New DLSR Camera help!

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by jonnyp17, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Hi,
    I am looking to buy my first DLSR camera and I think ive narrowed it down within my price range.. I am liking the Nikon D5200/D3300 but also the Canon SL1 + T6 but I am unsure what would be a better bang for my buck. Also which would be easier to use and get the hang of quicker. I am going away travelling this summer and I will be taking various general tourists pics. Can anyone recommend one over the other? They will all be with the basic kit lens that they come with.
    Thanks in advance !
  2. Frankly - no, I don't believe anyone can seriously say one is outright better than the other. Mostly because they're both really good choices.
    The most important thing to choose between these cameras is how they feel in your hands, and which has the (most important) buttons in places you can easily reach and what feels logical to you. In short: how they handle. This is valid, no matter if it's a mirrorless or DSLR. I agree the mirrorless options are worth watching too, in which case I do recommend to see for yourself the difference between an optical finder (DSLR) and an electronic one. Some people coming from a digital compact camera do miss seeing the additional information an electronic finder may give, and/or the smaller size of the camera. And some people prefer an optical finder and find a larger body easier to handle.

    So best thing is to go to a store that has plenty models on display, and try the models in your price range in your own hands. There are no real bad choices between them, but getting one that feels good in your hands and with the right size and weight can make a world of difference.
    jonnyp17 likes this.
  3. Being a long time Nikon user I would say one of the Nikons.
    But I am a realist, Nikon or Canon, it does not matter, they are both GOOD brands.

    As for the D3xxx vs the D5xxx, you have to look at the specs and see if one camera has a feature that you want and the other does not. Make a side-by-side list of the features on each camera and THINK if it makes a difference to YOU.

    One often overlooked item is bulk and weight. When you have to carry the camera for every day for 10+ days, a little extra bulk and weight can become significant. And for senior citizens like me, that is a significant factor to consider, whereas I did not worry much about weight and bulk when I was in college.

    Whichever you choose, use it a LOT before your trip. You want to learn to use the camera BEFORE your trip, so that you are not fumbling around trying to get the shot of something you can't go back to get.

    Tip: Carry the camera manual with you, or download the PDF of the manual to your smart phone. Murphy will strike and you will be stuck not knowing how to do something, and the manual is back at home :-( Been there, done that, was not happy.
    jonnyp17 likes this.
  4. If you'll remain on a shoestring budged, Canon might be the better brand to pick; the first few lenses to buy too are a tad cheaper than Nikon's.
    Nikon are pretty strong in their upper midrange offerings. In general Canon seems video friendlier than Nikon, who don't provide an AF made for that (video is shot in live view mode). For stills through the optical viewfinder Nikon are competitive. Their sensors might have a tiny edge over Canon's since they are a tad bigger and better in low light or for pictures with extremely high contrast.
    Side note on mirrorless cameras: They seem either significantly more expensive or almost absolutely too slow for action photography.
    If action, sports and wildlife aren't your goal you could look at Pentax as an alternative DSLR brand. Their AF performance seems obviously behind Canon and Nikon but for touristic pictures or compliant portrait models indoors they can be OK. AF aside the bodies pack a lot of tempting features. Lenses might be more expensive and third party support of the system is limited, but they are the only DSLR brand offering an in body image stabilization right now, which is really nice to have, but doesn't matter much if you are sticking to stabilized zooms.

    Bottom line: maybe watch - @izajahmed 's link above did not seem helpful to me, mentioning no camera that wasn't at least 2x your budged without lens. - IMHO buying into "the greater system" doesn't matter much. - I mean: I can't afford the $13K sports zoom, so why should I care who makes it? - Look at what you get for your money now! And as @Wouter Willemse already told: Try to handle the candidates in a shop and pick the one that feels better. This matters especially since you are pondering the SL1! World's smallest SLRs tend to pair not too well with heavier and bigger lenses from an ergonomics POV. - OTOH: it is great to have a compact SLR with a kit zoom over the other shoulder when you are out birding with something heavier and the best camera is the one you 'll have with you.
    jonnyp17 likes this.
  5. As a long time Nikon user and really don't like Canon. I would say pick the one that looks best!
  6. Thank you for all the input. Ive gotten used to the nikon 3000's line but I havent gotten around to play with the 5000's series yet. I am really liking the D5200 for both the features and price. Similarily in price (the canon SL1) although the specs may be a bit better on the Nikon, the SL1 has touchscreen.. is that an important feature? I dont find the menu hard to navigate on the Nikons but it is 2017 and touchscreen is almost on everything nowadays which may make eveything easier when using the camera? But the D5200 has the articulated sceen and I really like that feature. In all honesty If I could afford it, the D5600 would be my 1st choice but for me its just what fits in my budget and what is the best I can get within it.

    Ive looked on amazon and here are my options within my budget that ive collected:

    Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR w/ 18-55mm STM lens $549
    Nikon D5200 DSLR w/ 18-55mm zoom lens $529
    Nikon D5200 AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit $619
    Nikon D3400 AF-P DX NIkkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit $540

    Can anyone help with which of these would be the best bang for my buck (all are brand new). Or even suggest something else?
  7. these are also CND prices
  8. Not familiar with it. - I liked phones with buttons more, dialing feels easier on them. - OTOH: if you want to review images on your LCD touch screen probably makes things faster & easier? spinning my magnification wheel and hitting the direction arrows multiple time to check sharpness of a crucial bit outside the image center does suck on my older cameras, as does watching a JEPEG load at all, the first glimpse is pixelated, resolution pops in later. <- I am talking about 10+x year old gear here.
    I know little about the importance of chimping. - Usually I am looking at my histogram and the blinking markers for blown out highlights. - No zooming needed for that chore.
    I might also shoot daringly (from the hip, over head, handheld selfies or closeup work with a rangefinder, which is guesswork too) and feel an urge to check my framing.
    When trying to capture action and similar I might run out of buffer. - My 1st camera takes 5 pictures in a row and needs 1 minute to write those to card (camera hardware limit). All others write faster. Most have bigger buffers and what you are looking at should be better.
    The open question: When is review speed needed? I usually shoot all day long (as a tourist) or "for quite a while" in the studio and stuff my cards into a PC to see what I got. Image distribution goes on from there.

    Where I see a crucial benefit of touch screens is: AF spot selection. If you are doing it manually the touch screen probably speeds it up, tracking your movement from lower right to upper left corner while another guy might have to click buttons a dozen times? - In this connection I have to stress that AF spot selection mode access is also crucial. On my enthusiast SLRs I have a ring across the arrow keys to toggle through automatic / manually selected spot / center spot quickly. - On a consummer body I have to hit the menu system to do that (sucks & slows down severely).

    Nikon 5#00 screens: It would be awesome to have a fast AF in live view mode with those. - My co traveler with Nikon cursed his frequently. I suppose I'll be happier buying a Canon with rigid screen and dual pixel AF + using either mirrors or external screens to see what I am framing. - I am a bit lazy to kneel or sit down all the time to shoot portraits of people significantly shorter than myself.

    Have you checked the difference between $619 & $529 D5200 kits? - Are the lenses to blame and reviews online? - Buying one without VR would be a huge mistake! Ditto about Canon without IS.

    Lenses in general: I fear you will like to have a range of at least 18-120mm covered in the long run, So if you'll buy 18-55mm you 'll start saving for a long 2nd zoom. If you are on the convenient end of the rainbow, look at longer kit zooms covering everything in one lens. - All in one zooms aren't my primary choice but I am walking around with up to 3 cameras behind different lenses instead of buying them.
    jonnyp17 likes this.
  9. All of the models listed will work fine (I prefer Canon). The newer Canon models all use "touch screens" but if it's for travel look at the mirrorless camera options from Sony, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, etc.
    Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter but can still use the big SLR lens. - great for travel and other things
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  10. I am still stuck between deciding what camera to get. I know people say the lens will be more important but I can get a lens whenever, the body is what has all the features and power. Im now really liking the Nikon D5500 and D5300
  11. Not really. Digital bodies come and go; lenses stay for the long haul. Good lenses cost a good deal more than a body too, and lenses often can do more to enhance your creative options than a body might (think for example ultra-wide angles, or lenses with ultra wide apertures). Feature lists of cameras may make for more interesting reading, but the real power is in a balanced, complete system which offers sufficient options.

    As for touchscreens - I never used one, and I see zero use in it. My nose would be on it pretty often, plus I do not find a touchscreen easier to use than a button (assuming both are done well). You hold a camera in a different way than you do a smartphone or tablet, which makes a touchscreen ergonomically a bit a puzzling solution to a problem nobody had, in my view.

    If you really like the Nikon D5300, go for it. Budget allowing you might want to see if you can get the 18-140VR lens instead of the 18-55 - it costs a fair bit more, but it's a serious step up. But in the end - it has to be your decision. Go with the camera you like and that feels right to you. And then, get learning to get the best from it.
    jonnyp17 likes this.
  12. My D500 has a touch screen and I've never used it. I with Wouter on this.
  13. "You hold a camera in a different way than you do a smartphone or tablet, which makes a touchscreen ergonomically a bit a puzzling solution to a problem nobody had, in my view"

    yes, you do hold a phone different from a camera but the value of a "touch screen" ..(your nose actually turns off the LCD screen). I can't imagine going back to the old DSLR buttons especially with a Nikon menu and layout


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