Jump to content
  • 0

Camera advice and recomendations for a newbie


Question

Hello all,

 

After discovering Alamy doesn't like my current camera I am looking to upgrade. I have seen that the Sony RX100-6 seems to get recomended on here a lot but I was unsure about the range of zoom it has and unfortunatly I find all the technical details beyong baffeling. I am particularly interested in wildlife photography so most of the things I photograph are either very small and close up or a long way away. I am very much at the novice level so I dont need anything with too many bells and whistles.

 

Key point

  • Good zoom for distance and macro shots
  • single lens (as its simpler)
  • Price range up to £700 ish
  • Something that will easily pass quality control
  • Some reliable/doesnt break easily

 

Any suggestions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0
47 minutes ago, Dolorous Dave said:

I bet Wildlife photograpy from space needs an expensive lens!

 

I think I have settled on a D5600, hopefully I wont have any issue wityh QC with that! Next decision - which lens? Will 18-55mm be ok or is it worth splashing out the extra for a 18-140mm?

 

I would say no to getting the longer zoom. Optical quality is not likely to be as good and it is probably very heavy. The 18-55 would be fine for general photography but check it has VR (vibration reduction) as this is definitely worth it. If you are serious about wildlife photography then you need a good telephoto lens and a separate lens for close-up. I would suggest checking out Grays of Westminster as they have a big range of secondhand Nikon gear, are very knowledgeable and helpful as well as having the best prices in the country for new Nikon kit (ignoring the grey import market that is). Wex are also very good but you won't get the same personal service and the range of secondhand gear will be a lot less than Grays.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
2 hours ago, Dolorous Dave said:

I bet Wildlife photograpy from space needs an expensive lens!

 

I think I have settled on a D5600, hopefully I wont have any issue wityh QC with that! Next decision - which lens? Will 18-55mm be ok or is it worth splashing out the extra for a 18-140mm?


For any system, I've preferred shorter zoom ranges to longer zoom range, but that will depend on both your hand strength and the quality of the lens (check reviews).  For wildlife that isn't birds, a good quality 300mm lens or 100-300mm telezoom would be fine.   For birds, it gets pricy.   The Nikon system has a good autofocus macro/micro (Nikon's term) lens that is highly regarded: the 105mm f/2.8 VR.  Should be some used ones available when you're ready for macro/micro.  I have both an ant and a fly taken with that lens in my portfolio.

I got Sony because higher end APSC and full frame Nikons weren't available here in Nicaragua and micro 4/3rds bodies were completely import only.   Also, every thief in the world knows Canon and Nikon.  I had someone come up and talk cameras with me and explain that his Canon with a zoom was better than my Sony a7 with a Batis 18 mm on it.  Shrug. 

 

Advantage of Sony, Nikon, or Canon if you travel is that you can generally buy a replacement camera (which will come with a lens) if anything happens to your camera.   Panasonic or Olympus M4/3rds, not so much.  I also haven't seen any Fujis here in Nicaragua.

 

I certainly liked Nikons when I had them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The wide angle lenses are not ideal for either macro or wildlife. I'd want to maybe get a zoom that goes to 300. Almost all of my Falkland Island pics were taken with the 18-300 on a Nikon D500. I needed to shoot handheld in that situation and that is as big as I can handle. I'm not as knowledgeable about equipment as a lot of other people here but my images do sell.

 

Paulette

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

If you go with the NIkon you will have a wide array of new and used lenses to chose from, not so much with the Sony.  The Nikon will handle faster for wildlife also.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)

I’d advise going with a second hand Nikon D7xxx series camera.  More advanced than the D5xxx series and it means you could use old D lenses.  Don’t be scared of buying second hand bodies.  I recently bought a second hand Nikon D4s and it’s in great condition.  MPB or WEX may be the place to go...

Edited by Colblimp
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 01/06/2020 at 06:09, Dolorous Dave said:

I think I have settled on a D5600, hopefully I wont have any issue wityh QC with that! Next decision - which lens? Will 18-55mm be ok or is it worth splashing out the extra for a 18-140mm?

 

You won't have any issues with Alamy with the D5600 as it definitely meets their requirements. I got to hold one my friend bought and it is quite small and compact, more slimline than my D5200.

 

A problem you might encounter with a lens such as the 18-140mm is lens distortion in that it goes from fairly wide angle to a short telephoto. It does seem to get quite good reviews as a general purpose lens though. I just read this one which seems quite a balanced review https://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/dslr-lenses/dslr-lenses-aps-c/af-s-nikkor-18-140mm-f35-56-g-ed-vr/

 

The 18-55mm won't be good for wildlife, and it can't do true macro, but I have used mine a lot for wildflowers in the past and it has done quite a good job. It does have VR too. So I guess it is a lens to use to get familiar with DLSR photography, but you would need something longer ranging for wildlife. This is a photo I took 10 years ago with the older version of the 18-55mm on a Nikon D3000 body, so basic, inexpensive gear:

 

a-hoverfly-on-a-pink-everlasting-rhodanthe-chlorocephala-rosea-a-wildflower-native-to-western-australia-and-south-australia-2BARWXG.jpg

 

Another option that might help to cover two bases for you might be to go for a 90mm or 100mm macro lens. This will enable you to do true macro images and also give you some reach, though probably not quite enough for many wildlife subjects. I have a Tamron 90mm macro that I have sometimes used for wildlife, and Tokina have just released a new version of their 100mm macro that looks very good. But the downside here is it might be just too frustrating not having a zoom and too limiting.

 

Nikon's basic 55-200mm VR telephoto lens is actually quite good value even though a kit lens, but if you got this and you were really getting into wildlife photography, I think you would be wanting to upgrade eventually, but would be a good lens to begin with. Sigma not too long ago released a 100-400m lens that gets good reviews, but it would push you over your budget at this point I think. I have the Sigma 150-500mm for birds and wildlife now and it is very good, but very heavy too. I have one example of a wildlife image with the Nikon 55-200mm here on Alamy, again on a D3000 body. It can do good animal portraits when the subject is close to you and is very light weight to carry.

 

quokka-setonix-brachyurus-munching-on-a-leaf-at-rottnest-island-western-australia-2AP4WGG.jpg

 

So I don't think there is a definitive answer about what is best, but just thought I would share that info in case it is helpful. I think you will find that having two lenses instead of trying to get an all-in-one lens will not be as much of a hassle as it seems. They are not difficult to switch over, just have to take care to do it in a non-dusty environment to avoid dust getting on the sensor. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Something I often hear from people when I am out and about with the camera is "I bet that takes good pictures". It's not meant in a negative way but there is a perception that the cost of the camera makes the image and I suspect it persists, even if only subconsciously in photography circles as well. When I was much younger I went through gear like it was edible, they called it GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) on a forum I used to read. My images improved marginally but it was always limited by me, and it was ruinous to my bank balance. Eventually it drove me to losing interest in photography and I packed it in for a few years.

 

Nowadays I use a Sony SLT-A35 and a gaggle of relatively low cost lenses save for one prime. The camera is absolutely ancient, must be nearing its 10th anniversary. Most of my best photos are taken with the 18-55 kit lens because it is simply a versatile and useful focal length. The only properly good lens I have is the 85mm f/1.4, the others are all older or cheaper and need their limitations understanding to have the most got out of them. I just recently got hold of a Tamron 70-300 for the princely sum of £70 and have already taken some great closeup faux macros with it. Had that been my younger self I'd probably have dropped my savings on a massive 70-200 that before long I'd have hated carrying around - and for what gain? Marginally better performance at the lower apertures and a sore arm, no doubt. Generally, I have gelled with the Sony kit in a way I never did with my Canon kit previously and despite it all probably being worth less than an insurance deductible I still wouldn't part with it.

 

In other words the moral of this ramble is you have to like the kit and be proficient with it through practice; save for some core factors like how noisy is the sensor and does it have acceptable dynamic range (which anything APS-C will from the last 10+ years) the rest is up to you. I still get outdone by my bargain basement equipment even now usually when I try to get smart in thinking I can get the shot without my tripod and small amounts of motion are introduced as softness across the image. Still gets me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thank you for your new comments, they have been helping with my decision. They are very nice pictures Sally, they suggest the new camera will be many levels above what I have now! Cal makes a very good point about falling into a cycle of spending way too much. I have been swaying back and forth but I think I have settled on the longer lens. It will give me more options and scope before I will feel the need to get a second lens, I wont mind the extra weight (I need the exercse to work off my lockdown-related gut), and any reduced techinical befits caused by choosing the longer lens will be more than outweighed by my lack of skill. Now I just need to build up the momention enough to commit to the purchase!

 

Thanks again everybody, it has been a great help.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I vote for the micro 4/3 system. I used Nikons (both Full Frame and APS-C) for years and now use an older Olympus m4/3 (an OMD E-1) as well as a Full Frame Sony a7rii.

 

The Olympus was my first foray into mirrorless so I purchased 3 lenses with the body - none of them are in the Pro series - the 17mm f1.8 and 25mm f/1.8 and the inexpensive 40-150mm f/4-5.6 - they are all tack sharp. I don't have a macro lens for the Olympus but I use the Nikon 4T closeup lens (it screws onto the front of the lens and increases the magnification so it acts like a macro lens, though not 1:1) It weighs little more than a lens filter and I've gotten some wonderful images with it (it has a 52mm filter thread so it fits that particular lens). I have a very expensive Sony 90mm macro that I use on my full frame Sony, but I still use the little close up lens on the Olympus if I'm out for a long hike and want to be able to shoot both birds at a distance and butterflies close up. The 40-150mm cost me $125 or $150 new (on sale) and gives you the equivalent of an 80-300mm zoom - not as far a reach as you might want for serious wildlife work, but a good start. There is also a setting in the camera that increases the zoom beyond 300mm (I think up to 600mm but it also decreases the quality and I believe cuts it to 7 or 8MP - I don't recall - I only used it once - but that would still pass QC here). If you purchased a newer Olympus second hand and started with that lens and a closeup filter, you'd have a nice kit to start learning. I'm still debating whether to purchase one of the Olympus pro zoom lenses which would duplicate the range of the 40-150mm f 4/5.6 but even if I did, I would keep the 40-150mm I have because it weighs less than a pound and is so small I can fit it in my pocketbook. I have never had a fail here with it. 

 

Here's an image I took handheld at 150mm with the 4T attached:

 

backlit-great-spangled-fritillary-butterfly-speyeria-cybele-aka-silverspots-pollinating-a-native-wildflower-a-purple-coneflower-echinacea-purpurea-2AED4FX.jpg

 

Pretty good for an inexpensive setup. It is not a 1:1 macro solution, it is a close up lens so it is good for butterflies but it won't let you take a close of just part of the wing like a true macro.

 

As you get more experienced, you can add the Olympus pro 60mm (120mm equivalent) macro lens which, with certain Olympus cameras, lets you stack something like 50 images together for incredibly detailed macros. I don't have it but it looks amazing.

 

The only place where the micro 4/3 system falls down sometimes is if you are taking images at night without a tripod and you need to really push the ISO, however you can shoot very slowly handheld with the Olympus because of its amazing in body stabilization so you can often manage to keep the ISO down. I've had the 42MP Sony for 2 years now, and have a couple of the super pricey Master lenses which I love, but when I'm out hiking I often opt for the much lighter 16MP Olympus and my little non-pro lenses. Olympus lenses are sharp and the cameras and lenses are light. Full Frame cameras require larger and heavier lenses, so even a mirrorless Sony can be quite heavy. The Sony is amazing for night photography, and as primarily a landscape and travel photographer, I lean toward using it at night, but for wildlife and macro, you'll probably be happy with the Olympus, especially if you move up to the pro telephoto zoom and macro lenses. 

 

One thing I would note is that Olympus is exiting the camera market in So. Korea - I don't know if this means anything for its business in the rest of the world and certainly hope not. I got my first SLR back in 1978 and it was an Olympus OM-1 - I use my old lenses on both my Sony and my mirrorless Olympus with an adaptor and they are super sharp too.  I really like Olympus lenses. 

 

Another few things to note - if you go the closeup lens route, opt for top quality like Nikon.  There are a few different strength diopters (which effects magnification) and each is suggested for a different range of focal lengths so be sure you get the proper diopter and also that the lens threads fit your lens. You can also stack them to increase magnification, though I haven't. You'll also need to buy them second hand - the only used place I'm familiar with in the UK and US is mpb and I'm sure they can direct you properly but you can also google Nikon close up lens. Again, it is not a 1:1 macro solution, it is a close up lens so it is good for butterflies but it won't let you take a close of just part of the wing like a true macro. If you want a true macro then the Olympus macro lens has amazing capabilities from what I've read, with the stacking capability - so make sure you get an Olympus camera that works with it, whether you get the macro lens now or later. Mpb in the US had a lot of Olympus equipment when I looked and second hand can really save you a bundle. 

 

My only experience with a APS-C sensor was the Nikon D-5100 which I bought as a backup camera. Like the OMD E-1 it is 16 MP The Olympus is smaller, lighter, and better in low light; In fact, the images I've taken with the Olympus are just better all around, even though I used much more expensive Nikon lenses on the D-5100. 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Marianne mentioned the Olympus M4/3rds system.  All the lenses for M4/3rds will fit on both Olympus and Panasonic M4/3rds bodies.   My issue with it was that I couldn't upgrade bodies in Nicaragua or buy lenses for it.  Sony was available at that time, may still be in Managua.  Canon and Nikon entry level cameras are available in most Radio Shacks around Nicaragua.

 

Further advice is if you can, go to a camera store and hold the various bodies of the systems you're considering and see how they feel in your hands, how you like looking through their viewfinders. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 02/06/2020 at 23:19, Cal said:

they called it GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) on a forum I used to read.

 

Cal, my brother talks about GAS too, in relation to audio equipment, as he is a musician who does sound recording and mixing. He is often eyeing off the latest microphone. I have to admit, I love looking at what lenses are out there and can see how easy it is to go down the path of acquiring more and better gear. But I think you are absolutely right, that liking and feeling comfortable with your kit is the most important thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 03/06/2020 at 05:37, Dolorous Dave said:

Thank you for your new comments, they have been helping with my decision. They are very nice pictures Sally, they suggest the new camera will be many levels above what I have now! Cal makes a very good point about falling into a cycle of spending way too much. I have been swaying back and forth but I think I have settled on the longer lens. It will give me more options and scope before I will feel the need to get a second lens, I wont mind the extra weight (I need the exercse to work off my lockdown-related gut), and any reduced techinical befits caused by choosing the longer lens will be more than outweighed by my lack of skill. Now I just need to build up the momention enough to commit to the purchase!

 

All the best with it Dave. If you are looking for a particularly small and compact system, it might still be worth looking at the micro 4/3 system, as Marianne mentions. I know people who have traded in their DSLR gear for micro 4/3 systems that they find better for travelling with. And I think Miz Brown's advice to get to see and hold the cameras in a camera store is good too. I've been very happy with my gear, but that's all I know, and there's plenty of options out there. I think mirrorless systems have caught up with DSLRs in many areas now. I'll probably stick with DSLRs, in that when my Nikon D5200 dies, I wouldn't mind replacing it with a Nikon D500, as it is one of the best cameras out there for capturing action such as birds in flight, something I'd like to do more of. Only downside for me is I have small hands and it's quite a bit bigger than what I have now. Then again, mirrorless systems may have excelled for action wildlife photography by then.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.