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DSLR Recommendations

BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
I'm looking to upgrade from your regular digital camera to a DSLR model. Im new to DSLR's but i want something I can learn with and also grow into. I've been to Pittman Photo and looked at the Nikon D5100 and the Canon T3i. I like the feel of the Canon a lot and they're both similarly priced. I've thought about buying the body alone but looking around at lens recommendations and the Canon 18-55mm is highly recommended as a 'take everywhere' lens. What do you guys think?
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Replies

  • FirmanjaxFirmanjax Posts: 382 Deckhand
    I have the canon T2i and it does great. I am not a photography or camera expert and don't know half of what the camera is capable of but I have taken some really great shots with it. I got it mainly so I could get action shots of the kids playing ball games. You can come up with 500 pics in a hurry. I got the kit with the 300 mm lens and extra battery. I believe we bought it from sams club last year. I don't know about the nikon but I don't think you would go wrong with either one.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Nikon glass spanks Canon. And, Nikon autofocus is faster. But, then I might be bias.

    I suggest you or the mods move this thread over to the Photography Forum as this question has been discussed a lot recently.

    Bottomline, buy Canon or Nikon do not buy one of the other makers and they are all on the ropes.

    You don't tell us what you want to do with your camera which would be mighty helpful.

    Canon is running a holiday special at the moment.
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Stuart, FLAPosts: 9,906 Admiral
    18-55 is too short for an all-purpose carry lens. 18-135 is much better.

    So many bodies available. All depends on your budget.

    Go to B&H photo, search by lens or body and read all the customer reviews.
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  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Haha I already did the B&H thing. Lots of great. To start I'd like to try the 18-55mm lens to get my bearings then the 55-200mm and up since I want to get into wildlife photography. Most of the game I've been trying to photog is in the 150-300 yard range. Should I start with a lens with a broader range to start?
  • got ants?got ants? Posts: 9,140 Officer
    Get a 50, or 55mm fixed focal length lens. Most of your family shots will be with this and it will be the sharpest. Decide what you want to do with the camera before you buy anything. You can get by with very little if you are just going to post pics on facebook, or you might need a 2nd mortgage to get magazine quality prints, especially larger sized prints.

    And lastly, spend more on the glass, less on the gadgetry.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    It appears the OT forum will be keeping this thread instead of tossing over to photography where it belongs.

    Great beginner set up: D5100 and 18-200mm. Will last you several years while you learn.

    If you are serious about your statement about wildlife photography you will soon wan VERY expensive lenses.

    The best 'beginner' wildlife telephoto lens is the 300mm f4 in either flavor. But, frankly, that is not enough lens.

    In addition to my above post, my best advise is: invest in glass the camera bodies will come and go.

    Also, if you don't need new for everything, then buy here, they are very conservative on their condition rating and no questions if you want to send it back: www.KEH.com
  • tailingendloop77tailingendloop77 Posts: 801 Officer
    Don't think you'll go wrong with Canon or Nikon - it's like Ford vs. Chevy blah blah blah... I shoot Canon, the paper has Nikon. I think Canon has it all over them. I've been very impressed with Canon's Rebel T2 and T3i's...
  • MenziesMenzies Posts: 19,289 AG
    I did the same a couple of years ago. Did a ton of research. I wanted quality at a decent price, was not interested in having video capability, but wanted excellent quality output and the availability of a range of very good quality innovative lenses.

    Everything two years ago pointed to Olympus. I got myself an e520 and a couple of lenses. Now waiting for this to come down in price. The only lens that zooms to 500 and holds the 2.8 f stop through the range. I have seen it as low as 1800, but can't justify that. If it drops another 500 I may be in.

    http://asia.olympus-imaging.com/products/dslr/lenses/90-250_28/

    They came out with an e-5 about a year ago, which looks interesting. In the 1300 range right now.

    http://www.olympus-global.com/en/news/2010b/nr100914e5e.html
    Maybe if we tell people that the brain is an App, they will start using it.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Once up on a year, Olympus was a dandy. However, I would not do it now, after what just happened. They may soon no longer exist.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-14/olympus-takes-1-3-billion-balance-sheet-hit-to-dodge-delisting.html

    Besides, technically, Olympus is not in the DSLR business, they abandoned DSLR and are now in the Four-Thirds image sensor business.

    No that the Four-Thirds cameras are bad, but buyer beware.
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,193 AG
    You can use a 200mm for wildlife but it better be top of the line lens. Canon L glass or Nikon ED...........$$$$ There is cheaper glass out there, but you will find you get what you pay for. It is a good idea as you said, to try holding these cameras in your hand, but you also what to check where the controls are located and how they line up with your fingers. This is why I choose Nikon.
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  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Great points. I will head back to Pittman tomorrow before making a decision. I'll buy buying either from Amazon.
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Looks like the only difference in the T2i and T3i is the swivel LCD screen, and another flash feature. Maybe the T2i is the best bet for me and leaves me money for a better lens. Amazon has the body for $569 shipped. The Nikon D5100 is $779 for the body alone.
  • ChuckcChuckc Posts: 4,398 Captain
    Don't forget to check pricing at B&H and Adorama as well, typically they are among the lowest and have a reputation for excellent service. That said, if Pittman can come close enough support the local guy.
  • GuidenetGuidenet Posts: 239 Officer
    Batemaster wrote: »
    Great points. I will head back to Pittman tomorrow before making a decision. I'll buy buying either from Amazon.

    Two things. One, I would buy the camera from Pittmans. It will cost you a little more, but if something goes wrong, you'll more easily go back to deal with someone face to face. If you have operational questions, the same thing. If you use PIttman's to compare and waste a salesperson's time, then purchase online, it's pretty hard to go back in there for help. I can't tell you the times when my local camera store has helped me over the years. I buy from Adorama and B&H but only when I can't get it from Colonion PHoto and Hobby, Harmons or Pittmans. I just paid Pittmans over $1800 last week for a new Nikon Lens they had and nobody else did. Because of them knowing me to be serious, they held that hard to find lens on my word while I drove from Orlando to South Dixie Hwy to pick it up. I deal with Seleene there but always let the mgr know who I am and what I buy. I also toss down my NPS card.

    Secondly, as Flash (Dave) and others said, wildlife photography is not a cheap genre of photography. You need a long and fast lens to really get seriously into is. A cheaper long lens will work for a while. Really 300mm is the beginning and it goes up from there. Dave can make do with a professional grade 80-200 f/2.8 but he's a professional. Even he would do better with a 400, 500 or 600mm lens all of which go far over $5000. We all try the cheap consumer zoom way to 400mm or 500mm but those tend ot be very slow and really don't resolve so much. Tamron's 200-500 might be the best of them, but even there a much better lens is preferred if you want to see skin detail, fur or feather texture and eye glint. When you take wildlife, you try to make it seem like you were five or six feet away at the time. That takes good technique and good equipment.

    Like Craig (Waterengineer), Flash (Dave) and others, I use Nikon and I'm somewhat biased, but Canon also makes good starter glass. You'll also blow a ton on the good stuff. All passionate photographers get GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) and tend to overspend before learning how to master what you have. NAS (Nikon Aquisition Syndrome) is a particularly virulent variety of GAS where the diseased individual sometimes spends himself into nirvana, eventually diving into his navel and vanishing pennyless, so be careful. My point is to buy a camera and lens, learn them and master workaround to the limitations. At some point, you'll know your next purchase and won't have to ask. As you might see from my signature, I've got a new SUV worth tied up in gear, but that's over almost 50 years. Take it easy at the start.

    When it's time to get a wildlife lens, I'd start with the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR AFS or Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM. Tamron also makes a good 70-300 f/4-5.6 VC PZ which is just as good. Sigma does not. With one of those three choices, you'll be far better off than trying to bundle up a cheap 55-250 or something now. Do not fall for something like a 75-300 f/4-5.6 from an Internet or eBay combination unless you're wanting a new paper weight or door stop.

    With the Nikon you could get the wonderful 18-105 VR kit lens over the 18-55. With Canon, I would not look at the 18-135, I think it is. It's not of the sme optical quality of even their 18-55 IS which is quite good. Canon has others, but they will take you well over budget for a kit lens. Canon's 15-85 IS comes to mind but costs well more than a complete Nikon kit by itself.

    Buying locally gives you good Karma.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Guidenet wrote: »
    Buying locally gives you good Karma.

    :Agree, TOTALLY !
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Thanks for the help. Basically the Nikon D5100 with the 18-105 lens will still be cheaper than a Canon T2i and a lens that can compare to the Nikon 18-105? I was also looking at the Tamron lenses.
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,193 AG
    Batemaster wrote: »
    Thanks for the help. Basically the Nikon D5100 with the 18-105 lens will still be cheaper than a Canon T2i and a lens that can compare to the Nikon 18-105? I was also looking at the Tamron lenses.

    I never bought any of my lenses with the camera, always searched out eBay and also Cameta Auctions (also on eBay).
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Sorry that's what I meant. The Nikon 18-105 doesn't come with the D5100. It's a $300 lens.
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Right, they hold the price down but giving the 18-55, with the D5100. Correct?
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Yep. The lens you get with the D5100 combo is an 18-55 which doesn't have good reviews. There's an EBay seller that sells the D5100 with your choice of a few different lenses. The D5100 with the Tamron 18-270 lens, which I have read great reviews on, is $1195 shipped. The D5100 with the Nikon 18-105 lens is $1109 shipped. I still think I'd like to have the 18-105 lens and then later on get another lens dedicated for longer distances, rather than have one do it all lens. Agree?
  • ChuckcChuckc Posts: 4,398 Captain
    The 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses are not all that bad optically but you can pick them up for a song on Craigslist. I far prefer the 18-105vr lens as it offers nearly twice the reach and therefore will not need to be swapped as frequently. The 18-135 is a good one as well but lacks VR.

    I think you probably do better buying the body only and picking up lens bargains.
  • lowe-boylowe-boy Posts: 1,222 Officer
    Batemaster wrote: »
    Sorry that's what I meant. The Nikon 18-105 doesn't come with the D5100. It's a $300 lens.

    I just upgraded too.

    I bought a 5100 from Wayne at Pittman.

    Whats the difference between the above mentioned 18-105 and this one:

    AF-S VR 105 f/2.8G IF-ED

    Also, is this a good one for $250?

    AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor Zoom Lens
    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
  • ChuckcChuckc Posts: 4,398 Captain
    18-105 is a zoom lens ranging from 18mm at the wide end to 105mm on the telephoto. It is a general purpose walk around lens that would be a fine starting point. The 105 VR 2.8 is an excellent lens but one that would cost a bunch and is a dedicated macro lens that would also be a good telephoto lens and portrait lens but would not be a good single lens starting point due to it being too "long" for everyday duty. The 55-300 lens is supposedly pretty good and for many not a bad option at that price. I think it's that cheap due to a current rebate, not sure how long that will last.

    Either the 18-55 or 18-105 would be the average persons best starting point. The case can be made that the best option is a 35 or 50mm prime lens but most people will want the ability to zoom.

    Another option to consider would be the 17-50 Tamron which is excellent optically, constant f2.8 and would do far better in low light at the long end than either kit lens.
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Posts: 4,222 Captain
    Nikon glass spanks Canon. And, Nikon autofocus is faster. But, then I might be bias.

    Bottomline, buy Canon or Nikon do not buy one of the other makers and they are all on the ropes.

    You don't tell us what you want to do with your camera which would be mighty helpful.

    Canon is running a holiday special at the moment.

    i would have to humbly disagree with Craig that Nikon glass spanks Canon.....

    Canon EF and EF-L glass is every bit as good as anything Nikon has to offer....
    Some lenses are beter than others at certain focal lengths....
    But I would not dismiss Canon glass (except the EF-S stuff wich IS "entry level").....

    tim
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  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Posts: 24,415 AG
    Tim, that comment was written specifically for you....LOL. Where ya been....I figured you would have jumped on that long ago! LOL.
  • GuidenetGuidenet Posts: 239 Officer
    i would have to humbly disagree with Craig that Nikon glass spanks Canon.....

    Canon EF and EF-L glass is every bit as good as anything Nikon has to offer....
    Some lenses are beter than others at certain focal lengths....
    But I would not dismiss Canon glass (except the EF-S stuff wich IS "entry level").....

    tim

    I disagree here with Tim a bit. Some of Canons EF-S glass I wouldn't dismiss at all. Canon's 10-22 is absolutely a hidden L model almost. Canon's kit 18-55 IS is exceptional as a kit lens. After they added IS and tweeked that design, it became an amazing lens, maybe the best 18-55 kit out there, certainly as good or better than Nikon's. I would buy either one without issue.

    My only gripe with Canon is a tendency to cheapen the optics of some kit type lenses in order that they don't compete with higher lenses. I understand the marketing need, but I don't like it. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's an issue. Nikon doesn't cheapen the optics, they cheapen the build quality with plastic CF mounts and cheap switches or only VRI. I guess you can't have it both ways without paying more. I understand. Case in point.

    Nikon came out with the 18-135 non VR kit lens for the D80. Nikon told the designeres to build the very sharpest lens without consideraton for anything else, ignoring other aspects including fringing, distortion and build quality. That's what they came up with; one of the sharpest lenses made regardless of price, but at a cost of correctable distortion and uncorrectable build quality.

    Then Nikon put VR on that same lens and tweaked it a bit, lowering the ratio to fit the VR elements and came out with the wonderful 18-105 VR kit lens for the D90. Again, it's one of the sharpest lenses across it's zoom range and aperture range, but a fairly poor build quality with a plastic mount. They lucked out with the distortions because they somehow got better and all modern Nikons correct most anything else in the camera or software, your choice. The point is that here's a $300 lens when sold new seperately and cheaper when part of a kit that you can build a system around. It is optically superior to anything in it's price range and sometimes double it's price range and better than anything most anyone else has in that zoom range at anywhere near the price. This lens actually help sell midrange and some entry range Nikon cameras over Canon not having anything like it.

    Canon had to do something so they designed the 18-135 USM IS with slightly greater zoom range. It has a slightly better build quality but it's $400 by itself. The problem is the optics. This is a 2 star lens out of five. It's just not that good. It's poorer optcally than Canon's 18-55 and by a good margin. The point is you know Canon did it on purpose so as not to compete with the excellent 15-85 USM IS that was pretty new. It shows Canon could have made that 18-135 much better but chose not to. Shame on them. I know manufacturers have to compromise on something when going inexpensive, but I hate when they do it with the optical formula and start gluing plastic aspherics inside and stuff like that. I'd much rather have a plastic carbon fiber mount than a purposely less sharp kit lens.

    Here's another short example. Remember Canon's boat anchor, the non-IS version of the kit 18-55? It was horrible. People tended to replace it as soon as they could. It was considered a lens just to get started. Yuck. What is the difference between that chunk of paper weight and the absolutely excellent Canon 18-55 USM IS kit lens today other than IS? NOTHING! All Canon did was tweak it. It's the exact same optical formula not counting the IS. In other words the first one was dumbed down on purpose, I believe. It was giving Canon a bad reputation so they tweaked it back to what it should have been at the start.

    So anyway, Off Soapbox. LOL the point was that there are a lot of EF-S lenses out there that are excellent and worth looking at with reasonable price tags as long as you know which ones. There are a lot of non-Gold Ring Nikon lenses worth looking at if you know which ones too and none spank the other unless it's the 18-105 spanking the 18-135. ;)
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Stuart, FLAPosts: 9,906 Admiral
    We have two new Cannon 60Ds with 18-135s on them here at my office. I've used them a bunch, and the 18-135 seems like a decent lens. Definitely good enough for a walk-arounder. The reader reviews on B&H suggest shooting at f8 or better for best results. Is it a pro lens, no. But quite workable.

    388595_303903399628310_269324003086250_1218665_297534637_n.jpg
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  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,701 Captain
    Just a heads up. I found a D90 with 18-105mm lens on CL for $700. I offered $600 and am going to check it out in a bit. Anything I should be looking out for when buying used?
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,193 AG
    Cane Pole wrote: »
    We have two new Cannon 60Ds with 18-135s on them here at my office. I've used them a bunch, and the 18-135 seems like a decent lens. Definitely good enough for a walk-arounder. The reader reviews on B&H suggest shooting at f8 or better for best results. Is it a pro lens, no. But quite workable.

    388595_303903399628310_269324003086250_1218665_297534637_n.jpg

    Wow!!! It makes things look like a painting. ;)
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    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
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