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Best Entry Level DSLR and Lens under 800

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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 07:28   #1
Louis_P
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Best Entry Level DSLR and Lens under 800

Hey everyone, I currently have a Panasonic TZ70 (surprising I have had some amazing shots with it) but am finding I am more into bird photography and would like to upgrade my gear. I am looking for an good entry level DSLR for and a good lens for under 800.

So far I have found this as my best option.

Thanks,
Louis P

P.S. - I am happy to be linked to any other similar threads or websites.
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 08:09   #2
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It's usually more important to spend more on the lens than the camera. Personally, I'd try a used Sigma 150-600 Contemporary (about 650 GBP on amazon.co.uk) and a used d7100 (about 350 GBP for body only used). Maybe you could find those cheaper on another site. If you want to do birds, a 600mm on a crop sensor is the way to go (or a very expensive FX that you can crop a lot). I like the Tamron 150-600 g2 better, but it won't fit in your price range.

You can also find the Sigma or Tamron 100-400 for maybe 500 GBP used. That would be the fallback and get you into a kit for maybe 850 (with amazon.co.uk prices). A 400mm on a DX would be 600mm equivalent, which is passable for birds.

You can also do a refurbished or used Canon 7d (mark i, not the new one) for about 325 with any of the above lenses in Canon format. But personally, I'd take the d7100 over the 7d, as I shot with the d7100 for a while and it was a good camera. I've not used the 7d, but wanted to throw out the Canon route too. Camera bodies come and go and you can keep upgrading them. The glass usually lasts a while, so if you invest in good glass you can keep rotating bodies through it as they become affordable to you. Remember, the cost of a body is what you paid minus what you sell it for.

For the d7100 you can add an 18-55 AF-P for about 85 GBP used. it's a great walk-around lens. Make sure it works on the d7100, I'm pretty sure it's compatible. I'm sure Canon has a similar one for a 7d for about the same price.

You might also be able to get a Sony RX10 mk iii (20-600 equivalent, 14 fps) for 900 some. It's a little out of budget, but might be a better all-around camera and lens than the above options which are only on the long side.

Marc

P.S. the link you shared didn't work for me, so I don't know what you linked to
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Last edited by marcsantacurz : Tuesday 2nd October 2018 at 08:12. Reason: Added PS
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 09:30   #3
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Isn’t the Sony RX10 a bridge camera and, apart from the whopping price tag, what sets it on a par with a DSLR? Has it got a full-size sensor?
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 16:19   #4
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Thank you for this help! The link was for a Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens & 70-300mm VR Lens (saw it on another thread). I will look at these recommendations. The Sigma lens really does look very good.

Thanks,
Louis
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 16:37   #5
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Isnt the Sony RX10 a bridge camera and, apart from the whopping price tag, what sets it on a par with a DSLR? Has it got a full-size sensor?
It's a so-called 1" sensor (being the circumference, not diagonal like normally measured). I mention it because of the 800 GBP (I keep using GBP instead of the L symbol because I have a US keyboard and don't want to go to keyboard thing). I think it is hard to do a DSLR with enough reach to make bird photography practical. One can do a d5300 + 18-55 AF-P for 630 and a 70-300 AF-P for 330 (960 total). It's over the 800 limit and is still short, IMO, for birds. You can get a used RX10M3 for about the same with 600mm reach and much higher FPS and it is a much larger sensor than the TZ70 (2.7x crop vs 6.0x crop in TZ70). It's an option to think about.

I've used the RX10m4 and it was pretty good, but it wasn't as good as the d500 + Tamron 150-600g2 and decided I'd stick with the Nikon weight. But it might compare favorably with the TZ70.

That all said, I think the d7100 + Sigma 150-600C or Sigma/Tammy 100-400 is the best bet. The d7100 can also shoot in the 1.3x crop mode (~14 MP) at 7 fps, so a 600mm becomes 600 x 1.5 x 1.3 = 1170mm, which is a good reach and you'll get lots of shots out of that. Even a 400mm becomes 780mm equivalent, which is very usable too. A 300mm is 585mm in 1.3x crop mode, which I think is going to be short, though I have not used the 70-300 DX AF-P which gets a lot of great reviews. A used d7100 + new 70-300 AF-P would only be 700 GBP or so.

And the only reason I'm saying used d7100 instead of d7200 or d7500 is the OP's price point.
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 16:52   #6
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thank you for this help! The link was for a Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens & 70-300mm VR Lens (saw it on another thread). I will look at these recommendations. The Sigma lens really does look very good.

Thanks,
Louis
Ah, ok. Well, see my comments on the 70-300 in the last post. If you shoot it in 1.3x crop mode on a d7100 you could get a 585mm equivalent at about 15 MP (down from 24 MP). IMO that's still short, but it is a lot easier for me to spend your money than mine :)

The d7100 and d5300 are about the same 2013 vintage from Nikon and the d7100 was the sports DX camera of the time. It will shoot up to 7 fps (in 1.3x crop mode) and do that in 14-bit raw if you are into that. It also has the U1 + U2 recall modes so you can set one of them to birds (saturated, fast, etc.) and one to people (standard colors, etc). It's really nice having those U1 + U2 on the dial. It also is missing the AA filter, which can give sharper images. But it's heaverier and you'll need to shop it used and check shutter counts and the like.

In the US, we have nikonusa.com that sells nikon refurbished gear. That's good option if you're looking for used stuff as it comes with a Nikon 1 year warranty. Maybe you have something similar there or the EU?

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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2018, 19:07   #7
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Thanks again for help. You have explained it all really well. As far as I know we do not have a nikonusa.com equivalent in the UK. My best plan is probably to buy a used d7100 (maybe with a 18-55mm) and then get the 150-600mm Sigma lens. Even if it does stretch my budget it seems I can sell them for not much less (if I ever want to) as you said. Is this the Nikon 70-300mm lens you said got good reviews? If so maybe it would be worth getting one of these to start of with.

Thanks again,
Louis
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 04:47   #8
marcsantacurz
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thanks again for help. You have explained it all really well. As far as I know we do not have a nikonusa.com equivalent in the UK. My best plan is probably to buy a used d7100 (maybe with a 18-55mm) and then get the 150-600mm Sigma lens. Even if it does stretch my budget it seems I can sell them for not much less (if I ever want to) as you said. Is this the Nikon 70-300mm lens you said got good reviews? If so maybe it would be worth getting one of these to start of with.

Thanks again,
Louis
There are several 18-55 DX lenses. Try to get the AF-P version. It's a lot better than the "AF-S DX VR II" version before it.

yes, that is the 70-300 lens. it is the "AF-P DX VR". There was an older one without the VR. Here's a review: https://kenrockwell.com/nikon/70-300mm-vr-afp.htm. There's a used one there for just over 200.

Yes, I looked at nikon.co.uk, but did not see they sold refurbished. I guess that likely goes through authorized dealers in the UK.

These model cameras have limitations when using AF-P lenses. The VR function will always be on. If you use a solid tripod, that could be an issue, but if you hand-hold or monopod, it's not an issue. They are: D3300, D5500, D5300, D5200, D7200, D7100. Earlier cameras are incompatible with AF-P lenses.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 05:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thanks again for help. You have explained it all really well. As far as I know we do not have a nikonusa.com equivalent in the UK. My best plan is probably to buy a used d7100 (maybe with a 18-55mm) and then get the 150-600mm Sigma lens. Even if it does stretch my budget it seems I can sell them for not much less (if I ever want to) as you said. Is this the Nikon 70-300mm lens you said got good reviews? If so maybe it would be worth getting one of these to start of with.

Thanks again,
Louis
Your plan of the D7100 (maybe w/18-55) + Sigma 150-600 sounds pretty good. Just note that the D7100 has a limited buffer if shooting in RAW. This is most evident when shooting a moving target or BIF. It depends if you shoot in RAW and whether that is important for you. If you mostly shoot in Jpeg then the D7100 is good value.

Otherwise get the D7200. A great bang for the buck body that has unmatched low ISO DR even today, 7fps in crop mode, and will last you a few lens upgrades as the budget catches up.

You could pair it with the Nikon AF-P 70-300 f5.6 lens for a very light, fast, quality outfit that will at least get you going. I think if you shop around you could pick it up for ~250 and the D7200 for ~550 .... so bang on budget.

The small birds will be tiny in the viewfinder though (maybe just 1 AF point ?) , so long term you may want to add a longer lens. The Tamron 150-600 G2 is the next one to go for at about ~900 (It's a good worthwhile step up beyond the G1 and Sigma C). That's the rig I use - D7200 + Tamron 150-600 G2. Beyond that you are into really heavy and very high $ lenses.



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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 16:31   #10
Louis_P
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Thanks for the tips. I can find second hand. The D7200 does look slightly better but is not in abundance second hand yet probably meaning I will get a second hand D7100 (the D7200 new is 654). There seems to be two versions of the 70-300mm lens. The only difference I notice is the cheaper one says f/4.5-6.3G and the other one says f/4.5-5.6E. What is the difference?

Cheaper one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-JAA82...nikon+70-300mm
Expensive one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-AF-P-...nikon+70-300mm
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 16:41   #11
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thanks for the tips. I can find second hand. The D7200 does look slightly better but is not in abundance second hand yet probably meaning I will get a second hand D7100 (the D7200 new is 654). There seems to be two versions of the 70-300mm lens. The only difference I notice is the cheaper one says f/4.5-6.3G and the other one says f/4.5-5.6E. What is the difference?

Cheaper one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-JAA82...nikon+70-300mm
Expensive one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-AF-P-...nikon+70-300mm
The second one has a lower aperture at 300mm (f5.6). That can be an advantage in terms of light gathering, focus etc. I think most reviews I've seen of these two lenses suggest their aren't big differences in image quality though.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 16:56   #12
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Okay thanks for the help.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 17:43   #13
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Originally Posted by Louis_P View Post
Thanks for the tips. I can find second hand. The D7200 does look slightly better but is not in abundance second hand yet probably meaning I will get a second hand D7100 (the D7200 new is 654). There seems to be two versions of the 70-300mm lens. The only difference I notice is the cheaper one says f/4.5-6.3G and the other one says f/4.5-5.6E. What is the difference?

Cheaper one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-JAA82...nikon+70-300mm
Expensive one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-AF-P-...nikon+70-300mm
The first lens link is the DX model with maximum aperture of f6.3 - here's one for 213. Not sure what (bulk) means in the ad.
https://www.photospecialist.co.uk/ni...700300EDVRBULK
You should check the compatibility with the D7200 (ephotozine did their test on one - read up on it https://www.ephotozine.com/article/n...r-review-30569)

The second lens link is the FX model with maximum aperture of f5.6. It also has a VR on/off switch on the lens itself.

The Tamron/Sigma 100-400, or better still, the Tamron 150-600 G2 would be much better of course - it will all depend on what the budget stretches too. I would buy appropriate bodies 2nd hand, but would look to new lenses. There can be a bit of unit to unit variability with the enthusiast lenses so if possible trial the actual unit you will buy.

Just get the Nikon D7200 - it is well worth the extra over the D7100 - not sure if this ad for 509 reads as all taxes and duties included in the price .... or NOT included in the price - you'd have to check.
https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/UK-Nikon-D7...&ul_noapp=true

You will have to check these suppliers yourself - I'm not endorsing them in any way. It shouldn't be too hard to find a good deal from a reputable supplier and/or price match etc. Also include room in the budget for a 95MB/s memory card.




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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 21:24   #14
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To clarify, there are 3 Nikon 70-300 lenses.
  • 70-300 AF-P VR f/4.5-5.6E : This is a full frame lens, weighs 2x as much.
  • 70-300 AF-P DX f/4.5-6.3G: This is a non-VR lens for DX format. Don't get it.
  • 70-300 AF-P DX VR f/4.5-6.3G : This is the one you want.

The full-frame (1st one on list) is an "E" lens meaning that it has an electronic shutter and thus only compatible with the newest camera bodies. It's a great lens, but unnecessary for a DX body.

The 3rd one listed (your "cheaper" one) is the DX VR version, which is exactly what you want.

Note that all the AF-P lenses have some limitations with older bodies (including the d7100 and d7200). The VR feature will always be on.

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Old Thursday 4th October 2018, 07:26   #15
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Thanks for the help again. The cheaper one does look like a good one to start of with a DSLR and means I can have some money to buy a new or very good condition used D7200 as well as factoring in an SD card and case (I already have a tripod and monopod). Also, I can always buy a Sigma or Tamron 150-600mm in the future.

Once again thanks for your help it has really helped me choose a suitable camera and lens.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 00:55   #16
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I am not entirely sure of the rules of advertising and I'd rather clarify before offering anything, but I have a Canon 750D with a couple thousand shots on it that's about 6 months old I am parting with.

As others have recommended, the 150-600mm lenses by Sigma and Tamron are excellent choices. Personally I'd recommend saving and getting the Tamron 150-600mm G2 which has the best image quality and autofocus of the range.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 01:32   #17
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I ended up with a Nikon D5600 with 18-55 DX VR Zoom for 539 and the Nikkor 70-300 DX ED VR for 244 from Amazon Marketplace sellers. I’m sure both are grey imports but I’ve had no trouble registering either for warranty with Nikon who, according to other threads on here, will warranty any product made by them. The camera is lovely and compact and the lens is light as a feather, at 400g. So that’s a good combo for under 800.

The Tamron 150-600 G2 is now down to 999 from legit dealers. However beware of cheaper grey imports as Tamron UK will not offer any warranty for lenses from these sources.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 16:56   #18
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To clarify, there are 3 Nikon 70-300 lenses.
  • 70-300 AF-P VR f/4.5-5.6E : This is a full frame lens, weighs 2x as much.
  • 70-300 AF-P DX f/4.5-6.3G: This is a non-VR lens for DX format. Don't get it.
  • 70-300 AF-P DX VR f/4.5-6.3G : This is the one you want.
The FX model (the first one in your list) has got one big adavantage: You can switch off the VR on the lens. That is somewhat more convenient and faster than diving into the menues.

I personally also think it's a tiny little bit better than either of the DX models. And it can be used on FX bodies, including the new mirrorless bodies with the appropriate Nikon Adapter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
Note that all the AF-P lenses have some limitations with older bodies (including the d7100 and d7200). The VR feature will always be on.
Check Thom Hogan's list for compatibility: http://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/len...-the-af-p.html

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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 17:39   #19
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The FX model (the first one in your list) has got one big adavantage: .....
The other big advantage in general of using a FF lens on a DX sensor camera is that you are only using the central part of the lens, and so you get less distortion, vignetting, and softness, and less loss of contrast toward the edges of a DX frame. This helps things like the FF Tamron 150-600 G2 for ecample, when used on a DX camera.



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