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Old May 18, 2010, 3:05 PM   #1
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Default What DSLR? Newbie

Hiya, well I've just got married, and have ended up with some money that I'd like to invest in a DSLR.

In the past I've had point and shoot digital cameras, and love to take pictures, however, I've mainly just left the cameras in "auto", and snapped away.

The holy grail has always been to get a DSLR, but they've just been way down the line in priorities. But with the wedding and honeymoon all paid for, I've now got some money to purchase one

So, as you'd appreciate, I'm a real newbie at this, so will need to research how to actually use one of these cameras with all of the manual settings etc... But I'd like to know what cameras and lenses that I should be looking at.

Not really wanting to go for a compact point and shoot camera with more manual control. As I know that I'll regret not having just gone for the DSLR straight away.

My budget in total is 700 - 900.

Any help / advice appreciated
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Old May 18, 2010, 3:53 PM   #2
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What type of photos do you like to take, there are allot of good dslr's in your price range. It will put you in a good entry level to advance dslr that are packed with a ton of features and performance.

Canon 550D or 500D
Pentax K-x
Olympus E620
Nikon d5000
Sony A500 and A550

But to determine which one will be best suited for your needs.
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Last edited by shoturtle; May 19, 2010 at 1:25 AM.
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Old May 18, 2010, 11:56 PM   #3
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The cameras shoturtle mentioned are all excellent. I would argue for a Pentax Kx and its 18-55 kit lens for a start. But, let me lead you through a thought process.

I've shot film and digital for many years, sometimes as a working photographer. For much of this decade I've used a 5mpx Sony DSC-V1 advanced P&S with manual controls and Zeiss optics (I'm on my third), and I disliked its limitations. When I could afford a dSLR system a couple years ago, I asked myself: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? The answers: ultrawide, ultralong, low-light. My first priority was ultrawide. I started looking at lenses, and found that only Pentax had what I wanted, that I could afford. Then I researched camera bodies within my budget, especially user ratings and complaints, and found that Pentax got fewer gripes and bitches and wishes for upgrades, than did other makers. Over the decades I've shot with Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Sony, Zeiss, Yashica, and many other brands, but never Pentax. Yet the cold logic of crunching numbers led me to Pentax.

Rather than tell you that THIS camera and THESE lenses are best for you, I'll suggest that you ask yourself: Where am I going (what do I want to do)? And How can I get there (what gear do I need)? And What will keep me happy (what can I afford)? In other words, start with your heart's desire. Do you want to shoot sports / action / birds; city streets; quiet landscapes / still lives; little tiny bugs / coins / crystals; indoor / outdoor gatherings / parties; formal portraits; whatever? Certain of these interests will lead you to certains types of lenses, in various price ranges. Sports-action-birds generally require long fast costly lenses. Little tiny stuff requires macro gear, ranging from ultra-cheap to rather expensive. Certain types of portraiture suggest certain lenses. Et cetera. And then there's InfraRed and other spectrum-slicing...

My own analysis led me to a Pentax K20D body, 10-17mm fisheye zoom, 18-250mm walkabout superzoom, and 50mm f/1.4 fast prime for low light and portraits. That's my minimal kit, all autofocus. Most of the many lenses I've since bought are inexpensive manual glass -- if you want REAL manual control, use manual lenses. Most of mine cost under US$30 each.

Other things to think about:

* Only Pentax and Sony have image stabilization / shake reduction built into to camera bodies; other makers stabilize some few lenses (and stabilization REALLY helps with low-light shooting).

* Lenses from different makers can be adapted to most cameras; Canon bodies can accept more lenses than any other brand.

* Fuji and Sigma make bodies for InfraRed, UltraViolet, and other sliced-spectrum work, suitable for science, forensics, etc.

* Olympus makes SMALL dSLRs and lenses, suitable for load-conscious hikers, with image quality much better than any P&S but not quite up to the level of most newer dSLRs.

Have fun!
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