• Last Updated:
  • Nov 3rd, 2017 11:03 pm
Oct 15, 2011
11 posts
Toronto, ON
Thank you everyone who participated in this thread. I was really convinced for D7200 but it is going way out of my budget. I think I might go D3000 series and get a nice prime lens.

Here are some question I have seen people have raised, so I am just gonna answer them here.

I need the camera mostly for portraits and landscapes.
I do not mind a camera being bulky or heavy.
I know nothing about the mirrorless camera, maybe I should look into it now.
If I get a DSLR, I am willing to learn everything about photography to the level where I can proudly share my takes to the world.

Now, let's say if I go with low-end DSLR like Nikon D3000 series. What lens do you guys recommend for my portraits/landscapes shot. (Right now, my photography knowledge is zero.)

Thanks again all for all the help.

Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
10720 posts
Vancouver, BC
If you go classic methodology to portraits, then you will be looking at something in the 85 to 105mm range in a full frame camera. I'm using full frame since it's what was classically used in the days of film and what may be in many books out there. Why 85mm to 105mm? Because in that range, the perspectives and distortions are more or less correct for portraits. But since you are going to be using a smaller sensor than full frame, then there's an adjustment factor to get you into the range. In your case, for a D3000 series, you are using a DX sensor so the adjustment factor is 1.5.

What does that mean? You would take the focal length of the lens (as measured using full frame measurements) multiple it by 1.5 to get what would happen on a DX sensor. Example - a 200mm lens will seem like a 300mm lens on a DX sensor (200mm x 1.5 = 300mm). So, the portrait range on a DX sensor would be 56mm to 70mm - not too many prime lenses exist in that range so most people will use a 50mm and say an equivalent of 75mm (on DX) is close enough. So, if you can get your hands on a 50mm f/1.8 G lens, that's a good start... if you have the budget, you can step up to the faster f/1.4 lens but that's starting to be big money for most people.

As for landscapes, it really depends on how you feel about wide angle and how wide you want to go. Traditionally, 28mm to 35mm (in Full frame) is considered a nice wide. Since we have that adjustment factor of 1.5x, you need to go really wide (ie. 20mm or less as measured on the lens in full frame) to get into the range of wides that are normally considered wide today (ie 20mm x 1.5 = 30mm). A good 20mm prime that is a G lens which is cheap really doesn't exist. Your best bet may be the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 -f/4.5 zoom instead of the prime lens - it's decent lens and you really don't need too much speed when it comes to landscapes.

If you want to get into portrait work, I would recommend that you learn something about lightening and flashes however. Nikon uses a wireless flash control system which is pretty good so that you can control multiple flashes from one location. Unfortunately, with the lower end bodies, you will either need one high end flash to control the system (and the rest can be lower end models or even 3rd party stuff) or a flash controller which is getting close to the price of that high end flash. So, to keep the cost low and within budget, practice natural light portrait work...

Of course, you can get an used higher end camera body such as a D7000 or D200/300/s, which will include a wireless flash controller with the built-in flash. As a bonus, those older bodies will allow you to use the older AF and AF-D lenses so your selection of lenses will increase.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 5, 2010
1081 posts
I started photography when I bought a Sony mirrorless camera, it was the 1st gen mirrorless from Sony. I knew nothing of photography when I got it. I just kept learning over the time, checking videos on youtube and read articles about questions I had for my camera. It was an annoying camera for learning (all the manual settings are within the menus), but I still managed to learn a lot.

My point is, go and buy that D3400 with the kit lens and stick to it for a couple months. Learn to use it with the camera in your hands. Learn from your mistakes and be curious about all the thing that can change your photos.
I can tell you about ISO, aperture / F-Stop, T-Stop, shutter speed, metering, compression, equivalent, histogram and dozens of other topics but you won't understand none of them until you experienced it. Buy the appropriate lenses after you know you need them.

And about mirrorless cameras, they are like the DSLR. You can change lenses too. Both have pros and cons. While I prefer mirrorless, the Nikon D3400 is the best value for the best still image quality per dollar spent.
Sr. Member
Mar 23, 2006
964 posts
Forget it, the OP's budget is no more than $700 ( I don't know if this includes tax or not). He says his photography knowledge is zero.

I encourage anyone to learn and try but if they are really serious, this won't be their first and last camera. I say go try the used market and buy something like the Nikon D90 with a couple of lenses like 50 1.8 and 18-105.
Some people will say that this camera is old, but given that his photography knowledge is zero this set up is more than enough imo. Heck if he decides to move on he could probably re-coup most of his money back with a resell.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-camera-camcorde ... nFlag=true

Of all the people I met who started off as an amateur only 1 of them got serious enough to buy anything more advanced/expensive (full frame). Most of the people I know gave up on photography and got flagship smart phones for picture taking, a few stuck with the D90 and use prime lenses.

Its tough, a lot of complex things going on. A lot of people don't have the time, dedication, money, space, heavy, inconvenient, etc.