Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

Started Feb 17, 2013 | Questions
FilmyNinaad New Member • Posts: 2
Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

I have a budget of 30K INR... and people have suggested me Canon 1100D.

Is it good ?

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MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

FilmyNinaad wrote:

I have a budget of 30K INR... and people have suggested me Canon 1100D.

Is it good ?

Had to look it up.   It's a t3.  Is it good?  No, not very impressive.   It's a very low end model and was not up-to-date two years ago when it was new.   Still, you can learn a lot of photography from any camera that offers manual controls and RAW files, so this will do, but it would be more fun on a more modern camera.  Even the 600D/t3i is more impressive.

I can't speak to value, not knowing what prices are like there.   I would suggest that you'll get a much better camera by spending slightly more.   Sometimes you can still save by buying a discontinued model, but that would mean buying a Nikon 5100 or 600D.  The 1100D isn't just old, but cheaply built, too.

Pedagydusz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,549
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?
2

I think that, if you are a newcomer at Photography, any camera which can allow you to control the shooting conditions will be good, therefore, if you find a cheap Canon 1000D it it will perfectly adequate. It is far from excellence in terms of modern cameras, but as a learning tool it will be adequate. In fact, the process of "learning" will have nothing to do with the actual "quality" of the camera.

In fact, at first sight it seems an overkill to use a DSLR to "learn", but on second thoughts, as one variable you must learn is Depth of Field in focus, and that is the more apparent the larger is the sensor, I think that a cheap DSLR will be ideal. The Canon 1000D has a sensor in the category "APS-C", which will show the variations of DoF quite well.

Another option, possible better, is a Mirrorless APS-C camera, such as one of the Sony NEX family or the Canon M recently appeared. Over the DSLR is the fact that you would also learn to deal with Live View photography (using the rear LCD), wich nowadys is a feature useful to master (even if you choose not use it much in future).

Another option is one of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, excellent cameras, but with a lesser control of DoF (not much less, to be truthful).

Finally, you could prefer a fixed lens camera. But to stick to a largish sensor (for the mentioned DoF control learning) and not to go to very expensive material, you only have (to my knowledge) the Fuji X100, which has a fixed 35 mm lenses and still costs more than 1K USD.

Some advocate that for learning a fixed focal distance is preferable, as it forces you to play with perspective, but in my view it also deprives you of the experience of playing with different focal lenses.

I hope this is useful!

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happysnapper64 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

With respect to Markin, while I agree the 1100D is not a top of the tree model, I have seen numerous very good images produced by this camera on the forum. Look through the 1100D forum & look at the pics people have taken with it. Some are beginners themselves. I think looking at other peoples pics on here taken with the same camera, gives a better idea of what to expect. Just one word of warning if you do decide to buy the 1100D, or any other camera. The lens is at least as important to the quality of the images you will take, in fact it may well be more important, so if you buy a "kit" with camera & lens, make certain that it is a "stabilized" lens. For Canon this is symbolized by the letters "IS" for Image Stabilization" printed on the barrel of the lens. For Nikon it is "VR" for "Vibration Reduction". This is important as the non stabilized lenses were of quite poor quality, & using them would be frustrating for a beginner. Keep us informed as to what you think.

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GreenMountainGirl Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?
2

Although I am not at a very advanced level myself, perhaps my thinking process will help. My first digital camera was a point-and-shoot, no control over anything. Outgrew that, and did research online to figure out what DSLR to purchase. I decided to buy the best I could afford, knowing that the learning curve would be steep. But for me it meant that after spending the money, I would not be outgrowing this one any time soon. Purchased the Nikon D7000 and two "kit" lenses. I know that the lenses are very important - in some ways more so than the camera body - but the ones I chose (18-105mm and 55-300mm) were what I needed for the present as I was learning.

My method for research was a combination of reviews (as seen on sites like this one) and comparing cameras and prices on photography store websites (in the USA, one trusted site is www.bhphotovideo.com). I was able to determine from this process that the D7000 fitted my criteria.

Now I know my camera better (still love it, still learning), and have purchased a few accessories (tripod, circular polarizer, faster SD cards, wired and wireless remote shutter releases). Now I want to invest in better lenses when I can. Looking for micro, Internal focus lenses, longer lenses, and also graduated ND filters.

So for any beginner, it is always good to start with the basics and work up from there. It is a lot of fun, but there is always more to learn, and you will learn what you need as you go.

Hope this helps.

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john farrar
john farrar Veteran Member • Posts: 5,038
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

That Canon is a good entry level camera to learn on.

But if, for just a little more, you get a Nikon D3200 you will get the most modern 24mp sensor. This might mean, as someone wisely suggested, you will not need to upgrade again so soon.

(Buy cheap and you buy twice usually).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-D3200-Digital-Camera-18-55mm/dp/B007VBGTX8/ref=sr_1_2?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1361123904&sr=1-2

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Don't Spend More Than You Can Afford...

Having said that, here is another vote for the Nikon 3200. It's relatively inexpensive while being a very capable DSLR. Nikon's flash system beats Canon's. The D3200 is small enough that you won't mind carrying it around; it fits in a coat pocket or a tiny unpadded fanny pack. The included kit lens is a fine starter lens. The camera allows full manual control as well as auto modes; you can start using it immediately while you gain your photographic sea-legs and gain the confidence to take more control.

During the 30+ years I have been doing photography I have carefully considered all the available camera systems when I was ready to do a major purchase: my first camera, the move to auto focus and then from film to digital. I've always wound up with Nikon; I'm still using manual focus lenses on my DSLR that I purchased in 1982.

I am pro but I wouldn't turn up my nose at the D3200 if I was in the market for a small DSLR. I've considered going with a D3200/5200 for traveling.

bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

I'm not at all sure what you can buy for 30,000 INR. If you can't afford a new camera, don't worry. Get an older, second-hand camera. A camera is better than no camera. 

Around that price range, you could get a Nikon D200. Which is ancient but full of pro features and much better handling. Be warned tho, the sensor is very dated. But you have the ability to meter with old manual focus lenses, a proper viewfinder, a great buffer, much better ergonomics that entry level cameras. With entry-level cameras, you're battling all the automation. With something like the D200, it forces you to learn your own settings. I still shoot with my D200, and it's a lovely, old beast. It's not great in low-light situations. But I've been using SLRs or nearly 40 years and am not fussed it's not good in low light. I shoot at base ISO as much as I can anyway. I still think ISO400 is fast!

Whatever you choose, don't fret about not being able to afford the latest and the greatest. A friend of mine shoots with a really crappy old Pentax and some really dodgy old lenses he's picked up for a song. There's a certain dignity in doing this on the cheap. If you can get great shots out of a really dodgy old camera, you have a talent money can't buy. You can have a lot of fun doing things on the cheap and you can learn so much.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?
1

If the OP can afford a used D200 he can probably afford a new D3200. I own a D200 and while it is one of my fave Nikons, I wouldn't recommend it to a total rookie unless I felt he/she was feeling up to it. (At least a D200 has auto modes...) The D200 is a lot larger and almost twice the weight of a D3200. It's not the kind of camera one is likely to throw into a purse or coat pocket...

A new D3200 would come with a lens and a warranty; a D200 probably would not have either. It's simply too much camera for most beginners.

Unless a newbie expresses an interest in starting with a high-end DSLR and has money to burn, an entry-level camera that is relatively easy to use right out of the box is the way to go. If the OP really gets into photography he can upgrade the camera later.

bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

He said he wanted to learn photography. If he was asking about a suitable camera for casual shooting and family shots, no, I wouldn't advise he buy a camera like the D200. I just put it up as a suggestion. If he's serious about learning photography, a D200 might be just the ticket. And they're cheap as chips. Around $300 on KEH.

Nick_Brisbane Senior Member • Posts: 1,085
Its about $550 US (nt)
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roby17269
roby17269 Senior Member • Posts: 1,471
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

bugzie wrote:

He said he wanted to learn photography. If he was asking about a suitable camera for casual shooting and family shots, no, I wouldn't advise he buy a camera like the D200. I just put it up as a suggestion. If he's serious about learning photography, a D200 might be just the ticket. And they're cheap as chips. Around $300 on KEH.

I agree with Bugzie: in the Canon world I would suggest a used 20D / 30D / 40D (depending on price) because of the improved control layout (compared to the 1100D).

In my personal experience, moving from a 350D to a 20D years ago helped me taking much more control on my photography, specifically because the control layout of the 20D made using the M mode much more enjoyable.

I think the D200 would be a great starter camera.

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bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

roby17269 wrote:

bugzie wrote:

He said he wanted to learn photography. If he was asking about a suitable camera for casual shooting and family shots, no, I wouldn't advise he buy a camera like the D200. I just put it up as a suggestion. If he's serious about learning photography, a D200 might be just the ticket. And they're cheap as chips. Around $300 on KEH.

I agree with Bugzie: in the Canon world I would suggest a used 20D / 30D / 40D (depending on price) because of the improved control layout (compared to the 1100D).

In my personal experience, moving from a 350D to a 20D years ago helped me taking much more control on my photography, specifically because the control layout of the 20D made using the M mode much more enjoyable.

I think the D200 would be a great starter camera.

Yes, I agree here. Using semi-automatic and manual modes are far more enjoyable on a more advanced camera. You're encouraged to use them because there's far less fiddling about. You're not bamboozled by all the automation.

I just made a suggestion. Only the OP knows what he means when he says he wants to learn photography. I learnt photography on an all-manual film SLR. I find the D200 far easier to use than some of the more dinky models. It's just a suggestion for the OP to consider. If you really want to learn, get a camera that forces you to learn. That's how a lot of us older folk learnt. The easier a dSLR looks, the greater the effort required to control it.

GreenMountainGirl Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

bugzie wrote:

If you really want to learn, get a camera that forces you to learn. That's how a lot of us older folk learnt. The easier a dSLR looks, the greater the effort required to control it.

I agree with this 100%.  If all you want to do is point and shoot, there are lots of cameras for that.  But learning how to control different aspects of the camera and photo allows greater creativity, greater freedom.  Buy the best you can afford, and then you won't outgrow it any time soon.  The learning curve might be steep, but it is worth it!

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

bugzie wrote:

If you really want to learn, get a camera that forces you to learn. That's how a lot of us older folk learnt. The easier a dSLR looks, the greater the effort required to control it.

I don't think that a camera that "forces you to learn" is a very good idea, not that I think that the D200 is such a camera. I can think of no better way to discourage someone from learning photography than insisting they use a large, heavy DSLR that is designed for advanced photographers.

The D3200 does not hinder a rookie learning how to control the camera. Except for the addition of additional automatic modes, the D3200 mode selector dial is not different from the D200: manual, aperture-prority and shutter-priority modes are easily selected. The user accesses the aperture and shutter controls the same way as with a D200.

The primary advantages of a new D3200 over a used D200:

1. It's designed so a new photographer can start taking pictures right away with good results.

2. It comes with a good starter lens. Unless a used D200 comes with a comparable zoom lens a lens must be purchased separately. That requires a new photographer to grapple with another purchase decision.

3. The D3200 is brand-new and comes with a warranty. A 6+ year old D200 will likely have been used a lot so it will be more likely to need servicing sooner than later.

I think that starting out shooting using automatic modes is a fine way to get one's feet wet. When I expressed an interest in photography my best friend loaned me a Nikkormat that had an auto-exposure mode. After I had used it for a while and I had a chance to produce some decent images using the auto mode he took back the camera and gave me a Nikkormat FT2, a camera without any automatic settings. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about how camera settings affect the final image; I eventually learned how to create photos that weren't possible in situations where the automatic modes weren't up to the task.

Looking back I realized that I could have stayed with the original camera and accomplished the same thing since the camera also allowed for full manual control. I didn't need a manual camera to "force" me to learn more; I was sufficiently motivated to do so with being coerced to do so. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to become excited about making photos using a camera that was relatively user-friendly. If the camera had been harder to use and I had felt intimidated by it I may have quit before I even got started...

I've read more than a few posts by beginners who purchased more camera than they could handle and then became discouraged trying to learn how to use it. I encourage the OP to personally handle both cameras; he will know right away if the D200 or a similar DSLR is more camera than he wants to deal with right now.

Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,439
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

MrMojo wrote:

bugzie wrote:

If you really want to learn, get a camera that forces you to learn. That's how a lot of us older folk learnt. The easier a dSLR looks, the greater the effort required to control it.

I don't think that a camera that "forces you to learn" is a very good idea, not that I think that the D200 is such a camera. I can think of no better way to discourage someone from learning photography than insisting they use a large, heavy DSLR that is designed for advanced photographers.

The D3200 does not hinder a rookie learning how to control the camera. Except for the addition of additional automatic modes, the D3200 mode selector dial is not different from the D200: manual, aperture-prority and shutter-priority modes are easily selected. The user accesses the aperture and shutter controls the same way as with a D200.

The primary advantages of a new D3200 over a used D200:

1. It's designed so a new photographer can start taking pictures right away with good results.

2. It comes with a good starter lens. Unless a used D200 comes with a comparable zoom lens a lens must be purchased separately. That requires a new photographer to grapple with another purchase decision.

3. The D3200 is brand-new and comes with a warranty. A 6+ year old D200 will likely have been used a lot so it will be more likely to need servicing sooner than later.

I think that starting out shooting using automatic modes is a fine way to get one's feet wet. When I expressed an interest in photography my best friend loaned me a Nikkormat that had an auto-exposure mode. After I had used it for a while and I had a chance to produce some decent images using the auto mode he took back the camera and gave me a Nikkormat FT2, a camera without any automatic settings. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about how camera settings affect the final image; I eventually learned how to create photos that weren't possible in situations where the automatic modes weren't up to the task.

Looking back I realized that I could have stayed with the original camera and accomplished the same thing since the camera also allowed for full manual control. I didn't need a manual camera to "force" me to learn more; I was sufficiently motivated to do so with being coerced to do so. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to become excited about making photos using a camera that was relatively user-friendly. If the camera had been harder to use and I had felt intimidated by it I may have quit before I even got started...

I've read more than a few posts by beginners who purchased more camera than they could handle and then became discouraged trying to learn how to use it. I encourage the OP to personally handle both cameras; he will know right away if the D200 or a similar DSLR is more camera than he wants to deal with right now.

You were fortunate in that your friend "spoon fed" you for free. He lent you a Nikon with automatic modes, then gave you a more advanced camera to really learn the craft. Because of your desire to learn, you learned, Not all of us are so fortunate. Fortunately, today's cameras, except for the pro models, give a new photographer, options, that can "spoon feed him at first, then allow him to begin to learn the real art of photography. What some of the entry level cameras are missing are features that an avid photographer would miss as  they become more advanced.  A for instance is that the D3200 (D3100 as an  cheap alternative), does not have the ability to bracket. The next two Nikon's up the food chain give you that option, as well as the "learning" modes, and the manual modes. Problem is that cost is a factor. When you outgrow a digital camera, a new one is a major investment. So my recommendation to the OP is to get best camera he can get. He should not exceed his budget and he should feel really comfortable with it. If that is the  D3200, fine, but if its also the D600, get the 600.

..

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

Rich Rosen wrote: A for instance is that the D3200 (D3100 as an cheap alternative), does not have the ability to bracket.

The D3200 is perfectly capable of bracketing; it simply lacks an automatic bracketing function. In thirty years I have never needed that function in order to be able to bracket exposures.

You want the OP to be able to learn how to use a DSLR without relying on automatic functions and yet your example of an "important feature" that is missing from the D3200 is an unnecessary automated function...

IMO bracketing is the lazy photographer exposure method except when it is used for something like creating HDR images. It is far better to learn how to properly meter and expose a subject to obtain the desired result than to "spray-and-pray." Relying on exposure bracketing does not help a beginner learn those skills. If the perfect moment occurs when the image is improperly exposed during a bracketing sequence the moment may be lost forever. Better to get it right in the camera than to rely on post-processing (more complexity/cost) that may not be able to recover the missing image data.

As I read this and other questions on the Beginners Forum I see a lot of responses that are more complicated than they need to be and that attempt to persuade beginners to purchase more camera than they need or can afford. I am not against a rookie buying a DSLR like a D200 as long as the beginner feels comfortable using it and can afford it. That is why I suggested that the OP handle every camera he is considering and take a look at the manuals so he will know what he is getting into. Then he can make an informed decision on his needs and not what we think he needs.

D3200 User Manual:  http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/17792/~/user's-manual---d3200---guide-to-digital-photography

D200 User Manual:  http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13796/~/user's-manual---d200---guide-to-digital-photography

bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

I didn't tell he absolutely must get a D200. I'm just pointing out that a more advanced camera can be easier to use in many respects. If you want to get seriously into photography. And they're very cheap. I'm not one of those people who insist that beginners need to buy a D800. That's a very expensive camera. With the D200, you have a very cheap camera. I don't know the OP. I'm not sure what he means when he says he wants to "learn photography". I'm just putting forward an option that he might want to consider. Some people want to be hand-held. Some people love to jump in the deep end. The D200 is big, old, heavy, and a brick. For a digital camera, it's totally over-engineered. When the nuclear war comes, the only things that will survive are the cockroaches and Nikon D200s. The sensor is dated. And they're very cheap. The OP should definitely handle one before he considers buying it. He might run screaming in horror. But it's another cheap option. If he has any doubts at all, he should definitely stay away from it. But there's a certain type of user who might just fall in love with it.

Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,439
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

As I read this and other questions on the Beginners Forum I see a lot of responses that are more complicated than they need to be and that attempt to persuade beginners to purchase more camera than they need or can afford. I am not against a rookie buying a DSLR like a D200 as long as the beginner feels comfortable using it and can afford it. That is why I suggested that the OP handle every camera he is considering and take a look at the manuals so he will know what he is getting into. Then he can make an informed decision on his needs and not what we think he needs.

And if you read my post in it entirety, you would know, that I'm not against him buying a D3200 if he feels most comfortable with that camera, and that is what he can afford. What I am saying is if he feels as comfortable with a higher  level camera, and he can afford it, why not get the better camera. And yes, I mentioned auto bracketing, because of  HDR. He may never use it, but if he decides to do so he will have use post processing with a D3200. You and I are in agreement, about handling all his candidate cameras. I get the feeling that you want newbies to start out with entry level cameras. If true,  I don't necessarily agree.

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bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Want to learn Photography, Which is the best DSLR for it ?

Rich Rosen wrote:

As I read this and other questions on the Beginners Forum I see a lot of responses that are more complicated than they need to be and that attempt to persuade beginners to purchase more camera than they need or can afford. I am not against a rookie buying a DSLR like a D200 as long as the beginner feels comfortable using it and can afford it. That is why I suggested that the OP handle every camera he is considering and take a look at the manuals so he will know what he is getting into. Then he can make an informed decision on his needs and not what we think he needs.

And if you read my post in it entirety, you would know, that I'm not against him buying a D3200 if he feels most comfortable with that camera, and that is what he can afford. What I am saying is if he feels as comfortable with a higher level camera, and he can afford it, why not get the better camera. And yes, I mentioned auto bracketing, because of HDR. He may never use it, but if he decides to do so he will have use post processing with a D3200. You and I are in agreement, about handling all his candidate cameras. I get the feeling that you want newbies to start out with entry level cameras. If true, I don't necessarily agree.

No, I'm not against advising newbies to get entry-level cameras. I'm all for entry-level cameras. I think it's ridiculous too that people chime in with super-expensive options. "Oh, well, you'll need full-frame and big, expensive, fast lenses..." for family snaps. I'm looking at cheap options here. The OP says he wants to learn photography and he's on a limited budget. I believe if your starting a new hobby you should be looking at starting cheaply. How many dSLRs are there out there sitting on shelves gathering dust? You can't go by the level of interest in these forums because these forums are a bubble of people who have a specific interest. A lot of people buy dSLRs, expect some instant magical results, don't get them and they lose interest. They can't be bothered carrying them and it's a hassle changing lenses. These people don't come back. They've lost interest.

If you have a limited budget, you can make a virtue out of necessity. Have fun doing things on the cheap. Don't be worried that you don't have much money.

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