Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Feb 1, 2009, 12:03 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 21
Default

After reading these links:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm

I'm almost convinced to get the Nikon D40 (The price is a huge plus. I'm not a professional photographer, I just wanna learn new things and buy my first dSLR). The thing holding me back is that the D60 comes with a VR lens. Will that really make a huge difference?

My other concern is if I should really get a dSLR, or just get a "prosumer" camera, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28, or the Canon Powershot S5. I don't know anything about manual operation in cameras (though I can learn!) so for the first few times, I'd be using the auto settings. Which I guess can also give me some nicer looking pictures?

I dunno, I want a huge leap in quality over the Sony DSC-W55 point and shoot, but I'm also on a budget, which is why I'm not really sure what to do.
johncd is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Feb 1, 2009, 5:51 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

Your camera choice depends a lot on what you want to shoot. Both the Nikon D40 and the D60 are not very good at sports/action/wildlife because of an autofocus system that isn't up to the task.

Those Nikons also don't have internal autofocus motors, so only lenses that have their own motors will autofocus on the D40/D60. That rules out about half of Nikon's own lenses (including some of their best) and most third party lenses as well. So the selection of lenses is small and can be expensive.

Those two limitations really rule out the D40 and D60 for most people.

In addition, since you mentioned 'VR' ... Vibration Reduction is Nikon's name for optical image stabilization. Image stabilization prevents motion blur due to camera shake that can happen at shutter speeds that are too low for you and the lens you're using. If you can hold the camera steady and will only use short lenses and fast shutter speeds, then image stabilization isn't important. But if you want to use long lenses (for sports/action/wildlife shooting) or slower shutter speeds (for available light shooting) or you can't hold the camera steady, you should seriously consider image stabilization.

Canon and Nikon both use optical image stabilization in some of their lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive, and the selection of stabilized OEM lenses is small, the selection of stabilized third party lenses is miniscule, and the selection of stabilized used lenses is almost nonexistent.

Pentax, Sony and most Olympus dSLRs, on the other hand, use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, so any OEM, third party or used lens will be stabilized.

I would also be remiss if I didn't recommend that you take a look at our host's Best Cameras List.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 9:16 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,052
Default

Vibration control will be really important to some people, and not at all important for others. As TCav explained, the only thing vibration control does is try to deal with camera shake (a human's ability to hold a camera still). A person who shooting most of the time from a tripod won't care about it. If you take pictures outside in bright light, you might not care (though camera shake is accentuated by longer lenses, so if you use lenses longer than 200 mm, you'll probably want it). People who would benefit from VR lenses are those who are shooting in museums etc. where the light is poor and you can't use a flash and (as pointed out) birders who are using very long lenses. The kit lens isn't a long lens - it's a walk-about lens. While VR is nice for everyone, having it on the kit lens may or may not be useful. It will NOT stop motion blur - it won't give you good pictures if you are trying to capture fast moving children in low light. You'll end up with a sharp chair and a blur where the child had been.

While TCav is correct about the lens selection with the d40 and d60, I sometimes think it's overemphasized. Again, it depends on the person - if you are only looking for a step up from a p&s, then its entirely possible that you'll find the selection of lenses available that will auto focus on these cameras sufficient, and you might never feel the need for one that isn't available for it. You really should take a look at which lenses you are going to want and whether they will work. Or perhaps you don't mind manual focus (something that takes practice and is definitely NOT for everyone).

If you want to play the "what-if" game - what if you buy the d40 and then really want to get into photography, much more than just taking nice pictures. Then you can use the d40 for a year or two, explore all that it can do, and learn where you think it might be lacking. Then you'll have a much better idea what you need, and can upgrade to a better camera and you still will have the lenses that you originally bought. So if the lens selection that's available is what you want for the near future, why not? It's a very nice camera, has a sensor I really like (I still have the Pentax K100, which uses the same sensor) and can use it to learn about photography, as much as you want to (but don't necessarily have to as the auto settings are a good place to start).
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 9:39 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 21
Default

I'm not really getting into photography professionally. I mean, I wanna shoot great pictures, and maybe learn how to correctly use the manual settings.

For the lenses, I just planned on getting the kit lens and that's it, at least for now, since I'm on a budget. Which is why I'm thinking if maybe one of the superzoom/prosumer cameras would maybe be better for me?

I do like the idea of good pictures in low lighting, though. I love thos indoors pictures where you don't even have to use flash. And if for everyday use (I don't really shoot sports, or action...well sure, when I go to NYC this Feb. I'll probably shoot while there's cars moving, I guess that counts), so maybe one of those is good for me? And don't really have a tripod.

I dunno. For a little while I was sure on getting the D40. Now I'm veeery confused. Not sure what I need, and if I really need a dSLR, or should just settle with a superzoom.
johncd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 10:57 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

Good Morning and welcome to photography.... As TCav and mtngal pointed out, you really did not indicate if there is anything special your wanting to photograph - sports, landscapes, family, or just a little bit of everything as well as learning about photography.

If its a little bit of anything and everything, I would venture that the "prosumer" camera would probably fit your needs very well, for probably a wide variety of reasons.

First its cheaper - it would save $100 to $150 (the FZ28 over the D40) - in that budget is an issue (as with all of us).
It would eliminate the need for additional lenses (and additional expenses) since the prosumer has a fixed lens, but covers a wide focal range (wide angle to telephoto).
They all offer - both fully automatic through manual settings, so with a prosumer you can expirement with out a lot of additional cost.

With the Nikons you have a limited set of lenses, and adding lenses would add expense that may not be fully realized if you upgrade in the future. So you might be better off just getting a point solution like a prosumer. As you develop your photography interests and skills, they will lead you to your next solution (and purchase).

None of the cameras you listed are really poor choices. They are all very capable of taking great pictures, and that takes someone to push the shutter. So its a camera that will be used, that would be the best choice.

The reviews and postings show that both the Panasonic and Canon are well regarded, and take very good pictures. I have a Pentax dSLR with a number of lenses - I like wide angle landscapes. However, it is difficult to carry on business trips - especially places that I have to go. I picked up a Panasonic suited to wide angle, small, light, very portable and it takes great pictures. It will work out since I just found out I will be traveling nearly non stop for the next couple of months.

So it comes down to the one that you like, that fits your hands, that you would like to use and enjoy. Also, cameras have evolved to the point that technology updates very quickly. Whatever you buy will be outdated in a few months, however that does NOT mean that it is not VERY useable. Go see the cameras if you can. Hold them and try them out. Make a selection, and acquire the unit. (Then STOP reading about new cameras!!!!) Read the manual, and start taking pictures. Get familiar with the unit and then start expirementing. Maybe start reading the board here at Steve's place for your camera and asking questions on how to do this or that. Read other postings and learn about taking better pictures with your camera. .... And most importantly - enjoy taking pictures!
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 5:26 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 21
Default

Stuff I normally shoot is just family gatherings. And indoors. But I also travel a couple of times a year to the beach, or to places like New York City, etc. And I take pictures there, too.

I don't really think I need one of those telephoto lenses that (I assume) can shoot things that are far, far away, although I guess I wouldn't know until I've finally used one for stuff like that. In fact, I barely use the zoom in my DSC-W55 anyway.

I don't know.. my girlfriend's telling me that if I get a prosumer I'll regret it in a couple of years, since I won't be able to change lenses and whatnot. That I should just get a dSLR -- any dSLR -- so I can at least be upgrading the lenses are the years go by.

Which sounds pretty good to me, yeah, but there's still a little doubt about getting the D40.

I thought about the Canon XS, too. Not sure what downsides that one has?

I mean, the D40 would be ideal because of its price, and it comes with a pretty decent lens, but I guess what would REALLY suit me is the D80, or the XS or XSi, because of the lens limitations in the D40.

But again, I'm not a pro. I like taking pictures and learning, but I have no ambitions of becoming a professional photographer, so maybe those lenses available for the D40 would be good enough for me?

I appreciate the help you guys are giving me.
johncd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 9:24 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

johncd wrote:
Quote:
I don't know.. my girlfriend's telling me that if I get a prosumer I'll regret it in a couple of years ...
So, in a couple of years, you can replace it with a dSLR when you've got a better idea of what you want to shoot how you want to shoot it.

For family and travel photography, the kit lens will work well. For indoor, you'll either need a flash or a large aperture lens and a stabilized system to support the slower shutter speeds. You can go with a Nikon D40 ($450)and an external flash (~$200)or you might consider a Sony A200(with sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body) ($500)plus a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lens (<$100 on eBay and elsewhere.)

Go to a good camera store and try them out.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2009, 11:35 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 21
Default

Will my photos suffer because of the fact that the kit lens doesn't have VR?

Maybe I should consider one of the Canon Rebels?
johncd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 2, 2009, 5:05 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
rjseeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Taylor Mill, Kentucky
Posts: 2,398
Default

Really, any of the entry level DSLR's will yield very good image quality, and the photographer will be the limiting factor. I wouldn't get too hung up on the "lack" of lenses that you will keep hearing about the D40/40X/60. The truth is, there are over 50 lenses that will AF, and more are being added every year. The lenses available will cover every shooting situation imaginable. And most of the best lenses will function with the camera, although they are usually quite expensive. The poorer AF system is much more of a limiting factor than the selection of lenses.

Vr is a nice tool to have, and it certainly won't hurt your images. However, for most kit lenses (which are in the 18-55, or 18-70 range), vr won't help that much. It also doesn't help that much when shooting moving objects. VR/IS is a bit more important when shooting longer focal length.

Your best bet is to go out and try out each camera, see how it feels. It it doesn't feel right, you won't take it with you and use it defeating the purpose.
rjseeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 2, 2009, 8:59 AM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 21
Default

So I wouldn't see a big advantage with this lens http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...G_VR_AF_S.html over this one http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._6G_ED_II.html ?

Still, I want great quality, so if you guys tell me that in the long run for a non-professional (but quite picky with the details!) guy, a D80 or even an XS/XSi would be better and more satisfying, I'd definitely consider it, since yeah budget is important, but I think me being satisfied with the product is more important.

Also, just curious, but are pictures with dSLRs like the D80, etc. on auto, better than an average DSC-W55 P&S on auto mode? Not that I'll be using auto much, but it's helpful for every now and then.
johncd is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:15 PM.