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Thread: Recommendations for First DSLR

  1. #1

    Default Recommendations for First DSLR

    Hi all,

    I am interested into getting into this wonderful hobby of professional photography. I have always been an avid fan of photography but have only been snapping with a point and shoot camera and have minimal experience on DSLRs.

    Now that I've decided to get one, I would like to see what recommendations for camera bodies can the experienced here give; and also if I should start with a new or pre-owned set. Basically I'm looking towards one which has a wide range of accessories that can be paired with the body, so I reckoned it'll either be a Canon or Nikon?

    Budget wise, I should say I'd prefer to get feedbacks on the models I should look out for before everything else. I don't like to be constrained and then missing out on a better deal that may cost slightly more because of a budget.

    Thank you... =)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Since you're new, i would suggest you start by trying our the forum's search function. You'll find that there are a huge amount of threads exactly like yours. You'll find people recommending Canon, Nikon, Sony and pentax. And in the end, there is only one thing to consider: Try the cameras. Hold them in your hand, use them, see which one is the most comfortable or intuitive to use. DO NOT let other people tell you what to buy. Make your own decision.
    Alpha

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Its true what Rashkae said.. even i myself yet to get my first dslr.. people will said that this cam is good or that cam is good.. true enough that all of the cams recommended are good based on the users experience.. find all the information needed and compare and also what u seek in a dslr and go down to shops to try out ur shortlisted cams.. most importantly is ur budget..

    do ur research and recce.. try and feel the cams.. good luck!

    im getting mine soon tho..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    i tried lotsa cameras b4 actually purchasing my first dslr in the space of 6 mths..

    decided on the a200 for its ergonomical design plus availability of minolta lenses...

    set yourself a selection criteria like i did

    in level of importance..

    1. Ergonomics(on the nikon,canon and olympus..my hand felt abit uncomfortable holding it...pentax and sony were acceptable...)
    2. Simple controls(so i dun get frustrated twiddling with features.)
    3. Sub 1000 dollar budge
    4. Dun need live view(I dun find a need for it.......yet)
    5. Needs to have built in shake reduction
    6. Availability of lenses

    set your selection criteria first..makes things alot easier
    The Few...The PROUD...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    I am interested into getting into this wonderful hobby of professional photography.
    Aren't "hobby" and "professional" mutually exclusive?

  6. #6
    Member OldFlower's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    This be a very good and healthy ambition.
    However, I would like to pose this question:
    HOW, does one get from Hobbyist, to a Professional Photographer?

    Personally, knowledge, skills, & tallent aside, to me so long as one is paid to shoot anything and anyone, that is techincally a Professional Photographer.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Well, maybe I had the misinterpretation that "profesional" photography is derived from using a "profesional" camera like the SLR or DSLR...

    I'll do the search and then post again if there should be questions to be asked.

    Thanks alot!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    First DSLR... I recommend you find out what you need first, then let the guys here review them. Open-ended questions don't really receive too much help here.

    But in anycase, if you need a jump start, perhaps you gotta let us know at least your budget and your main focus of shooting.

    In specifics, I would suggest you find a system you like, and get a set up like this:

    A 2nd hand body.
    A 50mm F1.8
    A fast zoom or prime for wide angles (17-50 F2.8?)
    A medium telephoto zoom, 55-200 or something like that.

    This should keep you going almost for all recreational shooting, until you meet extreme circumstances.

    The funny functions are of little use and they cost too much, ie, Liveview...

    If you feel that you've got a good budget to work with, try getting better lenses instead of better bodies.

    I hope this helps. Enjoy!
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    hi, fellow newbie here. i just bought my first DSLR yesterday and would like to share the experience from a newbie's perspective.

    first, i think you should at least have a shortlist of the DSLRs you're interested in, and narrow down slowly from there. the shortlist will depend on what the factors which you personally think are the most important. some examples will be like those which bro ardnirun listed out, such as price (based on your budget), and in addition, your objective in picking up this hobby, how serious you are going to commit to it etc. this will help you set a range of cameras to look at i.e. entry-level, mid-level or high-end.

    i personally had a shortlist of about 4 cameras. sometimes i'll remove a camera from the shortlist, only to add another one in after doing some research on it. took me 2 weeks to finally narrow down to one camera

    then you should probably consider whether you're comfortable with getting a 2nd-hand camera / lens. some people get 2nd-hand body with new lenses, while others get new body with 2nd-hand lenses. both will save you some money compared to getting everything new.

    you can also call or get e-quotes from the various retail stores such as CP, MS color etc. to compare prices with 2nd-hand prices. alternatively you can look at the very useful price guides which are stickied at the product forums.

    use the 'search' function as much as you can - it was my best friend when i was trying to find answers to questions i had e.g. whether dry cabi was necessary or not. if you have a question to ask, chances are, it's already been answered in a CS thread

    it took me 3 weeks of daily research (exam period so i was surfing CS whenever i wasn't studying ) before i finally set my mind on getting the canon 450D, as it best suited the criteria i wanted for my first DSLR.

    going down to the shop to physically look for the camera also helps a lot. hold it, feel it, play around with the functions. nothing beats actually having it in your hand and trying it out.

    just my 2 cents' worth, and i'm very happy with my purchase because of my effort spent in doing research.

    hope this helps!
    Last edited by erixkorn; 29th November 2008 at 02:35 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Pardon me if the "terminology" used deviates from the actual ones used.

    I intend to use it for:-

    1. Wildlife photography, where low lighting may be a problem and not forgetting the distance involved; about 50m-150m away from the object.

    2. Scenic shots

    3. Macro photography

    I actually have a friend of mine who is letting off his 11-month old Canon 400D. He also did mentioned that it'll come with a lens and a flash. Not too sure about the type of lens or flash but will update as soon as he replies. But in terms of the body, how well will the 400D perform under my 3 photography preferences?

    As to the best of your, the experienced, point of view, what are the "necessary" checks that I'll have to perform to ensure that it wasn't a lemon that I'll be getting?

  11. #11
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    .....

    As to the best of your, the experienced, point of view, what are the "necessary" checks that I'll have to perform to ensure that it wasn't a lemon that I'll be getting?
    You referring to the 2nd hand 400D or a new one?
    Well, if you're referring to checking a 2nd hand camera, there's the obvious:
    1) no serious damage to the externals of the camera. Scuff marks from use are to be expected. don't hope for showroom condition.
    2) all the buttons and dials work. power up the camera and have a play with it.
    3) no scratches on the lens elements
    4) if possible, bring a laptop to view photos just taken by the camera.
    that's about all i can think of
    oh yeah...
    5) make sure all the necessary accessories (lens cover, battery charger, etc) are there!

    cheers! good luck!
    Exploring! :)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    Pardon me if the "terminology" used deviates from the actual ones used.

    I intend to use it for:-

    1. Wildlife photography, where low lighting may be a problem and not forgetting the distance involved; about 50m-150m away from the object.

    2. Scenic shots

    3. Macro photography

    I actually have a friend of mine who is letting off his 11-month old Canon 400D. He also did mentioned that it'll come with a lens and a flash. Not too sure about the type of lens or flash but will update as soon as he replies. But in terms of the body, how well will the 400D perform under my 3 photography preferences?

    As to the best of your, the experienced, point of view, what are the "necessary" checks that I'll have to perform to ensure that it wasn't a lemon that I'll be getting?

    hi hi , looks like your 3 main shooting genre would require some exclusive lens from each other.

    1) wildlife shooting from distances -- u will need long zooms 70mm to 200mm and more , and possibly a 2x converter. For low light shooting , you will need to get fast lens , with aperture 2.8 , But such a fast zoom will not come cheap ,

    2) Scenic shots -- I guess you are refering to landscapes and buildings. Normally wide angle lens are used for landscapes - Such lens are normally in the 11 to 16 mm zoom .

    3) Marcro lens are used for close up photography. They differs from normal lens in their ability to have 1:1 reproduction ratios. You can also use extension tubes or close up filters on a normal lens for macro as well.

    As for the performance of 400D , I cant really comment but I am pretty sure its a good camera to perform all your shooting preferences . Sometimes the advantages between machines are miminal , its often the man behind the machine that makes or breaks a good picture.

    Hope that helps =)
    Last edited by Atarandas; 29th November 2008 at 09:32 PM.
    Alpha and Omega

  13. #13

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    Pardon me if the "terminology" used deviates from the actual ones used.

    I intend to use it for:-

    1. Wildlife photography, where low lighting may be a problem and not forgetting the distance involved; about 50m-150m away from the object.

    2. Scenic shots

    3. Macro photography

    I actually have a friend of mine who is letting off his 11-month old Canon 400D. He also did mentioned that it'll come with a lens and a flash. Not too sure about the type of lens or flash but will update as soon as he replies. But in terms of the body, how well will the 400D perform under my 3 photography preferences?

    As to the best of your, the experienced, point of view, what are the "necessary" checks that I'll have to perform to ensure that it wasn't a lemon that I'll be getting?
    Well, it can perform quite well in 2 and 3. But for 1, it might be a tall order for the 400d.

    To start with, to take photos of a thing 50-150m away. You need some SERIOUS telephoto zoom. Consider moving closer to the thing. And canons telephoto lens cost upwards of 2k. Second thing is that you most probably would be in the open, if it rains(even with some form of protection on) water would still get it. And the eos 400d isnt weather sealed so it would suffer from water damage. Low light might be a problem too, if its too difficult to take a photo, i suggest you just put your camera down and enjoy the wild life scenery.

    For a scenic shot, usually you need a UWA(Ultra Wide Angle) or a WA. the eos400d can handle this no problem.

    For marco photography, usually you need a marco lens or extention tubes or close up filter or try reverse mounting the lens.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    Pardon me if the "terminology" used deviates from the actual ones used.

    I intend to use it for:-

    1. Wildlife photography, where low lighting may be a problem and not forgetting the distance involved; about 50m-150m away from the object.

    2. Scenic shots

    3. Macro photography

    I actually have a friend of mine who is letting off his 11-month old Canon 400D. He also did mentioned that it'll come with a lens and a flash. Not too sure about the type of lens or flash but will update as soon as he replies. But in terms of the body, how well will the 400D perform under my 3 photography preferences?

    As to the best of your, the experienced, point of view, what are the "necessary" checks that I'll have to perform to ensure that it wasn't a lemon that I'll be getting?
    My Friend, do you have a good budget to stretch? 2 and 3 is fine. 1 is a little unrealistic for a 'starter'... Unless you have horrible estimation about the distance. a 70-200mm F2.8 will be one of the lens you might want to look into, and this covers approximately 15-30 meters range optimally. You can still crop to get a max effective distance of about 80-100 meters, but you'll suffer image quality loss and its not as "photographic" as taking them close up and tightly framed. In fact you sound like you do need a 300mm F2.8 at least. =X


    My opinion, go to the Canon showroom @ vivo and play with some of the models there... I just came from there, they have a few models, and one is mounted with a 18-200mm lens, use that to get a good feel of your effective distance.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    I thank all of you who had taken time to teach me much about capture the "optimum" for my phototaking preferences. I bet to my last dollar that it can learn a whole lot from the ever so approachable members of this forum. =)

    In fact, my friend has replied and he's selling the whole package which includes a 580exII flash; 18-55mm f3 lens; and a 55-250mm lens.

    So guess the first lens can accommodate the "scenic"; and as ombre and Atarandas mentioned, the latter could well be able to do some "long-distance" shots as well.

    A couple of questions, I can understand mm part in the lenses, but what does the "f3" means? Also, from my visits to camera shops, there are alot of flashes that comes in different shapes and sizes. How do I know what kind of flashes to get? And about the
    580exII inluded, what kind of flash is it?

  16. #16
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Aren't "hobby" and "professional" mutually exclusive?
    some professional fashion photographers do landscape or streets as a hobby etc.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    there are much on the net to explain f/stop but to save the confusion, it is used in the following manners.

    1. the diameter of aperture opening (with respect to the focal length) divided by a certain number. f/3 means diameter divided by three. stopping down (narrowing of aperture) will help in control amount of light entry affecting exposure and in turn the shutter duration if exposure is balanced off, or used to control depth of field (field of acceptable sharpness)

    2. when used on nomenclature of lens, which you are asking, it means the maximum aperture opening allowed by the lens during a capture. a f/1.8 lens can for example shoot at f/1.8 or f/8 but not f/1.4. the minimum aperture opening is not included in the naming of lens though. in a zoom lens with a range of focal length, the maximum aperture is stated at both ends of the focal length range. e.g 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 means that the lens can open up to f/3.5 at 18mm but only f/5.6 at 200mm, which means your handheld ability to shoot at 200mm is further limited by the small maximum aperture opening which does not allow f/3.5 at 200mm.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    I thank all of you who had taken time to teach me much about capture the "optimum" for my phototaking preferences. I bet to my last dollar that it can learn a whole lot from the ever so approachable members of this forum. =)

    In fact, my friend has replied and he's selling the whole package which includes a 580exII flash; 18-55mm f3 lens; and a 55-250mm lens.

    So guess the first lens can accommodate the "scenic"; and as ombre and Atarandas mentioned, the latter could well be able to do some "long-distance" shots as well.

    A couple of questions, I can understand mm part in the lenses, but what does the "f3" means? Also, from my visits to camera shops, there are alot of flashes that comes in different shapes and sizes. How do I know what kind of flashes to get? And about the
    580exII inluded, what kind of flash is it?

    Woah when on earth is there an F3 kit lens? Could there be some mistake here or am I oblivious?

    In anycase, thats a good start, pretty close to what I have now. I support the 55-250 lens, good for budget and satisfactory even up to 100% crop. You can do some wildlife shots with it, but I recommend you approaching as close as possible to your subject, close it down to at least 6-8 meters if you can. You should also know your limitations with the lens, best bet is that you can only safely use it between sunrise to sunset, if its abit cloudy, you can still use it by pushing your ISO up.. Once the sun is gone, your lens is almost useless, except in very well lit indoors.

    As for the flash, you got to ask yourself if you really need it. It costs a lot of money, but its invaluable if you can use it well.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  19. #19

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    I don't actually have a choice as my friend is actually selling it off as a full set which consists of the 400D body, the 2 mentioned lenses and the flash..

  20. #20

    Default Re: Recommendations for First DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by gankgank View Post
    I don't actually have a choice as my friend is actually selling it off as a full set which consists of the 400D body, the 2 mentioned lenses and the flash..
    You can choose not to buy

    Its said that when you don't know what you want, don't get it... when I got my first dSLR, I spent 2 months researching and posting, haha. Of course I came from a prosumer so I was in no rush to upgrade. Never regretted the lengthy researched, helped a lot in fact. But even so, there were some aspects I overlooked in research, which was well reasonable. Research can't do everything, but its good. Best to research and let CSers confirm. =)
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

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