I really like your posts on here. I've been looking through the folders you've put together and have been inspired to look at getting a DSLR. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on what brand/kind of DSLR and kit for new photographers to get.
Hi, thanks so much! Glad you enjoy.
That’s quite a question. I’m pretty brand-agnostic. I think Nikon bodies have the edge ergonomically and I think their sensors capture greater dynamic range, but I also think Canon has the edge with lenses in some ways. The best piece of advice I ever received and the reason I ultimately went Nikon was just to go into some shops and try the different bodies out in your hand. See which ones feel ergonomically “right” to you.
That said, there’s a host of other things to consider, and it depends how far along the photographic journey you are. If you know the basics about photography and want to delve into a greater understanding of it, I think it’s better to shy away from the basic consumer bodies, which are really made for point and shooters. Sure, they’ll do most of the stuff that more expensive, manual-orientated bodies do, but I find all the key settings are buried under a layer of simplification that’s really frustrating. I’m talking about cameras like the Nikon D3x00, D5x000 and the cheaper Canon bodies.
I think it’s best to get something like a Nikon D7100 if you don’t mind a crop sensor. I started out with the D7000 which is the earlier model, and depending on how serious you want to get that will serve your needs for a long time. The other advantage to crop-sensor bodies is that lenses tend to be quite a bit cheaper, so it’s easier to get started. Pentax also have some great crop-sensor bodies, and the build quality puts other brands to shame - but lens choice isn’t as great. But be warned, if you ever decide to upgrade to a full-frame sensor, a lot of crop lenses won’t work very well/at all on your new body - something to consider!
If cash isn’t an issue, and you’re liable to want to upgrade in future, grab a full frame body first up. Canon 5D MkIII, Nikon D610, D810 etc. The Nikon D610, which is their cheaper full frame body that I use, comes with a pretty neat kit lens if you’re just starting out - the 24-85mm VR, which would serve your needs for a long time. I haven’t used that lens though, so can’t comment first hand.
If you don’t want to get *too* into it, and just want to make nice pictures without having to lug around a kilo of glass with you, there’s also the mirrorless option. Since I’m nursing an injury at the moment, I’ve considered downsizing to one of these - the Fuji bodies are excellent (the XT-1 is great).
But, first thing I’d recommend is hitting a store and playing with some bodies. Be warned, the salesman might try to bedazzle you with specs and figures, but really all of the current bodies have pretty similar abilities - have a go with each and see which feels right for you.
If you need any more help, let me know!
How does the sigma 35mm perform on a full frame camera?
It’s a cracker of a lens. If you’ve never used one, see if you can get your hands on one - the build quality puts Nikon/Canon lenses to shame. Okay, maybe not shame; but it feels a lot more solid and the focus ring is gorgeously well-damped. I’m a big fan of Sigma’s new lens line up. Very sharp, with lovely colours, and quick as hell. A bit vignetty wide open, but you get that. I’ve found that cheaper brand lenses don’t handle flare too well, but the new Sigmas handle it well (based on my experience with the 35mm only). It’s a really usable focal length on full frame; heaps of people say 35mm is too wide to shoot people, and it can be if they’re on the edge of the frame but I find it to be a very good multipurpose focal length. 50mm feels a little too tight for me (at least for what I do).
I’ve heard they’ll be releasing a 24mm f/1.4 in the future; I’d be so keen on that, but there’s only so much you can (should?) spend on lenses!
May i ask what your gear set up is?
A Nikon D610, and typically the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 or Sigma 35mm f/1.4. Plus incidentals, of course (tripod etc).