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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1
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Default Entry DSLR, Mainly family pics

Hey everyone. I'm new to this forum but it looks like a great place to get information about something that I know nothing about.

We have a 3 month old little girl and we just had our first photo session about a month ago at the local walmart photo studio. The pictures did not turn out very well and we got gouged to the tune of $375! Anyway, we are wanting to get a DSLR camera that will allow us to take high quality family photos and the occasional portrait type photo of our daughter. We have been taking all of her pictures on my Iphone and the quality in low light is terrible, plus the flash gives her "glowing" eyes every time.

What I'm really looking for is an entry level camera that can accomplish the things listed above for the lowest price possible. I'd be willing to pay a little more if it has video capabilities also, but it is not necessary. I am not necessarily set on getting a 2011 model, so if there are models from the past couple years that fit the bill (ebay is an option) I would be willing to consider them also.

In the few hours of research I've done I've seen a few cameras that keep coming up: Nikon D3100, Canon EOS T3 (is a T1 just as good for my needs?), Sony Alpha A230. I'm in no way set on one of these, so any suggestions would be very welcome. Hopefully we'll get some good Christmas pictures of our new little girl! Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 2:46 PM   #2
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$375 wow...... for that you can buy at least half of a good D-SLR and lens. I was looking for a new D-SLR for my needs (more on the pro advanced level) so I can not comment much. I ended up with a Pentax K-5. But through the news photography circles I have been hearing good things about both the Canon T2i and T3i as a good non sports use camera. I have not had a chance to test either of them but those who have talked about them seem really happy with them. For some additional good info on these cameras head over to bhphotovideo.com and check out the specs etc.

dave
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 2:57 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome first you need to decide your level of photography, as a good bridge may suit your needs better. If you have made your mind up on a DSLR then you need to look at your budget. Next remember when you buy a DSLR you are buying into a system so make sure it had the right lenses for you. Next go get a short list and try them if it feels right and it's easy for you to use then that goes along way, don't settle for I will get used to it. Good luck
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 3:16 PM   #4
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I think any entry level dSLR will do what you want. I think what you need are inexpensive, large aperture lenses. Canon has a nice 50mm f/1.8, but that's it. Nikon has a nice 50/1.8 and a nice 35/1.8, but the entry level Nikon dSLRs don't have their own AF motors, so you'll need to spend extra on the lenses that have motors. Sony has a nice 50/1.8 and a nice 35/1.8, but the Sony A230 you mentioned is long gone. You should look at the Sony A390 with 18-55 kit lens ($500), the A33 body ($500), or the A35 with 18-55 kit lens ($650). Then you can add the 50/1.8 ($150) and possibly the 35/1.8 ($200).
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 5:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
I think any entry level dSLR will do what you want. I think what you need are inexpensive, large aperture lenses. Canon has a nice 50mm f/1.8, but that's it. Nikon has a nice 50/1.8 and a nice 35/1.8, but the entry level Nikon dSLRs don't have their own AF motors, so you'll need to spend extra on the lenses that have motors. Sony has a nice 50/1.8 and a nice 35/1.8, but the Sony A230 you mentioned is long gone. You should look at the Sony A390 with 18-55 kit lens ($500), the A33 body ($500), or the A35 with 18-55 kit lens ($650). Then you can add the 50/1.8 ($150) and possibly the 35/1.8 ($200).
So after spending my entire work day doing research I've narrowed it down to a few options. The Canon T1I, Sony A390, Nikon 3100, and Pentax K-x. I'm leaning toward not getting the Pentax because the price point seems to be right at $500 with limited lens selection and a brand that I don't know as well. I had all but decided on the Nikon 3100 until I read a bunch on posts about the cameras not having auto focus? I would still consider the Nikon if someone could explain what that is all about. So I think essentially if the 3100 is not recommended I'm down to the T1I and the A390. Also, there is a mint condition A230 for sale at $290. Does anyone think that I should consider it or is the technology too outdated? Like I said it's mainly for high quality family photos. Thanks for the comments guys.

Dylan
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 5:53 PM   #6
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Hi djc- I'm sure the T1i would more than satisfy your needs,despite being an older model.
If you plan on shooting indoors without flash,then you will ideally need a fast lens as already mentioned here- the 50mm f/1.8 is pretty inexpensive and would be useful addition to the standard kit lens. However,if you plan on using the flash for most indoor shots then the kit lens would suffice...
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 6:35 PM   #7
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I guess my post didn't show up that I posted earlier...crap! Anyway I spent all day researching and bassically narrowed it down to a few options. The Canon T1I, Nikon 3100, and Sony A390. I had almost decided on the Nikon 3100 until i read a bunch of negative posts about the lack of autofocus? If someone could explain that I would probably reconsider. Also, there is a mint Sony A230 ($289) that I was considering, but didn't know if the technology was too outdated. It's a savings of $210 to $260 from the other models was the reason I considered it. Any thoughts when narrowed down to these options?
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 7:09 PM   #8
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For years, Nikon SLR and dSLR bodies had autofocus motors that were used to focus the lenses. A few years ago, Nikon started putting motors in some of their lenses. (Nikon lenses with "AF-S" have their own motors.) Then, Nikon dropped motors from their entry level dSLRs, so they can't autofocus lenses that don't have their own motors. The D3100 is one of those dSLRs that requires AF-S lenses for autofocus. Many of the older "AF" lenses have been discontinued, but they're slightly more expensive.

The A230 is a fine camera, but buying a used dSLR is a gamble. Unlike P&S cameras, dSLRs have a lot of moving parts, and there's no way to tell how much use and abuse a dSLR has been subjected to. If the seller is a family member, then you could take a chance, but otherwise, get a warranty (not a guarrantee, a warranty.)
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 8:50 PM   #9
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Last question I hope! How big of a deal is a self cleaning sensor? It seems to be the main difference between the T1I and T3, and also a possible deciding factor between the T3 and Sony a390.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 10:24 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry about the Nikon's AF arrangement. Sounds like you'll most likely be using the "kit" lens that comes with the Nikon D3100, most likely the 18-55 VR AF-S, and that will focus just fine. If you add lenses in the future, they'll need to be AF-S, but Nikon's got plenty to choose from good prices for the non-pro.
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