smeagolsp wrote in post #17295396
Hi, I want to start clicking on a good camera now. So far I have owned a point and shoot. Which cameras would you suggest to a beginner who often goes on hikes? I am open to buying a DSLR provided its not very expensive. My budget is between $300 to $350
If you guys do not think a DSLR would be a good choice in this price range, could you point me to other good options?
Apologies if I have posted this in an incorrect sub-forum
This really depends on what you want to shoot and how you want the photographs to look, and how much room you want on the files for processing (if any). It also matters based on where you hike in terms of weather and the environment.
If shooting just landscape, that's one thing. Shooting wildlife, a whole other ball game. Shooting macro, yet another total different setup. All of the above (hey, that's why we do SLR, to have the ability to change lenses and do all of the above, etc), then you need more kit.
$350 can get you into this stuff, just not with newer stuff (with an exception, I'll get to that). But that's ok. Used stuff is great. I routinely buy XSi's off the bay for $80~110 and they're very fine cameras that print 8x10's no problem even after cropping. Very relevant today. So you can get inexpensive cameras. The key is to get good glass. But even kit glass is good enough for most things. It's only after some experience that you figure out what you really want from photography that will guide you to the glass that does what you want.
Hiking means carrying stuff. SLR and lenses can get heavy and bulky. If you need a tripod for what you do, that just adds to it. Consider that. It may not seem like much, but 5lbs or 7lbs adds up quick to a pack that's already full.
From Canon, I would look at:
Canon XSi (has live view; good ISO, I shoot it even at ISO 1600 without too much worry)
EF-S 18-135 STM (sharp, great range)
Then grow lenses and accessories based on need. That lens will hold value so you can always sell it later for nearly what you buy it for if you choose it's not exactly what you need and go a different direction.
Canon EOS-M with 22mm F2 pancake (used / fleabay / KEH / etc)
Fotodiox or Canon White Box EF -> EF-M adapter
Use any EF/EF-S lens with it too.
Note: You could get a Canon 1D series (1D or 1D Mark II) for well within your budget. They're decently weather resistant. The problem is, the lens has to be too, and there's no affordable lens that is weather sealed for Canon. The cheapest one would probably be the 24-105 and 17-40. So, that's well out of budget. This brings me to the following heresy:
Lastly, and I may get run out of here for this, but I only bring this up because I venture into all kinds of systems, Pentax makes affordable dSLR's that are weather resistant, quite good sealing, even on their entry stuff. They have decent ISO performance for low light, and inexpensive weather resistant kit lenses too (18-55 & 55-200) (as well as more expensive but nicer weather resistant zooms in 18-135 and 55-300 flavors). Having a camera and lens setup that can eat snow, splashes, mud, etc, and get rinsed off in the river/lake and keep going is awesome for hiking. To do this from Canon, it takes a 1D series and very specific L lenses. Pentax lets you do it for cheap.
Pentax K20 (weather resistant, has live view, decent ISO up to ISO 800)
18-55 AL WR
55-200 AL WR
All weather resistant
You can walk away with a K20 and 18-55 for general walk around and landscape, able to take on the weather, for like $250 total. Look at these for examples of what this old thing is capable of, while getting wet.
I bring this up because there are tough/weather resistent/drop resistent point & shoots that clock in around $200~300. They're good. But you can't put a prime lens or a big zoom on them down the road. A weather resistant DSLR does a lot of this, but you can grow lenses to it for the task later.