New to digital photograhpy - Where do I start? Thinking Nikon 1 AW1

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by manuel panzera, May 14, 2017.

  1. Hi,

    I've been away from photography for many a year now (since th emid-90s). I used to dabble with 35mm SLRs and spent a small fortune on what is now old kit (Contax 167MT - 2 Sigma zoom lenses f2.8 28-70mm and a whopper f2.8 70-200mm- later I bought a Carl Zeiss 135mm). In hindsight I probably made the mistake of buying very large lens that meant lumping my bag around was a bit of a pain, but I was quite happy with the kits and my general results. Then marriage, kids and other expenses made way...

    In 2005 I bought a Nikon compact with a wide angle zoom lens (can't remember what model) for work (real estate) and for personal snapes. it was okay did the job, but was not very quick (dependant on file size), battery life was a pain and lack of telezoom was also restricting.

    Now my daughter seems interested in photography and I'd like something semidecent for myself that she can use too. She's 16 and is thinking of doing a phtography course in 2 years time when she's at college. She's taken to using my old kit, which I think is an excellent way to learn, but it's early days and I don't want to invest in a digital SLR until I know she's sure of what she wants to do (hopefully she may have a weekend job and can buy her own.....

    Now I've been doing a little research and obviously I'm still stuck in the dark ages. I'm lost in all the new techincalities and acronyms I don't recognise. Anyway, I was thinking of investing in a compact with interchangeabke lenses (used to be a range finder..). That way if I (or my daughter) think of progressing further and dabbling some more we have a reasonable platform to work from and if we don't I have a semidecent system that I can fit in a pocket or hang around my neck without breaking it. I also sail and ride my bike quite a lot and would like to take shots while out and about, so I was thnking of the Nikon 1 AW1.

    One concern is the longevity of the digital kit. I see this camera is now 4 years old and this could be stone ages equivalent in the digital era...?

    Does anyone have any feedback on the image quality of this camera or any suggestions on where to start again? bugdet is max £5-600 ($6-700)

  2. I'll only address this one at the moment.
    Some people say every digital camera is obsolete by the time it hits the market and resale value is nil. An investigation of prices paid on eBay reveals the falseness of this alternative "fact"..
    Of course, depreciation (like a new car) is steep, but it is nowhere near as steep as the fall in film cameras over the last 10 years. It's not 1976 any more folks,

    A used film camera (with the obvious collector exceptions) is usually priced in the realm of buying a pizza. Most old digital cameras of over 3 MP are usually priced over a $100. I know, I've been trying to find them cheap for my investigation of early digital.
    I have shot with the early Canon digitals (e.g., EOS D60, not 60D) and the results are still usable, especially when you reach the 6MP range. And people are still buying them, darn it to heck.
    I think a decent digital like a Canon EOS 20D or better, 50D, would be an excellent start in phtography for a relatively cheap price.

    I have kept and still use my Canon EOS 20D on an nearly daily basis for web pictures and the like. I got that one at the time of the major shift to digital in 2004-5. That's about as long a life as my heavy use of my Nikkormat FTn back when.
  3. I have the Nikon Cool Pix 5000 I think it was introduced in 2001 or 2002. It still functioning perfectly like when it was new and I still use it. So digital doesn't break sooner than the film counterpart. People just want newer things.
  4. When my middle daughter was 16 and wanted to take a photography class in high school I bought her a Nikon D5000 with two kit lenses: An 18-55 and a 55-200, plus a simple tripod, an extra battery, and a set of extension tubes (for macro). The camera body was two generations old, but very serviceable, and Nikon still issues those two lenses in some of their kits. This has served her very well to learn and explore. If I were to do the same thing today, (for her younger sister), I would buy a D7000 or D7100, gently used or refurbished, and probably the same two lenses and other kit, all for a price in the neighborhood of about $600-$750 US. An additional lens to consider would be the 35mm/1.8 as a very useful prime in DX format. If price is more of an issue, A D5100 or D3300 with this same kit would serve very well indeed. I'm not sure what the Canon equivalent would be, but I'm sure others here can tell you. The point is to get the new photographer out shooting and experimenting. Any DX Nikon made after about 2011 will serve, so long as it is in reasonably good shape.

    Keep in mind that some older cameras certainly are obsolete, but they still remain extremely effective and useful tools, particularly as affordable, introductory kit. My oldest daughter still makes wonderful images with her D80 and kit lenses, and these fit her needs admirably. You can set your daughter up with a very affordable and effective set of used equipment if you are willing to do a little research and shopping. The newest, latest,greatest, and most expensive equipment will not be of any value to her for a long time.
  5. You are likely looking at 2 cameras, one for your sports and one for you and your daughter for general use. I see your sports requirements, especially sailing, as too divergent for a single camera.

    I will generally talk Nikon cameras, since I have little/no knowledge of the other brands.
    A D3000, D5000 or D7000 series camera with the 18-105 VR lens, should be good.
    The camera capabilities go up from the 3000 to 5000 to 7000 series, but also the complexity and cost.
    For most people the D3000 and D5000 series cameras are adequate. The D7000 would be for those that want more advanced functions, at a $$$$ cost.

    You should get a Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization (VR/IS) lens.
    Today I see no reason to go without VR.
    Watch out on kits, sometimes the 2nd lens is not a VR lens, to keep the cost down. But the longer lens is where you really want the VR.
    - The 18-105 VR is a single lens will take you from wide to short-tele. Or the slightly heavier 18-140 VR, for a longer mid-tele reach.
    - Or a 2-lens kit: 18-55 VR + 55-200 VR. The 18-55 is smaller and lighter than the 18-105 or 18-140, so easier to carry around. But you loose on the long end, so you need a 2nd lens (the 55-200 VR) for the longer shots.

    For biking I think you want a smaller lighter camera than a DSLR. Maybe one of the mirrorless or a higher end compact.
    But from what I've read, the one common flaw for sports/action with mirrorless is the slow response of the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). Maybe in a couple of years they will get faster EVF.
    Or the same camera that you use for sailing.

    Sailing wants a waterproofed/sealed camera. This requirement is totally different than most, and constrains you, so I would consider it your 2nd camera.
    - The Nikon 1 AW has very limited lenses, only 2. The 11-27 is basically the only and longest lens. There is a 10mm prime but that does not give much more coverage than the 11-27. So really the 11-27 is the only lens.
    Nikon 1 AW1 | Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof Camera
    - Or the waterproof CoolPix
    COOLPIX AW130 | Read Reviews, Tech Specs, Price & More
    - Olympus has waterproof compacts. I briefly saw it on display at a shop last year, but do not remember much about it.
    Waterproof Digital Cameras - Tough | Olympus

    As for longetivity. Digitals can go for a LONG time. I had a D70 from 2004. And had it not died, I would still be using it. It did almost everything that I wanted it do do.
  6. I think the general advice above is quite sound, overall. Buying secondhand is arguably better, depending on your needs. Nothing wrong with the Nikon 1 system - if I had to buy something Nikon, I'd choose the Nikon 1, as it's their best system right now, IMO. Some years ago, I spoke to a wedding photographer who preferred the Nikon D200's files to the D300's. Nothing wrong with the D70 either, if it's cheap. And many photographers still prefer the Leica M9 (an eight year-old camera) to the newer models, although that camera is way outside your budget. ;-)

    P.S. BTW - and this is verging on off-topic - I'd like to advice your daughter to forsake tertiary photographic studies. They are a waste of money and time and they have never been anything other than redundant (even film schools have become redundant today). Better instead that she gets a full or part time job and use her spare money and time to improve her photography (and maybe travel). She can take some introductory classes right now, which would be a fine kick start.
  7. I'd get an entry level Canon (used or refurbished) but if it's for you and bike riding consider a mirrorless camera - smaller, lighter but can still use the big DSLR lens
  8. The point Gary made about the limited lens selection for the Nikon 1 AW1 is indeed the achilles heel for that camera, because otherwise it is really a pretty good idea. The Nikon 1 system is often looked down upon, since it uses smaller sensors and more "consumer-like" buttons, but there is not that much wrong with them.

    So, I'd also consider getting a waterproof compact camera for the active shots (a GoPro is also an option - they do take decent stills), and then orient yourself on mirrorless systems and DSLRs - see which system fits your idea best in terms of ergonomics, weight, size and button placement, and whether you prefer an optical viewfinder or whether you can live without. There is a lot of excellent choices out there, so it's difficult to recommend one specific system over another. Plus ergonomics are a fairly personal thing you really need to make up for yourself anyway.
    manuel panzera likes this.
  9. I think the limited selction of AW lenses is not a huge problem as I would tend to use them more while during activity. I can still use the 1 series lenses on the AW body, they just won't be water/ dust proof. Does anyone have any feedback on this system? Is there anywhere I can find some reviews on the AW and non-AW lenses?

    the entry level D-SLRs are also a valid option as I guess there's more choice as the platforms are more extensive.
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  11. I found a near mint Panasonic GX 7 with body stabilization, interchangeable lenses, full features, compact body, small flash, for 400 USD and a Lumix 2O mm 1.7 lens for about two hundred dollars. A small versatile camera with good image results. One of many that could fit your needs. And not too many deficits since you are shoping.
  12. manuel

    VR or IS (depending on the brand) uses a motorized lens inside the lens to stabilize the image that reaches the camera. But it is specific to the lens. Shutter speed should not matter. Having said that, it does add complexity and a constantly moving part to the lens, and that is one more thing to break. So some people may opt for a non VR lens, for long term reliability.

    Some brands put the VR in the body. In this case, you can use any lens, and the BODY will stabilize the image.

    EVF speed. From what I understand, there is a small time lag from what the subject does, and when you see it on the EVF screen. So for FAST moving subjects, such as kids, they could move faster than what you see in the screen. This is similar to the shutter lag problem on point and shoot cameras.
  13. The last 10 years has seen a great leap of quality in image and reduction in size with mirrorless cameras removing the mirror box and the pentaprism finder and allowing real live viewing in sharp display. Modern cameras are a marvel even at the price level you are interested in. I think your daughter and you can find some wonderful values in bodies from the companies out there. Start with a simple lens and a mount that has opportunities for expansion. And get a manual to explain the manual. I am not fooling. They get hard to digest. Welcome to the world of today. Never sweat obsolescence. I do not. Few do anymore.

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