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Topic Author
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Camera For A Newbie

Wed May 27, 2009 1:26 pm

I went to Heathrow the other day to take some photos and started thing about getting agood camera for it could anyone recommened a good camera and if necessary a lens also i dont need the worlds best one which is like a pen knife with secret little functions and a cup holder just a decent one that takes good photos with agood zoom/lens  camera 

Thanks  Smile
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 7:13 am

RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed May 27, 2009 2:09 pm

Plenty of previous threads about this.

How much money have you got or are prepared to spend? For a DSLR and decent lens you're looking at a few hundred £££. It's better to have a more basic body and higher quality lens.

Canon and Nikon are the big players with a wide choice of bodies and lenses. You may be able to get a reasonable body second hand or reconditioned which may leave more to spend on a good lens.

The Sony A200 does have some reasonable reviews, but the choice of lenses is limited at the moment.

Otherwise go for a high end compact like the Canon SX10.

And don't forget the experience of the person holding the camera is important as well. A camera can take good photos, but equally it can take bad ones if the wrong settings are used or the conditions aren't right.
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed May 27, 2009 2:13 pm

Start by researching the Canon 1000D or Nikon D60. What's your budget?

My Canon 1000D (they call it the Rebel XS in the States) plus a 70-200MM f/4 lens. The Canon is an entry level body with a good lens. The lens was $550 alone. And if you have the money I would say get it. If not, Canon makes a 55-250 lens, not as good quality and slower, but for $199. Besides knowing your budget, you also need to know your distance. If aircraft are far away from your spotting location, you'll need a longer telephoto lens.

Here's a shot for you Mr. Speedbird, taken with the above combo:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ronald J Stella

Topic Author
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed May 27, 2009 3:11 pm

my budget is about £500
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Thu May 28, 2009 10:06 am

Looking around, Wilkinson's have a 1000D body at £304. (
A Canon 75-300 III USM is around £150. (

If you photosearch on the lens here you'll find nearly 1700 photos, and some with the 1000D so it is an effective combination.
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Thu May 28, 2009 12:19 pm

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 4):
some with the 1000D

The combo Oly720man recommends is a fine one, and I'm guessing the images he's looked at are my friend's - Gavin Bowler (do a search with his name in 'keywords' to check out his images).

The 75-300 F4-5.6 USM III is a cheap lens but it delivers a fair bit for your money. Firstly, it's pretty well-built for the price, with a metal mount and glass front element. It's also very sharp up to about 200mm, especially between F8 and 11. Colour and contrast reproduction can sometimes appear a bit muddy and the lens suffers from serious softness issues above about 220mm, but overall I recommend it as a former owner.

The Sony A200 is another option, and can be had with kit lens for around £250 I believe. A better body I'd say than the 1000D, and there is a budget 75-300 lens available, however the Canon for me wins the day with its ability to use every single lens in Canon's enviable and unrivalled range.

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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:13 pm

If you are considering low end Nikon DSLRs, don't be tempted into purchasing the D40/D40x/D60 owing to lens compatibilities. You cannot use AF lenses on these cameras unless you're prepared to manually focus them. And sometimes you just simply can't do it.

Also note the D60 tends to underexpose which can make shooting in changing light challenging. The twin lens kit that came with mine is well suited to the camera, I generally shoot with the 55-200 AFS VR but there are some days when it can be a dog of a thing to use.

My recommendation would be the D90 as an entry level camera if you can stretch your budget that far, if not, have a look at the D80.
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:27 pm

Don't be afraid to look into the underdog aka Pentax.

You could pick up a K10D w/ kit lens lightly used on ebay for a good deal. Pentax FA 80-200 and 800-320 lenses are going cheap these days, or if you want new, the Pentax DA55-300 ED is a very good lens for a very reasonable price. As for backwards compatibility, any Pentax K mount lens will work on it. All K-AF lenses WILL autofocus regardless of how old.

The above comments about the Nikon D40[X]/D60 are correct, those cameras have no internal AF motor, so older Nikon AF lenses won't be AF lenses in actuality on those cameras.

If you don't *need* a DSLR, you could look at the Kodak Z series cameras or the Pentax X70. In my experience, the Kodak Z series cameras are very reasonably priced for what they can do. Cameras such as that are VERY hard on batteries, though.

[Edited 2009-06-03 11:28:33]
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:54 am


Any suggestions for Sony camera ?

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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:29 am

Quoting Donjoaoresort (Reply 8):
Any suggestions for Sony camera ?

The A200 is supposedly a vary capable camera and is pretty cheap at the moment (here in the UK anyway).

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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:45 am

I got over 2400 pics in the DB shooting Minolta/Sony equipment. It is definitely decent enough for Airliners.
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:22 am

I would look at the Sony Alpha line. There's a great A300 (or some variant) which is being phased out but it's a great deal right now, otherwise the A200 is a great starter camera, that's what I got and it's awesome for newbies
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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:19 pm

I'm looking at investing in a Sony A200 soon, as much as the range of Sony lenses may be limited it mustn't be forgotten that the Sony alpha cameras can use old Minolta lenses which can be found cheap on eBay (and from reviews I've read they are wonderful lenses!).

With reference to your budget:
Sony A200 (with kit 17-70mm lens) : £260 (amazon)
Camera Bag (a whole different kettle of fish!) : ~£50
CompactFlash memory card 4GB : ~£25

And as far as lenses go the Sony 55-200 (SAL55200) gets very well reviewed : £130 new
Also the old minolta lenses are supposedly very good, primarily the 'beercan' 70-210mm and 'big beercan' 75-300mm. I'm not 100% sure of the prices of old Minolta lenses but I have a few 'watched' on eBay so will let you know.

If you are considering Sony then the best place for reviews of cameras and lenses (Sony, Minolta, Tamron, Sigma) is it seems.

I hope this was useful, possibly best to take my enthusiasm with a pinch of salt as I don't actually own an A200....yet. I'm waiting for my exams to be over!!

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RE: Camera For A Newbie

Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:21 pm


I think you should get a nikon D40. What is your budget?

jpc11  camera 

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