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PhiDelt496 Feb 28, 2012 1:10 PM

First DSLR Reccomendation
I realize that this has been hashed and rehashed, but I haven't quite found the answer that I am looking for. There may not be a good answer and it may just be an either or situations where I am not wrong either way.

I want to be able to shoot for travel, parties, hiking excursions, and some sports (my brother-in-law plays hockey at the college level) but nothing professional at this time.

I am looking at purchasing my first dSLR, and have researched the crap out of the different systems: Nikon, Canon, and Sony. Sorry about Pentax, but I am not really comfortable with where they are and where they are going. I have been to every retail shop around and played with all of the different bodies, and a few of the lenses. I am sold on the Nikon system. Alot of it is based on feel and user interface, but I also like the selection of good and affordable lenses, as well as the high end pro lenses that I probably wont ever buy, but they are there if I get more into it. I also have a brother who has shot Nikon since the mid 90s and has a bunch of lenses and speed lights that I can borrow if i need to so that helps Nikon.

My budget is flexible on this so i have a couple of scenarios to lay out and get others feedback on. I have narrowed it down to the D5100 or the D7000.

1. Buy the D7000 body only and a 35mm f/1.8. Then pickup either the Nikon 10-24 later and the 70-300 VR after that.
2. Buy the D5100 Kit from Costco with the 18-55 and the 55-300 and pickup the 35mm f/1.8 at the same time from a real Photo store.
3. Buy the D5100 Body only with the 35mm f/1.8 and pickup the 10-24 and 70-300 later. Then get the D7000 replacement when it comes out.
4. Buy the D7000 body only and 18-55VR and the 35mm and pickup either the 55-200 or the 70-300 later.

I wont go into the differences between the D5100 and D7000 since that has been covered at length I like both, but like the D7000 better for all of the obvious reasons.

I want the 35mm prime to get good low light and to help learn composition better.

I realize that there are HUGE cost differences in there and it gets a little confusing.

I guess the gist of my question is do I:

1. Spend money up front on a body
2. Spend money up front on glass
3. Just get a camera that I can afford and start shooting

Thanks to everyone who responds.

TCav Feb 28, 2012 1:53 PM

None of the lenses you mentioned would work well for indoor sports (i.e.: hockey) so you'll have to any of your packages for that. Other than that, there's nothing in your requirements that's out of the ordinary.

Twice you mentioned the collection of lenses that covers 10-24, 35, and 70-300mm. Those are nice lenses, but there are a lot of holes in that line-up. Can you elaborate on why you chose those?

PhiDelt496 Feb 28, 2012 5:28 PM

Thanks for the response.

1. I realize that the 70-300 is not the best sports lens out there, but it isnt priced out of reach, and it is said to be a little faster on the autofocus than the 55-200 or 55-300. Again, it would be mostly playing around at sports photography, if i could find a way to get paid for it, or just get to the point where the lens itself is holding me back, I could justify spending $1500+ on a pro zoom. I am also looking at the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 as well.

2. These would be the immediate purchases. Not the end game. I would eventually fill in the gaps or upgrade, and adding a 50mm prime for a couple of hundred would cover alot of the gap sufficiently or pick up 24-70 like the new Tammy that is coming out. I am going to Hawaii in September, and figured that those would be a good set to take on a trip like that, plus its what I could afford between now and then. Without getting only kit lenses.

Also, isnt it funny that those are all on Ken Rockwell's DX Dream Team. :p

Ken has some really good info, but it is weird how every new camera is "Nikon's Best SLR Yet".

Please give any recommendations that you have, I am not set in stone on any of these ideas. Except for the D5100 or the D7000.

TCav Feb 28, 2012 8:09 PM

Actually, the 70-300 is pretty good for sports ... outdoor sports, that is. If price is a concern, an alternative to the 55-300 and 55-200 is the Tamron 70-300 SP VC USD. The Tamron 70-200/2.8 would be better for indoor sports, but it's not very quick. The Sigma and Nikon are better choices, but they're much more expensive.

You never mentioned anything that would lead me to believe you needed the 10-24. If you've got something in mind, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 is about as good for a lot less. (It has a lot of fans around here.)

The Nikon 16-85 is an excellent walk-around lens, followed by the Sigma 17-70 and 17-50/2.8 (the latter could fill in for some of your low-light shooting as well. 24-70 lenses are more limiting on APS-C bodies.

PhiDelt496 Feb 28, 2012 9:38 PM

TCav, I am really appreciating the info. I am sure that this is the 1000 time that you have posted the info. Say I have a $2k budget for the year, and spend $1100 on a D7000, what would be the lenses you would buy? Again, I am beginning and dont know yet what I really like to shoot. Also, if you would recommend flashes or filters beyond standard clear UV for protection, or any other accessory other than bags/memory card, please take that liberty.

Again, I have a lot to research after your last post.

TCav Feb 29, 2012 3:50 PM

$900 isn't a much for a good all-purpose collection of lenses. I think I'd go with the Nikon 18-105 and the Tamron 70-300 SP VC USD. The Nikon 18-105 has a lot of zoom range, but its only real vice is that it needs to be stopped down to f/5.6 or more to avoid vignetting. When shooting outdoors, that's generally not a problem. The Tamron 70-300 is not quite as good as the Nikon, but it's better than anything else that's cheaper than the Nikon. Even as your collection of lenses grows, you won't have any major reason for geting rid of either of these.

I confess to knowing nothing about flashes, so I'll leave that up to someone else. But if you do get a flash, you can substitute the Nikon 18-55 kit lens for the 18-105 to make room in your budget.

I don't generally recommend filters. ... Let me put that another way: I recommend that you not use filters. Even good (expensive) ones will degrade image quality sometimes, and cheap (bad) ones will do it worse and more often.

I recommend you get a couple of memory cards, a spare battery, a blower, a LensPen, and a microfiber lens cleaning cloth. (I have a lens cleaning cloth that's 18% gray. so I can use it to set a custom white ballance if I need to. I don't use flash, so I probably have occasion to do that more often that soemone that uses flash.)

BTW, Adorama (and others) sells refurbished Nikon lenses. That's a good way to save some money. Nikon has given them another going over, which is always nice to have, and the come with a warranty, though it's not as long as the one on new lenses.

PhiDelt496 Mar 2, 2012 11:51 AM

I appreciate the info there. So what would then be the better $2k option...

Most of the follow up questions that I have would be better placed in the Lens forum. I will post my questions over there.

TCav Mar 2, 2012 1:18 PM

For a strict budget of $2K, I think I'd stick with the Nikon 18-105 and the Tamron 70-300 SP VC USD. and go with a D5100 (even a refurbished one) to make room in your budget for a flash, since you seem to want one.

I don't like flash, so I wouldn't bother. I'd swap the 18-105 with something that has a larger aperture, like the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.0.

PhiDelt496 Mar 7, 2012 6:57 PM

So I have an opportunity to buy an excellent shape used D40 with 35 f/1.8 for $300. Would that be a good deal since want to buy the 35mm anyway? I look at it for a D40 for $100. I would still get the D7000 in a couple of months, but this way I could start buying gear and use the D40 for a second body plus it would be lighter and easier to take on long hiking trips.

jphess Mar 11, 2012 6:58 PM

I have a D40 and a D90. I really like both cameras, and use the D90 most of the time. But the D40 is a solid little camera. Of course it's only 6 MP, and it only shoots something like 4-5 FPS, maybe not even that fast. But the image quality is very good. I use it with my 35mm f/1.8 and occasionally am amazed at the quality of some of the images. It would be a good purchase, in my opinion, because it would give you a backup camera for those "just in case" situations. But you will probably quickly outgrow its capabilities.

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