expert help with slr cameras


Apr 11, 2016
Hi, I am looking to get my nice camera at around 400$. I need help figuring out how much iso I need for night time photos.I also do a lot of landscape photos.


Mar 16, 2016
At $400, you will be buying a used entry level camera. The two brands with the most lenses to choose from are Nikon and Canon. I've owned both brands, but generally prefer Nikon because they have less ISO noise (although the newest Canon d80 looks like it might be getting close again).

At around 400, I would recommend the Nikon d5200 with the 18-105 lens. You can get this on Amazon used in "like new" condition for $460. You can sometimes find a copy with the slightly better 18-140 lens for the same or less (so keep an eye out). In general the bigger the difference between the first number and the last number the worse the lens. However the Nikon 18-105 was an exceptional lens. There is still nothing like it in this price range. The 18-140 finally surpassed it, but it took many years. Avoid the 18-200, 18-300, and similar as they are not as good guality.
Also consider the Sony a6000, which can be had used for around 525
It does not have as many lenses available as the Nikon, but it is a decent camera in a fairly small package.
Like the Nikon it does fairly well at higher ISOs and so will help with low light photography.

If you want to get some quality shots, get a tripod. It gives better results than high ISO. Just use a longer shutter.
If you want to get semi-serious about photography, you are going to end up spending a fair bit on lenses. For example, you mentioned landscapes. For a landscape lens the cheapest which is any good is the Sigma 10-20. Even used this lens by itself is around $300.
There isn't one at this price available for the Sony. But, you can adapt the lens to Sony and use manual focus.

Personally I don't care for the entry level cameras. They take good photos (as good as the semi-pro ones) but I prefer the Semi pro level and above for the controls. I would rather shoot with the older sensor in a Nikon d7000 (same rough price as a d5200) because the better ergonomics and added controls matter more to me than being able to go 1/3 stop higher ISO or having a few more pixels. But that is ME. I have used pro level cameras for so long now, that any camera missing the controls I am used to feels crippled. I think most of those who get serious end up thinking the same thing. But if you plan to mostly use the automatic modes or semi-automatic modes then something like the d5200 makes sense. Other wise consider the d7000, d7100, or d7200. But they are going to put you well above budget once you add a lens.