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Please help me to choose a SLR camera

twist

Distinguished Member
Jim I agree.. in reality, we will have a few lenses that do the job... but for some people, it may be a comfort factor that there is a huge range... not that it will make a huge bit of difference in real world.. just my view!! When I was buying, my view was, which camera body felt good in my hand and that sealed the deal for me.
This is partly true, some users will never expand their lens collection to some of the better lenses available, and would be happy with just a walkabout and a 50mm. Others will develop their skills and want more from their collection and upgrade to better teles, primes, macros etc.
 

RajP

Distinguished Member
This is partly true, some users will never expand their lens collection to some of the better lenses available, and would be happy with just a walkabout and a 50mm. Others will develop their skills and want more from their collection and upgrade to better teles, primes, macros etc.
I agree... but from what I understand, people may go for a couple of prime, a UWA, a macro and a Tele lens... however, I suspect that most of these can be third party lenses too and don't have to be camera branded!!
 

shotokan101

Distinguished Member
I think it does make a huge difference as main manufacturer lenses tend to be far better than 3rd party equivalents with a couple exceptions. Not just pros want good glass, and as above its not only the specialist lenses that are lacking, most people will want a fast tele, a couple primes and a good walkabout lens.

Look at the affordability of primes in Canon mount-
35mm F2 - £220
50mm 1.8 - £70
85mm F1.8 - £285
100mm F2 - £350
200mm F2.8 - £560

To name a few. For NEW lenses that will offer top image quality, this is not a lot of money.
I hear what you're saying but the "mass market" isn't in primes these days it's in zooms and the only primes that the majority of folks will probably consider nowadays IMO is a 50mm/30/35mm and 90/100mm macro maybe (and most Joe Public upgrading from compact./bridge to dabble with DSLR probably won't even bother) and these are covered by most manufacturers and very good 3rd party alternatives.

Yes it's great to have the additional choice offered by a wide selction of manufacturer branded lenses in addition to most common needs being served by good value third party alternatives but what I'm saying is that it's not as important to someone getting started in photography as a nice comfortable easy to use camera.

At the end of the day - as you've shown recently - if/when you outgrow what's on offer from your intial camera manufacturer it is possible given the desire to change.

After all who's still driving the same brand of car or viewing the same brand of TV that they first owned ?

Jim
 

twist

Distinguished Member
I agree... but from what I understand, people may go for a couple of prime, a UWA, a macro and a Tele lens... however, I suspect that most of these can be third party lenses too and don't have to be camera branded!!
As above, there are 3rd party available but with exception to a couple lenses they are almost always poorer than main branded lenses. If the user is okay with that fact then 3rd parties will do, if not better choose your body wisely.
 

RajP

Distinguished Member
I hear what you're saying but the "mass market" isn't in primes these days it's in zooms and the only primes that the majority of folks will probably consider nowadays IMO is a 50mm/30/35mm and 90/100mm macro maybe (and most Joe Public upgrading from compact./bridge to dabble with DSLR probably won't even bother) and these are covered by most manufacturers and very good 3rd party alternatives.

Yes it's great to have the additional choice offered by a wide selction of manufacturer branded lenses in addition to most common needs being served by good value third party alternatives but what I'm saying is that it's not as important to someone getting started in photography as a nice comfortable easy to use camera.

At the end of the day - as you've shown recently - if/when you outgrow what's on offer from your intial camera manufacturer it is possible given the desire to change.

After all who's still driving the same brand of car or viewing the same brand of TV that they first owned ?

Jim
As above, there are 3rd party available but with exception to a couple lenses they are almost always poorer than main branded lenses. If the user is okay with that fact then 3rd parties will do, if not better choose your body wisely.
I agree with both..
 

RandomLee

Member
Haha, the OP just wants some advice on a good starter camera and this is what happens. C'mon folks... how many times have we been here?
 

twist

Distinguished Member
I hear what you're saying but the "mass market" isn't in primes these days it's in zooms and the only primes that the majority of folks will probably consider nowadays IMO is a 50mm/30/35mm and 90/100mm macro maybe (and most Joe Public upgrading from compact./bridge to dabble with DSLR probably won't even bother) and these are covered by most manufacturers and very good 3rd party alternatives.

Yes it's great to have the additional choice offered by a wide selction of manufacturer branded lenses in addition to most common needs being served by good value third party alternatives but what I'm saying is that it's not as important to someone getting started in photography as a nice comfortable easy to use camera.

At the end of the day - as you've shown recently - if/when you outgrow what's on offer from your intial camera manufacturer it is possible given the desire to change.

After all who's still driving the same brand of car or viewing the same brand of TV that they first owned ?

Jim
Not sure how you can say that Jim, most good photographers will want the best results, primes will deliver the best IQ available. Youre thinking of average Joe who buys a DSLR with 1, 2 or 3 zoom lenses that cover an entire range.

Sports and birder togs will use 200-400mm primes almost all the time. Portrait togs will almost always use 80-100mm primes. Street togs will almost always use 35-50mm primes. Macro users, various primes not just 90/100.

Average Joe, like myself, have moved up from 3rd party lenses and cameras that made do at the time, to very good gear. Not all people who start out will limit themselves.

It is possible to switch systems later if you got your gear at decent prices, its a hassle to sell it all and lose money in the long run though. Sometimes I think it wouldve been far easier to just go straight to Canon, however, I learnt a lot from trying most of the systems along the way and thats part of the fun.

Also, its not just the primes, look at the zooms that dwarf Sonys collection.
 

twist

Distinguished Member
Haha, the OP just wants some advice on a good starter camera and this is what happens. C'mon folks... how many times have we been here?
If hes spending 1000 EURO on a body thats not a starter camera. Its quite a lot to invest in a body.
 

RajP

Distinguished Member
Haha, the OP just wants some advice on a good starter camera and this is what happens. C'mon folks... how many times have we been here?
the OP wanted to buy a new camera, to replace a normal digital camera.
A Semi Professional Digital Camera.

from that, it does mean that they want to buy a system that will be expandable and they have the ability to choose a good range of lenses to keep them going.

These debates always come up as the argument for the brands creep in..
 

RandomLee

Member
Which is good as long as it doesnt get out of hand like xbox360 vs PS3 fanboy "discussions".
It kind of did a bit though :D

Apologies anyway, I didn't realise £430-£860 is considered semi pro.
 

RandomLee

Member
£860 will get a new D7000 with change or lightly used 7D or K5. Probably the best APSC cameras available.
True, but that's the top end of the OP's stated budget so doesn't leave much spare change for a lens, memory card, case, cleaning kit etc.

OT but I was almost sold on a used 7D until your A580 came up. It's now a few months later and I have no regrets and do believe the A580 to a better camera, not only due to price difference but actual specs and performance too. I have no brand loyalty to Sony (I generally avoid their other electrical goods) and would have happily switched had I not thought the A580 was better for me. I've never looked at a D7000 though, as I wasn't so keen on the ergonomics and menu system on earlier Nikon models I've had use of (D60, D80, D90 and D3100). You know more than me though, so just take that as personal opinion ;)

Anyway, back on topic...
 

twist

Distinguished Member
True, but that's the top end of the OP's stated budget so doesn't leave much spare change for a lens, memory card, case, cleaning kit etc.

OT but I was almost sold on a used 7D until your A580 came up. It's now a few months later and I have no regrets and do believe the A580 to a better camera, not only due to price difference but actual specs and performance too. I have no brand loyalty to Sony (I generally avoid their other electrical goods) and would have happily switched had I not thought the A580 was better for me. I've never looked at a D7000 though, as I wasn't so keen on the ergonomics and menu system on earlier Nikon models I've had use of (D60, D80, D90 and D3100). You know more than me though, so just take that as personal opinion ;)

Anyway, back on topic...
Look again, he asked for a camera not a camera and lens.

The 7D is MUCH more camera than the A580 but costs more. For A580 money though theres nothing better imo, maybe a Pentax K-R is equally as good. On a budget cant go wrong with either.
 

RandomLee

Member
Look again, he asked for a camera not a camera and lens.

The 7D is MUCH more camera than the A580 but costs more. For A580 money though theres nothing better imo, maybe a Pentax K-R is equally as good. On a budget cant go wrong with either.
Haha, but if he buys the body + kit-lens everyone will then tell him the kit-lens is crap and he'll need to spend even more on something else. That's how it works on AVF ;)

I'll take your word for it on the 7D mate, but on paper the specs say otherwise. I'll be able to judge for myself soon anyway as a friend is getting one to replace his 550D. I've already told him we're taking the Pepsi Challenge as soon as it arrives. Never used a Pentax personally, but keen to. We should maybe take this to the Sony thread if we want to continue the discussion ;)
 

Geezer69

Active Member
I am in a similar postion to the OP. The reviews and spec tell me Nikon D3100 but when I picked up the Canon 1100D it felt more comfortable in my hands and the menu seemed clearer. The Nikon is currently cheaper and it comes with IS lens. Really cant make my mind up. I think I will have to spend more time with them before taking the plunge. Finding it hard to leave my OM10 though!!
 

twist

Distinguished Member
I am in a similar postion to the OP. The reviews and spec tell me Nikon D3100 but when I picked up the Canon 1100D it felt more comfortable in my hands and the menu seemed clearer. The Nikon is currently cheaper and it comes with IS lens. Really cant make my mind up. I think I will have to spend more time with them before taking the plunge. Finding it hard to leave my OM10 though!!
Nikons better spec, Canon can use lenses without AF motors. Id personally go with the Nikon only just, but its tough if the Canon feels better.
 
I think how it feels in your hand is the most important criteria. The fact is that you can't buy a bad dSLR from Nikon/Canon/Sony/Pentax new these days. So ergonomics are paramount imo.

Menu system though is not that straight forward. On my D7000 I use the favourite function for the menu which you can populate with the most used functions. The two that I use regularly in there are Auto ISO (on/off in combination with shutter speed limit) and Non-CPU lens selection (for some of my older lenses to set widest Aperture etc so it meters properly). I don't need the menu for anything else with thanks to the dual control wheels, the dedicated buttons and the top LCD. I count myself lucky that when I started in digital with the D70 that an experienced friend explained the advantages of those. As such I'd always be looking for direct access to the functions rather than a menu on the back screen. But most importantly is how it felt.

Great examples here, SteelerDean preferred the D3100, Geezer69 preferred the 1100D. When I went originally I much preferred the Nikon D70 and my pal bought a 350D.

Geezer69, go with your gut instinct, if you prefer the feel of the 1100D then don't be tempted by a slightly better deal on the Nikon :)
 

djkmann

Novice Member
Yes, I agree that the "ergonomics" are important, but I don't like how and why it is emphasized so much when trying to help someone make a dSLR choice.

Primarily, picking a camera up and holding it in the store is not the same as using it. How it initially feels may not be a true indication of how it feels when operating it and using its controls.

ESPECIALLY, when a noobie picks up a camera and holds it in the store, they don't yet know how it will feel when using a dSLR because they have yet to do that. Do they know where their fingers will be moving and what controls they will want to access with the camera held to their eye? Do they pick it up and say, "yes, I like the location of the AF point selection arrows and how my thumb moves right to them as compared to the other model, plus I am more comfortable with the way the main dial is towards the front more than on the top"?? I'm betting no. What is the criteria for "how it feels in the hand?" Perhaps someone can offer a "noobie's guide to properly evaluating the ergonomics of a dSLR" and take the conversation beyond "it should feel good in your hand."

Until then, in the context of these types of posts, I think it is a very misleading and uninformative criteria.

Second, while everyone's hands are different, etc, I find it hard to believe that Canon and Nikon or the other major players make a completely "un-ergonomic" or "clumsy" camera for the average range of hands.

3. "Ergonomics" change with different lenses.

4. When you get new glasses or have dental work done, it always feels funny for a couple days. Then you get used to it and don't notice. When you work with a camera after a bit, I would bet most would experience the same.

There are good reasons why cameras and controls are designed with their specific curves, button placements, and materials. The user just may have to adapt a bit to their tool as they learn these reasons through use.

Yes, yes, I agree that some people just find certain cameras too big, small, uncomfortable, for their hands, etc. I just don't think "ergonomics" should continue to be criteria number 1 on every "which camera should I get" forum I read. I have used dozens of different dSLRs, I have handled them extensively as a photographer, salesperson, reviewer, and camera guide author. I have yet to find one I can't or won't use due to ergonomics. IMHO, "ergonomics" is over-emphasized in these conversations regarding beginners choosing a camera.

People should choose a camera based on the brand that their brother-in-law once told them was really good 'cuz his father's friend had one back in '86 and he took really good pictures with it at a wedding once and he had a really big lens so he totally knew what he was doing :)
 
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twist

Distinguished Member
Disagree, sure you could get used to them eventually, but like most things you will prefer one over the other as soon as you hold it. When you pick up the camera even as a noob youll start playing with the dials etc even though you have no idea what they do.

Theres a reason most of the posts on the forums agree ergonomics are important as youve discovered, why disagree? Its an important consideration, a lot of users on this forum went to a shop decided on a make/model but walked out with a different camera due only to the initial feel.

I think you still need to consider a lot of other things but ergonomics/feel are definitely up there.
 
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I can see the point made a little after all there is a difference between ergonomics and feel.

A lot of the advice is towards how it feels as is pointed out the real knowledge of handling and what is easy and good to have in what place may not be there.

However a good representative in a shop should take the time to talk you through those basics. To me the basics are shutter speed, aperture control and Iso settings. Perhaps also exposure lock.

But how it feels, the weight, the balance, the size of grip should matter and there is a lot of variation. Even more so on the advanced controls.
 

djkmann

Novice Member
Theres a reason most of the posts on the forums agree ergonomics are important as youve discovered, why disagree?
Why disagree?! Isn't that kind of the whole point of forums?...of the Internet? :)

I disagree because, well, I don't agree. I don't agree with the "see how it feels in your hand" cop-out, because more often than not, that is about ALL that is said on a forum. Not, "see how it feels WHEN you use the important controls, WHEN you add a heavier lens that you may soon purchase, WHEN you use it in a real life shooting situation, WHEN you understand why it is designed as it is." Instead I read "How to choose a dSLR? See how it feels in your hands. period." It is an incredibly imprecise criteria, and I believe secondary to other important criteria related to how a person plans to use their camera. And as mentioned, "feel" is not helpful to someone who doesn't fully know what "feel" involves in actual use (controls, lenses, etc.) Perhaps someone could put together more precise criteria for the significance of "how it feels in your hand."

And while a salesperson should certainly walk one through that, and I'm sure some do, I just don't think that happens often.

Case in point, the main dial of a Canon is oriented very differently than that of a Nikon. If any "feel" criteria is truly important, I would say it is this one. I find the top location/ orientation of the Canon dial coupled with the rear dial a natural, ergonomic joy. I find the horizontal front and rear dials of Nikons uncomfortable and aggravating to my tenosynovitis. Yet I have never once seen this actual ergonomic difference explained or discussed in one of the a fore-mentioned "feel" posts (nor heard this discussion in a camera store).

I'm taking a stand! No more "see how it feels" without further explanation of what that entails!

Why do I disagree with some forums?! Sometimes conventional wisdom just isn't correct (see Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics). And while I typically take all information found on the Internet as gospel, I have been told that sometimes the Internet and its contributors just aren't accurate or not precise enough to be meaningful...(Factual Error Found On Internet | The Onion - America's Finest News Source)

Thanks @dejongj for concisely articulating what I was attempting to say: "there is a difference between ergonomics and feel."

All this being said, you should avoid the Nikon that has the barbed wire grip and the Canon with the 12 kilo battery. Boy, they sure screwed up the ergonomics of those. I definitely agree they don't "feel" right in my hands, no matter which lens is attached. :) Beyond those, most should find current cameras manageable if not outright comfortable in the hands.
 
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isabib

Novice Member
ha.. I hope the OP still reads his/her thread.

Some good points from the masters. :thumbsup:
But at the end of the day, its your moolah and your final decision.:)
 

=adrian=

Member
If people were to buy their DSLR based ONLY on ergonomics, everybody would own 5D mark II :devil:









:laugh:










Being serious for a minute. I agree with djkmann, for me there are far more important factors than ergonomics. When I was buying my first DSLR, the 450D felt weird in my hand, exactly the same as every other DSLR in the shop. The reason? I did not know what's what, what will I use and have never hold DSLR in my hand before. It was just a foreign object and felt weird. Got used to the DSLR and after a while it felt like an extension of my hand.
 

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