Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:07 pm Post subject: Digital SLR Recommendations
This has probably been covered already but i think i may now be old enough to get my first digital SLR camera.
I only really want an entry level model with a built in flash and may be looking to spend around £500. It would be good to get a 300mm lens in a bundle.
Have looked at Sony A230 and a Nikon but am confused at what to look for.
We take quite a lot of animal photos in wildlife parks.
IMO anything Canon in that price range. I bought a 350D a few years ago after a long and laborious comparison with the same sort of Nikon. Although it's been discontinued now, Canon have replaced it with something else.
In the end it came down to a Canon or a Nikon, but I went for the Canon and I've been chuffed to bits with it ever since. I did change the lens though, managed to find an 55-200 lens on ebay, but eventually splashed out on an 18-250 tamron a couple of years ago; makes a great lens and camera combo as it's light and capable.
Generally speaking, Canon and Nikon are the DSLR brands to have - they're really the market leaders, and have the most experience.
Just at the moment, I think with their current technology, Nikon are just pipping Canon, as the sensors they are using can be pushed to higher ISO without significant noise, making for a much quicker camera! That said, I dare say, it's only a matter of time before Canon launch something just as innovative and steal the crown back! You'll definitely not be disappointed whichever one you choose.
Although I've no personal experience, relative newcomers Sony and Olympus seem to get quite reasonable reviews too.
For what it's worth, mine's a Canon 350D, which was superceeded by the 400D, the 450D and now the 500. They were viewed as Canon's entry-level DSLRs, until the recent release of the cheaper 1000D.
Don't get too blown away by "megapixels" - they only become important if you're going to print your work in large formats!
Also, if you're on a budget, compromise on the body, and plough the money into high quality lenses. Once you've bought into the system, the lenses can move from camera to camera. From a lens point of view, I reckon Canon do have the higher quality lenses - their "L" series (look for the distinctive red band around a usually grey lens - particularly obvious at sporting events, etc.!)
You mention lens length too - keep in mind that the sensors on DSLRs aren't always full frame sensors (indeed, it's only the more expensive, higher end camera that have full 35mm sensors.) The Canon 1000D, 300D/350D/400D/450D/500D, 40D/50D(/60D?) use the APS-C sensor format, which gives the effect of "lengthening" the focal length. For APS-C, it's generally a factor of x1.6. So your 18mm lens is the full frame equivalent of 28.8mm, 50mm becomes 80mm, and 300mm effectively gives you 480mm. Great if you do lots of telephoto/zoom work; not so great if you like wide angle pictures!
My 350D is a terrific camera, if not a little dated now (technology moves so fast, doesn't it?) I certainly made the correct choice for me, and would recommend it to all. Lens wise, the kit 18-55mm lens was OK, but I also got a Sigma 55-200 lens when I bought the camera - that was a brilliant lens, but unfortunately I dropped it earlier this year, and now the aperture petals are sticking. Cost of repair is probably greater than the cost of the lens, so I've invested in a Canon 50-250 IS unit, which I'm still getting the hang of...!
Canon units seem to be obsoleted every 18 months or so. My camera is now 4+ years old and I am considering a replacement for it - the move I want to make is to Canon's 40D/50D product line - there have long been rumours about a 60D unit, and by my reckoning is due imminently, so I'm holding out for that!
If you want to see what's possible with the various cameras, I suggest you immerse yourself in flickr for a couple of hours - you have the ability to search for images taken by different cameras there.
Quick look on Pricerunner, shows a Canon 1000D 18-55mm + 75-300mm kit at around £500. _________________ J.
I've come home tonight, to find the latest copy of Digital Camera Magazine through the door. (Won't be on the shelves until next week.)
A "heads-up" for you. This month, it has a Group Test of £400 DSLRs - nothing like a bit of great timing, is there?
They have tested the Canon 1000D, Nikon D60, Olympus E-450, Panasonic Lumix G1, Pentax K-m and the Sony a230.
They obviously all have different good points and bad points, but DCM score them with a percentage to find, in their opinion, the best. Their opening paragraph of the conclusion is "Four years back, there was a huge difference between the then budget DSLRs on offer. The options are less expensive now - but the difference between good and bad is much less marked, particularly if you judge on the pictures produced."
They finish "Our head says the Canon 1000D - a well specified camera that buys you into an established system, and is the safe beginners choice. Our heart says the Panasonic G1. It costs more, it's not technically an SLR (*), and the range of add-ons is limited. But this is a futuristic camera, looks fantastic, is designed with real photographers in mind, and is an absolute joy to use."
(*) Panasonic Lumix G1 does not have a swing-up mirror, which is what puts the R into SLR. The eyepiece contains an LCD screen, which displays what the sensor is seeing.
Anyway, the review is quite extensive in comparisons of the camera. As if that wasn't enough, Martin, there's a feature on Wildlife photography! Like I say, should be out next week, £3.99 from all good newsagents... it's the one with a picture of a Fox on the cover!
(Personally, I'd still be choosing Canon or Nikon, probably Canon, but then I have that Canon bias having used one for a while!) _________________ J.
Not yet, but still considering the options and hopefully will be in the next month. We have been into Jessops and had a look close up, the assistant showed us the Canon 1000D and the 450 D but also showed us the Sony A230 and the A330 ( although don't see many 330's for sale away from Jessops) have also looked at the Sony A380.
Mrs Oi wants to print piccies out large so wants a higher MP, anyway she will be funding this acquisition but knows a little less than me about SLR's.
Your info above was really helpful, thanks, i will let you know what we get.
BTW, bought that digital camera magazine you mentioned with the fox on the front. Some really useful tips in there.
Will definetely have the camera before the Xmas party, ooh guess we must start thinking about that!!
This website is handy for comparing prices at many places, if you go to Jessops order on-line and pickup in store. Generally always get a saving that way, they will do this in-store for you if you ask them.
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