Entry Level DSLR

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by chirag_shroff, May 25, 2008.

  1. Guys,

    I currently have a Canon PowerShot A530 and I hate it. This camera performs very
    poorly in low light and indoors and I am tired of it.

    I want to buy a camera that will give me good image quality especially in low light
    and indoors. I'll also prefer a smaller camera.

    I have never used a DSLR before and though I am very fond of taking pictures, I am
    initially looking for an entry level DSLR. I'll prefer a smaller more compact DSLR
    but this is not a deal breaker. Something in the range of 400-800. I don't mind
    buying a refurbished DSLR to bring down the cost.

    I read a lot of threads on the forums and the more I read the more confused I get.

    Your inputs will be greatly appreciated.


  2. Nikon D80 for $729 and a fast prime lens. D300 will do better at $1800. The D80 is at the end of its life cycle and is priced right.

    D60 is small, new, and will be fully functional with any of the older lenses so you are stuck with buying new immediately loosing the initial cost savings. There are no fast primes fully compatable with the D60 except Sigmas which I do not recommend.

    Don`t know a thing about Canon except there is no significant difference . You are looking at consumer Digital Rebel or semi pro 40D.
  3. Thanks. What do you think about Nikon D40?
  4. Canon Digital Rebel XTi and XSi both fit your budget and are very small for a DSLR (in fact too small for some people). Any lens made for the Canon EOS mount will fit these cameras.
  5. You also can get the
    Olympus E 420


    is one of the smallest dslr cameras in the market
    also has a great image quality

    the price its just about
    $600 for the kit

    take care
    hope you found it usefull

    take care
    Marcelo G
  6. Guys,

    What do you think about Nikon D40? I am getting it for 440.


  7. D40 is crippled the same way as as D40x and D60. Cheap to buy, expensive when
    you get more lenses.

    It is very small camera, ok if you have small thin hands. Not ok if you are a wide

    440 is a good price and be sure the kit lens 18/55 comes with it. They are bundled
    together and D40`s are not sold without by legit dealers. Calumet sells both at 500
  8. The D40 is crap. Nighmarish ergonomics and virtually incompatible to anything but AF-S lenses -- so NO primes will work fully on this camera. Even AF Nikkors must be focused manually, which is next to impossible due to the poor viewfinder.

    Get an used Pentax K10D instead of an entry-level toy where corners have been cut to make it as "cheap" as possible. In addition to its native AF lenses it can use all manual Pentax-K mount lenses and adapt all M42 gear -- with the focus confirmation, metering and image stabilization still intact.
  9. Ronald and Bueh,

    Thanks for your replies.

    The D40 comes with the lens. Here is the link:


    Roland and Bueh,

    Thanks. I'll be buying my DSLR and don't know much about how it works. So, something that will do most of the things on its own is good. I'll start using the manual controls as I learn more about the camera. So, keeping this in mind is D40 an ok buy?


  10. Chirag, I strongly advise against the D40 for beginners. Like most entry-level dSLRs it is actually pretty difficult to use because of the awful ergonomics. It is a camera that will you leave you disappointed when you realize its limits and drawbacks. Check out the K10D, it's a great camera for beginners backed with a very affordable system.
    And please research more about the online store you want to buy from before purchasing anything!
  11. Bueh,

    Many Thanks. How is the Pentax K200D (100$ rebate on it)? How does it compare to Canon Digital Rebel XTi and XSi that Aaron suggested?

    I'll also checking pricing on K10D.


  12. Hi Chirag. I'm a Pentax shooter too. Currently using the K100D Super - 6.3mp dslr with a steel chassis, rugged polycarbonate exterior and excellent ergonomics. The K200D is the successor to my camera. The 200 has a weather sealed body and 10.1mp sensor as well as a mode dial to help you make the transition to dslr. Steves Digicams recently posted an excellent review of the K200D. The in-body stabilization is ideal too - every lens is stabilized. Below is an iceberg shot I took yesterday. It's amazing how much detail the Pentax can capture even on an all white subject....
  13. Chirag, the K200D is an entry-level camera with less-than-optimal ergonomic like the Rebels. I find their operation counter-intuitive and prefer the better bodies (i.e, K10D, EOS 20D). A camera's user interface plays a big part in photography. It's pretty frustrating when you have to remove the camera from your eye to wade through the menus to change some important setting (e.g., flash exposure compensation, or white balance etc). Don't underestimate this -- especially if you are serious about photography!
    If you want to buy new, check out the Pentax K20D, but the K10D is still an excellent camera and give you the most bang for the buck. They're pretty affordable on the used market.
  14. >> "Thanks. What do you think about Nikon D40?"

    The D40 is often bashed for its lack of internal AF motor, its compact size, its menu based controls, and its low 6 MP pixle count. But it actually have quite a few adventages over more sophistciated cameras besides its low price. The D40's 6 MP sensor allows more light to hit its bigger pixles allowing less noise and possibly better image quality. It has a 1/500 flash synch time, which could be a huge plus for you.

    Most other entry level cameras, such as the Canon Rebel XSi, Pentax K200D, and Nikon D60 are more expensive, and are sometimes categorized as a class or half of a class above the D40.

    I own a D40x, it's my back-up body. Ever since I got my D300, I got no use of the D40x's 10 MP pixle count. I actually want to trade it for a regular D40 for its smaller pixle count (big enough for casual/practice shots) and lower noise levels.
  15. Chirag,

    Before you purchase a camera at cost price substantially lower than advertised by reputable on line dealers like bhphoto or adorama, check http://www.resellerratings.com/store/FotoConnection_1 for ratings. If the retailer has a poor rating avoid them. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  16. I wouldn't give up on the D40 so fast. It is very compact and lightweight. I'm not sure what ergonomic nightmares other people are having but I find it very comfortable to use and I have big hands and long fingers. I carry it around in my right hand ready to shoot, sometimes for hours on end depending on what I'm doing, with no problem. I also find it very easy to use. If I were a professional wedding photographer, I might appreciate a couple extra command dials and programmable buttons and maybe even a top LCD but I don't find them necessary for everyday use. Most of the settings you need to change on the fly, including flash compensation, can be made directly without accessing any menus with the dial and a corresponding button(s). I would suggest going to your nearest big camera store or Circuit City, or other large electronics retailer, and putting your hands on some different cameras and seeing how they feel and handle. Ergonomics can be pretty subjective. The D40/D40X/D60 do limit your lens choices if you want full autofocus and auto-exposure. Only AF-S and AF-I lenses will autofocus. Older style AF lenses will not auto-focus with them but the will meter and give you full auto-exposure. Manual focus lenses will not meter and can only be used in manual exposure mode. The AF focus confirmation system does work with all lenses though so the camera will help you out with manual focus which is good because focusing by eye is difficult without the split prism finders that manual focus film cameras have. The AF lens issue may not even be an issue for you. The only 2 lenses that I'm really disappointed that I can't use fully are the extremely cheap 50mm f/1.8 AF-D and the extremely cheap 70-300mm f/4-5.6 G AF. I could've gotten a used D50 instead which will autofocus all Nikon AF lenses but I really don't have any regrets. If that limitation bothers you then consider a used D70 perhaps but to tell you the truth, if you're coming from a point & shoot, I wouldn't worry about it - by the time you've explored the limits of the D40, you'll be ready for a new body anyway. The D40 is a terrific bargain and a lot of camera for under $500. The D40 is completely usable at ISO 1600 so you should be able to shoot at shutter speeds 2 or 3 stops faster than with your A530. It (or any DSLR) will also focus much faster and more easily in dim lighting than any P&S camera will - especially with the focus assist lamp. Depending on your lighting, floors, wall colors, furniture, etc., sometimes it does have trouble auto-white balancing indoors but that's easy enough to fix afterwards or you can just set white balance manually. P&S cameras actually seem to do better in that regard sometimes. A few steps of correction to the built in "Indoor" setting is usually close enough for my living room. Everywhere else, auto-white balance works great. With your budget you could get the D40 kit plus the 55-200mm VR for long range shooting and have money left over for either the 50mm f/1.8 for really low light shooting (if you don't mind manually focusing) or a SB-400 flash which you could use to bounce off the ceiling which should help your low light shooting too. Or you could get the D40 and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM instead for your indoor shooting - it will autofocus and 30mm is a more useful focal length than 50mm indoors. I've got a manual 50mm f/1.4 that I use for really low light and inside I am always trying to back up further for people - good length for pets though. Here's one of my favorite indoor shots made with the D40 and 55-200mm VR - I could have made it with the 18-55mm kit lens too but the shutter speed would've been 1/40 @ f/5.6 instead of 1/80 @ f/4.0 which probably would've been fine anyway.
  17. The devil is in the details. Yes, Bueh is correct that the K10D is a little more rugged and larger than the K200D but the fact remains that the K200D is essentially a K10D in a K100D body with weather sealing added. The ergonomics are excellent, larger than the XTi, more solid than the D40.

    The K200D is entry level in design but with all the advanced features that keep a serious photographer happy.

    As for Canikon, here's my favorite comment from Canon Guru Bob Atkins:
    "If I were Canon I'd be worrying about the fact that Sony, Olympus and Pentax are offering DSLRs with built in sensor shift image stabilization. That's a feature that should pursuade a lot of consumers to go with them while Nikon and Canon are sticking the the more expensive and less available stabilized lenses. I'm even eyeing the Pentax D20 myself!"

    That's a serious testimonial from a Canon brand loyalist - gotta love it when he endorses the competition.
  18. There will always be cameras with more bells and whistles, both at the price point you can afford and above. Some of the cameras' features worth serious consideration, but I don't believe they should prevent you from making a reasonable decision, while considering your need and all of your options.

    Chirag, you should think about what you really want, what you really need, and how much you're really willing to spend. People will be biased and sometimes emotional about things such as choosing a camera. But you should try to make a logical choice for your own good.
  19. The D40 is an excellent camera. Take a good look at the Sony A200 as well.
  20. As others have mentioned, if you're going to buy online, be very careful. You can get some great deals, but there are a lot of shady sellers out there. B& H and Adorama are the gold standard.

    Watch out for some that claim to offer the same camera at much less than those two. Often, their trick is to take your online order and then send an email telling you to call and confirm the order. When you do, they apply pressure to buy overpriced accessories. Some even charge extra for things the manufacturer includes in the box, such as batteries and chargers. A friend did this and bought an Olympus E-510, but ended up paying more than he would have at B & H, but he did get what he paid for.

    Always check an online seller at http://www.resellerratings.com.

    p.s. Let me put in another good word for the Pentax line. I have a K10D and it is great. It is built like a tank. It is weather sealed, as is the K200D, but note that the kit lens is NOT sealed. Only the expensive DA* lenses are sealed.

    Paul Noble
  21. All the major manufacturers make roughly similar cameras. What is important is that for low light work, the "kit" lenses will leave much to be desired..
  22. The D40 is an excellent camera. (For the first DSLR. The D60 is even better. As for its ergonomics its fine. I have a D70,D300 and a D40. The D40 is light and fun its only draw back is AF-S lens If its you first it wont matter. Buy one. :)
  23. Buying a DSLR is like getting married to a person you just met in the camera store. You are committed to incompatible lenses and accessories, as well as a lifetime of > $500 body upgrade support payments.
    Why not just go to the DcResource database, click AF Assist Lamp, anything else you want, and go from there? Fuji and Sony make models with remarkably low noise in dim light, e.g. the Finepix F50.
  24. "Buying a DSLR is like getting married to a person you just met in the camera store. You are committed to
    incompatible lenses and accessories, as well as a lifetime of > $500 body upgrade support payments"

    Leaving "$500 body upgrade payments" (that your other half might or might not require) aside, I'm not so much of the
    opinion that whatever system you buy into initially actually limits the system you remain in. I say this because if
    anyone is considering upgrading to a pro kit, you often need new bodies to accompany new lenses, and the cost of
    this is usually of the order of 10x the price you paid for your entry level system, - it doesn't really matter if you can't
    use your 18-55 kit lens with your new EOS1dsmkIII.

    You might as well get a camera that you will enjoy using now, and even if you upgrade later, you may find you still
    enjoy using it.


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