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Old Nov 2, 2013, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default Best dslr for learning, one year from now

So I've though about it, I will probably need to take some classes, I don't learn well on my own (I've had plenty of time to figure that out). I was debating what might be a good camera to buy to learn from and take classes. I figure this will probably cost me about 1,000-1,500 (it would be better if I could include the class in the price, hence the range, but I can work with the camera for a while and save up for a class some months down the road). It will take me at least a year to save that up (if everything goes well). I'm not going to have incentive to save money unless I know what camera I will plan on getting (I've tried this before without success). Plus a year from now the prices of those cameras will probably have dropped some, hopefully. Though hopefully they will still be available new, I don't really have much luck with buying things used.

I do want a camera with a viewfinder, as I don't have very steady hands, it would be preferable to hold it to my face to keep it steadier (and I'm used to that anyway). So I was thinking of the following as possibilities:

Nikon D3200 kit w/18-55mm lens (price now ~550)

Nikon D5200 kit w/18-55mm lens (price now ~800)

Canon EOS 60D kit w/18-135mm (price now ~1000)

Olympus OM-D EM-5 with 12-50mm lens (price now ~1300). (To be honest I'm kinda partial to how it reminds me of cameras from when I was a kid, and that it's mirrorless, rather than a rational consideration, it's hard to ignore those emotional preferences).

I'm not sure if there's anything else that might be considered. I tend to take photos outside (from graffiti to wildlife, landscapes and sunsets, macro to zoom, from full sun to dusk), I know cameras don't perform well in all areas. I will probably have to save up for the zoom (and I guess macro), but I can learn on the kit for a while.

I have no professional aspirations, or kids that I'm chasing after with a camera, I just enjoy taking photos of the things I see around me, whether it's a bald eagle eating a salmon in a tree, or something odd I see walking down the street, or a bee pollinating a flower.

I do like to take video of things I see as well, probably about a quarter of what I take involves attempting video, because it can't be captured in a still (movement and/or sound involved).

I want the ability to experiment and control what I'm doing more and to learn how to improve. I really don't plan to spend hours in photoshop, I would like to get it when I'm actually taking the photo, but I will drive people crazy taking 20 minutes to take a picture of a flower (I think that's a quote, my friends don't really get the fascination).

Last edited by smilla; Nov 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM. Reason: the paragraph breaks disappeared!
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Old Nov 2, 2013, 3:15 PM   #2
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G'day Smilla

Whichever camera you end up with, my suggestion would be to abandon the 3x zoom kit lens and get yourself something which will allow you a little bit of creativeness. An 18-125 / 135 to me is the minimum I would go for as a 'basic' lens bolted onto an inexpensive body

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Old Nov 2, 2013, 4:54 PM   #3
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A used camera from a reputable source such as B&H Photo, Adorama, or KEH.com, can be a really good way to get started without breaking your budget. They all have decent warranties, and return policies, so you aren't likely to get burned on a purchase. A camera which is a model or two back from the current ones, is going to be a lot less expensive, without sacrificing much in performance.

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Old Nov 2, 2013, 5:41 PM   #4
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I would not buy a camera until you know if the given class has a specific requirement. Can you use a digital or do you need a film based camera. Yes, you can still buy new film based cameras and film that would be a student thing as well as the lot of whatever is used. Even if you can not afford the photography class today it would be good to know what the gear requirements are so you do not have to buy two cameras and waste money, it is as quick as a call or email to the local college or wherever that course will happen.

If you do not have professional aspirations as you say and if video is important something like a Canon G15 can do both video and still ok for under $500. At the same time you can buy a dedicated video camera for $300 or so. When you get into interchangeable lens systems the sky is the limit and your budget is at least $1000 by the time you get the camera, lens, camera bag, filter (s), any extended warrantee, external flash, cable release, extra batteries etc it adds up fast.

Even if you spend half that by the time you add to it the budget happens over time.

Regardless I think a smart move is to find out specifics of the photo class and what you can and can not use. If the teacher looks at EXIF you can't really cheat by shooting in program mode etc..
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Old Nov 2, 2013, 6:23 PM   #5
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smilla- all the DSLR's you mention are fine camera's- though if you will be shooting video frequently,maybe consider one of the SLT Sony's- which are particularly strong in that area- for technical reasons I won't bore you with...
Something like Sony's A57 has a pretty high spec' for the price- including fast AF and shooting rates...
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Old Nov 4, 2013, 8:03 PM   #6
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Default best camera for new shooter

A lot of people are raving about the Nikon D3200.

Camera, lens, 16 gb memory card and a shoulder bag for $496.00.


Very nice price for a very nice camera. You could use this camera for the rest of your life and still be happy with it.
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Old Nov 8, 2013, 2:14 AM   #7
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What an interesting title. It caught my attention . . .

Someone asked me pretty much that question earlier this year . . .

We went back and forth on options . . .

And basically it boiled down to this . . .

They wanted to test out dSLR cameras . . . wasn't sure if they would stick to it . . . was thinking of taking a course . . .

In the end . . . their solution came down to this . . .

They got a Canon T3 for ~$300 with the kit lens. (It could have been a Nikon for that matter. Brand was irrelevant.) I told her that at that price . . . if she doesn't like it, she can still turn around and sell the camera for minimal loss. If she really starts going full blown and loves it . . . and wants to upgrade it . . . she can still turn around and sell the camera for minimal loss. At that cost . . . it was a no brainer for her. But by having the camera . . . she can start using it and learning and getting the benefit of it right now.

And just looking through the flyers . . . I see dSLR kits for $400 . . . a month ago I was walking through our Walmart and noticed a Canon T2i kit with lens for $288.

IMHO . . . the dSLR is a powerful system. If your mood or needs change . . . the dSLR usually has a way to change (either lens, flash, or some other attachment) that lets you explore a lot of ground.

But . . . IMHO, just look at right now and get started.

Worry about the next steps later . . . just start having fun.

I did explain a few of the common next lenses that she could get into . . . but said . . . cross that bridge when you get to it . . . don't worry about that right now . . .

Kinda a different answer . . . but it worked for her . . . I guess a different way to look at things . . .

Take care & Happy Shooting!
Take care & Happy Shooting!

NOTE: I'm trying to capture the picture in my head! Not the one my camera sees!

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