DSLR selection time: which brand, which model
The chief purser has approved purchase of a DSLR for me. So which one?.


What I do- really amateur astronomy with handheld binoc, backpacking of 3-10days, birdwatcher, camping near trucks, canoeing, dayhiking, town and country tourist by day and night, child free (soon) but I shoot my friends and family..


Hhmmm she didn't cap me but figure 1,000USD had best get me body and do all zoom. Say 18-135, gotta cut back on carrying too many lenses. Might as well start right off..


I have had Konica Rangefinder, Canon AE-1, A-1, and Nikon N8008, Canon 35mm Sureshot, a few Sony Mavica. Currently using a Canon A520. I have some Nikon miscellany items so some leaning that way. I used the 8008 for some portraits and product work, but enough to quit my day job.


Consideration but not a deal breaker is an all auto mode for my lovely wife, she doesn't care about what it can do as long as it takes a picture when she pushes the button. Sunny16 if just a catch phrase to her..

Any thing I have left out..

Thank you for reading my essay...

Comments (10)

I think ergonomics is important. No replacement for handling the different cameras (no tether) to see which ones feel good to you. If a camera doesn't fit your hand or eye well then it won't be much fun to shoot with. I will say that weight is something you can get used to over time. Get at least one lens with IS/VR (if it's not in the body) and maybe a 50f1.8 prime as well...

Comment #1

You couldn't do better than Nikon D40, but there are plenty of alternatives. For backpacking the Olympus Exxx would be worth a look because they are small and light but keep an eye on battery life - these, like a lot of the smaller dSLRs, keep size and weight down with small batteries, the live view really chews up the power, and it is a pain and expensive to have to carry several spares. I backpack with the D80, which is bigger and heavier than the D40 but has a big battery - 2700 shots/charge by industry standard method. A bit over US$1000 though...

Comment #2

The Canon XTi has a poor grip in my hands. I love the feel of the Nikon D80. No Pentax to check yet. How has your D80 held up outdoors?..

Comment #3

Pentax K100d with 2 lenses:DA 16-45 f/4, DA 50-200 f/4-5.6.

Pretty lightweight, compact but well-built, less than $1000 total, plus some rebated, shake reduction, great ergonomics, and once you're able to sneak in another lens, you can buy something fast & light like one of their pancake primes or a Limited lens for spectacular & inexpensive (compared to Cano & Nikon) landscape or portrait photography...

Comment #4

Pentax K100D is not bad but the real winner is the K10D which is water and dust resistant. It's kit lens outperforms the Nikon and Cannon offerings and is the best bang for the buck and it's in your price range...

Comment #5

Do you have Nikon lenses from your 808 days? If so the D80 is a natural. If you are starting fresh you need to try all within your price and choose which one feels best. Of course Olympus fans will tell you Olympus, Pentax fans Pentax, etc. Any DSLR out there is a good camera that will take great pictures in the right hands. Which one fits yours best? I'm getting a Sony A700 myselfbut that's me...

Comment #6

I'm not home but believe I have a SB-23, SB-24, lens wise 28-200mm, PK-13 Extension tube, 1.4x teleconverter the model # doesn't come to mind right now..

I was wondering about how weather resistant the D80 is? Will a sprinkle of rain kill these DSLRs while I put under my coat? How do they take constantly being carried?.

Thanks to all for your thoughts...

Comment #7

I think some D80 users need to answer this. It has no special weather/dust sealing as found on Pentax 10, Nikon D200/300, or Sony D700. Ordinary use should be no more problem than most cameras if you take reasonable precautions to keep it dry. Obviously when it rains you need to get it under cover and don't drop it in a river or anything...

Comment #8

Let me put it this way. Knowing that.

(1) this is a $900 piece of electronic equipment (not counting the lens),.

(2) water tends to be bad for electronic equipment,.

(3) Nikon doesn't make any special weather-proofing claims for it,.

I'm not inclined to go out and expose it to any more rain than necessary, just to see what happens...

Comment #9

The Olympus evolt 510 is a very nice compact camera with a heckuva two lens kitand image stabalization in the body with live view to boot.Beautiful pics right out of the camera..

My son is 10 and took some great shot using he auto mode so it should make your wife happy..

Check around and the whole deal can be sent to you for around $850.00.

I considered it the best bang for the buck...

Comment #10

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