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Good DSLR for a beginner

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azz0r_wugg    1

Hello,

I am looking to take a camera course, a requirement I've noticed is a DSLR that has RAW capabilities.

Could anyone advise me what a good camera for a beginner would be? I'm looking to spend between ?150 - ?300.

There are a few on Amazon that take my eye, but I'm not sure whats best. Ideally I would like a LCD and some automatic settings to aid me.

Many thanks.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

All dSLRS have Raw capabilities ( olympus cameras I think using their own raw format, as does nikon too )

With that budget any entry level dSLR from Canikon duopoly would be alright ( Canon or Nikon). I would get the cheapest one and then later on, buy according to your needs.

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majortom1981    242

I do not know about canon but the nikon d40 is a good beginner dslr. I am sure the equivalently priced canon would be good also.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

Don't know if the d40 is still around to be bought at a decent price though.

For around that price:

Nikon D3000

Pentax K-x ( not sure on price though )

Canon XS and Xsi

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threetonesun    1,204

If you want to go Nikon, might as well go D3000 (or D3100). I never liked the D40 much, and it's outdated now.

If you can go to the store, pick some up and see how they feel. That was the deciding factor for me between a D50 and a Rebel.

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Lee G.    236

I would recommend a second hand D40. You should be able to get a decent one for the top end of your budget. It's a great DSLR.

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neo158    293

This may sound biased and all of you may disagree with me, but I have a Sony A450 and that's not bad for a beginner, i'm just starting out with SLRs as well, as the interface explains what each function does clearly. The only issue is metering issues, something that's easily corrected in Adobe Bridge if you shot in RAW.

BTW all SLRs have their own RAW format Sony's being ARW, Nikon's is NRW, Canon use CRW and Olympus use RAW.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

Oh I agree, Sony makes good entry level dSLRS however, not sure about image quality on those, as i've never owned, never been interested in one. ( yet :p) Though maybe you can state why you decided to go with sony, over other brand when making your purchase, to give the OP some intel :)

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neo158    293

Oh I agree, Sony makes good entry level dSLRS however, not sure about image quality on those, as i've never owned, never been interested in one. ( yet :p) Though maybe you can state why you decided to go with sony, over other brand when making your purchase, to give the OP some intel :)

np, I'll try and keep it short!!!

I was looking at the Canon EOS450D, sadly discontinued, and spoke to the guys in the shop and they recommended the Sony A450 to me.

Instead of a 12.2MP sensor it has a 14MP APS-C CMOS sensor, support for both SD and MS cards which has a switch to choose which one to record the images to, support for A-Mount Konica Monolta Lenses, seeing as the camera division of Minolta was sold off to Sony this isn't surprising.

The A450 is actually a midrange camera but surprisingly easy to use, i've managed to get really decent images out of it as well and i'll post some on here, if I can, to give an idea of image quality (Looks like it'll be a link to Skydrive or a similar website as the RAW files are 7MB+).

OP, you need to remember that a Megapixel rating isn't what makes a great picture, that's up to the photographer. I've got decent pictures, some approaching SLR quality, out of a 5MP cameraphone. What you need to look for is one that suits your needs as well as being easy for you to use. That's a very subjective issue and we can only give you our opinions on the Cameras we've used, I would go into a Camera store having chosen at least three models from different manufacturers and try them out before buying. I would also consider going to a smaller shop to buy as larger shops will push you towards models that make the most money.

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Nicholas-c    37

Moved to Digital Camera Lab

I started off with a 400D and quickly found it limiting. However the lowest range DSLR canon do atm is the 550D. It seems like a good place to start, i haven't tried one personally but it has strong stats. If your feeling adventurous move up the scale a bit to the 60D.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

OP, you need to remember that a Megapixel rating isn't what makes a great picture, that's up to the photographer. I've got decent pictures, some approaching SLR quality, out of a 5MP cameraphone. What you need to look for is one that suits your needs as well as being easy for you to use. That's a very subjective issue and we can only give you our opinions on the Cameras we've used, I would go into a Camera store having chosen at least three models from different manufacturers and try them out before buying. I would also consider going to a smaller shop to buy as larger shops will push you towards models that make the most money.

Best advice. I for one went with nikon, because Canon (450d) felt like a toy compared to the Nikon D50 back in the day (when Sony hadn't bought minolta yet). Then I bought a D5000 because ATM it had better higher ISO capabilities than the canon equivalent ( 500d I think...) PLUS I had some nikon glass already so...

Why not post a couple of jpegs in our digital gallery :p

Moved to Digital Camera Lab

I started off with a 400D and quickly found it limiting. However the lowest range DSLR canon do atm is the 550D. It seems like a good place to start, i haven't tried one personally but it has strong stats. If your feeling adventurous move up the scale a bit to the 60D.

Yeah... I went with a "midrange" D5000 and man I regret it, the more you learn and shoot, the more you know how to use the features and start to notice or the lack off, as an example, the D5000 doesn't have a wireless commander mode for external flash which I thought I would never need, boy was I wrong...

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error404ts    0

Moved to Digital Camera Lab

I started off with a 400D and quickly found it limiting. However the lowest range DSLR canon do atm is the 550D. It seems like a good place to start, i haven't tried one personally but it has strong stats. If your feeling adventurous move up the scale a bit to the 60D.

The 550D (T2i) or the 500D (T1i) are both rated highly for entry level cameras. They're probably on the higher end of the entry level, so you can't go wrong for the money. I love my T2i as I traded up from an Xti. Whatever camera you get you'll need to back it up with a nice lens. I've seen excellent cameras held back by poor lenses, and poor cameras excel with good lenses.

Good luck!

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neo158    293

Best advice. I for one went with nikon, because Canon (450d) felt like a toy compared to the Nikon D50 back in the day (when Sony hadn't bought minolta yet). Then I bought a D5000 because ATM it had better higher ISO capabilities than the canon equivalent ( 500d I think...) PLUS I had some nikon glass already so...

Why not post a couple of jpegs in our digital gallery :p

I'll certainly post some images, I don't have them here, i'm at home and the external drive is at my term time address.

I read Digital Camera Magazine and have learned a lot from the tutorials within it. The reviews have also been helpful in finding the right extra kit to buy as well.

This website is also helpful Warehouse Express. They charge for delivery but it is next day, most items have reviews and you can also chat to the staff for help, I bought my Tamrac Expedition 3 Camera Bag from them.

The only thing I didn't like about the EOS450D is that it has the IS, Image Stablisation for the benefit of the OP, built into the lens. This means that only Canon and third party lenses that are built specifically for Canon cameras will have IS, it also makes the lenses more expensive than ones for other cameras.

OP, I would also look for a camera with a kit lens, it'll cost more initially but it means that you won't have to spend extra on a lens.

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threetonesun    1,204

I would look into buying a body only, then getting a 35 or 50mm lens (preferably 35). If you're completely new to photography, you shouldn't be learning on a zoom lens. Nor should you be using autofocus. Also, make sure that the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed are all easily accessible in manual mode.

The nice thing about learning how to shoot on film was that it was cheap to get a fully manual 35mm camera that took great, high-resolution photos, and only had enough dials to take a picture. All digital cameras unfortunately load up the number of on camera features, and the entry level ones often rely too heavily on face-finding features.

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neo158    293

I would look into buying a body only, then getting a 35 or 50mm lens (preferably 35). If you're completely new to photography, you shouldn't be learning on a zoom lens. Nor should you be using autofocus. Also, make sure that the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed are all easily accessible in manual mode.

The nice thing about learning how to shoot on film was that it was cheap to get a fully manual 35mm camera that took great, high-resolution photos, and only had enough dials to take a picture. All digital cameras unfortunately load up the number of on camera features, and the entry level ones often rely too heavily on face-finding features.

This isn't bad advice but keep in mind the OPs budget of ?150 - ?300, that's not really enough to get a top entry level camera and a separate lens.

Everyone has to learn how to use a zoom lens at some point why not now, I did!!!

I also think that OP should leave some settings on Auto for the moment, until they are ready to move onto manual i.e. when OP starts the camera course.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

Agreed, or the "semi-auto" modes like A/P/S or Tv/Av on canon cams.

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threetonesun    1,204

This isn't bad advice but keep in mind the OPs budget of ?150 - ?300, that's not really enough to get a top entry level camera and a separate lens.

Everyone has to learn how to use a zoom lens at some point why not now, I did!!!

I also think that OP should leave some settings on Auto for the moment, until they are ready to move onto manual i.e. when OP starts the camera course.

Well, you can get a kit lens then sell it. Everyone sells a cheap 50mm. Zoom lenses, which I use extensively, can be detrimental to beginners trying to get the hang of composition. They also won't have the wide aperture of an inexpensive prime, which brings up the issues of hunting out good light sources and limits your composition some.

As for auto settings, I'm against learning with them. Remember, everyone used to know how to shoot "full-manual" (albeit your iso was pre-determined). It's only recently, and in many respects because digital cameras have too many settings for too few buttons, that auto and semi-auto modes came about. If there's really a need to start off with some assistance, then aperture priority is probably the best semi-auto mode to learn in.

Just my two cents. Learn everything, then decide what you're ok with letting the camera control.

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neo158    293

Well, you can get a kit lens then sell it. Everyone sells a cheap 50mm. Zoom lenses, which I use extensively, can be detrimental to beginners trying to get the hang of composition. They also won't have the wide aperture of an inexpensive prime, which brings up the issues of hunting out good light sources and limits your composition some.

As for auto settings, I'm against learning with them. Remember, everyone used to know how to shoot "full-manual" (albeit your iso was pre-determined). It's only recently, and in many respects because digital cameras have too many settings for too few buttons, that auto and semi-auto modes came about. If there's really a need to start off with some assistance, then aperture priority is probably the best semi-auto mode to learn in.

Just my two cents. Learn everything, then decide what you're ok with letting the camera control.

I would certainly agree, I tend to shoot in Aperture priority mode but started with auto, I do change from the current settings when needed though, it's something you learn really, isn't it. I'm just trying to find a new lens though as the kit lens I got with it is limiting (18-55mm btw), which isn't easy.

I'm guessing you started with a 35mm fully manual SLR?

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threetonesun    1,204

I'm guessing you started with a 35mm fully manual SLR?

Yup, with film. Auto cameras were available (and some digital cameras existed), but we weren't allowed to use them in class.

Also had to shoot in black and white, which is a good way to learn these days, although not nearly as limiting as it was with film.

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Argote    73

This is within your budget: http://www.amazon.co...93753881&sr=1-9

As a Sony user, I can say that their entry range cameras are very decent, the A2x0 series does not shine at higher ISO settings but is very good at lower settings. Also you get in-camera IS for ALL lenses, including fast primes. The only consideration for your course is if you're going to be using external studio lighting you'll need an adapter to use them (5 pounds shipped on ebay tops) since Sony uses a different (read: more modern) hotshoe design.

Also, the big advantage to Canon/Nikon is that a lot of people are likely to have those in your class so there is a chance you could borrow some gear you might need.

These are the other options available from the other 3 manufacturers (Olympus only does 4/3s, which is not as good an option IMO).

http://www.amazon.co...3753924&sr=1-30 (From what I've read, this is the best one in low light, but the Pentax system is slightly more limited than the Sony system)

http://www.amazon.co...93753881&sr=1-3 (This is the worst of the bunch since it is a very ancient design that, for some reason, Canon still sells plus it comes with a non-IS lens)

http://www.amazon.co...93753992&sr=1-2 (the D3000 was only like 15 pounds less, so I skipped it as the D5000 is vastly superior, but it costs significantly more, at this price point you're competing against different cameras from Sony and Canon).

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Prince Charming    163

Well, you can get a kit lens then sell it. Everyone sells a cheap 50mm. Zoom lenses, which I use extensively, can be detrimental to beginners trying to get the hang of composition. They also won't have the wide aperture of an inexpensive prime, which brings up the issues of hunting out good light sources and limits your composition some.

As for auto settings, I'm against learning with them. Remember, everyone used to know how to shoot "full-manual" (albeit your iso was pre-determined). It's only recently, and in many respects because digital cameras have too many settings for too few buttons, that auto and semi-auto modes came about. If there's really a need to start off with some assistance, then aperture priority is probably the best semi-auto mode to learn in.

Just my two cents. Learn everything, then decide what you're ok with letting the camera control.

I wouldn't say it was *that* recent - my thirty year old A-1 has Av/Tv/Auto on it :p. Damn thing's light meter is a hell of a lot better than my 40D's as well :(

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Valerus    1

I would recommend a second hand D40. You should be able to get a decent one for the top end of your budget. It's a great DSLR.

I use one and can fully recommend it for a beginner.

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Simon_    0

I'm not sure if this is a dumb question, but do most, if not all, DSLR camera shoot video also?

For example, I'm considering: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-DSLRA290L-Digital-Camera-SAL1855/dp/B003S9X6U6/ref=sr_1_9?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1293753881&sr=1-9

Most newer dslrs shoot video yes but I would never recommend getting one on the strength of its video shooting. Pictures are what they're for and what they do best - if you want video get a camcorder.

The Nikon d40 is a fantastic beginners camera. Also have a look for a second hand Nikon D5000 - brilliant camera.

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CrossCheck    325

i have the nikon D3000 dslr....it is a great camera. it takes some beautiful shots. before we bought it. some of the local professional camera shops around and most professional photog mags said the the d3000 was the best entry level dslr on the market at the time.

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