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Digital SLR Recommendations

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1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

Hi everyone,

Looking for recommendations for a good digital SLR camera. I want to get something pretty decent, because I'm not planning on replacing this one for years!

What's everyone using at the moment, and why do you like your camera?

Thanks ! :)

2. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 8y

Hiya, it all depends on how much you want to spend, get recommendations and compare them on sites such as; http://www.photoreview.com & www.dpreview.com... there are many sites like this, just google for them!

3. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

Thanks, I'll check those out!

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 8y

If you just want something which'll take much better photos than a point of shoot - but will most of the time still use it as if it was a point and shoot - I'd recommend a Nikon D40.

If you want a DSLR which will grow with you as you learn to get more and more out of it - and are actually willing to put in the time to discover all its features and how to best use it - I'd recommend a Nikon D80. (Except at this point I'd say wait half a year if you can; chances are that Nikon will announce its successor (probably named the D90) real soon now, and that that one will become the one you want. Don't get me wrong, the D80 is a great camera, and it'll easily last you a decade; but DSLR technology has been making great strides, and it'd be a shame to miss out on the next generation of that if you're not in any real hurry to buy a camera.)

The Canon equivalents would be the Canon 1000D (Rebel XS in the USA; only recently announced, might not be generally available yet) to compete with the Nikon D40, and the Canon 40D to compete with the Nikon D80.

Which brand to get, Nikon or Canon or one of the smaller ones (I've heard good things about Pentax lately, too) mostly depends on feel, as they all deliver really great image quality (and although accents differ with default output, you can tweak that so the resulting shots really are indistinguishable for all practical purposes). Personally I find the ergonomics of Nikon DSLRs far superior to that of Canon DSLRs - but that is something which really depends on one's hands, and so the only way to tell which you'd prefer is for you to go to a camera store and hold these cameras and take some sample shots with them.

5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for - thanks Sander! ;) I'm planning on doing a series of photography classes, so I'm looking for a really good camera that will last me a long time and I dont mind paying for it if I'm not planning on replacing it for years.

The Nikon sounds like something I might be looking for. I may wait until the New Year to get the camera. Do you think the D90 will be out by then?

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 8y

There's a really big photography convention coming up in September; if they announce the camera just before then (note: there is no guarantee that a D90 is actually in the planning; it's just speculation on my part, although it'd make a lot of sense given past behaviour; it could also be a more minor upgrade, named D80s or D80x or somesuch), then yes, it'll definitely be out before the end of the year. Otherwise I'll still give you 50-50 odds (presuming that the camera is coming, which I'd give 10-to-1 odds), just because they'd be silly to miss the Christmas season for such a camera. Do note however that this camera is likely to sell extremely well, so that there might be waits of several weeks at different photography stores while they get enough stock for everyone who'll pre-order.

Also, I should add one further camera to the mix of recommendations, given that you seem pretty serious about learning photograhy: if you want to dive straight in to the highest class of camera, without the hand-holding that automatic scene modes offer - and have quite a bit of money to throw around - the very best camera you can get (which is still worth getting for a non-professional photograher) is the Nikon D300 (there's no Canon equivalent). I'd envy you forever, as it's the recent upgrade to the D200 which I have. (If you have truly insane amounts of money to throw around (mostly because it'll require much more expensive lenses), there's a just-announced upgrade to that which is a "full frame" camera; the Nikon D700. (Canon has a really old 5D to compete with it, but that's likely to be getting an upgrade announced at the same convention as well.))
Note that the photos a D300 will take will not differ quality-wise from those taken by a D90 (presumably, but it's a safe bet). Differences lie purely in the camera offering a much improved level of control, with buttons for anything you might want to change (after learning about them) right there at your finger tips (never any need to go into the menu), a superior focusing system (useful if you want to whip out the camera and take the perfect shot of that condor which just zoomed out from behind the cliff before disappearing behind the next one), and a much sturdier (heavier/bulkier) build which'll make it better equipped to handle whatever rough travelling you'll throw at it. (These might not seem like important things, but over time they become totally worth the money - or so I found. Though for a first DSLR, it'd be a really big leap, so I'm not really expecting you to go for this one.)

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 30, 2008, at 9:40 PM by Sander ]

7. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

I feel like I owe you a cup of coffee or something Sander!

Thanks so much!!

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 8y

*g* I'll take you up on that next time we happen to be on the same continent. :)

(Will reply to PM soon, I hope, but it'd need to be a long PM, so need more time than I have left atm. In short: South America was awesome; currently in Thailand which is completely exceeding any expectations I had.)

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 31, 2008, at 5:56 AM by Sander ]

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

Okay, I'm back again

I've been doing a little research online, pricing cameras and so forth.

I've come across one or two websites that offer brand new cameras at about half the cost of what I can see them quoted at in retail stores. I'm wondering what the catch is. Presumably, for the massively discounted price, you just get the body of the camera and no accessories?

Also, just would like to know if anyone here has purchased cameras online and what theire experiences were.

Thanks again!

Ev

10. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 8y

The catch is that they're bait and switch shops based out of Brooklyn, and you won't actually get the camera for that price. See the sticky at the top of this forum.

Oh, also: I have never bought a camera online, and I don't think I ever would. You want to hold the camera in your hands before buying to see if the ergonomics of the things actually agree with you. I guess you could then go and buy it somewhere else, but I always feel bad about doing that. Plus a real world store you can return to is generally much preferable if the camera develops any problems. (Although since you won't be located in NYC for a very long time, that last might not be that strong an argument for you, personally.)

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 18, 2008, at 11:59 AM by Sander ]