I need recommendations for a decent camera please.

JoLLyRoGer

Diamond Member
Aug 24, 2000
4,155
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#1
So my oldest daughter who is about to turn 20 this weekend is really into painting and drawing. She even gets commissioned for her work. Recently she has gotten into photography but lacks any real gear to shoot with. I'd like to get her a nice "starter pack" that does not require a 2nd mortgage a two pints of blood, and three kidneys.

She's more into shooting nature than she is people. I was thinking some kind of decent DSLR and a seat for Adobe Lightroom. The problem is I know f**k-all about cameras, lenses, etc.

AnandTech, I need your help... and GO!
 
Jul 20, 2001
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#2
Does she like hiking to get those nature shots? Just asking because size/weight would matter more.

My wife, a professional nature artist (painting and drawing), shoots most of her nature photography using a Nikon D90 (an APS-C size sensor) and a Nikon 105mm macro lens. While she will hike with it, the combo is fairly heavy, the lens more so than the body. Carrying a DSLR pays off in the dim light of the woods. If you go the DSLR route, at least one high quality macro lens is essential for nature photography. Macro lenses allow one to shoot very close-up to capture the little critters and other details of nature.

For hiking, I'm currently using a Sony RX100M5 as it is tiny yet has good image quality and good macro capability. I've just started using a Sony RX10M4 which has the same sensor but it has longer reach with a 24-600mm zoom and can catch birds in flight. On the macro end, the lens can focus on objects touching the glass. The trade off is that the RX10 is as big as a DSLR and weighs almost as much. Both the RX100M5 and RX10M4 have a "hyperspaz" mode for capturing images at 24 frames per second with very fast autofocus, great for wildlife on the move. If you check out the Shot of the Day thread, most of my recent images were shot with one or the other of these two cameras. The new RX100M6 is a compromise between these two cameras with a 24-200mm lens. I haven't tried it.
 

turtile

Senior member
Aug 19, 2014
425
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#3
What exactly is she photographing? The lenses are important especially if she wants to take photos of mammals and birds.

Nikon D3400/3500 is a good starter camera and great for nature since Nikon generally has good weather sealing in their low to mid-range cameras compared to others. Of course not in the starter camera or lenses but the upgrade path is there.
 
Sep 2, 2008
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#4
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 14-150mm lens special ($999) is a pretty good deal right now. Decent coverage right off the bat (28-300mm full frame equivalent) with the ability to grow into primes. Small, easy to hike with and dust/splash proof if caught in the rain. I don't have that particular lens but I do have the body. Most fun I've had with a camera system.
 
May 28, 2007
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#5
So my oldest daughter who is about to turn 20 this weekend is really into painting and drawing. She even gets commissioned for her work. Recently she has gotten into photography but lacks any real gear to shoot with. I'd like to get her a nice "starter pack" that does not require a 2nd mortgage a two pints of blood, and three kidneys.

She's more into shooting nature than she is people. I was thinking some kind of decent DSLR and a seat for Adobe Lightroom. The problem is I know f**k-all about cameras, lenses, etc.

AnandTech, I need your help... and GO!
I'm looking into getting a used Nikon D90. They seem to run around $200. I'll try to remember to post back in this thread if I get one.
 

CuriousMike

Platinum Member
Feb 22, 2001
2,903
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#6
Without knowing your budget and more specifics (asked above), it's hard to make recommendations.

For that $500 range, the aforementioned Nikon D3400/3500 with kit lens would be a solid recommendation. IMO, will likely take the nicest photos out of any of the above/below recommendations. But it's chunkier.

Something smaller (and maybe more pleasing to look at) could be the Panasonic GX85. The Olympus OM-D EM10 or EM5 (mentioned above) would also be in the smaller / pleasing to look at group. All of these will still take great photos.

And if you really want to spoil your daughter, you might look at the Fujifilm X-T20 - that's the next tier up in terms of price, but they're beautiful cameras that take wonderful images.
 

PixelSquish

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2013
6,181
63
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#7
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 14-150mm lens special ($999) is a pretty good deal right now. Decent coverage right off the bat (28-300mm full frame equivalent) with the ability to grow into primes. Small, easy to hike with and dust/splash proof if caught in the rain. I don't have that particular lens but I do have the body. Most fun I've had with a camera system.
this.

she'll probably want to add a wider lens if she gets into landscapes but this is a great start.
 

CuriousMike

Platinum Member
Feb 22, 2001
2,903
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#10
We need a referee in here to determine comment eligibility :)
 

Herr Kutz

Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2009
2,419
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#11
Sony A7riii. Sony a6500 if you want to cheap out. My omd em5 crapped out but I wouldn’t recommend anything that low end.


P.S. is this a subtle troll thread? I feel like a thread about 20 year old daughter + cameras is begging for a “pics?” post.
 

Denly

Senior member
May 14, 2011
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#12
The thing about camera is that you pick the lenses not the camera. For cheapo system I would suggest Oly em10 II to start, plenty of good/cheap m4/3 lenses from oly/pana or great/cheap lenses from oly 4/3 with adapter. If you don't have much faint in m4/3 go Sony.
 
Sep 28, 2018
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#13
I hear Fujifilm cameras are pretty good these days, pretty good bundles with the XT-20.
 
Jun 19, 2006
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#14
The thing about camera is that you pick the lenses not the camera. For cheapo system I would suggest Oly em10 II to start, plenty of good/cheap m4/3 lenses from oly/pana or great/cheap lenses from oly 4/3 with adapter. If you don't have much faint in m4/3 go Sony.
Had good luck with Olys but $600 is not cheap. I had a OM2 back in the day and with a 1.4 50mm lens it was 300+. Cameras today seem very overpriced. But people pay for them.
 

luv2liv

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
3,301
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#15
whatever you decide to buy, get it used and cheap from these pros at this forum http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/10
i wish i had known that forum sooner!
micro 4/3 is 1 of the best way to get started. they are small and lightweight. plenty of models to choose from Panasonic or Olympus.
 

cannotchanger

Junior Member
Oct 18, 2018
8
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#16
Why not go with film camera? I would suggest something like Minolta XD or XG with 50mm 1.4. Semi automatic with manual focus and one of the best lenses ever created. Everything for less than $100.
Some say Canon AE-1 but shutter priority cameras give less "art freedom" than aperture priority.

If digital then Olympus M10 (not the III version) with Olympus 25mm 1.8 or manual Mitakon 25mm 0.95 (my fav lens for m43) or just CCTV lens 25mm 1.4, 35 1.7mm (AMAZING), 50 1.4mm all for around $25 each + adapter $3 - true art lenses.
 
Jul 24, 2012
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#17
For a first camera, you don't need to spend that much. Today's $150 cameras have a lot of capability. The number one thing to remember about photography is that, at its core, it is about capturing the light. Learning to read the light, and any post processing you do will apply to pictures you take with any camera. And, you can get very nice pictures with an inexpensive camera.
 
Jul 15, 2003
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#18
Same as every other year, I still recommend a refurbished D40 or D40x. Learn the basics. If she likes photography and doesnt like the camera, she will be much more knowledgeable about what her second camera should be.
 
Jun 19, 2006
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#19
What makes digital cameras so expensive why are DSLRs cheaper than non mirrored cameras?
 

JoLLyRoGer

Diamond Member
Aug 24, 2000
4,155
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#20
Wow!! Been a minute or two since I've logged in. Guess I should update this. Wound up going with the Nikon D3400. She's loving it. Taking nature pictures mostly. It seems to do a good job. Probably gonna get her a subscription to Lightroom for Christmas.

Thanks for all the recommends!

-JR
 
Jul 23, 2016
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#22
Nikon Cafe is a great forum for her to learn all about her D3400. She can also uncover suggestions for new lenses as she grows with the camera. David Busch, an author of several Nikon books, including the D3400 book in the second link, is an active member. Cool guy. Sent me a free D60 book.
 

kymira13

Junior Member
May 22, 2019
3
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#23
Id recommend a used Canon t3i. Its still a decent camera for its age. And then spend the money good lenses.
You can go wrong with the nifty fifty (50mm 1.8) and a Sigma 18-35mm 1.8

I learned alot on this humble little combo.
 


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