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Best Entry Level DSLR and Lens under 800

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Old Monday 1st April 2019, 19:57   #26
Louis_P
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Thanks once again for your help and speedy reply. It seems the 7D isn't as good as it sounds =D, is there any method is Canon's numbering system (probably the same for Nikon)? Likelihood is that I will stick with the D5500 and 70-300mm lens.

Thanks again,
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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2019, 00:40   #27
marcsantacurz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thanks once again for your help and speedy reply. It seems the 7D isn't as good as it sounds =D, is there any method is Canon's numbering system (probably the same for Nikon)? Likelihood is that I will stick with the D5500 and 70-300mm lens.

Thanks again,
Louis
I realized after I posted that Canon uses one set of names in the US and another set everywhere else. The T6i is the 750d and the T6s is the 760d. So you have things like the xxxD being mid-range, the xxD being upper-range, and the xD being top-range. So 1dx, 6d, 5d, 7d are all top-range cameras lines (with various "mark" revisions). The 80d, 70d, being the mid-range, and the 750d and 760d being entry level. The SL line is their super compact light weight DSLR, I'm not sure if it has a numerical name outside the US.

The T6s (760d) and T6i (750d) are identical except the 760d has a top LCD display. I think that's the only difference. They will take the same photos. Those are basically the d5500 level competitors. They are both 5 FPS. They do not have the memory recall (C1/C2) found on the 70d/80d/7dm2, so you'll have to go into menus to change the camera mode.

I think any of the Canon 750d/760d/80d would be fantastic for you. The 70d would be good too, but has limited ISO range. The 750d/760d both have the current Digic 6 processor, same as the 7d mark 2. They will take wonderful photos. As would the d5500/d5600.

I shot the 760d for a while for macro, but ended up selling it because I didn't think it handled some low light noise as well as my Nikon, so I stuck with Nikon.

I threw out all this Canon info as a prior poster mentioned it and it is good gear. The main difference, I think, is that the 100-400 or 70-300 lenses for Canon are full frame, whereas the Nikon 70-300 DX VR is a crop lens. I think the Nikon d5500 + 70-300 VR DX will be noticeably lighter to carry around. The Canon 70-300 IS II is 708g vs the Nikon 70-300 DX VR at 412g. The Canon is 1/3 a stop faster (5.6 vs 6.3), but I doubt you'll notice that much.

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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2019, 04:19   #28
Owen Krout
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Just thought I would throw in my recommendations, Louis. I am currently using the Canon 7d II body for birding and almost exclusively the Canon 100-400mm mk I L telephoto lens. Right now setting at about 60,000 shutter activations for both. I started birding with a used Canon Rebel body with 8mp and 70-200mm(?) kit lens for a total outlay of $100. Even with that I was able to get good enough images to encourage me to move up to my current rig and it did give me a good enough platform to rebuild my basic photography skills which had lain dormant for 25 years or more.

If you are really limited to the budget you have set down, you might want to consider a compromise with the Canon Powershot SX-70. amazon UK currently shows it at 445. If what you are after is primarily for photos to aid in verifying IDs then maybe just what you need. Maybe apply the remaining budget towards binoculars? Give me another 7-10 days and I expect to have some hands on experience with that.

Don't fret the camera make itself too much. I use Canon but many are just as successful and happy with Nikon.

Advice for when you are first starting: Spending money on the best glass you can afford is more important than the camera body. Just make sure the camera body is compatible with the higher end lenses for the manufacturer you choose to go with. The catch is that for birding/wildlife I would not recommend spending money on anything less than a 300mm reach with 400mm generally being the best compromise on reach, weight and cost. Anything beyond f/8 is going to severely compromise the auitofocus. Always make sure you are buying a lens with autofocus and that either the lens or camera body have image stabilization. For birding/wildlife those can be especially important. All that adds up to paying considerably more for the lens than for the camera. However, there is always somebody like me trading in still perfectly usable glass.

The 7d mkII is indeed an excellent and rugged body. People are faulting it on it's weight but that is because it is a big chunk of magnesium where the lighter bodies like the 70d or 80d are still well made but a plastic body. Also the 7d is better weather proofed. I have learned to appreciate those two features after hauling it around through woods, brush and marsh from 38 C to -10C, rain, snow and sun with never a problem.

That being said, my brother has an 80D body which he is delighted with and it cost considerably less. He uses it with a Sigma 100-600mm Contemporary lens and has been getting excellent images. I am currently weighing whether to accept the extra weight and move up to 100-600mm myself.

The 100-400mm mkI L lens is has been wonderful to work with. Not the fastest lens but good enough to use the 1.4 extender in good light. Capable of tack sharp images and the autofocus and image stabilization are excellent. I bought mine used and am now seriously looking at trading it in on a new MK II lens or Sigma 100-600mm.

You can see some of what I managed with this rig if you click on my user name and select view users gallery.
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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2019, 13:42   #29
Owen Krout
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
is there any method is Canon's numbering system (probably the same for Nikon)? Likelihood is that I will stick with the D5500 and 70-300mm lens.

Thanks again,
Louis
It took me a year or so to somewhat figure out Canon's system. You might find this helpful: https://photographytipsonline.com/ca...ming-system-2/
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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2019, 16:37   #30
Louis_P
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Thank you both for your help. Thanks for the Canon comparison, I will look into the suggested although the Nikon still sounds better at the moment. Thanks also Owen for your recommendations, the Canon 7D and 100-400 lens sound and look like a good combo judging by your photos although from what I've briefly looked at, the lens alone looks to be above my budget =(. The SX-70 looks good on paper although some reviews point out a few problems with it. You are correct with my current use of my camera for ID, hence the TZ70 having x30 zoom but a DSLR would ideally be the start of me photographing birds as well as a hobby. A DSLR would still be favourable, so I can upgrade lenses or bodies in the future and keep the other (lens or body).

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Louis
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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2019, 19:26   #31
marcsantacurz
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thank you both for your help. Thanks for the Canon comparison, I will look into the suggested although the Nikon still sounds better at the moment. Thanks also Owen for your recommendations, the Canon 7D and 100-400 lens sound and look like a good combo judging by your photos although from what I've briefly looked at, the lens alone looks to be above my budget =(. The SX-70 looks good on paper although some reviews point out a few problems with it. You are correct with my current use of my camera for ID, hence the TZ70 having x30 zoom but a DSLR would ideally be the start of me photographing birds as well as a hobby. A DSLR would still be favourable, so I can upgrade lenses or bodies in the future and keep the other (lens or body).

Thanks,
Louis
Just to clarify, there's the 7d II and the older 7d. If you could swing the 7d II, absolutely go for it. I was referring to the original 7d, which I do not think is really worth it today for a 10 year old camera. If your budget allows a 7dII you could also look at the d7500 or d7200.

If you're willing to carry the weight (I carry about a 3 kg kit: d850 + Tamron 150-600g2 + battery grip for 9FPS), the 100-400 I or II would be an excellent lens. Once you start getting up into that class, you need to adjust how you carry and shoot -- you need to hold the kit by the lens, not the camera. It would be a very big change from your point-and-shoot.

Anyhow, in your budget, there are not too many options.

These are all used prices from the UK version of the auction site.
  • canon 100-400 L IS (~700 GBP)
  • tamron 100-400 DI VC [nikon or canon mount] (~500 GBP)
  • Nikon 70-300 VR DX (maybe 180 new? The pricing was a bit confusing.)
  • Canon 760d (~400 GBP)
  • Canon 70d (~400)
  • Canon 80d (~500-600)
  • Canon 7d mk I (~250)
  • Canon 7d mk II (~800)
  • Nikon d5500 (~300)
  • Nikon d7200 (~450)
  • Nikon d7500 (~750)

So, if you want entry-level, the d5500 + 70-300 DX VR for ~500 GBP is I think a great option and very light. For the 300 you save, you could take a nice trip or buy a good shoulder bag or a tripod/monopod.

Or go with the d7200 + 70-300 for ~650. A 70d or 760d + tamron 100-400 for about 900 is also an option, though a little over your budget. An 80d would be pushing it over by more.

As I mentioned, I think the 7d (mk I) is getty very long in the tooth and would not spend much money on one.

Marc
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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 06:23   #32
Louis_P
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I am also confused by the pricing of the 70-300 lens. I understand there are 3 versions but the following links are for what seems like the same model, but the second hand one is almost double the price of the new one:
https://www.wexphotovideo.com/nikon-...-used-1696173/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-JAA82...dp/B07GZPLJRK/

Any idea why, maybe grey imports (although apparently, Nikon doesn't care about grey imports and would still give me a warranty)?

Edit - Amazon seems to sell the same product at 329 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KJ8UM..._t2_B07GZPLJRK)

Last edited by Louis_P : Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 06:27.
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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 10:00   #33
Chosun Juan
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Louis, I think going with the 70-300 would be an exercise in frustration. With my Tammy 150-600 G2 over several years, I think I have taken a sum total of 2 shots @150mm, less than a handful @~400mm , and the vast majority right near 600mm .... and that is in 1.3x crop mode as well ! So more like ~1150mm !

The minimum I would prefer to consider is either the Siggy or Tammy 100-400. If the budget is really teally tight I would go for the Nikon D5500 with one of those.

However as the Nikon D7200 has just been discontinued you should be able to pick one of those up for a pretty reasonable price. It is well worth the extra, and is a great investment. You will really miss the 7fps (RAW in 1.3x crop mode, and ease of control) if you don't have it. That body will last you for the duration as you save up for a longer 600mm lens ....



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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 15:16   #34
Louis_P
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Thanks for your advice Chosun. I have to agree that the 70-300 does seem a bit small and could be frustrating. A 100-400mm lens would be a great pick and both the Sigma and Tamron models have great reviews and I hadn't considered them before. However, both lenses are just a bit too expensive (used or new), even with a D5500, although they look like a great future upgrade between the 70-300 and the 100-600. The D7200 would certainly be my preferred option if I can find a decent condition one at a decent price (under 400 preferably), depending on how much I spend on the lens. In hindsight, maybe splashing out a bit less on a scope would have been a better idea but it's too late for that.

Thanks again,
Louis

Edit - Maybe I should wait until I can afford a better lens before buying a new camera

Last edited by Louis_P : Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 15:31.
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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 19:38   #35
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Louis, I think going with the 70-300 would be an exercise in frustration. With my Tammy 150-600 G2 over several years, I think I have taken a sum total of 2 shots @150mm, less than a handful @~400mm , and the vast majority right near 600mm .... and that is in 1.3x crop mode as well ! So more like ~1150mm !

The minimum I would prefer to consider is either the Siggy or Tammy 100-400. If the budget is really teally tight I would go for the Nikon D5500 with one of those.

However as the Nikon D7200 has just been discontinued you should be able to pick one of those up for a pretty reasonable price. It is well worth the extra, and is a great investment. You will really miss the 7fps (RAW in 1.3x crop mode, and ease of control) if you don't have it. That body will last you for the duration as you save up for a longer 600mm lens ....



Chosun
Pretty much agree with all of that.

First, you can do some great birding with 1.5x camera + 300mm in some circumstances. With crop, you could likely get out to about 600mm - 800mm equivalent (those are ballpark numbers). You won't be doing sparrows at a distance, but you'll get some nice shots. But if you want to be able to shoot it if you can see it, you'll want more.

I think 1000mm - 1500mm equivalent is a really good place to be. Something like a 1.5x crop + 500-600mm + some cropping in post puts you there (the 1.3x crop in the d7200 could be considered the same as some cropping in post).

A 1.5x crop + 400mm + some cropping in post will get you around 800mm - 1000mm equivalent (with a lot of variation depending on ISO). That's really respectable.

It's like buying a car (at least in the US) -- don't negotiate the payment, negotiate the price. The lower the price, the lower the total cost, whereas a lower payment could mean anything. With lenses and crop multipliers, the bigger the base focal length, the bigger the effect of the multipliers.

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Old Friday 5th April 2019, 05:54   #36
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Louis, my lightweight birdwatching camera is a Canon Rebel SL2 (200D in the UK) with a EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens (equivalent to 8x binoculars). Very light and compact, and excellent image quality. The AF is not top-of-the line, though, but you're not going to get that in a GBP 800 body.

The combo of EOS 200D, 18-55mm kit lens and 55-250mm IS STM will be around GBP 770, leaving a little for a memory card and a spare battery.
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Old Sunday 7th April 2019, 08:17   #37
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I have to agree that the 70-300 does seem a bit small and could be frustrating. [...] However, both lenses are just a bit too expensive (used or new), even with a D5500, [...] The D7200 would certainly be my preferred option if I can find a decent condition one at a decent price (under 400 preferably), depending on how much I spend on the lens. [...]
Edit - Maybe I should wait until I can afford a better lens before buying a new camera
Since you are in the UK, you can look at the idealo site for the best prices. At the bottom, left, you find the links to offers from France, Spain, UK and so on. I've seen the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300 mm f4.5-6.3 G ED VR offered for Euro 150 or so. I believe most UK dealers have a 1-year warranty. It could be worth to check the offers from dealers in other EU countries, as most places offer a 2-year warranty.

This lens is very popular, by the way, among Nikon1 users. A Nikon V1 or V2 are affordable cameras (circa Euro 100-200 used), that lens can be adapted via the FT-1 adapter (another Euro 150+). There are limitations, but it gives you 810mm equivalent, which is a decent "reach" for birding.

Personally I prefer the CX70-300 lens mounted on a V2 (without adapter), but the AF-P Nikkor lens is more affordable and is a nice lens.
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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 21:43   #38
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Thank you all for your further advice. I will check idealo for prices, it looks like a useful website. With all these facts and figures worked out (thanks again Marc!), maybe the 300mm could do as good as a 600mm in some circumstances, albeit with a slight loss of quality. Fazal, your set up around good for bird photography but with bird ID (a big factor to consider in buying my camera), my the zoom could be a bit too little, with 300mm lens already set arguably too little.

For comparison, has anyone got experience in using bridge cameras (are they a reasonable contender for my money?)? The zoom looks great for ID shots and if what I've read can be believed, the images are also almost as good as DSLR quality - however, I think many websites I have read were slightly biased.

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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 23:25   #39
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Regarding different camera types, this thread has a related discussion: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3838045

Also look at posts 204 and 210 in this thread: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3834953

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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 19:19   #40
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Thanks, these threads look useful and the first one answers many of my questions.
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 03:08   #41
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Louis, If budget constrains you, it might pay to consider a cheaper Canon body and try and get a good 2nd hand 400mm f5.6L lens. Light, sharp as a tack (but without IS) it has been the BIF goto lens of choice of Canon folk forever - great value for money. Canon has just released this body: https://m.dpreview.com/articles/5051...rebel-sl3-250d

As Hermann said, a Nikon 1 V2 with a 300mm lens gives you 810mm eq.
I still say the Nikon D7200 is THE gun bang-for-your-buck body, but you would need at least a 400mm lens (Sigma or Tamron 100-400), preferably a Tamron 150-600 G2 or even a Nikon 200-500 (though a bit heavier again).
Otherwise the Canon I linked + 400mm f5.6L

Reach is expensive ! At least one of these will get you in the game ....
Likely the user will have more influence on the results than any real difference in equipment ......





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