Shortlisting (criteria given) DSLRs for upgrader


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benruane

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Sep 2, 2009
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#1
Hi all, it is with some trepidation that I post this question, as I know from other forums I am a member of that requests for advice can be thrown down quickly. I get the reason behind it, and I have done a bunch of my own research before getting to this point (believe me, my wife is getting sick of all the cut-out camera reviews/printouts and so on!).

So, I'm in the market for a DSLR (upgrading from a point-and-shoot). I've read stacks of reviews, guides and so on. Problem is that I have become a bit swamped in info and would appreciate an experienced hand to clear the mist a bit for me. I've put down below what I think are some of the main criteria that I am looking at. Basically, if anyone can help in suggesting some camera models that should be on my shortlist, then I will go away and finish my own research. I basically want to make sure my own shortlist is reasonable. Your assistance would be much appreciated.

(1) Main usage: (i) mostly outdoors (portrait, nature, street), (ii) some indoor (family events).

(2) Usage requirements: (i) handle low-light well, (ii) good quality macro results, (iii) can handle shots of fast-moving young kids!

(3) Other points: (i) I'd favour dials/switches over on-screen menus, (ii) preferably with video but not essential, (iii) basically a good experience for a first-time DSLR upgrader.

(4) Budget: I'm probably going for a 2nd hand camera. The sweet-spot is $700-800 but can go up to around S$1000.

That's about it in terms of what I am looking for and the factors that are driving my purchase consideration. I would really appreciate your replies in naming some models that shld be on my shortlist.

(5) One last question: with 2nd hand cameras, what sort of shot-count can I consider to be beyond half-way in terms of typical longevity?

Thanks again everyone,
Ben
 

Dec 10, 2008
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#2
Hi all, it is with some trepidation that I post this question, as I know from other forums I am a member of that requests for advice can be thrown down quickly. I get the reason behind it, and I have done a bunch of my own research before getting to this point (believe me, my wife is getting sick of all the cut-out camera reviews/printouts and so on!).

So, I'm in the market for a DSLR (upgrading from a point-and-shoot). I've read stacks of reviews, guides and so on. Problem is that I have become a bit swamped in info and would appreciate an experienced hand to clear the mist a bit for me. I've put down below what I think are some of the main criteria that I am looking at. Basically, if anyone can help in suggesting some camera models that should be on my shortlist, then I will go away and finish my own research. I basically want to make sure my own shortlist is reasonable. Your assistance would be much appreciated.

(1) Main usage: (i) mostly outdoors (portrait, nature, street), (ii) some indoor (family events).

(2) Usage requirements: (i) handle low-light well, (ii) good quality macro results, (iii) can handle shots of fast-moving young kids!

(3) Other points: (i) I'd favour dials/switches over on-screen menus, (ii) preferably with video but not essential, (iii) basically a good experience for a first-time DSLR upgrader.

(4) Budget: I'm probably going for a 2nd hand camera. The sweet-spot is $700-800 but can go up to around S$1000.

That's about it in terms of what I am looking for and the factors that are driving my purchase consideration. I would really appreciate your replies in naming some models that shld be on my shortlist.

(5) One last question: with 2nd hand cameras, what sort of shot-count can I consider to be beyond half-way in terms of typical longevity?

Thanks again everyone,
Ben
What do you mean by dials instead of on-screen menus?

I'd recommend..
1) Canon EOS 30D(used) with a Tamron 17-50mm(new or used).
2) Nikon D80(used) with its kit lens and a 50mm f1.8
3) Not too sure of Sony's range but they have some good entry-levels

Don't worry too much about the shutter count. It can be replaced for cheap even if it gives in.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#3
Your effort to list out your requirements is appreciated. You help us to help you :thumbsup:

It would honestly be hard to give you a shortlist that covers a number of brands, as each one of us is likely to have experience with only 1 or 2 brands. I personally have only used Nikon.
Therefore my suggestion will be from this camp.

Taking into consideration your requirements, I'd have to say that a 2nd-hand D80 would come closest to fitting the bill. D90 would satisfy the video component, but it's over budget.

Reason why I suggest D80 over D40/D60:
a) You can pair it with a fairly affordable 50mm f/1.8 lens that you can use for portraits of your wife. Believe me she'll be happy with the results if you can use this combo well. On the D40/D60, you lose the auto-focus ability with this lens.

b) D80 has more dials and buttons than D40/D60. You can adjust a myriad of options quickly, from WB, ISO, resolution, aperture, bracketing, flash EV, and shutter speed. Just a simple push of a button and turn of a dial.

c) D80 has Nikon's wireless lighting commander ability. If you buy a SB600 or SB800 in the future, you can use the camera's pop-up flash to trigger this speedlight remotely.

d) D80's 2.5" screen is has sufficient real estate to review your shots easily. I find the D70's screen rather too small.

e) price for used D80 kit (w 18-135mm lens hopefully, not the 18-55) is probably in the $8xx range.

I think 10,000 shots per year of usage is a reasonable number. that's just my personal opinion. I think I shoot about 6000/year only.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#4
the ability to handle fast-moving kids, macro, portraits, etc lies mainly with the lens, and not really with the body.
 

luntut

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Oct 19, 2007
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#5
I can only advice you if you need advice accordingly for nikon gear:

(1) any camera is able to do that. just that the newer launched models have better ISO performances, hence able to handle noise better.
(2) you need wide aperture for (i), macro lens for (ii) and fast lens for (iii). i will recommend you to get a third party lens, such as sigma, as they have lens with the criteria for all of the above. for nikon, the selection are very limited, with very little choices. if yu need a zoom lens that can do macro, den third party lenses will be the way to go.
(3) most come with dials. if you dun wanna press buttons to change settings like wat you do with a D40-D60 series, den get a D80-D90 series. first hand or second hand, up to you and your budget.
(4) $1k, with a lot of luck, u can get a second hand D90. or a second hand D80 with money to spare on third party lens.

just stick with your budget, get the lens and body, and shoot. you derive more pleasure getting the shots you want, then getting the "branded" camera and lens.
 

lsisaxon

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Nov 29, 2004
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#6
I can only advice you if you need advice accordingly for nikon gear:

(1) any camera is able to do that. just that the newer launched models have better ISO performances, hence able to handle noise better.
(2) you need wide aperture for (i), macro lens for (ii) and fast lens for (iii). i will recommend you to get a third party lens, such as sigma, as they have lens with the criteria for all of the above. for nikon, the selection are very limited, with very little choices. if yu need a zoom lens that can do macro, den third party lenses will be the way to go.
(3) most come with dials. if you dun wanna press buttons to change settings like wat you do with a D40-D60 series, den get a D80-D90 series. first hand or second hand, up to you and your budget.
(4) $1k, with a lot of luck, u can get a second hand D90. or a second hand D80 with money to spare on third party lens.

just stick with your budget, get the lens and body, and shoot. you derive more pleasure getting the shots you want, then getting the "branded" camera and lens.
How come no one suggested D5000? It's got the sensitivity of the D90 minus some features and probably be able to fit the $1k budget (pushing it a little bit) new and not have to worry about shutter count, whether the ex owner abused it etc.. peace of mind..
 

luntut

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#9
How come no one suggested D5000? It's got the sensitivity of the D90 minus some features and probably be able to fit the $1k budget (pushing it a little bit) new and not have to worry about shutter count, whether the ex owner abused it etc.. peace of mind..
D5k falls under my generic "D40-D60 series" :bsmilie:
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#10
All camera brands can do what you described. Some are more a function of the lens than camera body.
Anyway, here is another recommendation.

Pentax K20D (~$900 2nd hand) (Note : $1060 new)
http://www.pentaximaging.com/slr/K20D/

otherwise a K10D or K200D (~$600 2nd hand)

Get a 18-55 kit lens (~$60 2nd hand) and a flash (~$300 2nd hand)
maybe a fast 50/1.4 prime lens (~$400 new)

The flash opens up new photography opportunities and lets you nail those indoor kid/family shots better(MUCH better!).

After you have gotten familiar with your 'kit', you can probably make better decisions as to what lenses to move on to.

Pentax backward compatibility to all their old k-mount lenses means that there are many cheap old but good (some legendary) lenses you can get without breaking the bank.
 

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Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#11
If video is not that important, you can also consider a Sony A700. Dials, switches, and a menu system navigated with a joystick and the dials. Fast and extremely accurate AF.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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#12
If video is not that important, you can also consider a Sony A700. Dials, switches, and a menu system navigated with a joystick and the dials. Fast and extremely accurate AF.
Really? The A700 can be bought 2nd hand for $1K or under?
 

Aug 1, 2009
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#13
You might also want to hold your horses to take a look at D3000. Although the BEST BEST bet you can get is a D90.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#14
Really? The A700 can be bought 2nd hand for $1K or under?
Yeah, there are already several deals in the 1k-1.1k range. Once the A550 hits the streets, and this weekend the A850, there will be many A700 on sale. A little bargaining can easily push it to 900.
 

Aug 1, 2009
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#15
Yeah, there are already several deals in the 1k-1.1k range. Once the A550 hits the streets, and this weekend the A850, there will be many A700 on sale. A little bargaining can easily push it to 900.
Cool cool. But anyway is your budget of SG$1000 for all your stuff?

Don't forget also need drybox at the min, or a cabinet if you want it easier. bargain for lens with filter to save some $$ also! then blower and lens pen/cloth as well. I think like that should be sufficient to maintain your system.
 

benruane

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Sep 2, 2009
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#16
Hi everyone (and I really mean everyone!), thanks a bunch for your replies, which I've just gotten around to reading properly. I apreciate yor opinions a lot. So, there's plenty to consider here and I've now added quite a few names to my shortlist (basically all your sugestions) and struck a couple off, too.

I agree with ZerocoolAstra, luntut and Pinholecam that a lot of what I want to acheive is actually to be found in the lens. I guess so long as I get a decent-enough body, then I can save some $$ to put towards lenses. Sounds good and makes sense.

In answer to Complex's question about whether my budget is for "everything", I'd say kinda. My thinking was that that budget is for the body, at least one (multi-purpose) lens to get me going, a bag, memory card(s). Anything else within that budget would be a happy bonus. I guess I am going to add things as I go. But kinda like how luntut said, I just want to get my gear and get out there and start shooting, learning the ropes "in the field" rather than on the computer or with my head stuck in a book! That said, $1000 is not a small amount of money for something considered by some to be a hobby, so I do want to make sure I get good mileage out of those dollars. Especially so considering my experience from my other hobby/passion (espresso), that once bitten by the bug, the urge to upgrade/tinker is hard to resist and the $$ mount up. From reading this forum, I know this is equally true for cameramen!

I so appreciate lsisaxon's point about the benefit of buying new versus 2nd hand. But I think at this point, I am 90% confirm will be buying 2nd hand, purely as a $$ decision. Especially given the likelihood of more $$ being needed down the road for this hobby, I'd better start modestly.

Again, thanks thanks for all your views. I'll watch out for any more over the next few days and will update on whatever my final decision is when all is done. Hopefully, I can get moving soon on this as the itch is growing :)

Cheers, Ben
 

Aug 1, 2009
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#17
... Especially so considering my experience from my other hobby/passion (espresso), that once bitten by the bug, the urge to upgrade/tinker is hard to resist and the $$ mount up. ...

Now THAT is a real hobby. Waking up, and getting a perfect brew of coffee, DAILY, is well worth all the money you can pour into it.
 

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