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08-29-2012, 04:11 PM   #1
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Which DSLR for very new newbie!

Hi all! I am very new to the better DSLR camera world. I have been shooting on a Fuji Finepix S6000fd DSLR for about 8 years. Before that I had a Pentax and Canon 35mm I learned on when I was a teen about 20 years ago. Needless to say, 3 children later I mainly take shots of them but we do travel frequently and I just feel the quality is lacking in my shots. Great compostion only goes so far. I enjoy setting up and creating the shots (mostly on Auto ) and do lots of enlargements to frame and enjoy.
Anyway, I thought I was ready to dive in and take the next step, but now I am overwhelmed...completely I have researched ALL DSLRs under $1000. I actually bought a Nikon d5100 but I think I will return it, it is way beyond my current skill set and cannot spend my life reading the manual. I want to learn but it frightens me frankly! And if I put the 18-200mm vr lens on it, it's spendy.

Do any of you feel the Pentax line may be more user friendly to dummies like me or which models might be? I need some speed as the kids are in constant motion, but I want to take quality portraits and beautiful landscapes as well. But I want a nice lens quality..

Sorry it sounds so stupid. I have been up hours every night for weeks and I just feel beaten...Just listening for anyone's 2 cents worth!
Thanks so much!

08-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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If you think the D5100 is too much for you, then I'm afraid the Pentax K-30 and K-5 will be even more.
08-29-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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If you want to take better photos, and venture out beyond "auto" mode, you're going to have to spend time learning the camera. Starting out, you don't need to worry about all the gadgets & advanced features, just work on learning the basics of getting a proper exposure. These are more or less the same across camera brands. I also would recommend Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure" for DSLR noobs - money very well spent!
08-29-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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thank you for being honest...any recommendations? Maybe the d3200? i will learn, just not able to dedicate 24/7

08-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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There is nothing wrong with the camera you bought, and there is no need to be afraid of a camera. No matter what you mess up, you can just reset it back to factory specs. For now put the camera on the green auto mode and enjoy taking photos of your family or whatever just like your old camera. When you feel like learning more, pickup a book on the basics of photography. You should be able to find one at your local Goodwill for less than five bucks. All of the same principles still apply to your camera.

Your camera was made for someone to be able to learn it, not for professional photogs with 30 years of experience. There are thousands and thousands of people who use that camera and enjoy it, you can do the same.

Just remember to be patient, this is supposed to be fun.
08-29-2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
thank you for being honest...any recommendations? Maybe the d3200? i will learn, just not able to dedicate 24/7
Can't speak for any of these specific models, but it doesn't have to be a "dive in at the deep end" approach in any case. Any DSLR will have auto mode and you can use that while learning different modes one at a time. paulh has good suggestions; I also recommend checking out AdoramaTV and in particular the videos by Mark Wallace.
08-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the support!

Thanks everyone for the support!!! I need that (I'm in tears) it has just been frustrating and forgetting why I love photograghy! Do you all think the Pentax is better with low light than the Nikon? I tend to do a lot inside, no flash...
08-29-2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Do you all think the Pentax is better with low light than the Nikon?
The Nikon has a good repuation for low-light performance.

08-29-2012, 05:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
thank you for being honest...any recommendations? Maybe the d3200? i will learn, just not able to dedicate 24/7
when it comes to the interface there is as far as i know very little between the d5100 and the d3200 so i won't recommend changing to that.

You might want to try a pentax or another brand to see if their handling and interface are more to your mind set so to say.
Just get the camera in the hand, look and try to guess where the buttons are for, since you've hot with a SLR some things should ring a bell and then go into the to see how you go through that and pick the camera that you like the most.

If you want a camera that function good in full auto mode then don't get a DSLR but look at a camera with a fixed lens, those are far better in that.


As for your last question.
The Pentax K5, K30 and the Nikon D7000 share the same sensor so there is little in between those when it comes to image noise.
I believe the D5100 is also close to that so you won't gain much if anything.

If you want a Pentax and want to really learn photography again then the K30 is the one to go for in your position, perfectly mid range.
08-29-2012, 05:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Thanks everyone for the support!!! I need that (I'm in tears)

Seriously? If trying to figure out the instruction book of your new camera is making you cry then you might take some time and see if there is something else going on in your life that you should be spending your time working on.

But, if you just get frustrated easily here is my best advice.

Put the manual away.

Pretend the camera didn't come with one. Just put the thing on automatic and start shooting. When you have a specific question after playing with it for a while, then pull out the manual and find the answer to your question. Don't get overwhelmed by reading things you don't need to worry about.

Most important, have confidence in your ability to figure things out. I'm sure you've accomplished plenty of difficult things in your life and none of them came with a manual. This is just a camera.

If you go into it thinking you can't, then you won't be able to. Follow me? Good luck.
08-29-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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My daughter got a Nikon 3100 about the same time I got a Pentax KX and we tried out each others cameras,both agreeing the Pentax was more user friendly with the IQ of the cameras about equal.All modern DSLR's have mostly the same basic settings so going to different models or brands changes very little.For low light inside shooting one needs a lens at least 2.8 which Tamron and Sigma offer cheaper than from the camera manufactures.Stay with it and you will find using the camera gets easier with time.I was 72 years old when I got into DSLR with my brain not working as well as in years gone by but am now comfortable with using.One thing in my favor I had used Pentax manual film cameras for 40 years so light and exposure were easy for me,just had to learn how to make the camera do what I wanted it to do.
08-29-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Do any of you feel the Pentax line may be more user friendly to dummies like me or which models might be? I need some speed as the kids are in constant motion, but I want to take quality portraits and beautiful landscapes as well. But I want a nice lens quality..
Would you consider the K-01? I love the K-01 with the DA40mm xs. It is very compact. The IQ is outstanding including in low light. The price is nice.

And you can always upgrade to more expansive lenses in the future.

We use the K-0 for most kid shooting indoor or in the garden. I use my K-7 with telephoeo for school sports.

Hope that the suggestion may help.
08-29-2012, 06:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Would you consider the K-01? I love the K-01 with the DA40mm xs. It is very compact. The IQ is outstanding including in low light. The price is nice.

And you can always upgrade to more expansive lenses in the future.

We use the K-0 for most kid shooting indoor or in the garden. I use my K-7 with telephoeo for school sports.

Hope that the suggestion may help.
I don't think a 60mm equivalent field of view is very good for shooting kids who don't sit still indoors.
08-29-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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If all you want to do is take pictures of the kids and family without reading the manual or learning anything about photography I would suggest that any DSLR would be too much camera. If you are just going to put it on auto then you have turned a $1,000 DSLR into the equivalent of a $300 bridge camera. DSLR's are not for everyone, and great pictures are taken every day with little point & shoots, cell phone cameras and bridge cameras.

I would argue that, in auto mode, you will take better pictures with a P&S or a bridge camera than you will with a full DSLR. The smaller sensor works in your favor to keep more things in focus. In order to get the most from a DSLR you need to learn photography. I can speak from experience, I used bridge cameras just like your Fuji for many years and thought I was pretty good. I bought a k-x and expected better pictures. Instead I got horrible results, not the cameras fault, mine. Because I had no idea what I was doing I was taking worse pictures with my expensive camera than I had with my old one.

I think you will be happier with something like the newly announced Pentax X-5. The other brands all make similar models. No lenses to bother with, much lighter weight and generally designed to 'just work'.
08-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #15
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I would get a K30. It has all the features you need to start off and at the same time, I think there is plenty of room for growth. There is a big learning curve, but there is plenty of automation with any modern camera so that you can't get too far off. The green button is a wonderful thing too, to rescue if you get to far off track with your settings and allows even newbies to shoot in manual mode without too much problem.

And best of all, Pentax cameras come free with this forum! A great place to ask any question that might strike you. Sure, you can still come here, even if you bought a Nikon, but it just wouldn't be the same, now would it?
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