Newbie seeking advice on Digital SLR

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by sk8, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. sk8

    sk8
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    Hi

    I've been involved with the home cinema side of the forum for a while but thought i would tap this fountain of knowledge for some advice.

    Basically we currently own a Fuji Finepix Z1 which is a great point and click camera for its size and a Konica Minolta Z3 which again is good for a more 'serious' shot.

    A couple of family memebers have got digital SLR's and i have to say both my wife and i are considering taking the full step to digital SLR - the Z3 was a sort of compromise on this but as SLR prices appear to be coming down wondered whether anyone could offer some advice

    I want to spend about £500 - £700 but i'm not sure if this budget needs upping
    I'm after a Digital SLR but do i need to budget for a lense aswell?
    What makes are good to look out for?
    Can anyone recommend any shops/websites?
    What accesseries will i need?

    Thanks in advance :thumbsup:
     
  2. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Well I've just gone through this process with lots of help and reading on this forum and online reviews. I ended up with the Canon 400D.
    I would say you can't go wrong if you stick to Canon and Nikon. There are a few other interesting cameras out there, but if you want the decision to be easier, I'd stick with the two biggest names in DSLRs.

    I would say that your budget was perfectly fine and would only need to be upped if you fancied having all the zoom ranges covered from day one.

    Within your budget is the fantastic Nikon D80. You could get this with a 18-135 lens and it would do you for most things.

    Also worth considering is the Canon 400D. A bit cheaper than the Nikon D80 but the image quality is maybe a gnats better (at high ISO anyway).

    Some people say the Canon kit lens isn't all that good (it's an 18-55) and others say it's perfectly adequate. My own findings were that I was after slightly more.

    I bought a Canon 50mm f1.8 for about £60 (price still available) and I absolutely love it. So you don't have to spend a fortune.

    My basic reason for buying a DSLR was to learn about photography and I'm taking it one step at a time. For me right now, the 50mm f1.8 is all I need.

    A few people like the simplicity of the Nikon D40 (and now the D40X) but I have to say, there's nothing particularly intimidating about the 400D or the D80 either.

    The best thing to do is go to a well stocked shop, have a play with the cameras (maybe the Canon D30 too) and see which feels right. My wife found the D80 too clumsy for her for example.

    Then have a think about the kind of photography you want to do and whether it will be served perfectly well by the kit lens, or whether you need a longer zoom for example.
    You needen't spend a fortune on lenses - the Sigma 70-300 APO is less than £150.

    Places to shop - well it depends how comfortable you are buying from abroad and using ebay I guess.
    Best prices and reliability are from Digital Rev and One Stop Digital in Hong Kong (both have web shops and ebay shops).
    But it's also worth checking www.camerapricebuster.co.uk to see how UK prices compare.
    For example, a few of us bought the 400D from Tesco for only £350 over the easter weekend!
     
  3. sk8

    sk8
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    thanks for the quick reply and after doing a quick search the Canon 400D kept coming up and for the money its seems a great bit of kit - only £50 more than i paid for my Z3 :D
     
  4. pmjoyce

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    As you're asking for websites I thought I'd take the opportunity for a cheeky plug ;)

    After a lot of messing about I've managed to get my own site live at last. It's got full specs, reviews and ratings from amazon and eopinions users (links to professional reviews and more user reviews coming later this week), live price comparison and current offers from ebay.

    I hope you and others find it a useful resource. The url is http://www.camchooser.com
     
  5. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Yes - a bargain :)
    Also budget for:
    A couple of 2GB Compact Flash cards (or SD on the D80).
    A case/bag (I got a LowePro Slingshot 100)
    Spare Battery (I got a 1000mAh off ebay for £10)
    Maybe a UV filter to put on the front of the lens to protect it.
    Lens cloth.

    I also wanted to have fun with filters, so I bought a Cokin P system.

    Again - check www.camerapricebuster.co.uk for some of this stuff. It can be found far far cheaper than Jessops.
     
  6. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    This is a bit off-topic, but the SLR filter doesn't show any SLRs. There are lots on your database, but they vanish as soon as you choose SLR from the dropdown.
     
  7. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    why does the SLR section stop at £936?
     
  8. Yandros

    Yandros
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    On an initial budget of £500-700 I'd look at the Canon 400D and Nikon D80.

    Image quality wise there's nothing to choose between them at low ISO
    At high ISO 400D has slightly less noise
    Ergonomics are down to personal preference, so try them in a shop
    D80 has better build quality
    D80 has the edge slightly on performance.
    D80 has a better kit lens
    400D is significantly cheaper so gives you more cash for lenses

    If you take an instant dislike to the feel or controls of either camera, that's your decision made - don't bother looking at the specs after that, because they're both superb bits of kit.

    The D80 (in my opinion) a marginal step up from the 400D, but costs £100 more. If having tried them in a shop, if you don't have a clear favourite, I'd then work what lenses you want (or might want in the near future), and see how the two systems compare. As someone else mentioned, the Canon 30D is also JUST in your range, which is a step up from the D80, but leaves you tight on cash for lenses.

    Do you have any particular type of photography in mind? (eg holiday snaps, landscapes, people, wildlife, closeup, buildings, museums, sports etc) This will help us suggest lenses.
     
  9. sk8

    sk8
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    i think it would be used for in the main - holiday, landscapes, people, wildlife, action.
     
  10. Strobe

    Strobe
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    If you havene't already, get to a shop and handle the cameras. I completely changed my view when I actually got hold of the equipment. The Sony Alpha is also in your price range and the two lens kit can be had for under £600 now.
     
  11. horribleman

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    I love my Nikon D40. Really love it.

    Take a look at some pics I have taken recently (camera cannot impart technical ability, although I've only been 'into' it properly for 2 weeks so I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalpass/

    As others have said though - you need to be happy with the ergonomics, happy that the reviews state that the camera is good at what you want etc).
     
  12. pmjoyce

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    :eek: Thanks - fixed now... still having some teething problems but getting there hopefully!

    It's all I have in the database right now. Hoping to build up the list over time.
     
  13. sk8

    sk8
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    I will go and play with the cameras but its good to get some info prior to going in and having the shop potentially push what they want to push :thumbsup:
     
  14. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    I have just been through the same process as you, and had narrowed the choice down to the 400D and D80. The trip to the shop made my mind up.

    I found the D80 kit lens (18-135) far more usable, and felt I wouldn't need to buy another for while. I felt the D80 was better built. But most importantly I found the 400D very uncomfortable to hold.

    I managed to pick up the D80/18-135 kit in the recent Egg promotion, from Dixons, for £610 which I thought was a bargain.

    Been playing all weekend and very pleased so far, just a shame my photographic skills are so poor!
     
  15. horribleman

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    If I had £600 I'd probably have gome fore the D80 :)
     
  16. sk8

    sk8
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    and if i dropped the budget to £300 - £500 :confused:
     
  17. Yandros

    Yandros
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    A good starter lens set would be a kit lens (18-55, 18-70 or 18-135), a long zoom (70-300), and a 'fast' prime (50mm 1.8 is dirt cheap)

    Nikon D80+18-70 £682
    Sigma 70-300 APO macro £140
    Nikon 50mm 1.8 £79
    Sandisk Extreme III 2Gb £20

    Total £923

    Canon 400D+18-55 £489
    Sigma 70-300 APO macro £140
    Canon 50mm 1.8 £69
    Sandisk Extreme III 2Gb £20

    Total £718

    These prices are from Warehouseexpress. You'll be able to save a few quid more by shopping around.

    Also budget 20-30 quid for a bag. Obviously you can start off with just the kit lens and build up from there. You could also invest in better quality lenses, or ones with features such as image stabilisation (very useful on a long zoom).

    Be aware that some shops *cough* currys *cough* have limited knowledge (putting it politely), and places like Jessops are very guilty of trying to push you in their preferred direction.
     
  18. Yandros

    Yandros
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    Canon 350D or 400D, or Nikon D40 (see numerous recent threads discussing these cameras!!!)
     
  19. sk8

    sk8
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    presumably the sandisk extreme III are prefered for their speed
     
  20. Yandros

    Yandros
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    The Extreme III is perfectly matched to the write speed of the current generation of midrange DSLRS. I'd say Sandisk over Lexar as they seem to have fewer gremlins.
     
  21. sk8

    sk8
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    Thanks - will do a search :thumbsup:
     
  22. Yandros

    Yandros
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  23. harry66

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    If you are considering the D40 then you should also consider the D50 - still being sold by some websites.
    It has a few advantages (for me) over the D40;
    1. you have more choice with lenses - if you are on a budget you may find it easier to buy used lenses for the D50 which may not work with the D40
    2. size - I found the D50 easier to hold and use
    3. prefer the seperate status LCD display on the D50

    Edit: Walter Photo Video currently have a used D50 body for £199 in case you are interested...
     

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