Save 69% on inPixio Photo Studio 11 Ultimate (discount applied at checkout)

What to buy?


AtterKing 2 8 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 12:31PM
Hi

I'm looking to buy a DSLR over the coming days. But after extensive research I'm torn between decisions and am battling the best way forward in my head. Probably down to over-thinking, but that's just me.

My background is in IT support and being a general "gadget lover" I tend to go for the newest devices with all the bells and whistles. But again, that's just me.

I first introduced myself to photography back in 2010 and as it was my first steps, I purchased a Nikon D5000 with kit lens. It gave me something to play with and learn from. A year later I found myself drawn to off camera flash photography and upgraded to a Nikon D7000 with a 50mm f1.8 and a couple of speedlights (SB600 and SB900). Again a bit of a learning curve over the next year but I didn't have much time to devote. So in 2012, I decided to sell all my gear.

Over the next 6 years photography laid dormant in my mind, but found myself enjoying offering advice to friends and family whom were embarking on their first steps into the subject. Until a few weeks ago, where the kindling was well and truly ignited and the urge to get back into it was overwhelming. I have a small budget (I say small because we all know this is a never-ending money pit) and more importantly, more time to get out there with it (previously my weekends were not available).

Over the past week or two I've been glued to YouTube, reintroducing myself to old channels I used to follow along with real life reviews of the current tech.

I've identified the Sony A7 III as the main contender, but with the soon to be released Nikon Z6 and Canon EOS R as other mirrorless contenders.

I'm guessing that mirrorless is the way forward hence the above decisions. But I'm also thinking that a cheaper full frame DSLR like the Canon 6D Mk2/5D Mk3 or Nikon D750 could be a solution as it'll give me the option to buy better glass earlier. Full frame seemed to be out of my budget last time round, but is now more affordable and my preferred choice.

Thus bringing me on to my budget. Right now I have 2800/$3600 to invest immediately, anything beyond would need to be save for.

What will I be shooting I hear you ask! My interests will be astrophotography (capturing the milky way with something interesting in the foreground, as opposed to deep space), some landscapes when the weather doesn't offer clear skies (probably be the majority of the time as I'm based in the UK!). Again, off camera flash for portraits and anything creative.

Bearing in mind I'm starting afresh here, so camera bag, tripod, flashes, lenses and all other accessories will be needed.

The leader of the race that's happening in my head right now is the Sony A7 III body only with the Sony 28mm f2 lens. This would give me something to start with and that lens will be just about wide enough for astro, and has AF which will allow me to learn the A7 III's AF system. I was considering the Rokinon/Samyang 14mm but as a manual lens it wouldn't initially give me the chance to "play" with the A7 III out of the box. Cost for the A7III with 28 F2 is 2400, thus giving me 400 for accessories.

Or do I hold out for the newest of new with either the Z6 or EOS R?

Or would you go for a used "mirrored" camera with a quality lens (12-24mm?)

Sorry for the long post, and thank you if you've taken the time to read. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jay
Chris_L 7 5.5k United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 1:00PM
You need a good reason to choose mirrorless. You can shed a lot of weight depending on the system. If you shoot a lot of video then mirrorless is a better choice.

When you say A7 III do you mean the A7R III? I'm assuming you do but it's worth learning that the R is important in Sony models, compare the A7S II, A7 II and A7R II - different beasts for different markets.

I have the A7R II, same sensor and not much different from the A7R III and I love it, it's a more mature mirrorless system than the Canon or Nikon offerings but the lenses are expensive as hell.

If I was you, was only going to shoot stills, I'd be tempted by a decent DSLR full frame body and some killer glass. Would be quite happy to buy Canon or Nikon.

What else might you shoot and how much? Sport, wildlife, portraits, landscape etc?

Some systems have an advantage in some areas.
AtterKing 2 8 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 1:37PM
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the reply.

I'm looking at the Sony A7 III not the more expensive A7R III.

No interest in Video.

Would be shooting mainly Astro/Landscapes with some portraits, no Sports nor Wildlife per se.

As I'm starting afresh, should I be going for mirrorless, is this the next big thing? I've no legacy lenses to worry about etc.

If mirrorless is the way forward, should I choose the well established Sony devices (but expensive lenses), or wait for the Nikon Z6 or Canon EOS R, which both offer converters to open up their older and widely available (especially 2nd hand) lenses?

Or, would you go for a new or 2nd hand Nikon/Canon DSLR at a much cheaper price with some quality glass?

Thanks

Jay
Chris_L 7 5.5k United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 2:45PM
I'm a believer in glass first, body second. A friend was struggling to get great photos with his entry-level Canon and was talking about buying a Sony as he liked my photos. Using a borrowed L series prime I showed him what his camera could be capable of. Glass keeps its value, moves with you when you upgrade bodies.

I do think full frame makes sense for what you shoot but I can't see a good reason for you to get a Sony A7 III.

I could make a case for getting a second-hand Sony A7S or an A7S II - popular in astrophotography due to the way that sensor gathers the light, also the dynamic range of some of the Sony sensors, including the ones Nikon buy from Sony, is very useful in all kinds of photography.

I can't see a good reason to buy the new Canon or Nikon mirrorless cameras. - this is not like when DVD started to erode VHS, not even remotely, you aren't taking a risk buying 'old tech', there will not be a mass migration to mirrorless, there is no way the older DSLR cameras are going out of date.

I'd buy a cheap but capable body and for what you would be shooting, I would very seriously consider this
bornstupix2 4 120 1 France
6 Oct 2018 4:42PM
The thing I found with mirrorless was viewing an electronic screen within the rear eyepiece to be hard on my eyes compared to the ground glass of the traditional slr, usually rear screens on the camera body are no problem except in very bright light and this was the second stumbling bloc in Cornwall and since then here in S West France.....there are very few perfect solutions to those of us on "amateur budgets" and if you live near a large hire outlet perhaps a few shekels spent on a days hire may not be that wasteful.....
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 5:08PM

Quote:I'm a believer in glass first, body second. A friend was struggling to get great photos with his entry-level Canon and was talking about buying a Sony as he liked my photos. Using a borrowed L series prime I showed him what his camera could be capable of. Glass keeps its value, moves with you when you upgrade bodies.

I do think full frame makes sense for what you shoot but I can't see a good reason for you to get a Sony A7 III.

I could make a case for getting a second-hand Sony A7S or an A7S II - popular in astrophotography due to the way that sensor gathers the light, also the dynamic range of some of the Sony sensors, including the ones Nikon buy from Sony, is very useful in all kinds of photography.

I can't see a good reason to buy the new Canon or Nikon mirrorless cameras. - this is not like when DVD started to erode VHS, not even remotely, you aren't taking a risk buying 'old tech', there will not be a mass migration to mirrorless, there is no way the older DSLR cameras are going out of date.

I'd buy a cheap but capable body and for what you would be shooting, I would very seriously consider this


I have to wholeheartedly agree with Chris here, sound advice Smile.

Personally I don't believe the Canon or Nikon offerings are able to compete with the Sony's yet (In the future I think they will, but not yet).

As you are starting from fresh with no current investment in a system then try them all and see what you are happiest with in your hands, both ergonomically and operational and as mentioned 'used' or 'pre-loved' can be a good option to open the window for better optics. Just as an example the Canon 6D original is a good workhorse and excellent low shutter count bodies can be had for very good prices. (of course if you do go the Sony route remember that you can get adapters for a wide range of different lens makes and mounts)

JackAllTog Plus
12 6.3k 58 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2018 6:20PM
The lenses to support the me FF mirrorless offerings from Nikon and Canon don't have a wide range of offerings with their new mounts.
Being familiar with Nikon might well tempt you back - have you tried other Sony/Canon bodies & their menu systems to see how they feel?

For your budget i'd buy a semi recent pre-loved body to get FF, and then spend more on the wide glass you want. Then hold some cash back for a better deal when the Z6/7 EOS-R make a competitive impact on the mirror less market in mid 2019. Then i'd plan my body upgrade with a 2nd new mirror less mount lens.
6 Oct 2018 10:15PM
The question you should be asking is not what to buy but where to buy
Digitalrev is the best place for service and price
My canon 5D mk4 was less than 2000 which at the time 1400 cheaper than jessops and had it in three days

I reckon you know what you want in your heart, check out my suggestion and you will be pleasantly surprised where your budget will take you

SteveSmile
LenShepherd 13 4.4k United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 11:00AM

Quote:

Would be shooting mainly Astro/

Jay



If by astro you mean subjects like the Milky Way you need ideally to work in astronomical darkness with nothing other than an occasional red light source.
This is possible with some DSLR's but not many ML.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 12:14PM

Quote:If by astro you mean subjects like the Milky Way you need ideally to work in astronomical darkness with nothing other than an occasional red light source.
This is possible with some DSLR's but not many ML.


Errrrm... scratching my head here. Surely as long as you can shoot manually, have a decent wide aperture lens, able to set a 30 sec exposure and able to up the ISO then it doesn't matter what type of camera is used.

As for conditions all you need is a clear sky and of course the night sky in the right place (Photographers Ephemeris can help there), sure there will be some light pollution, something that for most is unavoidable.
AtterKing 2 8 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 12:46PM
Thanks again Chris_L, some good solid advice there for me to ponder over.

@bornstupix2, great point regarding the EVF/screen there, I spend most of my days looking at PC/laptop screens and eye strain is an issue, so definitely one to think about.

@Philh04, thanks for the advice, I was indeed thinking that this new mirrorless tech may mean that the top manufacturers may direct all their focus on this, thus putting mirrored/prism tech to bed.

@jackalltog, again, thanks for the input. Having used a D5000/7000 and I forgot to mention I loaned a D300S once, I did find the bigger bodied cameras more suited to my hands/grip. The D300S seemed vastly bigger than the D5000 and during a nosey around Jessops one day, I held the D3S which felt amazing. I do have my concerns about the mirrorless offerings being smaller, that said, I've heard the EOS R seems about the best of them ergonomically.

@Stevetheroofer, I've often wondered about Digital Rev, I know they're a Hong Kong outfit with satellite offices around the UK, but I considered these to be "grey/gray imports" and therefore the whole warranty issue worried me. But looking at their curruent prices, they put a Nikon D810 with a choice of great glass well within my budget, with the Canon 5D IV also within reach. The whole grey import thing worries me here though.

@LenShepherd, I'm about 1.5 hours drive away from some great "dark sky" locations, do no worries there. But so long as I can shoot in manual and have a decent fast & wide lens I would be good. This is where the Sony A7 III comes into play with the solid ISO range it has to offer. But then again, we're only talking 20-30 second exposures.

Thanks all so much for your input here, I'm still undecided right now. Interesting to see there's no "definitely go for the mirrorless option" here.
User_Removed 16 4.3k 2 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 3:26PM
MPB, Camera Jungle and Ffordes all offer used Cameras and lenses which will make your budget go a lot further.
We all know people who value the latest 'must have' over an ability to actually use the camera, and their 'so last year' stuff is usually in mint condition and with a few essential extras like a UV filter.
I very rarely buy brand new and can highly recommend all of the dealers mentioned above ( other companies also available)

I can't advise on which camera to buy but I've tried mirrorless and for me they just don't perform the way my Nikon D500 does.
I do astro, landscapes and bird photography
AtterKing 2 8 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 3:47PM
Thanks @aftertherain, it's probably the right time to buy used, as indeed many of the must have gang could be selling to fund the EOS R or Z6/7.

I'll take a look at your recommendations above.

Chris_L 7 5.5k United Kingdom
7 Oct 2018 4:35PM
When Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus introduced mirrorless cameras they changed the mount and the sensor size and significantly reduced the weight and the bulk. With care and good conditions it's possible to get shots every bit as good as those from full sized kit. Certainly as good as high-end bridge cameras but with the advantage of interchangeable lenses and adapting other lenses with ease.

A lot of enthusiasts switched to Fuji,to MFT and to Sony's E-Mount models. Canon and Nikon were late to respond and their early mirrorless systems were somewhat half-hearted and simply weren't a big hit.

I imagine when Sony headed up the charts for full frame camera sales eventually topping those charts some of the folk at Nikon and Canon were worried - there was no way their existing mirrorless could compete and both have introduced their own full frame mirrorless machines.

But it would be wrong to think this means that the future is mirrorless.

There are swings and roundabouts. Essentially the differences, as I see them, hopefully others can add, are this:

EVF means the viewfinder can be used when shooting video - not possible on a DSLR where the back LCD must be used. This is also why people switched from 5D II to the GH4 and A7S for shooting video

EVF is more WYSIWYG - I tend to spot trees growing out of people's heads etc far easier than I ever did with an Optical Viewfinder

OVF works in real time, an EVF will have some lag

EVF allows focus peaking and focus magnification in the viewfinder.

EVF allows you to see in black and white through your viewfinder - same if you want to see other styles like vivid or landscape while you compose. You can also see the white balance result. You can see if highlights are blown, if shadows are too dark.

OVF allows you to see the real scene - but bear in mind that the one that's ending up on the memory card is probably more important

EVF lets you compose in the dark. By cranking up the ISO for preview purposes you get to see what several seconds of exposure will look like.

In astrophotography light pollution might enter the eyepiece via an uncovered OVF but won't via an EVF

Today's EVFs with a properly set dioptre are a hundred times better than the EVF you used years ago when handed a bridge camera at your cousin's party.

EVF means your battery does not last as long. With a DSLR you can compose and manual focus without using any battery power.

In general, but there are exceptions, traditional DSLRs have faster and more accurate autofocus than their mirrorless cousins. Traditional DSLRs have shedloads more lens and accessory options.

Do try and put a lot of your budget into a killer lens like the one in my post, did you see the reviews? If you use a cheap lens then the best body in the world will simply reveal all of its shortcomings.
7 Oct 2018 7:40PM




Quote:The whole grey import thing worries me here though
.


What is there to worry about? A guarantee from digitalrev and more than 1000 in your pocket to fix any issues in the future. My 5Dmk4 looks and is exactly the same as the one from jessops.

SteveSmile

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.