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Thread: Please advise: first dslr and lens

  1. #1

    Question Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Hello everyone, I'm new to clubsnap and I'm looking to take up photography and I need help deciding what DSLR/lens to buy

    Since my budget is below $900 for body and lens, I've narrowed down to the following choices
    1. Brand new Canon 550d with 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit ($899) harvey norman
    2. Brand new Canon 650d with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens Kit ($877) technogadget
    3. New Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm VR Lens ($642) technogadget
    5. Used Canon 550D with used tamron SP AF 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens (about $850??)
    6. new Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) with cheaper 2nd hand dslr body' ($568+body) (probably over budget)


    In other words, i have these burning questions that need answering
    - is 18-135 worth the extra money over 18-55 for kit lens
    - is having a fixed aperture lens like the tamron lens worth the extra over kit lenses
    - which is generally better? new entry-level or used mid-level for dslr+lens for beginners.


    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    maybe you can take a look at pentax camera too..

  3. #3
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post
    Hello everyone, I'm new to clubsnap and I'm looking to take up photography and I need help deciding what DSLR/lens to buy

    Since my budget is below $900 for body and lens, I've narrowed down to the following choices
    1. Brand new Canon 550d with 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit ($899) harvey norman
    2. Brand new Canon 650d with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens Kit ($877) technogadget
    3. New Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm VR Lens ($642) technogadget
    5. Used Canon 550D with used tamron SP AF 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens (about $850??)
    6. new Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) with cheaper 2nd hand dslr body' ($568+body) (probably over budget)


    In other words, i have these burning questions that need answering
    - is 18-135 worth the extra money over 18-55 for kit lens
    - is having a fixed aperture lens like the tamron lens worth the extra over kit lenses
    - which is generally better? new entry-level or used mid-level for dslr+lens for beginners.


    Thanks!
    I will try to answer some of your questions (all my answers are based only on my personal opinions though, you would have to think these answers over yourself and decide whether they are sound advises or basically BS).

    1) Canon 550D with 18-135mm lens is a good camera, although pretty old by today's standards, but still an excellent camera.
    2) Canon 650D with 18-55mm lens is the newest entry level DSLR of Canon, it had touch screen, but don't expect its liveview AF to be blazingly fast as compared to offering from Sony.
    3) Nikon D5100 is a great camera too, abit aged as the new D5200 had came out.
    4) Canon 550D with Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens, is a good combination. Fix aperture lenses is great, and basically it is a fast lens as compared to the rest of the kit lens. The Tamron 17-50mm is reowned for being sharp (even wide open), only thing is that it do not AF very fast (pretty alright in my opinion though) but pretty noisy.
    5) Yes, 18-135 is probably better than 18-55mm, I don't think they produce too much of a difference optically, but 18-135mm lens had a longer focal range, which is a good thing because sometime 55mm is just not enough.
    6) as to which is better (entry level or mid level - by mid level I assume you mean semi-pro?) no one here can tell you. If you have the budget, you can get any camera you like, frankly speaking, I started off with a 1000D with 18-55mm lens, I find it very very good... and serve my purpose well... then I get on to a second hand 40D, uses until something goes wrong with my metering system then bite the bullet and get myself a 7D. If you ask me... I think even without my 7D, my 1000D is good enough for most of my shoots, it is just that I am biten by BBB virus. As for you... who knows?
    7) Please do not just look at Canon and Nikon... there are other brands out there... like Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Olympus, etc etc... and don't just look at DSLR, mirrorless format might serve your purpose to, whatever they are.

    My advise is to go to the shop, pick up the cameras you have shortlisted, play around with it (just don't hit the shutter button though) and see which one you like.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  4. #4

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Hi TS: I'm new to photography too! I got myself a Canon EOS 650D with kit lens 18-55 at $1149 at Harvey Norman in DEC. Amazing how the price has dropped! Haha.. But yeah, I got a few extra goodies too that doesn't make me feel so bad.

    What I can help you with is the choice between the 18-55 and 18-135.

    After buying the body with kit lens, I bought a 50mm F1.8. That's what I use all the time now. I don't like to switch lens.
    I didn't get the 135 cos I felt that the zoom wasn't all that significant when the salesperson let me try both. (Now, I feel that I am wrong though. It is a lot more significant.)
    But on the hindsight, I was glad that I made the mistake of not getting it, cos now, I am aiming for a 18-200mm (A shop in Sim Lim quoted me 550 for it. But I kinda don't trust them. A more reputable shop in AMK quoting 750) all in walkaround lens when I go travelling.

    Additionally, dpreview says 18-55 performs better than 18-135. Dunno how valid it is.
    Why is 18-55 better than 18-135?: Canon SLR Lens Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    I guess, if you aren't gonna get another lens soon, the 135 is fine. But don't' expect too much in terms of diff in zoom.

    Check pages below. Scroll down a bit and you'll see the diff in zoom for the various lens :
    18-55
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS review: Digital Photography Review

    18-135
    (No sample image for comparison)

    18-200
    Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS review: Digital Photography Review

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Hi welcome to the community =)

    Here are some of my thoughts

    Q: is 18-135 worth the extra money over 18-55 for kit lens? (~$300-400 more)
    A: unless you do not see yourself going beyond a casual amateur user and do not plan to upgrade any lenses in the near future, I feel that it is not necessary to go for the 135 range. Many serious users eventually break away from the kit lenses because there are many other better lenses out there. If you go with the 18-55, you will initially feel a little restricted in zoom range but it would be a good start to know what you really what in a lens (portrait fast lenses? macro lenses? tele-range lenses?). You can save the $300-400 for that next lens.

    Q: is having a fixed aperture lens like the tamron lens worth the extra over kit lenses?
    A: Yes. Fixed aperture lenses are generally more well-received as they are "faster", less irritating to use and usually have better built.

    Q: which is generally better? new entry-level or used mid-level for dslr+lens for beginners?
    A: If you are willing to take a small risk, getting a used mid-level would be better for me. Most dslrs in the used section are still in excellent condition. But get a friend who knows cameras well enough to help you check it thoroughly.


    I usually do not buy from mega electronic stores. you might want to check out the list of reliable reputable camera stores that offer better prices that most people here go to. My personal favourate is 'SLR Revolution' at funan

    Cheers and happy shooting =)

  6. #6

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    Do note that we have an entire sticky thread dedicated to "what dslr to get"
    Alpha

  7. #7

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by nicorn View Post
    maybe you can take a look at pentax camera too..
    Which pentax models do you have in mind??

  8. #8

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    Then might as well include Sony too... all have some nice advantages over the other
    Alpha

  9. #9

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    hi bro takeEPICture, can see dat ur budget is near 900, guess u can tink out of the box and now 2nd hand canon 7D is selling really CHEAP, u mite wanna get put dat into ur list as well.
    good luck, but do go try out the cameras b4 u commit

  10. #10
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post
    Which pentax models do you have in mind??
    basically... there are a couple of models out there that you can look to (not too sure if they fit your budget or not, but they are excellent models and packed with features that was not found in Nikon and Canon's entry level cameras).

    1) Pentax K-30 - weather sealing (one of the best out there, and put some semi-pro cams to shame in this area), excellent liveview, great low light performance.
    2) Sony A57 - fast fps, excellent liveview af, great low light performance too

    You could get one of these two cameras and their kit lenses first. Don't think they are too expensive.

    Anyway, like I mentioned before, please go down to the shop and test test first, to see which cameras do you like most (in term of feel, menus that made most sense to you, etc), then get that one.

    Note that there is no use getting a camera so packed with features, but user interface make absolutely no sense to you... or a camera that you hated the look so much that you would not want to be seen with one.

    And frankly, none of us can tell you how you feel about the camera, we can only advises you based on our own experience with the camera... and I have experiences with Canon (1000D, 40D, 7D and 60D), Nikon (D90, D7000 and D800), Olympus (mirrorless m4/3 cameras - EPL1 and OM-D) and for a short while - Sony NEX... and I say all of them are excellent (except for the NEX, which I don't like... not that the camera is no good, but I don't like the handling - very personal though).
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  11. #11

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123 View Post
    basically... there are a couple of models out there that you can look to (not too sure if they fit your budget or not, but they are excellent models and packed with features that was not found in Nikon and Canon's entry level cameras).

    1) Pentax K-30 - weather sealing (one of the best out there, and put some semi-pro cams to shame in this area), excellent liveview, great low light performance.
    2) Sony A57 - fast fps, excellent liveview af, great low light performance too

    You could get one of these two cameras and their kit lenses first. Don't think they are too expensive.

    Anyway, like I mentioned before, please go down to the shop and test test first, to see which cameras do you like most (in term of feel, menus that made most sense to you, etc), then get that one.

    Note that there is no use getting a camera so packed with features, but user interface make absolutely no sense to you... or a camera that you hated the look so much that you would not want to be seen with one.

    And frankly, none of us can tell you how you feel about the camera, we can only advises you based on our own experience with the camera... and I have experiences with Canon (1000D, 40D, 7D and 60D), Nikon (D90, D7000 and D800), Olympus (mirrorless m4/3 cameras - EPL1 and OM-D) and for a short while - Sony NEX... and I say all of them are excellent (except for the NEX, which I don't like... not that the camera is no good, but I don't like the handling - very personal though).
    Thanks for your advice! Will go down to a store and try them out.

    Buy the way, I've searched the forums and found a couple of photography shops that are recommended.. like ms color, SLR rev, click, etc. Are any ones more newbie friendly? Eg, can test out and give advice, good pricing, won't take advantage.

    If not I'll just head down to the nearest to my house which is mscolor at Amk.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbike View Post
    hi bro takeEPICture, can see dat ur budget is near 900, guess u can tink out of the box and now 2nd hand canon 7D is selling really CHEAP, u mite wanna get put dat into ur list as well.
    good luck, but do go try out the cameras b4 u commit
    I hope you notice that the budget of 900 actually has to include the lens as well.
    Canon 5D MkIII|70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM|24-70 f2.8 L II USM|Σ 50 f1.4 EX DG HSM

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post

    Thanks for your advice! Will go down to a store and try them out.

    Buy the way, I've searched the forums and found a couple of photography shops that are recommended.. like ms color, SLR rev, click, etc. Are any ones more newbie friendly? Eg, can test out and give advice, good pricing, won't take advantage.

    If not I'll just head down to the nearest to my house which is mscolor at Amk.

    MSC is good. And yes, please do not restrict yourself to canikon models. Please do read up reviews of others in the similar price range, as well as mirrorless models...
    hi

  14. #14
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    TS, always get the newest technology your budget can afford.

    And sounds like you are quite new to this, I recommend you at least buy a local warranty set. And avoid super stores like Harvey Norman. visit smaller camera shops and you will most often find a better deal.

    Some shops I personally go to
    Funan:
    level 2 - TK foto
    level 4 - SLRR

    Peninsular Plaza:
    level 1 - Cathay Photo

    Sim Lim Square:
    level 6 - Orient Photo
    Last edited by daredevil123; 15th February 2013 at 09:38 AM.

  15. #15

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    If you are new into this, the best bet, in my opinion, is to purchase a brand new set with local warranty. Once you begin to understand things better, you can start considering 2nd hand and gray sets, because you can better evaluate the condition and / or any trade offs you may have to settle for to get the lower price.

    2. Next, like what Daredevil said, simply get the latest model that your budget allows. This is not an implicit acknowledgment that new is always better, but simply because you tend to have better support from the manufacturers, local websites and forums and like-minded individuals. I would think most newcomers would be acquainted with the Canon 300D or the Nikon D100, much less the issues one has to deal with using the older cameras over the latest models. However, if it is recently outmoded model, it is worth considering, if the price is right.

    3. Next, to answer your 2 questions. Most newbies will appreciate the extended range of the 18-135mm over the 18-55mm. It differs from person to person though. I love large aperture zoom lenses and almost used them exclusively between 2009 - 2011 beginning using primes since couple of years ago.

    4. Most newbies will also rapidly grow to appreciate large aperture zoom lenses once they understanding how to tap on the benefits of the large aperture.

    5. So should you get a 10-200mm f/1.4 lens? Probably not, for 2 reasons. Your budget does not allow it. And such a lens doesn't exist.

    6. Your budget of $900 is fairly limiting, so from all that I said, I'd think you should go for option 1.
    KF Photography
    Thanks for viewing!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post
    Hello everyone, I'm new to clubsnap and I'm looking to take up photography and I need help deciding what DSLR/lens to buy

    Since my budget is below $900 for body and lens, I've narrowed down to the following choices
    1. Brand new Canon 550d with 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit ($899) harvey norman
    2. Brand new Canon 650d with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens Kit ($877) technogadget
    3. New Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm VR Lens ($642) technogadget
    5. Used Canon 550D with used tamron SP AF 17-50mm f2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens (about $850??)
    6. new Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) with cheaper 2nd hand dslr body' ($568+body) (probably over budget)


    In other words, i have these burning questions that need answering
    - is 18-135 worth the extra money over 18-55 for kit lens
    - is having a fixed aperture lens like the tamron lens worth the extra over kit lenses
    - which is generally better? new entry-level or used mid-level for dslr+lens for beginners.


    Thanks!
    If you only had budget and eyes on the 1-6 choices you listed above. I think choice 5 is alright (if you dont like used then choice 1).. This is just my choice from the poll you listed. Without knowing any more details.

    as for your questions below..hmm..

    18-135 is worth if you need the extra reach... so..nobody can tell you its worth it or not. Simply put. If you use. Its worth. If you dont. Its not. the 18-135 is heavier and bigger too. But a 18-55 can never get you to 135.

    Fixed aperture will be more flexible than variable aperture lenses (eg kit lens). Do you think you need? If yes. its worth. If no. Its not.

    For beginners..no harm using the entry one. Why? because you wont know what you're missing and everything is new to you anyway.
    Of course. and mid level will be better than a entry (Spec and performance wise). Simply put, If you have budget for a better 1...then go for it. If not. Then dont think about it.


    IMO, Its a waste to buy and end up not using it (eg better body and lenses). There are many people who buy big and powerful gear..but they dont really use those functions at all. No right or wrong though.

    All in all.. buy what you need and what is comfortable for you.
    Cheers

  17. #17

    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post
    Thanks for your advice! Will go down to a store and try them out.

    Buy the way, I've searched the forums and found a couple of photography shops that are recommended.. like ms color, SLR rev, click, etc. Are any ones more newbie friendly? Eg, can test out and give advice, good pricing, won't take advantage.

    If not I'll just head down to the nearest to my house which is mscolor at Amk.
    Sometime it'll be helpful to have someone/friend who knows something about photography/dslr/lens to go with you when you buy, so that he/she can guide you in a way. Be aware also that some shops will sell you camera accessories (filters etc...) you may not know and you don't even need or use it, then they'll charge you in a higher price. The good thing is you're doing your home work before buying, goodluck & welcome to CS.

  18. #18
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please advise: first dslr and lens

    Quote Originally Posted by takeEPICture View Post
    Thanks for your advice! Will go down to a store and try them out.

    Buy the way, I've searched the forums and found a couple of photography shops that are recommended.. like ms color, SLR rev, click, etc. Are any ones more newbie friendly? Eg, can test out and give advice, good pricing, won't take advantage.

    If not I'll just head down to the nearest to my house which is mscolor at Amk.
    Most of the shop that was listed in the recommended list are good enough for you to go and have a look. However I personally have very very good experience with Cathay Photo (no particular sales person, anyone will do.)
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  19. #19
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    Pentaxwebstore.sg having great offer for k30 and its best bang for buck.
    I have yet to see any other dslr offering weather seal, 100% view finder coverage and class leading iso performance in this price range.

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