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  1. #1
    Patrizia86 is offline I'm new here!
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    Default Which camera to get for beginner??

    So I've been looking at getting a "professional" camera. I would love to do some photography on the side and in the past I have only been using my iphone Which takes great pics but for obvious reasons, I am VERY limited. I enjoy Macro photography and I love taking "in the moment" pictures of children or families. Preferably I would like to get a camera where I don't have to exchange lenses, since I"m not very familiar with them. I have been doing some research and I hear a lot of good things about the Nikon D3100 and the Canon Rebel Ts3i? My budget is around $700 but I would like to stay as low as possible....I would love as much feedback as possible please.
    Thanks!

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    ErikUngerPhotography is offline dPS Forum Member
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    You may be disappointed to hear that you aren't going to get very exact answers. Standard answer when looking at 2 similar models from different companies is to just go to a store, pick each one up and see how they feel to you. Some people may tell you that one will have advantages that grossly outweigh the other, but the reality is both are going to be great cameras, that take great pictures, and both will more likely fill your needs.

    As far as looking at just the basic specs, the main difference between the 2 bodies is th t3i has 18 compared to 14 Mp, a native iso range of 100-6400 compared to 100-3200, 3.7 fps compared to 3, but on,y 9 AF points compared to 11. I think the t3i has better video, but not dramatically better.

    So theoretically, the t3i has better detail/resolution which normally would mean not as good low light performance, but the t3i does have one stop higher iso. The 3100 has a few more AF points, and Nikon does have good AF, but most of the time this only shows when using all points in full AF mode. The fps difference isn't that much.

    All in all it really comes down to what feels better to you. Price will be a factor, but what feels right is most important.

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    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Ok, this is just me, but if you don't want to swap lenses, then maybe an interchangeable lens system camera is not for you. While they're the cameras most often used by professionals for the overall versatility of the system, nearly all digital cameras can deliver some very nice images, and quite a few can give you more control than an iPhone does. So, be sure you're willing to spend a few thousand dollars on an SLR and all the attendant parts of the system and that you're willing to swap lenses around before you go there.

    There is no "macro" mode on a dSLR. You need a macro lens.

    There is no "low light" setting on a dSLR. You need a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger (smaller f-number). Or an external flash. Or...

    If you just want to buy a camera and be done, chances are looking at one of the enthusiast compact cameras might be more what you're hoping for. Something like a Canon Powershot G1X, S100, G12, or S40IS [or the high-end compacts from Panasonic or Olympus] might be more in line with what you're looking for. A camera with RAW capability and the PSAM modes (as they're called: programmable auto, shutter-speed priority, aperture-priority, and full manual mode) may be more in tune with your expectations in terms of budget and convenience.

    Shooting with a dSLR generally means multiple lenses and carrying a camera bag around, and most of us spend two to three times the amount we did on the initial camera kit on the rest of the system: lenses, tripod, flash, etc. Afraid that's just the way it is. Most of us who shoot with dSLRs also have a P&S camera in the bag for those times we want to go small & light.
    Last edited by inkista; 05-13-2012 at 04:25 AM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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    The T3i will eat up your entire budget. D3100 is a good camera, you can get one refurbished for $400 through B&H (a reputable site) Used Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm 25472B B&H
    That'll save you some $$$ for lens purchases later on.

    Next lens that I would purchase would be a Nikon 55-200mm VR zoom lens. I really like this lens for taking candid shots of children as they play and will blur backgrounds more than the stock lens (18-55mm) will. The lens is dirt cheap (100-125 used), great for the price and performs well. Very easy for beginners to use, more than a 50mm.
    DSC_0401 Untitled


    After some time when you feel comfortable with your camera, id look into a 50mm 1.8G portrait lens, ideal for low-light shots. $220 new.
    DSC_0183 bryson-BW

    Id much rather have D3100, 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 50mm 1.8G than Canon T3i+18-55mm.
    Last edited by TheMoons678; 05-13-2012 at 02:57 PM.
    Nikon D700, D90 - Tokina 17-35mm f4 - Tamron 28-75mm 2.8, Nikon 35mm 2D, 50mm 1.8G, 60mm 2.8D micro, 85mm 1.8, 80-200mm 2.8D - SB900, Metz 58 AF-2 - yn622n transceivers/tx
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    inkista's Avatar
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    Small note. The D3100 is more like the Canon T3/1100D (which can also be found refurbished for about $400), the D5100 is more like the Canon T3i. And the D3200 is a more current model than the D3100 with a massive boost in resolution (24mp). Also, the 50/1.8 that costs $100 on the Canon side of the fence will autofocus on a T3. The $100 50/1.8 on the Nikon side of the fence will not autofocus on a D3100 (the $200 AF-S version will).

    But the problem is that your budget is only $700. And the other half of the camera are the lenses. You could get an older, used/refurbed body and the training wheels triple of the twin kit 18-55/55-200ish + 50/1.8. But this is still relatively limited, lens-wise. No macro. No supertelephoto. No ultrawide. And consumer grade is... well, consumer grade. Good, but not the best. And those three consumer grade lenses? Are probably the only lenses under $300 you ever want to contemplate. Most of the other good mid-grade lenses are in the $500 neighborhood. Pro-grade lenses tend to start around $1000. After you've shot with a dSLR for long enough, you start to realize that the bodies are accessories for your lenses, not the other way around. Camera bodies are easily the most disposable part of the system, breaking down or being upgraded every 3-5 years like other digital electronics. The glass is your permanent purchase. And a single lens can eclipse the cost of the body.

    You can go used/refurbished, or start picking up vintage manual lenses in an attempt to be on a budget. But it's a simple fact that SLR photography gear tends to be expensive, and that with lenses, you do tend to get what you pay for.

    So you really have to ask yourself if $700 is ok as seed money, or if it's your absolute upper limit.
    Last edited by inkista; 05-13-2012 at 05:28 PM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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    Patrizia86 is offline I'm new here!
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    Well $700 is just my number for now until I KNOW 100% that this is what I want to do. After doing some research and reading your responses, I'm starting to realize exchanging lenses is very vital. I really would like a Nikon but I'm still not sure which one to get I keep thinking that there is also Photoshop which will allow me to tweek things, such as blur etc. I love the pictures posted by Moon. That is the kind of images I want to do. So I thought if I purchased a less extravagant camera and a couple of months down the road a 55-200mm lens i might be happy?
    I am still so torn!
    Here are a couple of examples of pictures I have taken
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    ErikUngerPhotography is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrizia86 View Post
    Well $700 is just my number for now until I KNOW 100% that this is what I want to do. After doing some research and reading your responses, I'm starting to realize exchanging lenses is very vital. I really would like a Nikon but I'm still not sure which one to get I keep thinking that there is also Photoshop which will allow me to tweek things, such as blur etc. I love the pictures posted by Moon. That is the kind of images I want to do. So I thought if I purchased a less extravagant camera and a couple of months down the road a 55-200mm lens i might be happy?
    I am still so torn!
    Here are a couple of examples of pictures I have taken
    Inkista did a great job of mentioning the the body equivalents between Nikon and Canon. I'll say it again, when looking at equivalents, there are very slight differences. Fact is, you are going to get good shots with either. One of the most important things is to go with the the body that feels good to you. Don't buy into a brand because of hype. I got to play with a Nikon body for a month before I actually purchased my own body. The Nikon took great shots, but I didn't like the feel of it. I went to the store, played around with a canon and to me it felt great.

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    inkista's Avatar
    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrizia86 View Post
    Well $700 is just my number for now until I KNOW 100% that this is what I want to do.
    Oh, cool. Then no worries.

    After doing some research and reading your responses, I'm starting to realize exchanging lenses is very vital.
    Yup. If you want a walk through the basics of lenses, I really recommend this website. It outlines the basic lens features in terms of usability features.

    I really would like a Nikon but I'm still not sure which one to get
    Ok, look at it this way. Image-quality wise, if the cameras were released roughly around the same time, and have the same megapixel count, chances are good that they share a sensor and processor. So image quality is pretty much going to be equivalent across the cameras. Whether you go for a D7000 or D5100, it's the same camera guts. Where the big difference comes in going up the tiers, is going to be in ergonomics and usability features. The higher up you go, the more expensive it gets, and the more features you have to use. But (and this is key), it's not going to last you any longer. Think of it like cellphones and computers: if you pay more for a more capable unit, you don't tend to keep it any longer, you just tend to have more fun with it while you own it.

    Across the brands, all the camera bodies are much of a muchness. They're all good. The only major differences are that the entry-level Nikons don't have focus motors (so, require AF-S lenses to autofocus), and that Pentax, Sony, and Olympus do in-body stabilization, not in-lens stabilization (so, with Nikon and Canon, if you want stabilization, you have to pay extra to have it in the lens, and not all lenses have it). And Olympus has a 2x crop factor vs. the 1.5 and 1.6 of the other makes.

    Where the bigger differences are going to be is in the overall system. Sony has autofocusing Zeiss glass. Pentax has pancake lenses. Olympus has a 2x crop factor which allows for f/2 zooms. But Nikon and Canon have the largest and most popular systems, with the most 3rd party support.

    I keep thinking that there is also Photoshop which will allow me to tweek things, such as blur etc.
    Yup, decent post-processing is as much a part of making an image as skill with the camera and composition ability. Maybe even more so. If Photoshop CS6 is too expensive for you, if you have student/teacher status, the educational license is quite a bit cheaper, and if you don't qualify for that, there's also Photoshop Express. Also Lightroom. Good post-processing and stopping down to f/8 can make your lenses look a lot more expensive than they are.

    If you can't afford to purchase software, or hate Adobe , you can also go open source and look at free tools like the Gimp or RAWTherapee.
    Last edited by inkista; 05-15-2012 at 04:41 AM.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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    Patrizia86 is offline I'm new here!
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    Well I decided to go with the D5100 and I got a bundle package that included the 55-200 mm lense I ended up spending a little more but I so happy I went with that camera! I love it and already started my website and a little business thanks everyone for your input...I still have a long way to go when it comes to learning composition and of course photoshop hahah

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