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mountaingirl Feb 14, 2012 7:29 AM

please help a rookie
Hi all! Please help me with your valuable inputs to close down on the right camera.

I am one of those people whose hands shake at the mention of a camera. I always choose the easy shoot mode camera. But now, I want to buy a DSLR.

Reason: want nicer, clearer pictures that I may use in webpages/ brochures/ presentation. Of course, it's also for the 'show' value to own a DSLR :D

What am I going to shoot? - mountains (panorama), people, children begging to take pictures basically nature. Yes, most of it will be in low light. THAT is my worry as when I choose any other options other than easy night mode cuz my hands shake and so I always end up getting hazy/ blurred pictures :(

Camera I am thinking of: Yes I will only buy a Canon or a Nikon - no other company please.
I am looking at Nikon D3100, D5100 and Canon 550D, 600D. I kind of like D5100 & 600D but D5100 is much cheaper (body).

I intend to buy Tamaron lenses - yes I eventually hope to learn photography at some point (provided some instructore can take a student with shaky hands :sport-smiley-018:) Can you also advise about the lens type. I looked at Tamaron website and I am not so sure now. I would be grateful for any advise you can give me. Thank you in advance!

PS: the weight of the camera is also a factor for me :)

TCav Feb 14, 2012 9:21 AM

1. For webpages, and to a lesser extend, presentations, greater quality can be a burden instead of an advantage. Web graphics don't need to be any better than the resolution of a conventional screen, and using higher resolution images can cause webpages to load very slowly. Also, complex, high resolution, photorealistic presentation graphics can make page transitions painfully slow, and file sizes huge.

2. Since camera shake seems to be a primary concern, and since you've narrowed your choices to Canon and Nikon, you should probably only consider stabilized lenses. For stabilized lenses suitable for use in low light, Sigma has a better selection of higher quality lenses than Tamron, and they're lenses are less expensive than the OEM choices.

3. I'd skip the Nikon D3100 and limit my choices to the other bodies you're considering. If you have a good camera store in your vicinity, I suggest you visit it and see how the D5100, 550D and 600D feel in your hands. If you can't comfortably hold the camera, if you can't find the controls and commands when you need them, you'll miss shots and be disappointed with the camera. And if you find a body you like at that camera store, BUY IT THERE!

mountaingirl Feb 14, 2012 9:38 AM

Hi TCav! Thank you for your insight.

Just wanted to tell you that even though I don't own a camera but I have taken pictures with others camera's (I work as a travel guide). I am OK with taking pictures with the easyshoot mode but when I switch to some other mode e.g., night mode/ some other function that requires a steadyhand - then I get scared.

I know that I may sound like a really stupid girl but that is how it is. I know that I should read and try to get some experience before spending a fortune (atleast for me it is). Do you think that a tripod is a good solution?

I did found the Nikon 3100 easier than the 550D. Haven't seen a 600D. The 5100 seems more compact and lighter than 3100.

mountaingirl Feb 14, 2012 9:45 AM

BTW can you suggest a good lens as well please? as I have mentioned before, I will be doing a wide-angled / panoramic shots mostly (Himalayas u know). Also of people (in action and not posing for the camera). I also take a lot of pictures from a moving jeep.

TCav Feb 14, 2012 10:07 AM

There are techniques you can learn that can reduce camera shake, and even the use of a stabilized system will benefit from those techniques, but a stabilized system is always a better opton than an unstabilized system. If you've got stabilization, you can turn it off; if you don't have it, you can't turn it on.

Since I suspect that a lot of your photos would be from different places during a single outing, I think a tripod or monopod would be more of an encumberance than a benefit.

The image quality if the D3100 is inferior to that of the others, especially in low light.


Originally Posted by mountaingirl (Post 1284696)
The 5100 seems more compact and lighter than 3100.

Actually, the D3100 is smaller and lighter than the D5100. If the D5100 seems easier for you to handle, then I definitely think that's the one you should get.

SIMON40 Feb 14, 2012 10:12 AM

I think a wise and inexpensive investment would be a decent photography "how to.." book.
If you're a point and shoot type of person- purchasing a DSLR won't necessarily yield better results- unless you know what you're doing with it..!!
Finding out when it is better to use aperture or shutter priority modes- or program or full manual,learning about different types of metering- and when and how to use it. When and where to use different types of focus points/focus modes/burst modes etc..
All subjects require different settings- and all are variable given ever changing conditions and lighting...etc...
In other words- a DSLR's results is very much dependant on the user- all are capable of good results in the right hands- and the best of cameras are of no use in the wrong ones..!

TCav Feb 14, 2012 10:15 AM

The Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM is a good stabilized lens with a broad zoom range, and it's faster and cheaper than Canon's and Nikon's own stabilized lenses in that range. Another good choice is the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM; it's faster, but doesn't have quite the zoom range. Even the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM is faster than Canon's and Nikon's kit lenses, and it's better than Nikon's.

KCook Feb 14, 2012 11:40 AM


I also take a lot of pictures from a moving jeep.
For quick one-handed snapshots I prefer the Canon body design. But the D5100 features would be very nice for setups where you can take your time to fuss with tripods, etc.

Kelly Cook

mountaingirl Feb 24, 2012 1:53 AM

Thanks guys (and girls) for the info. SIMON40 - I know I need to really know everything (start with basic) about the camera - I am a complete dud!
TCav thanx for the advice about the lens. I am set on buying the D5100 (i know techincally in papers, it is heavier than 3100 :-) ) The other lenses are way out of my budget so I am going to probably stick with the kit lens¤tProductTab=2&CategoryID=gp11zkyo
as it is cheaper. I guess it will take me another year to to save for the other lens. I am a poor girl but have been saving a small amount each month for this luxury.

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