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09-23-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
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Help a friend choose

Greetings all,

A friend of fine is looking for a new camera to use for general photography – Landscapes, Close-Ups (macro), Moving subjects, Portraits, etc. Budget is limited to $500 no more, no less. It’s basically for a startup web developing business that is not photography in nature, but will require decent quality photos – better than a P&S.

Originally, a bridge camera (Fuji S8200) was the consideration but after realizing her future business plans I suggested that a full dSLR would be a better investment. For $500 the Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm/55-200mm non-VR lens at $496 seems to be a good startup kit. Her experience is limited to point-&-shoot however; she is willing to invest time and effort to practice her skills and understands a dSLR will be a steep learning curve.

I honestly do not have experience with the D3100 although the specs on paper are quite decent. “Used” is not an option so body plus 2-lens offerings from other brands including Pentax are out of the equation for the budget. Would anyone have experience with the D3100? Would you recommend it to a beginner?

Suggestions, opinions welcome

Cheers!

09-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
Greetings all,

A friend of fine is looking for a new camera to use for general photography – Landscapes, Close-Ups (macro), Moving subjects, Portraits, etc. Budget is limited to $500 no more, no less. It’s basically for a startup web developing business that is not photography in nature, but will require decent quality photos – better than a P&S.

Originally, a bridge camera (Fuji S8200) was the consideration but after realizing her future business plans I suggested that a full dSLR would be a better investment. For $500 the Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm/55-200mm non-VR lens at $496 seems to be a good startup kit. Her experience is limited to point-&-shoot however; she is willing to invest time and effort to practice her skills and understands a dSLR will be a steep learning curve.

I honestly do not have experience with the D3100 although the specs on paper are quite decent. “Used” is not an option so body plus 2-lens offerings from other brands including Pentax are out of the equation for the budget. Would anyone have experience with the D3100? Would you recommend it to a beginner?

Suggestions, opinions welcome

Cheers!
The D3100 is fine for beginners, but the D5100 is a much better value and it has image quality that's basically on par with that of the K-30/K-5. The articulating LCD is also a nice bonus. It's $599 with the kit lens, a bit more but well worth it in the long run IMO. But if her budget is firm at $500 or less, then the D3100 is probably the way to go since you get the extra lens.

Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera With 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR 25478

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09-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Why not a K30?

BTW, the bridge camera is not a bad idea either.
No everyone will grow out of it into DSLRs.
09-23-2013, 06:56 PM   #4
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For that budget, it's a shame that used is not an option.
It would be best to buy an old camera for $100 and then have $400 for a lens. In two years time you will have a camera worth $50 and a lens worth $400.

If you buy a new camera for $500, this year you will have a camera worth $400 and a lens worth $50. In two years, both will be worth $50.

Plus, the experience of using a rotten lens will put your friend off photography.

09-23-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Just bought my daughter an Olympus PEN E-PL3 for $270 from Amazon. Leaves room in the budget for the 40-150, and change left over for Starbucks. It's a fun camera to use, much closer to the P&S experience without the small sensor of the bridge camera.
09-23-2013, 07:26 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
For that budget, it's a shame that used is not an option.
It would be best to buy an old camera for $100 and then have $400 for a lens. In two years time you will have a camera worth $50 and a lens worth $400.

If you buy a new camera for $500, this year you will have a camera worth $400 and a lens worth $50. In two years, both will be worth $50.

Plus, the experience of using a rotten lens will put your friend off photography.
So true, my niece had a D3100 combo with the two kit lenses bought by her father a few years ago... she is now no longer interested in shooting with it any more (she uses iphone now).
09-23-2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The D3100 is fine for beginners, but the D5100 is a much better value and it has image quality that's basically on par with that of the K-30/K-5. The articulating LCD is also a nice bonus. It's $599 with the kit lens, a bit more but well worth it in the long run IMO. But if her budget is firm at $500 or less, then the D3100 is probably the way to go since you get the extra lens.

Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera With 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR 25478
Thanks, Adam. I did look into the 3200, 5100 and 5200 but the budget is firm.

QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Why not a K30?
Budget limitation. It was actually one of my initial suggestion next to the D5100/D5200.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Just bought my daughter an Olympus PEN E-PL3 for $270 from Amazon. Leaves room in the budget for the 40-150, and change left over for Starbucks. It's a fun camera to use, much closer to the P&S experience without the small sensor of the bridge camera.
I suggested mirrorless at first - K-01 actually albeit used. Thanks for the PEN idea, I'll mention that to her. Other than Oly, any other mirrorless suggestions - Nex?
QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
So true, my niece had a D3100 combo with the two kit lenses bought by her father a few years ago... she is now no longer interested in shooting with it any more (she uses iphone now).
My friend is going the other way around - a Samsung Galaxy S3 is currently her primary camera. Although not photography in nature but the web developing business she and her husband are starting up will need something better.

Last edited by K57XR; 09-23-2013 at 09:42 PM.
09-23-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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As mentioned before.. nice lenses are what your friend needs more. Decent camera body, good lenses..

For macro, I'd get a true 1:1 macro.. sigma 105, pentax 100, etc.. going to run around 2-3 hundred likely
For landscape, perhaps a sigma 10-20.. going to run around 4-6 hundred likely

the bonus is, if not taking photos of skittish creatures (read: insects) then the a 50mm macro could be fine and could double as her portrait lens too.. but you're likely not taking photos of landscapes with a 50mm.. she'll want something much wider.. 18mm or less on APS-C format.. which means another lens

Likely she's looking at around 800-1000 USD for a decent setup.. not including flash(es), filters, software (RAW format images are powerful!), etc

Therefore, why NOT a bridge style that shoots in a raw mode?

09-24-2013, 07:17 AM   #9
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Hi,

I would recommend a bridge camera. I don't know how much a decent Panasonic bridge camera with Leica lens costs, but I think that they're good bridge cameras (Fuji also).
But a Pentax K-01 could also be a good choice.
The problem is that your friend wants to use the camera in a wide field of application (landscape, macro, portrait, action).
A DSLR excels in these fields only when used with the appropriate lens.

Regards,

Bernie
09-24-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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After doing her homework and weighing her options she decided on dSLR rather than a high end bridge. Yes, lenses (with the exception of the kit) are the investment and not the body but for right now, the 2-lens D3100 kit would suffice their needs. Once they get accustomed to a dSLR down the road (long road) and find their kit lacking, they are open to lens upgrade.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
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