Basic DSLR camera?

Soldato
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Hi guys. I'm thinking of buying a camera for two reasons.
I don't like the wide angle effect from my phone camera, it never gives a true representation of the shape of the subject. For example, square objects never look properly square, or my face looks narrower than when I look in the mirror.

The second reason is that I want to take photos of the birds in my garden that come to the feeder and bird bath. I get goldfinches, greenfinches, crows, robins, and a few others. I like to take photos from my kitchen window and the feeder is about 20 feet away. The zoom on my phone camera is nowhere near good enough. There's very little colour and detail and it's blurry. When I look through my binoculars however, I wish the binoculars could take photos because the clarity and detail is great.

So tl;dr, what do I need to buy? I don't want to spend big money, just something basic and no doubt a zoom lens. Probably second hand.
Thanks.
 
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Soldato
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I've used a Canon 1300D with a kit zoom (75-300mm) for about 2 years for some hobbying wildlife photography and it's worked well.

Would be around £150-200 second hand, but might be better offerings, as my knowledge of lower end DSLR's is limited!
 
Soldato
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I've used a Canon 1300D with a kit zoom (75-300mm) for about 2 years for some hobbying wildlife photography and it's worked well.

Would be around £150-200 second hand, but might be better offerings, as my knowledge of lower end DSLR's is limited!

Thanks. This one looks worth bidding on.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Canon-EO...sh=item421a8d4a36:g:758AAOSwHoFe5P1R#viTabs_0

Will the 18 to 55mm zoom lens kit give me sharp focus at 20 feet distance?

Edit: Having done some research, looks like I'd need same as you, a 70 to 300mm lens, as apparently 18 to 55mm is just for general photography and not suited to wildlife?
 
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Caporegime
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Do you know what I would get?

An old Canon 5DII.
+ a 50/1.8 for food photos
+ a 70-20/4.0 L for your birds.

The Body is around £350-400, the 50mm is about £50, the 70-200 is £300....on MPB, you can save even more if you buy it off direct from people.

Total about £700, Might be able to get the whole thing for £500 if someone is selling. It will blow the doors off in terms of IQ of anything you've ever experienced. I used to shoot weddings with that camera.

It is OLD school, tech from the 2000's era, no touch screen, no USB charging, it does shoot 1080p video and it does look very cinematic even by today's standard.

If you want something basic, really basic, you can go the 5D mk1, that will save you £100. Get the cheap 50mm first and then research into what zoom lens you need for the birds later on.

p.s. I shoot all my food photos on a 50mm lens, that's my prefer focal length. This is all relative to Full Frame sensor btw.
 
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Soldato
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Thanks very much Raymond! Ok, first I'll look up and read about those cameras and come back here. Well, I can afford £700 and I know photography gear isn't cheap. Though I'm a reluctant at the moment to spend anything like that much. What's MPB? And when buying a 50 and 70 to 200mm lens, am I limited to buying the same brand? Or can you fit a Nikon lens to a Canon camera? As you can tell, I know nothing much yet about photography! :p

Would either of those cameras you suggested get me the same effect you get with your food photos? Your food photos almost look 3D.
 
Don
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Thanks very much Raymond! Ok, first I'll look up and read about those cameras and come back here. Well, I can afford £700 and I know photography gear isn't cheap. Though I'm a reluctant at the moment to spend anything like that much. What's MPB? And when buying a 50 and 70 to 200mm lens, am I limited to buying the same brand? Or can you fit a Nikon lens to a Canon camera? As you can tell, I know nothing much yet about photography! :p

Would either of those cameras you suggested get me the same effect you get with your food photos? Your food photos almost look 3D.

general rule of thumb is that brands don't play well together (there are converters but I wouldn't risk it IMO), so you effectivly buy into a brand.

The camera body isn;t what get's raymond his pictures, it's all about the lens. He's using what's called a prime lens (i.e the focal length is fixed) which is 50mm. If you don;t use full frame, you'd need 35mm for that.

The soft edges are caused by using a wide apeture (low f number - so 1.8 / 1.9 based on the example given to you above) - although I imagine Rays kit can go wider :).

Since this is all new I REALLY recommend this book:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/understanding-exposure-3rd-edition/bryan-peterson/9780817439392

although there now is a fourth edition, which is probably better but as I don;t own it I can't say for sure :)

Bryan explains how the various settings you have control over change how the photo will look, using pictures as examples.
 
Soldato
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Ok, sticking with the 5D mk 1, there's one on ebay with 50mm I can buy for £350.

Compared to the 1300D with 50mm which is cheaper, what are the significant differences for me as a beginner? Also, there's wifi on the 1300D but I don't think there is on the 5D?
 
Caporegime
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Thanks very much Raymond! Ok, first I'll look up and read about those cameras and come back here. Well, I can afford £700 and I know photography gear isn't cheap. Though I'm a reluctant at the moment to spend anything like that much. What's MPB? And when buying a 50 and 70 to 200mm lens, am I limited to buying the same brand? Or can you fit a Nikon lens to a Canon camera? As you can tell, I know nothing much yet about photography! :p

Would either of those cameras you suggested get me the same effect you get with your food photos? Your food photos almost look 3D.

Once you buy a Canon body, you are stuck with the mount (the way the lens goes on the body), so you are stuck with Canon lenses. Other 3rd party makers make Canon mount lenses, but don't expert Sony or Nikon do. They are rivals.

Essentially...

Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji (and Olympus and Pentax...and also Leica, Hasslebald) are the major players. They all make camera and lenses.

Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Zeiss make lenses (Sigma dabbled in bodies but failed).

So you can get a Sony body with Sigma lenses or a Canon body with Sigma and Tamron lenses. But you will not get a Canon body with a Sony lenses (in the DSLR mount) to work. Thats the general idea of it, mirrorless is a different kettle of fish though, then you are talking about flange distance...the distance of the back of the lens to the sensor but anyway.

MPB is a store based in Brighton who specialises in used camera gear. I have sold camera to them and bought from them.

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...ed-canon-digital-slr-cameras/canon-eos-5d-ii/

Wex is also good, there is also LCE, ffords up in Scotland but generally I find MPB have the largest stock.

I would start out with a 50/1.8, save up for the 70-200/4.0 if you decide to take it more serious, or a 70-300 if you want to save a bit of money. The cost of a 5D2 used these days have hit rock bottom, it won't drop much, even if it halves from the £400 to £200, it's not a massive deal considering it was £2k new.
 
Don
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Ok, sticking with the 5D mk 1, there's one on ebay with 50mm I can buy for £350.

Compared to the 1300D with 50mm which is cheaper, what are the significant differences for me as a beginner? Also, there's wifi on the 1300D but I don't think there is on the 5D?

When I was learning phtography (years ago now) I was always told the body makes less difference to the lens. I.e a crap lens on the most expensive camera will be worse than a great lens on a cheapo camera.

The biggest difference in those two cameras is that the 5D is full frame.
 
Caporegime
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When I was learning phtography (years ago now) I was always told the body makes less difference to the lens. I.e a crap lens on the most expensive camera will be worse than a great lens on a cheapo camera.

The biggest difference in those two cameras is that the 5D is full frame.

Invest in glass. Body value drops and drop. Glass holds its value much better.

If you buy used glass, you can get like 90% of your money back after like 5 years. I got 105% of my money back for one of my lenses even.
 
Don
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Invest in glass. Body value drops and drop. Glass holds its value much better.

If you buy used glass, you can get like 90% of your money back after like 5 years. I got 105% of my money back for one of my lenses even.

I found when I had to sell out of phtography that my d90 was worthless, but the lenses held up and I lost very little on them at the time.
 
Soldato
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Thanks guys, great replies, lot of information to absorb! Ok, so main points are lens is more important, and there's 'full frame'. I'm going to go find out what that means. Is Canon generally the brand to go for then in terms of performance and affordability?

Thanks Raymond for that link to the £314 5D mk 11. Says it's well used with lots of cosmetic scratches but I guess that doesn't matter if it's fully functional. Non OEM battery ok?
MPB have this 50mm for £79. Says it's got light dust in it. Is that ok or is it one to avoid then?

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...U_eIsAijGh2EacQZDUxoCGf4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
Don
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Thanks guys, great replies, lot of information to absorb! Ok, so main points are lens is more important, and there's 'full frame'. I'm going to go find out what that means. Is Canon generally the brand to go for then in terms of performance and affordability?

Thanks Raymond for that link to the £314 5D mk 11. Says it's well used with lots of cosmetic scratches but I guess that doesn't matter if it's fully functional. Non OEM battery ok?
MPB have this 50mm for £79. Says it's got light dust in it. Is that ok or is it one to avoid then?

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...U_eIsAijGh2EacQZDUxoCGf4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

If you can get to a shop (i know right?) go hold a canon, a sony and a nikon. When I started out I was sure I wanted canon, until I got into jessops and held a Nikon - the grip was sooo much better for my smaller hands!

However if it's brass taxes you want, then Nikon IMO can be the weakest. In Canons (and sony's too) the camera body houses the auto focus motor - however in Entry level Nikons you dont get that and you have to buy lenses with the motors built in - these can cost quite a bit more. So Canon would be the better choice there as a beginner. Top end lenses are about the same for both brands, with some lengths being stronger than others - but there are some very good third party lenses out there.
 
Caporegime
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Thanks guys, great replies, lot of information to absorb! Ok, so main points are lens is more important, and there's 'full frame'. I'm going to go find out what that means. Is Canon generally the brand to go for then in terms of performance and affordability?

Thanks Raymond for that link to the £314 5D mk 11. Says it's well used with lots of cosmetic scratches but I guess that doesn't matter if it's fully functional. Non OEM battery ok?
MPB have this 50mm for £79. Says it's got light dust in it. Is that ok or is it one to avoid then?

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...U_eIsAijGh2EacQZDUxoCGf4QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Non-OEM Canon battery is fine, I had a ton. It's only Sony or the latest gen cameras have problems with them.

Full Frame, often short to FF, refers to the size being the same as old school 35mm film camera. It is full size to 35mm film. Because when the bodies went from film to digital, they can use the same lenses. Cropped bodies, have a smaller sensor. Canon Sensor actually is a little smaller. Cropped bodies came first because at first sensors were very expensive and low yield so to make a large sensor with less than tolerance number of dead pixels were difficult so easier to make a cropped sensor.

I am not bothered with dead pixels these days, Lightroom actually has built in algorithm to spot them and remove them before you even notice.

As for dust - easy to clean, scary at first but easy.
 
Soldato
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I paid a grand second hand for my 5Dii and it is more camera than I will ever need mine has a 35mm f2 IS on it 99% of the time as 35mm is the focal length I like best. Yes the tech is a bit old and clunky compared to brand new stuff but the picture quality is amazing it still makes me smile when I use it.
 
Soldato
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I paid a grand second hand for my 5Dii and it is more camera than I will ever need mine has a 35mm f2 IS on it 99% of the time as 35mm is the focal length I like best. Yes the tech is a bit old and clunky compared to brand new stuff but the picture quality is amazing it still makes me smile when I use it.

£1000, that's a lot. :eek: Well I guess it's not in the photography world. And Raymond said they used to be £2000. I guess £314 Is nothing then. I think I'm sold on the 5D mk 11.

If you can get to a shop (i know right?) go hold a canon, a sony and a nikon. When I started out I was sure I wanted canon, until I got into jessops and held a Nikon - the grip was sooo much better for my smaller hands!

However if it's brass taxes you want, then Nikon IMO can be the weakest. In Canons (and sony's too) the camera body houses the auto focus motor - however in Entry level Nikons you dont get that and you have to buy lenses with the motors built in - these can cost quite a bit more. So Canon would be the better choice there as a beginner. Top end lenses are about the same for both brands, with some lengths being stronger than others - but there are some very good third party lenses out there.

Thanks for that great info montymint. Lol yeah, would certainly be nice to pop into a camera shop. But anyway, you've made me understand why Canon is the brand for me right now.

Non-OEM Canon battery is fine, I had a ton. It's only Sony or the latest gen cameras have problems with them.

Full Frame, often short to FF, refers to the size being the same as old school 35mm film camera. It is full size to 35mm film. Because when the bodies went from film to digital, they can use the same lenses. Cropped bodies, have a smaller sensor. Canon Sensor actually is a little smaller. Cropped bodies came first because at first sensors were very expensive and low yield so to make a large sensor with less than tolerance number of dead pixels were difficult so easier to make a cropped sensor.

I am not bothered with dead pixels these days, Lightroom actually has built in algorithm to spot them and remove them before you even notice.

As for dust - easy to clean, scary at first but easy.

Thanks Raymond. Is the dust something I'd notice when looking through the viewfinder?

I just read an article on full frame. I didn't really understand the significance of 35mm, but now I get it I think. It seems the important things about full frame is considerably better image resolution, better in low lighting, and more of the scene is captured as opposed to cropped, is that right? That makes full frame more desirable to me and eliminates the 1300D.
 
Caporegime
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at the same F stop, FF give you nicer background blur (bokeh), if you have 20mil pixels in a FF and 20mil pixels in a cropped sensor, the pixels in a FF is larger and further apart.

A Larger pixel with more room to "breath" (not a technical term) is better for low light, actually for birds, it's cheaper to get a cropped body because you are essentially getting a built in digital zoom.
 
Soldato
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at the same F stop, FF give you nicer background blur (bokeh), if you have 20mil pixels in a FF and 20mil pixels in a cropped sensor, the pixels in a FF is larger and further apart.

A Larger pixel with more room to "breath" (not a technical term) is better for low light, actually for birds, it's cheaper to get a cropped body because you are essentially getting a built in digital zoom.

I understand most of what you said. Unclear on one thing... what is F stop?

So let's say I've bought the 5D 11 and 50mm lens and I save up for the 70 to 200mm lens. What approximate maximum distance in feet will the 50mm give me? In other words, if I want to take pictures of a bird 20 feet away, will the 50mm capture it well?
 
Don
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the f stop is noted on the lens (like 1.8, 2, 3-5.6 etc).

it notes how open the lens can get, so more light can get in. The book I linked earlier would be a great starting point for you, which can be bought on the rainforest :)
 
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