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Old Dec 29, 2011, 4:21 AM   #1
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Default Semi Pro/Pro DSLR with kit lens or Entry Level with 1 or 2 good quailty lenses??

Hey everyone. I've been researching my options, but the more I look the more I change my mind back and forward on what to upgrade to.

The back story:
I'm currently using an Olympus E-420, but I'm ready for an upgrade to a camera with a bigger sensor and better low light performance. The E-420 has been a great first DSLR and I learned a lot with it, but it is terrible in low like conditions, and I feel like I'm starting to out grow it.

I shoot mostly wide angle lanscapes and rarely switch to my zoom lens. Like everyone, I'm striving to get those super sharp landscape shots. I also would like to start shooting at night. The setup I have now is not ideal for either situation. That being said I'm looking to upgrade. I've got about a $1500ish budget and have been looking into three different cameras; canon 60D or 7d, and the Nikon d7000.

The question:
It dawned on me today though, if I go with one of the above cameras, to stay within budget, I'd be stuck with the kit lens. So my question is, in your opinion, would it be better to buy one of these cameras and use the kit lens, or would it be better to buy an entry level body Rebel series or entry level Nikon body and buy good f2 or f2.8 wide angle glass with the left over cash? Keep in mind not having a zoom lens is not a big deal as 95% of my shots now are at 14mm the widest my lens will go.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 4:47 AM   #2
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Go lens first, body changes all the time.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 5:33 AM   #3
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You might want to add the Nikon 5100 to your list of cameras under consideration. It utilizes the same sensor as the D7000. Low light performance will be pretty much the same. (Which is pretty darned impressive) What you're not getting is the AF system of the D7000 which shouldn't impact your landscape photography as the benefit would primarily be seen in fast action photography. The D5100 body sells for around $700.

A good wide angle fast lens to consider is the 11-16mm F2.8 Tokina which sells for $625.00 or the 10-20mm F2.8 Sigma.

I've been a long time user of the Olympus E-30 + 12-60mm SWD lens for landscape/seascape photography and recently upgraded to the D7000 + 11-16mm Tokina. I find the D7000 and 11-16mm Tokina a very good upgrade.

I should point out that the reason I chose the D7000 was due to the more sophisticated AF system primarily, because I like to shoot wildlife and birds in flight.

So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.

Last edited by zig-123; Dec 29, 2011 at 6:03 AM.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 7:18 AM   #4
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You may also want to consider going with a Nikon USA Factory Refurbished camera to save a few bucks. Nikon only has a 90 day warranty on them (or, at least that's the way they used to work it, as I haven't bought one in a long time). But, some vendors extend it to a year via a store warranty.

For example, I noticed that http://www.ritzcamera.com has the D7000 (body only) for $999.99 right now including a 1 year warranty. They also have the D5100 with a kit lens for $649.99


That's less than Nikon sells them for directly.


It looks like http://www.adorama.com and http://www.bhphotovideo.com also have them in stock that way (Nikon USA factory refurbished). But, http://www.ritzcamera.com has the best price I've seen for them.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 8:11 AM   #5
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In situations like this, my first inclination is to look for lenses that will do what you want, and then look for a body that they'll work on.

Two of the best lenses that I think will work for you are the Sigma 10-20/3.5 and the (unstabilized) Tamron 17-50/2.8. Both of these lenses are, if not the best, then among the best for your needs, and since they're both from third party lens manufacturers, are available for a variety of brands of cameras.

But neither of these lenses are stabilized, so you would benefit form mounting them on a stabilized body. The Nikon D7000 has an excellent sensor, but it's not stabilized. The same sensor is in the Pentax K-5 and Sony's A55, A35 and A580, all of which are stabilized and provide excellent image quality, comparable to the D7000.

I suggest you expand the list of cameras you're considering to include one or more of these.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Dec 29, 2011 at 8:57 AM.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 9:09 AM   #6
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The Pentax K-5 is also known for it's rugged magnesium body shell, many weather seals and stainless steel chassis....also as TCav has said it uses the same Sony sensor as the Nikon D7000.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 9:10 AM   #7
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I shoot handheld with my Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 on my non-IBIS Canon a lot. But hardly ever have a problem with camera shake. Shake is just not much of a factor in WA photography.


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Old Dec 29, 2011, 9:16 AM   #8
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have you any other lenses for your olympus system. if so i would stick with another olympus body like an E5
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 9:43 AM   #9
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I'm probably a bit biased since I currently shoot with a Sony A700 (as I'm still debating on the best upgrade path for it -- trying to decide if I want to go with one of the newer 24MP models or not).

But, if you want to look at something other than the Nikon models, I'd also look at the Sony A580, as Sony has the body only on sale for $749 right now. See more about it here:


It can use any Minolta AF lens ever made, as well as most third party lenses using a Minolta AF mount (a.k.a., Maxxum, Dynax, A mount), and they'd all be stabilized on this body.

For example, I don't even own any Sony lenses for use with my Sony A700. The closet thing I've got to a Sony branded lens is a KM 18-70mm kit lens I got with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (that Sony also sold for a while after rebranding it when they bought Konica Minolta's camera related assets).

Instead, I've got a variety of other lenses I use with my Sony A700, including a Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5, Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8, Tamron 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6, Minolta 28mm f/2, Minolta 50mm f/1.7, Minolta 100mm f/2, Minolta 135mm f/2.8, Minolta 35-70mm f/4 Macro, Minolta 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, and even an inexpensive Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4 AF lens; and they all Autofocus and are all Stabilized on a Sony dSLR.

You'll find lots of Autofocus lens choices for it, both new and used. Minolta started making Autofocus lenses for this lens mount in 1985, beginning with the Maxxum 7000 and Maxxum 9000, and a lot of AF lenses have been produced by third party manufacturers for Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha mount over the years, too.

A good place to read user reviews of lenses posted by Sony dSLR owners is Dyxum.com. If you click on a given lens model, you'll see lens specifications, as well as links to user reviews and sample images when any have been posted there.

Fixed Focal Length Lenses (primes)

Macro Lenses

Zoom Lenses

Like the Nikon D5100, D7000 and Pentax K-5, the Sony A580 uses a Sony 16MP CMOS Sensor, which is probably the best APS-C size sensor on the market right now for noise levels, color depth and dynamic range.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 10:40 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies. Now I have even more research to do, but it looks like I should be going for good glass first over the camera body. Also thanks for the lens recommendations. That part should be easy now. The hard part will be matching a body to it.
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