Post # 1
so, Fiance and i are looking to invest in a DLSR camera. i’ve only used one a couple times, he took photography in school so he’s way more comfortable with them than i am. i’m a point & shoot kind of girl, cause that’s all i’ve ever had access to, aside from when i was able to play with a friend’s “fun camera”.
we’re looking at a nikon (he wants a nikon, i want a canon, but i don’t want to have two DSLRs, so we’re going nikon. plus, he’s paying for part of it). i want something that’s “entry level”. i don’t want anything crazy fancy, i want something that i can teach myself on, and that will take nice photos. we don’t have kids, but we plan to have them within the next few years. i like to take lots of family photos and photos of the two of us, as well as photos when we travel. i have a point & shoot camera (which is currently amongst the missing.. it went missing when we moved over the summer), but it really doesn’t have many bells and whistles, and doesn’t take great photos anymore. it’s old, and worn out.
i come to the photography experts- what’s the “entry level” nikon DSLR? is it the D3100? i don’t have a ton of money to spend, i’d like to spend between $500 and $600. also, is the kit lens an okay lens?
Post # 3
Based on what you describe, it sounds like an entry level DSLR will be perfect for you. I shoot Nikon, and the Nikon entry level DSLRs are quite nice compared to a point and shoot. You definitely won’t find it difficult to use – you can shoot it on automatic, and at that point it basically is a point and shoot that has higher resolution. You can also learn how to use it more like a pro camera if you want to.
I never used a kit lens, so I can’t really speak about it except to say that it all depends on what you want. There are a number of DX lenses specifically designed to work with Nikon’s entry level DSLR’s, so if you decide you want to upgrade in the future you definitely can. For what you describe, I’d start with the D3100 and kit lens… and then if you find yourselves getting more into photography and want to do more with the camera (this means no longer shooting on the automatic settings!) you can get some other lenses to expand your abilities. I can definitely recommend some that I liked.
A word of caution (I’d feel terrible if I didn’t say this because you never know who might read it) – it’s not a professional camera. Please don’t go out and shoot someone’s wedding with it!!! It is a great camera for hobbiests and people that want to move up to something a lot better than they’re used to. But it is not pro gear and if you ever want to go pro you will need something – a good amount of things actually – that make entry level look like a joke.
(It doesn’t sound like you’re planning to go pro and the entry level DSLR’s are great, great cameras for what they are and I loved mine very much! You just can’t try to be a professional with one… that’s all!)
Post # 4
My first door was a Nikon d3000. I loved it 🙂
Post # 5
Mine is a D7000. It’s not entry level, but it’s not quite professional either. Love it. Here’s my favorite photo I took with it. But before you get one, I recommend you understand shutter speeds, and aperature and staying OFF the auto and more on the manual.
Post # 6
Kit lenses are fine just for fun, but you wouldn’t use them for any serious work.
Also to echo a PP, us eit for fun, don’t buy the camera and start up shop 🙂
Post # 7
thank you ladies (: i just plan to use it for personal things. i’m a scrapbooker, so i like to take photos for that. nothing super formal or anything.
i’m gonna go check out a D3100 today. i found a camera store around where i am living, so Fiance and i are gonna go over there and check out what they have.
Post # 8
Kit lenses always suck. It’s basically throwing money away. Buy the body of the camera by itself, and then invest in a 50mm lens (those are the biggest bang for the buck). Get one that has a wide aperture, like 1.4 or 1.2. I’m a Canon user, not Nikon, so I can’t speak to the cost, but I think if you want a DSLR you should be willing to spend, at minimum, $800+ for even the most basic entry level model plus one lens. You can add on with a zoom lens later after you’ve learned a bit.
You also will want to buy software that can handle the RAW format. This means either Lightroom or Aperture. Both are in the $100-150 range. There’s not a whole lot of point to getting a DSLR and then not shooting in RAW format, so make sure you budget that in.
Don’t foget about memory cards, extra batteries, a good strap, etc.
Post # 9
@crayfish: These are great tips for someone who wants to become a serious hobbiest. There’s nothing more terrible than dropping a bunch of money on expensive equipment and all accessories only to find out you really have no interest in the hobby after all. That goes for any hobby. It’s much better to start with the very basics and then add on if you discover that really like it and want to pursue it.
For instance, you definitely don’t need a spare battery or a new strap for the camera the day you buy it lol. You will need a memory card though. SD cards are pretty cheap.
And even more importantly, a beginner that doesn’t even know what an ISO setting is does not need to shoot in RAW and edit their photos in Lightroom!! OP, and everyone else, shooting in JPEG format is just fine and you certainly don’t need to do it to see a big improvement over your old point and shoot with a DSLR. I’m a pro photog and I don’t always shoot in RAW with my Nikon D3s and lemme tell you, I still produce jaw-dropping images.
Let me mention again, as long as you are not going to be one of those people who owns the camera for three weeks and then decides they’re now a pro, an entry level DSLR and kit lens will be just fine you. They’re so cheap now why not buy it instead of a point and shoot even if all you’re going to do is shoot on automatic? Just don’t claim to be a photography expert or take money from people to produce unprofessional results.
Post # 10
Remember, the operator matters much more than the equipment. Great photos have been taken with a box with a hole in it. Have fun and experiment lots!
Post # 11
You can actually buy this video download to teach you about that camera. A very good series of online courses.
Dont worry about getting all fancy. Buy the kit lens that comes with it to start. Something that zooms from wide to telephoto. It will not be the best lens but it will do just fine for pics of the kids, trips, dogs etc:)
shoot it on auto on jpg to start and either read up online or sign up for a beginners photography course. Just have fun with it!
Post # 12
Ps. You’ll most likely get software with the camera that will be good enough to edit your photos with. Not 100% sure, I’ve never bought a consumer level dslr but I bet there will be!:)
Post # 13
thank you for all the responses. we didn’t end up going to the camera store, the weather has been crap today and i didn’t want to make the half hour drive when the roads weren’t great. i’m hoping to go over on tuesday, though.
@crayfish: i’m pretty sure that the kit lens, as “crap” as it is, will suit my needs. if i want a fancier lens later, i will purchase one when money permits (or rent one if i need a specialty lens). i plan to use the camera purely for hobby, and i don’t see the need to spend money on excessively expensive lenses when the camera itself comes with a perfectly acceptable lens. also, i have the entire adobe cs5 suite. i’m pretty sure i’ve got the ability to edit photos correctly, seeing as i’ve been using it for years with my prior camera, and with the RAW files from our engagement shoot. i’ve used lightroom for my photo class a few semesters ago and didn’t like it. so i won’t be purchasing additional software. i think it’s excessive, especially since photoshop will open RAW files. sorry to sound snippy, but your tone seems attack-like.
@seAprilbride: we have quite a collection of SD cards already. i had to buy three of them for a photo class, and my fiance has two from an older camera. but i’ll be sure to buy one for this camera if the ones we have already don’t fit. and you’re right, i don’t plan on going pro. i’m buying the camera to have the ability to take good photos for myself and my family. not to shoot weddings or anything. i’m not a photographer by any means, i’ll leave the professionals to be great at what they do. (and thank you for standing up for me as well)
@SoupyCat: exactly! you can have $10,000 in equipment and take horrible photos. i actually go to an art school, so i’ve seen pinhole cameras. and the photos that come from them can be pretty amazing.
@Lashmont: i’ll check that video series out (: thank you for the link. i plan to start on auto, and then once i’m comfortable with the camera, i’ll teach myself (or take a class) on shooting manual.