Which entry level Nikon for my sister?

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Nov 13, 2009
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Guys,

My sister wants to get into SLR photography but only has about $500 to spend on a camera.

I'd like her to get a Nikon so that I'll be better able to help her and give her equipment from time to time.

I really don't that much about the cameras below the D90. Are there any that have an AF motor built in? I guess the D80 does and the D70 too? Are their others?

Any help or direction you could give me would be appreciated.

Thanks,
 
Joined
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She would need a lens too.

She has a Canon S90 that she bought on my recommendation that she could sell if the camera does video. So that would give her $750 to spend.

The Sony A33 actually looks like quite the camera for the money - 16.2 mp - same sensor as the D7000? Shoots 7.5 fps or something like that because of the semi transparent mirror and can do continuous autofocus for liveview and video. And it retails for $799. I also like the fact that you can use all the old Minolta lenses and have Image Stabilization for them because Sony does it in camera. Hmmm.
 
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Yeah the Sony A33 does sound appealing for what it does. I believe you can even buy a Nikon to Alpha mount adapter (no AF though).

The biggest drawback I seen with the Sony was the viewfinder is Electronic (gets grainy in low-light) and the batteries don't last that long.
 
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I might have to go and look at one.

I bet the D50 would be a good little camera for her too if I could find one lightly used. I'm going to check that as well.
 
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I bet the D50 would be a good little camera for her too if I could find one lightly used.

I don't know what you mean by "lightly used," but anything up to 50,000 clicks will probably be a good starter for her. If she uses the camera a lot in the next couple of years, she'll probably wear it out at about the time that she'll be ready for an upgrade. If she uses it only lightly, she may not be in the market for an upgrade then and it might suit her well for at least another five years.

The same is true for a D80, though I assume a D50 can be bought less expensively. Both have AF motors. I have owned both (I still own a D80) and believe either model would be ideal if the cost of the body and lens meets your financial requirements.
 
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The Sony A33 is a very capable little camera. I was seriously considering one but bought a D7000 instead. It's feature packed and is smaller than a traditional DSLR. The EVF can really drain the battery though and of course, you guys won't be able to share lenses. If she just needs it for a pick-up-and-go kit, then I'd recommend it. If she wants a more capable body with room to grow, then the D80 would have my vote.
 
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The Sony A33 is a very capable little camera. I was seriously considering one but bought a D7000 instead. It's feature packed and is smaller than a traditional DSLR. The EVF can really drain the battery though and of course, you guys won't be able to share lenses. If she just needs it for a pick-up-and-go kit, then I'd recommend it. If she wants a more capable body with room to grow, then the D80 would have my vote.

+1
 
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The only concern I had was the EVF, but the reviews that I read all rave about it. Apparently it is huge - much larger display than any other cropped sensor camera out there - they actually compare it's size to full frame cameras.

My sister is a small woman with petite hands and I think she might really like the compact size of the Sony. And, with the video capability it has she can sell her Canon S90.

I see the A33 advertized for $699 with the 18-55mm lens. If she gets $250 for her S90 she's $539 out of pocket after our 13% tax.
 
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Hey Darren, I see that you're from Toronto too. If you walk into any mall with a Sony Style, you can pick up an A33 and shoot around the store with it. The EVF is actually pretty nice. It's bright and big - just as advertised. She won't regret this or the D80 at all.
 
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Yes. I'm likely going to go and try one out.

I really don't see her being too keen on getting a used camera like the D80. They just look so dated.

I think it's either the A33 or the Nikon D3100.

Anyone have any thoughts about the D3100?
 
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Feb 20, 2011
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I helped a young female friend about a year ago select a camera. We reduced to a Panasonic 4/3 or Canon 1000d. As soon as she looked through the EVF of the Panny she hated it! So bought the Canon. They may have improved since then, but at least let here have look through it to check it out first.
 
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Yes. I'm likely going to go and try one out.

I really don't see her being too keen on getting a used camera like the D80. They just look so dated.

I think it's either the A33 or the Nikon D3100.

Anyone have any thoughts about the D3100?

I have a D3100 & its quite handy to use. The kit lens 18-55 is decent too.
 
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Dec 27, 2010
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As far as the D3100 goes it has turned out to be a great little camera for me. The D3100 is my first DSLR as well. I've had mine since Christmas of 2010, and I now have approx 5500 clicks on the shutter. Here's a few of my pictures that I've taken with various lenses including the 55-200VR (came in a kit from Best Buy along with the 18-55VR), and also a 50mm f/1.8 lens that I picked up cheap on eBay. I don't have any pictures handy that I've taken with the 18-55VR, but from what I can see the picture quality between the 18-55 and the 55-200 is very similar.

Taken with my 50mm 1.8
Kona.png
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Taken with the 55-200 at 200mm
Tundra%202.png
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Also taken with the 55-200mm
View attachment 867567
 
Joined
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Well guys...

Since I posted last I got out to see the Sony A33 first hand.

The verdict:

Not good - I was really quite surprised by how bad it was.

It wasn't the EVF that ruined it for me either - I actually thought that was one of the strongest points of the camera.

My primary issue was build quality. It really and truly struck me as "toy" like in every way. The plastics used are so thin and light, that I can't even begin to compare it to my old D90. The 18-55mm kit lens is a complete joke - I can't believe that people complain about the plastic mount on the Nikon kit lenses after looking at this thing. The zoom action was just what I would expect with a toy camera...plastic on plastic that would sort of stick every now and again, making a smooth zoom near impossible.

I don't doubt that this camera is capable of taking a good picture but I really couldn't imagine using it for more than about 10 minutes.

I think we're now looking at the D3100 with the kit lens.
 

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