Amy Loke (uber busy) 4:27pm, 21 April 2009
I'm thinking of buying my first DSLR. And I have a budget. Max US$1,000. I'm contemplating between the Canon 450D, Nikon D80, and the Sony Alpha A350.

I really need some help in deciding. Other models are welcome.

Thanks.
Gimel Vav PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Gimel Vav (member) 9 years ago
Let's see:

Ford or Chevy?
Pepsi or Coke?
Liberal or Conservative?
Armenian or Calvinist?
Fender or Gibson?
Ginger or Marianne?
Holga or Diana?

Canon or Nikon?
Kippy! 9 years ago
We all know what's going to happen now:
Everyone is going to go with what they know best, which undoubtedly is going to be extremely biased one way or other other.

Personally, being a Canon man, I'd go for the 450D, but my suggestion is to go to the camera store and pick up all three and try them out and see which one is the easiest for you.

I almost went for a Nikon D60 as my first SLR, but I absolutely hated it when I tried it out at Jessops and went for the Canon 350D instead.

Weigh them up and see which is best for you, there's no other way of doing it. Suggestions and advice is great, but they might not be to your taste.

Just my opinion.
frogdog* 9 years ago
Go for an established camera maker and not one that has expanded from making TV's and HiFi's is my opinion
poppaJ 9 years ago
go to the store and handle all of them and pick the one that feels the most comfortable . . . just me but I'd stick with Canon or Nikon
Bo Eder 9 years ago
Owning both Canon and Nikon, I can tell you this: they both can make pictures.

The Sony can too. (as can Pentax, Leica, Fuji, Hasselblad, etc.,...)

You just have to decide which one you like better. But to me, if I can control shutter speed, aperture, and focus, then I'm happy.

I think your inspiration to go out and shoot should be a bigger motivation than what actual camera you happen to have.
narent23 9 years ago
Yeah try em all out and see which you like best. All three of those have had kind words spoken of them.
Michal Rosa 9 years ago
How long is a piece of string? Try them out, see what they feel like.

All of the cameras you have mentioned are fine products but I'd recommend Canon 500D, it's a pretty significant upgrade from 450D and with your Canon you get a huge selection of great lenses.

Cheers,
Michal
Amy Loke (uber busy) 9 years ago
Thanks for all your feedback.

I know... I've asked the most controversial question in photography. Lol. I just need to know which camera is a Gibson and which is a Fender. Then I'll know which to choose. Haha...

Yes it would be extremely biased. I came here to seek help after my dad very biasly stood on Nikon's side. I'm stuck in between my very limited budget and the quality/durability of the cameras. Sony's A350 comes with a very impressive kit at a lot less compared to Canon and Nikon. Guess I've really gotta find a day and go try them out.

That is what I'm worried about. But the Sony comes with a very impressive kit and it's much cheaper. Indecisiveness is killing me.

A 500D is way over my current budget. But I really like it. I might just make the big splurge. : )
Mike Murrow 9 years ago
if your dad has Nikon then I would go with Nikon cause you can borrow his lenses.
JaPar PRO 9 years ago
Sony = Minolta and you can't say that they only make tv's and video's eh... They are good camera's but with respect to compatibility I have my doubts (e.g. hotshoe adapters and stuff)

Get a Canon or a Nikon if you want to be able to buy from a large selection of third party vendors (believe me, I've been there). And as said before try them out, look for the best deal (sometimes you have cash-back actions, free seminars, ...)

It also depends on what photography you're interested in. Some suffer from noise at medium ISO while others perform better. And there are a lot of other features that are different between camera's that are not important or noticeable at first sight (max sync speeds, built-in menu's, ...)
JaPar wrote

Get a Canon or a Nikon if you want to be able to buy from a large selection of third party vendors (believe me, I've been there). And as said before try them out, look for the best deal (sometimes you have cash-back actions, free seminars, ...)


There are just as many 3rd party lenses for Sony as there are are Canon & Nikon, only exception to that is new lenses from Tokina. Tamron and Sigma have just about everything available in Maxxum/Alpha mount, same with Pentax mount. Olympus on the other hand...no.
The Sony has one BIG advantage over the others, in body stabilization, which is a complete lifesaver! Any lens you use is stabilized.

Also I would check out the Sony a300, it has a faster fps than the a350, which is handy
JaPar PRO 9 years ago
jdebord, true but I was not only referring to lenses, even stuff like batteries, battery packs, flashes, remotes, etcetera. You'll just find stuff easier if you have a nikon/canon, that's all. You're definitely right about the in body stabilization, this way lens manufacturers do not have to sell 2/3 versions of a lens and increase prices (see USM versions of Canon lenses)
frogdog* wrote
Go for an established camera maker and not one that has expanded from making TV's and HiFi's is my opinion


Ahhhhh as one who is in the Minolta/Sony camp, we hear this a lot, and kind of just chuckle when we do.

People think Sony is new to the game, but in reeaity they are anything BUT new. See, when Sony took over Minolta, they also took their R&D and engineers with them, purchased all of Minolta's camera making facilities and many of the people who worked there are still presently employed doing what they have done for a number of years, making cameras.

So with that, I say this---Sony has a very big legacy behind it, massive, the name has changed, sure, but in reality, Sony IS Minolta cameras. The ones who invented Auto Focus.
JaPar wrote
jdebord, true but I was not only referring to lenses, even stuff like batteries, battery packs, flashes, remotes, etcetera. You'll just find stuff easier if you have a nikon/canon, that's all. You're definitely right about the in body stabilization, this way lens manufacturers do not have to sell 2/3 versions of a lens and increase prices (see USM versions of Canon lenses)


I am none to sure about that, the only thing I have found easier is the prices of used lenses lol Used Minolta/Sony glass can get expensive, unless it is 3rd party. The demand has gone through the roof!

3rd part batteries maybe, but to many, using a 3rd party battery isa risk, because it can void the warranty of the camera, not to mention....most are Chinese made, and we all know how wonderful QC is with Chinese products lol
cuulblu 9 years ago
I prefer the Sony. The biggest advantage with Sony is the built in image stabilization. It will save you $$$ compared to buying a full set of stabilized lenses for the other cameras.

I doubt any one is better than the other. The true question is which photographer is better. The camera is simply a tool. I can buy a dozen different brands of screwdriver, but they will all drive a screw. Some may last longer than others or be more comfortable in my hand. But the quality of the completed work is up to the craftsman. The same is true of a camera. The finished work depends on the photographer.
ted @ndes PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by ted @ndes (member) 9 years ago
Wow. I just clicked into this forum expecting to be the one to promote Sony, and here a few others have already chimed in.

I know when I was shopping for a DSLR system, I had that "Buy either Canon or Nikon" beaten into me. I went to a store to check them out live, and there were tons of models on display. Unknowingly I picked up a Sony, and everything just felt right. I went home to do my research. After a month I finally got the courage to go outside of Canon/Nikon and I went for the Sony A700. I've had no regrets and for me I would make the same decision again.

Truely, get the cameras in your hands and try them out. You may have things figured out on paper, but you can be surpised at which one 'speaks to you'.

In my research, I found the video reviews from camera labs very helpful.
www.cameralabs.com/

Oh, and Mike Murrow makes a strong point about borrowing lenses. If you have a Nikon in the family, that could be a lot less lenses to buy... definitely plan for all lenses in your comparisons. Camera bodies come and go, but the lenses you will use a lot longer.
BoldPuppy 9 years ago
The lenses are why I went with Canon. The Sony lineup of lenses has only one that interests me - the 135mm STF.. I'm very intrigued with the idea of a lens with two sets of aperture blades! The lenses are the glasses through you take your images, and they are responsible for providing the 'feel', perspective, and field of view (each of those, to a degree) to the image. Of course, you're responsible for the lighting, composition, color (or lack thereof) and so on.

I agree with the general sentiment above, though - it's a tool, and you should get the one that feels best to you in your hands. Do the menus make sense? Does it feel good in your hands? If they don't, you won't use it, and that's worse than not having a camera!
stupendous carriage [deleted] 9 years ago
Easy!! the one that fit your needs!... but you must have a perfectly clear idea of what you want to do with that camera.

So is not about brands first, it's about your needs and knowledge first.
evg3 photography wrote
Easy!! the one that fit your needs!... but you must have a perfectly clear idea of what you want to do with that camera.

So is not about brands first, it's about your needs and knowledge first.


Truly the one that is best is the one that is most comfortable in your hands!
Just to confuse you even more, consider the Pentax K-m/K2000(US). I've just made the jump from point & shoot to D-SLR. Apparently it is an entry level D-SLR but it has many features which can be found on slightly more expensive Nikon's and Canon's. It has a generous 10.2MP capacity and shake reduction in the body rather than the lens giving you more flexibilty and options when buying further lenses, several preset programmes and also a fully manual mode too. I bought my mine while on holiday in the Caribbean at St Thomas. I got the camera, 18-55 kit lens, 75-300 zoom, external flash gun (albeit the base model), 4GB SD card, standard batteries plus rechargables and a charger kit and a camera bag for $650, so if you have a $1000 budget you've some left over for more accessories too! There are several websites that have given the camera positive reviews and from a personal point I feel like I've made a good decision with the Pentax!
MOD
Gimel Vav You left out the best one, PC or Mac?
Amy Loke (uber busy) 9 years ago
Thanks again for helping me out.

Nope. He doesn't even own a Nikon. He's extremely biased. Lol. That's what you get when you ask his opinion.

Yes. the built in Super SteadyShot. That's what interests me. I'm just worried about the built in flash. it's kinda short. But I think that won't be too big of a problem.

Thanks for the link. It was really helpful.

Yea. All of them make good cameras. Just need to find the one that suits me.

Haha. No problem. I'm open to suggestions. I'll take a look at it.
ksuwildkat PRO 9 years ago
Amy - I just made the leap myself and with an almost identical budget. I bought a Pentax K200D ($560 with kit 18-55) plus the following:

Tamron 28-80 zoom ($44)
Pentax AF360FGZ Flash ($200)
Pentax Battery Grip ($30)
Eneloop Charger Set with 12 AA and 2 AAA batteries ($30)
Kata DR 467 backpack ($80)
Pentax remote ($24)

(I already had a tripod and memory cards)

For just over $1000 I have a really nice set up (IMHO) with some things unmatched by either the Cannon or Nikon:

In camera stabilization. Im on a budget too so I wanted to pay for stabilization ONCE. Having it in camera gives me access to a lot of older Pentax K mount lenses and a lot of "good but not great" ones like the Tamron.

AA batteries. I was down on AA batteries because my old Nikon CP used to eat them. The next Nikon I got had a rechargeable pack and I swore I would never go back. In the mean time rechargeable AAs have gotten MUCH better and I realized I was going to need to buy some for the flash anyway. So now I have three sets - one in the camera, one in the battery grip and one in the flash. In a pinch, all three can go in the camera or I can buy some regular ones just about anywhere on the planet. The $10 Energizer set that came with the camera has taken over 1200 pictures and the power gauge still says full!

Battery grip - not even an option on the Nikon D60. I like to shoot wildlife and after spending an hour getting out on the rocks I dont want to run out of power! With the batter grip and the Eneloops I have enough to shoot over 2000 pictures. Harvest out of my flash and can shoot more than my 10GB of memory cards can hold.

Wireless flash. The K200 has built in linking to the AF360 (and AF540) so when I am ready to explore off camera flash work, I am set with no additional cost.

Weather seals. Like I said, I like outdoor photography in general and ocean photography in particular. The K200 is the ONLY camera in this price range with weather seals. Weather seals are why I ultimately chose the K200D over the K2000.

Its not crippled. Part of me REALLY wanted the Nikon. I think almost every photog has a Nikon "dream" setup. But to me the D60 was kinda insulting with the little things Nikon did to limit it. No drive screw, no battery pack, compressed RAW, etc. I dont want to outgrow my camera in a year or have to spend big $$ to make up for its limitations.

I was VERY tempted by both the Cannon EOS 500D and the Nikon D5000 because of the ability to shoot video. If that were my biggest factor I would go with the Cannon because they have a better track record with video. But I realized two things - my passion is still photography not video. I have a nice video camera and I dont use it. When I "outgrow" my video camera, I will think about a "video capable" system. The second was that the $300 price difference meant I was going to be stuck with the kit lens and the pop-up flash for a long time. I was STILL going to have to buy spare batteries (actually battery packs) and a nice bag so what I wasnt going to have was the flexibility of different lens setups and a decent indoor flash. That was my whole reason for getting a DSLR - to explore more with a camera. I have a Sigma 70-300 lens sitting in my Amazon cart ($144). In a few months I will add that and while I wont have the "best" setup I will have one that is petty darn good. When I win the lottery I can start buying more expensive glass. Until then I will enjoy using my K200 every day, rain or shine.

Good luck!
Amy Loke (uber busy) 9 years ago
Ahh, you've pointed out the benefits of AA batteries. I was interested in the Nikon D90's video function but thought better of it. My passion is still photography too. Thanks for the recommendation on the Pentax K200. I'll check it out.
Amy Loke (uber busy) 9 years ago
Oh yes, I have a question for Sony users. I've been doing some research and there seem to be a nagging problem with the Sony line up - which is the noise at ISO higher than 800. Is it true?
ted @ndes PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by ted @ndes (member) 9 years ago
I wouldn't call it a big "problem"... remember that steady shot? Well that can let you hand hold at longer shutter speeds, and I find that means you have to switch to a higher ISO later than others DSLRs.

Also, Sony frequently updates the camera's firmware, which you can easily download and then upload to the camera (newly sold cameras usually have those updates already). The A700 is on version 4.0, and all of those updates helped the high ISO emmensly. Not sure on the A350. You can also do noise reduction in post-processing software.

Here are some links to high ISO photos in my stream taken with the A700:
Shooting Fourth Street Live by ted @ndes
Shooting Fourth Street Live by ted @ndes
Curves by ted @ndes
Sugar Bear Rules!!! by ted @ndes
ted @ndes PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by ted @ndes (member) 9 years ago
I forgot to add.... keep in mind that almost all the camera reviews you read were done when the models were first released. They seldom update the reviews after firmware updates have been done. To get a good idea on the impact of those updates, many camera brand flickr groups have good discussions.
Tiny Butt Cheeks 9 years ago
I cant speak for the D5000 Video Function, but the D90 Video is sort a joke. My wife got a D90 because she thought she would use both DSLR and Video on an equal level. We both found it extremely cumbersome to use.

As for which brand is better? Age Old Question. Anyone on the internet will tell you the brand they shoot, is the best.

Go to your camera store and hold every DSLR they have. Options and Ergonomics will play a huge factor in choice.

I do agree that Sony/Pentax brands are really competitive with Canon and Nikon. I wish Nikon would put IS/VR in their DSLRs instead of in lenses only.

Nikon and Canon both have a very established track record in almost all their DSLR offerings. This is probably the reason you see everyone push Nikon/Canon over Pentax and Sony.
Amy Loke (uber busy) 9 years ago
Those are really great pics. Thanks again for the info. Really appreciate it.

Thanks for the heads up on the D90. Yea. I get your point on the brands. Thanks again.
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