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Digital SLR Camera
updated: Dec 15, 2012, 1:30 PM

Given all the photo buffs posting pictures on EH, what are recommendations for digital SLR? I am looking for the usual PhD (push here dummy), camera with about a 50mm tele lens. I would like to spend up to $500. I have done some research on the web, but I am looking for first hand reviews from EdHatters. Thanks!!!

 BULLSEYEB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 01:33 PM

Great question! I'd like to know too! Consumer Reports rated cameras about two months ago, but there is nothing like hearing from peeps who have actually used them.

 

 COMMENT 354479 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 01:51 PM

Don't miss the Tax Free sale at Samy's!

 

 COMMENT 354487P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 02:24 PM

The best way to learn is to spend some time on dpreview.com. The forums are particularly useful.

The best camera is the one you'll use for your purposes, that is, the pictures you enjoy looking at and taking. (Btw, 50mm is not a telephoto lens. For an ordinary digital camera, it's the equivalent of 75mm in a 35 mm film camera.)

And Samys frequently has tax-free sales; talking with the sales clerks, asking questions directly there is a good way to learn about cameras. They also rent cameras to try them out.

Good luck!

 

 COMMENT 354489 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 02:31 PM

Canon/Nikon, PC/Mac - same/same, both are excellent. You need to put your hands on both. I have my preference but it's only a bias based on what I've used for years.

Be assured, after you make your purchase, you'll have several saying you should have chosen the other brand. Trust what YOU like in terms of the feel of each. The menus are confusing for both but one will likely make more sense to you.

If you have a friend who's familiar with one, they'll be able to help you with the learning curve.

What you haven't mentioned is the image processing software which is just as much a learning curve.

Have you ever heard a wine snob? Camera snobs or religious fundamentalists are the same.

 

 CHERIDIANE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 02:52 PM

Good answer, 489. It's individual preference, there are snobs, and Samy's people are so helpful.

 

 COMMENT 354504 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 03:20 PM

Sounds like you could "test drive" something like a Canon Rebel 3ti or a Nikon D3200 at Samy's in your price range.

Both are capable, full featured DSLRs to lead you comfortably into the realm.

Like others have said, Nikon and Canon are both fine and it should be YOUR personal preference as to feel and handling.

 

 CAPTAIN HALEY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 03:24 PM

I prefer to use an SLR-Like camera with a fixed zoom lens. With no mirror or pentaprism the camera is lighter and easier to handle. The fixed lens minimizes the problem of dust on the digital sensor. You can still compose at eye-level "through the lens" -- it's just on a screen. I use a Canon SX10 IS. I believe the current model is SX50 HS.

 

 COMMENT 354517 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 04:02 PM

Canon T3 or Ti family (T1i-T4i series...research the differences, it may be worth saving the extra money to get an older version). Nikon makes some good ones as well, but I'm not as familiar with the Nikon brands.

 

 COMMENT 354533 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 04:48 PM

For the money you're looking to spend, you would be hard pressed to do better than the canon T4i. Relatively high resolution, canon's digic5 processor, and a moderately expanded ISO range. These features mean that you have the flexibility to allow the camera to do the work in "program " mode while maintaining the option of creative control. If you just want a "point and shoot ", just pick a canon that has the digic5 processor. It gives you the best "noise" reduction in the final image. I would definitely look into the "mirrorless" dslr options. Just mho.

 

 COMMENT 354534 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 04:55 PM

Come to a meeting of the Channel City Camera Club. There is no sense buying a camera until you know what type of photography you are planning to use it for. Become familiar with the art of photography. then document the type(s) of photography you will use it for and the requirements for the camera. Then start doing research to determine the best candidates. Also, if you have friends with DSLRs, see which brand they use and consider purchasing the same brand. It's always helpful to have friends with similar cameras to consult. And join the camera club. There isn't a better source of information.

 

 COMMENT 354538 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 05:16 PM

Here's a different take. What do your friends use? If you want a full featured DSLR then lens options are way more important since Nikon and Canon at that price point are the same. The big deal since you aren't spending a lot of money is that you'll want to be able to borrow glass from your friends (they have 85 fixed for portraits and long image stabilized glass for action or far away shots, etc which costs way more than your camera). You should also consider your desired application. If you want portable and more opportunistic shooting maybe a Lumix is a better choice. Sure it's got limitations like interchanging lenses but if you aren't shooting a lot in the dark or super action it could be a great choice for you. Small, versatile and not expensive.

 

 COMMENT 354559 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 06:02 PM

What do you really want? It sounds like you don't know because you're describing two entirely different types of camera. You say you want an SLR then you say you just want to push a button. There is no point in lugging around an SLR if you're just going to use a single lens, set it to "auto", and push a button.

When it comes to SLR, I like my Canon T3i. It's close to your price range with an 18-55mm lens. However, I've spent more on lenses and accessories than I did for the camera. For quick point-and-shoot stuff, I have a Canon ELPH 300HS. Just pure chance that they're both from Canon. I bought the T3i for features and lenses. I bought the 300 for its tiny size.

 

 THE BARRON agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 07:00 PM

I've used this awesome sight link for years to get top-notch, unbiased (aka non advertising sponsored) reviews on cameras.

 

 COMMENT 354594 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 07:47 PM

Hold them and see what you think.

Ask a variety of sales people at Samys. Remember each will have a bias about the brand they own. Nikon guys like Nikons better than Canon and Canon people like Canon's better than Nikons.

The biggest thing is find the right lens. And that is where it is better to spend a bit more even if it means a cheaper body behind the lens. But make sure that the lens will fit with your future needs. Like with the Canon. You can buy an EF-S lens that works with the rebels-60d or an EF that works with those plus the 5d and 7D. Nikon has similar issues, so think about what you want to take pictures of and look at those matching lenses.

And anyone to tell you that one brand is massively better than the other.....has an agenda other than your best interest.

 

 COMMENT 354598 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 08:14 PM

Thanks for the advice. Samy's sounds like the place to go. I have a relic Minolta that I can't part with. It's about 32 yrs. old. It's too heavy for me now. I'll check all the noted websites for more research and I may spend more if I am comfortable with the choice. Thanks.

 

 COMMENT 354605P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 09:01 PM

Thanks, Barron, for the reminder of the DCResource. I just yesterday gave myself an early Christmas present of the Panasonic Lumix LX7 that was on sale at Samy's for $299 and no sales tax. It replaces my LX3 that, uhhh, disappeared.

Fun to read about the new cam. post purchase! (I now have 1 Panasonic (LX7), 1 Nikon (D7000) +lenses, 1 Canon (G12) - there is no single camera that's better than all others unless one's spending $thousands. Purposes vary. I agree about asking several sales people at Samy's; they have different specialities. And for questions and a discussion, I'd suggest going sometime mid-week when they aren't rushed as they were yesterday and probably will be up to Christmas.

 

 BLUEB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-15 10:39 PM

Whatever camera you select, consider the advice to join a camera club or take a class or two. When I got my first DSLR, I took a couple of classes at a local community college. The structure of the class, e g., taking photos regularly, being required to take photos on different themes, studying "good" professional photos, having my photos critiqued, learning the basics of image processing and printing, and meeting fellow shutterbugs enabled me to move up the learning curve more quickly.

 

 COMMENT 354642P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 07:13 AM

...was reading this and thinking about my old Minolta SRT101. used it for years, really loved it. just have a cheapie Sony now. Thought about getting the Minolta out, but then, "wait, no film anymore!". Guess someday I will have to get a better camera too. Been interesting reading peoples advice here.

What cameras are denise dewire and Aqua using?

 

 COMMENT 354650 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 07:51 AM

I got great advice at Sammy's which was to spend the money on good glass (lens) rather than on the camera which becomes obsolete. The lens lasts. I agree with the comments that you need to think about what you want to shoot. Landscapes? People ? Sports ? Wildlife? Different lenses are needed.

 

 MADMAX agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 08:22 AM

Samy's....and get one!

I am a Canon guy and I love my new 60D.

Start in auto mode and then learn what else it can do.

 

 COMMENT 354664 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 08:44 AM

I like my Nikon d3100. Sammys said the lens was better than the Cannon I went in to buy. I got this to take a sbcc class but my Cannon A3300 power shot takes as good a pic and has a great zoom. No changeable lens but was around $100.00

 

 COMMENT 354669 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 09:07 AM

Excellent ad flyers in this morning's (Sunday) News-Press, particularly from Canon/Nikon/Samy's on models you'll be considering.

 

 COMMENT 354676 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 09:25 AM

For what it sounds like you're looking to do, I would not go with a digital SLR, and instead spend your $500 on one of the new generation of mirrorless cameras like:

--Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3KK ($300)
--Olympus PEN E-PL1 ($300)
--Sony NEX-5R (a little pricier at $700)

These are starting to replace digital SLRs, and even professional photographers are using them.

 

 KEVSTEELE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 10:29 AM

Swing by Samy's. As most cameras, including DSLRs, now are less than full frame (that being the frame size of a 35mm neg), a 50mm lens is often a tele lens. The better way to describe it is field of view but nobody does. 50mm is wide angle on my medium format bodies and telephoto on my point and shoot and normal on my full frame Nikon. But best advice has been given here already, check them out with the helpful Samys staff and keep your mind open to non traditional cameras like mirror less ...

 

 COMMENT 354717 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 11:39 AM

Canon, Nikon, Pentax, & Sony are lines you should consider. Dpreview and imaging-resource are excellent resources. Each manufacturer has their strong points.Random thoughts:
* DSLR cameras are inconvenient to carry. * What are friends/family using? Being able to share accessories (lenses, flash, remote) is a good thing.
* If you expect to use the video feature often, Sony has the edge due to their focusing mode in live view mode.
* To get the most from a DSLR, or any camera for that matter, knowledge of basic camera functions and how they interact is a good thing. Classes, knowledgeable buddy (but not a spouse), and the Internet are helpful.
* Get the kit lens (18-55mm) first. After you use the camera for awhile, you'll have a better idea of lenses to add to your bevy of equipment. * Mirrorless systems are smaller. Watch out for battery life on these systems. A standard DSLR can easily get over 1000 shots per battery charge if you use the view finder.

 

 PETERSB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 01:20 PM

Another vote for Samy's - they'll help you choose and have great after sale consultation and service.

 

 THE BARRON agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 07:10 PM

Do your research, then head to Samy's to get the cameras you're interest in your hands for a complete "test drive."

Do let us know what you end up getting.

 

 AQUAHOLIC agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 07:50 PM

Since someone asked what Denise and Aqua use, I'll tell you! Denise shoots with Canon and I shoot Nikon...it's just what we started with and have stuck with it, although I almost had Denise come to the dark side when Nikon came out with the D800!

Lots of great advice, but in the end, the only good camera is one you'll use and enjoy. I started out with a Costco Nikon because I wanted better P&S photos and now I've taken my photography obsession up quite a few notches from there...very easy to do. I still keep a Canon S95 P&S in my purse at all times, cause it's a great camera that can shoot fully manual too.

I think the advice of spending your $$ on quality lenses is the best advice if you go with a DSLR. You will quickly outgrow any camera you get, and as others have said, it will become obsolete very quickly. I must give a shout out to Nikkor lenses, they are fantastic, and if Canon shooters are honest, they covet some of Nikon's glass...admit it!!!

Samy's is the bomb, I could spend all day in there! Sonny is great, as are all the people who work there...Nikon is having an instant savings sale, very rare for pro equipment....go to Samy's!!

 

 COMMENT 354843P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-16 09:52 PM

:-) Smile! :-)
This EDHAT has a ton of great advice from all the EDHAT photogs! Knowledgeable and generous....

Add my two bits: Just a thoought as to which is the best buy of all: I suggest Panasonic -- any of several very reasonable Panasonic models -- the ones with their Leica lenses.

Most of you will agree, "It's the lens!" And also agree that you can't beat Leica lenses

Leica lens on a Panasonic. The Panasonic prices are sunstantially less than Leica's but you still have that Leica Lens.

There's one at $489 I'd like but mine was about half that.

PS: Anyone have any idea why the Photo Taking Ability of the Leica S is selling north of $20,000? How could I tell the difference in usual Santa Barbara picture taking between the Leica S and Panasonic DMC FH25? Is there a visible difference? (The DMC FH25 is my modest choice with the Leica lens.)

 

 COMMENT 355025 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-17 05:01 PM

OP again, thanks for all the helpful info. I'll let you know when I take the plunge and what I end up purchasing. ho ho ho!

 

 

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