Help! I am stuck.
G'day all,.

I am looking a for a SLR to buy as a beginner and have a few questions that hopefully someone can answer for me..

Firstly, I will be using the camera to initailly take good photos of my kids playing sport etc. with view to progressing into taking other good all round shots down the track. I am in the price range of approx. $1000 - $1200 and have been actively doing a bit of research around these forums. I am currently leaning towards the Sony Alpha A100 as I have read that it seems to be a good all round camera for myself. It seems I with this camera I can play around with it etc.

Aswell set it up for the missus to use it to point and shoot if required. The reviews say it is quite good and it has this non shake image stabilser thing which I thought would be great for beginners and means I can get by on just the 18-70mm lens to start and still take great photos. Is this non shake thing worth it? Or is just a marketing ploy to attract new SLR buyers like myself? I have also been looking at the Nikon D80 although a little out of my price range. It does not have the anti-shake thing but I have read it is a very nice camera and it gets great reviews. Some have also reckoned the Canon EOS 400D (XTi) or the Pentax K10D and I even had a salesman who refused to sell me the Sony and told me I should buy the Pentax K10D (didn't sound right).

In general, I guess what I am trying to say is would a SLR beginner notice the difference between say a photo from a Sony Alpha A100 or a Nikon D80 or a Canon EOS 400D (Xti) which all the similiar settings lenses etc.? Would they notice the difference in sharpness, brightness, soft edges etc.? I am looking for a good camera and do not mind paying a little extra to get one with better quality finish but would I really notice the difference? Would I be better buying a camera with more user friendly attributes like a better viewfinder, maybe a live view LCD like the compact ones and say one that is more robust, and has seals etc. rather than trying to look for the one with the ultimate crisp photo and quality etc. in which I would not notice anyway as I have not yet got an eye for photos. However on the otherhand I am fairly ambitious so I want to learm and soon be able to take and recognise a good photo from a bad one from making minor setting adjustments and or lens changes etc.Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Comments (14)

Hey there Slammer.

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome to the world of choices! .

I was like you just a few months ago, beginning of the year actually, except I jumped straight in and just bought, without knowing anything about cameras, except for the fact that I really like taking photos, and I had the opportunity of buying a decent DSLR Duty-Free..

I got a Canon 400D (the XTi model actually as I bought it in the Caribbean, I'm South African), and when you're faced with being able to buy a camera literally half-price, you take it! I didn't know anything about other models, or makes, at the time, and had only ever used Canon Point-and-Clicks, hence the sway to Canon..

*This report might be a bit biased towards Canon, but I think you might find my comments helpful. Please note to anyone else, these are my comments and opinions, and we all differ, but here goes.*.

I had heard of the 400D at the time, as it had just been launched, and fell for the advertising ploy, and got it. To this date and some 5500 pics later, I don't regret it one bit! .

I have recently just been on a Canon hosted camera course, and all I can say that is that I am really pleased I bought a Canon. I have noticed a few things that seem to ring true, and this might only be my perception, and circumstances, but most Pro's tend to use and prefer Canon. The guy who taught us at the course, is a well known Wildlife Photographer, Manus van Dyk, and he swears by Canon..

What has become very important for me now, is that there is a definite progression within Canon to moving to Pro. They are very well established, have loads of really good lenses and have an excellent name in the industry. They have been leading the industry in terms of technology on the digital side for a long time now, and only now are the rest of the competition catching up. Me, I don't mind paying a bit more for Canon Products, even though I got mine cheap, but who wouldn't had they chance..

But, that being said, the one thing about photography, particularly at your level and mine, is that we wouldn't notice the difference between 2 cameras or lenses unless it was really pointed out to us. Any DSLR at an amateur level is gonna be good, and give good photos if composed nicely and thought out. I would probably be just as happy had I bought a Sony or a Nikon, but knowing what I do now about Canon, I will stick to it..

I guess the most important thing is to get a camera that will allow you to grow and become better and make you think about your pictures. .

Good Luck, I hope it helped, if not then I hope it entertained you..

Happy Snapping!.

Richard Westby-Nunn.

Trigger Happy! ..

Comment #1

Cheers for the reply mate...

I definately hear what you are saying and I am tending to lean towards a better known brand. The Sony I feel maybe limited in far as lenses etc. so cost would be a factor when upgrading etc. if I ever chose to down the track..

I happen to be also looking to buy one very soon duty free so I have been also frantically running around getting opinions. I just keep finding one reason or another to buy or not to buy a particular camera. I am little concerned I am looking too high in price etc. for a camera like the Nikon D80 where I should be maybe looking at say an older model such as a Canon EOS 30D and buy a better lense as as a beginner I am not going to notice the difference between them..


Comment #2

Hey there..

Sounds like you;re asking yourself all the right questions and not getting too side tracked by the Nikon v Canon debate..

You've hit one of the nails on the head in your last post - future lens choice. If you want to develop as a photographer, you're actually choosing a lens system as well as a camera when you buy your first body (yes, some people do switch systems and sell all their lenses when they swap, but who needs the hassle?).

And in your last post you also hit on one of the possible weaknesses of the Sony system - compared to other camera brands it currently has a smaller lens line up than say Canon or Nikon..

You also might want to think about other accessories you might want to invest in once your hobby take soff - flash systems etc. Also, consider what you might want to do in three or four years (or longer if your budget is like mine!) - if you get really keen and want to upgrade to a more advanced DSLR, what is your upgrade path with the different makes...again with Sony I'd argue that currently there isn't anywhere to go, while with Nikon or Canon you've got the semi-pro and pro options above the level you're coming in at..

Most important thing is to actually get into a store and handle the cameras - and try to take some shots with them if you can. It's important to use them long enough to get a feel for where the controls are and how they feel in your hands. I bought my D70 way back when the alternative was the Canon 300. On paper any performance differences were minimial (and like you, I was unlikely to notice image quality differences). The 300 was cheaper and I went into the shop intending to become a Canon user. Once I'd held and used both, I realised the size of my hands and the way I use a camera meant it had to be the felt right while the Canon felt wrong for me..

It's easy to say that very few photographers will reach the limits of any of the current range of DSLRs - but that doesn't mean you should try to get the best fit for you and get the most for your money..

Cheers - BT..

Comment #3

I echo the comments you have so far. You are buying a system. Make sure there is room to expand into areas that might interest you in the future. It might be macro photography - photographing bugs or whatever or theatre photography which requires high speed lenses and a good low noise DSLR etc etc..

You really have to go into a store and get hands on..

System strengths:.

Canon - marginally the best high ISO output but Nikon have effectively caught up and may now overtake Canon..

Nikon - a much better flash system, camera ergonomics are better, a larger range.Pentax - Try to emulate film (But the K10D is not a beginner's camera).

Sony - I have insuffient knowledge to comment..

Olympus - thoretically cameras are smaller (but so is the viewfinder). Make excellent lenses..

If you can afford them look at the Nikon D80 and Canon D30 (superceeded but going at a good price if you can find one). Both have proper pentaprism viewfinders (as does the K10D) which are much better than lesser models..

I am a Nikon owner and before that Olympus DSLRs. If you get the D80 with the 18-135 lens you have a very capable camera. Add an SB-600 flash (about 150 sterling & circa $250 US) and you will have a magnificent set up that will do most things..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #4

Hi all,.

Can I take pictures with my canon eos 400d without the CF card in the camera? It allowed me to earlier but I am unable to view the pictures I took. Does the camaera have an internal memory?.

Any help appreciated,Thanks,Teresa..

Comment #5


Hi all,.

Can I take pictures with my canon eos 400d without the CF card in thecamera? It allowed me to earlier but I am unable to view thepictures I took. Does the camaera have an internal memory?.

No, the camera does not have internal memory. It will allow you to take a picture but without a card it will not record the is just like firing a film camera with no film.JohnPentax *ist-D, K100D, Fuji F20/31fd, Oly Stylus

Comment #6

John Glover wrote:.


Hi all,.

Can I take pictures with my canon eos 400d without the CF card in thecamera? It allowed me to earlier but I am unable to view thepictures I took. Does the camaera have an internal memory?.

No, the camera does not have internal memory. It will allow you totake a picture but without a card it will not record the image...itis just like firing a film camera with no film..

It really lets you do that? That's pretty weird. Don't some lights flash and buzzers sound?.

Leonard Migliore..

Comment #7

Leonard Migliore wrote:.

John Glover wrote:.

No, the camera does not have internal memory. It will allow you totake a picture but without a card it will not record the image...itis just like firing a film camera with no film..

It really lets you do that? That's pretty weird. Don't some lightsflash and buzzers sound?.

My K100D fires away merrily without a card...but it does display a warning on the LCD that there is no card in the camera after the shutter fires. I'm assuming the Canon will behave similarly......but it should also give some sort of warning about no memory card in place..

JohnPentax *ist-D, K100D, Fuji F20/31fd, Oly Stylus

Comment #8

Erm... Isn't all this a little off topic? And how come it got posted in this thread? How are people supposed to know what is being discussed. Mind you that applies to half the threads in this forum that are on topic!!!.

No big deal!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #9

Chris Elliott wrote:.

Erm... Isn't all this a little off topic?.

It is Teresa's first post to these forums. I'm guessing she didn't realise it would be more appropriate to start a new thread, instead of muscling in on this one... [??].

Am I right, Teresa?Regards,Baz..

Comment #10

Yes, everything works normally, but I realised after I took the shots that I hadn't replaced the CF card. Doh, they were great photos too! ..

Comment #11

Yes it does give a warning, however as it was displaying the pictures I was taking I believed it was storing the shots in some sort of internal memory. My last camera did this.....

Comment #12

Yes, sorry Baz, I could locate where to start a new topic so you're right I hijacked this one.... sorry!..

Comment #13

By the way, I've worked out how to start a new thread. Thanks guys for your patience... I guess us newbies have to start somewhere... ..

Comment #14

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