DSLR advice for a beginner who has high aspirations?

Started Aug 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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ozzyna New Member • Posts: 4
DSLR advice for a beginner who has high aspirations?

Hey all,

First of all, I must say, I'm usually a fan of going through the forums and finding the answer to my questions amongst the previously posted threads as to not duplicate any questions that have already been asked, but due to the relatively new camera that I have in mind, and with relatively specific needs, I have hesitantly decided to post my question and get some help from the collective wisdom of the forums. I assure you that I have done quite a bit of research on my own, but I am at the point where I need some actual guidance as it pertains to my case, and I don't have too much time to go to physical camera stores for assistance. Without further ado, here's my question:

I have been a fan of DSLR cameras for a while, but never took the plunge before. Now, I have finally committed to spending the money and the time to really learn this hobby/profession, and once I get into something, I like doing the best I can. Therefore, for the last month or so, even before purchasing a camera, I have been reading blogs, photo magazines, books, and reviews, to be adequately prepared once I actually have the camera in hand. My goal is to be a serious hobbyist rather than a professional photographer, but I would like the room to grow and upgrade, as I learn this intricate skill of photography. Therefore, I believe a good body will be a worthwhile investment, even if my current skill level doesn't warrant it. What is your take on this?

Regardless, I am looking to spend anywhere between $1,000 to $1,400 on a camera plus a basic lens at this point, to start off. I had the T4i in mind for the longest time (about 3 months), because I was initially considering T3i when I decided to get serious with this, and the T4i was announced soon after. I decided to hold off on the purchase and get the T4i, thinking that the increase in the digit would correspond to a worthwhile increase in quality, however I have been getting mixed signals from the interwebs. It seems like the only real reason to upgrade to a T4i would be shooting lots of video, which is not my intention at this point. Granted, this may change, and I may start shooting more video sometime within the next 5 years (the estimated life of the body I buy now), but my main focus is on image quality. I was very close to pulling the trigger on the T4i with the 18-135 mm STM lens at $1,200, but the local Best Buy was out of stock, so my decision got pushed back. Now, I'm not so sure.

I know this has been an unnecessarily long thread, so let me summarize:

1) I am a beginner DSLR enthusiast, with aspirations to get very good at this hobby. It will stay as a hobby for me (i.e. not going to become a professional photographer) but I like being the best I can at my hobbies, so I need some equipment that will have the room to grow for the next 5 or so years.

2) Low light, sports, scenery, and wildlife can be considered my main interests. I will probably do city and portrait shooting as well, but not as important at this stage (and I'm guessing buying a second lens will be the answer to this, so I'm open to lens suggestions as well)

3) I prefer a Canon since I have played around with T2i and T3i a decent amount, but I am certainly open to Nikon as well if you think that fits my case better. At this stage, I'm not brand loyal.

4) I have a budget of $1,000 to $1,400, and I'm looking to get a body and maybe a basic lens for that amount. However if you say that I could get an amazing body for $1,400 that would fit me perfectly and last me quite a while, I'm open to expanding the budget as well (probably not up to 5D Mark III or 7D levels though )

5) I was looking at the T4i as a good candidate but it seems like you mostly pay for improved video quality, which is not as important to me. I figured since it is just coming out, it should have the best image processing capabilities, but I think that may not be true?

Sorry for the long post, I just want to give you as much information as possible so you can help me with my dilemma. I really appreciate you reading through this post, and all the help you may give me



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