First Digital SLR
Hi all, my first post (and I appologise in advance as I assume you get these questions all the time), but I would like to aquire your expertese if I may?
I am looking into my first digital SLR. I have a compact camera which is useful for certain things but I would like to upgrade. I have spoken to a few camera salesmen and have, at the moment, been recommended the Nikon D3000 because of its guide application allowing me to follow the on-screen instructions for certain types of photography until I am slightly more savy, and using it more manualy.
Is this a camera that would a good choice for a digital SLR beginer?
In case it helps, I am looking to take some rather artistic photos of my 'run around' daughter, but am also interested in landscape and architectural photography (as I am an architectural student)
Many thanks for reading.
Nikon D3000 - a good first DSLR
The Nikon D3000 is an excellent choice for a first DSLR. My first DSLR was a Nikon D40, the forerunner of the D3000.
The D3000 will lead you very nicely into more manual control, yet will allow you to set it to fully automatic programmed mode and any number of scene settings, including portrait, sport, and landscape modes.
Bear in mind that the first DSLR choice you make may determine future choices, especially if you buy an additional lens. Once you have done so, you may (like me) decide to stay with the same format (Nikon DX in the case of the D3000) so you can use the lenses on future cameras.
Without boring you with too much information, you have other options including the Canon D1000 (not as easy to use, but has live view); a high quality compact (e.g. Canon G11, very good but not as quick to photograph moving targets like children!) or a 'four thirds' camera like the Panasonic GF1 (compact size but a sensor almost as big as a DSLR - but at a price!)
You could also 'futureproof' a bit and consider a Nikon D5000, which is slightly bigger, but still easy to use -- which has a video function, though it's not that great.
But I think you'd be very happy with the D3000, which is a bargain considering the image quality and ease of use. The kit lens is also excellent.
Hope this helps. Please drop me a line if you want to discuss further.
P.S. If you're really into architecture, the D5000 has an in-camera perpective control tool which corrects for converging verticals (though you can do this post-processing in Photoshop).
Last edited by Nigel; 29-12-09 at 09:00 PM.
Originally Posted by Nigel
Thanks very much for your feedback Nigel! Very useful advice. You make a very good point about future choices with the ability to use existing lenses. It could become very expensive if changing brands later on.
I will be looking into the other cameras that you have mentioned and let you know how I get on.
Nikon D3000 - a good first DSLR
It's a pleasure. Let me know how you get on.
One additional piece of advice. Looking at the images 100% from your shortlisted cameras is often more helpful than comparing specs.
Don't be too bothered by megapixel counts, as the size and quality of pixels on DSLR sensors is more important than their number. 10Mp is more than enough to produce large images.
There are a lot of good d-slr's on the market, the obvious choice would be to start looking at the Big two, Nikon and Canon, however there are many other manufacturer's that make equally as good d-slr's, the likes of olympus, Pentax and Sony etc should'nt be ruled out, and when it comes to lens back catalogues these last 3 have quite a few and becuase all 3 have onboard image stablization you don't have to pay a premuim for a VR lens, there is also some confusion of exactly what lens will fit what Nikon, some have motors in & some don't, as a Sony user I myself was considering getting a Nikon D5000 and posted a simple question about lens compatability on another forum, I was none the wiser afterwards, plus because Canon & Nikon's don't come with anti-shake (it's in the lens), you pay a fortune for the honour, for example it will cost around £400 for the 70-300 Vr (an excellent lens), I've just bought a Tamron 70-300 for £99 (on offer, usually £150), qaulity wise there is no comparision; the Vr lens is far superior in terms of build quality, but what about in image quality, where it matters most, is the VR lens £300 better ?.
Personally I'd avoid any of the newer mickey mouse Sony Alpha's (A230, A330 & A380), the older A200, A300, and A350 are far better, imho, then there's the A500, A550 and A700 (a legendary camera being phased out & being replaced), Nikon wise any are worth a look (Nikon do make excellent d-slrs) , The Oly E520 is well worth a look if you're after a bargain, Canon's; I don't really like although they are always very highly rated and Canon's lens catalogue is huge.
Panasonic's G series is also well worth a look.
Look at 2 or 3 review sites to shortlist about 3-4 cameras within your budget, (doing this will give you a "balanced" opinion, as some reviewers do have brand biase), don't be afraid to look at older models like the Nikon D80 or Canon 40d etc, and handle your shortlisted model instore, you'll get a good idea of which one to buy very quickly.
This web site is basically a reviews database and it should at least help you compile a shortlist;
Last edited by bigdaveg40; 30-12-09 at 10:14 AM.
Ref the mickey mouse Alpha's contrary to WDC's high rating for the A380 the latest computer shopper would seem to vindicate my view of the new budget alpha's, in particular the A380, of the 8 camera's featured (Eos 1000d, D3000, A330, A380, Oly E620, Penatx K-x, D90 and Eos 500d), the A380 came bottom; "with such a long list of reservations, we can't find any justification for recommending this camera".
The top 2 camera's were the Canon 1000D and the Nikon D90.
D90 & 1000D = 5 STARS
Pentax K-x = 4 STARS
The others = 3 STARS
The A380 = 2 STARS.
As the Nikon D3000 and the Canon 1000D are of similar entry level etc. I inclined to go for the 1000D (more so now because of the difference in grading I see in your table). They are both around the same price range, and I was tempted towards the Canon rather than the Nikon as I am an owner of Canon compact which has been very good to me.
Is the image quality rather similar between these two cameras?
You can't go wrong with either a Canon or Nikon, or for that matter anything else, there are no duffers, sorry there are; the budget Alpha's, I'm not a fan of Canon but have always liked Nikon's who apart from the D40x (rushed into service to counter other 10mp d-slrs that arrived at the time), have produced some fantastic camera's especially at the D90 and above level, at the budget level £300-£600, the playing field is very even with very little seperating the different brands.
If you want a Nikon I'd either go for the D5000 or save a bit more and get the brilliant D90.
Have you actually handled or looked at any camera's if not make this your top priority, as feel/handling "is" the most important factor when choosing a d-slr.
When I looked for my d-slr I researched to the hilt, shortlisted 3 (a Nikon, Sony & Canon) and bought the one that felt right, a lot of camera's tend to have the same memory card's these days, so if your unsure why not take a memory card along to a shop and ask if you can try the camera's out.
You may get a cheaper camera online but making a local camera dealer your "usual" can pay dividends in the long run, and if you have a problem it should be quick/easy to resolve.
I've only held one of the sony alphas but yes, I should go out and handle a few. Probably got and have a handle of the Canon 1000d and Nikon D3000 as they are two of the cameras on my short list that other people also say are good.
Your table below, Dave, with the star rating has also tempted me towards the Canon 1000d infront of the Nikon D3000.
I am now curreny considering the Canon 450d (after I have been advised to go for that over the 1000d by my local camera store because of the 1000d's reduced amount of features etc.), I've handled it, nice weight etc.
Now this may seem a stupid question, but is it still worth going for the 450d although it is becoming discontinued?