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  1. #1
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    Beginner DSLR Package?

    I am looking to get a DSLR for taking both riding shots and general day to day photos. What body and lens would you guys recommend for riding?

    Any input?

  2. #2
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    The Canon Rebels are good. I have the T5 and am pretty happy with it, it's pretty light weight. I am upgrading the lense however. Looks like the SL1 is the smallest and lightest and seems to get pretty good reviews.

    Something like this comes with a standard cheapy "kit lense" which can produce decent pictures.
    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Rebel-Di...0BW6LY2Y?&th=1

    I've got this one on order, which is more than I paid for my camera w/ 2 kit lenses:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o03_s00

    And I have this to carry it while riding, but still won't take it for super technical stuff.
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  3. #3
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    I'm a Nikon shooter. I'd suggest checking out some used bodies like the D300. The D300 is a great camera that is considered a semi-pro body, it's weather proof, tough with a metal and has a great focusing system. It's commonly used as a sports camera to capture fast motion. The one downside is that it's high ISO ability isn't great so low light shooting isn't one of the things this body is great for. One reason I recommend the D300 is because you can get the body for around $350.

    If you find the need for better ISO, the D7000 is another really good choice and is what I'm shooting currently. Not quite as good of a focusing system as the D300, but the high ISO is much better so you can shooting in less light and get better quality shots.

    A great walk around lens is the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and can be had for around $100. After that, you can cheaply add a couple kit lenses to get you started until you decide if you want to invest in highend glass.

    My suggestions are only based on the assumption that you might not want to invest a ton of money in your first DSLR system. I may be completely wrong and you have $10k to spend...I don't know. I just know I'm a budget photographer so I look at used equipment mostly. I've never had an issue with any of my stuff either. Camera gear is generally pretty robust and takes a lot of abuse.

    There's also the option of getting a mirrorless system. They take pictures as good as any DSLR and are much smaller so that's a great pro for taking your camera with you on the bike. Downside is fast focusing. Right now even the most current/advanced mirrorless camera isn't on par with the focusing ability of a good DSLR, buy they are getting closer all the time and it's just a matter of time before they catch up and even surpass the DSLR. I also shoot a Sony NEX-6 and I love the camera for what it is. Takes awesome pictures and is easy to carry around. For fast sports I reach for my D7000. Anything else it's usually the Sony. I've never really shot mountain biking but I'd imagine it could be a little bit of a challenge for a mirrorless camera but certainly not un-doable with some practice and a decent AF lens or manual spot focusing.
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  4. #4
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    I would check out the mirrorless APSC Sony's. I have an a5000 that I picked up used, with the 16-50 kit lens. I was impressed enough to get the 16mm/2.8 lens and have never looked back. It's light and fast and I get great images. The native 16x9 format is perfect for landscapes and the 20 MP image gives a lot of detail. I would like a viewfinder model like the a6000 or a7 but I'm pretty happy for now. I am however lusting after some of those Zeiss lenses made for the e-mount system.

    I don't do much action photography. I like that I can run my camera on the tripod over wifi from my phone for bird and animal photography. The controls are a little small and close together for my xxl hands but I cope. The camera rides unobtrusively with the strap over my neck, it doesn't swing around or bump against me. This is not true of the larger and considerably heavier 16-50 zoom lens.
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  5. #5
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    I started with the first digital rebel and it did me well. Don't scoff at the plastic body, it's plenty tough, mine went through a lot, including being dropped off a rock wall into asphalt.
    I now carry mirrorless for riding, it's smaller & lighter. It's AF is fast, at least as fast as my 1st Rebel, and it's frame rate is impossibly high for a dslr to match. The one thing it lacks that makes it difficult for action shooting is viewfinder and the image blackout. Dslr still better in that regard.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    I would check out the mirrorless APSC Sony's. I have an a5000 that I picked up used, with the 16-50 kit lens. I was impressed enough to get the 16mm/2.8 lens and have never looked back. It's light and fast and I get great images. The native 16x9 format is perfect for landscapes and the 20 MP image gives a lot of detail. I would like a viewfinder model like the a6000 or a7 but I'm pretty happy for now. I am however lusting after some of those Zeiss lenses made for the e-mount system.

    I don't do much action photography. I like that I can run my camera on the tripod over wifi from my phone for bird and animal photography. The controls are a little small and close together for my xxl hands but I cope. The camera rides unobtrusively with the strap over my neck, it doesn't swing around or bump against me. This is not true of the larger and considerably heavier 16-50 zoom lens.
    My NEX-6 has a viewfinder but honestly I rarely use it. And my DSLR has liveview but I never use that...go figure...lol

    But I agree. Unless you are shooting really fast sports, the mirrorless systems are really nice. And even if you are, with some practice, I think you could still manage great shots of fast moving subjects.

    I'm lusting after the new Sony Alpha a7R but at $1900...I could never justify it. I have thought about upgrading to the A6000 though. The Lumix stuff is awesome too but I hate to change formats and if I do, I'm waiting to see what Nikon has coming down the pipe. I don't really have much in lenses so it wouldn't be too much a pain to switch...really just two actually e-mount lenses...the rest are legacy glass.
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  7. #7
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    I have a great DSLR Pentax I love it. I never take it on rides a DLSR is just too big and heavy I rather take more water. On hikes I take my DSLR we take it wheeling too but mountain biking no.

    I would like to get a mirrorless dslr the technology is pretty much there and these cameras are small powerful they also have some good glass you can buy. When I get a new camera it will be mirrorless dslr

  8. #8
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    I agree that mirrorless is probably the way of the future...

    As for DSLR's I've had good luck with refurb Canon equipment... I've had several of the Rebel series, XS, T3i and now T5i.

  9. #9
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    I use a Canon 20D that is a hand me down from my dad. It takes awesome pics. My basic packing lens is a 24-105 that I got a deal on.

    The body can easily be had for under $100. You can buy starter lenses to start out with and then upgrade either body or lenses as you want. Nice part about SLRs is everything is interchangeable (as long as you pick a brand want to stick with). I was raised on Canon.

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  10. #10
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    Also, just got this SLR pack to take for a week vacation riding in Whistler. The pack is rad. Room for SLR and a water bladder if you need it.

    Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW Camera Pack - REI.com

  11. #11
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    I'll add my 2 cents. I shoot Nikon also and shoot my sports with a D3S (way overkill for what you need). I recently picked up a refurb D5300 and LOVE it. I have been using it for some of my portrait sessions. Love the LCD screen which swivels, which would be useful for you. Image quality is fantastic. But as also mentioned above mirrorless is the way to go. Being able to take video and photos (without the video stopping as with a dslr) is super. I have an older Panasonic GH2 that I use for video and stills.

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  12. #12
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    I'm a n00b at camera stuff but I shoot w/ a D5100. Like Pharmasea's 5300, it has a swivel LCD screen and good image quality. I have a 50mm lens I primarily use and it produces super crisp images. I think I bought the camera w/ kit lens, a memory card, and the 50mm lens for around 700 total.

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  13. #13
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    I shoot Nikon with a D700 and some nice lenses, and I'll use it sometimes if I decide to shoot some teammates at races, cross mostly, but it's too much to bring along if you are actually ridding.
    The camera I have actually been using while on a ride is a Ricoh GR crop sensor compact with a fixed 28MM equivalent F2.8 lens. About the size of my iPhone 4 except a bit thicker, easily fits in a camel back pocket or a Jersey pocket, though I will put it in a gallon size zip lock if in a jersey or if I think it might rain, since I have had slight condensation on the lens if it rains or I sweat a bunch without it being in a bag. Isn't the best for action shots, though auto focus isn't too bad, and it doesn't have a zoom, but for senic photos, or grab shots of friends it works awesome, the ergonomics and controls are very well positioned and make shooting in manual mode and changing setting pretty good.The new version just came out and added wifi and a couple other small features, and goes for about $700 or you could get a leftover model for perhaps around $500 or so.
    I also have liked the Olympus OMD EM5 and Em1 I was actually able to fit the EM5 in a camel back back pocket with a small lens, it also has great picture quality and is a bit smaller then a conventional DSLR, in M4/3 I would recommend the newer Em5 mark 2 if you want a little smaller, or the EM1 if your alright with a little more size and added toughness of the body. I've used the Em1 on hikes and it is great for that or would use it on a ride if I was using a rack and bag, or a little larger backpack, I gave my brother the original Em5 for his new family and I miss the slightly smaller size compared to the EM1.

  14. #14
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    Hi, I'm a professional photographer and I love MTB and the best gear I can recommend to you would be a Nikon D3300 or D5300 with kit lens, you don't need more expensive gear. NOW that would be the best option if you didn't mind the weight and space on your rides but we all do so you can get a mirror-less camera that does the same thing that the Started Nikon and Canon cameras. Canon is good on video, but for photography Nikon give you the best picture quality, dynamic range and sharpness overall.

    There are a lot of Mirror-less cameras now in the market and since you are starting out then you don't need the BEST CAMERA GEAR out in the market, just about any camera with a kit lens 18-55mm or equivalent lens would do the job.

    I know a lot of stuff about gear and photography feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do the best to answer them all.
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  15. #15
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    Only thing I don't like about the lower end cameras, and maybe the D5500 isn't so low end...but I can't handle menu diving to make changes while shooting. I've never looked at a D5500 honestly so maybe they have some of the stuff on the outside of the camera. I just know when I tried using a friends D3200 I think it was....it was a nightmare.
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  16. #16
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    If you're using MANUAL mode to take pictures of sport events then that's a serious problem... I know you have more control overall but sport events are based on action shooting you should be using Shutter mode or Aperture mode depending in what you want to capture but as far as changes to the camera you don't need to constantly change the settings since you should set all settings at the start and you shouldn't have any problem just compensating with exposure if it gets cloudy all of the sudden and that's only 2 buttons on camera.

    I've used a D3100, D5200, D300, Canon T4i and 5D mk III and it all makes sense once you actually use them, it's like changing from iphone to android, you need to learn all the stuff before you use them. Just take the camera on one or two rides and you'll get it right after an hour or two of using the gear.

    I shoot mainly social events like weddings and sometimes I do sports and using Manual on everything is the first lie that "pros" tell you to use. Only if you were to shoot high end fashion photography and you were more of an artistic photographer then you would use MANUAL to explore new things. Just grab any camera you can afford either used or new and you'll get to love it. Once you've learned everything about it then you'll get to start looking for the real technical questions and improve your shots.
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  17. #17
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    ^definitely good advice. I am an aperture priority shooter when I have enough light. When the shutter speed gets too low I change to manual (after picking a spot that has the overall exposure) and set it there.

    As mentioned go out and shot with different setting and see what works for you and your style.

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  18. #18
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    I realize it's been a few months since the OP requested info/advice, but hopefully the following will be relevant for others asking a similar question.

    I'd say your choice of lens is more important than the camera body. The lens is what will give you the ability to capture your scenes the way you want, in the style that you want. And when you couple this with shooting and processing RAW files, it further de-emphasizes the importance of high ISOs and megapixels offered by the latest SLR bodies.

    I'll assume for a moment that riding = general outdoors. When I'm outdoors, I generally plan to shoot landscapes. (ie. sunsets, clouds, countryside, etc.) So, I'd grab the widest non-fisheye lens you can fit on your camera. I enjoy the dramatic and exaggerated corners of photos that come from an ultra-wide lens - but then, that's my "style".

    If, instead, you like to photograph wildlife while you're outdoors (ie. birds, deer, etc.) grab a 200mm+ zoom lens. If you don't have image stabilization/VR, then plan to carry a monopod/tripod, too.

    Another benefit to investing into the lenses over the camera body is that it's unlikely to be obsolete. As long as you stick with one platform (Nikon, Canon, etc.), you should be able to take your lenses with you, so to speak.

    Hope this helps the OP; and anyone else having the same dilemma.

  19. #19
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    I am shooting mirrorless with the Sony A6000. It has incredibly good autofocus, and no DSLR in the A6000's price range will shoot 11 frames per second while tracking the subject. You will have to spend probably twice as much money to get that. As others have mentioned, a big plus is the size of the camera - I have carried it on 3-4 hour rides and since the camera with a small zoom or prime lens weighs just more than a pound, it isn't a pain to lug uphill. I'd think twice about doing that with a Nikon or Canon crop frame DSLR.

    Personally, my favorite lens when out shooting is the Sigma 19mm prime. It has the same field of view as an iPhone, and I can take both action shots as well as landscapes equally well.

  20. #20
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    A6000 Is a great way to go if you own any old lenses...emount adapters are cheap and made for just about anything made.

  21. #21
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    Just some updated input, been riding a while slinging the Nikon AW1 mirror less. Yes I sling it on a single point sling while riding and can actually deploy and snap off shot while still ridng. The ruggedness has been proven, it has some size able dents in the lens housing but it still works fine. I don't go diving, but used it in driving rain, rain that damaged my bearings in my DT Swiss hub. The AF is quite fast, usually throttle it down from 15fps as I find that too much! Image quality is good, but clearly not as good as my APSC cams or even micro 4/3 cams I have.

  22. #22
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    A used Canon or Nikon DSLR is a great starter option. Tons of bodies can be found on the cheap on eBay or places like Adorama. Craigslist has some good options, particularly if you live in a larger metropolitan area. You will do better with a mid-level "prosumer" used body (etc. 50D/60D/70D) and a mid level lens than you will with some of the cheaper kit lens.

    That said, if you are open to other camera formats, many of the upper end point and shoot cameras take some outstanding photographs under ideal conditions (basically conditions you would use a phone for).

  23. #23
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    Just purchased the Sony A7 mirrorless. Anyone ever shoot with one?


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazlx View Post
    I use a Canon 20D that is a hand me down from my dad. It takes awesome pics. My basic packing lens is a 24-105 that I got a deal on.

    The body can easily be had for under $100. You can buy starter lenses to start out with and then upgrade either body or lenses as you want. Nice part about SLRs is everything is interchangeable (as long as you pick a brand want to stick with). I was raised on Canon.

    Canon EOS 20D 8 2 MP Digital SLR Camera Black Body Only | eBay

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    I kind of like this advice. In retrospect it is what I did so, of course I like it, haha! Getting a good, older SLR for so cheap is a great way to see if you want to get into it further without committing say, $1000 worth of new "beginner" bodies and lenses only to discover they aren't adequate for your desires one year from now. Or that you don't care much about photography at all...Personally I might recommend something with a few more megapixels but the concept is sound. A 3-400$ DLSR or mirrorless will take awesome shots without a big $$ commitment.

    After pushing the limits of my used, 350$ mirrorless Pano GX1 and then looking to upgrade, I decided against mirrorless--best in class right now may be the Fuji Xt-1 or the Sony something or other, but they can't quite push the frames and ISO as hard as bigger sensors. Today. Next month, who knows?? The viewfinder blackout was a big factor. I ended up with a Canon 7d M2 which is a crop sensor high frame rate body for 1400. For me, photographic horsepower outweighed the lightness of the current mirrorless crop, but its certainly a viable way to go. Canon threw in a year of damage insurance too.

  25. #25
    saddlemeat
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    I went from a Nikon D5000 dslr to a Sony a5000 mirrorless largely because of circumstances, and the sony takes much better images than the nikon the way I use it. I rarely miss the viewfinder, more of a waist level or lower shooter which is why I used the d5000 with it's swing out screen. I also like the 16 x 9 native format sensor, with the 16/2.8 prime, for landscapes, cityscapes, also street shooting. Image quality blows me away, plenty of resolution for cropping or big prints. Some great glass out there too but I like the speed and simplicity of the wide prime, as well as the size and weight, it goes go well with outdoor adventure. I know it sounds weird, but I almost always carry it over neck/under arm, with just a lens hood for protection. I can just manage to compose without glasses with the screen flipped out, and I never notice it while riding, and apparently it never gets damaged there. Never been happier... have a total of $315 invested at this point, including the heavy but ok 16-50 kit zoom.
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  26. #26
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    bsieb, I know this is a bit old but like your advice. Can you post a few pics? Would love to pixel peep too if I can see a full raw file. I'm going to get a second smaller body for backcountry.

  27. #27
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    I'll post up a shot from my NEX 6 if that's ok...just because I like throwing pictures out there now and then even if they aren't the best....not sure if I still have the RAW file but I can check if interested....

    and yes...I know it's heavily processed. I did it on purpose. I kinda like the over the top styling...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beginner DSLR Package?-bw-fall-over-top-process.jpg  

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  28. #28
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    Nice shot!

  29. #29
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    If you are planning to take it along your ride, I would go with a mirror-less also as they seems to be more manageable on trail (smaller). I have a Nikon D700 and contemplating sizing down to make it more digestable on the trails..

  30. #30
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillN View Post
    bsieb, I know this is a bit old but like your advice. Can you post a few pics? Would love to pixel peep too if I can see a full raw file. I'm going to get a second smaller body for backcountry.
    Here are some recent full sized unedited jpgs saved from a raw image at level 1 compression in PSCC. A raw file is 47.8M, and I have my camera set to capture a raw file + jpg in the native 16:9 aspect ratio. The only in camera editing is the lens compensation setting, srgb color space. Lens is the 16/2.8.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beginner DSLR Package?-20160110_113950-copy.jpg  

    Beginner DSLR Package?-dsc03882-copy.jpg  

    Beginner DSLR Package?-dsc03981-copy.jpg  

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