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Pharlynx May 25, 2015 11:13 AM

DSLR Suggestions: Nikon D5200 or other?
Good Day!

I'm a Film and Photography student and I've been looking around and doing some research on different cameras. A couple that I came up with were the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5200. Currently I'm looking at the Nikon D5200 since its said to be geared more towards photography, and my major I'm pursuing is Photography.

My question is have I come to a good decision on a camera or are there better cameras out there for photography in the $500 price range? Should I skip over the Nikon D5200 and go straight to the D5300? Or does Canon work better for pictures.

Another thing is that I would like it to also have decent video, which the Nikon was said to have but the Canon had better Video Tracking. I would prefer to keep the camera a DSLR. Not too keen on investing in an ILC or Point and Shoot.

In case these help as well;

Photography I look at doing: Night Photography, Portraits, Flower Photography, Landscape.

Film I look at doing: Sketch Comedies, Horror, Documentary.

Sorry to Load you full of information and questions but its much appreciated.

TCav May 25, 2015 1:54 PM

First, Nikon uses Sony image sensors, which outperform the sensors that Canon makes for itself. (FYI, Pentax and Sony also use Sony sensors.)

Second, my preference is to look for the best, most affordable lenses for the intended subject, and just get the best, most affordable body for those lenses. So...
  • Night Photography - Large apertures (numerically low f-numbers.)
  • Portraits - Also large apertures, focal lengths from 57 mm (35mm equivalent focal length of 85 mm) to 90 mm (35mm equivalent of 135 mm.) (These are generally accepted as the best focal lengths for portraiture, as they provide a flattering perspective.)
  • Flower Photography - Close focusing, not really 'Macro', but close. Magnification ratios approaching 1:2.
  • Landscape - Wide angles of view/short focal lengths with low chromatic aberration, low vignetting, and low field curvature. If this also means Cityscapes, then low distortion also.
(BTW, if you haven't figured it out by now, you should know that you're going to spend a lot more on lenses than you will on the camera.)

Generally speaking, for large apertures, you will most likely stick to fixed focal length lenses (primes). Zoom lenses are generally limited to maximum apertures of f/2.8 or smaller, though there are exceptions. Sigma has a 17-70 mm f/2.8-4.0 that is reasonably priced, performs quite well, has its own AF motor, and is optically stabilized. It also has a magnification ratio of 1:2.8. That one lens could do the majority of what you say you need. If you need a lens with a larger aperture, there's the 18-35/1.8, which costs more than the 17-70 but less than a collection of primes covering the same range. (Sigma Lenses are available for either Canon or Nikon cameras.) If you don't want a zoom, there are primes with large apertures that may even provide better image quality, but a collection of primes to cover your goals will likely cost more.

You should know that the kit 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that often comes with a camera body, would not be very good for any of the types of photography you say you want to do, so you should look for a 'Body-only' purchasing option.

Unfortunately, we've just shot past your $500 goal. The Sigma 17-70 is `$400 all by itself, and the least expensive Nikon 'Body-only' dSLR is ~$650, but without the proper lens(es), a body with the kit lens wouldn't be much use to you.

Pharlynx May 25, 2015 2:22 PM

As far as the $500 goal that only covers the body and I've found a couple on sale online for about that price. I'm willing to spend more beyond that for the lens. So I'm primarily looking for the body at this point but as long as we're talking about lenses I suppose we can cover that as well since that would be on my to-get list.

So going with the Nikon D5200, the Sigma 17-70mm lens that would be an combination with that body for those fields if I'm understanding correctly, right?
I wouldn't really be looking into primes really as I'm still looking for the zoom in the lens and need something as kind of an "all around" with the Night, Flower, Portrait and Landscape

Thanks for your response and hope that I'm understanding things correctly since I am still young to this field.

TCav May 25, 2015 3:38 PM

Yes, that's what I meant. The kit lens would be a waste as it won't be very good at anything you want to do, and the Sigma 17-70 would be better for everything you want to do. Certainly, primes would be more specialized, would have larger apertures, and generally would perform better. Also, as a learning tool, primes make you more conscience of perspective and composition, which are invaluable skills.

And, yes, a Nikon body would give you lower noise and greater dynamic range than a Canon body would.

Pharlynx May 25, 2015 3:52 PM

Alright, Thanks for the reply it was certainly helpful!
Might look into primes sometime in the future when I have more money available.

SIMON40 May 25, 2015 4:46 PM

The AF system on the D5200 is also superior to the equivalent Canon body (for photography)...

[email protected] Jun 3, 2015 5:48 PM

If you're tight on cash consider buying a used d-slr. For instance, a used Canon 20D, which is a very nice camera, goes for about $120 used at This would leave you a little more cash for lenses. The sigma 17-70 goes for about $270 (excellent condition) at KEH. That combo would set you back about $410 with shipping and you'd have a semi pro body and a nice lens. Upgrade later.

I have the sigma 17-70 and it's one of my all time favorite lenses (as well as the Canon 70-200 f/4 lens). I can't afford pro lenses that cost over $1,000.

A nice lens for night photography is a rokinon 14mm prime, which you can get for about $280 used (you'll have to save up for that one).

I would start with a cheap used body (Canon 20D is a great cam) and some good used lenses.

Later on, when you get a little more cash, you can save up for a Canon 7d or something like that which are currently about $500-600 used. Great camera. Add on a Canon 70-200 F/4 and you have two nice lenses and a very, very good camera body. A used Canon 7d, sigma 17-70 and a Canon 70-200 F/4 would be about $1100 all in. Add a used Rokinon and your up to $1,400. See how expensive photography can get? I love it.

I like Canons because the lenses are less expensive than other models. I've used Nikons and they just don't do it for me.

I'm sure others will have their own ideas, so just another set of ideas to consider.

Personally I buy all my camera equipment used. usually half the price of new and 70-80 percent wear left in them. They get outdated before they wear out. There is TONS of used cameras on the market right now at rock bottom prices. So many others upgrade to the latest and greatest. Let them!

TCav Jun 4, 2015 7:53 AM

A used dSLR is a gamble. There's no way to know how much use and abuse it may have received. If you decide to go that way, consider the refurbished models that are available from multiple retailers. And if you go used, make sure it's from a seller that will give you a warranty (... as in, not a guarantee. getting your money back won't help with all the lenses and accessories you may have bought for the camera that failed. Get a commitment to have it fixed.)

Pharlynx Jun 4, 2015 10:06 AM

Thanks for all the advice guys! It really has helped. I already bought the Nikon D5200 and much prefer it to the Canon for everything but video. (Some relatives have the Canon T5i and I did comparisons.). I did get the kit lens since my parents were willing to put in some extra money and because some people recommended that I get it as a beginner. I also got a 50mm f/1.8 prime. Both lenses have been working great but I'm still saving up for the Sigma 17-70mm.

As far as used items go, I almost never buy them because I've gotten screwed over every time I've bought something used so I'm very hesitant on that option. I would like to save some money however I would put the extra money in just so I know I have something in good condition.

Again thanks for all the suggestions and advice, I'm sure to use it as I have several lenses on my wishlist now.

pcake Jun 5, 2015 3:27 AM

glad you ordered your camera :)

for future reference, and both offer used cameras with several month warranties, and you can also get a square trade if you go used at bh.

Tallery Oct 19, 2015 3:46 AM

I think you made a good choice in choosing the Nikon D5200 over Canon, through I personally think the D7100 is overall a bit better (I use it myself): But for what you wanted to use it for, I'm sure that the D5200 will be just as good.

jpauls Apr 22, 2016 11:10 PM

Hi there!

If you'll be asking suggestions on what camera to buy for your photography subject, I strongly recommend Canon brand of cameras. It is proven and tested by many people and many known photographers use this kind of brand. It may help if you check reviews at It is very ideal camera, believe me!

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