Thinking of a DSLR

Photography knowledge exchange.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
Trey
Posts: 158
Joined: October 1st, 2010, 8:40 pm
Location: NE OHIO

Thinking of a DSLR

Post by Trey » June 26th, 2014, 4:47 pm

Looking for recommendations on body, macro lens, and flash.

Was leaning toward the Nikon D5200. Don't have a ton of money to spend but want decent quality.

Thanks!

User avatar
chrish
Posts: 3295
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
Location: San Antonio, TX
Contact:

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by chrish » June 27th, 2014, 6:07 am

I'm going to buy a new DSLR later this summer. Based on my extensive research, I am going to buy a Sony SLT-A77 II. But it would be silly for me to tell you that's the best camera for you because I don't know your specific needs and preferences.

Not the answer you want, but frankly most other people's answers are based solely on the brand they currently use and love. Most of us have very little real experience with the other brands. And even those who have used more than one brand of DSLR only used one or two models of that brand and could hardly be called experts. It is similar to asking someone what kind of car you should buy. Most people only really "know" one or two types so don't have a basis for comparison. You have to do the research if you want to be happy with your choice.

Think of this as your first step in a long commitment to a camera brand. The reason I say this is that once you start with brand X DSLR and later you decide you want to upgrade your gear, it is much more expensive to upgrade by switching from Nikon to Sony or Canon or other brands. So you should think about the features/abilities you want now and what you anticipated you might want in the future. Then investigate which brands provides those features at the best price or that matches you needs the best.

And be careful and open minded when reading online reviews, etc. Remember, most people don't have the experience to make comparisons between brands.

What settings might you want to access at night in the field quickly? Where are those settings? Are they easy to access or do I have to go through menus.
How does it feel in my hand? When I hold it, am I prone to accidently hitting the xxxxx button and messing up my photos?
What kind of flash technology will I need now and what might I want in the future?
What focal lengths of lenses might I want now and in the future?
How big a sensor do I want to meet the needs of what I plan to do with the photos.

Once you have decided on a brand, deciding on the actual camera body is the easy part. Plan now so you don't have regrets later.

bgorum
Posts: 618
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Contact:

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by bgorum » June 30th, 2014, 10:44 am

Chris makes some very valid points, but if you are just starting out how do you even begin to know what features you want, how you like to control the camera etc.? The good news is that you will almost certainly be very happy with the Nikon D5200, (as you would be with the competing models from Sony or Canon), at least until you've used it a while and are ready to move on to a more advanced body. I'd say go for it! As far as the macro lens goes, there really is no such thing as a bad macro lens. Focal length is important. I think something in the 85-105 range is probably the ideal compromise as far as working distance goes for most people. I personalty prefer to buy my camera makers own lenses, (I'm having some compatibility issues with a couple recent, but discontinued Sigma lenses on my Nikon D7000), but a lot of other people on here are more than satisfied with Sigma and Tamron macro lenses. As far as the flash goes, I might actually advise you to skip it for now. The D5200 has a built in flash which you can use for a while until you really get comfortable with working with the camera and macro lens. After that you can add an external flash and a whole new set of skills to learn!

User avatar
jason folt
Posts: 262
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:20 am
Location: Midwest
Contact:

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by jason folt » July 5th, 2014, 4:15 pm

Nikon D7000s are also to be had pretty cheaply right now and are pretty awesome for their pricepoint. What do people you herp with shoot? Or do you have close friends/family with DLSRs? If you can hold their camera, play with menus or even take it for a day of herping it will really help you solidify your decision. It is also nice to have friends with the same system. You can borrow/share things if shit goes wrong on a trip, or just talk shop about shooting techniques while speaking the same language.

If you are set on Nikon, I would look at old Nikon 105mm macros, nonVR. Or the newer Tamron 90mm, or Sigma 100mm macro lenses. I have the Nikon 105vr, and love it, but it isn't cheap. I echo waiting a bit for an external flash. You don't have to get everything at once. When you are ready I would look at the Nikon SB700.

J

User avatar
Martti Niskanen
Posts: 363
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 10:19 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by Martti Niskanen » July 8th, 2014, 3:44 am

A lot of good points, so not much to add. I'd Just like to point out that definitely look into buying used kit. Bodies date fairly quickly, but an optically great lens can still be great after 20 years. Rather spend your money on glass than the body.

User avatar
Kyle from Carolina
Posts: 221
Joined: May 3rd, 2012, 7:12 pm
Location: western MA and NC

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by Kyle from Carolina » July 10th, 2014, 12:52 pm

I am still quite an amateur when it comes to photography so keep that in mind but here's my two cents...

If you are really into the Nikon d5000 series, why not get the slightly older D5100 model instead of the D5200? They should be cheaper now that the D5200 is out....or even the d3000 series. I've seen amazing shots from those cameras. Another option is to see if one of the bodies that you want is about to release a new model, then wait until it does and snag the older one for a deal.
Also, if you're looking for a macro in the 105mm range, I can say that I'm happy with the sigma 105mm OS. It's a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Nikon 105mm and still has image stabilization. The big difference is that it doesn't have an autofocus motor in the lens, but it will still autofocus using the motor on the camera...just not as quickly. That being said, it still focuses faster than the 18-55mm nikkor kit lens and I haven't felt limited by it. I don't use autofocus much anymore so getting the sigma 105 over the nikon was an easy decision.

I haven't really shot with much else so my opinions are limited.

User avatar
Trey
Posts: 158
Joined: October 1st, 2010, 8:40 pm
Location: NE OHIO

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by Trey » March 10th, 2015, 8:53 am

Thanks for all of the suggestions guys! I've decided I am going to pull the trigger on a refurb Nikon D5300 with the kit lens.
As for a macro lens, I have chosen to go with the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED.

Alot of reading went in to these choices! As suggested I am going to hold off on the external flash, but the one I have potentially decided on getting is the Nikon R1C1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight Kit?

Any reviews from users on here with this flash?

Thanks!

User avatar
jason folt
Posts: 262
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:20 am
Location: Midwest
Contact:

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by jason folt » March 14th, 2015, 6:21 pm

Trey,

Good luck with your new Nikon.

The wireless speedlight is a great little kit. It is one of the reasons I chose Nikon way back when. Be aware, there are limitations. You can get "better" lighting using multiple strobes and softboxes. Some people carry these out in the field. I like this setup because it is fairly small, portable, and easy to set up/break down. I prefer the ease of use and am ok sacrificing my lighting a little bit. Some people don't like the multiple catchlights. Sometimes they bother me, sometimes they don't. Finally, it really is a macro light. If I recall you are mostly a snake guy. I only use this to photograph small fossorial snakes typical. If you are looking for a light for normal sized snakes, you really need a full speedlight, such as the SB700.

Since you are fairly new to advanced lighting techniques, I would really recommend against starting with this and cutting your teeth with a true flash.

Also, I would advise against the C1 part (commander) and just get the R1. You pay a couple hundred bucks for the C1, and again, I would advise you put that to a SB700. You will get way more use out of your SB700 then the C1.

Best of luck. I love the R1 and swear by it, but it has limitations. If you have more questions, you can always email or call me.

Jason

Almost all my frog/salamander pics from Costa Rica in 6/14 were with the R1.

Image

Image

http://buckeyeherps.blogspot.com/2014/1 ... art-1.html

User avatar
Trey
Posts: 158
Joined: October 1st, 2010, 8:40 pm
Location: NE OHIO

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by Trey » March 15th, 2015, 12:32 pm

Thanks Jason, great memory and even better photos! I would like to do some "bug macro" and other small stuff too, in which case I think the R1 would be great. I was under the impression that with my camera I need the C1 part as a commander? But I think you are right about starting with the speedlight.

User avatar
jason folt
Posts: 262
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:20 am
Location: Midwest
Contact:

Re: Thinking of a DSLR

Post by jason folt » March 15th, 2015, 5:18 pm

Correct, the D5300 flash unfortunately can not function as a commander. The SB700 can though. If I were you, I would start with the SB700, get used to that a bit, then get the R1 - No need for the C1 this way. If you go R1 first, you need the C1, but I find it impossible to believe you won't end up getting a SB700 or SB910 in the future, at which point your C1 is nearly obsolete.

Jason

Post Reply