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Old Oct 13, 2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default First time DSLR buyer

I am thinking about buying a DSLR for the following purposes:
nature photography,
travel (get closer to images I'm trying to take pictures of)
maybe learn some special effects

I have a great point and shoot camera. I've never used a DSLR or something similar when using film cameras, so this is very new to me.

I have looked at the following cameras: Nikon D3100, Nikon D5100, Canon T2i and Canon T3i. I need some help to determine which camera I should look at. I would like to learn to do more with a DSLR but I'm being realistic about what may or may not occur after the purchase.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 12:12 AM   #2
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What camera do you use now? It sounds like you don't feel you have enough zoom in that camera. For nature and the to get closer to images I'm trying to take you'd need a pretty long lens. Most mature photographers use 300mm, 400mm and some 500mm which can be expensive, not to mention longer lenses are heavier and may require a good monopod or tripod. Have you looked at bridge type cameras and some of the mega zoom cameras out there? I shoot fire and rescue stuff and need a good zoom in order to get in close when I can't move closer and I find the Fuji HS20 works very well for me. Also used it a zoo and it gave me plenty of reach for the animals.

dave
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 5:22 AM   #3
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As Photo 5 suggests- to get closer to nature/wildlife via the DSLR route might prove expensive due to the lens/lenses required. A bridge camera might be a sensible way to start "learning the ropes",as the handling and the modes on offer are very similar to a DSLR whilst offering all the zoom range you're likely to ever need in one package.
Current contenders include the Panasonic DMC-FZ150,Fuji's HS20,Canon's SX40is and Nikon's P500- all offering huge zooms,HD video and all sorts of photography tricks up their sleeves.
However,if the DSLR route is your preferred choice(and it will potentially yield superior image quality)then all of the cameras you mentioned would suffice- stick a Tamron 18-270mm VR lens on the end and you'll have a pretty versatile little camera.
I personally would go with the Canon,but hey- that's just me(a Canon user..!)
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 7:35 AM   #4
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I actually have two cameras: a Panasonic DMC-ZS1 and a Canon Powershot S3 IS. After I first posted my questions, I did think about the possibility of putting a lens on the Canon. I will check out the cameras you mentioned since I've never heard the term "bridge" camera. Mostly, as I am taking a trip to NY, I was hoping to have something that I could take close up shots of the Statue of Liberty, etc. I just didn't think the cameras I currently own would get me the types of shots I want.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 3:05 PM   #5
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The DMC-ZS1 was a useful walkabout pocketable camera,though I always felt could only yield decent results in perfect lighting at the lowest iso setting- and the lack of manual modes I would find frustrating and you certainly won't learn anything with it.
The Canon S3 was a nice little camera(I had 2 of them..!),though again,forget anything past iso 200- and the lens suffered with chronic fringing- though hard not to like it as it was/is a fast little performer with 100% accurate focusing.
Here's a link to the latest "Bridges"...
http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/equ...-the-year.html
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Old Oct 16, 2011, 6:43 AM   #6
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From the ops post they will also have to budget for a lens to do the nature work. what is your budget
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 8:13 AM   #7
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I can afford to buy something in the 600-800 range - camera with whatever lens package they come with at that price. I know as I learn more I will want different lens and that isn't a problem.

I have, however, been looking at the Canon SX40IS and the Nikon P500. I think I'm leaning towards the Canon. Maybe this is what I need to look at currently - less of a learning curve before my trip.

Last edited by cshar; Oct 17, 2011 at 8:20 AM.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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Remember,if your going to be shooting a great deal at the "long end" of the zoom range- see which fares best in terms of focus speed and accuracy and a fast "frames per second" bust mode- a must if your trying to capture nature shots of shy,twitchy wildlife.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 1:02 PM   #9
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If you go the DSLR route then remember that you are buying into a system, so see what lenses are there for you make sure it feels right dont put up with i will get used to it you are spending a lot money so it has to be right for you
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 6:12 PM   #10
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Wow....lots of information to look at and try and decide. I think I am leaning towards a bridge camera, though, since I don't feel I have the time to learn how to use a DSLR. Towards that thought, I was leaning towards the Canon SX40 because of these things I've read: better movie mode, better image stabilization. I will have to go back and find the reviews and see which one rates better pictures when zoom is fully extended. I thought Canon had the edge but now I don't remember.

I really would like to hear from people that have experience with either of the Canon SX40 or the Nikon P500.

Also, on purchasing a DSLR, for someone that has no experience using one is it possible to get one and be able to take some great photos within a couple of weeks, only having a few hours per week to spend practicing? I hate to get to NYC and not be able to get good pictures because I have a camera that is too sophisticated for my experience.

Thanks all for your input and advice!
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