Which DSLR do you recommend?

carpy

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hi everyone.

well, i have decided to step up a mark from my compact 8.2mp casio digital camera, both because i love photography, go out on herping trips and expeditions, and because i will be taking A and AS level photography (they are the 2 exams you take in your last year at school, sorry, don't know the system overseas)

i was just owndering what people would recommend, i am currently looking into the Nikon D40x and the Nikon D80.

my specifications are... must be 10mp or more, must be either very good at close up wildlife shots, and that is about it.

anyone got any digital slr cams that are good, and you would recommend me having? people have also talked nicely of the canon 400d, anyone have any of the above camera, or is there a camera i should be thinking of but haven't listed?

also, app. the 18-55 lense that comes with the Nikons is poor at close up photography, which is what i will be mainly focusing on. soo... are there any lenses in particular that are very good at close up photography, maybe with a macro function, that are compatible with either of the above cameras, but wont burn a hole in my wallet??

thanks in advance,

Alex
 

Kaysie

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Not that won't burn a hole in your wallet. A good macro setup with a good camera will cost you at least $800 american. A great lens will cost you at least $800 itself.

That being said, I have a Nikon D50. A good camera for the price (refurbished kit was $500). Macro isn't so great, but you can solve that with a good extension tube (which I don't have, so I mainly use the telephoto lens for macro, which isn't fabulous, but not bad).
 

Kaysie

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I would look around for used or refurbished cameras and lenses. They're cheaper, and usually in pretty good condition.
 

John

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This is a lot of money to invest for someone new to digital SLR photography. However....

I'm a Nikon DSLR proponent. Canon make excellent digital SLRs and they always have the cool new features, but their budget end SLRs simply aren't as robust as Nikon (sorry Canonites! I am a Canon fan too, I promise).

Your ability to take good macro photos will be affected by 3 things:

- Your technique
- Your lens
- Your light

Notice I didn't include your camera in that list - it's probably the least important aspect of macro photography.

If you want an awesome start in macro photos and you can spare the extra cash (this is more like £800 if you must have 10 megapixels), look at getting:

Lens: Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP macro lens £370 from Jessops (online! Not in store). This is a better macro lens than any Nikon brand micro lens (they call macro micro) anywhere close in price, it's just not built as robustly.

Camera:
Option (a):
Nikon D40x body only £415 from Jessops (online only price again). This is the option if you simply must have 10 megapixels. If you just get this and the Tamron lens you won't be taking much else apart from macro photos and maybe shots of weddings! I have news for you. The difference between 6 megapixels and 10 megapixels isn't that great. Sure it seems big but the absolute resolution difference isn't that great from these sensors, so, personally, if I were you and I was new to digital SLRs and I wanted to have a more versatile system that takes ~equally good photos, I would get:

Option (B):
Nikon D40 + 18-55 mm £340 from Jessops (online only price again). The lens isn't great but it's ok and it'll let you use this nice camera to take all kinds of photos. You'll have a lot more fun with it. You must remember that resolution from Digital SLR sensors is generally much cleaner (less noise due to the larger distance between photosites) and the lenses on digital SLRs give sharper images and so they take better advantage of your sensor.

For a great review of the D40 and the D40x read Thom Hogan's review here. Thom Hogan (the guy who writes those reviews) is right on the money with 99% of what he says on his site - experience has told me this after owning lots of digital Nikon equipment for 8 years.

The Tamron and Option (B) will run you to £710 and give you a versatile system that'll take photos as good as or better than any newt photo I have ever taken (that's the honest truth - all my photos here were taken with a D70 which is the same camera minus some bells and whistles as the D40). After you've gotten comfortable with this system you might look at getting a flash and a tripod but those are by no means essential if you're just starting out (I _never_ use tripods for newts and the in-built flash is surprisingly good if you don't shoot straight at glass).

---
PS: One other option: you could get the corresponding Canon camera if you so wish - the Tamron lens also comes in a Canon flavour and is equally as good.

PPS: Tamron are famous for the inconsistency of lens quality throughtout their range (i.e. this macro lens might be awesome but their standard zoom lens is diabolical). However this lens is widely regard as the best budget macro lens made by anyone, full stop. Check out this review (by Thom Hogan again) of a more expensive Nikon macro lens and scroll to the bottom to see what he says about the Tamron.

Disclaimer: this is my opinion and my opinion only. Read advice from people, read reviews, get the info and then make up your own mind - don't let me make it up for you.
 
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carpy

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Great thanks John.

the reason i am going for 10.1mp's is because i will be taking an as/a level qualification in photography, and will sometimes need to blow up images quite considerably, and edit them, so a 10.1 mp will probably be the best way forward.

thanks for the info on the tamron macro lens, i will definately be looking into that one, and it should be a pretty awesome combination with the D40x, Nikon 18-55 lens and Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP macro lens. so when i have this (will probably get it in stages) you should be hearing no end from me at the photograph sections of the forum!

Alex
 

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Tip: If you get the D40x, consider getting the 18-55 off ebay if you want it. A lot of people bought the original D40 kit but didn't want that lens, so it's very cheap to get it on ebay as far as I know.
 

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Well and for the Canonites there's the 350 or 400D with a very though lense for supermacro's the MPE 65 mm macro. Altohugh quite expensive (1000 EUR for the lense) it goes up to 5 times magnifying quality and makes awesome macro shots without tripod.

Being a Minolta shooter from the first hour I am kind of thinking to jump ship , just because of this lense ;-)

But NIKON is good too offcourse . It seems that NIKON has somewhat more noise then CANON, on the other hand it seems that CANON has some issues with the white (automatic) balance settings , but both are good camera and these flaws migh just appear under extreme conditions.
 

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pretty much any canon rebel will do you well... possibly something in the higher mp like the 400D.

failing that. go for an analogue SLR. you will pick up a half decent one for about £50 and when you get the photos developed you can get them put onto cd for £2.

i much prefer analogue anyway. digital can never be as good quality as analogue.
 

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hi John
what do you think of the Tamron 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro?
when going on jessops, this came up for £200 which is a bit cheaper than the other tamron, is this one of the diabolical ones?

Alex

EDIT: dan, i am too impatient for all the developing of the analogue!
HWall, nikon have got far better at noise reduction, though canon and nikon are the 2 contesting parties at the moment. and £700 odd quid is a little much for a lens for me at the moment im afraid!
 
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carpy

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John

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failing that. go for an analogue SLR. you will pick up a half decent one for about £50 and when you get the photos developed you can get them put onto cd for £2.
Go digital and save yourself a few hundred quid in your first year - you'll more than pay for the difference between digital and film price (which is quite small now anyhow).

hi John
what do you think of the Tamron 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro?
when going on jessops, this came up for £200 which is a bit cheaper than the other tamron, is this one of the diabolical ones?
It's not a bright lens. Doesn't matter how sharp it is because you'll have problems achieving focus, particularly towards f/5.6. For macro you want the brightest lens you can get, so always go for the f/2.8 ones.

and, i have another one for you guys, how about the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro
that is only £115, which seems cheap, but with the following review http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Sigma-70-300mm-F4-56-APO-DG-Macro it seems to shine, especially with that awesome photo of the dragonfly in flight
Same comments as last lens. This isn't really a macro lens, and once you pass 180-200 mm equivalent its sharpness goes to pot.
 

John

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It seems that NIKON has somewhat more noise then CANON
When the Nikon D80 came out last year it officially ended this as a significant problem.
 

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General Macro comment

Macro photography (at least, handheld) lives and dies by sharpness and focusing ability. The former is only guaranteed in fixed focal length lenses or rather expensive Nikon and Canon speciality macro zooms. Focusing ability is down to two elements: the amount of light the lens lets in at maximum aperture (e.g. f/2.8) and the motor: either the lens uses the screw drive of the camera or has its own motor, Nikon's AFS and Canon's USM. Obviously the ultrasonic motor is preferable but not essential. It might be argued that the sound of a lens with its own motor (or lack of sound, to be more precise) is more useful in macro photography than the greater speed of focusing it imparts!
 

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hi again John.

right, seemingly i am now getting the Nikon D40x with nikkor 18-55 and 55-200 lens. i will then upgrade to the tamron 90m macro in a couple of months. anyone have any experience with the nikkor 55-200 lens?

Alex
 

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hey

one thing you want to check is the weight of the camera. i got a new dslr a couple of days ago and its an olympus e400 from currys. 10.0 mp, very light. its £350 at the moment or you can buy the upgrade package. i spent £532.....got 17.5-55mm lense that comes with it, case, 1gb card, 45-150mm lense, a half price uv protector and £49 4 your cover against it going wrong or me breaking it. includes the lenses.

took this pic of fraggle with the 17.5-55mm and i think the quality is great.
 

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carpy

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thanks to everyone that replied to this thread, it is much appreciated.

John, i can see the drawbacks now, however it is still cheap, and quite good at the closer images. i think i will still get the tamron 90mm macro as well, just at a later date, besides, i can get the 55-200 for £120, which seems very reasonable, dont you think?

shelly - the nikon D40x is one of the lightest and smallest 10mp dslrs out there, which is part of the reaon i chose it. i was considering the olympus, but i went for the nikon purely because i know an awful lot of people that use nikon, and swear by them.

thanks again everyone that contributed, it helped make my decision easier, thanks especially to John for all the info and links, it was much appreciated!

Alex
 

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A lighter camera is not necessarily better. I prefer heavier cameras, which take the 'jitter' out of your hands.
 
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