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The Dark Room -- Photo Editing and Picture Taking. Advice, tutorials, questions on all things photoshop, photo editing, and taking pictures of beads or glass.

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  #1  
Old 2014-09-01, 2:22pm
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DesertDreamer DesertDreamer is offline
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Default DSLR Recommendations?

My son got his bequest money from my Mom's estate last month. He's putting most of it in savings, but since he's majoring in photography he wants to buy a good mid-level DSLR. (Sweet kid, he's even offering to let me use it sometimes!)

Since he'll be doing very varied assignments over the next few years, he needs something pretty versatile with a good lens selection. Biased me, I'd like to see it have good macro abilities (I told him I'd buy my own lens). He especially enjoys architectural details.

He's decided on a budget of $800-1000 including a lens or two.
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  #2  
Old 2014-09-01, 6:43pm
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Both Canon and Nikon have really good mid-level cameras sold as kits that include a couple of lenses. Being more familiar with Canon, their "Rebel" series a typical kit is a 12 megapixel camera with a 18mm to 50mm zoom lens and a 70-300mm zoom. That is plenty of range for most purposes especially while learning and the camera has all the basic features. A kit runs $700 to $800 depending where you buy it. They are in all camera stores as well as Costco, Sams, Best Buy etc. If you have a good camera shop close by they are usually very good places to buy. May be a bit more money but all the free help and advise is worth it.

One confusion is sensor size. There a "full" sensors (same as original 35mm film) and "cropped" sensor. The Rebels are cropped sensor. There is a great debate of the benefits of one versus the other. Ultimately there might be some benefits in the more expensive full frame sensors especially when creating large images from original photographs. But unless his classes specifically require full frame cameras, the cropped sensor should be fine. And the full frame cameras are more expensive by several hundred dollars.

There are better cameras for more money as there are also better lenses. But this level camera will get him up and running. We've used a 12 mp Rebel for several years and have been very happy including prints up to 16x20 inches.

As he progresses the rule is put more money in lenses than camera bodies. The more expensive bodies have greater sensitivity, the ability to shoot frames faster, etc. But the mid-range cameras have all the basics. The extra "auto" features aren't that useful. The lens is the eye of the camera and is the second largest contributor to the "mechanical" perfection of the image. Of course the most important part is the photographer.
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  #3  
Old 2014-09-02, 2:05pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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I would suggest that with this budget he avoid any of the kits. The lenses are quite poor. Lots of good review sites for both Canon and Nikon. He should do some basic research and pick the components that suit his application best. I prefer Nikon but Canon, Sony, etc make excellent DSLR platforms as well. I have been using a Nikon 300D for many years with a high quality fixed lens that still does more then I need.
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  #4  
Old 2014-09-02, 2:32pm
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Would assume that your son is presently in or has been accepted into a college or university photography program. Then why does he not talk to the professors that teach the program? They know what is needed to be successful and can make recommendations based on the needs of their photography program.

The emphasis of the program will dictate the type of equipment needed. i.e. fashion vs landscape vs reporting, etc. So overall, why spend dollars now for something that may not be useful or have very limited use.

And as pointed out in the above comments, the lens is a very significant part of the camera system. And in many cases the lens or lenses will cost a lot more than the camera body.

And depending on the course, there may be the need to purchase professional photo editing software. Take at look at the cost of PhotoShop CS and other software that may be required for course activities.
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  #5  
Old 2014-09-04, 7:55am
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Dale M. Dale M. is offline
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I have a Sony (Alfa 300) and it is sort of dysfunctional and sort of a disappointment.... Some time it will not do what I want under certain conditions... Local camera store would not even take it as a "trade-in"....

Keeping a eye out to see what I may replace it with and Cannon seems to be better camera that than Sony.... Also so consider local support... Get camera you can walk into local camera store and get help or lenses or accessory's for...

Also with digital, something to know is what formats does it save images in, most are RAW and/or JPG.... And how big if storage device does he have to store images ... 100 12MB pics will eat 12000MB of disk space real quick....

Dale
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  #6  
Old 2014-09-04, 11:27am
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Little Brushy Little Brushy is offline
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I love my Canon T2i. I had a hard time making a decision, but I went to a reputable camera shop and got some excellent advice without a hard sales pitch.
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  #7  
Old 2014-09-15, 10:36am
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I have Nikon's D3200 kit plus I added a 60mm macro. I have always sworn by Nikon ever since the beginning. Some people will prefer Canon.
I too, will suggest purchasing a camera body first then adding what lenses he wants separately. good luck

Duane
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  #8  
Old 2014-09-21, 8:55pm
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I suggest the Nikon camera too. I have the D5100 and love it. It's a fantastic camera.
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  #9  
Old 2014-09-29, 3:00pm
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Iwantonetoo Iwantonetoo is offline
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I love my Nikon D3100! I'm still learning how to use it proper. They do so much more than I'll ever do with it. Thinking of taking a class on DSLR photography.

Did he decide yet?
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Old 2014-09-29, 3:37pm
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I always check this site when I want to buy something new. Hope you will find it as helpful as I do. Good luck to your son! http://www.steves-digicams.com
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  #11  
Old 2014-09-29, 3:45pm
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Eileen Eileen is offline
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I think you can't go far wrong with either Canon or Nikon, but here is another review site well worth checking out. I used to go there a lot for the forum on digital retouching, but I've read some of the reviews as needed too.
http://www.dpreview.com/
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  #12  
Old 2014-12-30, 7:18pm
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untamedrose untamedrose is offline
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I just got a rebal T3i for christmas and think it works pretty well... with the standard lens.


Standard plus 50.00 macro extension set

like a tiny section of weird holiday decor that was wrapped around a wine bottle neck.

Still playing with it...only complaint is it takes a long time to decide to take that photo. I can focus and focus...and it will still go through the whole range a few times to take the shot lol
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  #13  
Old 2014-12-31, 11:38am
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Agreed....Nikon 3200! We just got this for my mother for Christmas. great camera. lots to play with, but not enough to overload someone! And if you decide to go "better" in the future, your lenses will work with your new Nikon!
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Old 2014-12-31, 11:51am
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My last 3 purchases have been Nikon, cannon would be my second choice.
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  #15  
Old 2015-01-03, 4:28pm
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I have a Nikon5100 that I love, but use an older Olympus camera for photographing beads.
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  #16  
Old 2015-01-04, 1:26pm
Mike Jordan Mike Jordan is offline
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canon and Nikon both have their strong points and make excellent cameras... but when it comes to lenses, Canon's L lenses are the best. I've bought a lot of Canon bodies over the years but I've always hung onto my L lenses because they are that good. Even their L zooms will be as good or better than a lot of prime lenses.

I also second the comment about don't buy a "Kit" camera. Pick the lenses that will be used the most and then buy the body to go with them. Anyone that is serious about doing more than snap shots in photography is going to outgrow their current camera pretty quickly... unless you have enough money to start with the top of the line.

Mike
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