Digital DSLR for beginner

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by Minnie, May 1, 2011.

  1. Minnie

    Minnie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,019
    Hi everyone :goodvibes

    I am ready to make the step up form a P/S to a digital DSLR. This camera will not be used professionally whatsoever - I'm just a beginner.

    I have no equipment at all other than a P/S digital camera and a MacBook Pro laptop (if that makes a difference).

    One of my main requests for the camera is that it be light weight as we tend to be active and that a beginner can learn to use it relatively easily.

    Price point should also be on the entry side as I consider this a very large baby step and if I learn to use the DSLR properly I may consider upgrading in the future.

    I've narrowed it down to these two:

    Canon EOS Rebel T3 or Nikon D3100

    Anything easier for a beginner that I should be aware of? Both brands seem to have their followers but I'm wide open at this point.

    Thanks in advance for any help :worship:
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. ukcatfan

    ukcatfan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    5,268
    Every one will chime in with their favorite, but that doesn't make it the best for you. Since budget is a large consideration for you, I would make a list of all you can afford by looking at reputable sites like Adorama and B&H. Then compare them online with reviews and such from sites like DPReview and DCResource. Once you have it narrowed down to just a few then go out and try to find them in person to handle them. Try to find a real camera store if possible since the big box stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc. typically only carry a few different models.

    Personally I recommend checking out the Pentax K-x and K-r. They are the entry level models from them and have a lot of bang for the buck. Since you are also trying to keep it cheap, you will probably only go with a standard kit lens for a while. All of the kit lenses from the different brands are optically similar, but the Pentax and Olympus are known to have a better build quality than Canon and Nikon. I am not sure of the Sony kit lens reputation anymore.
     
  4. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,960
    IMO any of the entry level DSLR's out there would be a great choice for someone who is just starting out. Make a list of features you want and a realistic budget. Narrow down the field from that and don't forget to allow for any additional lenses and accessories you may want. Once you narrow it down by those things, go to the store and play with them all to see what feels good to you.
     
  5. Minnie

    Minnie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,019
    I should have provided more information in my original post.

    I've researched multiple options and have narrowed it down to:

    Canon EOS Rebel T3 or Nikon D3100

    Sorry I didn't provide this originally - I'll go back and edit my first post.
     
  6. Gianna'sPapa

    Gianna'sPapa DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,904
    I would recommend that if you are looking at Canon and Nikon that you look at their latest versions. The T3i and the 3100 are the latest entry level cameras. Also Nikon just introduced a Nikon 5100, sort of an entry level on steroids. Dpreview.com's review was unsure where to place it, entry level or mid-level. The other manufacturers all make great entry levels, for Pentax (my brand) they recently introduced the Kr. With the 18-55 and 55-200, it is going for $700 at B & H. I'm not as familar with the Sony and Olympus. Good luck with your purchase as both will do a great job.
     
  7. ukcatfan

    ukcatfan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    5,268
    Those do not compare all that equally. Can I ask why those two specifically? The D3000 is going to be cheaper, but is nearly two years older than the T3. If you are willing to go as high in price as the T3, then why not consider the Nikon D3100 which is about the same price and better than the D3000?
     
  8. Minnie

    Minnie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    4,019
    Sorry for wasting your time - I screwed up the # on the Nikon - I meant the newer D3100 model - I've updated my posts.

    So if you were going for one of these for a beginner would it be the Nikon or Cannon? Most reviews I've read show them at a draw except that the old lenses will not work w/ the autofocusing on the Nikon. BUT as I don't have any lenses does this matter?
     
  9. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,960
    ON the Nikon and the lack of AF with some lenses. It affects new lenses as well as old ones. Like the current Nikon 50mm f/1.8 (the $135 one and NOT the new $215 one coming out this year). There are other lenses it won't AF with, but since the 50mm f/1.8 is a popular lens for those starting out I thought I'd point it out.

    You can find a lens compaptibility chart that explains all the lens desigantions here...
    http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html


    The T3 is Canon's basic entry level DSLR. The T3i would probably be more comperable to the Nikon D5100. I know the OP had listed the T3, but the T3i was mentioned in a post and they are two different cameras. It feels like they've been used interchangeably here. The T3i is actually not the basic entry level model. Those i's really make a difference in the designation and price.
     
  10. Gianna'sPapa

    Gianna'sPapa DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,904
    That's all so confusing and being a simple minded person is why I stick with Pentax, all lenses work!!:rotfl2::rotfl2:
     
  11. ukcatfan

    ukcatfan DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Messages:
    5,268
    That is easy. Pentax. All are great, but for someone staying at entry level, you are not getting the most for your money with Canon or Nikon. You are without any doubts paying some for the name. Compare the specs and you will see how Pentax and Sony are better deals.
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    99,183
    Minnie - Welcome to the Photoboard!
    If you've been lurking around here for a bit, you probably have realised that asking us about camera manufacturer preferences is one of those things that the Mod Squad should add to their list of "no religion or political" topics. :rotfl2:

    If you've narrowed it down to those two choices, have you gone into the shops to pick them up? It wouldn't hurt to have a play and to work out the various function buttons and whether the body suits your hands.

    You probably can't go wrong with the Canon or Nikon or Pentax or any other brand that anyone else cares to chime in with.

    Good luck!


    princess::upsidedow

    Disclaimer
    I shoot with a Canon, so my vote goes to........World Peace!
     
  13. Bstanley

    Bstanley DisNoid

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2001
    Messages:
    1,231
    Well now Minnie you've opened up quite a can of worms haven't you? :rotfl:

    I'm not even going to tell you what I use even though I think it's excellent. ;)

    I just want to chime in to the crowd advising that you take anything you are considering for a test drive. I took advantage of a local full service store (knowing I wouldn't be buying the camera there) to try various cameras and it was surprising how little things like the placement of a control or angle of a button became interesting.

    A first DSLR and lens are basically a potential gateway drug - only if their use releases the photography endorphins into your brain and you start dreaming about that kilo-buck lens that will make all your pictures that much better will you need to get serious about selecting the brand you pledge your allegiance to. :rolleyes1
     
  14. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    4,765
    I was going to say the same as above -- go to a camera store and try them both out. What p&s are you currently using? If you use a Canon or a Nikon, you might like to stick with that brand as they often keep the menu similar.
    I like that the Canon will autofocus any lens, like mentioned already, unlike the Nikons.
    I love the Pentax K-r! A very very nice camera for the money. And it has the capability to shoot with the lithium battery it comes with or AAs. Fast camera too. If you haven't set your mind on Canon/Nikon, I would agree with some above -- check out the Pentax! (And this coming from a Canon girl!)
    Personally though, I wouldn't recommend Sony. They have this tricky little thing they do where they trap you into buying expensive Sony accessories -- can't put a generic battery in them, can't use a generic charger for the Sony battery, some Tamron or Sigma lenses won't work on a Sony (af motor too strong)... Sony has a good video mode though, if you're after video.
     
  15. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    33,928
    I have a friend who just bought a Sony. I told her to get a generic second battery. I'm curious why this is not possible? I've used generics in my Canons for years.
     
  16. Bstanley

    Bstanley DisNoid

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2001
    Messages:
    1,231
    All Lithium Ion battery packs have a fair amount of internal electronics (including an itty bitty microcomputer). Each manufacturer uses a 'Secret Handshake' between the device and the battery pack to make sure that the two are compatible.

    I have read of various manufacturers devices displaying a warning message regarding ' improper battery pack' when a generic pack was used - then shutting down.

    Bad battery pack? Bad connection? Bad camera? Designed that way? Who knows. I have used generics with a Sony camcorder so I doubt that all Sony's are limited.
     
  17. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    4,765
    Well, Sony says that it will mess up the battery and it won't work any more. That's the official word they give us at our camera store. Having said that I've heard of (few) people having good luck with generics (mostly in camcorders), but I have also heard horror stories of the battery losing charge and being unable to re-charge it. Hard to tell sometimes if it's a Sony scare story or the real thing, but I've seen it happen.

    I use generic in my Canons too and have great luck. It seems to be only Sony.
     
  18. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,819
    While everyone's entitled to their opinions, I'd have to disagree myself with the comments on Sony entrapment. I haven't been forced to buy any accessories that are uniquely Sony, I have used and currently own both Sigma and Tamron lenses that are fully compatible, and I've used generic batteries in my Sony DSLRs. There have on some occasions been temporary problems with compatibility with third-party lenses, such as when Sigma lenses couldn't cooperate with the Sony A33/55 cameras until they had a rework done to them - Sigma actually fixed the issue with their newer lenses. And in the distant past, a particular Sigma zoom had stripping problems with the gearing due to the faster AF motors in the new Sony bodies - again a one-time issue with one lens in particular. Tamron has never had a compatibility issue or any problems with Sony DSLR bodies.

    As for the battery issue - remember that all Sony DSLRs have very advanced batteries that many other brands' entry-level cameras do not have - most entry-level cameras give you a simple bar-graph indicator for battery life remaining - often only the mid-level or enthusiast cameras offer actual battery-remaining time or percent readouts. With Sony cameras, they've always offered the more advanced information batteries with time-remaining features, and these batteries is where sometimes the generic batteries have compatibility issues. However, many of the times it involves a really cheap knockoff battery that is simply poorly made - a decent generic from a reputable company should work fine in Sony DSLRs, with the one exception that sometimes the 'info' readout will not work so you won't get a % charge remaining readout, or it may not be accurate.

    There are other reasons that Sony cameras are worth a look - they are obviously all similarly capable regardless of brand nowadays, but there are a few things which make Sony interesting for some: they along with Pentax have in-body stabilization which can come in handy in rendering all lenses stabilized, primes, used, or otherwise. Moreover, they have by far the most superior live view system of any DSLRs - the only ones that can be used with full phase-detect autofocus and with no loss of speed or performance compared to optical viewfinder. The A33/55 are different from Sony's actual DSLRs as they use electronic viewfinders rather than optical - they are also similarly fast. Some prefer the all-electronic style of these two, and some still prefer the more traditional optical finder DSLRs with fast live view...Sony does offer both styles currently.

    Honestly though - Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax - it simply doesn't matter - all of them perform so closely to eachother in overall image quality and features that the lenses used and the photographer's skill will make a far greater difference in the outcome of the photo than the brand or model will. Most important is to find the features that are important to you, find the camera that is comfortable in your hands, and find the best combination of features and ability within your budget. That's what will help you get the best shots - being happy and comfortable with your camera.
     
  19. KAT4DISNEY

    KAT4DISNEY Glad to be a test subject

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    10,183
    It's incorrect info that teekathepony is giving out. Justin has explained well.
     
  20. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    33,928
    Thanks guys!

    You know, even if she had to pay $50 (or whatever) for a genuine Sony battery....... it still strikes me as one of the best features for the dollar values out there.

    She loves it by the way! :thumbsup2
     
  21. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    4,765
    Not incorrect. Perhaps a little outdated. I work at a camera store and am just telling you what our Sony rep tells our store owner. I also admitted that it was the "official word" that we've had and that I've heard stories of people having luck with generic.
     

Share This Page