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Llamaman
13-09-10, 11:24 AM
Hi

Iím looking for some advice on a first DSLR/Microsystem. Sorry for the length of the post, but I figure that the more info I give you, the easier it is for you to give advice!

Some basic info;
I already have a pretty good point-and-shoot (Lumix TZ7) but would like a DSLR for improved IQ and also to give me some creative options (particularly depth of field and filters/polarisers), plus giving me something to learn about photography with. Iím never going to go pro, but Iíd like a bit more input into my photography than point and click.

The main uses will be cityscapes, landscapes, some portraits and indoor work. Probably some opportunistic wildlife but no sports.
I reckon I need a kit zoom and a prime to start with , and will probably have to save up and get a dedicated wideangle and a telephoto lens later. My initial budget is about £600-£800, including lenses, filters, etc but obviously Iíd like to spend a lot less if I can!

Iím not bothered by size (I already have a point-and-shoot for when I need something small) or looks.
Iíll primarily use the viewfinder for composition, but a flip-out LCD might come in useful occasionally for awkward angles.

Iíve done a bit of research already, including handling some cameras in a shop (didnít get advice as it was a high-street general electronics shopÖ).
Iíve got quite big hands (span rather than fat) and found the Sony Alphas too difficult to hold (gap between grip and lens snout is too small).
The Canon 550D looks like a great bit of kit, but combined with an extra lens and other kit, it becomes a bit too pricey for me at this stage (pushing £1,000).
Iím not keen on MFT as they seem to be overpriced Ė they cost the same or more than an SLR but have fewer features. The Sony NEXs were also a litlle small for my hands.

Iíve narrowed it down to 5 cameras, in two different price ranges (price for camera and lens, not including SC card or filters etc);

Options 1 - 3 - Cheap (~£500)
1. EOS 1000D with 18-55mm kit-zoom and EF 50mm f1.8 mk2 lens (total £438)
2. Nikon D3000 with 18-55m kit-zoom and 35mm AF-S f1.8 G DX (total £518)
3. Samsung NX10 with 18-55m kit-zoom and 30mm pancake (I know itís not an SLR but it has an SLR-size sensor?) (total £500)

The NX10 looks an OK option for the price, but Iím wary about committing to a brand-new format with only 3 lenses (I know theyíve promised 5 more, but 3 of those were promised for second half this year and thereís still no sign of themÖ). If Samsung kill the range off, Iím stuck with a white elephant with few lenses, no upgrade route and little resale value. Plus, with no OVF, you donít have the option of phase-detect AF which I understand is superior to contrast-detect (will I notice the difference?). The Canon is a bit cheaper (£450) and I can keep the lenses if I upgrade to a more fully-featured camera in a year or two. The downside is no video (but I rarely use it on my point-and-shoot, so not a deal breaker) and a fixed LCD.
The Nikon looks OK, but has no live-view and costs more than the Canon. The only plus is that the prime and zoom have the same filter thread, so I only need one set of filters/polarisers (although would a step-up ring achieve the same on the Canon?)
Overall, I think the Canon wins at this price-point?

Options 3 & 4 - A bit more costly
4. Canon 500D with 18-55mm kit-zoom and EF 50mm f1.8 mk2 lens (total £608)
5. Nikon 5000 with 18-55mm kit-zoom and 35mm AF-S f1.8 G DX (total £638)

The Nikon seems to be ahead in this one Ė it has a video mode, a flip-out LCD and an in-camera help function for newbies like me. Iíve also read that itís better in low light than the Canon. The only downside is that the reviews Iíve read for the Canon prime lens really rate it (the IQ, if not the build quality) Ė should this sway me the other way?

My gut instinct at the moment is to go for the EOS1000D Ė it seems OK enough and the upgrade route to the 550Dís successors should be a good one. Or do you think I should cough up the extra couple of hundred and go for a slightly better specced model (in which case, the Nikon might be the one)?

Iíd be very grateful for your thoughts / help!

Oh, and one final thing Ė the key driver for the purchase is that Iíd like it for my honeymoon (flying out 22/09) so itíll need to be a model available now (so the Nikon 3100 is out). I hope to make a purchase before the weekend to give me time to play with a little (and cycle the battery) beforehand.