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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:24 AM   #1
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Default Entry-level DSLR, the Canon/Nikon/Pentax debate

hey all, I'm hoping that you all can help me decide on an entry-level DSLR to buy.
I have been passionate about photography since high school, which means I have been pining for a DSLR for for probably around 8 years. While money is still tight, I finally feel like I can splurge a little.

So, here are the DSLRs I'm currently considering:

Nikon d40, or a similar model, maybe d3000, d5000 or d90
Canon Rebel (of course, the newer rebels are more attractive options, but also more $$)
Pentax k-x

Surprisingly (I say 'surprisingly' because I know that lots of people are loyal to Canon & Nikon, but try to put these biases aside), I'm leaning toward the Pentax, and not only because it's in my price range (and a value at that) but also because I found that it is rated significantly higher across many websites than the Nikon and Canon models that I'm considering, and has some pretty impressive features. Plus, I can spend the money I'd be saving on the 2-lens kit, with the standard 18-55mm and a zoom lens as well.

I also don't know a lot about available lenses or lens compatibility for the different camera brands, so that could factor into my decision as well...if anyone has a good, comprehensive website about lenses that would be awesome.

Any advice?

Last edited by sofiamaria; Apr 25, 2010 at 9:32 AM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:10 AM   #2
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I shoot the canon T1i personally and the pentax k-x on occasions and both are excellent camera. Both are excellent low light camera, the pentax has a slight edge on the canon on noise control. Canon has a lead when the light drop way down that it can still get a accurate AF lock.

The D90 is nicer then the T1i and k-x with all it's features. But since you are new into dslr. I would save the money from the d90 and get another lens. Also since we do not know what you like to shoot, I would avoid the d5000 and d3000. If you want more prime lens option. They are limiting and can get expensive if you want them to Autofocus.

Canon will give you the most lens options out there followed by nikon. Pentax has some good lenses, but not at the level of canon. But there are 3rd party option with all 3 brands.

Knowing what you like to shoot, would really help narrow the field. Also have you tried out the cameras you listed at the store. Some may be on paper very appealing, but the ergo and set up may not appeal to you in reality.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:12 AM   #3
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sofiamaria-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

The generally explored and discussed entry level DSLR cameras are:

The Canon T-1/T-2
The Nikon D-3000/D-5000
The Pentax Kx
The Olympus E-600/E-620
The Sony A-230

Everyone seems to have their favorites, that is to be expected. However, when the Pentax Kx model began racking up professional review and professional review that was positive and filled with praise, everyone took notice.

You will notice that I did not say that the Pentax Kx was the "best." It is a very good camera. However, if you are a sports shooter, the Canon T-1 and T-2 have faster focusing and a wider lens selection.

There are some DSLR cameras that have either "fallen off" or are scheduled for replacement in the next months. The Canon XSi has been upstaged by the T-1 and T-2 models. Likewise the Pentax K-200 and the Km models have been upstaged by the newer Kx model. The Sony A-230 replaced the Sony A-200 and the A-230 will also be replaced perhaps sometime this year.

So a lot about DSLR camera choice pivots around the following:

(1) The kind of photo are taking or want to take in the future.
(2) Your proposed budget.
(3) How the DSLR camera really feels in hand, this is really important.
(4) If desire a DSLR body and jsut the kit lens, or if you are looking for a two lens kit.
(5) Your selection of camera size, weight, and available accessories like a battery grip.

There are probably more pivotal choice but those are the ones that come to mind as I write this post. So, Sofiamaria, tell us what you need in terms of the 5 items listed above. That information will provide the starting position for this discussion.

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Old Apr 25, 2010, 12:14 PM   #4
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My collegues touched on it, but my first question is always "What do you want to shoot?"

While all the cameras you're considering are very good, different brands are better at some things than other brands are, and some brands have better lenses for certain things than other brands do.

When someone asks me which camera they should get, I want to know what they want to shoot so I can find a lens that will do it, and then I suggest a camera that lens can work with. After all, the camera isn't nearly as important as the lens.

So, what do you want to shoot?
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 5:11 PM   #5
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I like to shoot all sorts of stuff, to be honest. I really like macro, but I know that I would need a macro lens to do that...right?

I'd say that I shoot mostly landscapes and portraits...but I would like to be able to shoot movement as well...I recently used a friend's Nikon D3000 to shoot a soccer match and all the photos were blurry.

Maybe linking you to my flickr would give you an idea?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sofiamaria/
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 5:55 PM   #6
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First, for macrophotography, hand held, a stabilized platform is a good idea, especially since you don't seem to be doing any 1:1 macro shooting. Canon only has one optically stabilized macro lens, and Nikon only has two. Since Pentax and Sony use sensor shift image stabilization, all lenses are stabilized, so the OEM macro lenses plus all the third party macro lenses would be stabilized, including all the excellent lenses available on the used market. Also, a good macro lens could do double duty as a portrait lens.

Second, the Nikon D40/D60/D3000/D5000 are not very good at sports/action. Canon would be best, and the Nikon D90 would do an excellent job , but Pentax and Sony dSLRs could do reasonably well.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:00 PM   #7
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are you into true 1:1 marco are just hand held stuff.

If you are into just hand held marco. The pentax k-x would be a excellent option, not just in cost but as t-cav said the IS of the camera will help out. IS is not as important as you may think, but it is an advantage. Also you can get a relatively inexpensive tamron 70-300 LD DI II macro lens, and it will give you pretty nice macro results. But if you are into true macro, tamron also has a not to expensive 60mm macro lens also. It will let you shoot true macro off a tripod.


With sport, the k-x is not as good as the canon t1i with the AF system. As canon is the best in the entry level market. Though I do not shoot sports often, I shoot dance off and on, and the K-x does a respectable job in daylight action.

Here are 2 shots, the first one was with a canon and macro lens non IS, the second was on an olympus with IS and macro lens. Both hand held.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Apr 25, 2010 at 9:17 PM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:16 PM   #8
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here are the crop in image,
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 4:22 AM   #9
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The Tamron 70-300 Di LD that shoturtle mentioned would also not be a bad lens for shooting sports/action, and it would be stabilized on a Pentax or Sony.
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
The Tamron 70-300 Di LD that shoturtle mentioned would also not be a bad lens for shooting sports/action, and it would be stabilized on a Pentax or Sony.
It wouldn't be very good as it is slow to focus. You're going to make sacrifices in sub $200 telephoto lenses. Usually focus speed is one of those sacrifices.

Everything is relative though. It's probably as good as any sub $200 300mm lens. But whether it is "good enough" is another matter and will vary by individual.
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