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best entry digital SLR

by gadost / December 4, 2008 6:13 AM PST

Like everyone one else, seeking advice and guidance in selecting the best Digital SLR. Daughter has a natural ability in photography, had some classes and done excellent. Now for Christmas I would like to buy her a digital SLR, obviously not pro, but want an excellent SLR that will last her a long time and will not hold her back in progressing.

I would like to keep this under $1000

Thanks to all that help.

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Just something I read recently.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 4, 2008 6:19 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR
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by HTHMAN / December 5, 2008 10:05 AM PST

That just shows the point of which is the best DSLR questions. For what most of us are going to do with a camera, you will never be able to tell the difference. If you can not tell the difference between those two cameras in moderate sized prints, what chance to you have of telling the difference between the images from two similar priced DSLRs?

As is usually recommended. Try them all out. Hold them in your hands. Try out the menus. See how easy it is to use the featurers you will use most often. Buy what feels best to you. You will get excellent results with all of them.

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No interchangable lenses though
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2008 7:53 AM PST

Once one gets a bit more serious and wants absolute control over such as depth of field, there's no substitute for grabbing the right lens for the job. Such is why the camera body can become only the beginning of the road to bankruptcy. Happy

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 4, 2008 7:05 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR

Being best is a relative thing,
since all of the DSLR cameras produce excellent photographs.

The December issue of Consumer Reports Magazine has a rating of DSLR cameras and they show that all of the DSLR cameras (that they tested) in the under $1,000 bracket are rated between 54 and 67 points (all Good).
All DSLR cameras (they tested) in the $1,000 and $2,000 bracket are rated from 69 to 78 points (all Very Good).

Being popular is easier to judge.
That would be the Canon Rebel XSi and the Nikon D90.

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Think about the lenses first
by genotypewriter / December 12, 2008 11:55 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR

Since you're going for a DSLR (and not an advanced fixed-lens digital camera) I assume that you're familiar with your shooting needs.

There's no point in getting an interchangable lens camera in a brand that doesn't have lenses suiting your future shooting needs and budgets.

So ask yourself that very important question first. If you have a lot of photos taken from an existing camera (P&S, phone camera, etc.) there's a software called Exposure Plot that will tell you what your most popular focal length is. Once you get a DSLR your shooting styles will likely change but this way you have a good bet that at least you'd be able to shoot the same sorts of things but in better quality than before.


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Help with a dSLR for Christmas
by forkboy1965 / December 13, 2008 5:59 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR

It is very wonderful that you want to surprise your daughter with this most excellent gift. And I can only imagine how excited she would be to unwrap such a gift and thus make her Christmas quite lovely.

However, my very first bit of advice is going to be a bit tough: don't buy one for her without getting her input. If she has both talent and the desire to spend lots of time with her impending dSLR gift, then it stands to reason that she should help select the one for her. A camera can be a very personal item, which at first sounds odd. Camera? Personal? Really? Well I say yes. It is very important that controls and such fall readily to finger for the user. Real users don't want to have to feel around or look for the correct controls so that they might make changes. They need to be able to do it as if it were second nature. The only way to do this is for the end-user to actually handle the camera and see how it fits their hand, how the controls fall to finger tip, etc. Comfort is paramount and the only way you can achieve this is if she actually shops with you. I cannot too strongly suggest that you bring her in on your desire.

There is a second reason to include her: only she knows what is important to her in regards to equipment. She may, for example, be interested in a camera that is more compact than even an entry-level dSLR. She may prefer a more compact camera (but with the capability of shooting in RAW) such as the Canon G10, Leica Lux-4, or any other similar cameras. Or, she may indeed want a dSLR, but she may want to spend less money on the camera body such that she might obtain a better lens or lenses or vice versa. She may wish to try and incorporate a separate flash unit into your budget by sticking with only one lens for the time being. You it will be her making use of the equipment she probably should have a say in what she is getting. I know it isn't as exciting as purchasing something for her and having her open it on Christmas morning, but I sincerely believe she will be even more happy to be involved in the process and will walk away with precisely what she wants within your budget (or she may opt to contribute if she can).

All that said, it would be hard to go wrong with a dSLR from either Canon or Nikon. They both make very good cameras, but more importantly they make complete camera systems (camera bodies, lenses, flash units, accessories, etc.) and have been doing so for a very long time. There are other companies in the dSLR marketplace (Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Sony, etc.), who also make fine cameras, but there is a reason why you see professionals using Canon & Nikon: they work and have vast experience making cameras and lenses. I won't go so far as to say that Canon & Nikon should be your only choices, but they are likely easier bets for a variety of reasons. However, those persons I know who have non-Canon and non-Nikon cameras are not dissatisfied with their choices.

I imagine it would be easier for you if those of us responding to your request for help simply told you to buy camera X or camera Y and then list reasons why, but I believe this would be doing both you and your daughter a disservice. Most any dSLR from a recognized name will provide her with great service, but I strongly urge you to include her in the process so that she can obtain precisely what will work best for her particular talents and interests.

Whatever you do I wish you and yours the best this holiday season.

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The real reson for professionals
by HTHMAN / December 13, 2008 9:25 AM PST

"There are other companies in the dSLR marketplace (Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Sony, etc.), who also make fine cameras, but there is a reason why you see professionals using Canon & Nikon: they work and have vast experience making cameras and lenses."

Actually, most professionals will be using full frame DSLRs. Think about the number of companies that produce them. Until Sony very recently introduced the A900, there were only Nikon and Canon in the full frame business. You really can not base the quality of entry level products to professional products. Pentax, Olympus and Sony(Minolta heritage)have made great cameras and lenses for decades. The Pentax Spotmatic was perhaps the most popular SLR of all time. You will not go wrong with any of them.

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I agree except
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / December 13, 2008 10:40 AM PST

I would happily shoot a Sony A700, but I think the lower models are behind the curve. Now, Pentax has some fine cameras out, and the Olympus have great kit lens(but lack in high iso/low noise). The problem with the Pentax is that you can't find hardly anyone that sells it to see how it fits in your hand. I live in a town of 400,000 and nobody carries anything but Canon, Nikon, and the lower end Sonys.

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Pentax Spotmatic
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2008 10:51 AM PST

was made by Asahi in Japan but sold as Honeywell in the U.S. as I recall. As for 1/2 frame versus full frame, I remember the Olympus Pen half frames that did a fairly decent job with film years ago. One advantage was being able to squeeze double the number of frames per roll of film which was an advantage in some uses. As for Sony, it didn't have a foot in the camera business back then. Minolta was, Miranda, Pentax, etc., were the "entry level" or "serious amateur" cameras of the day. Canon an Nikon were primarily lens and optics makers for scientific, industrial, etc. applications but branched into consumer photographic products that brought stiff competition for some of the German companies. Nikon's were more affordable than Leica in the 35mm category. 2 1/4 square was next level dominated by Hasselblad at the high end, Rollei, tagging behind them a bit and Mamiya offering cameras in that format for the masses. Other large formats existed but equipment had to get larger and prohibitively expensive as well. But technology advancements in film and optics were allowing higher resolution images to be captured in less space so cameras became smaller and more portable. Today, however, it seems the quest for higher resolution necessitates the capturing images in increasingly larger space. With silver halide emulsions on film, information could be captured at the level of the individual molecules. I'd have to think that, to retain portability of photo gear but continue to improve image resolution, there will need to be effort made to bring the individual sensing elements as close as possible to that same molecular level. Oops...a bit of rambling there.

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I agree
by notomas / December 15, 2008 1:25 PM PST

My wife bought a Nikon D40. She loves the camera. It is very user friendly and fits her hand. I like a little more mass to my camera and I am a tec nut. I ended up getting the D80.
We both use our cameras differently. I do a lot of scenic and wildlife shooting. My wife shoots weddings and stuff like that and thousands of pics of our daughters. Just kidding, maybe only hundreds.

We both love our camera's and do not enjoy using each others when we have to. Hers wont do the little tweaks that I want it to do and mine wont do what she wants it to do without her having to stop and figure out what settings are needed. We both have basically the same lenses, but we use them differently. The same location, same time of day, we will end up with totally different pictures.

She picked her camera because it fit what she wants it to do, and I picked my camera for my own reasons. If I had gone out and bought her the camera that I thought she wanted, I would have bought a camera that she would not have enjoyed as much as the one she picked.

I guess what I am trying to say is I agree with forkboy I think she should be brought in on the purchase of her gift.

I wish you and your family the best this holiday season.

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Nikon D40
by dkshaver / December 14, 2008 12:37 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR

My daughter too has a strong interest in photography and expresed a desire to own a DSLR camera after owning several point and shoots. My deal for her was to earn half the money and I would put up the other half. She got her first summer job and did just that. I agree that you should include your daughter in the purchase process. We spent several trips to local stores to find a camera that she liked and fit her small hands well. What we ended up with was the Nikon D40. You didn't mention your daughter's age but did say you were looking at entry level cameras. My daughter is 14 and has had the camera now for about 6 months. The price was well within your budget. I have seen the camera with a single lens at local retailers for $449.00, normal price $499.00. There is a two lens kit that includes a 200mm zoom that I have seen on sale for $589.00, this is the kit my daughter got. The extra lens was worth the cost. My budget was also $1000 and this allowed for the purchase of camera bag, memory cards, filters, etc. Don't forget these costs in your purchase, they add up. All told, I think we spent just over $700.00. Again, this is an entry level camera at 6.1 mega pixels and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the more expensive cameras have but it does shoot in all formats, including RAW and gives full control of shooting professional quality photos. My daughter has taken some amazing shots with this camera. My mom has even commissioned her to do Xmas portaits!! This has been an excellent camera and we have had no regrets in chosing it. Good luck in your search and you will not regret giving your daughter this gift.

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Helpful tool
by GravitysRainbow / December 18, 2008 1:12 AM PST
In reply to: best entry digital SLR
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Not So Helpful
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 18, 2008 7:12 AM PST
In reply to: Helpful tool

If that website delivered what it implies, it would be a useful tool.

But I found it exasperating to use.

There is not enough room on the description line to include the model number, causing you to have to click on each item to find out what it is.
Major pain in the neck.

When I did a comparison of 7 digital cameras, there was no specifications for 6 of the 7 cameras.
That means the comparison filters are giving false information.
That is no help at all.

When I clicked that I wanted to buy a camera, I find that the price is different.
Therefore it is useless for looking for items on sale.


spectackler is not ready for prime time.
Back to the drawing board.

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by GravitysRainbow / December 18, 2008 3:36 PM PST
In reply to: Not So Helpful

You're probably right on a few things, I know the developers of the site and I've sent them an email with your comments.

Anyway, back to helping Gadost!

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