Buying advice: absolute beginner

Started 10 months ago | Questions thread
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nephologist New Member • Posts: 14
Buying advice: absolute beginner

Hello, good evening.

This is my first question. I've been eager to start a new hobby, and photography always draws me in. I would greatly appreciate any advice on buying my first camera. I've been reading around, mostly here at dpr, techradar, tomsguide; I've read the buying guides on best cameras for beginners, for students, under $500 and under $1000, and I'm not yet fully decided on any model. Furthermore, every photo website seems to have its own favorites and biases...

The following is what I've already decided: it WILL be an interchangeable lens camera (either ML or DSLR), which is portable enough to carry in a jacket pocket (without the lens). My budget is $900.

Here are my photo needs:

Mostly stills, street photography and some social shots. Action shots of people dancing (dancing is my other hobby, and it would be really nice to have a camera whenever I get tired and turn around to watch the rest of the dancers) as well as video; no need of 4K though, since I'd only shoot new steps in order to replicate them later at home and the extra detail is of no use. I also often attend to classical music performances, so I'm looking for a silent camera (perhaps ML?), but it's not a deal breaker.

Good low-light performance would be great (especially at the dance-bar setting), and I do not wish to spend time processing files at my computer, at least not at this particular point of my learning process. So yeah, I'd love great JPEGS. Connectivity (wifi/bluetooth) is a plus, but I'm willing to sacrifice a fully-articulated screen (not a selfie fan), flash/mic capabilities and MP count. I also would like room to grow, so it's not like I'm not shooting in RAW ever.

So far I'm mostly inclined to a mirrorless system, like a Fujifilm XA5, Sony a6300 or Olympus EM10 Mark iii: all of these seem to be pocket-sized and silent. I don't like Canon's M6 / M5 low battery-life, but I'm willing to change my mind:

  • I like the Fuji because of its sensor, battery life and MP count, but early reviews seem to put its image quality at average, at best. I don't like that it doesn't have a VF and the lack of stabilization.
  • Sony's looks very well rounded, although it goes a little on the edge of my budget (no American prices where I live). I don't like the lack of touchscreen and the uneasy feeling that Sony just doesn't care about its non-FF customers, as well as the pricey lenses and limited environment.
  • Olympus' isn't sold with a lens kit where I live, so I would ask for a lens recommendation as well (I'm really lost here). I like how the Panasonic/Olympus environment is very broad, the in-body stabilization (my hands do get shaky!) and the colors that it gives. I don't like its battery life and how small the MFT seems to be, against APS-C.

I also thought of Nikon's D5600, but connectivity seems to be an issue in that model, and can't find a good deal for a D5500 over here. Would there be any significant loss if I opt for the D3400? I also checked some of Canon's DSLR, like the Rebel SL2 and T6i, but it gets really confusing with all the different numbers Canon has for the same cameras. Should I wait for Canon's M50? It would be on the limit of my budget, but it looks very promising...

Thanks for taking the time to read through this. Again, I don't have my mind set on stone on anything, except for the pocketability. I don't know much about photo terminology, so I'd further appreciate if you can dumb down technical things for me :D. Oh! I might have misplaced some prepositions and adjectives; I'm not a native English-speaker, so apologies for that.

Anyway! It feels like I'm doing all the talking here. Any thoughts/experiences with these cameras you would like to share? Recommendations?

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