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Author Topic: Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500  (Read 11870 times)

lensfactory

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« on: November 25, 2008, 08:58:30 pm »

I use a 5d and L lenses and various P&S (g10,lx2 etc etc) and have a pretty good knowledge of the 'higher-end' gear, but I don't know much about which are the current, best entry level DSLR's.

A young student of mine wants to jump up from the P&S she uses but has a very small budget (no more than $500 CAD).
Does anyone know of a site where I can compare and evaluate which might be the best suited/deal for her? DPreview is just ...so so for this kind of comparison. I did a google search, but was overwhelmed by all the useless hits. I was thinking the Nikon d40 or Olympus e-420. Im not sure which has the best kit lens etc.

NO USED GEAR. I believe her parents will be buying it for her x-mas present and I think she would enjoy something new.

Any help would be great!
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marcmccalmont

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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 09:08:44 pm »

Quote from: lensfactory
I use a 5d and L lenses and various P&S (g10,lx2 etc etc) and have a pretty good knowledge of the 'higher-end' gear, but I don't know much about which are the current, best entry level DSLR's.

A young student of mine wants to jump up from the P&S she uses but has a very small budget (no more than $500 CAD).
Does anyone know of a site where I can compare and evaluate which might be the best suited/deal for her? DPreview is just ...so so for this kind of comparison. I did a google search, but was overwhelmed by all the useless hits. I was thinking the Nikon d40 or Olympus e-420. Im not sure which has the best kit lens etc.

NO USED GEAR. I believe her parents will be buying it for her x-mas present and I think she would enjoy something new.

Any help would be great!

http://www.steves-digicams.com/
both "Best Cameras" and "Compare and Buy" will be of help
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

Wolfman

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2008, 09:31:52 pm »

Quote from: lensfactory
I use a 5d and L lenses and various P&S (g10,lx2 etc etc) and have a pretty good knowledge of the 'higher-end' gear, but I don't know much about which are the current, best entry level DSLR's.

A young student of mine wants to jump up from the P&S she uses but has a very small budget (no more than $500 CAD).
Does anyone know of a site where I can compare and evaluate which might be the best suited/deal for her? DPreview is just ...so so for this kind of comparison. I did a google search, but was overwhelmed by all the useless hits. I was thinking the Nikon d40 or Olympus e-420. Im not sure which has the best kit lens etc.

NO USED GEAR. I believe her parents will be buying it for her x-mas present and I think she would enjoy something new.

Any help would be great!


Check out: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4575..._Rebel_XTi.html
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 09:33:07 pm by Wolfman »
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Tony Beach

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The View

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 09:45:16 pm »

Have him look at Canon Rebels.

Great sensors, great image quality.

Comes with excellent RAW converter at no additional cost, so he can put more money into camera and the lens.

The basic 18-55 lens in its second coming has received a very good review by photozone.de


If he's a student he can get Photoshop for a very small amount, and that's a good start.

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fike

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 09:48:10 pm »

In that price range, I am not sure it matters a whole lot.  Entry-level DSLRs have really bunched up together as far as image quality and performance.  Nikon and Canon are a smidge ahead of the rest, and the prices reflect that.  

Any current entry-level DSLR is substantially better than even the best digicam is right now. I am rather fond of the idea of the Olympus E420 because of its diminutive size.  The pentax and sony entry level cameras are good too.  

The improvement of the DSLR over the digicam she is probably accustomed to will be so substantial that the possible difference between the various entry-level DSLRs will be inconsequential.  They all seem to be in that $500-$600 range, so whatever the best deal that you can find is probably fine.

The only reason to steer her towards the canon or nikon (possibly sony) offerings is if she is likely to become a fanatical photo lunatic who will insist on eeking out every last iota of quality for their dollar and collecting ridiculous numbers of lenses....and at that point, she will be posting her request her on LL herself.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 09:49:51 pm by fike »
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marcmccalmont

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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2008, 01:36:11 am »

If the budget can get stretched a bit I would vote for the Canon XSi and a Sigma 18-125 OS

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5421...XSi_a_k_a_.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5492..._5_6_DC_OS.html

Marc
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Plekto

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 04:46:39 pm »

$500 *CANADIAN*(not sure people saw this part) is nearly impossible to find anything at all that is a DSLR.  Not new.

I'd recommend a gift certificate instead so that she can add some of her own money and get a good camera like the Rebel.
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Tony Beach

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2008, 05:05:08 pm »

Quote from: Plekto
$500 *CANADIAN*(not sure people saw this part) is nearly impossible to find anything at all that is a DSLR.  Not new.

I'd recommend a gift certificate instead so that she can add some of her own money and get a good camera like the Rebel.

http://www.henrys.com/webapp/wcs/stores/se...p;itemID=250002

Given the steep rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, they might want to hurry up and buy it now before the price rises.
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PSA DC-9-30

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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 11:42:41 pm »

Quote from: Plekto
$500 *CANADIAN*

How much is that in real money?   (The Canadian dollar is at its lowest level in years, BTW!)

Seriously, I live in Canada too AND I have a Ph.D as well, so it goes without saying that financially I'm doubly fcuked (especially since I have to pay U.S. debt in U.S. dollars every month). But enough of my problems. You may well be able to pick up an Olympus E-510 with the kit lens (14-42mm) for around $500. You'll never be one of the cool kids on this forum with Olympus gear of any kind, but I've been quite happy with mine over the last five months--superb colors, great handling and feel, good quality lens for the price, good resolution, and a range of superb lenses to choose from (Go anywhere and read reviews of the 50mm Macro, 12-60, and 50-200).
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 11:43:08 pm by PSA DC-9-30 »
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DarkPenguin

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 11:54:57 pm »

Quote from: PSA DC-9-30
How much is that in real money?   (The Canadian dollar is at its lowest level in years, BTW!)

Seriously, I live in Canada too AND I have a Ph.D as well, so it goes without saying that financially I'm doubly fcuked (especially since I have to pay U.S. debt in U.S. dollars every month). But enough of my problems. You may well be able to pick up an Olympus E-510 with the kit lens (14-42mm) for around $500. You'll never be one of the cool kids on this forum with Olympus gear of any kind, but I've been quite happy with mine over the last five months--superb colors, great handling and feel, good quality lens for the price, good resolution, and a range of superb lenses to choose from (Go anywhere and read reviews of the 50mm Macro, 12-60, and 50-200).

They'll only be able to afford the E-510 or E-420 with kit lens.  The 12-60 and 50-200 are both well over the top of their budget without a camera attached.

The E-410 could be had with a two lens kit for cheap.  If they can find one of those it might be the way to go.

A Canon Xti or Nikon D40 would also work nicely.
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PSA DC-9-30

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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2008, 12:05:28 am »

Quote from: DarkPenguin
They'll only be able to afford the E-510 or E-420 with kit lens.  The 12-60 and 50-200 are both well over the top of their budget without a camera attached.

Yes, I know. Sorry if that was unclear. I think the E-510 w/ kit lens still may be going a bit above $500 (just checked Future Shop, London Drugs, etc.) in many places, but if you dig a bit you may be able to find a deal on one, given that it is discontinued. The 410 would do, but is limited by lack of image stabilization.
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mahleu

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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2008, 05:39:45 am »

Have a good look at the Sony Alphas. The A200 which you can get bundled with an 18-70 or and 18-70 and 70-300 has in body
IS and feels better built (and bigger) than the canon or nikon equivilants. She can also pick up the old minolta lenses very cheaply.

Otherwise there are still a few canon new 350Ds floating about. Talk to your shop and they can probably source one through Canon.

This is a good list of questions to think about before you recommend anything http://forum.deviantart.com/galleries/photography/766268/

The nikon's are a bit crippled by the lack of an Af motor if you want to use a lot of the lenses.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 05:45:07 am by mahleu »
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situgrrl

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Best Starter DSLR w/lens for approx $500
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2008, 12:02:08 pm »

A few things:

The most important thing is "which does she like best?"  For me, it's the one that's easiest to use and easiest to carry.
Weight/size.  Mike Johnson has had a couple of posts on this recently and it's not to be underestimated.  I'm on the big/strong side of female at 6' and found my EOS 1, E1 and 30D a complete PITA to lug around.  I sometimes borrow a friend's 350D but with the kit zoom (which is crap) it can be bulky.  She's a lot smaller than me and now rarely uses it, preferring her Fuji F20.
With this in mind, what will it be used for?  Certainly there is a cache to using a DSLR esp as a teenager - but only if she is using it rather than leaving it at home because it's a PITA to lug about.  If she doesn't need the fast shutter response of an SLR because she's concentrating on landscape or architecture, would she be better with a G10 or something?
The Olympus has a 25mm (50mm) pancake lens.  This makes it nice and small and might make your job as her instructor easier?  I'm terribly curmudgeonly for someone of 26 but I think that primes are by far the best thing to learn with.  I also cannot make 50mm work for me consistently (except on APS-C when it becomes a great portrait lens).

Finally - carrying it.  No teenage girl is going to be seen dead with a camera bag day to day - and I'm not either.  Given that her folks are going to indoctrinate her as to how delicate and precious the camera is, she's not going to use it if she's expected to carry it around in one of those hideous square store freebies.  Besides, there is no space for make-up, purse etc in them.  The solution is either http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/prod.asp?i=1...ndard+SLR+Cover or http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/prod.asp?i=1...=Novoflex+Wrap+ thrown in a large handbag.

The View

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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2008, 12:34:17 am »

Quote from: Plekto
$500 *CANADIAN*(not sure people saw this part) is nearly impossible to find anything at all that is a DSLR.  Not new.

I'd recommend a gift certificate instead so that she can add some of her own money and get a good camera like the Rebel.


Canadian Dollars? Is that something like the Italian Lira, now defunct?


Seriously, if the OP can't buy a Rebel, then he/she should look for a different kind of present, or give money in combination with a photo book, so it's not so devoid of a personal touch.

I never liked the gift certificate thing, as it is like money, only you can only spend it in one place.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 12:34:43 am by The View »
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Jonathan Ratzlaff

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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2008, 01:51:46 pm »

London drugs has several cameras with lenses under C$500.   I think the sale ends tomorrow
Nikon D-40 Digital SLR with 18-55mm Zoom Lens  $469.98
Sony Alpha DSLRA200K DSLR with DT 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens  $499.99
Under 600, the canon rebel, d60 and the pentax Km.  
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Ken Bennett

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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2008, 08:56:09 pm »

I was in the local Office Depot this afternoon, and saw a Canon Rebel XTi kit (with the 18-55 standard zoom) on the Clearance rack for $400, with an additional 10% off today only. It was the last kit, in an open box, and it was missing the battery (though everything else was in good shape; not a demo.) So the manager knocked an additional $50 off, making the grand total $310. For that price, I couldn't pass it up (currently $500 at Amazon.)

So keep an eye out at stores that carry consumer cameras, but aren't "camera stores." The clearance rack might provide a nice surprise.

My college-age daughter will get this one for Christmas.
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Er1kksen

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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2008, 12:00:28 pm »

The E-410 2-lens kit is around $500 at this point. It lacks IS, but the total package is incredibly compact and the 2 kit lenses supplied are near the top of the kit-zoom heap. I recommended it to my friend who was on the same budget and he couldn't be happier with the camera.
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Prismpic

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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2008, 11:08:03 pm »

Don't forget E-bay is great source too.  I purchased my first equipmentthere from a store named Cameta. It's recognized & reputable. Good deals. Personally my experience was good.  Bought a new d50, which came with lens, card & bag for aprox $500.  Good luck!
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Greg D

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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2008, 12:40:38 pm »

Quote from: lensfactory
I use a 5d and L lenses and various P&S (g10,lx2 etc etc) and have a pretty good knowledge of the 'higher-end' gear, but I don't know much about which are the current, best entry level DSLR's.

A young student of mine wants to jump up from the P&S she uses but has a very small budget (no more than $500 CAD).
Does anyone know of a site where I can compare and evaluate which might be the best suited/deal for her? DPreview is just ...so so for this kind of comparison. I did a google search, but was overwhelmed by all the useless hits. I was thinking the Nikon d40 or Olympus e-420. Im not sure which has the best kit lens etc.

NO USED GEAR. I believe her parents will be buying it for her x-mas present and I think she would enjoy something new.

Any help would be great!
I'd second the Canon Rebel XT / 350D suggestion.  There are still new ones of those available, often for $300 (US).  Adorama often has cameras in their used gear section that are actually new (demos, etc).  Would "refurbished" count as new?  That opens up lots of possibilities....
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