. This gives me some things to think about that I had not considered. My eyesight is definitely something to factor in. I do find myself doing more telephoto or long focus shots so probably cropped would end up being better for me but I will do some research. Clearly I am really lacking knowledge. I am curious considering what the difference in focusing is in mirrorless vs DSLR is and if one would be better given my poor eyesight?
  20. I agree the advice about figuring out what is limiting me is excellent. As to professional shots. I guess that is a little vague. I have seen exceptional amazing inspiring images on here created with nothing but an I phone. And I personally have gotten some beautiful images on my iPhone or my very old cannon powershot. So I guess what I should have said is I want a professional camera but I can’t afford one. So I am looking for a quality versatile camera that has a good reputation with more experienced photographers. However I do agree with the advice several have mentioned that I need to think more about what I need in my camera. I very much appreciate all the different advice and suggestions and helpful comments on some things to consider.
    samstevens likes this.

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