Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

Started Jan 22, 2013 | Discussions
Nemandi New Member • Posts: 1
Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

Hello All

Looking to buy a d-SLR but beware I'm rather long winded.  If you scroll to the bottom the bullets are the shortened version

So I've always been blessed with wandering upon beautiful scenes, but been cursed with the improper equipment and/or skill to immortalize them.  I'm one of those crazy people who will pull over to the side of the road to take a picture of a sunset, and I'm getting sick and tired of the picture I take missing the vibrancy of color of what I see.  Also I love to take wildlife and candid shots as well as architectural pictures but few turn out as I would like.

For me photography is more an enjoyable hobby than a strict passion, but I have plans to visit New Zealand with my little brother and want to bring back memories.  So I've decided it's time to upgrade my equipment from the cheap digital camera I have and do some more research into photography.

What little research I've already done has let me know that I'm horribly behind the grading curve when it comes to technique and vocabulary, but after reading through some of the forums I've decided that what I needed to do was lay down my preferences and ask some simple questions.  I've done a bit of research and think a d-SLR might fit the bill but would still like a second opinion or more.  Here are the facts.

I've only ever used your generic point and shoot digital cameras, so I'm definitely not ready to try out a pro model that requires a dark room to develop pictures in.

I don't care how heavy the equipment is, but would prefer to not have to carry around more than the body and 1 or 2 lenses of whatever model I buy.  Over 10 lbs of equipment would be a bit much though for something that meets all of my requirements I'd be willing to lug it. And I will be lugging it around with me so marginal weatherproofing would be nice but not required.

I'd like something with a decent shutter speed since I love catching objects (animate or inanimate) in motion, but at the same time I like to take landscape photos where I understand shutter speed is not as important. Not sure how much of a factor low light would play since most of the pics I hope to take are from the outdoors.

I'm not a prude who insists on buying new as long as the equipment works.  But would it be better if I did buy new? My budget is definitely below $1500, and I'd like to get the body and at least 1 lens for that price

I've heard a bit about software but and still completely inadequate on choosing one. Any pointers?

I don't really care about movie quality, if I wanted that I'd be looking into buying a video camera. Neither do I really care if it has all the bells and whistles people seem to expect from all electronics these days. As long as it has a timer so that I can take pictures of my brother and I and an LCD that I can then view the pictures I've taken on I'd be happy.  Removable memory ports would be an added but highly sought bonus.

So broken down, that's:

  • Under $1500 for lens and body (used is fine)
  • For both landscape and full-motion pictures
  • Good picture resolution 
  • x3 zoom and/or the ability to hook up a telephoto (correct term?) lens
  • 10 MP or better
  • SD card ports
  • Any software information highly appreciated

On to the products I've looked at:

  • Nikon D3200: Truthfully after reading about the "Guide Mode" offered by this camera I was just about sold but decided I really did need to get an educated second opinion.
  • Nikon D5100: Have read good reviews but think it may be more advanced than I can handle
  • Nikon D800: I know it to be just about double my price range but will admit to have greatly considered it before deciding that it, to is more advanced than I can handle

I've looked at a few Sony and don't think they are my preference, and none of the Canon's caught my eye like these 3 Nikon's did.  I have definite plans to visit a store to get some 'hands on' knowledge of which one brand feels best, but for right now my personal preference seems to hold with Nikon.

I hope to be buying my choice within the next 4 months so no real rush for information, but all help is highly appreciated, and if you have any info on good site to find trustworthy information on please don't hesitate to let me know about them.  I will be browsing through the forums for the next few weeks trying to see if other people have had similar questions to mine just in case I don't get any answers

Have a wonderful day! ^-^

Nemandi -T

Nikon D3200 Nikon D5100 Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
jbart1 Regular Member • Posts: 195
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

Have you thought about the D5200 ?  You can get a D5200 + 18-55mm + 55-300mm for $1100 and still have some money left over for accessories, monopod, flash, tripod, fast memory cards, etc.  And maybe even a few fast primes to use in low light like a 35mm 1.8g + 50mm 1.8G.

That would be a real nice start on well rounded collection of gear.

D5200 + 2 lenses $1100

35mm 1.8g  $200

50mm 1.8G  $200

Accessories  ????

Plenty of other options out there.

Hope you find what works best for you

Kokeen4231 Contributing Member • Posts: 613
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

So I've always been blessed with wandering upon beautiful scenes, but been cursed with the improper equipment and/or skill to immortalize them. I'm one of those crazy people who will pull over to the side of the road to take a picture of a sunset, and I'm getting sick and tired of the picture I take missing the vibrancy of color of what I see. Also I love to take wildlife and candid shots as well as architectural pictures but few turn out as I would like.

It seems like you do appreciate scenery and its beauty which is a good thing.

So broken down, that's:

  • Under $1500 for lens and body (used is fine)
  • For both landscape and full-motion pictures
  • Good picture resolution
  • x3 zoom and/or the ability to hook up a telephoto (correct term?) lens
  • 10 MP or better
  • SD card ports
  • Any software information highly appreciated 

Buying used is a risky thing, you dont really know what the previous owner did to the camera. (Second hand lenses is not too bad). Sometimes you buy something at half price as you get an item as good as new. But if you are not so fortunate, you might end up needing to spend more money on repairs. Its really up to you to take the risk. But I advice for body you buy new. And if in future you want to buy anymore lenses, you can buy used.

On to the products I've looked at:

  • Nikon D3200: Truthfully after reading about the "Guide Mode" offered by this camera I was just about sold but decided I really did need to get an educated second opinion.
  • Nikon D5100: Have read good reviews but think it may be more advanced than I can handle
  • Nikon D800: I know it to be just about double my price range but will admit to have greatly considered it before deciding that it, to is more advanced than I can handle

I think the d800 would really be too much. Its one of the best cameras around but like you said, its way more. If this would cause you to limit your lens, and if its weight would make you refrain from carrying it around, I dont think its a good idea. If you are sure ou really want to get into photog, I think the most you should go is the d600 which is over budget but the best compromised to the d800.

For cameras within your budget, The d3200, D5100 and D5200 would all suit well.

As for lenses;

18-55mm Kit lens for landscapes and scenery.

55-300mm for wildlife.

50mm F1.8 for candids.

The prices have been stated by the earlier post so you can slowly work out your finances. Hope this helps. 

Have a nice day!

 Kokeen4231's gear list:Kokeen4231's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F2.8
headfirst
headfirst Contributing Member • Posts: 670
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

"I've looked at a few Sony and don't think they are my preference, and none of the Canon's caught my eye like these 3 Nikon's did. I have definite plans to visit a store to get some 'hands on' knowledge of which one brand feels best, but for right now my personal preference seems to hold with Nikon."

Sonys also have a guide mode simillar to that which appeals to you on Nikons.

Don't rule anything out until you can actually try handling them.

Any modern DSLR from Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Sony will perform well but they do handle differently.

Of course once you get to a shop you may find that you prefer something smaller like a NEX or micro 4/3 rather than a full size DSLR.

 headfirst's gear list:headfirst's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony Alpha DSLR-A200 Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony SLT-A77 +8 more
MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

You have just about the easiest list of requirements I've seen!   Usually people want shots of pygmy hummingbirds chasing their grandchildren down a coal mine!

Anyhow, pretty much any modern dslr in your price category will do everything you require.   They all have at least 10Mp, have shutters fast enough freeze action, use SD cards, etc.   There are differences, of course, but mostly they are ones you won't appreciate.  There really is no need for you to go much above entry-level, as much of what you get as you move up is quicker performance and more sophisticated controls.   Also better build quality and slightly better image quality, though even basic models can take pro-caliber shots sometimes, when used properly.

I'm not going to recommend specific models.   I just wanted you to know your needs will be met no matter what you buy.   As a beginner you will be well-served by a basic model.

Sometimes there are good prices on models being replaced, like the D5100.  The D5200 may not have reached your area, but it will soon, so there may be price reductions on the D5100 coming soon.  You can always check prices on the Web to see if stores are giving you a good deal.   Store prices are usually a little higher, but remember the help they give you and that they let you try things out.   I try to buy from my local shop when I can.

If anyone near you teaches classes, a beginner class might be your best investment.   Shops sometimes offer basic classes on a Saturday.

baloo_buc Veteran Member • Posts: 9,718
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

Nemandi wrote:


On to the products I've looked at:

  • Nikon D3200: Truthfully after reading about the "Guide Mode" offered by this camera I was just about sold but decided I really did need to get an educated second opinion.

A basic camera with only "advantage" being the 24 M. It would be good.

  • Nikon D5100: Have read good reviews but think it may be more advanced than I can handle

D5100 and D3200 are equally easier to handle. It has just a few settings more. Most are useful.

  • Nikon D800: I know it to be just about double my price range but will admit to have greatly considered it before deciding that it, to is more advanced than I can handle

I do think it's an overkill for you. If you would have the budget for the body and a good lens (like 24-70 mm f/2.8) I would say go for it. It would have been an expensive toy.

Based on your requirements and budget D5100 and 18-105 mm VR. Later you may buy 70-300 mm VR if you find that you need more reach.

Enjoy!

 baloo_buc's gear list:baloo_buc's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +14 more
Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,459
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

You state that you think that a D 5100 would be too much camera for you. You are making a mistake thinking that.  Cameras record images. They record images properly when the right aperture, shutter speed, and iso are chosen. The user can select those parameters, or he can leave it to the camera's various  auto modes, to make the decisions for him. What cameras don't do is guide or teach a person how to take proper images, except by showing one the error of his ways. It'll teach you how to navigate through its settings, but critique your work...NAH! Almost any camera has automatic modes. There is:

  1. Aperture priority; you set the aperture, the camera sets the shutter speed.
  2. Shutter priority; you set the shutter speed, the camera sets ... You guessed it, the  aperture.
  3. Program; the sets both shutter and aperture.
  4. Automatic; camera sets the above, sets appropriate ISO, decides whether flash is needed.  

In addition almost any camera has scene modes, which will set the camera up to an image under certain circumstances

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D1X Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +23 more
Labe
Labe Veteran Member • Posts: 8,335
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

the recomendation of the 5100 with the 18-105 is a good one for you. You may also want to take a look at the pentax K30 with 18-135wr. Its very simular in spec but with a larger brighter view finder being a pentaprism and has basic weatherproofing and the ability to use AA batteries with an adapter should you get caught out with a flat battery.

-- hide signature --

new to technology,always learning

 Labe's gear list:Labe's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix IS-1 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Sony Alpha NEX-3 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R +2 more
Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,459
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

Rich Rosen wrote:

You state that you think that a D 5100 would be too much camera for you. You are making a mistake thinking that. Cameras record images. They record images properly when the right aperture, shutter speed, and iso are chosen. The user can select those parameters, or he can leave it to the camera's various auto modes, to make the decisions for him. What cameras don't do is guide or teach a person how to take proper images, except by showing one the error of his ways. It'll teach you how to navigate through its settings, but critique your work...NAH! Almost any camera has automatic modes. There is:

  1. Aperture priority; you set the aperture, the camera sets the shutter speed.
  2. Shutter priority; you set the shutter speed, the camera sets ... You guessed it, the aperture.
  3. Program; the sets both shutter and aperture.
  4. Automatic; camera sets the above, sets appropriate ISO, decides whether flash is needed.

In addition almost any camera has scene modes, which will set the camera up to an image under certain circumstances

Some how my original post got cut off in the middle.

Those circumstances would include a night scene or portrait in which the user decides which scene it is and the camera  does the rest. The point is that most of today's DSLRs can be as simple as a novice would want. The problem comes when the user becomes more skilled and outgrows his camera. Because I believe that a camera is a tool, I also believe that one should get the best camera ,  he can get within the limits of his budget. In this way, he will not out grow his camera so quickly. My recommendation is not on your final list of three. It is ... wait for it... the Nikon D 7000 With the 18-105 VR lens. Here is a camera that will meet your needs now and in the future. It has been built for the enthusiast with its metal chassis, weather sealing. It's AF module is well advanced. And it meets your budget parameters at  $1197 at B&H , on sale until feb 2, 2013.

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D1X Nikon D610 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +23 more
BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,714
Re: Warning: beginner looking to buy a d-SLR camera

MarkInSF wrote:

You have just about the easiest list of requirements I've seen! Usually people want shots of pygmy hummingbirds chasing their grandchildren down a coal mine!

Dang man! If I had pigmy hummingbirds chasing my grandkids in a coal mine I'd sure as heck want photos too!

Seriously though, to the original poster, I have a d3100 and it's fine. I got a d200, used, because it has more controls and a bigger viewfinder and my eyes are going bad. But the image quality is good enough for anything I've tried to do. I'm sure that even with 30 odd years of photographic experience I'm not using either of them to their fullest potential.

In the USA both KEH and B&H offer used gear with a return period and a warranty.


Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads