DSLR: Nikon or Sony (or Canon)?

lmccauley

Well-known Member
I want to dip my toe in the lake of Digital SLR photography. I currently have a P&S digital camera which is nice and small, meaning that I take it everywhere. However, I recognise that it has a number of limitations (short zoom, long time between button press and shot, poor low-light performance).

I've been looking at the entry-level DSLRs, and the Nikon D50 took my fancy. It's reasonably priced and looks like it would have most of the features I need. The Canon 350 also looked like a possibility, although the price difference is significant.

I would like something not too expensive and not too bulky, that I can comfortably carry round on walks and days out. I'd rather have a lesser camera that I actually take with me, than a better camera that I leave at home. Over 90% of my photos are taken outside, and are often spontaneous. I'd also like to get back into photographing airshows (which I used to do as a kid with my dad's film SLR with 200mm prime lens). So, I'd like one or two lenses to cover approx 18-200mm.

Then I learned about Image Stabilisation/Vibration Reduction/Anti-Shake and the new Sony Alpha 100. I have quite shaky hands, and a number of shots I've taken with my P&S have been ruined by shake. This makes the Sony very attractive, but expensive (A100 + 18-70mm + 75-300mm kit lenses = £830). However, I'm now starting to wonder if I may be better getting the Nikon or Canon with an IS/VR lens. Nikon do a 18-200mm VR lens for about £550. With the D50 body that would take me to the same price as the Sony + 2 kit lenses, but is it wiser to have most of the value in the lens (especially with bodies changing so rapidly)?

So, I'm currently umming and ahhing over which way I should go, or whether I should just plump for the D50 + 18-70mm lens, save £400 and just accept the limitations.

Thoughts?

Cheers,
Liam
 

chris1210

Novice Member
I found that the decision between the D50 and 350D was made when i held them. For a D-SLR which you will likely be putting at least a 200-300mm lens on, for my hands, i found the 350D too small, and didnt feel as nice to grip as the weighty D50. The price was also a big factor for me too.

However, i dont know what the kit lens on the 350D is like, but im not a fan of the 18-55 on the D50, which after 2 weeks i have sold and replaced with the 18-70. I just found the 55 not versatile enough and quite a soft lens. But then, i did get £75 for it when i sold it, and got the 18-70 for £135 off ebay, so it actually worked out better doing it that way than buying just the body and the 18-70 for me.

I too have quite shaky hands, but in good outdoor light i have had absolutely no problems with shake using my sigma 70-300 lens.

The A100 looks like a great bit of kit, but you just have to ask what you ideally want to spend, and whether you print big enough to warrant a 10mp camera.

I thought about it before buying mine, and the only camera that kept grabbing my attention was the D50 - its an absolute belter for the money.
 

mr jones

Novice Member
i have shakey hands and i use a DSLR without any sort of image stabalisation, its never been a problem for me, you just have to know what acceptable limits to shutter speeds are to ensure it doesnt become an issue
 

lmccauley

Well-known Member
mr jones said:
i have shakey hands and i use a DSLR without any sort of image stabalisation, its never been a problem for me, you just have to know what acceptable limits to shutter speeds are to ensure it doesnt become an issue
I have wondered whether the not fantastically ergonomic grip on my P&S camera, combined with not a very fast lens and only being able to shoot at low ISO has been a contributing factor to my shakey shots, and that I might actually be OK with a "proper" camera. Hmm, has anybody else found this?

Cheers,
Liam
 

chris1210

Novice Member
lmccauley said:
What's the difference between APO and non-APO (other than about £80)?

Cheers,
Liam

Was advised by a load of people that the APO is significantly better optically. I have to say ive been very very impressed with it so far. I did manage to get mine in mint condition for £140 of ebay tho..

As for shakey shots, im finding i got worse shake on my FZ20 which had IS! Its down to how you can hold the camera..... i have quite big hands (oo-er) but found that the FZ20 was a bit awkward to hold comfortably. Now that the D50 has a decent sized lens and a great grip, i find that much easier to control.
 

mr jones

Novice Member
lmccauley said:
I have wondered whether the not fantastically ergonomic grip on my P&S camera, combined with not a very fast lens and only being able to shoot at low ISO has been a contributing factor to my shakey shots, and that I might actually be OK with a "proper" camera. Hmm, has anybody else found this?

Cheers,
Liam
what you gotta remember is that photogs have survived without IS, without the ability to change film speeds at the touch of a switch, without live previews etc for decades, and they managed perfectly well, so to me its clear that we dont actually need these trick features, we just desire for them and im sure we could easily work without them.


the weight of an SLR is also a help with dampening shakey hands, whereas with bridge cameras and compacts the drive is to reduce weight to a minimum meaning cameras are unnaturally light for there weight (ive found this with most bridge cameras ive used (mostly fuji) the only one ive used with felt like the right weight for its size was my old oly c750Uz), DSLRs dont seem to be attempting to reduce weight the selling point is all in the cameras ability rather than its weight
 

md644

Novice Member
"but is it wiser to have most of the value in the lens (especially with bodies changing so rapidly)?"

I think you have (possibly without realising it?) hit the nail on the head with this question....whilst the camera body is very important, you are buying a Nikon, Sony, or Canon system, in the future you are fairly likely(?) to change the camera body, if/when this time comes you would want your exisiting lenses and accessories to be compatible otherwise it can get very expensive to "change horses".

Good points and advice about camera shake and IS/VR above; one additional point - whilst it works very well if you take "action" shots, IS/VR won't freeze moving subjects, that's the realm of fast (expensive) lenses....
 

Magslad

Novice Member
Liam, I agree with mr jones regarding weight and its impact on shake - I think you may well find that a heavier weight is actually beneficial to reducing shake.

I happen to have the Nikon 18-200 VR lens you mentioned in your first post, but it wasn't the 'VR' with respect to reducing general shake that sold the lens to me (I had no problems with shake on the standard 18-55mm lens). For me it was the ability to reduce shake specifically at longer focal lengths (150-200mm), combined with the all-round good optics on the lens, that meant I can use it as an everyday lens on the camera without needing to carry around a tripod all the time. This means that I'll only need to change lenses (once I've bought them!) for specific tasks such as macro shots, or using a prime for portraits etc

I also agree with putting money into lenses rather than bodies at first - a good lens will be good lens regardless of whether it's on a D50/70/100/200 etc
 

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