What would be a good starter D-SLR?


Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 4:10PM
I have a young nephew who asked me to teach him the basics about photography. Currently he has a compact ( I know not which), and what I would like to ask the good people of this website, is what would they recommend as a good starter SLR (obviously it needs to fall into a beginner'sand teenager's budget and be a bit of jack of all trades until he discovers his niche).
I currently have a Sony A550 so know a bit regards Sony but have never particularly studied the oppositon at beginner level. I am guessing it will fall between Nikon and Canon.
Your help and input would be much appreciated.
Many Thanks, Daryl
Ian G W 18 398 3 England
6 Dec 2010 4:49PM
Why not go for one of the basic Sony models, then you'd be able to demonstrate using your lenses when teaching him, without him having to shell out for Nikon/Canon lenses?

Ian.
Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 4:55PM
It is a possibe avenue, Ian. This was one of my considerations for him but then I made a choice a few years ago to go with the then Konica Minolta and I do think there are limitations with Sony and maybe the Canon/Nikon avenue would be better in the longer run especially if he does take to photography.

Cheers
Daryl
strawman 18 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 4:56PM
To be honest for learning I would say an SLR that allows you to take control of the aperture, focus, ISO and Shutter speed is all you need, and to my knowledge that goes for all the DSLR I have seen. So for getting started I would say a DSLR and a standard Kit lens, (Something like an 18-55) would be good and a nice 50mm f1.8 prime is an added bonus (something you can see and experiment with low depth of field). So all the brands should be good.

For me the brand choices get interesting when you start talking about the more expensive lenses and whether you have any specialist areas of interest. But for learning just make certain the camera body allows you easy access to the basic controls.
Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 5:01PM
In those terms, yes you have a point, John.
thewilliam 13 6.1k
6 Dec 2010 5:52PM
There's a lot to be said for starting off with a marque that can be kept long-term and buying secondhand to reduce the risk. I did just that when I bought a Pentax Spotmatic about 40 years back and kept the outfit for about a decade. I switched to Nikon only after Pentax had changed the lens-mount from screw to bayonet and I couldn't easily replace the lenses that were wearing out. I've used Nikon ever since.

I had a good play with all the contenders and bought the camera that seemed nicest to use.

The great advantage of not changing marque is that we get unconcious competence and so don't have to think about the controls. Updating a Nikon body is straightforward because there's a strong family resemblence.
Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 6:41PM
Mmmm secondhand is a thought.....
thewilliam 13 6.1k
6 Dec 2010 7:19PM
Daryl, thanks to something that Rockwell calls "digital rot", perfectly good digital cameras are considered worthless just because they're a couple of years old.

Many enthusiasts feel the need to "upgrade" just because the maker has introduced a new model. The camera might have been considered the bees-knees two years ago, but now that it's superceded, it doesn't have many friends.

Vulgar professionals like me continue to use the D3 or D2XS bodies in the studio because they deliver the same results as the newer models. I don't need high ISO capability.

With Nikon, a good D100 can be bought from a dealer and with a guarantee for just over GBP100. A D200 is just a little more and a D2X is well within 3 figures. They're still good cameras and they take most of the Nikon lens range so they could be used as a backup body in years to come.

All the professional grade Nikons have a design life well in excess of 150k pictures, so most of the used offerings are a long way short of this. Just look carefully for signs of abuse.
Alan_Warriner 16 545 England
6 Dec 2010 8:59PM

Quote:professionals like me


you've never mentioned you were a professional before Smile
thewilliam 13 6.1k
6 Dec 2010 11:09PM
Alan, I do tend to mention my professional status whenever I put heresy in my posts. WinkWinkWink

Cameras are my working tools, selected to do a job at a sensible minimum total cost of ownership. "Upgrading" is something done as seldom as I can get away with, because it's often just a waste of money. A good camera is still a good camera, even though it's been superceded.;
miptog 16 3.6k 65 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2010 11:27PM
Just some thoughts:

- What is the budget, as this will be the main factor in deciding what to buy?
- Will your nephew pay or is uncle going to sub him?
- You could let him have your A550 and treat yourself to something new
- Although he has asked you to help him with the basics, will he really want to approach photography in a serious manner, or will he just be happy taking snaps
Alokchitri 11 61 India
7 Dec 2010 11:08AM
Provided you have a decent budget, a NIKON D3100 should be the best choice, IMHO
Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2010 2:20PM
Thanks Michael and Srijan for your thoughts.


Quote:
1 Will your nephew pay or is uncle going to sub him?
2 You could let him have your A550 and treat yourself to something new
3 Although he has asked you to help him with the basics, will he really want to approach photography in a serious manner, or will he just be happy taking snaps



1 He's paying

2 Nice idea, I would like to, but funds dictate otherwise.

3 He does seem quite keen, but I'm keeping an open mind and hence looking to advise him to keep his buying option at the entry level whilst keeping his options open to upgrade if he really does want to pursue it.


Thanks again to everyone so far who has took the time to give their thoughts.
Much appreciated.
pulsar69 17 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2010 2:32PM
I am a canon user , ex pentax too , and for my mind the current range of Pentax DSLRs are absolutely amazing value for money and had they been around when i upgraded i would maybe never have had to change to canon , dont rule them out for a beginner they offer possibly the best bang for buck of ALL the models
Arvorphoto Plus
11 144 6 United Kingdom
7 Dec 2010 2:53PM
Thanks Andrew, hadn't considered Pentax as an option although they are a long standing camera make.

Just had a look at the Pentax Kx, sounds interesting.

More food for thought.

Cheers

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