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Thread: Getting back into it - Nikon D5100 or similar, advice appreciated.

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    Getting back into it - Nikon D5100 or similar, advice appreciated.

    Morning all,

    Have spent the last few weeks visiting camera shops, searching forums/review sites and talking to friends about buying a DSLR. My first for many many years, in fact the last one was pre digital.
    Had a couple of "good" cameras back when I was traveling a lot (10 years ago), both film and digital, but not DSLR - and started getting stuck into photography at the time with what I had. Then a lot of personal stuff happened which put things on hold until now. Now things are good.

    My conundrum... Bear in mind the 30/50 rule (can't name shops etc - great idea BTW) but have visited a few shops, and received superb customer service from shop A, OK service from shop B but their prices are better, slightly. Don't mind paying for service so shop A gets the sale, and it looks like they'll match or come close to shop B's prices.

    Am looking at the Nikon D5100. Originally saw the 3100 and it looked good, then had a play with thew 5100 and 7000. Am open to suggestions re Canon's equivalent, but the many shops I visited recommended the Nikon 3100 or 5100 for me even though many seemed to be having Canon promotions. From my point of view the 5100 seemed to offer more value for money.

    On top of this, obviously I am after a range of features etc, not into gimmicks, which was a reason I didn't like the D5100 at first (swivel screen) but go talked around, but I don't want it to be impossible/too difficult to use as the Good Lady will want to play as well.

    What will I be using it for? Good question. One of the main reasons for making the jump is to keep up with my 4 year old boy. Those of you who have 4 year olds will understand, they are FAST! Too fast in 7/10 cases, for the current Point and Shoot, or the Nokia phone camera (I know...) - PLUS at 4 he's doing a lot more interesting things (fast) than when he was in the cradle looking adorable, but not fast. As well as this, I'm back into traveling mode so the camera will be used to travel a bit, and tend to take countless landscape/architecture.scenery shots when away - and I enjoy sporting events.
    Have never been into macro, but after looking into it - wow! Would love to give this a crack, as well as the usual family occasion type shots, and there are a few weddings coming up. I don't know what they've put in the water around here but a LOT of people I know are falling pregnant, so the coming months will bring lots of photo opportunities.

    But it's all about the lens isn't it? Right. To keep things relatively cheap (at first) was looking at one of two "stock standard" sets of lenses. The Nikkor 18-55 combined with the 55-300 (VR), or the 18-105mm VR on its own. Build it from there, or there's another lens option which I'll start a new thread for since I have so many questions on that...

    Budget? The above combinations can be had for around $1300-1600 including memory card, UV filters, case etc, and that suits my budget nicely. Have room to go up but will require brownie points ideas for the GL to approve, the good news is, she's looking forward to the purchase almost as much as I am.

    Again, any input greatly appreciated - enjoy.

    Red

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Red, I can try to put some perspectives on the gear choices from the Nikon perspective ( I am not much up to speed on similar Canon models ) and it appears that you want something that will do all round duties.

    The 5100 will provide very good image quality straight out of the box so to speak. It will be perfectly suitable for travel photos and for catching your youngster in mid flight. It can be used to good effect for sport photos but don't expect to get fantastic results on distant footballers / cricketers in action.
    As you have noted, lenses play a large part in image quality and perhaps it may be prudent to source one or two lenses separately to the body at start up instead of going the "kit" bundle.

    As for dealers and service, if you are happy with dealing with a shop then by all means do so but with the following caveats.
    Be very wary about the things that they are bundling with your camera. Many will include a very small capacity memory card which you will soon realise is woefully inadequate when you start blazing away at your son at the park. Good quality, high capacity cards are cheap and getting cheaper all the time so buying them from a dedicated memory seller like Cheap Chips who advertise on AP is an option. UV filters are a pretty trinket to include in a sale as a sweetener but as a giveaway they are likely to be of the very bottom of the range in quality, provide no real benefits to your lenses and at the worst degrade the image quality of the body and lenses that you have spent your hard earned on. Bags are another low cost / high profit margin sale for a dealer when bundling as a kit and may look great with the new gear in it but soon become far to small when the gear acquisition bug bites.

    Perhaps have a look at buying a body only and investigating some of the well known and regarded lenses from either Nikon or 3rd party manufacturers either new or secondhand. I am pretty sure that you can build a small collection of lenses at a reasonable price compared to just the two kit lenses.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    It can be used to good effect for sport photos but don't expect to get fantastic results on distant footballers / cricketers in action.

    Thanks Andrew - I agree, and building a collection of lenses will be the next step. If I go for the 18-105 then my next purchase would be a good zoom 70-300 or longer lens. Either that or make do with the "standard" 18-55 + 55-300 VR bundle and have a bit of fun with it. With either option, primes would be another thing to buy, then look into macro... To be honest, the biggest sporting moments will be the backyard cricket matches, riding bikes in the park, running with the dog - etc, especially with summer coming up.

    Regarding the "bundles". Have looked at Cheap Chips and they look the goods for cards. Since they support this website will place an order a day or two before I buy the camera. Next day delivery looks good too, and prices much better than store A or B (about half!). Will check out some of the other sponsors sites while I'm at it. The bag (whilst I included $80 in the quotes above, I since realized a Nikon bag is included so should drop that), as well as the UV filters (have been told they are simply to protect the lens from bumps and scratches) were pretty much thrown in with the "deal", but will look into brands etc. Hoya rings a bell.

    Looking like buying the camera itself from a shop and either the bundled twin lenses at $1286 or 18-105 for a "standard all rounder" lens but haven't discussed this price yet - in their catalogue it is about $100 cheaper than the twin lenses, but have noticed the option is no longer on their website. At the prices they are including them in for, ($287 more than the body itself) - it's looking a good starter option.

    If anyone has better ideas I am all ears.

    Thanks again

    Red

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    Update for those interested...

    Since the GL readily agreed to the budget for the Nikon D5100 I thought I'd push it a bit, and as we do I did a lot more research.... Looking at spending a bit more and going for the Canon 60D if I can find a bargain/good deal. have reason to go into town today, so will check out the Elizabeth St camera shops. Looks a lot better camera and a good mid point between beginner's DSLR and a better one.

    A mate of mine used to do professional photography and has a lot of Canon lenses he wants to get rid of, so will likely buy a body + 1 basic lens (something like a 18-55 which pretty much comes free with the camera) and use that to get used to the camera and teach the GL how to use it. I'm off for 4 days and she's away for two of them so once I've had a play it'll be easy to show her when she returns. Once we've got used to it, when my workmate is off at the same time as me (we're shiftworkers) I'll have him around for a BBQ and get a few tips off him, as well as some lenses. Zooms, primes etc...

    Will be fun.... love new toys!

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    One recommendation for UV filters. For cheap lenses like the 18-55, don't bother with puting one on. My reasoning is this. The 18-55 lens on the market reseale value is like what. $90 bucks? A Hoya filter is $40 give or take a few. You're effectively paying almost half of the cost of a lens for a filter. Filters degrade IQ anyway (i do put filters on most of mine but that's because they cost $1k and above each and i don't want to shell out a few hundred to replace the front element), and so it's more of an advantage than a disadvantage. If you really do want to put on a filter. Try ebaying Kenko. Exactly the same as Hoya just different brand. Kenko is a JDM brand where Hoya is for the rest of the world with nice markups. Pro1 digital would be the one to get. I think a 58mm goes for $20 deleivered.

    Does your mate have a 85 1.2 or a 35 1.4 for sale ?

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    Thanks KF, he'll likely come around this weekend or I'll catch him at work in about a week. Will find out what he's offloading. Playing with his 28-200 Canon at the moment.

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    $1250 with the 18-55 by the way. Can't name the shop but they pricematched after quoting me $1400 or something

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    Redbaron, my suggestion, FWIW, is something like a used D200. This is a very well built camera, produces superb images, and might be had for about $500. This will allow you to spend a heap of coin on some good glass. You will get better images with a D200 and better glass than you will with a 5100 and cheap glass. And avoid UV filters on digital cameras, they don't work - they're more useful on film cameras when shooting at altitude.

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    Thanks Tom, FWIW I ended up with a Canon 60D. UV filter was simply to protect the lens from me when I'm either wiping it, or bumping into things... Better to break/crack a $20 UV filter than a $1000+ lens no?

    Will be shopping for better lenses soon.... got to keep the good lady happy for now. Thanks

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