Cameras - DSLR or Compact?

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Cameras - DSLR or Compact?

Avatar for KrisJM82
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Hey guys,

Im looking at picking up a new camera but cant decide what to get…Ive always wanted to get into photography and figure that travelling will give me a great chance to take some amazing photos….

My question is would you recommend getting a compact point and shoot camera or going for an entry level digital slr?

At the moment Im looking at getting a dslr, possibly the Nikon D40x or another model around the same price range (Ive got a budget up to about £700). The think is the getting s DSLR camera is that Im not sure what lenses its worth getting, same goes for filters etc

Any advice appreciated!!

     
Avatar for Wideawake4days
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I don’t really have any experience of taking my camera on long periods of travel, so as far as security and versitility is concearned I can’t speak. However last year I decided to get the DSLR (I bought a Canon EOS 400D) and I havn’t regretted it for a second. I think that if youre wanting a camera for snapshots in a club then the compact is the way to go, however if youre wanting to get into Photography as a hobby then the DSLR would be advisable for the control and added quality you can get.

Though I’m sure with a £700 budget it would be very possible to get an entry level DSLR and a pretty decent compact for the nights out too? When I travel I plan on taking both.

As for filters, the only one I use is a polarizer just to cut down on unwanted reflections and give my sky a little more colour.

     
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Dude, the D40X will come down in price soon, because it’s being replaced by the new D60. I’m a Nikon man (I have a D300 & a D80), and whereas the D40X is great, i think you should definitely consider the Sony Alpha range, because the body has built-in anti-shake (very rare for a DSLR), and it’s got anti-dust and moisture seals. The D40X has neither. The picture quality of the Sony is ace too.

     
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Dude, the D40X will come down in price soon, because it’s being replaced by the new D60. I’m a Nikon man (I have a D300 & a D80), and whereas the D40X is great, i think you should definitely consider the Sony Alpha range, because the body has built-in anti-shake (very rare for a DSLR), and it’s got anti-dust and moisture seals. The D40X has neither. The picture quality of the Sony is ace too.

Yeah but what you have to watch with the D40(x) and the D60 is that it doesn’t have AF in the body so you need to make sure you use a lens with one if you want AF.

I really don’t know if I’d take my dslr on a big trip, mostly I take with me cos I’m going to rallies to take pics anyway but not sure if I would take it when not going to an event, so might get myself a compact for going away but then I’ll probably get annoyed that I can’t do as much with it… meh.

But I would say as well as the camera and lense(s) then you should get a polarising filter, UV filter (to protect the lens), memory cards and at least one spare battery.

Beware though, once you start buying the kit you won’ty stop…... :?

     
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Personally I would recommend Canon or Nikon.
You have to remember that when you buy a DSLR the bodies are in a sense disposable as their value drops pretty fast, the lenses are what you will be using for years after you bought them and they tend to hold their value(especially Canon or Nikon).

The most important thing to consider when buying a DSLR is that you get some good glass, I’m not a big fan of the kit lenses(especially on cropped sensors).
I would recommend the 400D or even the 350D, getting them secondhand and investing the rest of the money in a good quality lens. I cant really recommend any Nikon products because I am an ignorant canon user. The 350D can be picked up for £200-250 and the 400D for around £300ish.

When looking for lenses, maker sure you have a clear idea of what sort of images you are looking for. I would recommend a zoom lens, and if you have extra cash I would invest it in a fixed length. Theres a really noticeable difference(imo) between images taken with a zoom and a prime lens.

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - £450ish, is great wide angle lens, I pretty much most of the time - great for interesting portraits ans landscapes.

The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - £400ish is a pretty decent walkabout lens, image stabilized too.

The Sigma Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens - £200 ish is a great prime lens, not as tight as the canon 50mm, which is reflected in the price. It is seriously good for low light situations, very very good actually.

Looking for the right lenses is a minefield - but my advice to you, if you decide to go down the dslr route, then save cash on the body and focus on getting good glass.

     
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I’d love to get a DSLR and really get into photography but I’d be so worried about security or getting it damaged.  I’ve also heard that you can be better off with a compact until you know what you’re doing.  Also, considering I’ve managed to have one camera stolen and broken two in the sands of Africa in just two trips, I’m not sure I trust myself.  Still, Jessops accidental damage cover has come through and given me my money back so I have £130 to spend on a new camera.  I’m looking at the Ricoh Caplio R6, with 7.1X optical zoom, it can get to where other compacts struggle.  Prior to this I had a Panasonic LZ with 6X optical zoom.

     
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Personally I would recommend Canon or Nikon.
You have to remember that when you buy a DSLR the bodies are in a sense disposable as their value drops pretty fast, the lenses are what you will be using for years after you bought them and they tend to hold their value(especially Canon or Nikon).

The most important thing to consider when buying a DSLR is that you get some good glass, I’m not a big fan of the kit lenses(especially on cropped sensors).
I would recommend the 400D or even the 350D, getting them secondhand and investing the rest of the money in a good quality lens. I cant really recommend any Nikon products because I am an ignorant canon user. The 350D can be picked up for £200-250 and the 400D for around £300ish.

When looking for lenses, maker sure you have a clear idea of what sort of images you are looking for. I would recommend a zoom lens, and if you have extra cash I would invest it in a fixed length. Theres a really noticeable difference(imo) between images taken with a zoom and a prime lens.

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - £450ish, is great wide angle lens, I pretty much most of the time - great for interesting portraits ans landscapes.

The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - £400ish is a pretty decent walkabout lens, image stabilized too.

The Sigma Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens - £200 ish is a great prime lens, not as tight as the canon 50mm, which is reflected in the price. It is seriously good for low light situations, very very good actually.

Looking for the right lenses is a minefield - but my advice to you, if you decide to go down the dslr route, then save cash on the body and focus on getting good glass.

I reckon that’s all pretty darn good advice there.

Personally, when I go travelling I only really take my Nikon 18-200mm VR II (stabilised) and my Sigma 10-20mm. The latter is an insanely good fun lens. With those two, I’ve got most bases covered and I’m still not over-laden with equipment. I reckon the Nikon 18-200mm VR II is probably the lens to have for general travel photography.

Funny you should mention the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - I have that too, and yep - it’s a smashing piece of kit.

For a first timer, though, I’ll stick by the Sony Alpha recommendation. I was very dubious about Sony entering the DSLR market last year, but they’ve been really well received by critics. I’ve had a play with a Sony Alpha, and it really is a nice piece of kit. I wouldn’t swap it for a Nikon (  :wink:  ), but to have the anti-vibration built into the body and also to have dust and moisture seals (absolutely imperative when spending a decent amount of time in the tropics), are massive advantages over the entry level Nikons and Canons.

The picture quality is comparable to equivalent Nikon and Canon cameras, and the kit lenses are commended in reviews. The built in anti-vibration means you can get the best out of even basic lenses, and for a newcomer I think that’s ideal, because you get a good standard of photo for a reasonable and realistic level of investment.

£700 will get you a Alpha and two lenses. In all honesty, if I was starting photography and was about to head off round the world, I’d definitely go for it - and I’ve never recommended anything other than a Canon or Nikon before.

The Sony Alpha A200 is probably the most suitable model to go for (about £350, body only), but if you wait a month or so, you can get your hands on the brand new A300 (about £450), which has even more very, very good features and is getting some great reviews ahead of its launch. The A350 (about £500) is 14.2 mega-pixel - which is inept. The Alphas all feel like real cameras too, whreas some other entry level DSLRs can feel a bit plasticy and naff. Next level stuff. Super cameras.

As for whether or not to take a camera at all - it depends on what you want from a trip. Whenever I plan a trip nowadays, I think about potential for photography. It’s one of the reasons I go travelling. For me, it makes my trips more interesting and challenging. I love taking photographs and I love going on trips to foreign countries. Marrying the two is heaven for me.

Good compacts are fab and the top manufacturers are putting some stunning technology into compacts now, but it is a completely different kettle of fish to DSLR photography. You pretty much push a button or two on on a compact, and that’s it.

Without sounding too wanky (even though I do sound wanky here), a DSLR is a creative tool, and mastering it in manual mode is an art that takes a long time to learn. Then there’s the digital darkroom, which is another discipline altogether. Some people look upon post-production as cheating, but that’s nonsense. You should look at digtal photography as something very different to traditional film photography. Good manipulation of an image requires a high level of technical competence and creativity. It’s hard, and sooooo many people get it sooooo wrong. You should have the manipulation of an image in mind when you’re actually shooting it, in many cases. Post-production is a fundamental part of a good digital image - from conception through to completion.

Then there are the different types of photography that just weren’t possible in the pre-digital age. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is just one example. HDR is bascially the merging of several identical images, which were taken at different exposure levels. It can look awful when done by a retard, but it can look amazing too. This guy is pretty amazing at HDR. Most of his images are HDR:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcnbits/233184121/in/set-72157594250247251/


You can learn good composition with a compact, but that’s about it in my opinion. There’s no doubt you can take superb photos with modern compacts, but shooting on a DSLR with the wide array of variables at your fingertips in manual mode, is an altogether very different experience. You can make tweaks and adjustments on a compact, but you have to scroll through menus and the spotaneity that is so important in photography is lost. Then there’s the whole lens thing - the choice of lens is often as important as the subject, the composition and the technical quality of a shot. You simply don’t have that option with a compact.

Anyways, yeah - Nikon, Canon or Sony Alpha. You can’t go wrong, really.

To get really enthused about what any camera is capable of, go on Flickr and do a search on each model. A good camera is nothing without a good photographer, but it seriously helps to have some decent kit. You have to start somewhere.

 

 

 

     
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My suggestion will be to go for DSLR and the one you mentioned, Nikon D40X. The lenses that comes with it is Nikkor 18-55mm. You buy 55-200mm Zoom lens.

I had a Sony Cybershot T-30. I bught Nikon D40X with 18-55mm lense and 55-200mm lens and took both to Kenya last June on my safari holiday. I found these two lenses more than adequate for my need. You can see my Africa photos in my profile to get some idea what Nikon D40X produce.

Sony Cybershot has 7 megapixel and Leitz lens. Nikon has 10 megapixel and Nikkor lens. Compared to Sony, Nikon photos are pin sharp. Besides Nikon can do lot more than a point and shoot Sony.

You will never regert buying a Nikon.

     
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My suggestion will be to go for DSLR and the one you mentioned, Nikon D40X. The lenses that comes with it is Nikkor 18-55mm. You buy 55-200mm Zoom lens.

I had a Sony Cybershot T-30. I bught Nikon D40X with 18-55mm lense and 55-200mm lens and took both to Kenya last June on my safari holiday. I found these two lenses more than adequate for my need. You can see my Africa photos in my profile to get some idea what Nikon D40X produce.

The 18-55mm is a very decent kit lens.

You can’t go far wrong with that combination, Flash. Nice little setup.

 

     
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My suggestion will be to go for DSLR and the one you mentioned, Nikon D40X. The lenses that comes with it is Nikkor 18-55mm. You buy 55-200mm Zoom lens.

The 18-55mm is a very decent kit lens.

You can’t go far wrong with that combination, Flash. Nice little setup.

Yep that’s the two options really, though something that annoys me is having to change lenses if I’m out and about (I have sigma 28-70 and 70-200 lenses) which you wouldn’t need to do so much of if you had the 18-200 which by all acounts is a good lens anyway.

Tom what do you recommend security-wise with carrying your gear, what kind of bag do you have and how does it go in with all your other stuff?  Also I am sure it makes it harder to have a “me” photo of you at a sight? (sorry for all the questions….)

     
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Yo.

I have a few camera bags, but there’s only one I take travelling with me these days:

http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/666588/art/case-logic/slrc-4-rucksack-for-camer.html

I find this bag is ace, because it can take my laptop too. It’s about £80 cheaper than the Lowe Pro alternatives, which is a bonus.

The section for lenses and peripherals is really well padded, and the quick release slot at the top is marvellous for… erm… quickly releasing your camera, funnily enough.

There’s loads of other pockets too, and it’s even got a waist strap, which helps take the load off shoulders. A major advantage is that it restricts me to taking 2 lenses - one attached to the camera, and the other in the padded section. There is room for more lenses, but I opt to jam those compartments with filters, my SB-800 flash and various other niknaks. You can also fasten a monopod and a light tripod to special buckle-straps on each side of the outside of the pack.

I take it instead of the zip-off daypack which came with my backpack. To be honest, most airlines will let you take hand luggage and this pack on with you, but I choose not to. Too much to carry.

I do sometimes take my daypack too, but leave it attached to my main backpack and just check it all in as one. It does mean I have to keep that whole backpack bundle under 20kgs though, if I want to avoid get stung for excess baggage, but I find that’s pretty easy to do.

     
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I just saw the bag in the thread you have posted. Looks like a winner. I would seriously consider getting one for myself.

     
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Looks good Tom cos I’d never take a laptop so can have documents and stuff in there.  Is there a bit of extra space for normal daypack type stuff (mindblank, you know a bottle of water, souvenirs etc) as well or do you take the camera out and put it in there?

Cheers again 8)

     
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Looks good Tom cos I’d never take a laptop so can have documents and stuff in there.  Is there a bit of extra space for normal daypack type stuff (mindblank, you know a bottle of water, souvenirs etc) as well or do you take the camera out and put it in there?

Cheers again 8)

There’s not really that much room for anything other than kit, but the padded section is velcro and completely adjustable, so you can make space and use it well if you’ve not bunged it full of camera gear.

 

     
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Here’s a few shots of my bag, to show you what you can fit in…

That’s the main storage section in the front. There are 5 slots, seperated by removable velcro pads. You can alter the size of the slots, or just remove individual seperators altogether. I’ve pulled a couple out on the left, so as to fit my big flash in. On the right, I’ve got one divider between my 18-200mm lens and a soft multi-filter case. There’s enough depth to put stuff on top of these and still close the zip. I often stash my laptop’s battery pack on top.

That’s the top section, giving you easy access to your camera with a lens attached to it.

That’s the side pockets open.

That shows the padded laptop compartment. My big 17” laptop, complete with bulky long-life battery, fits in nicely.

That one shows the padding on the back and also some nifty little quick access zip pockets on each shoulder strap. Poncey, but useful.

I don’t think there are many utility backpacks out there that don’t make you look like a complete fucking numpty, but this one isn’t too bad.

I like it. It doesn’t look too much like a camera bag or a laptop bag, which helps avoid attention.

Apologies for the orientation of the photos, but it took that fucking long to just upload them, that I could not be arsed spending another 17 years rotating them. Virgin Media 20MB Broadband, my arse.

As you can see, it’s very early in the morning in late March 2007 where I am. I had no idea the time difference was so different between York and the rest of the world.

You learn something new every day.

 

     
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Cheers, that’s a big help :D