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Old Feb 14, 2011, 4:01 PM   #1
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Default New to DSLR's - Confused, please help me decide - D3100 vs Canon Vs. Sony?

Hello All,

I am new to DSLR's but think that I am ready to make the jump from point and shoot to Digitial SLR. I will primarily be taking pictures of our new arrival, our one month old son. I would eventually like to take landscape / scenery picutures as well. I guess I'm looking for an all purpose beginner DSLR.

I did some research and thought that the Nikon D3100 was a good beginner camera for me, but after visiting some local stores, I've been advised to move up the chain and buy something that has more features that I won't "outgrow". Of course more features mean more expensive as well!!! I guess they were just trying to sell me their camera's. I only went to the local stores to get a feel and play with the camera's, I'll be buying the camera online for sure. After holding the cameras helped me decide that I prefer DSLRs over the new 4/3rds and the other NEX Sony camera.

Initially, I wanted to stay in the $600-ish budget, and that's still possible if I go with the Nikon D3100 or wait for the Canon Rebel T3 that's due out next month or a comperable Sony, I think the A33? I'm not sure why the upcoming T3 will be priced the same as the D3100?

Since I'd prefer to not spend $900 on a mid entry level camera kit with more features, what is the "best" $600ish camera kit? I'm still leaning towards the D3100 kit. Should I take the plunge and go with the D3100 or wait for the T3 next month?

Thanks in advance and sorry for writing a book,
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Old Feb 14, 2011, 8:10 PM   #2
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Any dSLR will give you great images, but there are some different features unique to the lower end products from any manufacturer. Canon has the best autofocus system for action shooting, but that probably won't come into play until your son gets a little older. Sony's dSLRs and SLTs in your price range have very good image quality, and since the image stabilization is in the body, not the lens (like with Canon and Nikon systems), all 20+ year old lenses for Minolta cameras will autofocus and be stabilized on Sony's current bodies. That means you can take advantage of the used lens market to get ahold of some lenses at reasonable prices, and they'll be stabilized. If your total system cost is a concern, that might be a substantial advantage.
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Old Feb 14, 2011, 8:22 PM   #3
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T3 will give you more lens options. There is more growth in lenses with the canon. The d3100 will give you 1080p HD.

The A33 is limiting if you want to shoot in the manual modes with the high fps. It is completely auto when shooting at 7fps, and a 5fps it does not always have focus. Only at 3fps do you get focus and manual control. But it is most likely the best HD camera of the 3. And the new lens option are not as good as canon, and nikon.
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 2:53 AM   #4
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Hi remember you are buying into a system with a DSLR so look at the lens options and where you would want to go. You mentioned the T3/1100d and the Nikon d3100, You may find that the T1i/500d will come down in price so keep an eye for it. I would do so more research and some more handling. Good luck
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 3:46 PM   #5
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Hello all,

Thanks for the replies. So I've been doing my research and have also upped my budget to mid-entry level ($1000) but am even more confused about what I should purchase now. Several DSLR camera owner co-workers suggested spending a little more to get a camera that I won't outgrow, thus the increase in budget. There are several cameras that I like, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Movie mode seems to be increasingly more important to me the more I learn about these cameras. Please help me narrow down my choices from your experiences / expertise.

Nikon D3100 - Still a leading favorite, good price point, semi AF in movie mode (I guess slow AF is more accurate), thinking about skipping the kit lens and going for the 18-200mm lens?

Nikon D90 - My co-worker LOVES his D90. The D90 seems like a great camera, but the only thing that gets me is that it is nearly 2 years old. I haven't read the reviews yet, so I don't know if it offers AF in movie mode, I've seen that it does have 720p video though. I've seen the D90 with kit lens on Amazon for $900 the last few days.

Canon T2i - Seems to have more features than the D3100, higher MP, but lacks AF in movie mode. T3i doesn't seem to be much of an upgrade over the T2i and so will skip the T3i.

Sony A33 or possibly A55 - I really like this camera and what it has to offer from reading up on reviews about it. The full time AF in movie mode has earned rave reviews from what I've read. Fully electronic view finder / live view mode seems to have more disadvantages (lower battery life, hard to follow fast moving / unpredictable objects, etc) but seems okay for someone like me who had never used an optical viewfinder on traditional DSLRs. As mentioned above, AF and image stabilization in the body.

Overall I'm open to any of these, I like the T2i but am worried that I will have problems focusing it during movie mode.

I wish Nikon would release details on the sucessor the the D5000 or had a new camera in the $900 range - D7000 is awesome, but way too expensive for me. I'm honestly thinking about the Sony A55 as well.

Please let me know what you think.

Thanks again for you help,
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 3:57 PM   #6
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Do look up Sony A580/560 too, along with Olympus EPL 2,and Pentax k-r
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 4:47 PM   #7
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If you've never used a dSLR before, it's not likely you'll outgrow even the most basic model, any time soon. However, a lens or lenses appropriate for your "landscape / scenery picutures" will represent a significant investment (especially if you go with the D3100) and I think your money would best be spent there.

I'd also like to add that, if you intend to record a lot of videos, you'd be better off with a video camera that can capture stills than a still camera that can record videos. dSLRs can record videos, but it's not for the faint of heart.

And while the Nikon 18-200 is a good lens for recording videos (if you must) it's not so good for recording still images. It's got a lot of distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration.
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 6:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
If you've never used a dSLR before, it's not likely you'll outgrow even the most basic model, any time soon. However, a lens or lenses appropriate for your "landscape / scenery picutures" will represent a significant investment (especially if you go with the D3100) and I think your money would best be spent there.

I'd also like to add that, if you intend to record a lot of videos, you'd be better off with a video camera that can capture stills than a still camera that can record videos. dSLRs can record videos, but it's not for the faint of heart.
Thanks TCav,

Yes, this will be my first dSLR. So youíre suggesting that the D3100 will be fine for my needs?

Also, you have a good point about shooting video with a dSLR. I guess if Iím serious about shooting video I should invest in a camcorder like you mentioned or just pick up one of those Flip HD mini camcorders for $200.

I really donít want a camcorder, Iím much more interested in taking nice stills of my son (and later scenery, etc) that I can print and frame or just save, look at and say, thatís a cool picture.

Thanks,
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 6:35 PM   #9
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Take a look at Pentax K-x and K-r too. I just bought a K-x with two lenses (18-55 and 55-300) which should keep me occupied for at least a year or two. I too moved up from a Canon P & S.

The K-x is a very nice little camera. I found the ergonomics of Pentax cameras better than those of Canon or Nikon. It is rated very high for low-light shots which should help you with your indoor shots.

With Pentax you also get option to use all the old cheap Pentax prime lenses. Also, it is the best bang for the buck in mid-entry level lineup. Check out some of the sample images on the internet, you can check out my flickr gallery too.
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 6:45 PM   #10
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Thanks Ronakg, I'll take a look at the Pentax cameras you mentioned!
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