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Challenge: the digital equivalent of a film "student camera"

by acky74 / December 2, 2009 6:00 PM PST

Hello All,

I am looking for a digital camera that approximates an old "student" SLR. The digital equivalent of the SLR film camera you would have used in a photography class a decade or more ago. Think old Pentax, Minolta, Nikon, etc. Something with auto focus but that is easily switched to manual mode for ISO settings, aperature, manual focus, etc. No auto focus would be okay too.

It doesn't have to be a new model, I'd be more than happy to buy an older discontinued model.

Lens doesn't have to be removable, but I would like a fast lens and quick auto focus so as to approximate a film SLR.

Would really like hotshoe (an additional pop up flash is okay).

Megapixels aren't a huge concern. I have never printed larger than 8x10, with most being 5x7.

For the old-timer in me, metal bodies get style points.

Cost: the more inexpensive the better, but can this be done for under $500?

Has a camera like this been made in the last 10 years?

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Restated for brevity
by acky74 / December 2, 2009 6:16 PM PST

I guess I could simply have said "What in the past 10 years is the under $500 equivalent to either the Lumix DMC-LC1 or the Lumix DMC-GF1."

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 2, 2009 11:56 PM PST
In reply to: Restated for brevity

There is none, because they use a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the standard 3:2 aspect ratio.

Olympus also builds DSLR cameras with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

But for under $500, I doubt it.

For a low cost DSLR look for a Nikon D50 or D60.
You should be able to pick up a used DSLR with lens for under $500.

A low cost substitute (about $200) for a DSLR camera:
Look at the non-DSLR Fujifilm S1500 and the Kodak Z915
Both have the important manual controls:
Aperture Priority
Shutter Priority
Full Manual
Program AE


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under $500 choices
by Joliet Eddie / December 3, 2009 1:21 AM PST

Maybe a new Nikon D40 on sale in several places now. Fine DSLR for the money. Good beginner "student" camera. Maybe look at an older used Canon Rebel series, too.

Canon G11 or new Canon S90: not DSLR, but getting rave reviews.

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plenty of choices of student level camera in the $500 range
by CRUIKSHANK2 / December 3, 2009 3:28 PM PST
In reply to: under $500 choices

You can find this equivalent from all the major manufacturers. I don't know the model number off hand but Pentax has their entry model DSLR which they advertise as the equivalent of the old K-1000, the student camera for years. Any of the Sony entry level models are in that price range and will use a whole host of Minolta AF lenses plus the Anti-shake is built into the body so every lens used is a VR lens. The Canon Rebel series are proven and should be close to that range but they are very plastic. Then Nikon if you can find a good used D200 you are getting a hardened pro body. They can be found if your willing to go a bit more like $600. The D40 and D60's can be had for around $500.00 NewEgg had refurbed D40x's for $299 a while back. Another good option is the Pentax 10D. It has seals on the body, got rave reviews when it was new 2-3 years ago, you could pick up one used for under $400 and I saw new bodies going for $450 a while back.

Finally the Olympus is worth looking at. I've seen sales and close outs of their entry level units like the 420 for a bit over $500 with 2 kit lenses. You have a lot of options. For longevity and lots of options later on I'd look at Nikon. Just watch the entry level ones like the D40 and D60 only use the G series lenses. They will not work with the long line of Nikon Pro and older lenses. good luck, Dave

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Pentax K just $564
by CRUIKSHANK2 / December 3, 2009 3:33 PM PST

I just checked NewEgg has the new Pentax -K a 12mp DSLR with kit lens 18-55mm for $564.00 Great student level camera.

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