1st D-SLR Advice Please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Paul

    Paul Guest

    Hi All

    Hope this is posted in the right place and apologies in advance for the
    inevitable 'Which Camera' post but I really do need some help.

    Basically I want my first digital SLR and have looked at the following

    Sony Alpha 200
    Sony Alpha 350
    Canon EOS 1000D
    Canon EOS 450D
    Nikon D40
    Olympus E-420

    In addition to the Lumix G1 and the Sony Cybershot HX1 which I believe are
    both not typically D-SLR units?

    My requirements are quite simple - as a compact user I like the ability to
    be able to use the LCD to take pictures a la compact but I also want
    something which gives excellent image quality plus uses good storage media
    (SD?). I know that the Alpha 200 does not have the LCD but not sure about
    the others?

    My preference is probably the Lumix or the Alpha 350 but is there any reason
    I should be put off the Sonys by their using CF instead of SD or MS?

    Thanks in advance - all advice welcome.
    Paul, Jul 24, 2009
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  2. Paul

    Chris H Guest

    Canon and Nikon have the majority of the serious market between them
    (80%+?) and will not disappear in the foreseeable future and both have
    very large systems of bodies, flash guns and lenses (+ accessories) The
    Olympus and Sony have much smaller ranges and may or may not be around
    in 5-10 years.

    Going with Canon or Nikon (BTW both God and I use a Nikon, the Devil and
    Heretics use Canon :) will give you a lot of flexibility now and in
    the future if you decide to develop your photography further. There is
    virtually nothing you can't do with either range.

    In the case of Nikon (almost) all of their lenses will work on any body
    since they started the f mount some 50 years ago. So if you buy a D40
    (go for the D40x) now and add lenses to it those lenses will work on the
    D3x (or D800sx :) you upgrade to in a 5 years time.

    I started with a D70s, bought lenses and flash guns etc all of which
    work on the D300 I have now (with the D70 for backup)

    BTW The "serious" cameras use Compact Flash not SD

    SO look at the whole system from the manufacturers and think about where
    you might want to go in the next decade.

    Finally whilst I (and god) use Nikon the Nikon and Canon systems are on
    a par and you won't to wrong choosing either. It all comes down to which
    system you feel happier with in your hands.... try handling the camera
    in a shop or try a friends.
    Chris H, Jul 24, 2009
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  3. Paul

    Martin Brown Guest

    Do you already have a collection of lenses for a film SLR? If so that
    may limit your options significantly if you want to be able to use them.
    Worth looking at reviews to see which camera best matches your interests.
    Be sure to handle the camera in the flesh before choosing one. Even if
    on paper it is perfect there is no point if you find it uncomfortable to
    hold or too fiddly to operate (usually more of a problem on compacts).
    At this stage in the game I would not be that keen to invest in another
    camera that uses CF (even though I have a fair number of CF cards).

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Jul 24, 2009
  4. Paul

    Huge Guest

    And both are evil, Sony for distributing audio CDs with malware on them and
    Olympus (spit) for abandoning their OM users when they went digital.
    This is a religious issue.
    Huge, Jul 24, 2009
  5. Not IMO.
    However, I strongly urge you to handle the Sony (at least) before
    deciding. A colleague has one and I really don't like the feel or
    layout, which isn't at all intuitive to me. This is obviously just a
    personal view, but you won't know until you have hold of one.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 24, 2009
  6. Paul

    Chris H Guest

    Sony and CD's is neither here not there. It would be a completely
    different t division of the empire.
    The way Olympus abandoned their OM users is more of an issue. It could
    happen again with the Olympus digital stuff especially if it is not a
    good seller over the next few years.
    No it is a fact. All the higher end "professional" Nikon and Canon
    cameras use CF the "consumer" and point and shoot use SD.

    The point is if you use SD and then want to move "up" the DSLR market
    the chances are that any DSLR you want to move to will use CF. I was not
    thinking religion just pure logistics.

    It is highly unlikely that CF will disappear far to many people have a
    long term interest in it. At the consumer end SD stuff tends to have a
    shorter life.

    BTW I am in the electronics business so I have some idea where these
    things are going. Customers of mine are designing the products for the
    2011-2016 market
    Chris H, Jul 24, 2009
  7. Paul

    Chris H Guest

    That is the best test... assuming the specs are "similar".

    I would only look at CF cameras as the "professional" cameras will use
    this for many years to come.

    The "consumer" cameras will change formats of memory cards far sooner
    than the Pro cameras.
    Chris H, Jul 24, 2009
  8. Hmm, I'm not convinced that you'll want to use a lens off a D40 on a
    full frame camera though.
    So the Nikon D80 isn't "serious"?
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 24, 2009
  9. Paul

    Paul Guest


    To all who have replied many many thanks so far. I am complete novice to
    this (as you probably guessed) so finding a group that doesn't treat you
    like an imbecile on usenet makes a refreshing change.

    I have taken on booard the comments and general consensus appears to be that
    Canon and Nikon are the way forward thus that has helped me to narrow my
    choice a fair bit:

    Canon EOS100D and 450D
    Nikon D40X and D60

    Of these do any of them have the ability to use the LCD (a la compact) to
    take pictures? I must confess that one of the main attractions of the Sony
    camers (a350) was this feature. I know that all the units mentioned thus
    far have LCD's but as far as I can see most of them are for the
    menus/histograms rather than a mirror of what's about to be captured.

    Oh and I have taken heed of the lessons - I am going to the Church of CF
    this weekend to request membership :)

    Thanks again

    Paul, Jul 24, 2009
  10. Paul

    Martin Brown Guest

    That is sort of implied by an SLR where there is a mirror in the light
    path diverting the light to the viewfinder. However, the feature you
    want is available for a price on digital SLRs and called "Live View".
    Some implementations have annoying quirks so read the reviews if that
    feature is important to you eg for still life composition.

    Amateur Photographer reviewed a bunch of models with that capability in
    the 4th July edition you might want to find it in the local library.
    I have both but I reckon CF will climb in price when only the pros are
    using it. It's longevity is not in question. Meanwhile SD has become a
    common consumer item.

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Jul 24, 2009
  11. Paul

    Chris H Guest

    AFAIK Nikon automatically detect the DX lenses on an FX body
    Not according to Nikon. It is not part of their Professional range. The
    D300 is the lowest one they class as Professional.

    You won't get into their Professional group with a D80
    Chris H, Jul 24, 2009
  12. Paul

    Chris H Guest

    The SD may disappear at any time. There is no long term investment in
    it. The use is mainly consumer and that market is notoriously fickle.

    People said the same about Beta and VHS.... Beta outlasted VHS by some
    years as the professional market used it.

    CF prices will not climb at the moment "only" the pro's are using it now
    and the price is falling. Also it is widely used the electronics
    industry where SD is not. CF usage will not decline much and could

    SD on the other hand will decrease as SD is too big for most phones and
    many P&S camera are loosing out to camera-phones. The SD is likely to
    disappear long before the CF will.... That is just from my knowledge of
    the electronics industry.

    That is just logistics and economics. I have items that use SD and some
    that use CF so I have no religious axe to grind.
    Chris H, Jul 24, 2009
  13. Paul

    mianileng Guest

    IMHO, the type of memory card is a minor issue, especially about
    migrating from SD to CF. The price of an SD card is a tiny
    fraction of the total investment in buying a decent DSLR. It will
    be swamped by general depreciation of the camera body when the OP
    wants to upgrade to a more "serious" camera, and as likely as
    not, CF cards may be cheaper by then, partly or fully nulling the
    advantage of buying a CF card now.

    Just my 2 cents. BTW, I'm in electronics too - been so for almost
    40 years now.
    mianileng, Jul 24, 2009
  14. Paul

    Huge Guest

    So what? As a consumer, the only sanction I have against large corporations
    is not to buy anything from them, and to encourage others to do likewise. Sony
    have demonstrated that they do not have their customer's best interests in
    mind, and I will not give them my money.
    Indeed. And they don't get any of my money, either. I went Nikon and will
    not be returning, despite having been a life-long Olympus customer.
    Ahh, OK. In which case we agree. Kinda.
    Huge, Jul 24, 2009
  15. Paul

    Mr. Strat Guest

    Sony is notorious for making proprietary hardware.
    Mr. Strat, Jul 24, 2009
  16. Paul

    Mr. Strat Guest

    Pssst...these are single lens reflex cameras. That means when you look
    through the little hole you're seeing what the lens sees. If you want
    to compose images on a little TV screen, stick with a P&S like the rest
    of the losers who own them.
    Mr. Strat, Jul 24, 2009
  17. Paul

    PDM Guest

    Note that the Nikon D40 & D40x is no longer made. Nikon's bottom end is now
    the D60. None of these use the LCD (the D5000 can though).

    I strongly suspect that once you start using the viewfinder on a DSLR you
    would not want to use the LCD to compose a picture ever again. One of the
    main disadvantages of an LCD is that in bright light you can't see the dam
    thing. No problem with a DSLR. I've got a Nikon D90 which has this ability.
    I never use it.

    Suggest you go with consensus and give serious consideration to Canon or
    Nikon over other makes. Personally, I use Nikon, but only because I dislike
    the way the lower end Canon's don't fit in my hand. I started off with the
    D40x. Still love this camera to bits despite some shortcomings. It fits my
    hand like a glove. But please try out cameras before you buy. The feel of it
    is surprisingly important after you have used it for a while.

    PDM, Jul 24, 2009
  18. Paul

    me Guest

    Go to www.dpreview.com and compare the features for yourself. The best
    thing you can do is actually each model you are interested in into
    your hands to evaluate the size, control layout and also take a look
    at the menu system and how easy it is to access those features you
    deem everyday settings you'll need to frequently change.
    me, Jul 24, 2009
  19. I'm not saying they won't work, just doubtful whether a budget lens
    designed for a reduced size sensor is going to perform well on a full
    size sensor.
    That's all just marketing hype aimed at rich amateurs and the odd
    insecure professional. They know well enough that plenty of real
    professionals find the D80 perfectly adequate.

    I'm a little puzzled that they switched from CF in the D70 to SD in the
    D80 if the latter really is on the way out.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 24, 2009
  20. Paul

    SMS Guest

    Paul wrote:

    First of all, avoid the Olympus at all costs unless your main goal is
    compactness, and of course don't go with the Lumix G1 or HX1 since you
    lose many of the main D-SLR advantages.

    For Nikon, avoid the D40, go with the D40X.

    With Nikon or Canon you're assured that they'll be in the D-SLR business
    for at least as long as you're around, not so with Sony or Olympus. If
    you ever need a specialty lens for a day or two then you can rent a
    Nikon or Canon high end lens but you can't do that with Pentax, Sony, or
    Olympus--those lenses rarely exist and if they do you'd be unlikely to
    find a pro shop that rented them.

    Canon has a better lens selection than Nikon in the mid-range, with many
    of their EF-S lenses using professional quality optics (though some are
    el-cheapo lenses and do not) and every EOS Canon lens can be used on the
    Canon's you mention. Many older Nikon lenses will work on the D40, but
    many will not, because the D40/D40X has no focusing motor in the camera
    to work with AF and AF-D lenses (the higher end Nikon D-SLRs do have
    this motor). See "http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html" for a
    compatibility chart. Of course if you don't have any older Nikon lenses,
    or plan to buy any, than this is a non-issue.
    SMS, Jul 24, 2009
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