Recommendations For My First DSLR...


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Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#1
Have been considering getting a DSLR for a while and have decided to get one within the next 2 weeks. Have also been reading around the web and forums to find out more and have narrowed my choice to these 3:

*Based on the pricing from Bargain City and will find time to head down to the shops to ask for quotations*

Canon EOS 450D kit @ S$1,499.00
- Includes 18-55mm IS lens
- FREE Digicabi DB036L 30L Digital Dry Cabinet

Nikon D60 Dual Lens Kit @ S$1,359.00
- Includes 18-55mm VR Lens
- Includes 55-200mm VR Lens

Sony DSLR-A300X (Dual lens kit) @ S$1,489.00
- Includes 18-70mm lens kit
- Includes 55-200mm lens kit
- FREE Digicabi DB036L Dry Cabinet

My thought process:
Based on the pricing, it seems that the sony is the most value of money as it does come with 2 lens and a dry cabinet. But I also know that sony accessories can be rather expensive and that might burn a bigger hole in my pocket later on.

I read that the D60 does not have inbuilt motor for focusing or something and I am not too sure about the other 2 cameras. Not too sure if that is a big thing so hopefully the experts here can advise.

I am also planning to get an external flash(is that what its called?) and a macro lens(some how i like taking macro shots) and wonder if there is such a thing as budget low level ones for these.

Lastly my max budget is $2k for now but I would like to keep it as low as possible and would like to know if its enough for should I save up more.

Many thanks in advance and do let me know if there are other considerations I have have missed out :)
 

tjhan

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Feb 11, 2007
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#2
Why don't you get email the shops or call instead? Saves time. Funny you have almost the exact same situation as me, can check my thread haha. To share what my 2-3 days of research has turned up, I find the D40 to be more worth it than D60. You save 200 bucks and get the same thing essentially. http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm is informative about this.

D40 has the dual lens deal at the moment too. Drybox is very cheap anyway. The nikon entry levels cannot autofocus with all lens that do not have onboard motor so that severely restricts the type of lens you can buy if you wish to have AF. Prime lens mostly cannot AF I think.

If you look at the 2nd hand market, every one sells Canon lenses so I figure it'llbe easier to get a Canon lol.
 

Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#3
Why don't you get email the shops or call instead? Saves time. Funny you have almost the exact same situation as me, can check my thread haha.
thanks... read u r going down to canon showroom later in the day, do post what you think. Have people telling me the 450D is not bad too.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#4
Well, based on those 3 cams, what has your research told you? Which has the features you want/need? Each of them is actually quite different.
 

tjhan

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Feb 11, 2007
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#5
I'm back from the show room and I learnt that the 450 squeaks like a little girl. I mean the shutter sound that is, compared to the D40 which is lower in pitch. Irrelevant though.

The 450D has this eye detector which auto-lights up the LCD screen when you remove your eye from the viewfinder. The 40D doesn't and you thus have to press a button to light up. This is a huge factor imho.

I also note that there are far more Canon 2nd hand activities in the BS section. After all that consideration (and others mentioned already), I have decided to get a 450D instead of the D40.
 

Kenneth83

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#6
Thanks for ur feedback, I too have started moving towards the 450D camp... Decided against sony due to the potiential long term expenses with sony stuff not being expensive and the fact that the the 450D has a bigger screen and live view which might come in handy...
 

gymak90

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Jan 5, 2008
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#7
I personally would recommend D60.
1 reason, is that to me the buttons on D60 and menu layout is less cluttered than in 450D.

I think the price of D60 for a dual lens kit is really great. The additional reach to 200mm will be really helpful. Imagine getting close-ups on faces or taking pics of aircrafts etc. You can also one day sell both lenses to get a 18-200mm DX, which Canon has no lens of such zoom range; the other alternatives are from Sigma or Tamron. 450D seems a bit pricey...

Plus, D60 allows to fit all Nikkor lenses, dating back to pre-AI, around 1979 I think. Meaning you'll get a huge lens compatibility, just that you won't get autofocus and metering.

I agree having a bigger LiveView screen looks good. But that actually means the cam will consume more battery power - less battery life for you. Also, when you become a seasoned dslr user, you will realise the viewfinder is still more useful than LiveView. It's more responsive and faster. Regardless of what lighting condition, for e.g. under bright sunlight, you can still see through viewfinder but not from your LiveView lcd screen.

Just my 2cents worth. After all the decision is yours to make.
 

Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#8
I actually had the chance to play around with the D70 borrowed from my neighbour. Most of the time I find myself using the viewfinder automatically and even on my sony digicam. But sometimes I do wish that I had the liveview function for thos hard to get shots.

As for the autofocus and metering, are those important? I know when i get lazy I would switch to AF and let it focus for me but there are still times I do it myself, just not much.

I guess the only thing putting me off about the D60 is the autofocus.
 

Benosaurous

Senior Member
May 21, 2008
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#9
A tip to choose your camera, do more research on the lens build up, because eventually u will go into them. and which type of photography you are looking forward to, do the research with the model of lens, their strength and weakness, and which brand will provide you with what you need. hope that helps :)

basically in my own opinion canon is really good with sports, night and nature photography(birding, wild animals etc).

wherelse nikon is really good in wide angle, portraits photography :)

but what in the end, i would say the difference is minor, as technology will improve, and each brand might catch up with one and another. You must love your camera, and believe that hardware doesnt make much difference as long as you are comfortable with what you are using, you will take good photos with the correct skills applied :)
 

Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#10
thanks for the tips, will keep them in mind :)
 

tjhan

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Feb 11, 2007
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#11
DId I just read a "take pictures of aircraft with 200mm"? I assume the aircraft are on the ground... but yeah I seek a 200mm for face shots basically.
 

lennyl

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Mar 27, 2008
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#12
A few points:

1. Never, ever, take Ken Rockwell as your only source of information. Or even good sites like dpreview, but especially not Ken Rockwell.

2. I may get flamed for suggesting this, but first let me say I'm a satisfied Canon user with every intention of getting a Canon body when I replace the current one, and no intention to switch system. But have you considered that many Canons in WTS means Canon users are switching system? As a gear freak, I'm tempted by Nikon's D300 and full frame offerings. As a photographer, I know with current gear, the photographer makes a lot more difference than camera body. I'd love to have the clustered multiple AF for birds in flight without 1D prices though.

3. The 18-200mm is a convenient lens, not a great one. Useful if you're travelling, or in situations where it is inconvenient or impossible to switch lenses. There are other reasons for picking Nikon, but this lens should not be an important one.

From your 3 choices I would say don't pick Sony, simply because you have a lot more choices with Canon or Nikon. I prefer the 450D over the D60 because it is a better camera, but as you pointed out it is also more expensive. I like Canon's choice of lenses better, but Nikon has very comparable lenses (but usually slightly more expensive). You can't go wrong with either camera. You'll do great with the Sony as well, as long as you don't have exotic lens needs (or lust, whatever the case may be :) )
 

lennyl

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#13
As for the autofocus and metering, are those important? I know when i get lazy I would switch to AF and let it focus for me but there are still times I do it myself, just not much.

I guess the only thing putting me off about the D60 is the autofocus.
The D60 autofocus with any lens that has internal AF motor, which is all the current lenses they make. Am I incorrect? I'm not familiar with Nikon mount system (which is quite confusing, because Nikon chose to have backwards compatibility a long way back).

Personally I use AF almost all the time. Part of the reason is age : the eye just doesn't work as well when you get older, and judging focus on the tiny viewfinder is tough. That will be the main reason to switch to full frame for me. Another part of the reason is speed - it is hard to take the time to manual focus when you're trying to get candid shots of a kid in motion. For static subjects, I do take the time to manual focus. And for that I think LiveView is extremely helpful.
 

Simon_84

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Mar 18, 2004
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#14
technology wise, canon is ahead with their iso noise performance due to the cmos sensor.
if you cant handle the MF issues with the 50mm prime, then it would be better to go with canon instead.
i prefer the 1000d over the 450d cos i dont crop a lot.
having lesser mp count in the cmos sensor, helps to keep the shadow/image noise down.
 

felixcat8888

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May 8, 2005
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#15
Well, there are other brands out there too besides the C & N camps. There are the O and P too. Olympus and Pentax. I have in my arsenal Canon AE-1, Pentax Z-20 as well as the K10D and of course the Olympus SP560UZ. Each cam is for different purposes but my main cam now is the K10D. I used the Canon 400D for a few months but could not stand the grip as it is too small for my hand.

Do a research on the cams you choose as well as on the availability of the lenses that can be used on the cams.
 

obewan

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Feb 11, 2005
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#16
If you do not mind there is no VR or IS on camera body, Nikon and Canon is the way to go.
However, if you would like to have VR or IS on camera body, Sony, Pentax and Olympus is the way to go.
Other things you would like to consider is the feel. A camera that feel goods in hand will make you like to bring it out more and hold it longer. So try it out at the shop.
You would also like to take a look at is the lens and accessories available and their cost.
 

Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#17
Was reading digital life yesterday and saw the Olympus E-520 write up and it does look like a good starting DSLR plus its kinda less taxing on the pocket(under 1.2k for the kit).
Anyone has any comments on it? Will also get a feel of it later when i go down to get quotations. :)
 

felixcat8888

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May 8, 2005
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#18
Was reading digital life yesterday and saw the Olympus E-520 write up and it does look like a good starting DSLR plus its kinda less taxing on the pocket(under 1.2k for the kit).
Anyone has any comments on it? Will also get a feel of it later when i go down to get quotations. :)
Why not? smaller and liighter. My colleague got the E-510 with 2 lens kit and he is enjoying it thoroughly. Great pricing too.
 

Kenneth83

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Aug 30, 2007
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#19
looks like I am more or less settled on the D60 dual lens kit(the one in the nikon promo). was quoted $1350 at harvey norman and lesser at john 3:16(although i was told by the harvey norman guy that the stocks there are imports). Went to alanphoto but like no one bothered about me. Also cos my neighbour has a nikon dslr and and I can borrow lens from him(heard he has a 300mm lens).

Should be getting over the weekend and was wondering other than making sure its a local set and all the stuff are intact, anything else should I be looking out for? Also would it be a good idea to get a external flash(forgot to ask how much a basic one would cost) and for drybox, do they have those small ones enough for just the camera and lens? Only seem to find those big small cupboard type ones around.

Thanks :)
 

gymak90

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Jan 5, 2008
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#20
But sometimes I do wish that I had the liveview function for thos hard to get shots.
LiveView is an advantage, especially with a flexible screen that can be tilted like in Sony A300/A350. Otherwise, the screen will be on the same plane as the viewfinder and that doesn't give much of an advantage in getting a better angle. Plus LiveView tends to be slower in operation and then you can't focus and see the picture at the same time using LiveView. I think the exception for that is in a few Sony cams? Correct me if I'm wrong.
But well it's your choice in the end. Haha.

DId I just read a "take pictures of aircraft with 200mm"? I assume the aircraft are on the ground... but yeah I seek a 200mm for face shots basically.
Yes I was refering to planes on ground. In fact you might even be able to do close-ups at 200mm on larger aircrafts. If the planes are airborne, then you might need to invest in lenses at 300mm & above.

The D60 autofocus with any lens that has internal AF motor, which is all the current lenses they make. Am I incorrect? I'm not familiar with Nikon mount system (which is quite confusing, because Nikon chose to have backwards compatibility a long way back).
Erm, you're right and wrong at the same time :) Yes, D60, like D40 and D40x can autofocus only with lenses that has an internal AF motor. However, not all current lenses Nikon makes are equipped with internal AF motor.
A simple way to see, is through the naming of the lenses. AF-S denotes a Nikon lens with internal AF motor. As for Sigma lenses, it is denoted by HSM.
Frankly, AF makes life a whole lot easier. Rather than squinting your eyes trying to see if that small subject in your viewfinder is focused, let AF do the job. But that means your AF has to be extremely trustworthy. So far with my experience on both Nikon and Canon systems, I find that probability of having errors in AF is lesser with Nikon.

Was reading digital life yesterday and saw the Olympus E-520 write up and it does look like a good starting DSLR plus its kinda less taxing on the pocket(under 1.2k for the kit).
Anyone has any comments on it? Will also get a feel of it later when i go down to get quotations. :)
The E-520 is a good camera for beginners. Surely you would have to consider it. But take note that Olympus works with a 4:3 system not 3:2 like in Nikon, Sony, Canon etc. This means the Width:Height ratio of your photos = 4:3. Crop factor on Olympus cams is around 2x. Plus, Olympus being less popular, there are comparatively fewer number of 3rd party lenses available for Olympus mounts. That means you would most likely stick to buying Olympus lenses.
 

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