What camera to buy??

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by craig_cosby, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. So I want to buy a real camera. Currently using Lumina 1020 phone.
    I am interested in probably and all round performer. My budget is limited to about $500 cnd.give or take a bit. I don't care if it is new or used as long as will suite my curiosities.
    SO areas I can compromise:
    - would like full size sensor, but not likely to happen at the budget. So I can go to any level here as long as other features are ideal
    - I don't care if it is D SLR or mirrorless, but I would like to have a an eye viewfinder.
    - MP count, obviously want a good count here, but will definitely go low in this area, particularly if I can only get the features I want and the price I want, and I can only get it in a older used model.
    - don't care about video mode or quality of such
    - don't care about build in mice,
    - NPC or GPS, WiFi would be nice but can without any or all of them.
    - articulated screen while nice, can live without.
    Should have:
    - changes lenses - non fixed
    - bracketing
    - decent for long exposure, night shooting, time lapse, and perhaps sport, double exposure
    - decent quality at higher ISO
    - image stabilization
    - good picture quality
    - can shoot in RAW.
    -black and white capable
    - I will be able to use lenses I buy in upgraded camera, should I decide to upgrade at some point.
    Basically I don't want my learning to be limited by the feature set and overall picture quality. I don't mind being limited by frame size and MP count. I am technically minded so I don't need an "easy to use" camera dial setup. I mean if a can get that great but not worried about it.
  2. SCL


    Forget the full sized sensor on your budget. I'd recommend an older camera with either a good zoom lens or a couple of primes. Although I was initially skeptical, about a year or so ago, after many years of using high end film and digital cameras, I came across an Olympus E-Pl2 with its kit zoom and its optional EVF (used, of course but under dealer warranty) for around $300 or so. I took theplunge and have been delighted ever since....this camera gets used more than any others I own (19 last count), everything from macro work to landscape and portrait work. No, enlargements of 3x4 feet, unless viewed at about 6 ft away aren't its forte, but for web use, it excels. As an aside I purchased several inexpensive Chinese adapters to use lenses from my Nikons, Canons and Leicas, which gives me lots of flexibility. I'd definitely take a look at used mirrorless micro 4/3 systems if I was you.
  3. My answer to the above specs and with budget in mind would be a Nikon D200 or a D300. KEH in Atlanta usually has
    these and more available at $300US or in the case of the D200 much less. Both do everything I ask of them though I
    do have some costlier gear as well. I recommend Nikon because it's what I use but very good Canon gear is also
    available and affordable, other brands as well. KEH is very reputable and stands behind what they sell.
  4. Thanks very good suggestion after looking it up. Not great at high iso but good for its class. I particularly like the up to 60 second shutter and and dual raw+jpg shooting mode. Reviews indicate a decent auto focus and list lots of the other features I was looking for but no view finder. I see some in my area for sale used within my budget.

    Great suggestions. I am strongly considering.

    Any other suggestion out there?
  5. SCL


    Craig - the cameras mentioned have viewfinders, in the case of the mirrorless it is an Electronic View Finder (EVF) - which has the advantage of providing highly magnified viewing for critical focus situations; in the case of the Nikons it is the standard DSLR viewfinder. All have diopter adjustments to the viewfinder. You may be confused by optical viewfinders found these days mostly on rangefinder cameras. As far as high ISO goes, all the above will do a decent job in modest light, and if you can use a tripod or other support and the bulb setting, will work fine for things like night cityscapes (I frequently use f/8 & 30 sec at 400 ISO). I frequently use my Nikon D300 for excellent moon shots as well as night landscape shots where my eyes only see darkness. It is really a matter of learning something about exposure. High ISO capabilities of more current cameras have the effect principally of reducing "noise" better than their predecessors, but post processing can often do a great job as well. Remember that the D300 was used professionally by many photographers for a number of years. I've attached a low light shot I took with the d300 (foggy night at the train station) to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
  6. I also recommend KEH.com. You can get a D3300 or a D5200 for around $350. Almost new or go for EX+, which I've never been disappointed with EX+ or EX.
  7. For that matter, even the BARGAIN gear I've got from KEH have pretty much been "like new" in eBay terms. They have a very easy and generous return policy, in the unlikely event that you need it.
    KEH do have an eBay store, but their 'wonderful' web site (which is difficult to work through, but that keeps the indeterminate out) often sells items for less than the cheapest "sold" items on eBay.
    For used equipment, it's almost always the first place you should look. B&H and Adorama are also reliable.
  8. Craig,
    Perhaps off the beaten path a bit, and doesn't fit all of your criteria, but ever since I bought the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, I stopped using my DSLRs. Granted, I'm just a 'rank amateur,' but it is a flexible tool that has allowed me to take any picture I've wanted to take, with the convenience of a single lens in the 25-400mm range (with extension on the zoom end possible). Yes, it gets a bit noisy at higher ISOs, but I've printed pics from it up to 13x19 at home, and they look fine. Recently went to Ireland with it, and found it and excellent tool for the trip. Much better than the phones many were using. You can view some of my pics from it here:
    Pics in those albums have been post-processed using Elements 13. You can view the same pics on my website here if you want to see full-res segments:
    The camera has an electronic viewfinder, which I like because it gives you immediate feedback on what your adjustments are doing to the image.
    Just some 'food for thought.'
  9. So many well thought out answers here. I am so impressed. Thanks, everyone. so i have come down to three choices:
    1. Olympus Pen E-PM2 with M. Zuiko 14-42 f3.5-5.6 (kit lens) and M. Zuiko 40-150 mm f4.0-5.6 R lenses for $400 cnd
    2. Olympus E-PL2 with 14-42 and 40-150 lenses for $350 cnd
    3. Olympus EPL-1, 14-42 lense, 40-150 lense, 355 mm lenses, 52 shade hood, clear filter and bag -$500 cnd
    Keep in mind Canadian dollars here, so prices may seem a tad higher than what they might go for in the USA for USA dollars, but no tax and wont have to pay shipping on these.
    Seems the E-PM2 would be the best choice on list above. There also seem to be a lot of PL1's for between $250 $350 ish.
    I looked at the various NIkons mentioned above by Stephen but would add at least $150 - 200 onto the cost depending on which one and who is selling it.
  10. One fourth option is the Oympus Pen Mini E-PM2 for $250, not sure about inclusion of a lenses yet or not.
  11. If I read right, you want to do up to 60 second (and maybe longer) LONG exposures.<br>
    • You need to check the camera specs on that.
      • Can the camera take a 60 second exposure?
      • Or do you have to put the camera in B (bulb) and use hold the remote release to open then close the shutter?
    • For a LONG exposure, you NEED to use a remote release (wired or IR), or you will shake the camera.
      • Does the camera have the provision for a remote release, not all do.
      • How easy or difficult is it to use the remote release?
    • The problem with a digital camera, is that the camera is using battery power while the shutter is open.
      • You have a finite amount of battery power.
      • How many LONG shots will the camera/battery take? You may need to carry spare batteries.
    • Some cameras have image "noise" with LONG exposures.
      • You need to check the reviews for the ones that you are interested in.
  12. The camera that I would recommend to people who are buying a system camera for the first time would be either a Sony (A6000-class) or one of the Micro 4/3 cameras.

    However, I also agree with Jordan, that cameras with 1" sensors and a wide zoom range are also worth considering. Don't be surprised if press photographers switch over to that kind of camera in the future. It depends what kinds of compromises you feel more comfortable with. They are not cheap, though.

    I'd also recommend that you download trial versions of all the RAW converters. There are at least three, and there is a fourth one that has just been released. I use DxO Optics Pro, you may prefer Capture One, Lightroom or something else.
  13. Craig given your budget and what you want to accomplish I'd say contact KEH and get a D200 or 300. Both are very capable even at their age and are quite affordable. I still use a pair of D200 bodies for all manner of things. I used them in the newspaper business and they never let me down and although it may be sacrilege I use them to cover weddings when I shoot those. You can get cameras that will do more I suppose but the price just keeps going up. Another advantage, to me at least, is that the 200 and 300 will use nearly every Nikkor lens made from AI forward. That means AF lenses as well as manual focus. I can put the same mf lenses that I own on my D200 or 300, F4s and F2, others as well. Important to me as I have gone back to film for many things as well as digital. It's a great time to be a photographer and there is much good gear at bargain prices to help us get there.

    Rick H.
  14. $500 budget is limiting - Olympus is OK but also consider entry level Canon and kit lens or Sony a6000,
  15. If you are willing to sacrifice AF performance for image stabilization, maybe ponder getting a used Pentax (or Samsung clone) kit somewhere. K20D would be the first CMOS body. CCDs demand your shutter to remain shut for the previous exposure time to denoise the image they captured. - Maybe that gets annoyiing with serious night photography? - I haven't tried. Pentax cameras are bad if you become interested in sports action and similar reasons to need a fast AF.

Share This Page