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Posted: 6/6/2018 11:56:18 PM EDT
Hey guys and gals, I'm thinking about getting into still photography and I'm looking for an entry level DSLR. I've looked online, I've seen a lot of opinions based on feature comparisons, but nothing really on picture quality and end user functionality. So as a novice trying to get into this, what camera would you recommended? I'm trying to keep it under $700.00 (I hope that price range is realistic).

I've read a lot of good things about the Nikon D3400, D5300 and the D5600.

Thanks in advance for your help!
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 12:49:50 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 1:58:01 AM EDT
Just got tagged, so I’m bookmarking and will be back to read the thread in a bit.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 3:52:12 AM EDT
Here is an entry-level:
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 70-300mm Lenses (Black, Refurbished)
B&H # RBNID340073B MFR # 1573B
You Pay: $460
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 4:50:12 AM EDT
I used my Canon Rebel T4i for a long time. In fact, I upgraded to a full-frame, but still use it on a telescope.

If you're looking at the Canon world, the new T7i is a great camera.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 6:33:39 AM EDT
OP I was in your shoes about a year ago. I bought a D7200 (refurb) based on the recommendations from the camera guys here. It has more features than I've figured out how to configure but I know it's a camera I can grow with. And I've taken some great shots with it, even with the kit lens but be prepared to set aside a good chunk of money for all the other lenses you'll want to buy
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 8:40:49 AM EDT
What are you going to be taking photos of?
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 8:42:05 AM EDT
I almost started this exact thread a couple of days ago, so I'll be keeping an eye on this one. I bought a Nikon B500 for a simple point and shoot camera for now, but I know I'll want to upgrade to a DSLR at some point in the future. I've been looking at the D3400 also (maybe something a little better). I just need to decide what I can realistically justify spending considering I'll need lenses as well.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 9:17:27 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:
Photo quality is more a function of the person using the camera and the lens that's on it.

The other point you raise is more interesting.

User functionality - for best results, I'm going to recommend that you skip anything that doesn't start with a 7xxx.

Some here might disagree with this, matter of fact I could @ them by name but that'd be rude.

Most of the people that actually know what they're talking about will agree with me on this recommendation though for the simple reason that the lower series cameras cut out useful features and hide others within menus and complicated button combos.

If you're just getting started you won't really understand why a front and rear command dial is so useful. (one controls aperture, the other shutter speed) but I can assure you that it's far easier than digging into the menus to access the same functionality. The same goes for changing other simple settings like AF modes and ISO.

The 7xxx series also stands out because of the internal focus motor that'll let you use older (cheaper, usually) lenses.

They also feel better in the hand and balance better with a grip if you add one later on down the line.

Here's the main downside - they are a bit more expensive, even used than the low end models. Make no mistake, they are absolutely 100% worth it.

@NorthPolar can help you get into one for a decent price with a not bad lens and the accessories you'll need. He's our resident deal finder.

We will help you get going and start the adventure of learning photography.
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Wow, thanks for the detailed response!! I just searched around for the 7200 series, looks to be about a couple hundred more the 5xxx series on Amazon.

So I know this is probably a very novice question, but, even though it's a camera that was released in 2015, it's still considered more technologically advanced/future proof than the lower end models?

Lastly, it looks like we caught the attention of NorthPolar lol. How are those deals looking?
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 9:36:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 12:10:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2018 12:11:17 PM EDT by VacaDuck]
Be careful buying on Amazon. A lot of the cameras are international versions and are not covered under the manufacturers warranty here in the US.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 12:14:54 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:

It's not as advanced as something as say, the D500.

It doesn't really need to be. The sensor tech is still relevant, the AF works fine, and it's got all the buttons where you need them to be.

Buying one used or refurbished would be my recommendation. You'll save quite a bit that way. Down side is you won't often find a kit with lenses like that. Upside is, you get to skip out on the crappy lenses that often come in those kits.

The person that asked what you plan to shoot really did touch on a relevant question.

If you're planning to do more scenery landscape type stuff, you'll probably want a wider lens. If you plan to shoot portraits you'll want something mid range and animals call for the longest lens you can afford.

There's really not a realistic way to get something for nothing, but we can help you get the best bang for your buck as you start the adventure.

Someone above mentioned that the D7xxx was a camera that he could grow into. That's exactly what it should be. It's cheaper to buy a camera to grow into rather than buy a crappy one, outgrow it, buy another slightly less crappy one, outgrow that, and then end up with one that has all the buttons you want.
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Those are all very valid points. On Nikons website, it looks like the 7200 with two lenses is on sale for under 1k. That seems very reasonable for a new, non refurbished camera.

Zack, you've been extremely helpful with your knowledge and suggestions. So being a novice, do you think this a decent deal? If so, I think I'm going to jump on it.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 12:39:50 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
Be careful buying on Amazon. A lot of the cameras are international versions and are not covered under the manufacturers warranty here in the US.
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I was literally just reading that!! There's a link Nikon's website that directs me to the Amazon store, which I would hope gives me a USA version of the camera.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 1:20:56 PM EDT
It’ll be a couple hours but I can see if I can find a D7200 deal. That said, the bundle price from Nikon is likely close to the best price hnless there is a sale going. Btw the D7200 is what Zack and I both used for a few years before moving up to professional cameras. Basically you have all the automodes if you want to use them, but buttons for manual control and weather sealing like a pro camera. So no needing to dick around in menus to change ISO or whatnot.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 1:25:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2018 1:26:00 PM EDT by warlord]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
Be careful buying on Amazon. A lot of the cameras are international versions and are not covered under the manufacturers warranty here in the US.
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True, the USA-importer is a seperate company from that of Nikon-Japan. But I know Nikons are built very sturdily built, I have >150,000 clicks on the shutter on my 10MP Nikon D40x, and it still functions today. If need be I can still use it today, right now.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 1:36:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2018 1:37:02 PM EDT by warlord]
I kinda still have an affinity for my old Nikon D5200, it as an articulated screen that will swing 180° for those of you who do selfies etc, but the trade-off is that this camera has mirrors in place of the solid-glass pentaprism in viewfinder, and is probably ~20% darker than the other Nikon D-cameras; but it also makes the D5200 lighter. Decisions, decisions.....
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 1:40:21 PM EDT
One last thing, I recently bought a refurb'd D500, it has something that is real nifty, a built-in time-lapse movie ability.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 4:10:31 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By NorthPolar:
It’ll be a couple hours but I can see if I can find a D7200 deal. That said, the bundle price from Nikon is likely close to the best price hnless there is a sale going. Btw the D7200 is what Zack and I both used for a few years before moving up to professional cameras. Basically you have all the automodes if you want to use them, but buttons for manual control and weather sealing like a pro camera. So no needing to dick around in menus to change ISO or whatnot.
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Thanks NorthPolar, but don't worry about looking into it. I know a used or refurbished camera would probably save a little bit of money, but I think I'd be happy with something new, especially if the $999.00 price is competitive now.

I've played with a few DSLR's that didn't have the option to operate in manual mode, it was driving me crazy! I had used a 35mm SLR back in high school and then in a college photography class and that's how I remember how to take pictures! Auto focus is handy, but a quick switch to manual would be welcomed lol.

Thanks for all of your help guys, I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the 7200!
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 4:41:15 PM EDT
Glad you made this thread because i was planning on making the same one myself

Going to check out the D7200, I’d rather spend a bit more and get a solid camera i can learn on that isn’t a lower tier one I’d have to upgrade shortly thereafter
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 6:57:06 PM EDT
Personally, I'd rather have the D7200 over the D7500 but that's just me. In terms of image quality (and Zack disagrees with how they do it) DXOMark still says the D7200 is the best all around crop sensor camera out there for image quality. Freaking loved mine, and the only reason I got rid of it was to move up to a full frame pro body.

I'm still considering one as a backup/sports/wildlife camera though. That a D500 when I get the $$$.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 9:15:06 PM EDT
I just sold my D7000 on ebay and recently acquired a D700 on craigslist. The control "layout" is very similar, so, it was an easy transition to a different camera body.

I've never had a D5xxx or D3xxx camera so I can't comment on them. But, I do like how the 7xxxx cameras have moar controls right at your finger tips, versus chugging thru the menus to change something.

I'd watch craigslist for a deal. Lots of guys enjoy upgrading the body and are willing to maybe make you a deal.

Good luck with whatever you do!!!
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 9:29:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 9:44:38 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zack3g:
It's not that I disagree with their testing.

I consider the entire scheme suspect. They use made up measurements and have some seriously questionable bias in their rankings which I have demonstrated here in threads before.
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:
Originally Posted By NorthPolar:
Personally, I'd rather have the D7200 over the D7500 but that's just me. In terms of image quality (and Zack disagrees with how they do it) DXOMark still says the D7200 is the best all around crop sensor camera out there for image quality. Freaking loved mine, and the only reason I got rid of it was to move up to a full frame pro body.

I'm still considering one as a backup/sports/wildlife camera though. That a D500 when I get the $$$.
It's not that I disagree with their testing.

I consider the entire scheme suspect. They use made up measurements and have some seriously questionable bias in their rankings which I have demonstrated here in threads before.
Oh okay. My memory is pretty garbage with everything going on up here, so I didn't remember that bit.
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 10:59:59 PM EDT
I got my daughter a D3400 for high school photography classes

she's doing wonderful things
Link Posted: 6/7/2018 11:13:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/7/2018 11:14:28 PM EDT by slappomatt]
I just bought a backup D300s last week for $200. its a metal sealed pro grade DSLR WITH a internal focus motor and pro level controls. down sides to the age are that it barely does movies and its "only" 12mp which is still more than most anyone needs.

Highly recommended.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 3:47:03 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Blackbird97:

Thanks NorthPolar, but don't worry about looking into it. I know a used or refurbished camera would probably save a little bit of money, but I think I'd be happy with something new, especially if the $999.00 price is competitive now.

I've played with a few DSLR's that didn't have the option to operate in manual mode, it was driving me crazy! I had used a 35mm SLR back in high school and then in a college photography class and that's how I remember how to take pictures! Auto focus is handy, but a quick switch to manual would be welcomed lol.

Thanks for all of your help guys, I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the 7200!
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Refurb'd equipment comes in a plain cardboard box with zero graphics and sans the manual, and only a 90-day warranty. Of all the nikon refurbished DSLR equipment I bought, I have never had to use the warranty. But if you are a bit squeamish, you can purchase an extended warranty for a few extra bucks; but I am a cheap @$$, so I just wing it. But if you are a collector, you should get the regular stuff with the nice box, manuals, etc etc.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 3:01:56 PM EDT
Yesterday Sam's Club had the Canon T6i, with ?-55mm equiv STM and 55mm to 250mm STM lenses for $750.

STM lenses are very fast to focus, that price seems to be a good deal. Don't know if it is grey market or US Canon warrantied.

Previously, this camera kit came with a 70mm to 300mm IS lens that was slower to focus than the 55mm to 250mm telephoto STM lens.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 4:01:20 PM EDT
My original Canon Rebel died and I just replaced it with a Rebel t6i. I figure that it will take me a few weeks to figure out all the features! If this is a beginners DSLR I do not want to see an advanced one.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 4:53:56 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By MikeSSS:
Yesterday Sam's Club had the Canon T6i, with ?-55mm equiv STM and 55mm to 250mm STM lenses for $750.

STM lenses are very fast to focus, that price seems to be a good deal. Don't know if it is grey market or US Canon warrantied.

Previously, this camera kit came with a 70mm to 300mm IS lens that was slower to focus than the 55mm to 250mm telephoto STM lens.
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Sam's is part of Wall-Mart, it would be way too much trouble to go to obtain gray-market merchandise, so I would probably bet it genuine Canon-USA stuff.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 5:04:04 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 12a10:
My original Canon Rebel died and I just replaced it with a Rebel t6i. I figure that it will take me a few weeks to figure out all the features! If this is a beginners DSLR I do not want to see an advanced one.
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I am looking at my B&H cataloge, and the bottom of the line Canon is the EOS Rebel SL2 body is $550 this would be similar to the Nikon D3400, the next step up is the EOS Rebel T6 body is at $750, would be ~similar to the D5600 in terms of price.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 7:02:47 PM EDT
I was doing research for another project, and ran accross this review. Of course as of all reviews, this is only one person's opinion, you need to read multiple versions.
DPREview-"Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D500: Which is better for you?"
Link Posted: 6/10/2018 5:58:37 PM EDT
Were I in the market for an entry level camera, *I* would hit the Nikon refurbished site. Nice discounts on good cameras & lenses, one could probably get a chunk of their money back selling them when it's time to upgrade, IMO.

B&H Photo also sells used stuff. I've shopped them as well.

I have few qualms about buying used IF it's from a reputable seller. B&H uses a 1-10 rating on the condition of the equipment & they're almost always on the money.

Local photo stores also often offer used equipment with some sort of warranty.

My .o2
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 3:48:26 PM EDT
There is a lot of good advice here - there are some things that are (and have been, since I transitioned to a DSLR over a decade ago) ABSOLUTE must-haves:

1. Nikon - I have shot Nikon since Christmas of 1989. That is a lot of years of upgrading lenses, flashes and the like. This means in addition to the Nikon mount, I also need the focus motor native to the camera to power some older lenses that still produce awesome images. I respect Canon quite a bit - I just down own it.
2. Two command dials - I can't do the two-button approach to make changes. I need to be able to manipulate shutter speed and aperture separately - and quickly. I consider this the most important requirement, and it would still apply even if I sold/junked everything Nikon and went Canon.

A few requirements have evolved:
- 1/250 shutter sync is kind of helpful.
- Battery/vertical grip - for so many reasons including battery life, shooting vertical composition, and feel of the camera in my bear-paw-sized hands.

So when you start adding those things up, you quickly get to a Nikon 7xxxx (although I guess that excludes the 7500), or a D500.

-shooter
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 9:18:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2018 9:21:39 PM EDT by warlord]
shooter220: I also like to add that current Nikon auto-focusing lenses has a motor on the lens itself, so when you buy a lens you pay extra for the motor. In the Canons, the focusing motor is in the camera body. Since Nikon pretty kept the same lens mount, many of their legacy lenses are compatible with today's bodies, but that introduces a problem is that some lenses and bodies combos may not or may not be compatible, so you will have to that in mind to see if that particular lens/body combo will work. Nikon has introduced a new line of lenses called AF-P, kind of like "flying by wire" for camera, this line of lenses won't work with older bodies such as D40-D90s, <D3200, <D5100 etc.

The good thing about Canon is that they "bit the bullet"(this is appropo term since ARFCOM is basically a gun forum), and designed from the ground up a brand new lens mount with brand new lens designs. Of course the drawback is that Canon's legacy lenses won't work with the newer bodies. And so on the whole Canon lenses could be superior to Nikon lenses without the legacy mount constraints.
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 10:02:28 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By warlord:
shooter220: I also like to add that current Nikon auto-focusing lenses has a motor on the lens itself, so when you buy a lens you pay extra for the motor. In the Canons, the focusing motor is in the camera body. Since Nikon pretty kept the same lens mount, many of their legacy lenses are compatible with today's bodies, but that introduces a problem is that some lenses and bodies combos may not or may not be compatible, so you will have to that in mind to see if that particular lens/body combo will work. Nikon has introduced a new line of lenses called AF-P, kind of like "flying by wire" for camera, this line of lenses won't work with older bodies such as D40-D90s, <D3200, <D5100 etc.

The good thing about Canon is that they "bit the bullet"(this is appropo term since ARFCOM is basically a gun forum), and designed from the ground up a brand new lens mount with brand new lens designs. Of course the drawback is that Canon's legacy lenses won't work with the newer bodies. And so on the whole Canon lenses could be superior to Nikon lenses without the legacy mount constraints.
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True, but with the D7100 (or 7200) and newer 'prosumer' and up bodies, you can run AF-P lenses. They put out a firmware patch on it. Any new camera is made to run with them as well, and the AF is insanely fast with them. Stepper motors instead of an ultrasonic drive, which still beats the old AF-D screw drive.

BUT it is nice on the 7000 and up to be able to flip a switch and run the old screw drive lenses.
Link Posted: 6/12/2018 9:29:57 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By warlord:
I kinda still have an affinity for my old Nikon D5200, it as an articulated screen that will swing 180° for those of you who do selfies etc, but the trade-off is that this camera has mirrors in place of the solid-glass pentaprism in viewfinder, and is probably ~20% darker than the other Nikon D-cameras; but it also makes the D5200 lighter. Decisions, decisions.....
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Articulated screens are IMO not useful enough to make one or lack thereof a dealbreaker. Manufacturers use them as a hella marketing point, but in practice you’ll find you rarely use it.

I’ll second everything Zack said, heed his advice, spend the bit extra now, and in 9 months you won’t be upgrading from a D3xxx to a D7xxx to get the getter usability of the 7xxx series body design and be left with a dust-gathering 3xxx series body, but you’ll be upgrading to a D500 for the better ISO and focusing tech and will still have an awesome 7xxx body for a backup.

I use a D500 as my primary, but my D7100 still gets used and the 13 year old D200 still has a place
Link Posted: 6/12/2018 10:04:31 PM EDT
+1 on Fred’s post. I’ve only used the articulating screen a handful of times, otherwise it stays put. Useful in weird angles, but no need behind that.
Link Posted: 6/12/2018 10:24:14 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By NorthPolar:
+1 on Fred's post. I've only used the articulating screen a handful of times, otherwise it stays put. Useful in weird angles, but no need behind that.
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Best use I've found for the articulating screen?

Rotating it in towards the camera body to keep the light from bugging people on dark rides at Disney.
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 4:14:03 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
Best use I've found for the articulating screen?

Rotating it in towards the camera body to keep the light from bugging people on dark rides at Disney.
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Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
Originally Posted By NorthPolar:
+1 on Fred's post. I've only used the articulating screen a handful of times, otherwise it stays put. Useful in weird angles, but no need behind that.
Best use I've found for the articulating screen?

Rotating it in towards the camera body to keep the light from bugging people on dark rides at Disney.
It is also good for low-angle shots without laying down on or near the ground.
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 4:43:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 6:55:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 12:07:17 PM EDT
I received my 7200, oh man, this is going to be a learning curve. But I'm excited to use it!

I could see the articulating screen being a useful option for shooting different angles, but I don't feel it would have been a deal breaker for me.

A useful feature that I found the 7200 had, was being weather sealed (not that I would intentionally abuse it, but it's nice to know a little moisture won't kill my camera). I think that was worthy trade for the articulating screen. Again, that's my opinion, and clearly I'm novice lol.
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 12:17:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 12:32:49 PM EDT
The articulating screen is something I lived without JUST FINE for a long time. If you shoot in high-volume situations (over crowds, low angle for cars/sports) you develop a decent knack for framing a picture w/o being able to see it. It helps SOME in those, but not a ton.

That said - I like having it, but I find myself moving too quickly to use it most of the time. It is more useful on a tripod or doing macro work, in my experience.

-shooter
Link Posted: 6/13/2018 12:43:07 PM EDT
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