camera recommendation for newb

Discussion in 'Photography' started by vivi, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. vivi

    vivi Guest

    I have a depressing thought.....
    I've realized that none of the pics i took are worthy. Maybe it's my skills, or maybe because i'm taking them from my NexusOne phone camera.

    So, let's focus on the fact that it's the camera, it's not my skills. I am completely new to the whole DSLR business - only played with friend's DSLR for half a day. I kinda enjoy playing with antique SLR camera too. :-D

    So, what DSLR camera do you guys recommend? I couldn't splurge too much on the camera, but also want to consider saving up enough for something decent (otherwise why bother!). Could someone recommend something in different price range (
  2. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    I think your standard Canon P&S will do an adequate job for aquarium snapshots and pictures in general. Inexpensive at around $2-300 and is a huge upgrade from a phone camera! (Though, those have improved a lot) Can even get one that's waterproof which is a neat factor to play with.

    If jumping into a DSLR - Nikon D50 or Canon Xsi are good entry level DSLRs. I think they're both around $550-600. Haven't looked in a while. Just remember that the camera itself is one thing...But the lenses are another ;) It adds up quickly!
  3. vivi

    vivi Guest

    i'm trying to steer away from standard P&S. To be honest, I've found my 5-year old sony P&S doesn't do any better than my cameraphone. That could be operator error, but isn't P&S suppose to be fool's proof?!

    I've heard a lot about the Canon Xsi and am considering it. Btw, what is the general view on buying used camera? good or bad idea?
  4. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Depends on the seller ;) I think I know of someone reliable that's selling an Xsi and I can assure you they take care of their stuff. Let me know if you're at all interested. I'd probably avoid ebay and craigslist, since you really don't know what you're getting. You might get lucky and have no problems with the purchase but I feel like the odds of something going wrong go way up...esp. with electronics
  5. CookieJar

    CookieJar Guest

    I checked into the used camera approach, but what i found on CL is the sellers didn't really discount the cameras much relative to their age & use. Would you rather pay $400 for a new camera with full warranty and such, or go used for $350. That's what i found out so I went the new route. The low end DLSRs are plenty good for a reef tank, you'll want a macro lens for close ups, I like Tamron 90mm, which isn't that much. I think you should be able to get a full setup w/ macro lens in the $700 range. If at all possible go the DSLR route, there is so much more you can do that a nice P & S.
    Maybe you can find a used or refurbished older DLSR (Nikon 50 or60) that have a warranty if $$$ is tight. That's a safer route than a private seller.
  6. iani

    iani Guest

    Tamron 90mm macro is going to run her about 410 brand new right now. So you are still looking at about 900 bottom end with a d40 18-55mm kit lens and a 90mm tamron macro. Also remember if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of shady online camera dealers.
  7. vivi

    vivi Guest

    Thanks for the advice.
    Another questions here, i'm looking at nikon d40 , nikon d3000, canon xsi, canon xs. Would you guys go for d40 (instead of d3000), and which of canon xsi vs xs vs t1i? Oh, i think canon xsi is discontinue and replaced by t1i.

    Too many cameras, too little differences to untrained eyes. Sadly, dpreview doesn't quite help much with the the newb when all their lingo and stats sounds like martian to me.
  8. jimmyc

    jimmyc Guest

    Vivi, I think a canon rebel would be just fine though the kit lens won't be good enough to take "tank pictures". I struggled with the thought of getting a dedicated macro lens but decided against it. It would be more cost effective to rent a macro once a year to take tank pictures or be a host at the next tank tour since someone with a macro could take pictures for you. As for me I bought a 28-105 IS 4L lens recently and it's pretty fast and sharp. See the 6/9/10 album at for photos. Note the 1st shot was with a 70-300 and not too sharp.
  9. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

    i bought the nikon d60 and i love it.... may even be selling it to upgrade since i wanna start doing more professional photos
  10. CookieJar

    CookieJar Guest

    I also have the Nikon D60 and it's all I need for reef tanks. I'm just a casual photographer though.
  11. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    When it comes to entry level DSLR cameras they are all about the same. For casual photography they will all work well. What I would think about is what you think your ultimate long term goal is. Is this strictly going to be used for taking pictures of your tank, or are you going to use it for other things? You also don't want to go to inexpensive and find 3,6,9 months later that you wish you had spent a little bit more and gotten a little bit higher end camera. I look at purchasing cameras very similar to getting a fish tank. Get the biggest and best you can afford. I am not saying go and spend $2000 on a camera with a ton of features and options that you will never use, but getting 1 maybe 2 steps up from what you think you will need might be something to consider. The price increase is not that much. Lastly one of the biggest things to consider is how the camera feels in your hands. GO down to a store and hold a couple of the camera's you are considering. You might considering the cannon but find that when you hold it, it feels awkward in your hands, but the Nikon feels comfortable. Trust me this makes a huge difference. If it is uncomfortable to use, you won't use it.
  12. vivi

    vivi Guest

    Thanks again!
    what store has entry level DSLR to try out? bestbuy?
  13. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    Best Buy, Wolf Camera, Fry's
  14. vivi

    vivi Guest

    i'm in san mateo area, but frequently head to mission/downtown SF.
  15. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    Check out Calumet Photo, and Adolf Gasser Photo. Another place I frequent is Pro Camera; I am particularly fond of this place. All are located in San Francisco.
  16. vivi

    vivi Guest

    thanks Anthony!
  17. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    Not a problem; let us know what you decide on :)
  18. vivi

    vivi Guest

    A friend recommended micro four-thirds camera. Anyone has feedback how well they do in micro?
  19. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    Where are you located?
  20. treylane

    treylane Supporting Member

    IMO, don't get the DSLR unless you really want to make photography some part of your life, add it to your list of hobbies, and be willing to drop $300-$500ea on a couple lenses. If you're just gonna try making do with the cheapie lenses that come with these kits, you're better off getting a high-quality P&S. Really the camera manufacturers are using the razor-blades business model, giving you the body cheap in the hopes that you'll be buying more lenses.

    The 4/3 dslr's are awesooooome! But they have awesooooome price tags for both bodies and lenses. If you've got the dough, go for it.

    You can take GREAT shots with a quality P&S, and you can take LOUSY shots with a DSLR as well. I'm not much of a photographer, but maybe if a few of us put up some reference shots, you'll get an idea what to expect from different camera setups:

    Taken with DSLR (old Canon Rebel XT):

    Taken with Point+Shoot (Canon G11):

    (these photos were processed differently for different color effects)

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