What camera should I buy??????

Started Nov 2, 2010 | Discussions thread
chuxter Forum Pro • Posts: 21,685
Re: What camera should I buy??????

fotojo wrote:

Hi guys

I'm looking for a camera that is fairly cheap for a beginner-one who has left the compact behind and wanting an SLR that one can start using/manipulating (Manual focus) to capture some great shots. I'm interested in outdoors, flowers, close-ups, landscapes, professional looking black and white portraits to start getting my eye in.

If your eye fell out, I can't imagine how getting a dSLR and taking those kinds of pix will help?

I'm baffled by the prices, types, and specs.

Good. That means the camera manufacturers have been successful...a confused customer is an easy "mark". We'll try to help you...

For example I've been looking at the Canon's 300D-550D and was wondering whether its best to buy a newer version i.e. the 550D rather than waste my money on say the 300D or 450D???

No. It's important that you waste money on your first camera purchase! Seriously, your first camera should be a learning experience...when you get through with it, you can pass it down to other beginners. Personally, I would eliminate the 300D and the 550D from the list...get something in the middle...the 300D is too old and the 550D is too new (costs too much).

I hear its all about sensors now and that megapixels aren't necessarily the deciding factor... what senors size should i be looking for?

As big as you can afford! Go read my rules:


You can read that other stuff too...might help...can't hurt.

But, I sense you are confused. Yes, MP is one of the least important parameters (at least after you have enough to make them invisible when viewed...many people think 6 MP is quite enough). The size of the sensor is much more important and, unfortunately, it costs more to get a big sensor (but MP are basically free, which should give you a hint as to why the camera manufacturers push MP and don't talk about size). Some manufacturers have been good at giving us essentially identical cameras (same size sensors) with different numbers of pixels. As examples, the Nikon D40 and D40s (6 MP and 10 MP), the D70 and D70s (6 MP and 10 MP), and the D3x and D3x (12 MP and 24 MP). This is a great way to sell cameras, because there are reasons for wanting a high pixel count and reasons for not wanting a high pixel count. It depends on the type of photography you do. Just as in the film era, there were "fast" and "slow" films, we now do the same thing by varying the size of the photosites (the little detectors on the sensor that actually convert light into electricity).

I've been comparing the fujifilm finepix HS10 with the Canon series (above) an it looks like a brilliant rival?? Although I'm a little concerned that the Canon's don't seem to have Image Stabilization. Another is that the lens that comes with the HS10 isn't a normal 18-55mm, (will this impede normal shooting or be a good lens for all round shooting??)

Forget the HS10...it isn't a dSLR. Canon lenses do have IS...at least some of them do...their normal 18-55mm "kit" lens has IS.

Should I be concerned about AA batteries rather than a Lithium battery??

Well, you gotta have a battery, so, "Yes", you should be concerned. For normal people, the Lithium Ion batteries are a better choice. Only if you are planning a trip to desolate, backward places, where electrical power is questionable (but where you can buy AA batteries) would the LiIon batts be inappropriate.

Should I be having to spend a lot of money or are some cameras over-priced and a cheaper camera would do just as well???

All new cameras are overpriced. When a camera is discontinued, the price is right. Some fools think that camera manufacturers are loosing money when they discount their products at their end-of-life, but that's not true. You should consider a good, low-mileage used camera ("low-mileage" means low shutter actuations ...there is an easy way to tell...have the seller take a picture of you and send you the JPEG file from the camera as an e-mail attachment, then look at the EXIF data using a good,free program like PhotoME. It will show you a LOT of information, including the "Shutter Count, which is located in the Manufacturer Notes section).

I know I've asked a lot here but if anyone could answer my questions and inform me of other cameras that would fit my needs and why that would be much appreciated.

Any entry-level dSLR will work for you...they all take acceptable pix. Find the best camera store in your area, hopefully not a BB or Ritz/Wolf, and go "try on" the cameras in your short list. Be sure it has a lens attached and a charged battery inside...walk around and take pix with each one...try the different modes...take some low-light pix in the back of the store and some daylight pix shooting out the front window...take some flash shots...look at the menus to see if they are logical and intuitive to you. Focus on how comfortable the camera is to hold.

Then, go home and sleep. When you wake up, the first camera that you think about is the one to buy! Go online and see the price for the camera "kit" at B&H. Go back to that store and tell them you want to buy the camera "kit", but you have checked their price vs B&H (mention B&H specifically by name...they all know who B&H is) and found that they are higher. Thank them for letting you try all those cameras...tell them that you want to support local businesses, but you can't justify the difference between their price and the B&H price...ask them to sell it at half the difference (it helps to be talking with the store manager). If they refuse, go home and buy it from B&H with a clear conscious.

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Charlie Davis
Nikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D50, Nikon D300
HomePage: http://www.1derful.info

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
-Samuel Adams, 1776

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