Looking for a good entry-mid level camera below 1200$ for event and landscape shots.

Jimmy Pritt

Honorable
Dec 25, 2013
2
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I'm part of a marching band, and I enjoy being able to go to things like competitions or parades, and shooting photos of the even and the people marching through, however I also would like to do some shots of the outdoors and mountain trails I live near, I would love a camera that would let me take sharp photos and export them in RAW for editing. I need a few reccomendations that are in my budget as I'm unsure about what to choose.
 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
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Let me give a suggestion...by all means not THE SOLUTION, but there is no right answer. You have 3 choices. And the main choice is not which camera to buy, but what type you should get and the lifestyle you want to lead with your camera.

Point and shoot is not a bad way to go. There are some nice ones under $1000 that even pros use. They are compact, require no maintenance or sensor cleaning, and take good pictures. Remember that a professional photographer will take better pictures with a cell phone than you can with a $10,000 National Geographic kit. Don't rule out a nice point and shoot if you just want to throw your camera in a bag and go on a trip. At $1200 you're talking top of the line.

Now if you want to go interchangeable lenses $1200 doesn't go very far. But what it does is get you introduced to the hobby of photography. You get a simple camera body, 1 lense, and you get to go out and learn the craft. Aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, white balance, Coma, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting, etc... It's all stuff you're going to learn. You don't just throw the camera in a backpack and go out and have fun. You have a dedicated camera bag with the camera, 10lbs of lenses, cleaning cloths, spray, lens pens, caps, filters, pro tripod, travel tripod, monopod, etc.... You must be prepared to learn, lug the stuff around, use a tripod, and spend over an hour at one location getting that perfect picture.

The best way I can describe it is if you just want to go around and take pictures as a tourist, etc... and save them all on the computer as souvenirs then I'd get a very nice point and shoot. If you want to spend 30 minutes setting up and taking 20 pictures of the same thing to get that perfect shot of a waterfall go SLR. If you would be interested in heading out at night and taking beautiful photos of the stars full of color with landscape go SLR. You can throw a nice zoom on an SLR and use it just like point and shoot as well.

If you want all the potential an SLR provides, and don't mind lugging all the stuff around and learning then go interchangeable lens. but be prepared to spend money and time.

Read up on mirrorless vs SLR. Mirrorless is pretty much as good as SLR but don't believe the hype of the compact size. Yes they are smaller but consider putting a 450mm telephoto 3lb lens on the end and it's just as big as an SLR. Plus the SLR is a nice size and grip and feels good in the hands compared to a mirrorless. Many people prefer the larger size of an SLR since it just feels right with all the lenses you snap on the front. There are more lenses available with an SLR as well and it has a price advantage over mirrorless.

Mirrorless is great for 4k video shooting over 30 minutes at a time. If this appeals to you then I would look at the Sony's. Sony makes a mirrorless that will compete with the best of SLRs. Personally I prefer Gopros and DJI drones for video and prefer a camera for photos. For SLR take a look at Pentax. They have many advantages. They offer the best full size optical viewfinder, GPS capability, Star tracking for astrophotography, in camera image stabilization, and weather sealing. If you would like to use the camera in the rain or snow then Pentax is a no brainer. If astrophotography interests you then Pentax again. And with the image stabilization you can take longer exposures hand held than with other brands that would blur. or you can buy 3rd party lenses without image stabilization built in and you still get it because it's built into the body. The processing and sensor quality of Pentax is also up there with the best. The autofocus isn't as great as say the Nikons and Canons, but as a hobbyist you won't really notice and I highly recommend the Pentax system. Pentax also offer great value. For example their $2000 K1 camera competes with the $4000 Nikon and Canon, and they are fully weather sealed. Nobody can beat their value and ruggedness.

Now lets say you want SLR. And lets say you decide on a Pentax for example. You can buy either a good camera and a cheap lens or a cheap camera and a better lense. I would always go the cheap camera good lens route. You don't want to end up with a cheap lens and limit your photography because of it. A $4000 camera will still not perform with a cheap lens. A good lens will also last you a lifetime while a camera body will eventually die and be upgraded. I'd recommend learning on a cheaper body and get a very nice lens that will allow you to take nice pictures in low light like at night and indoors. You can also get cameras as a body only or with a kit lens. You do get a good deal if you buy the kit lens and they are good lenses but I wouldn't buy it. I'd get the body only and spend the money on a good lens. It makes a world of difference.

As a recommendation I'd look at the Pentax K70 for $600. It's a notch above an entry level camera and will take very nice pictures and give you all the features you need to get into professional photography. It's the only SLR for $600 that will give you all the controls of more expensive SLRs so you can start learning the art of photography. The autofocus isn't as great so taking pictures of racecars might not be as good but you can always upgrade to a better camera body in the future. For $600 you can't be too picky.

As a lens I'd get the Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 for around $820. This is a professional quality zoom lens that goes ultra wide at 16mm for landscape and cityscape to zoomed in at 50mm for portraits. It's completely weather sealed and has the image quality of Sony, Canon and Nikon lenses costing over $1000. It's a great walkaround lens that can last you a lifetime. It also has an F2.8 which tells you how much light it takes in. 2.8 is when you start getting into the pro stuff and this lense can perform indoors in dark places like wedding receptions, museums, at night when sun starts going down. With a kit lens it's harder and you have to sacrifice image quality in these situations. Even outdoors in a thunderstorm is a challenge with a kit lens, while the F2.8 would perform great. And being weather sealed this is all possible.

So for around $1400 you get the Pentax K70 body and DA* 16-50mm lens and an investment into a lifetime hobby. If you just want to take pictures and want to never mind the mumbo jumbo then pick up a nice point and shoot and forget everything else. If you want to head outdoors, set up a tripod, and spend 30 minutes taking that perfect blurred waterfall picture in the mist and another 30 minutes precessing the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom to get that shot National Geographic would be proud of, then get the Pentax and you'll have a blast. The 16-50mm lens I recommended allows it to be used as a great walk around as well, just like a point and shoot.

Future upgrades would be a tripod with a nice camera head, a telephoto lense like a 100-300mm, and a camera bag or clip. Peak Design makes nice stuff and they have a clip you screw into the camera body where a tripod would go then it just snaps onto a backpack strap or belt to carry the camera around so it's not swinging around your neck on a strap. The sky is the limit. But be warned if you were to go Pentax with the nice lens, you are stuck with Pentax for life unless you sell all your lenses. That's why people stay with Canon or Nikon or Sony, is because they own thousands of dollars in Lenses. Unless you are rich and can trade everything then decide wisely.

Another thing I forgot. Interchangeable lenses allow you to screw filters into the front of the lens. You can for example get a polarizing filter and put it on the lense. Just like polarized sunglasses, you can rotate the filter to get rid of glare. One reason I like the Pentax is the amazing optical viewfinder. I look through it, then turn the filter to get rid of the glare. It allows you to see into water when taking pictures of lakes, rivers, puddles, etc... It'll get rid of reflections when doing glass like storefronts. And for the sky you can rotate it till it's bright blue and the clouds pop...otherwise it'll be a grey washout. I always have a polarizing filter on 100% of the time during the day. You cannot do stuff like this with a point and shoot. SLR is so awesome, but it requires so much material and time to do it right. But it's the only way to experience it all.


 

Chugalug_

Estimable
Jan 28, 2016
763
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5,960
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This is a fantastic deal, and a top notch camera for the money.
Requires you to spend a bit more, but also comes with all the accessories you'll need which is worth considering.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073J26G65/ref=twister_B00U5UAI7K?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Here's another option, comes with a free 1TB HDD and Amazon Drive.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAIHNQF/ref=twister_B01BW89AN6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Sorry they're both over, but worth saving for, the truly good cameras are above your price range, the next dip down is $800 options like the T5i for quality and value.

 
Those are nice SLRs, but does OP want an SLR? There are lots of great mirrorless cameras (can change lens but lack of a mirror box means wide angle lenses can be much smaller) and fixed lens cameras you can buy for much less than $1200.

To OP: What are your long-range plans?

  • ■Do you want to be able to change lenses so you can build up a collection of different lenses for different uses?
    ■Do you want to compose pictures looking through the viewfinder, or looking at the display on the back?
    ■Are low-light or action (sports) photos important?
    ■Are wide angle shots important?
    ■How about telephotos?
    ■Are you going to take close-ups (of insects, flowers, etc)?
    ■Do you plan to take snapshots, or are you going to work more on composition and lighting?
    ■Do you want this to be a one-time purchase (until you replace it in 7-10 years), or do you plan to invest more money into building it up in the future?
    ■Is being waterproof / dustproof a necessity or a preference?
    ■Do you plan to shoot video with this? What type? 1080p? 4k? 30 fps? 60 fps? time lapse? slow motion?
    ■Do you plan to do portraiture or similar (e.g. food) with creamy blurred backgrounds?
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
Part of helping you stay within your budget is knowing, as has been mentioned, whether or not this includes any additional lenses. Below is a short list of possibilities that fall within your budget. All prices quoted below are from B&H Photo.

B&H Photo has a Canon EOS 70D on sale ($600 off and ends 7/29) for $1,048.00. The kit comes with two lenses - 18-55mm and 55-250mm.

The Fujifilm X-T20 kit comes with a 18-55mm lens and is $1,199.00.

The Nikon D7100 basic kit with a 18-105mm lens and comes in at $1,176.33.

Those are just three of the possibilities. If you have a camera shop near you or a big box store that sells cameras it would be good idea to go and see which one you like best. You may prefer the button placement of one over another or the way you access features/menus or something else. Better to take your time and be sure since the body is just the beginning if you plan to do much photography.
 

Camigat

Prominent
Feb 24, 2017
1
0
510
0
I love the nikon 80D, i think that this one is amazing, you can find a lot of other accessories related to this one, of course they cost a little bit, but i think that it's worth it. Of course you don't have to buy all other at the same time, but you can buy the camera and after some time to add something new to it. This is what i do! Actually this camera also help me to feel better, because of health issues i was always on onlinepharmacyreviews.org searching for help, and taking pictures became really important for me
 

Jimmy Pritt

Honorable
Dec 25, 2013
2
0
10,510
0


1. I would like to build up a collections of different lenses.
2. I would actually prefer a viewfinder.
3. Lowlight can be important, however I'm most likely doing stadium shots with stadium lighting.
4.Wide Angle would be nice, however not required.
5. Telephoto would also be a nice addition.
6. Close ups aren't too big of a deal, but again a collection for different situations would be a goal.
7. I'm not too sure what you mean by this :sweat: , however I plan on doing more photos of things like the lake near by, and the neighboring wooded area.
8. This is probably going to last me for a while, however I would like to upgrade in a few years(5-6 years), when I have money to get a more advance camera.
9. a little bit of weather proofing is important, but I'm not going to go out in the drenching rain.
10. Video would be nice, but I don't think 4k is necessary for my type of shooting.
11. Again, it would be nice, but not too necessary. I like macro shots, but that might be a purchase I'll make down the line.

Generally, I would like to focus on outdoor landscape shots, aswell as some general street photos of something like a marching band which is who I'm generally around.
 

I meant did you want a camera you can just point and shoot with, or did you plan to fiddle with a lot of settings until the photo was "just right"? Based on your other responses, it sounds like the latter.

Aside from weight considerations, it sounds like you really do want a DSLR. The important thing to understand about DSLRs is that you're not buying a camera. You're buying a lens system. There are multiple competing systems, with Canon and Nikon being the two big ones. I'm personally on Canon, but I think as of the last 5 years Nikon has surpassed Canon and my recommendation to newcomers has been to get Nikon. From what I understand, Canon's user interface is better. Their AF lenses used to be better than Nikon's, but they're pretty much the same now. And Nikon packs a lot more features per dollar into their bodies. Hence the recommendation for Nikon. But take some time to explore the different systems (Canon, Nikon, Four-thirds, Sony) before deciding which to get.

As you're just starting out, the usual recommendation is for a 35mm or 50mm fixed focus lens and a wide-range zoom (like 18-140mm). Since you say your interest is more landscapes, the 35mm is probably better (actually 24mm would be, but that's rather expensive). The 50mm is more suited for portraiture, and just barely at that. The fixed lens is usually fast - f/1.8 or f/2.8, so will double as a low-light lens. It'll also provide high image quality when you need it. The zoom will give you both wide angle and telephoto, and allow you to explore different types of photography so you can better decide what you like to do. If after a year you notice that 90% of your photos are shot at 100-140mm, then you know your next lens should be a telephoto. If you notice 90% of them are 18-35mm, then you know you want a wide angle. The 18-55 and 55-200 combo would work too, but for the first lens I think splitting your zoom range into two is a mistake. You'll probably come to hate switching lenses like I have, and want to just buy a second body. LOL

Why haven't I talked about the body yet? Because when you get a DSLR, you're buying into a lens system. The body is secondary. It will be obsolete in 5 years and you're going to replace it anyway. The lenses you'll probably keep using for 15-30 years. So the choice of body isn't as important as the choice of lenses. Pick which lenses you want first, then with your remaining budget buy the best body you can afford. (Nikon and Canon frequently run sales, combo deals, and rebates. So if you're in the U.S. I recommend monitoring a deal site like slickdeals and wait for a good deal before buying.)

To help select lenses, I like these sites for lens reviews. They're a bit technical so may not suit you - there are plenty of other review sites:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/
http://www.photozone.de/

I like this site for body reviews, though again there are plenty of other good ones:
https://www.dpreview.com/

As a landscape photographer, you will probably eventually want to get a full frame body (sensor is the same size as old 35mm film). The higher resolution sensors are usually full frame, and will allow you to shoot landscapes with a lot of detail which can be enlarged a lot. Most modern bodies use APS-C sized sensors, about 65% the size of full frame. This reduces your field of view (makes lens focal lengths seem 1.5x longer), but reduces cost considerably. Since this is your first body, stick with the smaller sensor (the full frame bodies are out of your price range anyway). Just be mindful that there are two lines of lenses - ones designed for full frame (FX on Nikon, EF on Canon), and ones designed for APS-C sized sensors (DX on Nikon, EF-S on Canon). Full frame lenses can be used across both size DSLRs, APS-C lenses cannot be used on full frame bodies. So keep that in mind as you build up your lens collection.
 

BrianVS

Honorable
Oct 17, 2013
6
0
10,520
1
A new, full-frame (24mm x 36mm) sensor is going to break your budget. You could pick up a used Nikon D610 within your budget- but many people prefer new. KEH camera sells the D610 used, with warranty $1100~$1200. New prices, ~$1500. Price does not include lens, figure another $100 for an entry level zoom.

The Nikon D7200 is a "DX" format camera, "1.5x crop factor". Under $1000 new, under $800 "Factory refurbished with USA Warranty" (Cameta Camera). A 35mm lens is considered a "normal" field-of-view. A 24mm lens would be a good wide-angle. This camera will use Nikon's manual focus lenses going back to 1978 and Auto-focus lenses going back to ~1988. Will also use all the newer lenses. In other words- lots of choices in lenses, pick up slowly. Used lenses hold up better than used DSLR's. I use a 1990 50/1.4 AF-Nikkor on my Nikon Df, as well as manual focus lenses going back much further.
 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
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18,760
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Let me give a suggestion...by all means not THE SOLUTION, but there is no right answer. You have 3 choices. And the main choice is not which camera to buy, but what type you should get and the lifestyle you want to lead with your camera.

Point and shoot is not a bad way to go. There are some nice ones under $1000 that even pros use. They are compact, require no maintenance or sensor cleaning, and take good pictures. Remember that a professional photographer will take better pictures with a cell phone than you can with a $10,000 National Geographic kit. Don't rule out a nice point and shoot if you just want to throw your camera in a bag and go on a trip. At $1200 you're talking top of the line.

Now if you want to go interchangeable lenses $1200 doesn't go very far. But what it does is get you introduced to the hobby of photography. You get a simple camera body, 1 lense, and you get to go out and learn the craft. Aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, white balance, Coma, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting, etc... It's all stuff you're going to learn. You don't just throw the camera in a backpack and go out and have fun. You have a dedicated camera bag with the camera, 10lbs of lenses, cleaning cloths, spray, lens pens, caps, filters, pro tripod, travel tripod, monopod, etc.... You must be prepared to learn, lug the stuff around, use a tripod, and spend over an hour at one location getting that perfect picture.

The best way I can describe it is if you just want to go around and take pictures as a tourist, etc... and save them all on the computer as souvenirs then I'd get a very nice point and shoot. If you want to spend 30 minutes setting up and taking 20 pictures of the same thing to get that perfect shot of a waterfall go SLR. If you would be interested in heading out at night and taking beautiful photos of the stars full of color with landscape go SLR. You can throw a nice zoom on an SLR and use it just like point and shoot as well.

If you want all the potential an SLR provides, and don't mind lugging all the stuff around and learning then go interchangeable lens. but be prepared to spend money and time.

Read up on mirrorless vs SLR. Mirrorless is pretty much as good as SLR but don't believe the hype of the compact size. Yes they are smaller but consider putting a 450mm telephoto 3lb lens on the end and it's just as big as an SLR. Plus the SLR is a nice size and grip and feels good in the hands compared to a mirrorless. Many people prefer the larger size of an SLR since it just feels right with all the lenses you snap on the front. There are more lenses available with an SLR as well and it has a price advantage over mirrorless.

Mirrorless is great for 4k video shooting over 30 minutes at a time. If this appeals to you then I would look at the Sony's. Sony makes a mirrorless that will compete with the best of SLRs. Personally I prefer Gopros and DJI drones for video and prefer a camera for photos. For SLR take a look at Pentax. They have many advantages. They offer the best full size optical viewfinder, GPS capability, Star tracking for astrophotography, in camera image stabilization, and weather sealing. If you would like to use the camera in the rain or snow then Pentax is a no brainer. If astrophotography interests you then Pentax again. And with the image stabilization you can take longer exposures hand held than with other brands that would blur. or you can buy 3rd party lenses without image stabilization built in and you still get it because it's built into the body. The processing and sensor quality of Pentax is also up there with the best. The autofocus isn't as great as say the Nikons and Canons, but as a hobbyist you won't really notice and I highly recommend the Pentax system. Pentax also offer great value. For example their $2000 K1 camera competes with the $4000 Nikon and Canon, and they are fully weather sealed. Nobody can beat their value and ruggedness.

Now lets say you want SLR. And lets say you decide on a Pentax for example. You can buy either a good camera and a cheap lens or a cheap camera and a better lense. I would always go the cheap camera good lens route. You don't want to end up with a cheap lens and limit your photography because of it. A $4000 camera will still not perform with a cheap lens. A good lens will also last you a lifetime while a camera body will eventually die and be upgraded. I'd recommend learning on a cheaper body and get a very nice lens that will allow you to take nice pictures in low light like at night and indoors. You can also get cameras as a body only or with a kit lens. You do get a good deal if you buy the kit lens and they are good lenses but I wouldn't buy it. I'd get the body only and spend the money on a good lens. It makes a world of difference.

As a recommendation I'd look at the Pentax K70 for $600. It's a notch above an entry level camera and will take very nice pictures and give you all the features you need to get into professional photography. It's the only SLR for $600 that will give you all the controls of more expensive SLRs so you can start learning the art of photography. The autofocus isn't as great so taking pictures of racecars might not be as good but you can always upgrade to a better camera body in the future. For $600 you can't be too picky.

As a lens I'd get the Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 for around $820. This is a professional quality zoom lens that goes ultra wide at 16mm for landscape and cityscape to zoomed in at 50mm for portraits. It's completely weather sealed and has the image quality of Sony, Canon and Nikon lenses costing over $1000. It's a great walkaround lens that can last you a lifetime. It also has an F2.8 which tells you how much light it takes in. 2.8 is when you start getting into the pro stuff and this lense can perform indoors in dark places like wedding receptions, museums, at night when sun starts going down. With a kit lens it's harder and you have to sacrifice image quality in these situations. Even outdoors in a thunderstorm is a challenge with a kit lens, while the F2.8 would perform great. And being weather sealed this is all possible.

So for around $1400 you get the Pentax K70 body and DA* 16-50mm lens and an investment into a lifetime hobby. If you just want to take pictures and want to never mind the mumbo jumbo then pick up a nice point and shoot and forget everything else. If you want to head outdoors, set up a tripod, and spend 30 minutes taking that perfect blurred waterfall picture in the mist and another 30 minutes precessing the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom to get that shot National Geographic would be proud of, then get the Pentax and you'll have a blast. The 16-50mm lens I recommended allows it to be used as a great walk around as well, just like a point and shoot.

Future upgrades would be a tripod with a nice camera head, a telephoto lense like a 100-300mm, and a camera bag or clip. Peak Design makes nice stuff and they have a clip you screw into the camera body where a tripod would go then it just snaps onto a backpack strap or belt to carry the camera around so it's not swinging around your neck on a strap. The sky is the limit. But be warned if you were to go Pentax with the nice lens, you are stuck with Pentax for life unless you sell all your lenses. That's why people stay with Canon or Nikon or Sony, is because they own thousands of dollars in Lenses. Unless you are rich and can trade everything then decide wisely.

Another thing I forgot. Interchangeable lenses allow you to screw filters into the front of the lens. You can for example get a polarizing filter and put it on the lense. Just like polarized sunglasses, you can rotate the filter to get rid of glare. One reason I like the Pentax is the amazing optical viewfinder. I look through it, then turn the filter to get rid of the glare. It allows you to see into water when taking pictures of lakes, rivers, puddles, etc... It'll get rid of reflections when doing glass like storefronts. And for the sky you can rotate it till it's bright blue and the clouds pop...otherwise it'll be a grey washout. I always have a polarizing filter on 100% of the time during the day. You cannot do stuff like this with a point and shoot. SLR is so awesome, but it requires so much material and time to do it right. But it's the only way to experience it all.


 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
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https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwih2vyrzIbWAhWi8YMKHZd7Bj8QjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.outdoorphotographer.com%2Ftips-techniques%2Fnature-landscapes%2Flandscape-astro-photography%2F&psig=AFQjCNH_z4j-gdcZdt4UUEHmPA7pwHj4KA&ust=1504444941715435

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjfo73hzIbWAhVH0oMKHXG2AtcQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mnn.com%2Flifestyle%2Farts-culture%2Fstories%2Fhow-to-photograph-water-to-get-that-soft-misty-effect&psig=AFQjCNGp9arvkr6rCPlsfye3uZeHzaIyXA&ust=1504445050219762

If these photos interest you then I think you have your answer. Also the pentax is beach proof. Sand isn't to get into their sealed stuff and wreak havoc.

Look at Sony mirrorless as well. Nice stuff. Canon and Nikon have tons of lenses too which is nice. For fast action sports Canon and Nikon are the way to go. As a hobbyist who just wants to get out and have fun it's hard to beat Pentax. Read reviews of the Pentax K1 to see what is possible if you were to upgrade to a full frame in 5 years time. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
 

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