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Semi SLR or DSLR entry level any suggestion ???

by amangrulkar / April 16, 2010 5:12 AM PDT

I am looking for a entry level SLR. I am looking in a range of 500 to 600$. I am not a professional in photography but have a hobby of clicking good photos. Could any one suggest some cool SLR which are easy to use and have good optical zoom and image stability...

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by Helderberg_Complainer / April 16, 2010 10:37 AM PDT

Sony DSLRs are very inexpensive and have anti-shake in the body so any lens used will have that feature.

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not really good for him
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / April 16, 2010 12:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Sony DSLR

His whole budget would be used up with a Sony DSLR and the kit lens, which is a 3x optical zoom. 3x zoom is not what the OP was looking for when he asked for "good optical zoom", which to get good optical zoom would cost him almost or more than his budget to get on a DSLR. Also, all DSLRs have image stabilization when you buy them, whether it's in the lens or in the body.

The one other caveat is that all the lowest priced Sony DSLRs have been hammered in reviews(ie A230, A330, and A380), which is why thy didn't last a year before Sony discontinued them without a replacement.

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You should really Consider some used equipment.
by charleswsheets / April 16, 2010 12:24 PM PDT


I've been involved with photography since the early 80's. In today's fast moving digital environment, like computers, the same day you buy the newest, brightest technology something new is already on the assembly line. The good news is that cameras, unlike computers, will last for many years of reliable service if well maintained. I still own the original camera I purchased in 1981, a Canon AE-1. Of course it was all film back then and comparing cameras was a lot easier.

Since you're a beginner, it makes sense that you'd want a camera that's not going to cost you to much, but will perform at a semi-professional level. There are many to choose from. Let me warn you right up front that you don't want to get caught up in the mega-pixel game. It's not how many mega-pixels you have but instead, just like film cameras, it's about how much light you can record and the number and size of the surfaces that are going to record it. You can bet that the cheaper cameras may SAY they can record 10 mega-pixels (and they do). But the surface they're recording on is so small they can't gather much light. So first, if you're serious about taking fantastic pictures you need to start with a camera that has a large CMOS sensor. All of the mainstream DSLR Cameras have large CMOS sensors. All of these companies also make smaller, less expensive models but still maintain the quality of the large light collecting capability.

So how many mega-pixels do you need? I believe that for the beginner, or semi-pro photographer, 8 High Quality Mega-pixels is more than sufficient. This type of camera will provide ultra-high quality prints up to about 11 x 14.

Just as important as the mega-pixels is the quality of your lens. I would recommend that you NEVER buy a camera of any kind with a fixed lens that can't be interchanged with other lenses that are better suited to the type of picture you're taking.

I'd also recommend you take a look at a photography course offered by most local Community Colleges. This is a small investment in the skills that will pay you big dividends in the long run.

Now to answer your question. As I stated in my title above, I think you should consider purchasing a high quality used DSLR. The advantage of buying a used outfit is that you'll have enough in your budget to buy a decent lens or two, a good quality camera case, tripod, and some filters to get you started off on the right foot. I can personally recommend two possibilities in your budget range. The Canon Digital Rebel XT is a great starter camera sporting a high quality light sensor, interchangeable auto-focus lenses, and a program mode for the times when you don't want to have to think too hard. You can find fully outfitted kits available on sites like ebay, well within your stated price range. Another, more professional camera made in this time-frame was the Canon 20D. This camera takes up to 5 frames per second and has all of the bells and whistles you could ever ask for. It is also 8.2 mega-pixels using the Canon Digic II sensor, which was the state of the art 4 years ago.

The big advantage to buying a camera that was $2,500 four years ago is that the people who are selling them are upgrading to the newer, faster technology. Of course buying used equipment should be approached carefully, and you should make sure the seller is well rated and the warranty provides you enough time to put the camera through it's paces.

Amangrulkar, I hope this information is helpful to you. I know you won't be disappointed if you go with the pros. That means Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax. One poster recommended Sony. I can only say that Sony has a reputation for great video gear, but they have never been in the forefront of camera gear. Just a side note though, Sony does manufacture the CMOS sensors for many of the Canon cameras. They're developing one right now that will pack 50 Mega-pixels on the size of a DSLR sensor. I'm pretty sure that one will be out of my price-range.

Good Luck and,

Best Regards

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Minolta equals Sony equals ...
by richteral / April 17, 2010 12:02 AM PDT

Definitely not Minolta; indirect but personal experience gained from other users over the years has been dismal. As a camera manufacturer, Minolta (Konica Minolta, really) went out of business if you have not noticed, doubtless for good reasons (pissed off customers). It was mediocre in 1980s already, then saved by fusion with Konica, now the legacy part of Sony. So there we go.

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Semi SLR or DSLR entry level any suggestion ???
by Kanga bill / April 16, 2010 1:28 PM PDT

As I have 40 years experience as a professional photographer, I would strongly suggest you go for a full-on DSLR, as this type of camera is something for you to grow in to, not a camera that will soon prove too limiting.
Around your quoted price range range, I would suggest you check out the Pentax k-x, see this review;

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We don't know what kind of person he is. His OP didn't allude to if he was interested in learning photography or if he's one of those that just plan to use it as point and shoot, never read the manual, and all auto all the time, expecting it to magically produce great photos. That's not the person that should get a DSLR.

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Semi SLR or DSLR entry level any suggestion ???
by kydna / April 16, 2010 9:53 PM PDT

With my personal experience in the DSLR world & it's fast-paced rate of technological evolution, buying a moderately priced kit system would suit your needs for an entry level system in the general price point you're targeting. Canon/Shmanon, Nikon/Shmikon... whatever system you use; they're all great. You may have to cough up a little more than $600 for a starter kit though. Figure around 800 quid + all the "LITTLE" stuff such as cards, a bag, tripod, yada-yada.

If you think about it, the camera body is basically a box that holds your sensor. I wouldn't fret too much about it, as if you're like most of us reading & responding to this post, you'll soon develop a gear fetish, meaning a camera body upgrade down the line. Eventually, spending your dinars on quality glass is your most important investment.

Buy a good starter kit system from any of the Big Boyz (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony,etc.) hunker down & use it & learn it well & if you're like most of the rest of us, you'll be upgrading within a year or so.

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D-SLR on a budget
by hjfok / April 17, 2010 7:33 AM PDT

Agree with all the advice above. $500-600 is very limiting for a D-SLR. You likely will need to buy a used camera.

Here is a decent starter kit:

If you want something more powerful:

New equipment will cost a little more. This Pentax Kx kit is a little over $700:

You still need to save some money for a bounce flash, tripod, filters, etc.

If you are likely to upgrade to higher pro-sport level performance equipment or full frame cameras, then Canon and Nikon are probably better choice. You can find accessories more easily and more readily available for these two manufacturers than others (eg. tethered shooting, etc).

Pentax generally has solid quality and very reasonable price.

Good luck.

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Not enought money
by dwagen / April 17, 2010 8:06 AM PDT

I saved for a camera and bought a Canon A640 point and shoot. I got some fantastic pictures. But I was hungry for more out of a camera. So I bought a Canon S5IS and I love it and got fantastic pictures. Still I wanted more out of a camera. So I bought a Canon EOS 40D and am very pleased. I also had to spend $1399 for a fantastic lens. If I hadn't bought all the other cameras, I could have more for this one. I checked all the reviews on any camera I was thinking of and eventually decided on the 40D. I started making money with it almost immediately. It is way heavier than a point and shoot. And I always am carrying a camera backpack, but I love my camera. I can't wait to get more lenses for it.
I use to work in a photo lab in Alaska, so I saw many pictures from many different kinds of cameras. A lot of professional photographer's pictures as well from different kinds of cameras. Most were run of the mill. But I saw some of the most fantastic pictures from every kind of camera. One of the most beautiful sunsets ever was from an Olympus point and shoot. The photographer gave me a copy of it and I photoshopped it and nothing I could do would improve it. So I let it be. The best thing about digital photography, is that you can take millions of pictures, but only have to print the good one.
Bottom line. If the camera is comfortable in your hand and the menu is easy for you to navigate and all the things you have found out from countless reviews you've looked at, is something you can live with, then that is the camera for you. I use a lot when evaluating a camera. If what ever camera you get, makes you excited about taking pictures, that is a wonderful day my friend. Enjoy.

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Why not Olympus?
by markrbb75 / April 17, 2010 1:03 PM PDT

I'm seeing plenty of suggestions, but not one for an Oly DSLR. The E-3 may be a little advanced, but there are several other models to chose from and they all take Zuiko DIGITAL lenses. Sure the sensors are 4/3rds, but with digital lenses, you can cut the weight way down and still get some excellent shots. I would look into an E-520 or an E-620. You can buy an E-620 kit for $649.00. That's a 12.3 MP DSLR with image stabilization built into the camera so no matter what lens you use, it's covered (Oly designed the IS and has been using it for quite a while whereas others are just now catching on to it) and a Zuiko 14-42mm lens. You can get some very expensive lenses that will fit perfectly on this body, but you will be up into the thousands and it all depends on what you're looking to do with it...where your passion lies.

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while looking around
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / April 17, 2010 2:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Why not Olympus?

I did see that there is a package deal for the Olympus E-520 that comes with the 14-42mm, 40-150mm, and a 4GB CF card for $576 on Amazon, so that would fit his budget. I don't know how good the 40-150mm lens is but it does fit his price and gives him the "zoom" that he's probably looking for.

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RE: Semi SLR or DSLR any suggestions???
by RockL / April 17, 2010 3:00 PM PDT

When I was at a similar point in my photographic endeavors, I had been using a 35mm Canon Rebel for my quality shots. I am a hobbyist or an enthusiast and seriously considered entering the digital world with a Canon Rebel; however after reading til I was crosseyed and talking to anybody that would listen, I opted to go with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30. I guess you'd call it a Semi DSLR. Besides the price I loved the Optical Zoom and the fact that it was fast enough for my use and it has a lot of manual controls that allows yo to go well beyond just a point and shoot..... AND the best point was the price. I don't remember exactly what I paid.... but it was well below the $300 mark and was well worth every cent. I compared it to the comparable Canon,Sony,etc manufacturers and felt I was getting the best bang for my dollar. I highly reccommend going to a local camera shop and talking to the guys that have been there for a while and getting their feedback. My case was to go to an outlet shop of a large national chain store and discussing it with a guy that I had done business with for several years and had grown to trust his opinions as he was an even more serious enthusiast than myself. I hope this helps you. Good luck and have FUN!

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Budget for camera
by hjfok / April 17, 2010 7:18 PM PDT

Many will agree that photography is not a cheap hobby, especially for D-SLRs or larger format cameras. As one gets more into photography, one can get more and more obssessed with getting more and better equipment. And end up spending more and more.

So one should set a budget about how much to spend for all equipment in the next 10 years. This will help one to plan what to buy more carefully. Overspending is the culprit of our current economy and our personal/family woes.

To start off, for most people, buying camera and lenses is not an investment. They depreciate as soon as you opened the box. The exception is for those who can use these equipment to make more money than they spend on the equipment.

Personally I learn not to spend more than 3 years salary on a house and not to spend more than 3 months salary on cars. For camera equipment, I suggest not to spend more than 1-2 weeks salary. If you are buying a D-SLR, once you have decided on your total budget, then divide the budget into thirds, 1/3 for the camera body, 2/3 for the camera lenses and accessories.

Then you decide why you need to upgrade your current camera. You need to pinpoint the technical limitation missing in your current camera. "I just want to take better photos" is not useful at all. On the other hand, if your camera missed the low light action shots, then you know you need to get a camera with better high ISO performance, brighter and faster lens, etc. Once you know what you need, you shop around to get everything you need under your budget.

If that exceeds your budget, then you should defer buying the new camera. You can consider putting your budget money into real investment and grow the budget, or use your photography skill to make some money with your current camera to raise enough fund to get what you need. While your money is growing in investment, you continue to refine your technique and push the limit of your current camera.

I found that many people don't know what they need and end up buying a slightly better upgrade of their current camera which still cannot do what the current camera fails to do. An example will be having a PS camera that fails to capture low light sports action. One finds out the needed D-SLR and fast lens are too expensive, so buys the entry level D-SLR and slow kit lens only to find out that this setup still fails to capture the low light sports action.

So research carefully on what you need and budget yourself wisely.

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similar query
by nickton_shaan / December 28, 2012 2:26 AM PST
In reply to: Budget for camera

I'm good at photography and very familiar with point & shoot cameras. Some of my photographs with point & shoot cameras have been really good.
But now I want to take a step further, and this is where I am confused. My photography basically now will involve portraits and landscapes.
So what I am confused about is that my current budget is upto the price range of the cheapest entry level DSLR cameras (I can spend more, but I really do not want to take the risk as I will not earn anything on it). I have never used any DSLR cameras before and I will be totally new to it (I also cant take photography lessons since I'll have to travel too far for it). I can learn quicky by myself, but is it worth taking the risky giant leap from Auto Point & Shoot to DSLR? Or should jump in for a Manual Control point & shoot?

So in short:
1) I am pretty good at capturing really amazing pictures with point & shoot cameras.
2) Now I want to climb up the ladder and take a step further into clicking better pictures of landscapes & portraits. (Its a hobby, not a profession. But I like my hobby also to be perfect).
3) I have never used a DSLR before.
4) My budget is upto the price range of the cheapest entry level DSLR cameras (I can spend more, but I really do not want to take the risk)

Should I purchase:
1) Entry level DSLR's like Canon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D or Nikon D3100 both with only a 18-55mm starter kit. (Can not invest in further zoom lenses for landscape photography because my budget will not fit)
2) A small photo-studio owner told me that since i have never used a DSLR before, he told me to go in for a Semi-SLR for portrait & landscape photography with long zoom cameras with Manual controls . (What are the benefits and negatives of these? Can you recommend me any model numbers for these which I can use for Landscape & portrait photography also with good quality and focus pictures?)

What should I do? Please read it again if you'r confused like me too! Happy

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 28, 2012 2:35 AM PST
In reply to: similar query
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