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Topic # 185328 18-Nov-2015 14:13
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Apologies for yet another thread on recommending a camera...

My wife and I have a small cash windfall and want to buy a DSLR camera.  We are planning to use it for taking photos of our family (especially our 15-month old daughter), and wanting to do something a little better than is offered by our iPhones.  My wife borrowed a Canon 7D from work a few months back and we were blown away by the quality and feel of the photos we took when we had full manual control, so decided that a DSLR would be a nice upgrade from our smartphone cameras.

Our budget is probably around the $800-$1000 mark, so we are looking for a kit/bundle that we can expand with additional lenses over time and as budget allows.  

I've been looking into the main models offered by Nikon and Canon, and making use of snapsort.com/compare and dpreview.com to learn about the differences between them.  Based on that, we are down to the following models:

Nikon D5300 or D5500
Canon 700D or 750D

I'd prefer to purchase locally (Palmerston North), which mostly limits my choices to places like JB Hifi, Noel Leeming, or Harvey Norman.  However, I'm travelling to Auckland next week so I've also looked at places like Parallel Imported or Expert Infotech (which Pricespy seems to show as having much lower prices than the major chain stores).

With all that in mind, I'd like advice on the following:

1. Which of these cameras would you recommend?
2. Should I be nervous about buying from Parallel Imported or Expert Infotech?

I should state that I'm aware of the similarities between the D5300 and D5500.  I've tried both in store, and I quite like the size/feel of the D5500, and like the wifi feature (which is why I'm not looking at the D3300).  I'm also aware that the D5500 is a lot more expensive at the chain stores.  However, Expert Infotech has it for $1032, which means it just sneaks into budget consideration.

I'm also aware that both Parallel Imported and Expert Infotech are parallel importers - hence why I ask about buying from them.  I've looked them up on Geekzone and it sounds like some people have had issues with stock availability, communication, and warranty support.  I'm interested to know if these are still current issues.


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  Reply # 1430446 18-Nov-2015 15:22
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I was going to recommend Nikon D3300 but you need the WiFi feature which rules that out. Otherwise it's a good beginners camera for $$$




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  Reply # 1430471 18-Nov-2015 16:14
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Don't ignore the better mirrorless offerings from the likes of Olympus and Sony.





 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 1430473 18-Nov-2015 16:15
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Geektastic: Don't ignore the better mirrorless offerings from the likes of Olympus and Sony.


Which ones would you recommend?

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  Reply # 1430501 18-Nov-2015 16:34
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Read reviews and recommendations on dpreview.com, like this and this. I'd probably look at micro 4/3 system for casual use like yours, they have way more features than SLRs, some professionals are moving to them for some parts of their work. Almost anything M4/3 by Olmpyus that has good dpreview reviews should suit you.

I prefer Nikon to Canon in SLRs.




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  Reply # 1430512 18-Nov-2015 16:45
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I went through a similar process a few years ago (8 now that I add it up. Where did that go?).

The best advice I had was to go into a store, pick them up and hold them. Some are bigger/smaller than others and just feel way more natural to hold and use.

At the entry level price point you're talking about, essentially anything will be massively better than point and shoots (much less camera phones) and you (very likely) don't need the super high end specs/features (and availability of lenses) that the pros use. I spent a *loong* time getting bogged down in stats and reviews that were ultimately pretty meaningless.

Also, I really highly recommend taking a weekend photography course to show you the essentials (aperture, shutter speed etc) and how to get the most out of your camera using manual mode rather than using it as a glorified point and shooter.

Enjoy! They are a lot of fun!

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  Reply # 1430539 18-Nov-2015 17:31
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The Nikon 3300 and 5500 are both excellent if you are set on a true DSLR. I always preferred Nikon to Canon and you can buy some great glass second hand if you are on a budget.

I moved recently from traditional DSLR to a Fuji XT-1 mirrorless and I love it - no regrets.

I would definitely recommend trying the Olympus EM-10 mkII and the Fuji XT-10 mirrorless. They offer much enhanced portability and discretion over a DSLR, great image quality and a fine selection of lenses. The only areas where they don't always stack up against their DSLR equivalents are in battery life and sports/action photography.

As said above, go to Auckland Camera or somewhere and actually get your hands on some - feel is important as well as the specs and the image quality!




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  Reply # 1431384 19-Nov-2015 20:39
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Why not find the advertised prices from shops like Auckland Camera, Wellington Photo and Photo & Video International (CHC) and see whether your local specialist camera shop will try to meet them?

(There WAS a specialist camera shop in Palmy near the town square the last time I spent any time there, although that's a few years now.)

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  Reply # 1431387 19-Nov-2015 20:46
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What about the "full manual control" of the 7D did you guys like?
What do you mean by better "feel" of the photos?

So I can help you decide.



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  Reply # 1431402 19-Nov-2015 21:18
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It's a little hard to describe, but the images felt a lot sharper, warmer, and had more depth compared to our iPhone cameras. When we look back at photos from that time we can spot in an instant which photos were taken with the DSLR. And they looked fantastic even without lots of "fiddling" with the settings. As for the full manual controls, it's the ability to be more "arty" with things like depth of field, soft focus, and things like that.

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  Reply # 1431404 19-Nov-2015 21:25
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Any modern camera that's not a phone will do that for you - Canon, Nikon, M4/3, etc.

Manual control isn't 100% necessary. I use it when I'm shooting professionally because I want the consistency (or because I'm using manual flash, or sometimes for other reasons), but the only time I shoot manual when I'm doing my own thing (holidays) is when I'm doing panoramas manually. Mostly I use aperture priority.

If I was to give up professional photography I don't think I'd stick with DSLRs, I'd definitely want a smaller system. I actually use a Sony RX100 v1 (v4 is out) much more than I use a DSLR when I'm on holiday or taking snaps. It shoots RAW, has a big sensor, has a nice ISO6400, and it fits in my front jeans pocket. A DSLR takes slightly better pictures, but it needs a backpack to carry around.




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  Reply # 1431410 19-Nov-2015 21:40
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Lizard1977: It's a little hard to describe, but the images felt a lot sharper, warmer, and had more depth compared to our iPhone cameras. When we look back at photos from that time we can spot in an instant which photos were taken with the DSLR. And they looked fantastic even without lots of "fiddling" with the settings. As for the full manual controls, it's the ability to be more "arty" with things like depth of field, soft focus, and things like that.


I don't know what the right camera is but a dSLR is not what you really want. Really. 
But if you MUST have one, then there isn't one that is within your budget with the features you want. Maybe a Canon 70D (or a Nikon D5300 if you hate recording video). But really, you have nothing to gain over those mirrorless systems.

Stu

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  Reply # 1431426 19-Nov-2015 22:10
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timmmay: A DSLR takes slightly better pictures, but it needs a backpack to carry around.


Whereas a micro four thirds would (does) fit in a shoulder bag with a number of lenses. Not as compact as your RX100, of course. Certainly somewhere between the RX100 and a DSLR though? OP has some thinking to do!




Keep calm, and carry on posting.

 

 

 

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  Reply # 1431427 19-Nov-2015 22:19
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Stu:
timmmay: A DSLR takes slightly better pictures, but it needs a backpack to carry around.


Whereas a micro four thirds would (does) fit in a shoulder bag with a number of lenses. Not as compact as your RX100, of course. Certainly somewhere between the RX100 and a DSLR though? OP has some thinking to do!


I'm going to correct the first statement a little bit, sorry PRO. A dSLR can take better pictures in the right hands.

Whereas a recent end mirrorless actually has more all round abilities .... I am thinking 4K video with proper contrast detection AF :)

gzt

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  Reply # 1431429 19-Nov-2015 22:22
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Your comparison is DSLR to iPhone : ).

So most any nz$600+ camera will beat that, and even one or two less than that.

The big difference is in the lens design. Not much room in iPhone.

The thing about full size DSLR is big and heavy so you may find yourself not dragging them around on some occasions. There are some good compact cameras, and things like Sony a series as well.

Stu

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  Reply # 1431433 19-Nov-2015 22:27
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joker97: I'm going to correct the first statement a little bit, sorry PRO. A dSLR can take better pictures in the right hands.

Whereas a recent end mirrorless actually has more all round abilities .... I am thinking 4K video with proper contrast detection AF :)


Where did I say I was a pro? I didn't even make a comment that could be construed as coming from a pro. I was comparing sizes of the RX100 with interchangeable lens camera options. 




Keep calm, and carry on posting.

 

 

 

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