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  Reply # 554890 7-Dec-2011 10:41 Send private message

Nikon or Canon are the bigger manufacturers with the largest R&D budgets, the best range of OEM and third party lenses, generally the best cameras. The little guys like Pentax and Sony (who are small in this market) might be worth a look, but personally I wouldn't buy one of them.




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  Reply # 554892 7-Dec-2011 10:48 Send private message

100% agree with timmmay. Really only two players in the DSLR market. Canon & Nikon.
Wouldn't bother looking at the smaller manufacturers as you will most likely not be able to take the investment you spent in lenses, to your Canon or Nikon when the Sony, etc give up the ghost.

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  Reply # 554895 7-Dec-2011 10:52 Send private message

The micro 4/3 system is worth a look, especially if video's important to you.




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  Reply # 554899 7-Dec-2011 11:04 Send private message

spearsniper: 100% agree with timmmay. Really only two players in the DSLR market. Canon & Nikon.
Wouldn't bother looking at the smaller manufacturers as you will most likely not be able to take the investment you spent in lenses, to your Canon or Nikon when the Sony, etc give up the ghost.
Incorrect. I recently switched from Pentax to nikon. Sold my Pentax lenses for what I paid for them. Took a hit on the body, as with any manufacturer.

I believe that dollar for dollar Pentax offer more features than Nkon or Canon. Oly seem to have given up on DSLRs. Sony usually make good stuff but for some reason I'm not a fan.

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  Reply # 554924 7-Dec-2011 11:51 Send private message

Chainsaw:
spearsniper: 100% agree with timmmay. Really only two players in the DSLR market. Canon & Nikon.
Wouldn't bother looking at the smaller manufacturers as you will most likely not be able to take the investment you spent in lenses, to your Canon or Nikon when the Sony, etc give up the ghost.
Incorrect. I recently switched from Pentax to nikon. Sold my Pentax lenses for what I paid for them. Took a hit on the body, as with any manufacturer.

I believe that dollar for dollar Pentax offer more features than Nkon or Canon. Oly seem to have given up on DSLRs. Sony usually make good stuff but for some reason I'm not a fan.


Did you buy new or second hand? When I sold my Canon lenses I got about 80% the purchase price, but that was after 1-3 years of use.




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  Reply # 554963 7-Dec-2011 13:11 Send private message

Are you asking re the Pentax or Nikon lenses?
Pentax were mainly 2nd hand.
Nikon are mainly new, as I was buying a few at once so got a good deal (I hope!). Have bought a 50 and a 1.7x TC 2nd hand since then from TM.

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  Reply # 554966 7-Dec-2011 13:15 Send private message

I meant the pentax ones. If you buy second hand you often don't lose money, buying new you lose some.

The only 50mm lens I like for Nikon mount, regardless of price, is the 50 F1.8 G. The rest all fail in terms of focus accuracy or speed under some or all light conditions. The little 1.8 G works really well though.




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  Reply # 554980 7-Dec-2011 13:32 Send private message

I actually made about $250 on a Pentax 50mm/f1.2!

Just been looking at some 1.8G pics - very nice. It came out after I got the 1.4G. I have done some quite successful basketball shots with the 1.4G though. I was told it may be slower acquiring initial focus, but can track okay. Seemed the case.

I don't use it much though, and not at 1.4 either, so a few thoughts of selling and getting the 1.8G as it's smaller, lighter, and faster focus, but only thoughts at this stage.

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  Reply # 554985 7-Dec-2011 13:36 Send private message

The 1.4G apparently doesn't focus quickly in low light, and I wanted the lens for wedding receptions, which are pretty dark - last week I was using ISO6400, F1.8, 1/50th or so!




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  Reply # 555087 7-Dec-2011 16:32 Send private message

throbb: Hi,


I'm looking at getting my first DSLR, I'm think of spending up to $1500. I'm a bit confused with all the options out there and a little advice would be appreciated :)


Cheers  


Leaving aside the Canon/Nikon question, I'd consider some of the following things:
- Invest in the lens over the body (eg many kit lenses are very average).
- One lens doesn't do all. Consider a couple of lenses, one a wide zoom and one a tele zoom. Later you could add a macro prime, a supertele or an ultra-wide.
- Invest in a camera ecosystem that will carry you into the future.
- Get a camera with auto features (landscapes, portraits, sport etc) but also Tv, Av, M and Bulb functions. Then you can start on using the camera straight away and move into manual modes as you learn your art.
- Consider shutter lag. Less is better, to ensure you get a shot when you see it.
- Don't worry too much about burst frame rate. Great for sports and kids but while you're learning you should have a more contemplative approach than a shotgun approach.
- Consider the types of photos you prefer to take. Portraits, landscapes, sport, wildlife, architecture, family? Each has its own needs, particularly with regard to lenses (long, short, fast, slow).
- Megapixels count for a bit but are not everything. Anything over 10 is fine for most 6x4 prints. It only becomes an issue if you crop heavily or print A4 or above.
- ISO noise could be important if you plan to shoot much in low light.
- Don't worry about the LCD display. You should be looking through the viewfinder for 90% of your shots and only using the display for settings changes and reviewing a photo after it's taken (but mainly you'll be checking for focus and the histogram).
- Ease of use: can you adjust critical settings (aperture, shutter, ISO, spot metering) with a few (one?)simple actions? Imagine doing it with one hand while hanging on to a moving car/boat/train etc with the other.
- Ability to capture RAW files. These are your digital negatives and can be manipulated much better than JPGs.
- Ignore the camera's video features. You won't use them much, if at all. If you feel you want to shoot video, get a video camera.
- Figure the extras into the price: Memory cards, spare battery, external flash, tripod (or minipod at a stretch), wired remote, UV filters to protect your lenses (a must), polarising filter, camera bag, lenspen, Photoshop Elements or Gimp...

15 years ago I bought an entry-level Canon EOS 35mm SLR. I slowly added a few lenses and bits and pieces over time. As film fell out of use and became more expensive to buy and process, I stopped using the camera. Recently I was able to buy a 60D and my old kit fell into place and just worked. I have now also added a couple more lenses and a better flash and I am loving photography again. When my 60D becomes obsolete (10+ years?) I'll still be able to use the rest of my photography equipment and just upgrade the body.

And research, research, research. While you're doing this, walk everywhere with only one eye open and your photography hat on. Soon you'll be seeing opportunities everywhere and wishing you had a camera with you.

Hope this helps!

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  Reply # 555176 7-Dec-2011 19:26 Send private message

@Jonski - agree with all of that.

My one addition would be (unless all you shoot are outdoors landscapes) before spending on good lenses, get a good flash. Taking shots with, esp in low light, with a camera's built in flash is unlikely to give a good result regardless of lens. Dollar for dollar, you will get much more gain in photo quality from a decent flash than from modest gains in lens quality.

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  Reply # 555178 7-Dec-2011 19:31 Send private message

JimmyH: @Jonski - agree with all of that.

My one addition would be (unless all you shoot are outdoors landscapes) before spending on good lenses, get a good flash. Taking shots with, esp in low light, with a camera's built in flash is unlikely to give a good result regardless of lens. Dollar for dollar, you will get much more gain in photo quality from a decent flash than from modest gains in lens quality.


I agree with you that a flash represents good benefits for the typical cost, but personally I find that if I'm shooting indoors I would often rather use my fast aperture lens and leave the flash off. I find that this gives much more natural looking results if I've got nothing to bounce the flash off, and if the ambient lighting is reasonable and I can work with shallow depth of field.

My Nikon 35mm AF-S f/1.8 is an absolute gem and I think they retail for only about $500. 

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  Reply # 555184 7-Dec-2011 19:50 Send private message

A flash gives you options that a fast lens doesn't. I much much prefer to use flash than fast lenses, though i'll often combine them and use only a little flash. Flash helps you improve both the quality and quantity of light, including the direction, whereas fast lenses just let you capture more of the potentially crappy ambient light.

Flash is pretty easy too. Direct flash is ok, so long as the flash isn't on the camera!




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  Reply # 555257 7-Dec-2011 22:55 Send private message

throbb: Hi,


I'm looking at getting my first DSLR, I'm think of spending up to $1500. I'm a bit confused with all the options out there and a little advice would be appreciated :)


Cheers  


In my opinion, get the Nikon D3100 twin lens kit. You should be able to get it for about $1000 from Noel Leeming if you haggle a bit, if not try to get them to throw in a memory card or camera bag or something. The D3100 will do everything you need to learn and produce great shots.

With the twin lens kit you covering 18mm to 55 and 55 to 200mm (27mm to 300mm full frame equivalent), you'll be able to learn how the different focal lengths affect your shots. You'll be tempted to zoom in and out to compose your shots - instead pick a focal length and stick with it for a while (e.g. leave your lens at 35mm and just shoot with that for a day), and walk around to compose your shots instead.

With the $500 you have left in your budget, get a sturdy tripod (load rated for DSLRs) to learn macro photography, night photography, and for shooting subjects at a distance. Also a software package like Nikon's Capture NX2, or Adobe Lightroom.

The software package will be your digital darkroom - this is just as important as your choice of camera or lens.

Once you're getting the hang of it, you might want to spend about $200 on a 50mm f/1.8D lens - this will open up flash free/low light photography for you.

Only get a more expensive camera once you are confident enough, and you think the camera has features you will use. Remember, it's not the camera the sees the subject, it's you. The higher end cameras really need good lenses as well - usually prime lenses or those with fixed apertures.

Don't get sucked in by hyperzoom type lenses that cover huge zoom ranges - the sharpness varies across the zoom range, as does distortion. Don't get sucked in by megapixel counts either - anything over 12mp will do the job.

Ask plenty of questions here too - don't count on the sales folk at the stores.







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  Reply # 555259 7-Dec-2011 23:29 Send private message

timmmay: A flash gives you options that a fast lens doesn't. I much much prefer to use flash than fast lenses, though i'll often combine them and use only a little flash. Flash helps you improve both the quality and quantity of light, including the direction, whereas fast lenses just let you capture more of the potentially crappy ambient light.

Flash is pretty easy too. Direct flash is ok, so long as the flash isn't on the camera!


Thanks for the tips - I know that lighting is paramount so it's interesting to get some feedback from a pro.

Setting the location and angle of the flash is fine in a professional situation, but unfortunately it's not feasible for casual walk-around type shots. However I've found Nikon's flash metering to be very accurate and if I use a fast lens or push the ISO a bit then it tends to prevent flash blowouts and balance the ambient lighting enough to get satisfactory results to my not-so-fussy eyes. 

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