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looking to buy a new camera SLR

Discussion in 'Riders with Cameras' started by steampunk, May 22, 2011.

  1. steampunk
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    steampunk Member

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    well I finally have the coin to buy a decent SLR. and was looking for some help with buying one.

    proably looking at spending $1500 for a decent twin lense kit.

    is it worth going second hand? I'm guessing I can buy alot more camera/lens second hand than new. any disadvantages to this?

    and what should I be looking for in a camera. I'm thinking the number of fps that it can shoot and sensor size are proably two of the most important things.

    if you've seen any good deals in the shops lately thaty would be good to know too.
     
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  2. Fox
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    Fox Member

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    Hey bud,

    I got my camera stuff from this place, as they had better deals on the stuff that I was looking at than if I was to buy it through a duty free store... It's not necessarily the norm on all the gear there, but it's worth looking at... I went to the Canterbury store, and the people there were bloody helpful... Out of everything that I bought there, there are only a couple of filters that I wouldn't use (tinted UV filters), but that's only a small percentage of what I spent there overall...

    If you're looking at getting a tripod, I have one here that I haven't used all that much (I ended up buying another one that suited my needs better), so I'm happy to sell that to you for a good price... ;-)

    Anyway mate, happy camera hunting!
     
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  3. Jek
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    Its a bit like asking what bike I should buy. In the end, get what you like, what suits your needs and what feels good. Try a few out if you can. Get to know the controls.

    I have a Nikon D90 and am very happy with it. Whats more important though (again, my opinion, may not suit you) is that I went for better glass than the kit lens. Rather than getting the 2 kits lens I got a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Faster and sharper than the kit lens. The performance in low light has blown me away. So my advice is invest in good glass if you can. The glass lasts forever - you can always upgrade the body later.
     
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  4. Skratchy
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    I tried convincing my wife it was time for me to upgrade the body, but she thinks she is fine!!

    Seriously, the glass is the most important. Megapixels arent the be all and end all. A 12 megapixel P&S is always going to take crappier photos than a 6MP DSLR. However, a 6MP DSLR with quality glass will take better photos than an 8 or 10MP with shit glass. (Correct me if I am wrong folks).

    I bought a second hand Konica Minolta Dynax 5D, $400 off ebay and it was 3 years old, but looked virtually brand new. I got lucky, the seller had all receipts for everything he bought. There was a KM 75-300 zoom lens plus a 18-75 KM standard lens, the body etc. Sony Alpha units use the KM mounts, so an older KM with a lot of quality glass is a good buy IMHO. When you can afford it, upgrade to a new Sony Alpha. I started with a Dynax film SLR, and because of the amount of lenses I have with the KM mount, thats what I am sticking to. I find the KM body an excellent camera. Takes awesome lowlight shots with no flash, it has a manual flash which I actually like a lot. Rechargable Li-Ion battery, etc.

    I find the controls on Nikon/Canon a little more confusing, but its horses for courses. My wife struggles with a P&S!! (god love her).
     
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  5. ArcticHen
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    ArcticHen New Member

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    My wife and I purchased the Canon EOS 500D with twin lens kit from Ted's plus spare battery, tripod, wireless remote and bag for $1700 about 18 months ago. Haven't had any experience with other makes but we are very, very happy with the Canon. Takes great photos and is easy to use. My wife takes more photos with it that I do. Lots of effective 'pre sets' such as landscape, portrait, etc and of course full manual control. Came with a good set of software including what you need to link the camera to a laptop for even more functions and control. We've printed a couple of shots taken with it on canvas at 70cmX50cm that look fantastic.
     
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  6. Jek
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    As Skratchy said, definitely DO NOT make your decision based on the number of megapixels. Unless you are comparing a 3mp camera with an 18 mp camera, you will never notice the diference. The difference between say a 10mp camera and a 14mp camera is miniscule compared to what differences might arise from the sensors, glass quality etc.
     
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  7. droppagrogan
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    Coming through customs in Dubai they have the Canon EOS 60D + Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens for just under $1500 as a kit. Similar prices for equivalent Nikon's etc.

    I will be coming back through there in a couple of weeks on my way home and I could probably hook you up with whatever you are after or at least give you prices.
     
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  8. Peanut
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    Do not buy in a brick and mortar shop - amazon or B&H will be your best bet. Both sell used.
    Buy quality (used quality is better than kit new) glass.
    Don't chase megapixels. Look for other features and image quality.
    dpreview.com is a good starting to point to find out what's out there.
    Avoid kit lenses like the plague if you can, don't buy filters, etc... until you have a photo in mind you need it for (it's cheaper to buy two expensive filters you need than a handful of crap peddled by a seller).
    Don't buy filters unless you must (eg to complete weather sealing on a lens or a polarizer) - this is a bit OT, but I should disclose it for perspective on the above statement about why you should not take the five filters for the price of three kind of deals.

    Feature comments:
    af performance - hardest to measure without using for a while, but critical, esp in low light. Read all you can online about the systems
    fps - get them only if you need them - and trust me, 8fps just means you burn 160 meg of space on your card per second and have to spend a lot of time combing through it afterward
    high iso - can be a lifesaver, but again read online what's usable, just because you can set it to 128000 doesn't mean it's usable, only 3200 might be.
    video/live view - most dslrs have it, but it's a bit gimmicky, don't base your decision on it. video and photography are different kettles of fish.

    All of the above are body features - the body will be obsolete in five years. If you get good lenses, they will last decades. 3rd party lenses can be good, but you are never sure what you're getting so you pay your money and you make your choice... a budget conscious solution would be a consumer level body, a high quality prime (like the 50mm canon primes - not pushing a brand, but it's the only one I'm familiar with) and then a really wide range zoom from sigron or whatever... You'll not have spent much cash on the zoom, you'll have the range covered if you're desperate, you'll find that you like using the prime (or two if they fit in your budget) and you'll have the beginning of good system (and you'll throw the zoom away eventually.
     
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  9. Jdeks
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    Jdeks Gone into the West

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    Hey Gary,

    I've just recently done the same thing. Last year I got a new Canon EOS 500D and a Tamron 18-200mm. Since then, I've really gotten into photography. I've got bought several more lenses since and a bunch of other accessories, and I'm now looking at starting to sell some of my work.

    First of - Nikon or Canon. Some people say it's snobbish to think these are the only to to consider, but the reality is that they've been making SLR's for decades. Sony hasn't. It shows.

    Peanut is dead on about not buying from brick and mortar shops. Teds, Harvey Norman, Camerahouse: they are, universally, rip-off merchants, and no, they are no better with warranty matter. You'd be mad to buy from them. Buy ebay. Ebay Ebay Ebay. I paid roughly $700 for my body + battery grip + lens. All with either global or Australian warranty. That little over half what Teds wanted for the same body with no battery grip and the standard 18-55mm lens.

    Peanut is also dead on about buying good glass. Check out http://www.kenrockwell.com/. The guy who runs the site is a pro photographer, and he gives excellent, no-bullshit reviews of a lot of very common lenses. But if you're going to skip anywhere, do it on the body. Shit glass on a good body still means poopy photos.

    On the matter of good glass, if you're considering buying a high-ratio telephoto lens (ie an 18-200mm), be aware you will pay for it in reduced quality. Great for lightweight multi-purpose holiday shots - no good for high detail macro or studio-quality stuff. If you want professional-grade sharpness and quality, go for fixed focal length lenses. 50mm f/1.8 primes are an excellent, high quality, versatile lens. Manufacturer lenses are typically of very high quality, but don't discount 3rd party. My 150-500mm Sigma is fantastic, and about a third of the price of its canon counterpart. Research before you buy, and then buy the best lenses you can afford.

    Nothing wrong with going second hand - just make sure you know what you're buying and you'll save a fortune. Cheap lightweight plastic lenses can suffer with use and time. High quality manufacturer lenses are built to last. As for a history of its use, get them to send you a photo taken with it recently. To reference my 150-500mm again - $1500 new from Camerahouse. $800 2nd hand on ebay. Say no more.

    Now, this is a personal thing for me, but I advise getting a UV filter for every and any lens you buy, and make sure it's a good one. Then, throw away all your lens caps. They're a pain in the arse, you miss time-critical shots taking them off (or rather, forgetting to) and chipping a $40 filter is a lot less painful than chipping a $300 lens. Get a good one, and you wont hurt image quality.

    For video, some of the entry level ones (like the Canon 500d) will take HD video, but at low fps, which greatly limits their use. Additionally, the autofocus servos are loud, slow and will intrude on the sound recording. Don't get me wrong - switch to man focus, get some practice estimating distances and have a good tripod, you can take some good video. But these cameras are not proper video cameras.

    As for accessories, some you should buy manufacturer, other you can get away with buying 3rd party. I got a non-name battery grip with 2 spare batteries and an IR remote for $40 form china. I believ from Camerahouse, $40 won't even buy you a new battery. On the other hand, things like flashes can be worth buying OEM, or researching very thoroughly. A lot of 3rd party flashes will have incompatibility problems with exposure metering from different camera's auto-focus point, and other such nuances. Buying a canon flash for a canon lens will cost you, but you know it'll be 100% compatible.

    On the topic of flashes - built in ones don't count. They're rubbish for anything other than fill flash in daylight. If you have any intention of doing regular low-light work, buy an external flash.

    Want any more info, just ask.
     
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  10. Peanut
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    That is true for $300 zoom lenses where the optical quality is not going to be degraded much by a $40 filter. If you have a decent prime for $300, your image quality will suffer. I usually don't use any filters except a polarizer because I can see the degradation... how many scratched front elements have you seen that show it in image quality? If you put a couple of scratches on the front element of a good lens, you might get a little bit of haze at tiny apertures in bad conditions. A filter, even a $300 B&W one, will give you reduced contrast from two more reflecting surfaces at all times. And good lenses are as well coated as filters. I agree on missing shots though - while we have a new puppy, I leave it set to full auto and with a filter instead of a lens cap to reduce the "aww cute" to photo time.

    They can also be very useful as external flash triggers. I had a body that couldn't trigger my speedlite... so all I could do was mount it on the camera. Then I got a body that had a built in flash that triggered the speedlite... I can now have a decent pop along the optical axis plus freedom to move the main source around...

    If you are planning to do low light work, do your research into flashes, strobes, bounces, etc... and be prepared to spend as much on them as on lenses... But if you're just starting out and getting your first serious SLR, don't worry too much about flashes... you'll know when you need one... and it won't be in the first few months...
     
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  11. Lurch
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    Lurch Capt. Sense of Direction Administrator

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    Yada yada yada yada....

    The kit lenses are *not* the best, however dont assume they need to go straight into the bin. The Pentax kit lenses are known to be very useable, and generally do compare a lot better than the Kit lenses packaged with other brands.
    If you are looking for a) bang for buck, b) fast FPS, and c) room to move - for those dollars you can't go past the Pentax K-5, if you're lucky as they usually go for a smidge over that. However the model it replaced, the K-7 can be had still with the twin lens kit for those dollars easily. It has some quirks, but still a very good camera.
    However again, if you want more toys with your camera, the K-r is a terrific camera (we have one at work). Very nice 6fps, and brilliant pictures. And can be had for *a lot* less than $1500, and is head and shoulders above the other entry-level contenders.

    Regardless of what you choose, just please look beyond the usual Canon/Nikon fanboi bullshit.
     
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  12. Jdeks
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    Jdeks Gone into the West

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    A couple of scratches on the from element might not show up on your images very much, but they will show up on your resale value.

    I've compared filtered v, unfiltered on all my lenses, and while there is a slight contrast drop, it's very, very slight, and only when lighting was low in the first place. I've never seen any effect on sharpness. Really, the biggest problem would be vignetting, but that's avoidable. I use then mainly for lens protection.

    I guess it depends on the kind of shooting you do. If you were doing studio shots, yea, sure, ditch the filters. I do a lot of outdoors/wildlife stuff. Filters are a must. The very mild quality 'drop' is worth keeping the sand out of your lens.
     
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  13. Lurch
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    Lurch Capt. Sense of Direction Administrator

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    A CPL filter *lives* on my 24mm Sigma SuperWide-II. And there it shall remain. And yes, its a cheap $40 Hoya.
    *shrug*
    Spending money for the sake of it is pointless. (shuddup Ado)
    If I was actually go enough to make money from photography, then sure - go nuts.
     
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  14. Jdeks
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    Jdeks Gone into the West

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    Bam! Ow, right in the face :p

    All seriousness, you're right - don't totally discredit other brands. All I was saying is that the big two do have a history of quality that can't be ignored.
     
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  15. Lurch
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    Lurch Capt. Sense of Direction Administrator

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    And the others dont?
    Err....? You obviously havent looked at the 1100D?
     
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  16. Jdeks
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    Jdeks Gone into the West

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    Ditto on my Canon 10-22.

    If you really want MAXIMUM QUALITAY, just take it off for a few shots.
     
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  17. Jdeks
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    Jdeks Gone into the West

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    Well... Sony certainly has long way to go. Pentax I have no personal experience with - I'd be quite willing to believe they make a good camera. But I'm not really saying that anything outside Canon/Nikon is crap, just that Canon and Nikon have the reputation they do for a reason, so it's worth starting your search there.

    The 1100D was actually the camera I borrowed for a short while to decide whether I'd get some proper use out of having a real camera.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
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  18. Peanut
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    Peanut Member

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    Yeah, Leicas and the like... Not the ones that go for reasonable prices...
    What brands do pros use? If a company that makes good stuff is selling something at $x, I'd rather buy from them than from another company selling at the same price, that doesn't make good stuff...
    Would you buy a $5000 top of the line chinese motorbike? or a 5K used honda?
     
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  19. Skratchy
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    Yes Sony have only recently entered the DSLR market.........by buying Konica Minoltas photography division.

    Having never tried other brands, I can't comment on the quality either way, but Konica Minolta, as a merger and separate entities, have a long history of photography experience.
     
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  20. steampunk
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    steampunk Member

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    cheers for all the info. I used a canon at uni and it worked great for me.

    i'm thinking along the lines of a canon 60d with a canon 24-105mm f/4 and a 50mm f1.8 lense. will see what I can find and will have to go to the shops to test some out.[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
    [/FONT]
     
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