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Purchasing an entry level DSLR

Travel Forums Travel Photography Purchasing an entry level DSLR

1. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 9y

I'll make it short and simple....

I'm looking to buy my first DSLR camera. In a couple of months I'm heading off to Italy for a while and most of my financial commitments are with Italy. This means I have a budget when it comes to a DSLR but I know for a fact that I want to have one during my trip. I would like any opinions on which entry level DSLRs would suit me. I know kit lenses are not as good as the others but after purchasing the body, I won't be able to afford any higher end lenses till some time after the trip. I'd appreciate opinions on kit lens quality as well. For example, I've heard that the kit lens for a Canon EOS 400d (18-55) is pretty bad.

I'd be grateful for any help! :)

2. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y

I've had my olympus E500 for about 5 months now, and couldn't be happier, bought it with a lense kit, 14-45 and 40-150, the wide angle lense is fantastic, have enlarged a few photos, and am really happy with the results. Quality wise, the mounts are all metal, no plastic bits to break.

Haven't had any experience with other cameras.

3. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 611 posts) 9y

Hi there, I'm a professional photographer who uses Canon. But that was just a decision and I'm aware that Nikon are every bit as good. You won't go far wrong with either.
But remember, you are not buying a camera, you are buying into a system. Look at what you might want to buy in the future and make that part of your decision.
Also, yes the Canon 18-55 isn't the best, but that doesn't mean it's actually bad. I've sold landscapes for £100 + taken with that lens and probably only another photographer would know. But I use an 'L' series lens for weddings and portraits and you can see a difference.
Having said that, I just bought a 350D (Digital Rebel) as a backup camera, and have been very please with the quality of the images from it.
Remember though, the camera is only as important to good photography as the word processor is to good writing..!
;)

4. Posted by Makini (Respected Member 80 posts) 9y

If you're really into getting a camera with a good start-off lens - look around a bit. Here in Sweden there are lots of advertisements and campaigns all the time, and sometimes you find a Camera-kit with as an example Nikon D80 and a 50mm f/1.8 for a reasonable price. The 50mm f/1.8 is a great starter, due to it's incredible sharpness compared to the really cheap pricing. Though if you're on a trip to Italy, you'll probably want a wideangle lens for landscapes and city pictures - and thereby the ordinary 18-55mm seems more appropriate.

Hard call, I know. Just be sure you don't rush yourself and don't even look at something just for people seem to have the general opinion that it is of a bit lower quality. As stated by others, the kit-lenses (18-55 for both Canon and Nikon), are often very good - and you'll go far with only one of those in your camerabag.

5. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 9y

Thanks for all the responses and help. I've been doing some reasearch and that along with some of the topics in this forum has eased my fears

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 9y

You mentioned in another topic that you were trying to decide between the 30D and the D200. I would call neither of those cameras "entry-level" (the 30D perhaps slightly so, but the D200 is definitely semi-pro). They're both absolutely awesome cameras, but if you have no experience with DSLRs, you might be better off considering buying a body-only Nikon D40 or Canon 400D (or maybe a Nikon D80, if the D40 is too simplified for your tastes) and then buying a really nice lens for it with the money you now have left over. The actual photos rolling out of these cameras will be of similar quality to those coming from the more expensive cameras - the difference in price is almost purely due to build quality and ease of control (plus having the photo quality available a year or two before it trickled down to the current entry-level cameras).

Oh, and on kit-lenses, the Nikon 18-70 (which came with the D70/D70s, and I think might be an option with some others) is a rather awesome lens (optically speaking) - for its cost. The 18-200 VR isn't nearly as good optically (especially on the wide end it's totally blown away by the 18-70), but is very very useful (both for its wide range and its vibration reduction), and will be my walkaround lens of choice (I've already trialled it) just as soon as I also have the money to buy the 12-24 to cover for its wide end weakness. That's where my personal experience ends, but from what I've heard, the 18-135 is kinda decent, but you're better off with the other two, while the 18-55 is decidedly "meh". (Links to Thom Hogan's reviews, which aren't perfect, but are at least more useful than, say, Ken Rockwell's.) :P On the Canon side the only knowledge I have is that their 18-55 is perhaps even more "meh" than Nikon's.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 12, 2007, at 1:52 PM by Sander ]

7. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 9y

Quoting Sander

You mentioned in another topic that you were trying to decide between the 30D and the D200. I would call neither of those cameras "entry-level" (the 30D perhaps slightly so, but the D200 is definitely semi-pro). They're both absolutely awesome cameras, but if you have no experience with DSLRs, you might be better off considering buying a body-only Nikon D40 or Canon 400D (or maybe a Nikon D80, if the D40 is too simplified for your tastes) and then buying a really nice lens for it with the money you now have left over. The actual photos rolling out of these cameras will be of similar quality to those coming from the more expensive cameras - the difference in price is almost purely due to build quality and ease of control (plus having the photo quality available a year or two before it trickled down to the current entry-level cameras).

Oh, and on kit-lenses, the Nikon 18-70 (which came with the D70/D70s, and I think might be an option with some others) is a rather awesome lens (optically speaking) - for its cost. The 18-200 VR isn't nearly as good optically (especially on the wide end it's totally blown away by the 18-70), but is very very useful (both for its wide range and its vibration reduction), and will be my walkaround lens of choice (I've already trialled it) just as soon as I also have the money to buy the 12-24 to cover for its wide end weakness. That's where my personal experience ends, but from what I've heard, the 18-135 is kinda decent, but you're better off with the other two, while the 18-55 is decidedly "meh". (Links to Thom Hogan's reviews, which aren't perfect, but are at least more useful than, say, Ken Rockwell's.) :P On the Canon side the only knowledge I have is that their 18-55 is perhaps even more "meh" than Nikon's.

I do like those reviews as I understand them more I'll probably have to go back there (my local shop) and mess around with stuff a little. You're right, I have no experience with DSLRs and most of the things I liked with the 30D and D200 had more to do with other things besides photo quality. Thanks for all of your help, I have some thinking to do

8. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

I bought a Nikon D40 at Christmas and as part of the package there were 2 lenses included - lm still only really finding my feet with it but its a great wee camera easy to handle sturdy and well packaged. The battery life is great with it too. Im a total novice when it comes to photography but l was finding l was wanting something more than my point n shoot so the D40 has filled the gap nicely!