Entry level DSLR + lens(es) for ~$1000

Hi there,

I've been casually film-making for a couple of years, but I'm about to start properly studying film and kind of stepping my game up (in terms of seriousness of productions, etc). Anyway, I've used friends DSLR's before (mostly the Canon 550D), without any real knowledge of the technical side of them - but I liked the result. So I kind of figure I should properly get my own equipment, as it's kind of annoying for both of us for me to constantly be borrowing stuff.

Being a student, I don't have a hell of a lot to spend, and am looking at trying to spend around $1000NZD ($850 usd - pushing upward if justifiable). I'd like one solid lens (I did find using stock photography lenses sufficient, but I'd like a more suitable lens) to start off with, obviously getting more in due time. I also have a rather rubbish tripod which I'd like to replace, but before that I need to get a somewhere near decent mic + steadicam. I was initially looking at the Canon 650D, but recently, my readings and youtube viewings have lead me to really want the Nikon d5200. However, this is top of my budget, and using stock lenses - not giving me much to play with in terms of other equipment.

Any thoughts, advice, etc, given my budget?

Thanks in advance
 
I've been doing a TON of homework for DSLRs for video with a budget of around 1000, and nothing touches the GH2, I mean nothing.

There are plenty of shoot-out videos, and the GH2 pummels anything it's put against. A hacked GH2 even goes toe to toe with a RED Scarlett. I even dare to say that the GH2's video looks better than the GH3s. It seems to retain a more cinematic look than any other camera I've seen.

Blackmagic is making a $999 camera this summer, so that may be something to look at as well.

but to summarize, GH2 > everything else.
 
I agree, from the stuff I have seen, but it isn't a cheap camera anywhere in New Zealand or Australia, and becomes just too pricey when importing from overseas. Living where I do, it costs twice as much as a Canon, and (nearly) twice as much as a Nikon imported from Australia. I just can't justify that at the moment.
 
So it turns out my father, who used to be involved in Panasonic, can still get a 30ish% discount on their stuff! He's willing to help me fund it a little bit as well. He's thinking I should go for the GH3, but I've heard some people say a hacked GH2 is better than a GH3?
 
So it turns out my father, who used to be involved in Panasonic, can still get a 30ish% discount on their stuff! He's willing to help me fund it a little bit as well. He's thinking I should go for the GH3, but I've heard some people say a hacked GH2 is better than a GH3?

That's great news, c&c! I have the GH1, the GH2, and the GH3 - and the GH3 is the best of the lot by far. Here are a few reasons. There are more.

- wi-fi for remote control and monitoring of the camera - and uploading to the web while away from a computer. This is huge. I use it all the time
- headphone jack
- 3.5mm mic jack instead of the GH2's frustrating non-standard 2.5mm
- larger and higher res LCD with a capacitive touch screen that actually works. The GH2's resistive touch screen is awful
- 1080/60p with built in 50mbps and bit rates (perfectly stable without a hack)
- choice of codecs, AVCHD or .MOV (big for people who edit on Macs)
- 19 levels of audio control instead of 4
- splashproof and dustproof construction
- faster autofocus
- beter high ISO performance
- better control layout - I have had the GH3 since December and have not hit a single button in error. Happened all the time with the GH2

It does lose the GH2's multi-aspect sensor. That's about the only thing I miss.

This is pretty much a no-brainer. I would get the GH3 :)

Bill
 
Yeah, as far as my research has gone, your post is effectively my conclusion. I am a little worried of having a camera that is effectively so much better than me (I mean, the Nikon D5200 was already something I wouldn't consider myself capable of utilising fully). I feel i'll be producing images from it that look like they come from a camera a quarter of the price - but I guess I'll get better.

The other aspect is lenses - Should I be changing my approach to buying a few vintage primes, or is that still ok for now? (I don't really have a big budget, but given I can get a better camera at a good price, I feel I should be - maybe just build my collection slowly)

EDIT: The other thing was, Dad wanted me to hold off another week or so, as one of his friends (still in panasonic) told him the new cameras are being released soon. But from my research, I can't see anything that would anywhere match the GH3, so I think he may be confused. Am I missing something, or perhaps he meant something new was being announced?
 
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Yeah, as far as my research has gone, your post is effectively my conclusion. I am a little worried of having a camera that is effectively so much better than me (I mean, the Nikon D5200 was already something I wouldn't consider myself capable of utilising fully). I feel i'll be producing images from it that look like they come from a camera a quarter of the price - but I guess I'll get better.

The other aspect is lenses - Should I be changing my approach to buying a few vintage primes, or is that still ok for now? (I don't really have a big budget, but given I can get a better camera at a good price, I feel I should be - maybe just build my collection slowly)

EDIT: The other thing was, Dad wanted me to hold off another week or so, as one of his friends (still in panasonic) told him the new cameras are being released soon. But from my research, I can't see anything that would anywhere match the GH3, so I think he may be confused. Am I missing something, or perhaps he meant something new was being announced?

Artificial is right, GH3 just came out. Also, at least for me, vintage primes have been a gateway towards buying focal lengths I would never have access to in native mount due to price. Additionally, they have a different, less clinical look compared to modern lenses. Whether you like this or not is completely up to you. You also have to be aware of their shortcomings. You can't control aperture from the camera, and you're going to have to manually focus as well. Also, something I'm running into now is there is no such thing as a vintage wide angle on the GH2/3. Vintage lenses were made for 135mm film and as such the widest affordable option you can probably get in vintage is a 16mm fisheye.

I'd only get vintage primes if you're going to spend $5-$15 per lens. Anything over that and you can buy/save for some affordable native primes. These include the Sigma 19mm, the Sigma 30mm, and the Panasonic 14mm. They're about $150 a piece. Oh! Try and get the kit lens with your GH3. My biggest mistake was getting body only. Even though it was cheap, I could only use it after a month of saving and a big gift from someone.
 
Ok, thanks for the advice. Final questions (I hope, I feel I've dragged this thread out a bit tediously - apologies!):

1) Due to the cropped sensor on the GH3, a vintage lens is effectively half as wide? So a 50mm is really a 100mm?
2) Regarding adaptors; Is there anything I really need to know here, or will anything do the trick? (I think I'd be going for something without optics to avoid degrading image quality?)
 
As far as I can tell, most options are cropped sensor, so it's not a huge deal, it just makes it a bit trickier to figure out which lenses to start with. I know Artorius recommended the kit lens, but it makes it a hell of a lot pricier... I was thinking of starting with a 35mm and a 50mm? Or given that I will shoot inside a lot, will this actually be too close with a cropped sensor?
 
Ok, thanks for the advice. Final questions (I hope, I feel I've dragged this thread out a bit tediously - apologies!):

1) Due to the cropped sensor on the GH3, a vintage lens is effectively half as wide? So a 50mm is really a 100mm?
2) Regarding adaptors; Is there anything I really need to know here, or will anything do the trick? (I think I'd be going for something without optics to avoid degrading image quality?)

1. Yes, the "cropped" sensor of the GH3 produces roughly the look of a 100mm on full frame 135mm. Even lenses tailored for the system will produce a x2 focal length compared to full frame. However, if you've never used full frame, there's really nothing for you to multiply. Just know what lens corresponds to what look you want to achieve.

2. As far as adaptors go, I haven't had a bad one. I generally buy mine from Rainbowimaging. They are all relatively cheap and none require additional optics. The only adaptors I know of that require additional optics are the not yet released Metabones Speed Boosters which are focal length reducers and cause a lens to have a field of view roughly equivalent to what it would be on an APS-C sensor, that is 1.6x instead of 2x.

As far as the kit lens goes. If you forgo the kit lens, then I highly recommend you order the Panasonic 14mm prime lens because you're going to want something wider than a 50mm lens. Generally, 50mm is my close up lens. I'm having this problem at the moment. My Sigma 19mm is a great all purpose lens, but I want something wider and the Panasonic 14mm would fit the bill. I'm assuming others would also like a wide angle and the 14mm is the most affordable option.
 
Ok thanks guys.

I'm currently thinking of getting a Fujian 35mm + a Zuiko 50mm for now. I really want a Helios 44-2 58mm, but it's a little too close to be a necessity. Next would be a Panasonic 14mm, then the Helios, a Miranda or Tamron 28mm. I already have a semi decent 80+ lens from a family member, but I'll probably look at upgrading it down the line.

Thank you for all the help! I think I'll let this die now, unless anyone has extra thoughts..
 
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T3i (the T4i updates are mostly on the photo side). Good lenses can be had for cheap. Pawn shops and ebay you can buy off brand, older manual photo lenses aren't selling for expensive at all, and any brand has a "To EOS" adaptor out there for $5 - $20 each. I've got a half a dozen lenses in a variety of zoom ranges and prime focal lengths with adaptors, haven't spent more than $25 on any Lens + adaptor yet. and US$500 on the body through a grey marketeer (they buy the kit wholesale, then separate and sell the lenses separately - so they can sell them for more profit, but not as "New" ... so you pick it up for a refurb price :) ).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004M170YC/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
I have a 650D and wish I had went with the 600D. They are finally getting Magic Lantern worked out for the 650D, but are still debugging.

Check Amazon for the 600 or the 650. Sometimes their system drops the price real low for a few hours, so check often.
 
I'm quite partial to Canon's "look"... very used to how to deal with its shortcomings as I've used it over the past decade for all of my video. It's not as strongly saturated as Panny's has been through out, and I prefer that. Geekily speaking, I believes it leaves more room to quantize the grays in each channel more thoroughly when compressing the image to fit the available bitrate when you're not over driving to squeeze every last bit of brightness out of each channel... you can make that adjustment in CC/Grading -- which I do on every single shot I put out. I'd rather have (what I feel to be) more detail in the information captured to use later than to try to shove it straight out of the camera in a usable, but minutely less gradable state.

Again, I'm really just used to the Canon's out of camera image - which is quite consistent across their line of digital products. The GH2 looks great out of camera and doesn't seem to need as much CC/Grading, but the video controls seem less workable, and Magic Lantern isn't available for them.
 
Of the comparison footage I've seen, I definitely like the GH3 > the Nikon D5200 > The canon T3i/600d. But you make a very good point about so much of that coming down to the user (i'm not sure if that was the point you were intentionally making, but that's what I took from it) - and I have no doubt you'd produce images much better with a T3i than I would in a long time with a GH3... Gives me a bit to think about
 
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