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post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Ok, so I am getting a DSLR.  My prolem is my budget is pretty limited, so I have narrowed it down to two options:


Sony Alpha A230



Nikon D3000.


I am a beginner, so which one would you suggest?  I really have no idea where to start.  Reading reviews got me somewhere, but the end verdict was that they are more similar than not.  Does anyone have advice?




post #2 of 23

Focus more on the lenses that are available. Your body will last a few years but your lenses will last decades. You are very likely to stay with the brand you choose now for a long time. Once you start buying other lenses, your investment will be to big to just ditch all of them and go to another brand.


Edit: I don't have any experience with sony's dslrs but nikons have very good ergonomics. 

Edited by steven2992 - 5/7/10 at 8:27am
post #3 of 23

My wife has been using the A350 for a year now (semi professional) and has last week switched to the A550. My daughter is part time free lance photographer and uses the A380 now. They are extremely satisfied with the Sonys because they are very easy to use and give extremely good results if you just use them as point-and-shoot, while still offering all the (well most of them) professional options.

I must say that the photos my wife made of the Keukenhof (flower exhibition) are jaw-dropping.

Sony does not sound like a big name in photography (yet), but they are of course Konika-Minolta, who were a big name in the past. 

post #4 of 23

If you're going down the Nikon way, I'd suggest getting the Nikon D60. The more preferably way with Nikon, is actually to start with a used D80 (price around $400+), as it is the most basic model that has internal screw drive motor. You need that to use it with the older D lens, and trust me, there are tonnes of excellent D lens. I for one use 50mm f/1.8 and 105mm f/2 DC. If you start with the D3000, you will have to get lens with AFS focusing, with tends to be more expensive. It depends on how far down you want to go. Remember, it's better to get the camera body only, and buy lens separately. Stock lens are fine, but a 50mm f/1.8 (used only $70-80) will be better due to its faster f-stop. For less than $600, a used D80 and a 50mm prime will take you far. 

Just my 2 cents, research before you buy. Look at some canon cameras too.

post #5 of 23

I concur: it seems like the D3000 is a cheap option to get started in a Nikon DSLR photo system, but if you plan to buy any lenses, it almost always loses out to a higher-end model (ie, the lens motor must be on the lens with the D3000, while many good Nikon-mount lenses assume the body has a motor, so these are incompatible).  If you end up using it like a big point-and-shoot, you won't necessarily buy lenses, but then you should get a fixed-lens camera in the first place.  The point of buying DSLR is to have the  interchangeable lens system.


I would suggest you quit reading reviews, and go to a camera store to hold some bodies.  See which one feels best.  Try Canon, Sony, Nikon, and Pentax...they all make good intro and prosumer bodies.  Don't worry about super-low-light noise statistics or nth degree RAW resolution for now.  Your technique will dominate your ability to take good photos.  So buy a body that suits you, and gets you into the lens family that you want for the future.  As others have noted, if you plan to do photography for a while, the total cost of the photographic system (body + lenses + flash + batteries + accessories) will dwarf the cost of the body, over time.  So buy into the system. 


On that note, I'd recommend Nikon or a Pentax for a budding photographer because of the availability of good older lenses and excellent, reasonably priced bodies.  Canon has excellent stuff, but is expensive, especially for good prime lenses.  Sony is behind the other three (Canon/Nikon/Pentax) with respect to lenses, IMO.  Pentax is great for artists, hobbyists, and parents to play with excellent prime lenses.  Nikon and Canon clearly dominate the fast action/sport and professional spaces.

post #6 of 23
I don't see any reason not to get a D3000. Nikon has so many inexpensive and high quality kit lenses, there is no need for a beginner to bother with old lenses. I could see being happy forever with kit lenses that cover 18 to 200 and a 35 1.8. The only screw drive lenses I use are Tokinas, and if I wasn't able to use them, I could find perfectly acceptable alternatives from Sigma or Tamron.
Edited by bigshot - 5/7/10 at 3:55pm
post #7 of 23

The in-body image stabilization ("IS"/"VR"/"anti-shake"/whatever) of the Sony's is a huge help, and underrated imo. Works with every lens you attach.

post #8 of 23

Both cameras will produce great images, however I can't fault Nikon for the ergonomics , ease of handling, snug natural feel in hand etc I find Sony's DSLR'S bulky in comparison. I also prefer Nikons user interface, it feels more logical when using over a period of time. Personal preference but try and hold each one and get a feel . Don't get too bogged down with the technical specs, its a tool at the end of day, it has to feel right. I managed to shoot a wedding as the main photographer using  Nikon D40 and SB-600 flashgun   - the sample gallery is here if your interested, I was really pleased with its performanc

shame its at an ex's still

Edited by DonCarr - 5/7/10 at 6:18pm
post #9 of 23

Since you are starting from scratch, you may want to look into micro 4/3.   It has much smaller body and dead on focus, albeit focusing speed is not as good as top of the line DSLR but on par with entry level DSLR though.   Panasonic G series or Olympus Pen should be a good starting point.   Well this is very forward looking position but will suit you well in the long run.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

The thing is, I will be using it as a point and shoot. My plan is that once I am comfortable with it I will start to take full advantage of different lenses and changing settings. That will probably be simmering like two or so months after I get it.


So, my next trip its to go to a camera store and try these things. I am currently leaning towards the canon, but holding something in hand may change that.


As for getting an older model, I think I week pass. I will get a basic model now and move up later.  Whether logical or not, I will be upgrading in a year or two.  Plus, if I decide I do not like a dslr and just want a simpler point and shoot, The lesser initial investment may be better.


I thought about the micro 4/3, but decided to ultimately go all out and get a not micro 4/3 system, i.e. a dslr.  


Thanks for all the advice,

post #11 of 23

The micro 4/3 has all the functionality of full size DSLR. It's only a lot smaller.

post #12 of 23

If you are looking for a point and shoot, you should look at point and shoot cameras. A DSLR is a very poor substitute for a P&S. It lacks the automation and convenience you might find that you really need. It's entirely possible to get great photos with small, inexpensive digital cameras, and many pros carry P&S cameras. They aren't inferior to DSLRs at all. Several models (Canon, Panasonic) have excellent performance and image quality. The only reason to get a DSLR is to utilize the interchangeable lenses and manual settings. If you don't plan to do that, a P&S will suit you much better.

Edited by bigshot - 5/7/10 at 8:32pm
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Like I said, the first two or so months will be me getting used to it.  Plus, I will have to save up for another lens.  Therefore it will be a big point and shoot.  However, my end goal is that I use the different lenses and actually learn about photography and whatnot.  That is where I will be happy I got a dslr.


My point is I know I want a dslr, even if I do not have the money (poor college student :( ) to take full advantage of the different lenses right now.


Regarding the whole micro  4/3 things:  I will go check them out.  Thanks for clarifying that.




EDIT:  I see where you read that I might just want a point and shoot.  That is not what I meant.  But thanks for giving me real advice.  I was on another forum I frequent, and pretty much this same thread turned into a huge Canon vs Nikon vs other pissing match.

Edited by nkk - 5/7/10 at 8:52pm
post #14 of 23

NIKoN iS BeST!!!!?!! wink

Edited by steven2992 - 5/7/10 at 9:41pm
post #15 of 23


$375 for D3000 refurb with kit lens. Good deal.

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