Newbie Needs Help on: Comparing between Entry-Level DSLRs, DSLR Photo-taking Queries


Oct 26, 2011
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#1
Hi, I'm keen on buying a DSLR before my trip in a month's time, so just hopping to get some valuable advice here. :)


1. Canon's website has EOS 550D (Body) - $949, EOS 550D Kit (EF S18-55IS) - $1099, EOS 550D Kit II (EF S18-135IS) - $1449. What's the difference between a body and a kit? Does the kit come with the body plus an additional lens? If so, is the lens necessary? And for a newbie photographer, is the kit purchased sufficient for most circumstances (without having to use different lens for different purposes)?

2. According to Canon's DSLR Comparison page, the EOS 550D offers viewfinder information whereas 600D doesn't. What's the difference, and is it really that important to have viewfinder information?

3. When looking through the viewfinder for DSLRs, will one be able to see the exact photo which is taken (i.e. including what's blur and what's not?).

4. When taking photos with an entry-level DSLR (for newbies), can one just use the various settings already in place for different situations (e.g. function to switch to different situations like portrait, scenery, night, etc)? Does a newbie have to manually adjust the settings for different situations? - Does this matter that much?

5. I read in some reviews that the Nikon D5100 does not have an focus motor? - What does this mean, and what are the implications?

6. I know that there're differences between EOS 550D, EOS 600D, Nikon 5100D, and that different people have varying preferences. So I just wanted to seek opinion from you guys as to which is better.
- Canon EOS 600D is "newer than" the 550D - based on the dates they were released right? I find it quite difficult to choose either as while the 600D is newer, there are a couple of features the 550D has which it lacks. (Same for Nikon 5100D) Anyone can provide advice here?

Thanks in advance :D
 

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Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#2
There are a LOT more cameras out there than just Canon and Nikon - have you really looked around?

If so, is the lens necessary? And for a newbie photographer, is the kit purchased sufficient for most circumstances (without having to use different lens for different purposes)?
Without a lens, you will not be able to take pictures. Yes, the kit lens is sufficient for everyday photography.

2. According to Canon's DSLR Comparison page, the EOS 550D offers viewfinder information whereas 600D doesn't. What's the difference, and is it really that important to have viewfinder information?
They both have it. Read the reviews and you will see. DPReview shows an image of the viewfinder too.

3. When looking through the viewfinder for DSLRs, will one be able to see the exact photo which is taken (i.e. including what's blur and what's not?).
Not in all DSLRs. In the entry-level Canons, you will only get 95% of the actual image, and since the camera defaults to having the aperture open for focusing and to illuminate the viewfinder, you would need to use the Depth-of-field preview button to get a better idea of what will and will not be blurred. This does not include motion blur! Only higher-end models, or the SLT cameras from Sony, will give you 100% coverage (and the Sony cameras will also show you the impact of various effects like black and white, sepia, etc, since they use an EVF).

4. When taking photos with an entry-level DSLR (for newbies), can one just use the various settings already in place for different situations (e.g. function to switch to different situations like portrait, scenery, night, etc)? Does a newbie have to manually adjust the settings for different situations? - Does this matter that much?
Sure, use the presets if you want to. Really, it's up to you.

5. I read in some reviews that the Nikon D5100 does not have an focus motor? - What does this mean, and what are the implications?
This means that when you use older lenses with a screw-drive motor, you cannot AF on the D5100. You need to buy the AF-S or AF-I lenses. Canon, Sony and Pentax do not have this limitation, and with Sony and Pentax you also don't need to worry about buying IS/VR lenses.

6. I know that there're differences between EOS 550D, EOS 600D, Nikon 5100D, and that different people have varying preferences. So I just wanted to seek opinion from you guys as to which is better.
- Canon EOS 600D is "newer than" the 550D - based on the dates they were released right? I find it quite difficult to choose either as while the 600D is newer, there are a couple of features the 550D has which it lacks. (Same for Nikon 5100D) Anyone can provide advice here?

Thanks in advance :D
Why not read the DPReview on the 600D? They compare it to the 550D a lot and discuss the pros and cons.
 

Oct 26, 2011
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Rashkae said:
There are a LOT more cameras out there than just Canon and Nikon - have you really looked around?

Without a lens, you will not be able to take pictures. Yes, the kit lens is sufficient for everyday photography.

They both have it. Read the reviews and you will see. DPReview shows an image of the viewfinder too.

Not in all DSLRs. In the entry-level Canons, you will only get 95% of the actual image, and since the camera defaults to having the aperture open for focusing and to illuminate the viewfinder, you would need to use the Depth-of-field preview button to get a better idea of what will and will not be blurred. This does not include motion blur! Only higher-end models, or the SLT cameras from Sony, will give you 100% coverage (and the Sony cameras will also show you the impact of various effects like black and white, sepia, etc, since they use an EVF).

Sure, use the presets if you want to. Really, it's up to you.

This means that when you use older lenses with a screw-drive motor, you cannot AF on the D5100. You need to buy the AF-S or AF-I lenses. Canon, Sony and Pentax do not have this limitation, and with Sony and Pentax you also don't need to worry about buying IS/VR lenses.

Why not read the DPReview on the 600D? They compare it to the 550D a lot and discuss the pros and cons.
Well honestly, I haven't really 'looked outside' of Nikon and Canon. Perhaps it's cause of my familiarity with both brands over others, as well as the size of both firms? Nonetheless, would appreciate if there's any recommendations on other models. :)
 

Oct 26, 2011
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#5
tecnica said:
no budget no talk.
Sorry! I forgot! My budget is anything less than $1200 for the basic stuff like camera and lens.
 

kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
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#6
the 550D or 600D with the 18-55 kit lens are within your budget... but bear in mind... you need to get a bag, most likely travel tripod, cleaning equipment etc.

but for your budget, you can also get the Sony A55 or Pentax K-r, both of which performs better than the Canikon counterparts.

Bear in mind that you can visit the dealers other than the main stores to look for a even lower price than SRP, and can bargain for more goodies.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#7
Well honestly, I haven't really 'looked outside' of Nikon and Canon. Perhaps it's cause of my familiarity with both brands over others, as well as the size of both firms? Nonetheless, would appreciate if there's any recommendations on other models. :)
Quite honestly, in terms of "features for money", the Canon is probably weakest, then Nikon. Pentax and Sony will give you the most value for $$$. Don't forget, Sony manufactures the sensors for Nikon as well, so that's why they tend to have the same MP for their cameras. Don't spend the extra $$$ just for a brand name when you could have has something cheaper with more features, similar/better image quality and still had $$$ for the dry cabinet, etc.
 

Oct 26, 2011
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#8
kei1309 said:
the 550D or 600D with the 18-55 kit lens are within your budget... but bear in mind... you need to get a bag, most likely travel tripod, cleaning equipment etc.

but for your budget, you can also get the Sony A55 or Pentax K-r, both of which performs better than the Canikon counterparts.

Bear in mind that you can visit the dealers other than the main stores to look for a even lower price than SRP, and can bargain for more goodies.
Thank you all for the replies :) just saw Sony's A55 and wow, realised that there are indeed cameras beyond Canikom (beig the newb I am, I never thought so)

Just wondering, Sony's A55 costs $1200, but that's excluding the lens right?

What about the cost of accessories for Canikon vs Sony vs Pentax? Are both priced around the same range?
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#9
Just wondering, Sony's A55 costs $1200, but that's excluding the lens right?

What about the cost of accessories for Canikon vs Sony vs Pentax? Are both priced around the same range?
Yeah, it's about 1180 with the kit lens. A cheaper option is the A35, but you don't get the swivel LCD.

Accessories are about the same, some cheaper, some more ex. For lenses, you don't need to worry about buying VR/IS lenses.
 

ZerocoolAstra

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2008
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#10
Thank you all for the replies :) just saw Sony's A55 and wow, realised that there are indeed cameras beyond Canikom (beig the newb I am, I never thought so)

Just wondering, Sony's A55 costs $1200, but that's excluding the lens right?

What about the cost of accessories for Canikon vs Sony vs Pentax? Are both priced around the same range?
Yes indeed there are more big manufacturers of digital SLRs than just Canon and Nikon :)

Comparing specifications is good, but in day-to-day use often its the intangibles that separate a good purchase from a bad one. It could be the button or menu layout, or the feel of the materials.

Do spend some time shopping around and trying out the different brands and models. Probably you can even include the mirrorless cameras in your testing. Stick to your budget, but do allow up to $300 for stuff like tripod, dry cabinet, cleaning accessories, bag, etc.

.... beginning to sound like an expensive venture.... :)
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
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#11
if the ergonomics doesn't satisfy you, having the best features will also mean nothing to you.
 

Oct 26, 2011
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#12
Just wondering, i came across some review sites and while the A55 does offer attractive features vis-a-vis it's Canikkon counterparts, why are there review sites which rate Canikkon (the entry level cameras like D5100) to be better than the A50? (e.g. Snapsort - can't post the link cause still under 30 posts)
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
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#13
Just wondering, i came across some review sites and while the A55 does offer attractive features vis-a-vis it's Canikkon counterparts, why are there review sites which rate Canikkon (the entry level cameras like D5100) to be better than the A50? (e.g. Snapsort - can't post the link cause still under 30 posts)
perhaps due to the fact that certain percentage of light will be lost, under the translucent mirror design of the DSLT(A55) when compared to the reflex mirror design of the DSLR(D5100)?

photography is all about light, so yeah.
 

qystan

New Member
Jul 8, 2010
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#14
MachCurve said:
Hi, I'm keen on buying a DSLR before my trip in a month's time, so just hopping to get some valuable advice here. :)

Thanks in advance :D
Are you getting into photography or expecting to get better holiday shots by using a SLR? If its the latter, with 1 month, unless you're going to crash learn, you might be worse off and if it's the latter, a PnS (point n shoot) with 6-10x times zoom might be your answer than a SLR. Most of them have tons of features.

From your description of use, you're looking to auto photos, all the superzoom compacts will meet what you're looking for.

A SLR isn't light, unless photography is your love (of pain) it becomes a chore quite quickly, especially if there's a lot of walking or being on your feet.

Yes there are other makes and there's also the Micro 4/3 system that sits between the SLR and compacts.
 

rhino123

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 1, 2006
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#15
TS... why don't you just go down to the shops and try out those cameras? See which one you like best (in term of feel, ergonomic and everything). And don't ever trust anything that one camera would perform better than the other. They all performed as they are intended to... and yes, reading reviews are very important, but most reviews are kind of bias too.

Just get a feel of the camera, be it Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, they are all fabulous machines and they can take great photos. Also ask yourself this questions... which features to you must want in your camera - be it video, af in video mode, swiveling screen, etc etc. And only get those cameras that offer you these features. Because there simply is no use to get a camera loaded with features, but all these features are either buried somewhere in the camera menus and was extremely difficult to operate or dig out or most of the features only performed maginally or not even up to standard (and trust me... if that happen, it will be very very frustrating).
 

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Oct 26, 2011
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#17
Thank you all for the prompt replies! :)

Hope this is not against the rules, but Snapsort says (refer to link below) that D5100 has no image stabilization - what does this mean?

Also, understand from Snapsort's rankings (same link) that A55 is ranked 9th, even lower than its Canikon counterparts - I don't really understand why, aside from the differences in viewfinders. As mentioned, A55 does possess many attractive features over Canikon. Anyone can enlighten me? Thanks :)

snapsort.com/explore/best-entry-level-dslrs/24-months-recent
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
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#18
i suggest you check out dpreview and the digital picture also.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#19
Thank you all for the prompt replies! :)

Hope this is not against the rules, but Snapsort says (refer to link below) that D5100 has no image stabilization - what does this mean?

Also, understand from Snapsort's rankings (same link) that A55 is ranked 9th, even lower than its Canikon counterparts - I don't really understand why, aside from the differences in viewfinders. As mentioned, A55 does possess many attractive features over Canikon. Anyone can enlighten me? Thanks :)

snapsort.com/explore/best-entry-level-dslrs/24-months-recent
1. Snapsort is a JOKE. They get a lot wrong. Time magazine voted the A55 as one of the best innovations of 2010. :p
2. The D5100 has no IS, as you need to buy a lens with IS. On Sony it's in the body.
3. Never underestimate the power of marketing, and the bias vs anything that is not Canikon
4. Never underestimate the power of sponsorship. ;)
5. As an example of the Snapsort joke, they put the D7000 as one of your "entry level" cameras - which it is NOT.
6. Look at the link - the A55 is ranked low because it has no optical viewfinder. The snapsort system is too primitive to evaluate it as an EVF with 100% frame coverage.
 

kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
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#20
honestly... i don't bother to read much into SnapSort reviews. read dpreview. they're more unbiased and fair.
 

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