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Thread: choosing first dslr

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    choosing first dslr

    Hello

    I am looking at getting my first dslr, would call myself a total noob, have been looking at the D5100 with the 18-55mm VR Lens, would love opinions if this is a good starting point.

    At the moment I would like to try out landscapes, night photography and low light stuff and long exposures... I know that a lower light lens will be needed down the track but as a starter would this be adequate to learn on? I have looked at some of the Nikon lens which are 50mm and 35mm F1.8? prime lens? which seem very cheap compared to what I have seen some photographers who are using the Tokina 11-17mm at f2.8. Well thats the assumption at this point...

    I know I have a huge learning curve ahead, was tempted to spend a few hundred on second hand gear on ebay thats probably 8 years old but for a bit more this seems like a better option

    Thanks in advance for any advice

    Cheers
    Steph

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Firstly any of the current model DSLR's from any of the main manufacturers is going to serve you well. Each one of them makes good gear, and really brand choice comes down to personal choice.

    Lenses are a different lot though, As you say, lenses can be cheap or dear, and sometimes price does not equate to quality. The ubiquitous 50mm f1.8 lenses are cheap, but they are damn good. But there is always better..the 50mm f1.4. So you can get some great lenses are reasonable prices.
    The 18-55 is referred to as a 'kit lens', meaning it is made to sell as a 'kit' with a camera and other accessories for the first time DSLR owner. It is quite capable of producing photos that are sharp and with good colour. Most of what you have ahead of you is not about what gear you have, but what you learn and as the photographer, how you set the camera to get the result you want.

    The 18-55 gives you a reasonable wide angle at the 18mm end and will allow you to get those landscapes, night photography etc, then at the 55mm end it will be good for portraiture etc. So it is a nice all-round first lens and will serve you well as you learn. Once you have the skills up, you will start to understand the limitations of a kit lens and then you will also have the knowledge to know what you seek, thus making your lens purchases based on what genre you want to shoot and what results you want to get as your photography progresses, but for now the kit you are looking at will serve you well...if you take the time to learn about aperture, iso, shutter speed and how they work, and get your camera off the auto-mode.

    Enjoy the learning curve ahead of you..and remember that editing your photos is also part of the whole, so you need to start learning how to edit as well.

    Best wishes with your choice.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Hi Steph,
    Did you have a budget?
    Just remember to factor in some necessary accessories such as memory card/s (NOT filters so don't get suckered in by the salesman to buy one... IMO ) and seeing that you want to try out low light/long exposure/landscapes stuff, then a tripod would be quite important.
    Nikon FX

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    As Rick has suggested, all the major camera companies have excellent cameras and they will all serve you well as far as end results are concerned. The most important thing is to try the cameras in your budget from the different manufacturers and see which one is easiest and most intuitive to use. If you find a camera difficult to use, then you will get frustrated with missing shots and then will be reluctant to use it and it may become an expensive paperweight! I use Nikon because I found that between the two Full Frame major camera companies, Canon and Nikon, the Nikon was the easiest and most inuititve to use for me which means that I can jump from function to function and find buttons etc with relative ease. For me, I found the Canon's difficult to use due to what I considered confusing menus and button placement. But that is just me and doesn't mean that it will be like this for you. However, I used to shoot APS C Pentax cameras previously and found that they were very easy and intuitive to use as well, possibly even better than the Nikons, and they are similar to the way Nikons are set out in menus and button placement etc. However, Pentax's upgrade path was limited and do not have a truly professional system like Nikon so, that is why I jumped over to Nikon.

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    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    Further to the above.. the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens you mentioned is a great lens, however it is a completely different beast to the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (also a great lens), in that the two lenses are used for completely and utterly different purposes. The 50mm lens is primarily what you might call a portrait lens; it is a great focal length for people shots. The 11-16mm lens is an ultra wide angle lens, which would primarily be used for landscape or architectural photography.

    Also, I would quite highly recommend the Nikon 18-105mm kit lens as an alternative to the 18-55 or dual lens kits. It's a good little all-rounder and gives you the chance to think about composing your photos rather than worrying about whether you're using the right lens.
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    Thank you so much for all your input, will take it on board, determined not to rush a decison and make an impulse buy which is my usual modus operandi , trying to sit on my hands and take a month or so to consider options, thanks again

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    Ok so I went down to Harvey Norman today for a quick look, had a look at the d5100 + the d 7000 and 7100, no where near deciding but wanted to see how they felt in my hands, much prefered the 7000 and 7100 for a feeling of sturdyness compared to the 5100.

    Came home and had a rummage around because I just remembered that I was given an slr for my 21st many years ago, I never did much with it and gave it back to my parents to use, anyway I have a film slr here which is a Jenaflex AC-1 electronic it says on the body, also Carl Zeiss the lens with it is Carl Zeiss Jena DDR P 1:1.8 f=50mm MC, is this of any use to me, is it worth it to throw some film in it and have a play?.

    Also from the magic cupboard I have found my fathers old camera it is a Nikon F55 it has 2 lenses Nikon AF Nikkor 28-80mm 1:3.3-5.6G and a Nikion Af Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6G.... are these of any use to me? Would it also be worth my while to throw a film or 2 in this one and play?

    The Jenna camera has had very little use and I can see no dust or anything, the Nikon I think Dad has used quite a bit and I can see some dirt on the front of the lens, have not looked further than that.

    I suppose I am wondering if these older lenses are still able to be used with a newer body if anyone could provide some feedback that would be great
    Steph

    D800E, Nikkor 14-24 F2.8, Nikkor AF-D 50mm F1.4, Samyang 24mm F1.4


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    Member Hayaku's Avatar
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    I think someone already mentioned this but something to consider is what type of photography will you do and how willing are you to swap lenses while your still learning?

    Your lens choices will be affected by this.

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    Hey Hayaku

    In my first post I stated my interests which is landscape, night, low light and long exposures for now .... Been into the magic cupboard again and resurfaced with a manfrotto tripod that the old man had purchased some years ago, aluminium job quite heavy with a video head, never used think I may have gotten to the bottom now of stuff thats to be discovered!

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    of course you can learn with film..your dad did, and so did every other photographer from 1826 to the 1990's.

    However you have to factor in processing costs for the film, the cost of the film and make some good manual records. Things like shutter speed, Aperture etc for each shot, so that when the processed prints come back you can study the ones that did not work, the settings used for that and work out why it did not work and learn from your mistakes.

    Digital lets you take a lot more photos and learn almost instantly by using the LCD screen, and histogram in your camera to get better results straight away.

    But there is no reason at all that you cannot learn with film..if you want to. For someone who recently move to Tassie you sure have a lot of stuff you did not know you had when you shipped and moved.
    Last edited by ricktas; 16-10-2013 at 6:34pm.

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    Joys of combining 2 households into one, add a little fatherly dementia lots of stuff still in storage...

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Steph, if you're going to play with film, choose the Nikon F55 and its two lenses. The lenses can be used on later Nikon DSLR's so becoming familiar with them would be a plus and they could be a valuable saving in new gear, too. Just my AUD$0.02c worth.
    Waz
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    IF you have the lenses from the F55, then i might be worth paying more for the D7100 body only. then being able to utilise the auto focus on those lenses with the motor drive in that model.

    I have a D5100 but got my father-in-laws F60 with his lenses, so they is no auto focus as i don't have a motor.
    Just a through, please someone correct me if im wrong
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    wow post disappeared try again picked up a d90 with a 18-55 lens on ebay, it should turn up next week after my last uni exam is finished so good timing what is the first thing i should do, factory reset or anything else, apparently its just over 12mths old with little use.....

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfft View Post
    wow post disappeared try again picked up a d90 with a 18-55 lens on ebay, it should turn up next week after my last uni exam is finished so good timing what is the first thing i should do, factory reset or anything else, apparently its just over 12mths old with little use.....
    D90 was the immediate predecessor to the D7000/7100 range. First check the number of shutter actuations, if possible. Second get a manual online if one didn't come with the gear. Third, reset to factory settings and take some pics.

    The two Nikon zooms from your dad's F55 will work fine on the D90 - 28-80mm and 70-300mm. Between them there won't be much you can't reach. The 28-80mm is a great walk around lens while the 70-300 will cover everything from sports to birding or whatever. The 18-55 that came with the D90 is a good landscape lens, despite the fact it's a cheapish kit lens. I have one that came with my D7000 and it's a good, honest lens for what it does. Looking forward to seeing what you produce with your new kit.

  16. #16
    Ausphotography Regular danny's Avatar
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    For what it is worth....

    I was in your boat a couple of years ago. My biggest regret is that I didn't find this site before my first purchase. There has been some great advice already posted in this thread. Rick (in his first post) summed it up perfectly.

    I've ended up with a D7000 (which is a newer model of the D90) and it, like the D90 is a wonderful body to learn on. Because you are able to fiddle with settings easily and it is capable of producing some wonderful shots, and it has an internal motor which is essential if you wish to auto focus older lenses or lenses that don't have an inbuilt motor (AF-S lenses).

    I started off with a D3000 which, if I had my time again I probably wouldn't have started with. Because it wasn't long before I started to feel limited by what it offered. Unlike the D7000 which, although I still envy the D800 uses, I am happy with because it is capable of producing what I want when I want it.

    I would echo the advice about getting a 50mm 1.8 lens. Firstly they are cheap but more important is the high aperture (the higher the aperture the lower the number) it allows you to be really creative and capable of taken shots in low light. For me when I first starting taking photos with a DSLR I was amazed at the difference in photos between it and my old point and shoots. But I was equally surprised when I started using a 50mm 1.8 lens.

    Cheers
    danny
    Last edited by danny; 30-10-2013 at 8:33pm.

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    Look in the link (towards the bottom of the page) and download the PDF file for the D90 settings - they are a very good starting point.
    I have used the D300 and D7000 ones and they seem to be spot on.
    http://www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html
    Enjoy your new gear - post often.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarChild View Post
    IF you have the lenses from the F55, then i might be worth paying more for the D7100 body only. then being able to utilise the auto focus on those lenses with the motor drive in that model.

    .....
    Like warchild says. If you have these ol lenses freely available to you, then the D7000/7100 makes more sense ... with or without a kit lens to boot!

    I've briefly used the old 70-300 lens and it wasn't the most fantastic lens to use tho .. especially on a hi res digital camera.
    BUT! ... you at least have something to play with that allows you a few more options.

    D7000 is still a good piece of kit to play with, even tho technically it has been superseded by the D7100. Both are current Nikon products.

    Like Nimrod said too .. 18-105VR lens as a kit with your Nikon camera is pretty hard to beat in terms of value for money

    If you get any camera below the D5300(ie. D5200/D5100/D3xxx series) your dads two lenses will not auto focus on those camera bodies. They will mount and allow you to capture images, but only with manual focus.

    ....

    Aha! I just read that you decided to get a D90 then ... happy hunting!


    Even tho you already have a few lenses now .. I think you'd still benefit from having a nice lens to use for certain purposes.

    The two that immediately come to mind are the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8. Compared to the lenses you have(or will have) at your disposal .. these two will give you a completely different look(to your images)

    They each cost about $200ish from online sources, and in terms of preference for use on a D90 .. 35/1.8 over 50/1.8 would be my recommendation.
    If you have a spare $400 to freely dispose of in the pursuit of a greater photographic enlightenment .. then getting both would solve the problem of 'which one'
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks for the tips cant wait til it gets here! Seems like with the other 2 lenses I have here already I wont be needing anything for some time

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    Ausphotography Regular danny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfft View Post
    ....... Seems like with the other 2 lenses I have here already I wont be needing anything for some time
    Until the bug bites

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