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Which Camera Should I Buy?: Discuss 1st DSLR...Currently I have a Nikon P510, it has a very long zoom lens and 16.1 Megapixel. It has suited my ...
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Old 17-11-2013, 19:16   #1 (permalink)
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1st DSLR

Currently I have a Nikon P510, it has a very long zoom lens and 16.1 Megapixel. It has suited my needs, but now I wish to have a DSLR. I would like to be able to work in raw. I have been eying the Nikon D5200, and that is about the amount of money I would like to spend. So I would really like to know your thoughts on my first DSLR as well as what lens and filters I should get right away.

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Tom
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Old 17-11-2013, 21:02   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 1st DSLR

Tough question Tom. Cameras like the P510 can give very good images for their money, but if you are looking at the D5200 maybe you can afford the D5300 for its extra facilities. There are some good bargains to be had by buying a second hand D90, maybe a D300(s) or even the D7000. There may be still some new stock at bargain prices.

Whatever you choose I would avoid the cheaper kit lenses. Although some are very good they often have their limitations. It depends on what subjects you want to take but for average walk-about lens the 16-85mm is excellent, but will cost you about 2/3 as much as the D5300.

Going for any of the starter models (D3xxx, D5xxx ) has its limitations for further exploration with lenses. While there are many excellent second hand lenses on the market that can be had for a relatively low price, not all will work on these entry model cameras, so it becomes a bit of a question as to how you would like your photography to evolve.

The D5200, D5300 are excellent cameras for the price but you will be generally limited to using the newer AF-S (Auto Focus - Silent wave motor) lenses, which tend to cost more than older models. You can always use third party lenses (Tamron, Sigma or Tokina) that are significantly cheaper and can give good to excellent results. Again you have to be aware that some are only available in non- AF-S versions, so not suitable for the D5xxx cameras as they need the camera to be able to drive the focussing with an "in camera motor". AF-S lenses use the power from the camera to drive their own focussing.

Going back to the D90 etc. mentioned above. These may be older cameras and have less pixels but they are still capable of producing excellent results. The advantage is that if you are on a tight budget, a whole world opens up to you for second hand lenses, or the less expensive AF-D lenses. I have a D300s and can mount all but the very specialised lenses made since 1977. I have been using Nikon since 1970 and have lenses older than 1977. These were converted back in 1978/9 when Nikon was offering a special deal for people to migrate to the newer cameras that would only take newer Ai (Automatic indexing) lenses. Conversion is difficult to find these days as the parts are limited, but there are enough lenses made since 1977 to have a good selection that will not disappoint.

Filters are not so important as they are with film cameras. There is a perennial debate about using a UV filter to protect the lens. This is your choice. However, again another budget biased decision, but if you can pop a polarising filter in your bag it can be very useful, especially where you live with strong light and air influenced by the sea. They are normally quite expensive but worth it. Check to get Circular Polarising filter if you are using automatic focussing lenses as linear polarisers can interfere with the camera's focussing process. On manual focussing lenses this does not really cause the camera a problem. You can buy step-up rings rather than buying several filters if you end up buying lenses with different filter sizes.
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Old 17-11-2013, 21:14   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 1st DSLR

This is a difficult one. At my camera club someone bought a Nikon D5100. He found its limitations in less than six months and bought a D90. This whetted his appetite and now he has traded in the D5100 for a D700. (retaining the D90)

Moral of this is you need to try to 'future proof' yourself buy buying a camera that will suit your current needs, but will be able to grow with you photographically. We are all different, but I'd suggest bypassing the D5xxx series altogether and go for a D90, D300 or a D300s or D7000 as Graham suggested. Just be aware that the D300 and 300s do not have any fully auto modes, just Aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual.

Personally I'd rather have any of the above rather than a D5xxx

Get the best lenses you can afford. A camera body has a relatively limited life where a lens will last you a lifetime.
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Old 17-11-2013, 22:05   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 1st DSLR

Thank You Guys! Good food for thought. I appreciate your thoughtful responses.

Tom
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