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Old 08-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #1
lisakramer
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Considering a DSLR? Help!

Hi! I'm considering moving to a DSLR and would like some advice. I'm a photo novice, so I want something that is easy to use, but that I can learn some "tricks" to get the photos I want.
Also, I need something relatively inexpensive. I'm totally ok with buying used.
I've been looking on the interwebs and it looks like they are pointing me to a Canon Rebel T3i.
Yes? No?
What would recommend?
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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Almost everyone on here will give you the advice to go to the store and see how the camera feels in your hands. See how it fits your hands, where the controls are located, etc. I got a Canon t3i last Christmas and I love it. My previous camera was an original canon digital rebel and I was very happy with that camera as well. I am trying very hard to forbid myself from shooting in auto and it is a learning process, but I am finally getting some of the great shots I knew I could by learning more about how the camera works. Good luck and let us know what you decide!
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #3
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The rebel t3i or t4i are great choices... Here is also information on Nikon DSLRs:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm

I would gladly use a DSLR camera from either company...


For the blurred backgrounds add a

85mm f1.8 from either company...
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #4
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Be sure to look at the Mirrorless options as well. They are like a dSLR but smaller.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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You say inexpensive... inexpensive to me is a $1000 body. Inexpensive to you is probably different. And a word on older DSLRs... digital technology has come a long way in the last few years. And while there are some great buys on used bodies, if you go more than a few years back you will most likely end up with a camera that doesn't perform as well in some areas (especially with entry level models) as some of the higher end point and shoots out now. There's a lot of reasons to go DSLR so to me it's important to know why you're buying what you're buying and realize that just because it's a DSLR does not necessarily mean it will take better pictures than a point and shoot. Otherwise you can easily end up wishing you'd bought something else.

Basic knowledge of how shutter speed, aperture and ISO affect the image and make the exposure is the best trick to getting any shot you want. And it works with absolutely any camera.

You can't go wrong with any of the new DSLR's on the market right now. And while some mirrorless options have advantages over others, I think pretty much all of them are solid cameras as well should you choose to go that way.

The first thing I'd do is set a budget. Then research features and figure out which bells and whistles are important to you. Then go play with the cameras that make the list for budget and features.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:17 AM   #6
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You say you don't mind used; I'd perhaps look at a used T2i - the sensor is essentially the same 18MP one as in a T3i/T4i and indeed a 7D (although the AF system varies somewhat), so you're not losing anything there. I know here in the UK you can get used ones for about £300 ($450) body only, and then you find a lens you're happy to start with (18-55 kit zoom lens is a fine start, probably well under $100).

If you're budget conscious (and you should be until you're sure a DSLR is for you), don't discount third party lenses either - I've been very happy with both Tamron and Sigma lenses, and while I'm sure the equivalent OEM lenses are better, they are not 2-3 times better, which is often the difference in price. For instance, the 18-50 F2.8 Tamron lens I have is absolutely superb and I paid £200 ($300) for it used. The equivalent Canon would be 2.5 times the price, even used.

Once the bug has bitten, you'll then find yourself looking at lenses all the time, going - "but I really need this, I haven't actually got a fast 90mm macro lens at the moment, just think what I could do with that". Before too long, you'll be on your 4th kit bag. I'm speaking from experience, sadly .
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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The 3ti with no lense is on amazon for $574.99 with lense for $699

Costco has the t4i but I am not sure fo the price and it comes with two lenses of medium quality...

The following lens will blur the backgroun nicely and take great pictures:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...85mm_f_1_8_usm

The Nikon setup mentioned on kenrockwell.com might be cheaper...
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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The T2i is a great camera if you can find one on closeout. I actually prefer it to the T3i. There are a few differences, but the big one is that the T3i has a swing-out LCD display, which is useful if you plan to shoot video. It's a bit harder on the battery, though.
There are some significant differences between the T3i and T4i, most notably that the T4i has a newer-generation image processor. It's able to handle focus while filming video a lot better, and is supposedly just generally a better overall image processor. Neither is a "starter" camera, but the T4i is very close to the "prosumer" range that is traditionally a step up from the Rebels.

Nikon's DSLRs are also very good.

In general, though, I agree with photo_chick. Figure out your budget, figure out the features you're looking for, then go to a store and try each of them in your hands. The main reason you keep seeing Canon and Nikon mentioned is that they're the biggest players, not that they're necessarily the best players. On the contrary, I'd argue that at the consumer level, Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax are all very, very close in terms of image quality. Nikon and Canon will give you the broadest range of lenses and accessories, but most people won't have more than a small handful of lenses, and all the brands cover all the main bases.

Put another way, at this level, the quality of your photo won't be determined by whether you have a Canon or Nikon: it will be determined by your skill as a photographer. Equipment comes more into play when you're getting into heavier-duty photography and can afford to drop $1000+ on a lens. Once you're at the point where you're taking excellent photos with a kit lens or inexpensive fixed lens (such as the Canon Nifty 50), you may want to begin exploring what high-end glass can do for you. But that really won't matter until you've mastered your eye.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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I am wondering if this is really the way the OP wants to go based on her previous thread just prior to this one:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....ferrerid=70088

She just wants to achieve bokeh. Whether she wants to get into a whole dSLR set up is uncertain.

Again, OP, look into your mirrorless options. You can still get what you're looking for, but will have a smaller parcel to carry around overall. It will do most of the same things a dSLR will and you can achieve the look you want in your photos. Just do some studying about Depth of Field.

Your top players in the Mirrorless market will be different than those in the dSLR market. Look into Sony, Panasonic, Olympus in addition to Nikon and Canon. Do your homework. You can pick up a slightly older, yet very capable Olympus PEN in the $300 range now, and you will have the option to add other lenses as your grow.

But the big question you probably need to ask yourself is do you want to grow? If you really don't care to, and just prefer to "point and shoot", then you might want to just stick with that type of camera. As said before, you can achieve bokeh somewhat, but it will be limited. Give it a try, though first.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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I am a huge fan of mirrorless. In particular the SONY NEX-5. However I will always keep my DSLR for portraits and blurring the back ground type shots... One could use a lense adapter with a mirrorless and get the same results as a DSLR using a fast range finder lens in the 80-120 mm range. However then you are in a manual focus situation...

I guess we are still missing what the OP would like to take pictures of most. For portraits I would go with an 85mm f1.8, for babies 50mm f1.8 and for travel photos with buildings and people also in the picture. Or just buildings. Use either the kit lens or someting in the 20-30mm range or invest in a wide zoom...
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:57 PM   #11
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I agree some more information from the OP would be helpful.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:22 AM   #12
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Personally, I'm a big fan of DSLRs. I get the whole rationale behind mirrorless cameras, but for me personally, I like SLRs. Here's why:
I'm a terrible photographer. The reason I'm a terrible photographer is that I've only really started paying close attention to what I'm doing over the past year and a half or so. In other words, I haven't really developed an "eye" for it. But I'm getting there. The reason an SLR is so important for me is that when I look through the viewfinder, I see what the camera sees and I don't see what the camera doesn't see. (Admittedly, with film there's a little bit of loss, but there's also loss when I print.) I'm able to put myself in a place that's less distracted and I can focus on the image. I can see the image before I press the shutter release, which lets me decide one last time whether it's an image worth taking, and if not, why not? I'm able to focus on the image and only the image. I've trained myself to see the entire frame: what's happening on the borders and in the background? What's the light doing? Is what I see in the viewfinder visually appealing?

Now, I get that there's substantively no difference between seeing that in a viewfinder or seeing that on an LCD display on the camera, but for me, there's a world of difference. Camera LCD displays have to cut through glare, for starters. And there are more distractions. When I'm looking through a viewfinder, I see nothing but image and image information. With an LCD, my peripheral vision is still active. I see more than just the image, I see the world around the image. It's a matter of training, in part, but SLRs get me where I need to be to take better pictures.

$0.02.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:51 AM   #13
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That's a pretty good reason many folks like viewfinders...and for me, I much prefer shooting with viewfinders too. However, it should be noted that many mirrorless cameras also have viewfinders - it's not exclusive to DSLRs/SLTs. There are differences between an Electronic ViewFinder and an Optical ViewFinder - however, both types of viewfinder will address your issues of distraction, glare, peripheral vision, etc.

In fact, ironically many of the supporters of EVFs specifically point out one of their favorite aspects being how much MORE information it shows you of the shot you are taking. Where an optical viewfinder will show you the framing and focus of the shot, and with a press of an optional button can display a rough depth-of-field simulation...an electronic viewfinder can show you the framing and focus, and the depth of field, and the simulation of the exposure, and the white balance, and the blown highlights, and the crushed shadows, and all the shot information, and often even more such as built-in levels and angle indicators. So in some ways, a photographer such as yourself may even find an electronic viewfinder to be more useful than an optical one, and may find that a mirrorless camera with EVF to be just what they never knew they wanted.

Note I say all this as a dedicated and very happy optical-viewfinder DSLR shooter who also happily shoots with an EVF-equipped mirrorless camera as a second body. Just wanted to point that out, since some might infer from your post that mirrorless cameras only offer LCDs and no viewfinder options.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:42 PM   #14
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While I refuse to surrender my optical TTL viewfinder on my DSLR, it really should be pointed out that most consumer DSLR's do not have 100% view finder coverage. This means you don't really see everything your sensor will record. It can create problems if you're going for extremely precise in camera framing. I can definitely see an argument for EVF's in consumer cameras for that reason alone.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:22 PM   #15
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My biggest problem with EVFs is that when shooting outdoors, I have a hard time seeing them well. But as I mentioned above, film SLR viewfinders also don't have 100% coverage. I do look for framing, but I also believe in selective cropping It's easier to take away when there's too much than add when there's not enough.
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