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Best DSLR at reasonable price??? PLEASE HELP!

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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 4:12:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2011 7:22:08 AM PDT
T. Campbell says:
@David "While we are on the topic, the physical size of the sensor has many implications. Picture quality usually isn't one them. Ultimately, historically, the smaller sensors, since they usually are made in the newest processes with the newest tooling end up being the best."

Wait, WHAT? No, that's wrong.

Sensors are typically judged based on factors such as color depth, dynamic range, and ISO performance (high signal-to-noise ratio in low light). The sensors with the best of these tend to be found in full-frame cameras (from Nikon & Canon.) Probably a major contributing factor is that the physical size of each individual pixel is larger and a larger pixel collects more photons (thus more sensitive in low light). This becomes really obvious when you shop for astronomical imaging CCDs... where you pay dearly for the sensors that have chips with the largest pixels sizes but astronomers absolutely want top-notch high-sensitive in low-light with lowest possible noise (because otherwise "noise" starts to look like background stars.)

Pixel count is based on the old megapixel war. That was a big deal back when digital cameras were shooting 640x480 size images. But now that it's hard to find a camera with just a few megapixels, pixel count is no longer the determining factor in image quality unless you plan to print REALLY REALLY big. Though Canon has a few DSLR bodies optimized for sports use that have 16 & 18 megapixel sensors, the Nikon guys are still using 12 megapixel sensors on their sports bodies and, frankly, don't seem to be suffering from the "lower" megapixel count. Pixel count hasn't mattered in quite a while.

Based on DxOMark scores, Olympus cameras tend to score in the mid 50's ... and oddly enough, they've pretty much just stayed there over the years (newer Olympus models aren't providing sensors that produce better scores... actually the most recent models are fractionally worse than some of the older models.) MOST of the pack score better than Olympus... the best cameras available from Nikon and Canon are scoring up in the 80's. The highest scoring sensor ever is in the Phase One IQ180 -- it got a DxOMark score of 91 points (btw it has a HUGE sensor and it costs about $48,000).

Posted on Nov 5, 2011 5:44:00 AM PDT
your question is too open, you can buy a nikon d70s on ebay for about 200 in mint condition, takes great pictures, and learn the ins and out of photography and spend the rest of your budget on lenses, megapixels dont make the picture, its a marketing ploy. The photographer makes the picture. an all purpose lens is the nikon 18-200 for about 800 and from here you build. Cameras go down in price, good lenses dont and in some cases actually go up in price. So why pay so much on a camera that will depreciate, buy a good used one already depreciated and use it until you either 1 - get bored and end up doing the same as others putiing it on ebay, or 2 learn and enjoy it so much you will know which camera you want withou having to ask a post on the web.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2011 6:00:33 AM PDT
John Foote says:
That is very good advice. You can get a used D40 (or the Canon, Olympus, Pentax equivalent) and a $100 50/1.8 and take great pictures for about $300. Money into good lenses will be well spent.

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 6:04:53 AM PST
Florida45 says:
Buy a clean used Lumix G1 and a clean used 14-42 Lumix zoom lens on ebay about $350 total.
Its a great system.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 9:42:06 AM PST
David, you are using the right words, but you are putting them together in ways that just don't make sense. You must be a troll. *4/3 cameras are not DSLRs.
*Canon does not make plastic lenses.
*DSLR kit lenses are usually 18-55mm, not 14-42.
*If you set two cameras with the same settings, ISO 400, 1/60 f2.8 for example, and take a series of photos with decreasing light, you won't reveal weakness in the sensor, you will just go from overexposed, to good exposure, to underexposed. At a low light level, those setting will just produce an underexposed image on every sensor you find.
*And the biggest whopper of all? "Pixel count is a better determinant than sensor size."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 9:49:43 AM PST
Michael Long says:

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 11:37:55 AM PST
I wrote my recommendations for a first DSLR here: I personally prefer the Nikon D5100.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 11:52:39 AM PST
David, you are using the right words, but you are putting them together in ways that just don't make sense. You must be a troll. *4/3 cameras are not DSLRs.

The original 4/3rds format IS an SLR -- it uses a moving reflex mirror to feed an optical viewfinder, and fast phase detect focusing.

The MICRO-4/3rds, however, is NOT an SLR -- it's a large P&S with interchangeable lenses, using slow main sensor contrast detect focusing.

The only thing in common is that they both use the same size sensor: a 4x3 aspect with an equivalency factor of 2X.

On a 4/3rds, with a 2X factor, a 14-42 is equivalent to 28-84mm; on an APS-C with a 1.5X factor, an 18-55 is equivalent to 27-82.5mm. So on that basis, the kit lenses ARE similar -- they cover the same field of view (ignoring the 4x3 vs 3x2 aspect differences).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 1:12:27 PM PST
My understanding is that the original 4/3 format is mostly reduced to a footnote now. Olympus is having legal and financial problems and was losing interest in the product anyway. Micro 4/3rds pretty much turned out to be the way that standard got implemented. Nothing wrong with that, but, not DSLR.

And yeah, I suspected that once you account for crop factor, the lenses would be similar, but when talking about SLRs, kit lenses aren't 14-42. I wonder why they picked the different aspect? If I were designing a new system, only one aspect ratio really makes sense. 1x1. Build it with a square sensor, and allow for shooting at user defined aspect ratios as needed. Especially if you are going with an EVF.

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 9:23:57 PM PST
B. DARE says:
Sony Alpha A100K 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 Lens I was able to buy a new Sony A100 body at the Sony Outlet store for less than $300 a couple of years ago. You can buy one with the kit lens for about $250 now. You can also buy lenses cheap because it used to be a Minolta until Sony bought Minolta, so the Minolta Maxxum lenses fit and the autofocus works. Sony is somewhat cheaper than Nikon or Canon because it does not have the name recognition. I also have the Nikon D40 and prefer the Sony A100. For one, it has way more megapixels.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2011 11:08:02 PM PST
jaclyntaylor says:
canon rebel t3

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 5:57:55 AM PST
Rochelle says:
I'd suggest looking at a Canon Rebel model. Less money but functions of a DSLR. Budget friendly for someone not looking to get into serious photography down the road.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012 5:47:48 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
David Adkins says: Go to and read his advice. He reviews everything. Much to learn.

I agree Ken Rockwell has much to learn.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012 5:50:55 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Fishman says: Never ceases to amaze me that people can recommend a camera without knowing the first thing about the OPs requirements or budget. Here we go, never mind this dSLR nonsense, go for a range finder: Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera - Blue

The Pink one is a much better camera.
Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera - Pink

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012 8:07:18 AM PDT
I think Ken knows what he is talking about. He just chooses to say provocative things that sound ignorant to stir up controversy and get more page views. Any publicity is good publicity, just make sure you spell my name right.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012 9:09:28 AM PDT
Arje says:
released yesterday; nikon's new D3200. Followup of the 3100 with loaaaaads of great features. Check that one out for sure.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012 6:31:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2012 6:39:29 PM PDT
GanymedeIV4 says:
I'm more then pleased with my Lumix GF2-K. I swooped in like a eagle on a trout scoring a a factory refurbished model (with all accessories + 14-42mm aspeheric lens) for 269.99$. I've since added some 52mm accessories to my bat belt, and i've got to say I know its not AS amazing as the full frame SLR's... But i'll be damn if this guy isn't a lil' champ.

(14-42mm lens, double CPL filters f/5.6 , Exp 1.6 second @ ISO-100 -1 bias, aperture 3.62890625 w/ pattern metering, compulsory mode )

But a camera is only as good as the person behind it at the end of the day.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2012 6:04:20 AM PDT
I've always been told that the glass (lens) is more important than the body, take it for what it's worth. As you can see, everyone has their favorite, as do I, however, I would suggest going with something that you can grow with. There are a ton of options with Nikon and Canon, not so much with some of the lesser name brands. You may also think about getting used equipment. My experience has shown me that most photographers treat their equipment better than their spouse! That's great news for someone on a budget. You can get great gear at reduced prices!

Posted on Apr 22, 2012 1:53:21 PM PDT
Patrick Ward says:
Take a look at a Cannon T2i. The T3i is newer and more expenive. The T2i is top notch DLSR, a tad above entry level. I would recommende an off camera flash such as the Cannon speedlightl 430EX. Plan on taking as many oictures as you can in the first 6 experimnt with ISO, speed and lighting.
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Posted on Apr 22, 2012 2:02:11 PM PDT
You do realize that this thread has been going on since last October with the OP never posting again, don't you?

Posted on Apr 24, 2012 3:27:55 PM PDT
get a hassleblad, best bang for your buck...

Posted on Apr 25, 2012 7:45:22 AM PDT
It's easy.

Nikon D5100 or Canon T3i.

You can complete your kit with 35mm f1.8 Canon or Nikon or Sigma.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2012 8:32:59 PM PDT
Steve Cripe says:
I 'm not the original OP, but I am actively looking for any advice and have been following all these posts lately. Am new to DSLR's and I would like to get seriously into wildlife photography. Need camera advice for close-up, telephoto and high-speed/action shots with wildlife. So thanks to all.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 2:53:58 AM PDT
Les Schmader says:
"Need camera advice for close-up, telephoto and high-speed/action shots with wildlife."

What type of wildlife are we talking about here?

A fox that disappears if you blink your eyes or a coyote the bolts like a rocket through the brush? Whitetail deer go in about four directions at once and black bear just crash through anything in their way. They all tend to stay in the shadows. Most are more likely to "freeze" than run.

I'd start with the body that had the highest good ISO and a 4-7 fps burst. Then just add a 55-250 or similar equivalent and see how this works. You'll "need" 400mm equivalent and most likely "want" a whole lot more. I could get by outdoors with my 90-400 equivalent about 90% of the time. Close-up, telephoto and wildlife "stills".

You'll want a lens with image stabilization for a lot of situations where you need to keep the ISO down and/or use narrow apertures hand-held.

You really have to know the type of game you're stalking before you can pick a specific lens for the purpose. It's like picking the rifle for hunting big game. And you will have to actually carry this stuff. Size and weight does matter.

"BIF's" are another thing entirely.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 7:36:11 AM PDT
Steve Cripe says:
Thanks Les. Good things for me to think further about. I'm not talking about big game animals on exotic safaris...LOL. Local critters like you mentioned during local hiking trips.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  65
Total posts:  122
Initial post:  Oct 26, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 3, 2012

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