Priorities for a new DSLR with a $1000 budget

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Priorities for a new DSLR with a $1000 budget

Post by cherper »

Hey, everyone!

If you were taking a trip to Africa and wanted to buy a new DSLR camera what features (not necessarily brand) would you look for in combining general wildlife photography with herp photography here in the US. Lens suggestions would be helpful but don't include the lens in the $1000 budget. I appreciate any help.


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Re: Priorities for a new DSLR with a $1000 budget

Post by Owen »

Some degree of environmental sealing... It can get dusty on safari. Otherwise, whatever ergonomics fit your shooting best. If it's too hard to change your settings quickly, you could miss the once in a lifetime shot. Try out cameras for how they feel in your hand and how quickly you can access exposure compensation with the control layout.

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Re: Priorities for a new DSLR with a $1000 budget

Post by Antonsrkn »

There are tons of good DSLR bodies you can get for $1000 or under, your ideal camera depends on your background too. Are you familiar with DSLRs or serious cameras in general or will this be your first? There are alot of things to consider, for example whether or not you want to take video or not, I personally don't like this feature... if I wanted to take video I would just get a video camera. I guess I shouldn't say I don't like the feature, I just find it useless and its not something I consider when looking at camera bodies. People also go crazy about the # of megapixels, megapixels are good but beyond a certain point it doesn't really make much of a difference for 99% of the people out there. Luckily now pretty much every camera is over 10 mp, unless you are planning on making some gigantic prints of your photos that should be more than enough. However if you want to do alot of cropping on your images you will be grateful for those extra megapixels as the image will retain good detail. Usually with herps you don't need to do much cropping, but with various wildlife that is hard to approach it can really come in handy (especially if you can't afford a big lens). Again more so for wildlife photography than herp photography but frames per second (fps) is important for action shots, also many cameras have a sort of burst feature where they can take up to a certain amount in a matter of seconds but then need a little "rest" period while the images are "processed" or something within the camera. If you plan on using autofocus, check the number of autofocus points and see whether the camera has fast autofocus or if it tends to hunt around alot. Also the weight of the camera is something you may want to consider if youre going to be taking it on alot of long treks, overall this is a minor concern for me as most of the time I don't mind lugging a backpack full of camera gear around but its still something to consider.

As for lenses I would want to have atleast a 300mm with me before a trip to Africa, but the bigger the lens the better. There is tons to be said for lenses as well, nowadays there are so many features. Some things you may want to think about is whether you want a lens with image stabilization/vibration reduction. Look into the lens speed as well, lens speed describes the maximum aperture diameter (minimum f-number). A fast lens is important in lower light conditions.

I have to go now but if I think of something else I'll mention it later.

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Re: Priorities for a new DSLR with a $1000 budget

Post by bgorum »

I'm going to reiterate a couple points that Antonsrkn made. For wildlife buffer size and the quality of the auto-focus system are both super important. My current camera can shoot at 6 frames/second, but its buffer only holds 10 raw images, so I can only shoot at that rate for about a second and a half! The camera then slows down to one or two frames per second, depending on the speed of the card I'm using. This is often a problem when shooting birds in flight and its even occasionally been a problem when shooting herps, (for example trying to capture a horned lizard eating ants last summer). The AF system on my camera is pretty descent, but it occasionally gets confused when tracking flying birds against a busy background. (Please, please Nikon, where is the D400)? Megapixels? Anything current has more than enough. I would actually be more concerned with noise performance at high ISOs, which tends to get worse with more megapixels. I'd avoid the entry level cameras and chose one a little higher up in the line for better construction, weather sealing, and ergonomics. I think most of the other features you would want are pretty standard on just about any SLR.

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