Best, cheapest DSLR for beginners in 2015?!

DFBHDTS

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Hi all,

I'm off to Iceland in September and hopefully if I save a little extra I'd like to grab myself a nice camera to take with me. I've been into photography for a while but just never really got myself a half decent SLR but with my trip coming up I thought it would be a good opportunity to get one.

My budget is around £200-£300. Anyone got a good place to start? The sort of photos I enjoy taking are landscapes and I'd also like to delve into night photography too. So anything that is suited to those two sorts of photography would be ideal. It doesn't have to be too user friendly or aimed at beginners. It's more the price point that matters to me as I'm quite techy myself and I'll be able to get to grips with it fairly easily I reckon.

Thanks in advance!
 

CelicaGT

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What is the best camera? The one you have with you of course ;)
 

CelicaGT

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I would suggest you investigate what work for you long term, you are investing in a system not a camera. In your price point I would suspect any of the APS sized sensor models would fit the bill, both Canon and Nikon have some very fine offerings. Do be warned however that if you ever consider going full frame you should purchase full frame lenses, though more expensive they will offer you that upgrade path. I myself am running an Olympus m43 setup, though beautiful well performing cameras I do wish I had started out with a full frame setup. Sadly I am far too invested now to switch over lol ($$$).
 

Urumiko

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In that price range, especialy due to traveling i'd consider a compact system camera? I bought a sony A6000 to take on holiday to america. Its fully programmable, well featured, and has a great APS-C sensor.

So based on the strength of that i'd recommend the a5000 in your price range. There are some great lightroom bundles on the Samsung range too, though the sony cameras are better.
 

CelicaGT

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I'd forgotten about the Sony offerings *facepalm* excellent performance and price, lens selection is a little slim though you should be covered for landscapes etc.
 

Traciatim

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I also recommend a mirrorless or compact system camera for traveling. You can get some of them incredibly cheap and have just as many features as a full sized DSLR, they each have their advantages.

Looking over the Samsung, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, and Canon offerings you have a pretty wide range. Personally I like the micro four thirds systems because of their lens sizes and selection, but Sony and Samsung have some really good options too.

If you just want a nice easy camera to get nice images out of you could also look at compact cameras that have really nice lenses like the Olympus XZ-2, Canon S120, or Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. You don't need an SLR to take good pictures, there are plenty of good compact and an interchangeable lens cameras that can take amazing images.

Ask yourself this: Though a little older the Olympus XZ-2 only weighs 346g and fits in your pocket easily. The Canon T5 (1200D) weighs 480g, is 3 times the volume, and the 18-55 lens is an additional 205g and sticks out an additional 75mm... so you are going to need a bag to carry it around in. Do you really want that kind of anchor attached to you the entire time you are traveling?
 

CelicaGT

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OMD-EM10 with 12-40 pro here, also still have my PEN PL-5 and an assortment of Panny and Zuiko lenses. Cannot beat the value of m43 really. I do wish for a larger sensor....sometimes..
 

DFBHDTS

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Thanks for the responses peeps. I guess compact cameras makes sense for my trip however where I live at the moment and my current salary this will probably be my only holiday for a while. And as I live in sunny Devon in the UK I'd probably spend a lot of my time taking photos around my local area for the foreseeable future.

I had looked at the Canon 1200D to be honest before and was recommended but the bit of money I had at the time went towards fixing my car lol so I ended up knocking that on the head. That was a while back.

For me I don't want to jump in the deep end and as I'm a complete beginner in all of this I'm just after a DSLR that is around the £300 range that's highly customisable. Like CelicaGT said, an investment. A camera that will take great pictures, but I can invest in over the coming months and years with extra lenses and kit if I do enjoy it and start getting into photography more. I mean at the moment I'm just using my Xperia Z2 for my pictures which is a great little compact camera for travelling anyway. But I want to take that next step into real photography - Which you guys/girls are doing with your setups! :)

 

DFBHDTS

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Whoops didn't mean to select this answer as best solution! Don't know how you change that?!

Anyway I just need some sort of guidance as I have no idea where to start. Apart from those two types of scenes I'm interested in taking photos of I don't really know much else. When I say I'm a techy I mean I will understand things quickly and understand more about the camera and the specs. But as it stands right now, I'm a complete noob lol

 

CelicaGT

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It's a tough thing to suggest tbh, a lot of it is subjective. I LOVE Olympus M43 offerings, that said they are not for everyone. Landscape...well every brand will have some offering for lenses of course, low light or night photography...well that will depend on what kind of compromises you are willing to make in terms of image quality. For instance my 12-40 pro is an excellent low light lens (there are many much better) and it cost $1000cdn, I still have to crank the ISO to get an acceptable shutter speed. I do landscapes, macro and some depth of field so I bought the tools appropriate for those usage cases. In the case of DoF, my choice of system was poor though I didn't know it at the time. The smaller sensor size limits me to a much wider DoF at a given aperture, and less bokeh. Though I must say I do find most of my results pleasing I could stretch my legs furthar with a full frame system. So I suggest you balance portability for you trip with future use case, in that case I would suggest Sony's offering as it hits the most of your requirements.
 

DFBHDTS

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Thanks I'll keep digging and do some more research :)
 

Traciatim

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I started with an Olympus C5050z point and shoot and wasn't even really in to it much at the time, but just had a good deal on a nice camera with a nice lens. Any camera with manual controls you can learn about photography and how exposure and light work.

The system you pick you probably want some entry level body and a lens, the lenses will be where you spend the money and then replace the body every few years but keep the lens set you have. The thing I really like about Micro Four Thirds is the aspect ratio, and the nice trade off between sensor size, body size, and lens size.

Things you should probably ignore while you are shopping is X zoom rating (like 24X zoom), since most zooms collect less light when trying to get closer, but also amplify movements at some point you are barely able to get a good picture except in perfect lighting conditions anyway. Also the X rating is pretty much meaningless since a 10-30mm zoom is a 3x zoom and a 100-300mm lens also is a 3x zoom but both are used for very different purposes. You won't see this rating very much on SLR/mirrorless system cameras but more on fixed lens cameras.

Another thing is megapixels, more sometimes works out better but beyond about 10-12 million and you won't really notice a difference on a screen or print unless you are printing HUGE pictures. An 8x10 at 300dpi is a 7.2 megapixel image and with a proper photo printer will look fantastic if the image was taken properly. You photo's data size will also be larger with more megapixels which means slower processing and more storage needs... so again, this is a trade off where if you need more then you probably already know why anyway.

Look for things like customizable buttons, it fits in your hands, the buttons are easy to hit without looking.

I'd almost ignore specs from the get go and try to find something that you like the look and feel of as any of the cameras in this range will take some pretty nice images in their auto modes and will have all the manual modes as you learn about photography. By the time you are a year or two in you are probably going to either pick a different system because you will find one that has exactly what you want and you'll know why at that point, or you will replace the body and keep any lenses you have and upgrade to a newer body that has some feature that you want.
 
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