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
 
Well looking watching a number of videos with all of the cameras I mentioned, I think (with the right settings and hence right operator of camera), the Panasonic is clearly better. But the Canon is still a great performer, and certainly not half as good.

I guess now my dilemma is whether I get a GH3 (which I can get at a really rather good price) and have a better camera, but take longer to build up my supporting equipment, or a cheaper camera with better/more equipment...
 
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I guess now my dilemma is whether I get a GH3 (which I can get at a really rather good price) and have a better camera, but take longer to build up my supporting equipment, or a cheaper camera with better/more equipment...

As someone who is in a similar position (except without the awesome discount), I'd opt for more equipment.

My reasoning is two-fold:

1) There is a massive learning curve for all this equipment. I'm very much a "learn by doing" type. So for me, I'd want to get that experience, make my mistakes, correct, etc. all as soon as possible. The faster you learn, the more you know, the better the decisions you can make down the track with new equipment.

2) This may not end up being the thing you want to do for the rest of your life or you may find you don't even like it. But if you DO end up continuing, then new and better equipment is something that will become a part of your journey towards success and you'll end up upgrading from whatever camera you start out with anyway.
 
Initially I agreed with you, but what is making me hesitant is the fact that I probably won't be eligible for this discount forever (only still am as Dad knows someone in Panasonic, but he won't stay forever). I have my parents and another family member offering to help finance the camera itself (they don't really understand the equipment around it, and they liked to be involved so it's hard to justify why I might need x lens over y lens, etc - and I feel quilty doing so). I don't like accepting their help, and feel bad for doing so - but being young, poor and a student, I kind of need it. I think the only reason they're offering to help with the financial side of things is because I have only just moved out, so there is still a wee bit of hangover of them wanting to take care of me (patronising, but useful). I'm fairly certain if I wanted to upgrade down the road, I'd be on my own...
 
Yeah, but if you're at a stage where you're upgrading, you're probably going to be able to afford it, since the only thing that would really justify an upgrade is being successful at it. At least, that's how I'll be going about it.

As for taking advantage of familial gifts, it's all good and well to want to do things on your own but if there's one life-lesson I've learned over the years, it's that you need other people to get anywhere in life. Nobody ever succeeds on their own.

Plus, you seem pretty serious about it so it's not like they're throwing money down the drain. Even if you end up not doing it as a career, I doubt they'll regret helping you discover that. It's their choice to offer and if it causes you to feel a sense of obligation to them, repay them by trying your best to be a success.

And if you end up being the next James Cameron, Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas or whoever, then you'll be able to pay them back... with a Lamborghini!
 
I would call $300 a good deal, for reference (although I've always been one who's overly paranoid about warranties). I think I am looking at getting a T3i/T4i (I like playing with timelapse, so the onboard hdr feature may be useful) or Nikon again. Although, final question; how quickly will the Canon start to look out dated in relation to a Gh2/Gh3?
 
...I think I am looking at getting a T3i/T4i (I like playing with timelapse, so the onboard hdr feature may be useful) or Nikon again. Although, final question; how quickly will the Canon start to look out dated in relation to a Gh2/Gh3?

c&c - in my view, they are already dated. Don't get me wrong - I loved my T2i when I had it, and I liked the T4i I rented for this test - but the Canons have no 1080/60p, they shoot only one useful codec, they record at slow bit rates, their viewfinders go blank in video mode, they have slow or no autofocus, you can't get one with a headphone jack below $3000... The list goes on.

You can shoot beautiful images with these cameras, but it's harder than with a more modern video-centric camera, in my view.

As Andrew Reid from eoshd said in his GH3 review, "Tell me one good reason why you are still shooting on a Rebel" :)

That said, for shooters on a budget, a used T2i/T3i/T4i is a lot less expensive than a used GH2 - and a darned good value for the money.


Cheers,

Bill
 
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Hmm ok, I guess I have a lot of thinking to do.

As a side note, I've been keeping an eye on trademe (a website like eBay for New Zealanders) and the vintage lenses that pop up there. Anyway would something like this http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=588412538 be a good/reasonable price($75nzd is about $60usd)? (My sister wants an old camera, for whatever reason, so that part isn't really a waste/big deal imo - i'm talking about the lenses).
 
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c&c - in my view, they are already dated. Don't get me wrong - I loved my T2i when I had it, and I liked the T4i I rented for this test - but the Canons have no 1080/60p, they shoot only one useful codec, they record at slow bit rates, their viewfinders go blank in video mode, they have slow or no autofocus, you can't get one with a headphone jack below $3000... The list goes on.

You can shoot beautiful images with these cameras, but it's harder than with a more modern video-centric camera, in my view.

As Andrew Reid from eoshd said in his GH3 review, "Tell me one good reason why you are still shooting on a Rebel" :)

That said, for shooters on a budget, a used T2i/T3i/T4i is a lot less expensive than a used GH2 - and a darned good value for the money.


Cheers,

Bill

The LCD still works.. So not really a problem many survive. The low bit rate can be increased with magic lantern but I believe the only improvements are in moire.

Also the t4i isn't worth the money get a t3i and better lenses, do not get kit lens, seriously unless you can find it for less than £59 which is what I sold mine for recently.

Gh2 Iv heard is good, but is it a worthwhile investment ? Not in my opinion, today you can get the black magic camera for £700 est which I haven't seen any footage of has to be better than the gh2? Also you can choose your mount type if I'm correct so even better choice.
 
I've been keeping an eye on the Blackmagic, and it's certainly interesting comparison. However, it's 'set' release date is about the verge of when I need/want my camera by (I don't have a lot of free time when i have myself available to shoot/the people i like working with available - so I want to be ready next time that happens), and their track record with release dates isn't great. As well as this, as someone who likes to play with time (i.e. slowmotion and timelapse), it isn't ideal. But it also ticks a lot of the right boxes at a decent price.
 
Don't forget you'll need to spend quite a bit on SD cards that are big enough and fast enough for the RAW files (one of it's biggest selling points)

Yeah, this is another question I was going to ask elsewhere.

I've been told that the lesser cards (30mb/s) are generally good enough for capture. At $50 per 32GB I'm not even sure how many of them I would need starting out. Soooo much to learn. Wish I was younger and didn't waste so many years avoiding learning all of this.
 
The LCD still works.. So not really a problem many survive. The low bit rate can be increased with magic lantern but I believe the only improvements are in moire.

Also the t4i isn't worth the money get a t3i and better lenses, do not get kit lens, seriously unless you can find it for less than £59 which is what I sold mine for recently.

Gh2 Iv heard is good, but is it a worthwhile investment ? Not in my opinion, today you can get the black magic camera for £700 est which I haven't seen any footage of has to be better than the gh2? Also you can choose your mount type if I'm correct so even better choice.

Why is the T3i a worthwhile investment and the GH2 not? m4/3 mount is gaining more and more support and already has excellent prime lenses. Not to mention you can adapt just about any other lens to it. Would like to hear your thoughts.
 
...today you can get the black magic camera for £700 est which I haven't seen any footage of has to be better than the gh2? Also you can choose your mount type if I'm correct so even better choice.

You can't really get it today (I have one on pre-order, but it won't ship until at least July) - and the footage is great, but not that much better than a GH2 or GH3.

Here is the only Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera footage that has been released:

http://vimeo.com/64693161

And here is the trailer from Shane Carruth's Sundance film, "Upstream Color", shot on the GH2:

http://vimeo.com/62885032

The GH2 still holds its own, in my view.

Cheers,

Bill
 
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