I think the DSLR market is in quite an interesting situation at the moment. Prices seem to be coming down, especially on the "other" brands which are aiming to compete with the Canon/Nikon juggernaut.
I'm wondering what buying advice you could give to a prospective DSLR buyer, who has no prior investment in any particular brand (lenses, accessories etc.)
Put another way, brand prejudices aside, which would you get?
- Canon 350D: 8 megapixel sensor, very popular at entry level
- Nikon D70s: lots of "almost pro" features
- Nikon D50: cheap and cheerful
- Pentax *ist DS/DL/D?: super large LCD
- Minolta 5D: image stabilisation in body
- Olympus E-300: 4/3 system
- Any others
(Budget is a factor, price range would be towards the low end)
Amazingly enough, in Oz, I've seen the Olympus E-300 + lens at under a grand, while the 350D and D70s retail upwards of 1500. Another noteworthy observation is the Minolta 5D, which is essentially a semi-pro type DSLR, can be got at around the same price point as say a Canon 350D.
I'd say Canon, so you can GAS and L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L, *brand prejudice*
but out of those on the list,
I've only held a 350D (kombi's) and played a bit with the D70 (how similar is it to the D70s?); I think the D70 felt nicer to hold, both take pictures.
Hard hard decision, give me more time to decide (hard once I remove brand prejudice)
Of the ones on the list, I would get the D70.
But my choice would be the 20D. You can find them used for very reasonable prices, and even new they are a bargain. It's simply the best DSLR for the money right now.
Another thing to consider: if you like having a battery grip, get a Canon. Nikon doesn't make them for their entry level cameras. And the aftermarket models available require a wire running from the grip to the camera.
Oct 3, 2005, 20:57
(This post was last modified: Oct 3, 2005, 20:58 by Catlyn.)
I guess it depends on what features really interest you.
The 350D has good low light ability.
The D70s has good flash sync speed.
The Minolta 5D has IS.
The Pentax is light and small.
The Olympus opens up the world of 4/3 (small sensor though).
All will do the job - work out which lenses you need and could need in the future and price them up. See which camera will give you the best value long term.
Toad also has a good point on how it feels to use - very important.
Personally - I think a second hand 20D is really the best camera for cost around.
Two of the guys I work with doing sports shoot with Nikon and both of them are considering switching to Canon purely for the telezoom/tele prime lenses. They both feel that on the wide end Nikon is ahead but for this side of things Canon is the way to go.
Now on the other hand I'm rather keen on the Nikon 200 f2 VR as I can't see anything similar except for the white elephant Canon 200 1.8 (without IS) which is a pretty rare and expensive lens.
I guess we should agree to disagree on this point.
Off topic: I see you are selling your 20D. What is next in your future - the 5D?
Great Rik - I also wanted to get my 24-70 back to being a wide angle again. it is such a pleasure to use now - where as before I was constantly swapping lenses.
In terms of features - it really depends on what style you shoot. Good glass is important and good features are also helpful.
If on a budget and you can not afford both I would suggest (as Shuttertalk did) that a good featured body with a reputable third party lens would give you a good start. Some of the Sigma EX lenses are excellent - I personally own a 70-200 2.8 EX Sigma because I wanted the better featured 20D. I think this is a good compromise.
However - I think the most important lens you buy is the one you will shoot with the most. For most of us this is a 24/28-70/80 zoom. This should be the best lens you can afford.
Most people would give advice based on their experience with a camera. Very few people would have actual experience with all those makes. If I were to give my plug it would be for Canon or Nikon. With preference towards Canon of course. It seems that Nikon may have the sharpest out of camera shot but Canon would have them beat in overall image quality. Canon workflow is much different. Canon seems to lead the pack in inovation. And Canon lenses L or non L seem to hold thier value amazingly well. On ebay some of these used lenses are selling for 98% of brand new. I don't know who buys them.If I had to pay even 90% of brand new cost, I'd just buy brand new.
I own three cameras, and agonized over the decision for each. I read review after review, and looked at dozens of samples to compare image quality. This is what I've learned:
There is such a thing as a perfect camera, one that takes THE BEST images at any given market niche / price point. Here's what you need to look for:
1) Charged batteries.
2) Room on the memory card.
3) It's in your hand.
The camera that satisfies those three criteria will take better photos than any that don't. Cameras that don't satisfy those criteria have image quality that's so bad that they're not even worth thinking about.
I call this the "One Metre Rule". Any camera closer that one meter automatically outperforms any camera that's farther away.
When it comes to deciding which camera to keep in your hand, I would suggest that you put image quality at the BOTTOM of your list. (There's always better image quality to be had -- think a 22mp MF camera is good? Try a scanning back on a large-format view camera.) What comes first on the list is up to you and your personal needs. I wanted reliability, useability, pro-level features, and affordability when I went shopping for mine. Other people may want high framing rates, vertical shutter release, a particular camera size, a particular shade of black for the body ... who knows? There are very few BAD cameras on the market right now. After that, it's all up to the pointing mechanism.
I don't generally get into the my-camera-can-beat-up-your-camera discussions. I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade my camera for any camera on the market, regardless of price. (If someone offered a temporary swap for a Nikon D2X, I'd consider it.) That means I bought the right one, and I honestly hope that everyone can say that about whatever cameras they've chosen. If, like my own mother, you've bought the Olympus E-300 based on my recommendation, I especially hope that you like it.