First DSLR

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    I have only recently become really interested in photography, and until last year I did everything with a cheap compact digital camera. Since last year I bought a slightly better model, Panasonic FZ5, and now I can take higher quality pics my interest has only grown.

    Hence it is time to learn some more about photography itself, and get me a Digital SLR, but any recommendations?

    What would be good model for a starter?

    btw, my pics are at


    Well, the answer to your question might depend most on your budget. You’ve outgrown your Panasonic FZ5 fairly quickly, so you may want to consider whether you want the lowest end DSLR or something more midrange, though again, that may be determined by your budget.

    Regardless of cost issues, there are lots of great cameras out there, and at the lower end you may want to look into the Nikon D50, Canon 350 RebelXT, Pentax (*ist D, I think is the introductory line?), or the Olympus E330 or E500. Moving up the scale you’ll find the Canon 30D (or the recently discontinued 20D which you could probably still find on discount), Nikon D70, Fuji S3 pro, or even the new Sony Alpha that’s due to be released this month.

    Check the review sites ( or are great ones) for some unbiased reviews of what these cameras offer and how well they deliver. Decide which features are most important to you–image stabilization, lens selection, image quality/high ISO noise control, anti-dust features, extended dynamic range, etc–then decide which 2 or 3 cameras most closely matche your must-have list. Finally, if at all possible, go to a camera store and hold your top 2 or 3 in your hands. If the camera isn’t comfortable for you to hold, you won’t take as many pictures with it as you would with one that fits you like a glove. You may also think you’ve settled on one camera but find it’s too big/small/heavy/light/just doesn’t feel right.

    It’s a tough call with so many great cameras out there, but it’s also a lot of fun to find just the right camera for you 😉


    I used to work for my school newspaper, and during my time as Photo Editor I took the paper digital. Having owned several Canon’s before I hand picked the new cameras. A Digital Rebel and a 10D (this was almost 2 years ago). The Rebel is alright if you’re on a really tight budget, but I highly recommend getting the 10D, 20D, or 30D. I used to kidnap the 10D on a regular basis. If you’ve ever owned a Canon EOS 35mm before then there is almost no learning curve, and with any of those your old EF lenses won’t need to be replaced.


    Don’t forget to look at lenses too.
    I love my Rebel XT, but it seems like every 3rd party lens is cheaper for Nikon. Plus there’s an annoying lack of super-wide, fast lenses, which, in addition to the 1.6x magnification makes me cry.

    It’s nice to think I can still use my lenses 10 years down the road on my super-fancy 70D with 120MP sensor (which will come out in 2015, a penguin told me).


    I’ve been extremely happy with my Olympus E-Volt 300. It’s sturdy, takes very nice pictures, and has very compact lenses (4/3 sensor, so you get about double the effective focal length of a 35mm camera’s). Also, as a personal aesthetic judgement, I feel like the Olympus offerings just look more spiffy and professional than the prosumer models from Canon and such.


    If you’re getting a Canon:

    The Rebel XT is nice, although the grip is too small even for my small hands. There’s a replacement, the Rebel XTi; however, the grip is still too small, and there may be reduced battery life and low light noise over its predecessor, which isn’t the way it usually goes at Canon.

    If you’ll get a Canon, I suggest the 20D (if you can find one) if you won’t be shooting multiple FPS and/or don’t mind the small-ish LCD or lack of spot metering. Otherwise get the 30D. Both provide a really good ergonomic grip over the recent Digital Rebel models. If you’re on a budget, I strongly suggest getting the classic Rebel XT over the new XTi once that Rebel XTi is released to camera stores (around late September); you’ll save yourself some serious money (and hassles).

    Get all equpment at a reputable retailer; that way, you won’t be ripped off by unscrupulous people. For example, all Canon L lenses come included with a lens hood and soft pouch; evil retailers will try to sell those as optional extras. Some vendors won’t sell you a camera with a US warranty. Good retailers include and (for the DC area) Penn Camera. In NYC, I think that B&H is good as well.

    And don’t forget good glass. If you can afford it, get the Canon 17-40L lens. Expensive, but worth it, and it’ll be compatible with a Canon film camera or 5D or whatever comes out, if you ever get one.

    Oh, and if you’re getting a Nikon, there should be some good discounts on the D70s right now, and the D80 looks good (though there may be high ISO noise issues with both, which don’t apply with Canon, except possibly with the XTi).


    Pentax Stuff

    The *istD was the top of the line Pentax. The *istDL is the entry level. I have the *istDS.

    The DL has a pentamirror. The DS and D models have a pentaprism. All use the same sensor. There are firmware differences etc. Basically, Pentax has deleted a few features on the *istDS as to make it a medium range camera. The *istDS2 is basically the same as the *istDS but with a larger LCD. All the *st cameras use the same Sony sensor and Pentax shutter.

    I have not looked at the K10D, K100D and K110D.

    The advantage of the Pentax is the extremely large variety of used lenses. Used screw mount and Kmount lenses are dirt cheap. Also the build quality seems to be better than the entry level Canon.

    In all I have been very happy with my *istDS. Of course I have a large collection of Pentax and Pentax mount lenses.


    If you’re looking at Nikon you can start out with the D50 or D70S. I think it’s perfect for starters and intermediates. I’ll admit to having some bias as we shoot with Nikons (D100 for me, D70S for the missus), and have no experience with any of the other cameras mentioned in other posts.


    Thanks y’all. Sorry for not giving feedback on my initial post. Anyway, I finally bought my first DSLR. I was thinking about a Nikon D80, but then a friend offered me a brandnew D40 for almost nothing (she bought it only to find out that her husband bought her a D80 for Christmas)

    It is the perfect little camera to start with SLR-photography I think, and as it has costed me almost nothing, I have some money left to buy lenses. (the set lens that comes with it is excellent as well) The only problem with that is that the D40 only support AF on a limited no. of lenses, but nevertheless enough choice. I have set my eyes on a 30mm/f1.4 sigma, and the Nikon 18-200mm VR-lens (vibration reduction) to start with.

    I still have to practice a lot, it takes some time to get used to all the new functions and possibilities.

    And when I think it is time to move on, I can always buy a new body from whatever more upscale camera’s Nikon is offering in the near future.

    My first ( I hope) decent shot:

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