Help me buy the best DSLR for my cash during Cyber Monday
November 14, 2012 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm an Australian who is clueless about digital SLRs and Cyber Monday. Help me buy the best camera for around $1500 during Cyber Monday that will ship to Australia.

What's a good general DSLR for taking reasonably sophisticated family shots? I think I'm ready for a step above point and shoot, and would like a camera that will last a few years that I can learn with. I'm no professional photographer, but I used to be an art director. So I have a good eye and zero technical ability (and not a huge budget, sadly).

And part two of my question: I've only just learnt that Cyber Monday exists. Being Australian, I'm not exposed to retailers advertising their deals also I'm not as aware of what's available as those in the States.

How do I take advantage of Cyber Monday to buy my camera? Who has the best deals? How does it work? I know nothing, all I know is that it's got to be better than the ridiculous mark ups that Australian retailers have, even with their "specials". Whoever I purchase through has to ship to Australia. Thanks for your help.
posted by Jubey to Shopping (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nikon D5100. Ken Rockwell's review.
posted by cyniczny at 2:31 PM on November 14, 2012

Any SLR around or above $500 is going to take really good photos. Lenses are more important than the camera. Conversely don't listen to anyone who tells you that you need $1,000-plus lenses to take good photos.

Many people do just fine with the basic zoom lens that comes with the camera. You can always go this route, save money now and upgrade lenses later.

I'd spend a little less on the camera ($500 to $800) and spend the rest on a $80 to $150 35mm to 50mm prime lens, and a medium quality zoom, like a $600 to $800 15mm-85mm zoom or 17mm-85mm zoom.

Canon and Nikon are probably the most popular camera systems and you can't go wrong with either, though it seems like Sony gives you a little more bang for your buck.

Sorry, can't help with retailers who ship to Aus.
posted by cnc at 3:05 PM on November 14, 2012

Goods valued at over A$1000 will attract import duty.

I would also check that the company will honour your warranty in Australia. You don't want to be required to send the camera back to the US for repair.
posted by Georgina at 3:14 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you haven't used one before, i wouldn't spend near $1500 on a dslr kit.
I use canon and would recommend something like a T3i or T4i kit with 18-55 or 18-135 kit. ($649-$1100).
You could add a telephoto 55-250 lens if you wanted. ($250).

It looks like the equivalent from Nikon is probably the newly announced d5200, but the nikon folks should chime in.

don't get a kit that has a bunch of accessories like filters, a bag, etc thrown in, its going to be overpriced.

When you do decide you want to move up to a better body, the lenses will work on it if compatible.
posted by TheAdamist at 4:10 PM on November 14, 2012

Do you want a DSLR specifically? Mirrorless cameras (with interchangeable lenses and digital viewfinders or a screen) have gotten very good in recent years, and are more compact that a DSLR. A Sony NEX-5N is under $500. Here's a nice nontechnical review, featuring some alternatives too.

I personally have my eye on the Olympus OM-D EM-5, which is an extremely nice camera, and still well under your budget.

It appears B&H will ship to Australia:
They generally have very competitive prices.
posted by akgerber at 4:36 PM on November 14, 2012

I recently bought a Nikon d7000 with the kit lens and am VERY happy with it. I buy my gear from digital rev on eBay and am very happy with them!
posted by shazzam! at 5:13 PM on November 14, 2012

I'm partial to Canon cameras.
My recommendation would be to get just the body of the T4i ~$800
The Canon 50mm 1.8 prime lens, $140
and the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8, ~$500

The T4i is plenty of body to learn on. The 50mm 1.8 is a fun lens, great for learning about f-stops and depth of field, also good for indoors/low light. The Tamron is a great, inexpensive (as these things go) zoom lens that is very useful for every day shooting.

The standard kit lenses for Canon cameras usually start at about f3.5, which is almost always useless inside, and you might find yourself frustrated with them in those scenarios.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 6:49 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Save your money until you know what you want to buy - buying something because its a bargain generally means it turns out much less of a bargain than it seemed at the time.

Spend some time looking at the real thing in camera stores, reading up on the net and don't rush the decision.
posted by GeeEmm at 5:40 PM on November 16, 2012

Haha, I told my husband about the price range I had in mind and he's of the same opinion as TheAdamist and cnc about how much we should spend, ie nowhere near $1500! Right now, I'm leaning towards the D5100 or potentially the D5200 depending on reviews/prices and what further investigations turn up. Thanks for all the advice, it's a good starting point for research.
posted by Jubey at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2012

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