Art and Photography

DSLR Vets: What gear would you start with for learning

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  • Dec 23rd, 2009 6:17 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 24, 2008
128 posts
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DSLR Vets: What gear would you start with for learning

Never mind - I'll follow the other thread just started. Sorry all.
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Hey Vets,

If you were just starting off, what gear would you think would be most beneficial? I'm not talking about brands or anything, simply what gear is best for learning. I'll likely pick up a kit and would like to add a couple essentials - if recommended. Flash, prime lens, zoom lens, wide angle lens, tripod, etc.

Primarily, I'll be shooting a wide range of subjects but mostly people/family both indoors and out, a little scenery on vacation and random shots. We have a 2 year old who will likely be in 80% of the shots. (I know, not necessarily helpful)

My budget is a little flexible but I have some limits in the back of my mind. Ignoring the actual brands listed, here's roughly what the budget would permit - something like:

Nikon D90 + no other gear
Canon T1i + 1 other item
Canon XSi or Nikon D5000 + 2 other pieces of gear

Some other items would be purchased regardless of choice above - memory card, bag.

What are your thoughts on UV filters and/or lens hood for beginners?

Much appreciated.
A Noob.
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11 replies
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
21312 posts
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FWIW, if "no other items" includes lenses, a D90 alone is fairly boring.
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
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Toronto
If I had a 2-year old in the house and I was starting out, and guessing at your likely budget, I'd probably buy something like a D5000 and a zoom like the well-regarded and dirt-cheap-if-used 18-70, or whatever kit zoom the D5000 might come with. It's likely good enough to start with.

Then budget allowing, I'd then buy a flash (probably the SB-600; it's cheap but allows room to grow): it's hard to take pictures indoors of moving kids without a flash.

Then if I had a few bucks left, I'd buy a 50 f/1.8, for when you didn't want to have to use that flash or when you want to start experimenting with depth of field.

Or, of course, you could buy whatever the Canon equivalents are of the above.

I wouldn't worry about UV filters, and I wouldn't worry about buying a hood: if the lens didn't come with it, it's probably not that important for now.

And if you want to buy the 18-70 used, let me know. I have one sitting on a shelf unused, somewhere.
Deal Addict
Oct 19, 2006
1877 posts
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So many of these questions.

I use Canon so I am going to stick to what I know but Nikon gear is just as good except maybe you might end up paying more for lens later on.

Anyhow my sister just started out and we got her a T1i with 2 kit lens, the 18-55 IS and the 55-250. Add a flash such as the 430 EX and I think it's a pretty good start up kit for someone who never used an SLR before.

So to recap:

- A body
(pick one that match your budget/feature set the T1i is good because it's the newest entry level rebel with the most features so takes longer to out grow but it's expensive relatively)
- 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS
- 430 EX flash

The 50 1.8 prime lens is very cheap and if you want a fast lens that would be my suggestion to add to your kid. However, in general for starting out zooms are better. Personally, if you will be using this for family shots in doors I think a flash is much more important than the expensive "fast" lens, as no doubt someone will suggest.

And of course as always try to get gear 2nd hand as much as possible (for me the exception to that are bags due to the chance of unintentionally getting a bed bug infestation). It'll save you a chunk of money and the result is just as good. Caveat of watching out for scams etc applies of course.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 2, 2007
5866 posts
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Toronto
gotak wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2009 4:04 pm
I use Canon so I am going to stick to what I know but Nikon gear is just as good except maybe you might end up paying more for lens later on.

Anyhow my sister just started out and we got her a T1i with 2 kit lens, the 18-55 IS and the 55-250. Add a flash such as the 430 EX and I think it's a pretty good start up kit for someone who never used an SLR before.

- A body
(pick one that match your budget/feature set the T1i is good because it's the newest entry level rebel with the most features so takes longer to out grow but it's expensive relatively)
- 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS
- 430 EX flash
+12323524576479609

A rebel body, with the 2 lenses listed, and the flash will set you up good for a LONG time.

Get the 50 F/1.8 too. It's $100.

You're set and good to go.

The 18-55 IS kit lens is a fairly good lens. A lot of people say it has pretty good IQ.
Same with the 55-250 IS. A lot like it.
M-e-X-x wrote:
Nov 27th, 2011 7:22 am
Booty call AND you get gas money? Sweet!
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gotak wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2009 4:04 pm

I use Canon so I am going to stick to what I know but Nikon gear is just as good except maybe you might end up paying more for lens later on.
That is partly true. If you compare both of their lenses line up, the lower end ones and the higher end ones are pretty much the same price (with some lens more expensive than the close equivalent on the other system). I say that it is partly true since Canon has a (lower or mid range) pro-grade lenses (the "L" red ring lens). They are cheaper than the higher/faster top of the line lenses.

Anyway, if you want to stick with Nikon or Canon, any rebel(xs, xsi, t1i) or beginner level (d3000, D5000, D40, etc...) will do. As always people who are uses ___ brand tends to recommend ___ brand. I say try it out at henrys or something and check which fits for you. The entry level on both system are pretty much almost equal. They even carry an equivalent kit lenses (18-55 and 55-200).

A warning on both system:

Nikon-google the history why it lost grounds back in the 90's and it will pretty much explain itself but the bad thing is lower end models do not autofocus on older model AF lenses (lenses without any lens motor inside). All AF-S has motor so that's safe. The only problem you'll have (as a beginner) is no cheap but sharp nifty-fifty (50/1.8).

Canon- well they changed their mount starting in the 90's and damn that proved like a good idea. Anyway, canon has 2 types of lenses EF and EF-S. Basically EF=full frame lenses which can be used on cropped bodies and EF-S which is a cropped lens that are designed for the cropped frame bodies, the advantage is that its cheaper. Now if you want to upgrade to a 5D (full frame body) then those EF-S lens will not work. (Nikon does it differently, it will work on a DX (cropped) mode, so its still kinda useful.)

Those things are nothing major. Just choose Nikon with lenses that has motor inside, the kit lens and most in the lineup and all the new ones coming out are AF-S lenses. For Canon: By the time you decided to upgrade to a 5D, you will probably have tons of "L" lenses with you. :cheesygri

Pick a system, forget everything and keep on shooting.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
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tiijei wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2009 9:00 pm
The only problem you'll have (as a beginner) is no cheap but sharp nifty-fifty (50/1.8).]
Though there is now a cheap 35mm 1.8, which is your 50mm equivalent on DX crop sensors. Arguably a better deal.
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Aug 18, 2007
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How does the 55-250IS compare to the 75-300 low ends, or the 70-300 low ends? Part of me likes the IS, but the other part of me doesn't like the fact that it's EF-S, lacks USM (is this an issue? the 100mm 2.8 I'm using is loud as hell), and doesn't go to 300.
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Jun 24, 2004
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Any DSLR (old or new, any brand) with two prime lenses. I'm assuming that you will get a crop body. I suggest:

- 24mm prime

- 50mm prime

Don't worry about the maximum aperture of these lenses. Just get the ones you can afford.

These will give you an apprx FF equivalent of 35mm & 85mm, which are the most interesting FLs, IMHO.

Cheers,

Sabesh.
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Oct 19, 2006
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Seiphas wrote:
Dec 22nd, 2009 9:30 pm
How does the 55-250IS compare to the 75-300 low ends, or the 70-300 low ends? Part of me likes the IS, but the other part of me doesn't like the fact that it's EF-S, lacks USM (is this an issue? the 100mm 2.8 I'm using is loud as hell), and doesn't go to 300.
The 55-250 isn't that loud. To hear loud you should try a tamron lens, pepper grinder land.

The 75-300 is a pretty craptastic bit of kit. The 55-250 is a better lens I think.

The 70-300 on the other hand is one of those canon lens which people call the hidden L lens. It's a very good lens. However, it is also priced like a good lens not far off the cost of a new 70-200 f4 L.

Having said all that it still true that having something to get the photo is better than nothing at all. So if a 75-300 is what you can afford it'll do the job. Just with reduced (relative) image quality. I have a friend who's very happy with it.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 24, 2008
128 posts
3 upvotes
Thanks all - it's a tough decision to know where to start. Unfortunately, Boxing Day sales aren't making the decision any easier. I was hoping to find one or two good deals that would also help make my decision easier - no such luck.

No question, the gear isn't as important as the person taking the pics. It'll take some time for me to get up to speed with the DSLR and I think the advice given will help when it comes to gear.

Thanks.
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Apr 26, 2001
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You name a body but lens is where you need to spend the most time and money to get what you want.

Starting off with a small child you want a camera you will have with you and preferably a wide to short tele lens, like an 20-70ish range on a DX body, the flash can go off the body to start and see how much you use it, how you like the results and how often you use it.

All the lower end stuff have auto settings so you can concentrate on the shot rather than the settings, more important to get pics you're happy with right away so you want to experiment later with other settings.

Kids make great models to start with, they are naturally natural.
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