new to DSLR what to get?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by jdemoss99, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Hey guys I am new to DSLRs I have used point and shoots and had a 35mm canon rebel but the digital SLRs are new to me. I have done some reading on them and looked at reviews and wanted to get some help in picking out a camera. From what I have read and by knowing I want to get something that I have a lot of room to grow into I would like to start out above a entry level camera. I like what I have read on Nikons, Canon 50D/40D, Pentax K20D or even their possible K30D, and because of what has been said on the image quality of the SD14/SD15, but isn't it more of a niche camera for certain uses and not for everything. What are your ideas
  2. Have you ever opened a can of worms! Good luck sorting through all the "helpful" advice as you'll most likely end up more confused with a multitude of responses and opinions trying to sway you. My advice is take a hard look at your specific needs and go from there. I prefer Pentax and primes....but that's suited to my shooting style. Another platform may address your style more effectively. Only you can decide what's best for you.... Good luck....
  3. What kind of car is best? What kind of tie is best?
    It is the one that fits you and your needs. Same with cameras.
    Want a light weight small sensor that can go anywhere? Canon Rebel or Nikon D60 or Pentax or Sony
    Need a heavyweight for maximum picture quality, Nikon D3 or D3x or Canon make something similar as does Sony.
    Middle grade cameras also are available.
    Zoom lenses if you value their convenience over the benefits of prime lenses.
    You will not be able to tell the pictures apart within a price group.
  4. It depends on what's important to you. I have a Canon XSi and have been reading about some of the Nikon features. Here are my thoughts on Canon vs Nikon - I'll compare the D90 & 50D.
    Nikon (D90)
    + Better at choosing iso/shutter/aperture (auto-iso)
    + Wireless off camera flash built in (I believe - can somebody confirm?)
    + Smaller aperture before becoming diffraction limited
    Canon (50D)
    + More mega-pixels
    + Nine cross type auto-focus sensors (only one on the Nikon)
    + Lens focus micro-adjustment
  5. I'm with Duane and don't think you could go wrong with a Pentax. The K10D, K200D or even the K20D would be the ticket. There is nothing that I object to with the other top brands ( Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc,) but I prefer Pentax for my needs.
    Coming from a long history with 35mm SLR and medium format film I didn't warm up to digital technology easily. I researched DSLR's for a good year or more before taking the plunge. After doing what Duane says and making a written list of my "specific needs" I came to the conclusion that with Pentax I got a lot of value for my money.
    But only you can decide. Try not to be influenced by brand name and hype. Try a bunch and see what feels right to you.
  6. I want something that will be good in low light outdoors and will do great indoors for portraits with kids. I hunt alot so that is why I want something outdoors and possible low light. but above all I want the BEST images possible Bright vivid colors, sharp lines and great depth. Am I asking to much
  7. They're all pretty amazing devices. Canon is fine (I think even very good), so if you have lenses you would like to keep and use on your new digital, consider getting a Canon. (That might disappoint the Pentax zealots, but it's generally a more practical approach.) If you don't have any lenses you care to keep, then the field is open. (Buy a Pentax, and several photographers on this forum will tremble with satisfaction -- and then saunter off for a smoke.)
    Seriously, Pentax isn't bad. I used to be a Pentax photographer. They offer a lot of value now, just like they did back then. However, Nikon and Canon are more mainstream offerings, and you can find a LOT of great deals out there, both new, used, and refurbished, that are very much worthy of consideration. For instance, I recently bought a refurb 40D for $600 and a refurb 18-55 IS for $100. The lens isn't the greatest (not the quality of my L lenses), but it's light, small, and sharp. The 40D is an awsome, full-featured body that performs very well.
    You can hardly go wrong with anything you choose. Go to a camera store, and see what you like. That's the best way.
  8. Hi Sarah, did you know that zealotry was a movement in first century Judaism. Given that Pentaxians are a fairly multi-denominatial group I suspect that you may have confused us Lecians since Lecia is no longer a camera but rather a religion. Sorry, no smokes either, quit over a decade ago :)
    Seriously, the key point is for Jordan to really assess Jordan's needs and find a system that will be comfortable, inspire confidence and encourage growth. A refurb 40D and a refurb lens for $700 may be a deal but there are many deals to be had, heck you can get a new, higher resolution K20D with in-body stabilization (yes it even works on those pre-digital full frame lenses like my favorite FA 50 f/1.4, FA 35 f/2 to name a few) and 18-55mm kit lens for as little $789 here in Canada.
    Regardless of the prices or brand - get what meets your needs. All of the major manufacturers have solid product offerings.
  9. LOL, Duane! ;-) Yes, Leicism is indeed a religion. I think Pentaxism is too, though... just a bit... to be honest! I think Canon used to be a religion too, but then the Nikonians invaded, with their ultra-low-noise sensors and their full frame format and... well... The two religions merged into Canikonism, with two distinct internal factions. The reform Canikonians like myself tend to say, "Go with whatever you like." (Dunno... Maybe that makes me a nonbeliever.)
    Seriously, Jordan, get thee to thy local camera market. And cavortest not with the Sonians, nor liest thou with with the disciples of Leica, for the Lord detesteth those who... er... Nah... Go with what you like, and don't listen to anyone who claims there is but a single, true path. ;-)
  10. use seem wise Obi Sarah Fox Kanobi. No I am not a star Wars fanatic. You must be Older :) with all thy wisdom. Have you ever spoken to the Camera Lord himself and did He give to on stone tablets the 10 commandments of digital photogaphy. They are thou shalt buy nothing but Canon, Thou shalt by nothing but Nikon, Thou shalt buy Nikon and Canon together, Thou shalt not buy Pentax, Thou shalt not buy Olympus, Thou shalt not buy Sony, If thou hast bought Kodak thats your own fault, Point and Shoot are no good, Leica is far to exspesive, and thou can buy Sigma but only under certain lighting and conditions.
  11. Jordan, regarding the third commandment, I think it isn't kosher to Mix Canon and Nikon. But being from the reform movement, I do often mount up an MF Nikkor 105/2.5 on my Canon 5D with a cheap Chinese adapter. ;-) What's more, I mount up a few different SMC Takumars on the 5D with a different adapter. And then there are the DRG Domiplan M42 lenses... and my Zenitar 16, which is great fun.
    Oh god... I'm going to burn for my sins! ;-)
  12. Great response Sarah!;-) Jordan, if you want the benefit of in-body stabilization that works with all lenses and don't want to pay a premium for the big 2's stabilized glass - you must experience the power of the dark side young Padawan. In terms of resolution the K20D, 50D and D90 are very similar with the Nikon having the lowest resolving power of the three.
    The announcement for the K30D is anticipated this month and the leaks from Japan rumor a change in CMOS sensor size to APS-H, smaller than full frame but larger than than the APS-C sensors you are currently considering. May be a great option if the pricing isn't out to lunch. Waiting a week or two for the dust to settle could have benefits.
    Good luck again...
  13. Sarah, SMC Takumars! Ancient but superb Pentax glass! Wow! I'm impressed. That's alright i'm about to commit a cardinal sin! If Jordan had a 5D on the starting fresh list, I'd say jump on it as the 5D is an exceptional value for a full frame camera if you can still find one since the launch of the 5D MK II. (God....I hope Lindy Stone doesn't read this or I'll never live it down!)
  14. Nice to know and you noticed Sarah didn't come after me for that age thing wander if she is old :). There are things I could say about her different mounting techniques but I don't know her that well yet HAHA :) LOL
  15. come across a Canon 1D Mark II at a great price. Read some reviews and seems like a very solid camera whats ya'lls thoughts on it
  16. Jordan, I wear my age with pride! ;-) I think it says a lot that I bought those "ancient but superb" Takumars brand new.
    I do love my 5D, Duane, and they can be found on Ebay for around $1000. Cheapo Chinese M42/EOS adapters are about $15. Think of the possibilities... Can you feel that sweet camera in your hands with your favorite wide angle lens mounted up? Hmmmmm? (OK, I'll stop tempting you to come to the dark side now. Shame on me!)
  17. the way you talk about lens mounting Sarah. You should do a 1-900 # for photographers :).
    I can see it now, Hi there are you a Canon kinda of guy or Nikon. I found a 1D, 1Ds, and a 5D for around the same price I know they are more of a profressional set up but They would serve my purpose correct. I can't find any of those darn nikon full frame for the price of the canons. These are used by the way
  18. LOL, Jordan!
    Yes, Canon seems to be the cheapest entry for full frame digital. Of course since Canon has been in the full-frame game harder/heavier/longer than anyone, that's where you'll also find the good used gear opportunities. If you're considering the 5D, just realize that it won't sing, tap dance, and do the laundry like the 40D or 50D. It's more about no-frills image quality (which suits me just fine, but that's just me).
    The 1-series cameras are excellent, but I find they are BULKY and heavy -- at least the ones with the built-in grips, but not cameras like my 1n). Some people like that, but I prefer the form factor of the 40D or 5D (without battery grip!). I would personally prefer the full-frame format of a used 5D or 1Ds to the 1.3 crop format of the 1D or 1DII. I do own and use crop camera (a 1.6 crop 40D), but it is my "cheaper" carry-around camera, which doubles for backup use and telephoto work.
    Digging a bit deeper, you mentioned that you want low light capabilities. The lower pixel density cameras are going to be better for that. For instance, my old 6.3 MP 10D (which I sold) and my 12.8 MP 5D have about the same pixel density and have superb low-light performance. A few other cameras do even better (5DII, D3), in part through improved sensor architecture. Generally speaking, higher pixel density means higher noise and lower ISO capabilities, all other things being equal (which is a big assumption). Somewhat related to lower pixel density is larger format. That is to say that a 12.8 MP full frame camera will have lower pixel density than a 12.8 MP 1.6 crop frame camera and will have better light gathering properties.
    You also say that you want good depth of field. As you go to larger formats, depth of field will get shallower. (I don't know whether you consider that better or worse.) However, diffraction limits will also expand. As a result, you can shoot at somewhat smaller apertures without diffraction blur, thus recapturing depth of field at the sacrifice of shutter speed. Interestingly, if depth of field is a person's primary concern, it can be more cost effective to buy a full frame camera with the slower optics (e.g. f/4, rather than f/2.8). The difference between a 1.6 crop camera and a full frame camera is about 1 stop in all of these parameters. I know this is probably as hard to understand as it is to explain.
    Finally, you need to understand that any given lens will give you a different field of view on a crop frame vs. a full frame camera. For instance, 30mm on a 1.6 crop frame camera will give you the same field of view as 50mm on a full frame camera, so you will need to select your lenses accordingly.
    Before buying any camera, you probably need to know how it feels in your hands. People often have very strong preferences in this regard, both in manufacturer and in form factor. (The disciples of Nikon, for instance, are often passionate about the ergonomics of their cameras.) Seriously, get thee to thy local camera market!
  19. that was difficult to understand but thanks. This is all rather new to me so it is "like jump in and sink or swim" that is my motto. As far as camera market where I live it consists of Schmitt Photo that carries Nikon only and few models, Best Buy, Circuit City which is going out of business and has pretty much nothing, and Walmart os I am sort of handicapped. I have been doing most of my shopping online. Size doesn't really matter, I am of good size and carry quite a bit of equipment when hunting so I don't concern myself with this. I read an article from Ken Rockwell that said Megapixels don't matter, so why do we focus on them so much. If there was a 3MP camera that was older not alot of technology and a 12MP camera with all the bells and whistles in front of me and they said the 3MP camera has better image quality but you can do this this and this with the 12MP I would buy the 3MP hands down. Am I wrong at looking at it that way. That is one reason I have started reading on the Sigma SD14 due to the quality of images you get. I know people say its a quarky camera but if the pics are that much better then I THINK I can live with the rest. Is this making sense
  20. Hi Jordan,
    Megapixels DO matter. (Rockwell makes a lot of controversial and dubious statements that should be taken with a grain of salt.) I think it's important not to get the most megapixels you can find, but rather to get the "right" number. There's a tradeoff, again all other things being equal: The larger the pixels (or lower the MP count), the better the light sensitivity, the lower the noise, and the lesser the detail in the photo. However, this does not mean that a 50 MP camera (hypothetically) would give you more detail than a 40 MP camera (again hypothetically). A lens only has just so much resolving power, and there comes a point that more megapixels are only resolving finer gradations of blur, arguably at the cost of greater noise (which is itself a controversial topic).
    So you should ask yourself how large your pics are going to be. If you're only going to print 4x6 or put photos up on a website, almost any camera will do fine. If you're going to frame 20x30 prints, then you'll probably want maybe 12 MP or higher. But they have to be "real" megapixels -- not just resolving blur, but contributing detail to the image. This of course forces the issue that you also need a good lens for larger prints. In all honesty, I wouldn't mind having more MP in my sensor, so long as noise doesn't become an issue. The 5DII seems to do a very good job with noise, and it could resolve detail in some of my lenses that my 5D can't. However, I don't find the case for a 5DII so compelling that I would throw the extra money at it -- at least at this time.
    Regarding the Sigma SD14: That's a rather specialized camera in a few respects. First of all, it's got a 14 MP Foveon sensor. What you need to know is that it takes 3 Foveon "pixels" to give you the same detail as 1 Bayer-array pixel (like in most other cameras like Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, etc.). That's because the R, G, and B pixels are stacked. In effect, a 14 MP Foveon is best compared with a 5 MP convention sensor with regard to detail. However, those 5 megapixels are BETTER megapixels with regard to color representation. The comparison between Foveon and Bayer-array is really difficult to make. It's sort of an apples and oranges thing. However, I think I would like to see a larger and higher resolution Foveon sensor before I'd be willing to bite. The other thing you need to know about the Sigma cameras is that you can only use Sigma lenses. Pesonally I would consider this a deal-breaker. Sigma makes some very nice lenses, but there are even better lenses on the market that you wouldn't be able to use. My Canon cameras, for instance, can mount up some very nice Canon L lenses, and they can also mount up some very nice Sigma (or Tamron or Tokina or Zeiss) lenses that are made for Canon. Same story with the other manufacturers.
    Finally, to see/hold a few cameras, do go to Schmitt and try a few Nikons. They will probably tell you that Nikon is the ONLY camera, but don't listen. Pay attention, instead, to the form factor of the camera. Compare, say, a D40 with a D700 with a D3. These might feel similar, say, to a Canon Digital Rebel series (e.g. XS), a 5D or 40D, and a 1DII. Perhaps Duane could tell you more about the form factors of the Pentax line, with which I'm less familiar. That might narrow the field a lot. If you like the smaller form factor of the D40, then go to Best Buy, and you can see more like it from other manufacturers. If you like the larger form factors, then you might have a hard time finding other non-Nikon offerings to play with. But at least you'll know what general form factor you like. I can't help you any more than that, other than to suggest that you should probably buy something at Schmitt's (e.g. a book or some supplies), so that they get something in return for your trying out their cameras.
    There's a dizzying array of possibilities out there. All you can do is to play with those you can find locally, read reviews of those and others, and take your best shot, based on features, reviews, test images, and budget. Google will be an important research tool.
    Good luck! :)

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