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 Calling all DSLR owners 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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 Calling all DSLR owners
This is nothing more than a pipe-dream at this point but it doesn't hurt to ask questions. The clarity of DSLR's with the high mega-pixel numbers is starting to make me think more about getting one. But I'm never going to go pro with this hobby and can't, nor want to spend mega-bucks. After a looking at several, I like the Nikon D3200. It's in the price range of what I'd spend.
Here's just an example. By no means am I looking to pick up this package at this time.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Nikon-D3200 ... 1c31bd2d86

The main questions I have is what differs this form a $1000, $1200, $1500 and so forth camera? Looking at the specs doesn't tell me (uneducated about DSLR's) much. How do I know this would be good for time-lapse or night shots? In that kit it has a doubler. Do they work or are they more of a cheap zoom with poor quality as the end result?

This camera comes with a 18-55 zoom. I think that's a good range for an everyday lens. Thought's? If you were to have one other lens to what would it be? The above kit comes with a 55-200 but you know how I like my zoom shots. :D I suppose taking a picture 6,016 × 4,000 at 24 mega-pixel and cropping it down could give me a pretty zoom, right?

So this is a start. Thoughts?

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Sun May 12, 2013 7:38 am
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I don't know much about Nikons specifically as I've always used Canon cameras but that one looks like it should be excellent for everything you want it to do. Canon uses the same sensors and processors on many of their cameras at different price levels, which means they'll take the same quality pictures and the difference in price is usually things like frames per second, body constuction material, weather proofing, in camera hdr, hd video, flip out screens and a bunch of other bells and whistles that scenic shots don't really use.

I actually avoid the higher priced bodies because like you I'm not going pro with this hobby and they are heavier and more expensive with a million features I would hardly ever use. I want as light as I can and still get good pictres for hiking and travelling so I have put the money into better lenses on lower priced bodies as long as the sensor and processors are top notch, which that one appears to be. That's HUGE megapixels there and would be good for cropping as you said. This is the original 300mm shot with a cropped one and the sensor is only 18 mp so for superzooms that works much better for me than a 10,000 dollar lens. :shock:





I like the highest frames per second I can get too for my kids and wildlife. There's a huge difference to me between 3 and 5. 5 almost never misses the shot, 3 is hit or miss on whether you get the moment you were hoping for.

18 - 55 is a good standard lense but even a 16 or 15 mm wide angle makes a huge difference in those widest angled shots. As would a 55 - 300 on the other end, since there's a 1.7 times crop factor the 300 is like 470 in the old 35mm and those lenses can be had for about 400 bucks slightly used. Couple that with a crop and you can really pull off some nice telephoto shots. So if I could have one different lense it would be an image stabilized 250 or 300 mm zoom on the long end if you love your superzooms. Pretty much has to be image stabilized at the long end though or shot with a really high shutter speed. Personally I shoot with a 15 - 85 on the camera 90% of the time and only pull out the 75 - 300 when I know I'm going to need it so I'd get a little wider angle all purpose lense like that. I also have a 50mm 1.8 which is great for low light and super sharp, but it only gets used about 1% of the time I'd guess.

For night shots, time lapse and stars that would be great too. Although Canon has one camera specifically designed for people who like to do that. Picks up more of those wavelengths of light as well as doing all the normal stuff. You'll want to turn off the image stabilizing for long exposures though or the little gyroscopes inside actually blur things as they spin around trying to steady the image that isn't really moving.

Good luck picking one out. Seeing what you do with the upper level point and shoot I'm sure you'll do some amazing things with a dslr if you go that route.

And fwiw I've found this site to be a huge help when comparing cameras, features and prices.



Sun May 12, 2013 9:58 am
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I shoot Canon, so I can't speak specifically to the Nikon product (though generally speaking they are equally good). For what you shoot the "entry level" DSLR would be perfect, I have Canon's entry level Rebel from 5 years ago and I am still happy with it. As you increase to the mid-level and pro-level cameras you will get better build and a few more features but the basics are all the same. The motors will be built to shoot faster (more frames-per-second) and more total times (a pro will take tens-of-thousands of shots per year, I shoot maybe 3-4k per year). The sensor will be higher quality: more megapixels and less noise in low light. Other stuff like the casing, buttons, interface, etc may be more suited to a professional.

The lenses will be the big investment and where it is more worthwhile to spend money to increase image quality. You can always upgrade the camera body down the road, but you'll keep the same lenses. The kit lenses for both Nikon and Canon are the 18-55mm and are both surprisingly good lenses. I have a 70-300mm zoom, but in truth I rarely use it. I got a 24-70mm professional lens for my birthday a few years ago and I use that all the time now. I'd say in addition to the kit lens, you'll want something a bit more telephoto (especially for what you shoot)... a 55-200 or 70-300 would be good. You can also get 1.5x or 2x extenders which go on WITH the lens to push the range even further. Here is a shot of Washington from Lafayette at 300mm:


And yes, you can crop in the images to zoom further (equivalent of a digital zoom). In fact the entry level DSLRs have a "built in sensor crop" of 1.4 or 1.6 which effectively zooms the lens from the get-go. "Full frame" sensors are relegated to the pro cameras.

All that said, I'd avoid those ebay/amazon kits. Most of the extra stuff (flash, tripod, filters, etc) that makes it a "deal" is crap and you'll end up buying better stuff anyway. Two good dealers that I'd recommend are B&H Photo and Adorama on Amazon. I'd buy the body with kit lens which you can probably find bundled with a decent telephoto zoom and then a couple memory cards if you need them. All the other stuff can be gotten as you need it.

Sorry for rambling a bit, it's a lot of stuff. That said, Nikon sucks, you should get Canon :lol: :wink: This is basically the Tubbs-vs-MSR debate of the camera world.


Sun May 12, 2013 10:16 am
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Any thoughts on a Pentax?


Sun May 12, 2013 8:16 pm
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Pentax are big heavy and sturdy. Not particularly great for travel and hiking but decent cameras. Not feature laden and lenses are very good but not great. Not a lot of bang for the buck though I don't believe.

Canon and Nikon are 1 and 1a pretty much because of their lense lineups. Camera bodies come and go but you keep the same lenses so the highest quality lense you can afford can stick with you for the best image quality in the long run as you switch and/or upgrade bodies over the years. The number of choices and price ranges they offer are unmatched. Canon has the most but not by much and the quality of Canons "L" lenses as well as Nikons Nikkor ones can't be beat, both image wise or build wise. Of course its also hard to top their price tags. A good all purpose wide angle and a good zoom plus a relatively cheap 1.8 or 1.4 normal prime are probably all the lenses most amatures would ever have to buy. But lenses are kind of like hiking gear. There's always one that does this or that a little bit better. Razor sharpness, bigger aperatures for low light or high shutter speeds, macro, long telephotos for zooms, better image stabilization etc etc.

Sony also makes good cameras, usually with more features and newer features first. But I don't think they make their own lenses so your stuck with aftermarket stuff, but I think you can chose different lense mounts for the same body including canon and nikon but I'm not positive. I also think they make Nikons sensors so there's no reason their images should be anything less than top notch if they use the same technology and lenses.


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Mon May 13, 2013 5:14 am
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Mon May 13, 2013 5:15 am
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Mon May 13, 2013 7:57 am
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Mon May 13, 2013 7:58 am
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JustJoe- Weighed my camera and a D3100...
... with 55-300mm lens is 2lbs. 8ozs.
... with a 18-55mm kit lens it was 1lb. 15ozs.

subtract a couple of ozs. for my quick release plate and whatever filter(s) were on there and you get a rough idea of the D3200 weight.

By comparison, my P&S is 7 ozs. so at least 4x the weight.


Mon May 13, 2013 12:19 pm
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