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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:16 pm 
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Hi, I am new here, and am hoping that you knowledgeable people can guide this dummy in the right direction. Please realize I am very new to this, but I hope you can work around my idiocy.
I am a student on a tight budget, so really the most I can save up for any camera in a few months would be maybe $600.
My needs are to be able to take high focus, color accurate macro shots of two-inch square subjects. These will normally be shot inside in normal to high lighting situations.
If anyone could recommend a range of cameras, or even explain features that would be important to me, I would be very grateful. Whatever camera I do end up with, I am going to research it extensively and figure out how to use it with a high level of competence. At this point, though, I am not even really aware of whether a DSLR is necessary for my needs. Anyway, please feel free to ask any additional questions, and thank you in advance for your replies.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:58 pm 
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If a high pixel count isn't essential and you don't plan on using it for years or as your main camera, you ought to be able to get a cheap used DSLR and a macro lens/lens + macro extension tube within your budget and have a respectable amount of change left over.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:21 am 
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You are correct, a DSLR may not be neccesary. If you are serious about photography though, you won't regret the purchase.

Benifits
Quick start up
Power saving (compared to point and shoots)
Fast motordrive
Larger sensors
Interchangable lenses
Plenty of accessories available

I shouldn't really encourage a purchase unless I know your full requirements, but if you have the funds and you are serious about photography, then why not?

This is a hard question to answer though - "Do I need it?" (for instance)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:34 am 
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Location: locust grove, GA
cheap dslr camera kit ( canon t3 ) - 440
canon 50mm f1.8ii - 100
raynox dcr 250 - 80

around $620 usd, you can get yourself a basic dslr macro kit... though focusing with dcr 250 is little bit tricky, i heard.

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Panasonic Pancake 14mm f2.5, Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, Olympus Zuiko 75mm f1.8
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:33 pm 
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I am definitely leaning toward a DSLR because I do like photography, and it would be great to be able to have the flexibility of the interchangeable lenses. However, as long as I would be saving a significant chunk of change, I would maybe rather buy a point-and-shoot if there is one on the market that can do just as good of a job in my specific area of need.

In terms of DSLRs, I have been looking at the Canon Rebel series. Thomas, I will definitely research your recommendations, but at first glance, that sounds perfect for me.I have one question, though. Since I would be buying the specific lenses I need, is a "body only" camera all I need? Or, am I confusing something? I see that some Canon t3's have been going for as low as $300 on eBay. This makes me leery, since your estimate as $440. Is there anything that I as a novice could be overlooking when buying a camera?

Thank you all again!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:14 pm 
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I can only believe a $300 for that camera being accurate if it's second hand or damaged.

Are you only looking at a new camera?

By macro photography do you simply mean taking a photo of a subject from a close distance and only keep that subject in focus? If so, a DSLR will probably be a better choice as its larger sensor compared to a P&S allows you to achieve a shallower depth of field.

It's not common for macro lenses to be sold in a bundle with a DSLR body from the manufacturer so yes, you may be better off searching for the body and lens separately.

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Body: Canon EOS 70D
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Sorry, I did forget to mention, I am fine with looking for used cameras, but new would be better if I can afford it obviously. The $300 one was second hand.
By macro, yes, I mean taking a picture from about five inches away with the ability to zoom even further at times. The field of what is in focus should extend about an inch or so, but if it greater than that, it's not a big detriment.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:21 am 
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In that case I would think of something similar to thomastaesu:

Used DSLR - $300-400
50mm f/1.8 lens - $100
Macro extension tube kit - $10-100

The 50mm lens would cover the subject you mentioned quite tightly when you use the extension tube. Up to a 25mm extension should be enough. While the lens doesn't zoom, the extension tubes will put the lens physically closer to the subject.

With the extension tube, you can get a cheap one for $10-20. While it's cheap, you will have to both focus manually and detach/reattach the lens directly to the body if you need to change your aperture setting. If you spend upwards of about $70, you should be able to find an extension tube kit with electrical contacts to allow you to use autofocus and change your aperture settings without having to directly attach the camera to the body.

If you go down the used DSLR route, you should ask the seller how many actuations of the mirror the camera has done. There is software that can find out with a lot of DSLR models (I don't think it can be done for all of them) if the seller claims not to know.

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Body: Canon EOS 70D
Lenses: Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX f/2.8, Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:04 am 
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By the way, I hope you have a tripod since you will be shooting macros mostly.

I did recommend one with a kit lens just in case you want to use it other than your work. :)

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Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic GF-3, Canon SX40HS

Panasonic Pancake 14mm f2.5, Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, Olympus Zuiko 75mm f1.8
Panasonic 14-42mm


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:10 am 
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Thank you all so much for the recommendations! You are right in thinking I would prefer to be able to use it for everyday photography as well, but as long as my bases are covered for my work. Now, I can spend the next few months while I'm saving up educating myself. :)
At how many activations should I be wary of buying a second hand camera?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:34 am 
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It varies from camera to camera.

This link gives a reasonable life expectancy of quite a few DSLRs in terms of the number of shutter actuations.

http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/

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Body: Canon EOS 70D
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