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Old Dec 17, 2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Which DSLR for a newbie?

One of my friends has somehow convinced himself that he has the capacity to enjoy photography and is ready to ride the learning curve needed for a DSLR.



He asked my opinion and being a nikon man, my immediate reflex was to suggest a D3100 or D5100, but he also mentioned one old Sony alpha A-100 (body only) being available used at a price of about $150.



My reply was that A-100 is quite old and he should go for a new camera or if he wants to buy a used one, it should be a nikon or canon that too max 2-3 years old. (simply becasue I don't have experience of sony cameras).

And yes, cost is an important factor, as my friend would like to start small.



Q.1. Am I right in dissuading him from buying the alpha A-100?
Q.2. WHich camp is more promnising Nikon or Canon? My personal preference is Nikon but I want to be objective.
What say Docs?
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Old Dec 17, 2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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My refurbished Canon is a 3-1/2 year old design. And I'm delighted with it. So I'm not agreeing on your 2-3 year rule. Anyways, if the budget is limited to deals like a used A100, I would also consider an old film SLR.

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Old Dec 17, 2011, 2:57 PM   #3
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The A-100 wasn't a bad camera at all- I enjoyed using mine.
It was well built,I liked the twin-dial system atop the camera- and the in-built image stabiliser has it's merits also- meaning EVERY lens you attach becomes stabilised- even the old,cheap Minolta ones..!
One thing I didn't care for was its noisy mirror... stealth was NOT an option..!!
If I was looking to advise someone on purchasing a second hand,entry level DSLR,I would probably be looking at the Canon 350D. Getting on a bit- but a great camera,capable of great results,is robust and compatible with ALL canon's EF/EF-S lenses- and they can be had for much the same price as the Sony you mention. If I was to suggest a second hand Nikon entry level model- I'd look for a "low mileage" D50- due to the fact it's compatible with many more Nikon lenses than the D40/60 or even the D3100/5100 you mention. Of course not everyone wants a 6 or 8mp camera..!
Beware,of course,of the inherent risks buying second hand- and make sure you get any such item as cheap as possible- so the possibility of throwing it away in the near future isn't too much of a burden...!
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Old Dec 17, 2011, 6:38 PM   #4
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When shopping for a dSLR, it's very important to pick the system, not the camera. The camera is just the foundation upon which you build the system. If you buy a camera whose system can't do what you want, then you just wasted your money.

What does he want to shoot?
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Old Dec 17, 2011, 9:08 PM   #5
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if he is looking at an entry. The canon gives more lens options, at the low cost end. I would skip the A-100. Tech has evolved so much ahead of that camera in sensor design.
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Old Dec 17, 2011, 11:51 PM   #6
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Like TCav and shoturtle said, when choosing your first DSLR, it's important to consider the system you're getting into (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc.) and the upgrade path each of them offer.

In this particular case, I think you should also consider the Canon T2i (essentially the same as the T3i except the flip out screen) which is now under $ 600 new, and just over $500 refurbished. IMO, a good deal for a very good camera
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Old Dec 18, 2011, 3:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for the inputs guys. I think on the base of these first hand information, I will be able to suggest some objective solution.
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Old Dec 19, 2011, 11:52 PM   #8
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Came here to suggest the D50, see it's already taken, but I'll say it anyway. Used they go for $250ish, which is not much more that your A100 budget, and a lot closer to "modern." Don't knock the 6 mp; it's really all you need unless you need to print big! I keep my D90 dialed down to 6mp a lot for routine shots so as to not choke my computer with huge files.

Regardless of the brand, it's good to remember that the latest and greatest is not necessary for good pics.
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 2:21 AM   #9
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hers the advice i always give do some research try and get a short list and then go and try them if it feels right then it goes a long way to being right. dont settle for i will get used to it. you are buying into a system make sure that system will work for you
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 5:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wave01 View Post
... then go and try them if it feels right then it goes a long way to being right. dont settle for i will get used to it. ...
You can use "feel" to narrow a crowded field as long as there are multiple systems that can meet your needs. If you've already narrowed your selection to one system, the ergonomics don't matter. It's important to remember that no dSLR actually has bad ergonomics; it can come down to something as simple as taste, and utility trumps taste everytime.
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