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#866513 - 12/28/13 02:53 PM Need some DSLR advice  
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OoPEZoO Offline
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I've decided that its finally time for me to pull the trigger and get a DSLR. This is probably about 8 years later than I should have done it, but it is what it is and now is the time.

I know the Nikon/Canon discussion could basically turn into a never ending oil thread, so I'll just lay it out there that I plan on buying a Nikon. I have not had good luck with previous Canon cameras and our current Nikon point and shoot has been an excellent product for what it is. Anyway.....Budget is about $500 and is flexible for the right deal

At this point, I'm looking at the more entry level D3100, D3200, and D5100 models and I'm stuck in a bit of a pickle. I'm finding D3100 kits with two lenses and D3200 kits with a single lense at about the same price. I have also found a D5100 kit with two lenses for under $500. I'm leaning towards the D5100 if I can manage to get it, but would like some input from the collective.


I have a bit of a photography background, but have been pretty much out of the loop for the past 10 years. Any pics I take will be of family or travel for personal use, I have no illusions of ever doing any "professional" work. Any thoughts or helpful tidbits?


-Keith (Yup, thats me...and my rubber chicken)

Making the world a better place, one rubber chicken at a time!

'98 Buell S1 Lightning
'06 R1200GS
'86 Honda CB125
'00 R1100RT (parting out, PM me)
#866515 - 12/28/13 03:14 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: OoPEZoO]  
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EffBee Offline
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Actually, I just went through the same thing. Have a decent point/shoot, but I wanted more. I took a look at the DSLR's and really liked the 5100. But the complexity and space of packing it all for travel, or when going to grandkids' school events, just made it seem cumbersome and unreasonable. I also took a look at all of the features these cameras had, and how likely was I to use them. The truth was, not very likely at all.

I ended up with a Nikon P520 with the 42x zoom. It was about $269 on sale (it was a Christmas gift, but from the wife so I saw the cc bill). As such, I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet. But just playing around with it and shooting pix of the dog, the house, and valuables for insurance coverage, I think I've got most of the advantages of interchangeable lenses (given that I'm only shooting family stuff and travel for personal use), without the hassles and space issues. I also have a bit of background in photography, having shot lots of feature stories, race coverage, road tests and covers for Cycle World back (waaaay back) in the day. We shot some pretty good stuff back then with a 35mm SLR, so I'm not so much a child of the digital era. YMMV, of course, but for me simpler is better.

If you want the full advantages of interchangeability, I can't help you much. But I did pass on it for the simpler Nikon. Time will tell if it was the right decision. So far, I"m happy with the results.


Cary, Gleno, Rodger, Paul,
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We will never forget you.


Teach your children about taxes. Eat 40% of their ice cream cone.

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#866518 - 12/28/13 03:46 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: OoPEZoO]  
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Ok, you said Nikon, and I'm a Nikon guy. I'm NOT saying Nikon is better than all others. It's just what I know.

The 5100 was a nice improvement over the 5000, and the image quality it is excellant. 16mp, combined with Nikon slr lenses... and you'll be fine.

It's been out for a while. They keep selling it. It's because it's a good camera. It has PLENTY of manual controls and features for you to learn and play with.

I am shooting with a D700 as my primary camera. It's about 4 or 5 years old. It takes BEAUTIFUL photos (as proven by the fine printing skills of our own Couchrocket), and it's only 12mp. My brother has the D7000 (same sensor as D5100) and it takes great photos.

Take a breath, buy it. Take pictures. Repeat. wave

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Off topic advice for ANY new camera owner.

I started in photography at about the age of 10, developing black and white photos of Cub Scout events in the garage with my dad. I have not stayed nearly as involved or dedicated as I wish. But I have always loved a good image. Or... so I thought.

Years ago I bought my first REALLY good digital slr. It would now be so easy to "do" more things. I went out and took a lot of photos. Probably about 10 percent were usable. The rest just weren't right. I mean, I wasn't very happy with my new camera. So I showed the images to a mentor of mine who was really much better than I when it came to photography. He made one statement that changed my photography forever.

He said:
You have fallen in love with the camera, and thrown your love of the image to the wind. Promise me this weekend you'll go out and take fifty, not many more or less, photos with all that crap turned off. Put it on "green auto" and forget it for those fifty. Think about what you want the picture to say, how it makes you feel, and how you want others to feel when they see it.

Well, I did as instructed. Out of the fifty or so pictures I took, 40+ of them looked wonderful. There where several that needed a little tweaking, and I then learned what I coulda / woulda / shoulda done different.

Good Hunting!

Last edited by DaveTheAffable; 12/28/13 04:01 PM. Reason: Spelling

Dave
'10 R1200RT

"No faster than my guardian Angel can fly...."
#866529 - 12/28/13 04:19 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: OoPEZoO]  
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I think it's kinda difficult to find a DSLR that is actually not good; they're all excellent tools these days. There are slight differences that favor one application over another. Some have more megapixels, which matter in certain settings (landscape, fashion, weddings), others support faster frames/second which makes it good for sports and action shots, others support a particularly high ISO for good low light performance.

Having said that, I also feel the D5100 is an excellent choice. 16mp is plenty (I own a D7000 and it has been a stellar camera, same 16mp sensor as the D5100).

The action is really in the lens! It's the lens that makes the difference.

In general, I buy camera body only and buy my lenses separately. Usually, the kit lenses that come with these cameras aren't all that great--usually, but not always.

My bread and butter lens is a Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 zoom. Can be had for about $400 online, which is a great deal for such an excellent lens. Excellent lens for less than ideal lighting scenarios.

Here's a picture taken of my youngest daughter playing violin in a school concert. This is in a dark auditorium and flash photography was not allowed, but because my Tamron zoom supported a max F/2.8 aperture, I could easily capture her playing without the need for a flash:



An even better low light lens is the $190 Nikon 35mm F/1.8 prime. Pop that on your D5100 and you're always ready for picture taking no matter how dark it is.

Here's a picture taken with my Nikon D7000 and the Nikon 35mm F/1.8 lens attached. Because of the wide aperture of the lens, I could get a nice fast shutter speed to freeze the action and no flash was necessary (not that it would have helped in this context, anyhow):



Alternatively, get yourself a nice Nikon Speedlight like the SB700 and you won't necessarily need a fast lens (lens what supports a wide aperture such as the ones I just listed) and then you can opt for a nice super-zoom lens (18-140, 18-200, 18-300). I am not a fan of super zooms, but they are convenient. Flash is good for indoor settings, but for indoor sports and live performances it's not good to use and is often outright forbidden. Blinding the subjects who are trying to perform with a flash is inconsiderate anyhow.

This picture from last Christmas was taken with my Tamron lens, but I had a Nikon SB600 flash mounted on my camera. Because of the flash, virtually any lens that supported this focal length could have been used in this setting (in other words, a kit lens would have sufficed):



Define the type of images that are important to you, and let that be your guide.

- low light? (flash would usually suffice)

- low light yet fast action? (indoor sports, performances, etc) Get a lens that supports a wide aperture (F/2.8, F/1.8, or even better, F/1.4)

- portraits? long focal length of at least 80mm (we won't get into "crop factor" issues, but I have a $200 Nikon 50mm F/1.8 that I use for portraits. On a camera with an APS-C sized sensor, such as the D5100 and D7000, it translates to about a 75mm focal length).

- travel? Super zooms reign supreme, here. 18-300mm and you're ready for anything--so long as it's in the day time and you have plenty of light! Bring the 35mm F/1.8 prime for night shots (very small, lightweight lens and fits in your jacket pocket).

- best pictures humanly possible? See DaveTheAffable. Nikon's D700 has yet to be topped in terms of a camera body that consistently produces excellent images; well metered, exposed, and processed. There are later camera bodies, but none of them are better thumbsup

Oh, and let me introduce you to the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens I bought from B&H Photo used for about $350. Here I am at Yankee Stadium, sitting in the cheap seats. Picture taken with my Tamron lens at 18mm:



OK, see how far away from home plate I am? Now, this is with the Nikon 70-300mm lens attached (crop factor means the effect is that of a 450mm lens). Detroit Tiger's Miguel Cabrerra (aka, "Miggy") at the plate. He hit a home run at this bat:



What an addicting and expensive hobby! My golden rule is to first buy used, then buy refurbished, and never buy at full price. EBay, Craigslist, B&H Photo Video's used selection--these sites are my friends!

Last edited by beemerman2k; 12/28/13 04:27 PM.

beemerman2k
'00 R1100RT Opal Blue Metallic
<11 year haitus from motorcycling cry >
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#866531 - 12/28/13 04:41 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: beemerman2k]  
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OoPEZoO Offline
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I'm really looking at the D3200 and D5100. I'm leaning towards the D5100 that includes the 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses for $499. I like the articulating display of the D5100, and most places I'm finding charge that much for the bare 5100 body. The best prices I'm finding for the bare body are about $400.

So, do you think its worth the $100 for the set of lenses that come in the kit, or still better to go with a bare body and use the $100 towards a better quality single lense? The ones included are your basic NIKKOR non-VR lenses

EDIT......your last bit added the other option.....Used off of EBAY and/or Craigslist. That may be the best option, as I am not on a time schedule and I'm shopping with cash. Thanks for the input

Last edited by OoPEZoO; 12/28/13 04:43 PM.

-Keith (Yup, thats me...and my rubber chicken)

Making the world a better place, one rubber chicken at a time!

'98 Buell S1 Lightning
'06 R1200GS
'86 Honda CB125
'00 R1100RT (parting out, PM me)
#866544 - 12/28/13 07:15 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: OoPEZoO]  
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MT Wallet Offline
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I've been thinking about making the move to a more versatile camera along the same lines as Keith. I have some old lenses from 35mm SLR cameras. Will these digital cameras accept those lenses? Keith, where are you finding the cheaper cameras?


Richard

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.-unattributed.
#866565 - 12/28/13 09:12 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: OoPEZoO]  
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Couchrocket Offline
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Quote:
better to go with a bare body and use the $100 towards a better quality single lense?


That's what I'd do. Bodies, sensors and camera features are still evolving at a fairly rapid rate. These days sensors in all the DSLRs are darn good (as James pointed out) and so you'll reap longer and more benefit from a really good quality lens than you will from a "kit lens" with a "better body." And if your interest evolves into something serious, you'll regret any money you spent on mediocre lenses - while an entry level body will still be fine as a back up, or 2nd camera.

I'd also think long and hard about a DSLR system over an advanced point and shoot, or "bridge camera" (fixed zoom lens). There are some really amazing P&S cameras out there like the Sony RX-100 (which has been replaced by a MKII version) that can be had within your budget. Tiny little bugger, Zeiss lens of useful zoom range, stunning image quality. I've made "gallery quality" 13x19" prints from my daughter's RX-100 II files.

To get the most out of a DSLR system, you'll need to shoot RAW and do some post processing in something like Adobe Lightroom. If you're not into that, you might actually be disappointed in the results you get "out of camera" from a DSLR system as opposed to many of the really good P&S or bridge cameras. So think hard about what you actually want to do (or be able to learn to do) with your photography.

If I were building a system today, I'd opt for one of the new mirrorless system cameras like the Fuji X line, or the Olympus m4/3 system. (Both of which are well above your initial budget, however.) They are smaller, lighter, produce equal image quality to the big DSLR systems, and they are the "growth segment" in the camera industry (at least in the rest of the world - the US market seems slow to recognize the advantages).


Scott Adams

"Today, if you hear His voice...."
#866566 - 12/28/13 09:14 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: MT Wallet]  
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Typing on my cell phone here.

For what make do your old lenses support? Nikon, Canon, Pentax...

Next question, are they worth salvaging? If high quality glass, sure. If not, no. Get modern high quality lenses.

finally, some camera bodies support older lenses, but they tend to be more expensive and you won't get all the features the body would offer more modern lenses (Metering, auto exposure modes, etc).


beemerman2k
'00 R1100RT Opal Blue Metallic
<11 year haitus from motorcycling cry >
'09 K1300GT U of Michigan Blue, baby! thumbsup
Defeat is my teacher, not my master - Bruce Lee
#866567 - 12/28/13 09:16 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: MT Wallet]  
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Couchrocket Offline
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Originally Posted By: MT Wallet
I've been thinking about making the move to a more versatile camera along the same lines as Keith. I have some old lenses from 35mm SLR cameras. Will these digital cameras accept those lenses? Keith, where are you finding the cheaper cameras?


Some systems will allow you to use adapters to mount legacy lenses on modern bodies. Usually without autofocus, manual only, but many have "chips" that tell the body what they are so that exposure systems work in some of the auto exposure modes. This is very "lens" and camera mfg. dependent, so some research is in order to see if your current lenses will work on anyone's current bodies. The adapters themselves are pretty much all 3rd party mfg. Some better than others. Some camera discussion web boards can give good advice there once you are 'in the market.'

James is right here, too. If your old lenses are great glass, it might be worth it. If not, even current "kit" lenses will be better.



Scott Adams

"Today, if you hear His voice...."
#866570 - 12/28/13 10:04 PM Re: Need some DSLR advice [Re: Couchrocket]  
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lkraus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Couchrocket

I'd also think long and hard about a DSLR system over an advanced point and shoot, or "bridge camera" (fixed zoom lens). There are some really amazing P&S cameras out there like the Sony RX-100 (which has been replaced by a MKII version) that can be had within your budget. Tiny little bugger, Zeiss lens of useful zoom range, stunning image quality. I've made "gallery quality" 13x19" prints from my daughter's RX-100 II files.


+1 on considering a "bridge" camera. Just gave my wife a Panasonic FX200 because she wanted a real viewfinder (can't see LCDs in sunlight) and a better telephoto lens. The FX200 has a great Leica lens that zooms from 28-600mm(35mm equiv) and maintains a max aperture of f2.8 at all zoom levels, 1080i@60fps video and will save stills as jpg, RAW, or both. Full manual control and multiple automatic controls are available, probably more than we will ever use. $410 at B&H. A search will show you lots of good reviews, sample shots and Youtube tutorials as well. I considered several DSLRs and could not find any kit or combination of bodies and lenses that would be as capable for less than three times the price. And I will not end up carrying her camera bag! Only feature I wanted and did not get is a GPS; I suppose the FZ210gps model will be announced Monday...


Larry
2006 R1200RT
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