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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:02 am 
I am looking at getting a entry level SLR for our family and been doing some research. Got it down to either the Canon 550D or two newer models yet to come out which are the Nikon D3100 or Sony A55. I am in no rush to get this, (but want it early Nov) as going away and be nice to take it with us on holiday so will wait for these other models to come out. I have been youtubing, reading reviews on dpreviews.com and of course this website etc.

Budget no more than $2000 so I think all these should fit into this, like to be able to use video which all can, also would like to be able to zoom in on say kids playing cricket (which is 50-60m away) and take a nice photo of them. So tripod needed obviously too.

What would you recommend? Or is their another model I should be looking at?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:45 pm 
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If your budget is 2000 dollars, you can get a very nice camera. Don't be tempted to splurge everything on the latest and greatest body, invest in glass. :)

I'm a Nikon guy, so I'll take care of the Nikon side of things:

Nikon D3100 - looks like a great body so far
Your budget allows you to get a small step-up as far as the walkaround lens goes, so I'd skip the often bundled 18-55 VR, and go for something like the 18-105 VR, which gives you a bit more range.
Also, I'd get a nice lens for low light situations. Nikon's 35mm F/1.8 is a quite popular lens, and it works very well (I have one and like it).

I doubt Nikon will announce anything groundbreaking in the mean time, so you might as well buy now, and familiarize yourself with the camera and lenses. :)

However, you also mentioned your kids play cricket, which would mean you need quite a tele zoom. Normally, for budget DSLR users I'd recommend a cheap sigma 70-300mm lens, but optically it's....not the best in it's league. With your budget, you should be able to stretch to a 55-200 VR, 55-300 VR, or a 70-300 VR.

I assume cricket is played outside, and often in good conditions, so the stabilisation will not be too much of a benefit, but all of the lenses I mentioned should be sharper than the Sigma. Right now, I'd say the 55-300 is the best option.

Despite what you might think, a tripod is not really neccesary anymore, especially for outdoor sports. Current technology allows you to gather more light, and allows you to shoot at higher shutter speeds to freeze your subjects. It also has the added benefit that camera shake is mostly eliminated at high speeds. I wouldn't recommend a cheap tripod for sports anyway, unless you love pieces of equipment that don't do what you want.

A monopod, however, could be something to consider. Not really for the stabilisation, but for the weight. Not knowing your physique, standing alongside a game with camera and lens can be somewhat fatigueing for your arms. It also gives you more freedom than a tripod.

I myself use a monopod sometimes for sports for that exact reason (but I have what some people call a monster lens) :p

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:50 pm 
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I'd consider the A580 over the A55 :). The latter is a hell of a sports camera (the A580 is a superb one too obviously), but EVFs are still in their early days and by no means perfect. The battery life isn't that good either (it uses the NEX-cameras' battery which is a little one). And unless you have got small hands, an A580 will suit most people's hands far better - they also have the ability to mount a vertical grip. Especially when using a larger and/or heavier this is important as you want to keep the combination balanced.

I don't know anything about cricket apart from the fact it's a sport, but I presume it's done during the day and not at night ? All these cameras are very capable in terms of high ISO performance. I'm not saying, dump the tripod, but all three of them have some sort of stabilization (in-body or in-lens).

I don't know exactly about the Canon or Nikon cameras' buffer, but I do know that the A580 is faster and has a relatively large buffer: 22 16.2 RAW images. At 5 fps (or 7 fps if your subject doesn't move to or away from the camera) that means a little over 4 seconds of continuous shooting. Great for sports...

I agree with Citrus: invest in glass...but I'd also try to get a pretty decent camera.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:27 am 
Citruspers: This is $NZ dollars I am talking about, not sure I could stretch my budget to what you are suggesting. What would you suggest with $2,000NZ dollars, the same but with the kit lens kit?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:35 am 
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As long as you have until November and can stand to wait, I can't think of any reason not to hold off until more information can be gathered on the D3100 and A55...as well as even the other cams recently announced, like the A33, A560, and A580. Then once real hands-on production tests are out there, samples are out there, and some users can start to tell the goods and bads, you can compare them to existing models and closeout models, handle them to see what's comfortable, and make your choice. The D3100 certainly seems to have nicely updated the D3000, and the A55 certainly looks fairly groundbreaking and capable...so wait a bit!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:52 am 
I have just read that DPR has given the Sony A55 a Gold Award, be interesting what Gordon will rate it and also the Nikon 3100. From what I have read the D3000 was a bit of a disappointment.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:59 am 
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Seriously - I'd pick the A580 over the A55 anytime, despite the latter being 'slower' as far as continuous shooting is concerned...it's larger so it should fit your hands better and I'd buy it only for the battery life. It's rated for 1050 shots...my trusty A350 was rated for 730 shots, and I can get like 1400 out of a single battery (using a SSM lens and no flash). So I'd think the A580 could get like 1600 shots, maybe even more...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:45 am 
Won the Gold award and beat Canon 550D in pretty much everything without even touching RAW files yet.

Better Video and Super fast Auto Focus during video
Better details in low ISO and less Noise in high iso (ISO up to 25.600)
Better Focus and metering
Better Dynamic range
Fully Swivel-screen
Super powerful Built in stabilization


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:19 am 
Other options and opinions on here could be the Sony Alpha A580....same specs as A-55 apart from continuous shooting, electric view finder or optical view finder too.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:23 pm 
I'd say the better one in terms of features is the alpha A55, but I think it's too early to judge which is "better" overall.

I'd decide which body to get based more on the lenses and accessories of the brand (and their price) rather than if one has a 5 shot HDR mode and the other only has a 3shot one, for example.

Alternatively you could go my route and save up. But you need a lot of patience. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:02 am 
What do you mean Agun "go my route and save up"?

I have saved up and given myself a $2000NZ dollar budget to get an entry level SLR.

Do you mean just save up more money? I do have time on my side and I don't need the SLR until early November...

Maybe Canon will also bring out a new model by then....


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:43 am 
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I'm not into Canon at all, but I doubt they will. The 7D was only released about a year ago or so and the 5DII is still a competitive camera, apart from its crappy autofocusing system. The 60D has just been released...and the 550D is a very recent camera as well. Except for the 1000D I don't think anything will be succeeded quickly that would suit your needs...

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:13 pm 
With that kind of money you could get yourself a D90 (which is a few steps up from an entry level body) with 18-200VR Lens which is a good all rounder.

I've sent you a message with my suppliers contact details so you can have a look.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:30 pm 
D90 huh? Won't be too much for a beginner to manage? Saying that, I have learn so much in the last weeks weeks by reading reviews, watching all of Gordon Laing's videos on taking photos and YouTube as well.

Nikon 3100 certainly seems to be getting a few votes from my various friends... is that because of the brand?


Last edited by @idan on Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:33 pm 
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Hard to learn is of course subjective....I invested a lot of time and mastered my D90 (in terms of functions) pretty quickly. Then again, I'm the local computer guy and am pretty comfortable with electronics.

Is it because of the brand? Dunno, I can't really figure out Canons, but I would probably get used to them if I used them for a while. Nikon has better ergonomics though, is my opinion.

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