July 22, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

My roommate's looking for a $4-600 SLR + Lens combo.

That's pretty much it. He doesn't have any lenses that are worth porting over, so no influence on brand in that area. I have a Canon, though, and some good lenses, so I might lend one to him if he gets something similar. He shoots mostly daylight city, events, type of stuff: not as much landscape or low-light, but I'm sure he'll cover the range. I'm not sure what to go with at this particular time (with the seeming explosion of prosumer cams), but there must be something good to get at this price point?

Thanks for any info!
posted by tmcw to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This thread might be of interest, though it's for DSLR, not sure if you're interested in that or not.

Any my answer from that thread: Pentax *istDL
posted by Grither at 9:14 AM on July 22, 2008

You're probably looking at a Nikon D40 or Canon XTi in that range. Both are great choices, but I have the XTi. You can add a Nifty-fifty 50mm prime to it for $80.
posted by sanka at 9:15 AM on July 22, 2008

The D40 comes in a cheap kit, and it's got a lot of fans. I'm a Canon shooter myself, and the Rebel XTi (with lens) comes in around $600. Either's fine; Nikon's cheaper but Canon lets him borrow your stuff.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2008

I'm assuming you mean a digital SLR. As mentioned the Nikon D40 is an excellent choice at around $500 with the included 18-55 lens (equivalent to about 27mm to 80mm on a 35mm film camera). I've been thrilled with my D40 and highly recommend it. There are more DSLR choices than ever in that price range. Your decision will come down to what specific features are most important to you. (I love the auto-ISO feature on the D40, for example.)

I highly recommend taking some time to browse around Steve's Digicam reviews for detailed specs, hands-on reviews, and sample photos. It's the closest thing there is to getting hands-on with each camera.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:42 AM on July 22, 2008

I got the Sony A200 with kit and it has been great for me.
posted by jadepearl at 10:01 AM on July 22, 2008

I'm not up on the specific models that are out right now, but I'd imagine Pentax has a DSLR in that price range that would be good. I've used an *istDS for years and for a low-end DSLR it's held up very well.
posted by richrad at 10:03 AM on July 22, 2008

If he gets a Canon he'll probably want to borrow lenses. You say you'll let him borrow stuff now, but will that always hold true?

Also remember that the D40 won't autofocus with older lenses because Nikon changed where the autofous motor is.

Really, you can't go wrong with today's models. So go to a camera store and play with them.
posted by theichibun at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2008

Seconding the D40. The Rebel is nice, my best friend has one, I just enjoy using my Nikon for some reason. It just feels right. See if you can go to a camera shop, one that will let you look at both.
posted by InsanePenguin at 10:07 AM on July 22, 2008

Your roommate needs to go to a camera shop and look at both the Nikon D40 and Canon's Re bel series. It is very difficult to tell what fits best in your hand without holding the camera. Many people have issues with Canon's ergonomics, while many love their cameras. It's just a personal taste thing.

You pretty much can't go wrong with a Nikon or Canon. Or Pentax for that matter.
posted by majikstreet at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2008

You're buying lenses, not bodies, in the long term. Just remember that and read the umpteen previous threads on this for the Canon v. Nikon v. others debate. And don't buy zooms.
posted by kcm at 11:34 AM on July 22, 2008

It would be very helpful to know whether your friend wants a dSLR or a film camera. Otherwise, dittoing your pennies for the best glass (a.k.a. lenses) you can buy. Don't worry so much about Canon v. Nikon**, but choosing either Canon OR Nikon will be a good investment in the longer run.

**disclaimer: Canon vs. Nikon is matched only by the Mac vs. PC debates, in terms of sheer exhaustiveness and at the risk of waving the red flag for the Nikon folks I'll just say this: Canon currently has much faster lens focusing (ultra sonic motors!) available for most of its lens/body combos...but that could change in a year or three.
posted by availablelight at 11:56 AM on July 22, 2008

I shoot with a Sony Alpha 100, and love it. Nikon and Canon make fabulous cameras and have a huge backstock of equipment for support, but most Canon's lack a spotmeter and neither have camera-based image stabilization. Sony is compatible with older Konika Minolta equipment, which is third only behind Canon and Nikon. I shoot Canon for film, and I like it, but for digital I'd recommend Sony. The Alpha 100 is older, so you can probably get em cheap.
Check this roundup for more recommendations. Pop Photo is a really good place to start, and when you find some interests, Digital Preview helps with specifics.
posted by photomusic86 at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2008

You can debate the merits of any system, and millions have debated the Canon VS Nikon brand. Two things:

1. Tell him to go play with the cameras. A lot of times, if no other features jump out, the way the camera feels in your hand might make the decision. Have him try to change some settings, even if he doesn't know what he is changing to see if he likes the controls.

2. That being said, the smart money here is on Canon for one good reason, you shoot Canon. It is always easier when you have someone to ask questions of or share lenses with. If you plan shooting together, it will make life much easier. (Note: I shoot Canon but I would have recommended Nikon if you shot Nikon and so on.)
posted by Silvertree at 6:55 AM on July 23, 2008

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