Digital SLR Cameras

A question for photography enthusiasts!

I've been researching about DSLR cameras and decided that I'll buy a Nikon D5000 this weekend for it's features and price. I'm still a novice (well, actually, just beginning to get interested at it) but I'm planning to take my photography skills to the next level. Any thoughts on this camera? Canon's also good (not sure which model is equivalent) but I noticed Nikon's shots are sharper.

Also, is there an online site that teaches a novice photographer about the basics? I know the Canon site has some tutorials in it but if there are others I'll gladly have a look.

The choice between Nikon and Canon is personal. They are both excellent.

The photo quality comes via the lens (glass) and quality costs.
what is your choice between Nikon D5000 and fujifilm finepix S200EXR and why

Honestly, I've only read about Nikon, Canon and Sony DSL cameras as I'm not sure about the other brands. Mostly, I consider the features (although I must admit I can't understand them all), price, review ratings, and actual shots. I also have a friends who have D5000 and D90 so I've tried them both. D90 is a bit expensive for me... Nikon D5000 seems the right one at this point.

Hmm... I just read about Canon 550D and just might change my mind. Harvey Norman has D5000 and 550D for the same price but D5000 comes with a twin lens kit (18mm to 55mm and 55mm to 200mm lens)... 55m to 200mm lenses seem to be for portrait and close-up shots... Would 18-55mm lens be a problem with close-ups?
55m to 200mm lenses seem to be for portrait and close-up shots... Would 18-55mm lens be a problem with close-ups?

It's the other way around. The 55 to 200 is for long distance shots and zooming in closer, the 18 to 55 is for close ups.

Lets just say that you are catered for 98% of photo shots with those two lenses.

I have a canon eos 400 D with the two lenses. It came as a package deal. Its great for sporting and action shots, especially with the zoom lense. But most of the time I just grab my wifes or daughters tiny pocket girlies camera for stationary stuff and often you couldn't tell the difference anyway. Those little cameras are getting pretty good now.

See ya's.
Using around ~100+ for both portrait and even close up shots can yield better results.
Short wide angle lenses can give excellent sports/action photos aswell.
It depends on the conditions and the desired ouput.

There is no compact camera that can compare to any SLR camera, unless you are comparing a well taken shot from a compact, to a poorly taken photo with an SLR. The difference is very noticeable on high quality LCD, or most CRT monitors, and no contest when it comes to printing from the photo lab.

Any slr with a twin lense kit will be a very good camera setup. A used 400d with some lenses from ebay, is good enough to easily produce professional photos that can be blown up to a3/11 x 17.

As for the photo's looking sharper on Nikon's, that's the cameraman's doing, not the camera. Even cheap kit lenses produce very sharp photos.
Well the difference between Nikon and Canon, I believe, is just personal choice. What style you like more and what you are used to. Currently I have a 1D Mk I! The first Professional Digital SLR that canon brought out in '01...sold for a mighty $16000 back then!

Anyway, I have been using this camera for a long time and I am always amazed at the quality of the photos this camera takes. I have blown up photos numerous times and you would never guess it is a 4.3mpx camera.

If you want a good quality SLR, look into getting an older digital camera and invest in some good glass. I spend $1000 on a camera body, $4-5000 on lenses and etc. Always remember to look on B & H PhotoVideo aswell. It's an american website that sells photography gear, I was able to pick up gear for $900 that retailed for over $1500 here!
A good place to look at reviews of Nikon cameras and lenses is here. Thom Hogan is a professional photographer who has one or more of everything.

He seems to like the D5000, a bit more than his D90 he says. That's unfortunate, because I bought a D90 last year after reading his reviews and the D5000 was just out then (but he hadn't reviewed it yet). Still, the D90 is a great camera too.

I think it would be an ideal camera, provided you are seriously interested in learning photography. You'll probably get frustrated with all the settings if you're not. There's a lot to learn, and if it is close to the D90, there are a lot of settings that won't mean much until you've learnt a fair amount.

If you really want to get into things, you might want some photo processing software as well. Digital photos tend to be on the soft side, so can generally benefit from sharpening, and good software can do all sorts of other useful enhancements as well. When I bought the D90, I also bought Nikon's Capture NX2 software. Again, it has a significant learning curve, but can do wonders to the photos.

And before you buy from Hardly Normal, check out some of the online places. I bought from Camerpro in Queensland, who were cheapest at the time short of parallel importers, but I notice a few other places selling the D5000 cheaper now, including in Sydney (I suggest avoiding parallel importers though, as you won't get the manufacturer warranty and I've seen a variety of complaints about some of their own warranties). And don't just accept kits they're advertising. If you know exactly what you want and it's not being offered, email them (Camerapro at least) for a price. That's what I did and got exactly what I wanted at a good price. One benefit of Camerapro is that the owner is a photographer, so knows what he's talking about.

Regarding lenses, Thom Hogan has a useful article about rationalising lenses. Based on that, for travelling, I bought the 16-85mm VR and 70-300mm VR. In practice though, I mostly just use the 16-85mm lens. A small tripod is useful too for travelling, when you really can't hand-hold.

Thanks for the inputs!

I now leaning more towards the (fairly) new Canon 550D for its superior HD video (and still shots not bad too!). The problem is that with my price range, I can only get the kit lens (18mm-55m). But as I'm just a beginner, I can study with that lens for a year and just buy another one next year if I level-up.

I also read that I can use Nikon lenses with Canon with an adaptor (but losing auto-focus) but not the other way around. I can borrow the 55-200mm Nikon lens from a friend of mine and just buy the adaptor at this point.
my favorite is the Nikon D90. Great features, video recording too. And you can use standard Nikon lenses not like the lower spec Nikon slr's which have the auto focus motor mechanism built into the lens instead of the body. This limits the number of lens available to purchase and quality of lens too, even on the used market. For that reason, D90 or above only for me!

on the other side, canon have great offerings too such as the 550.

personally i wouldn't go a twin lens kit, they are usually put together with cheaper lenses that aren't that good (beginner won't notice at first but will later) I'd look for a good body and maybe with a single lens kit for general use and then buy another quality lens that you will actually use and produces fantastic optics.

So pick a decent body (d90 or 550d i reckon) and then pick quality lenses, the majority of the image quality will come down to the quality of the lens.

If you already have lenses for a particular brand of slr, i'd stick to that brand so you can reuse those lenses, they get very expensive.

check out for reviews and other great info.
Don't know what price you're planning on paying for the Canon kit, but Camerapro are advertising the 550D with:

  • 18-55mm IS lens - $1,234
  • 18-55mm and 55-250mm lens kit - $1,523
  • 18-135mm IS lens - $1,770
  • 18-200mm IS lens - $1,935
I don't know anything about Canon lenses, and haven't looked up any reviews, but I think 18-135mm would be a great range for a single zoom lens. 18-55mm is a bit short in my opinion, and the optics in an 18-200mm might suffer a little with the long zoom range. And if you're planning on having two zoom lenses eventually, I think having some overlap is good too, otherwise you'll be constantly changing lenses. For my liking, 55mm is not a good break point, as I use both sides of that all the time.

Don't forget you'll also need a memory card - the larger and faster the better, although at your stage I'd take large over fast.

While both Nikon and Canon are good its a personal preference. I currently own a Nikon D300, where as my previous was a Nikon D70s one of the first Digital SLR from Nikon to come out. Depending on how far you want to go. I guess starting out on a entry level D5000 or 550D is the Go.
Once you start practicing and know what you wanna shoot and enjoy shooting, then start researching for lenses.

Cost of my equipment

D300 body only $2200 approx
Sigma wide angle 10-20mm second hand $500 new $900
Nikon 18-70mm $180 $300
Sb800 External flash $500
Camera bags 3 range from $100-200

What I want to complete my desire

Nikon 70-200VR II Retail $3000ish import $2600
Nikon 85mm 1.4 $1000
Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 $1500

So as you can see, what I want cost a couple of times more than what my body is worth. lenses are your asset, it should outlast your body many time if taken good care. And even when you sell them you get good returns after many years. (For the high end lenses). If I could turn back time and buy my desired lens from the start it would be great but I certainly can't shoot without a lens.

The creme of the crop lens is the 70-200mm whether it be Nikon or canon both make excellent quality you can't fault. What is so good about this lens. Its fast in focusing, and has a good Zoom length, good for sports, weddings, or just general.

Ive been on this photography forum
They are more Nikon based but Canon are catching up. Good advice and help, post up your photos and let people comment so you can make improvements.

To make things easier enroll yourself in a photography course that is reputable, and you will learn a lot more than just trying to work it out and follow instruction. Some professional photographer hold workshops, charge around $200-300 for two full days, and show the basics to get you going. Or if you have a place that does Adult night classes over a 8 week period 1 once a week $200 this is in Darwin though.
Try Ken Rockwell
Interesting website, thanks. He's a rather opinionated sort of guy, not all of which is balanced or I agree with. For example, he has a whole page raving about how much better shooting with film is than raw digital, but doesn't mention that film and processing costs a significant amount of money, which digital doesn't.

Well you can get it for $910 if you want to go the parallel importer path, but you won't get manufacturer warranty in Australia.


Yikes! Too late! I've bought one already.

I was plannig to buy the sinlge lens kit but in Ryda the twin lens was only $1518 plus $120 free accessories (monopod and remote control). So I printed that out and went to Clive Anthonys, Good Guys, JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman (I went back and forth from JB and Harvey haggling) and the best I've got was from JB Hi Fi. Including a 3yr warranty, a Sandisk 16GB SDHC (is this high performance? I don't know), a twin kit bag, and 2 filters (1 uv and 1 polarised) all for $1720.

I really went over my budget this time as I was only planning to buy the single lens kit and until 1.5K, but I can live with it. Original price from HarveyN for the twin kit was 1800+ and from JB it was 1700+ without the extras and extended warranty... I computed the same deal from Ryda and it was about even so I think $1720 was a good deal (well, I'd like to think so...)

Now to use it to its potential is a different thing. I'm now reading and reading and reading about it's menu and features. Good thing also that there's a booklet included which gives some pointers on how to take great photos. Give me a few days or weeks and I'll post some test shots (hopefully nice ones). I'll also read some of the suggested photography links.

Thanks again guys!
a Sandisk 16GB SDHC (is this high performance? I don't know)
I think the Sandisk Extremes are the high performance ones. My one is rated at 30MB/sec. However, performance is really only an issue if you want to take a lot of photos quickly, although it may also help with tranfer speed to a computer.

2 filters (1 uv and 1 polarised)
Get a UV filter for each lens and keep them on there all the time to protect the lens glass.

I really went over my budget this time
You always do buying camera gear. :p

I'm now reading and reading and reading about it's menu and features.
There are two main parts to taking good photos: technical quality and composition. The former can be improved by understanding all the settings, although for many situations just using the auto-everything mode works pretty well too, but composition can be just as good (or bad) on a Box Brownie.

I think a good way to learn the technical basics is to set the camera to manual mode and spend time playing around with combinations of shutter speed, aperture, zoom, and subject distance. Learn about depth of field and how to control it.

And most of all, have fun! :)