Beginning my camera journey

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Nathan
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#1
Hi guys,

I've had an increasing interest in photography over the past few years, however have only been using my Huawei P20 Pro to take pictures. It's been a great smartphone for myself and it catches fairly good photos, however I am now looking to take things to another level. I've read a number of reviews online, however it's hard to gauge if the reviewer is just bias or has another motive. I am now looking to buy a new camera, but I'm not sure if I should be getting a DSLR or a mirrorless camera.

Obviously as I am only starting out, I don't want to get something overly expensive but I still want something which is much better than what any of the new smartphones have to offer.

Doing my research over the past few weeks, I have to say the Nikon D5300 seems the front runner. My fear however is that whilst this camera is obviously a very good entry level camera, is it much better than what new smartphones have to offer? Is there better options out there? I would be happy to spend a bit extra for something better.

Any help would be much appreciated! I hope to have many posts on this forum
 
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Alan
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#2
Hello and welcome and all that :D

I don't know that camera but even so I'll say with certainty that it'll give you technically better pictures than any phone especially when you look at them closely.
 

TCR4x4

Wishes he had a couple more Inches
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Tom
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#4
The issue here is what you perceive as “better”

Any “proper” camera even an old one will technically blow the socks off any smartphone in terms of detail and resolution, but most people aren’t interested in that at the beginning. They want a photo that looks good on Facebook.
A standard photo taken on a dslr in auto mode won’t look as good as a photo taken by a smartphone on Facebook, as the phone process the crap out of them to look good, where as a dslr won’t.
If you zoom in, the phone pic will fall to pieces very quickly, where as a dslr or mirrorless will hold its detail much further.

If you have a genuine interest in photography and are prepared to learn how to use the camera and edit the photos, then any camera made in the last 10 years will suit you.
if you just want to take snapshots to stick on social media for likes, then I wouldn’t bother as you’ll be disappointed and will have wasted a load of money.
 
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#5
Hi Nathan and welcome to TP

IMO rather than think "will it take better pictures than my smartphone..." perhaps consider it as ~ Whats it that my smartphone lacks and what do I seek/expect from a traditional camera?

What do you like to photograph?

Why did you conclude that the Nikon D5300 was the leader in the pack?
 
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Josh
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#6
Hey bud, P20 Pro user here too, they're not bad, are they?

Although image sensors in phones have come a long way, they're still tiny compared to the sensor in a dslr which means each pixel in the dslr is larger therefore can perform better, this is especially important in low light.

The main reason for a dslr (in my opinion) is the freedom and options it gives you. There's hundreds, if not thousands of lenses available and the camera itself gives you control over everything should you so choose.

I think there's also a psychological aspect as well. The act of engaging with a 'real' camera can make you try harder, for lack of a better term. I can feel like I owe it to my equipment to do it justice, which is a feeling I don't get with a phone.
 
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Nathan
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#8
The issue here is what you perceive as “better”

Any “proper” camera even an old one will technically blow the socks off any smartphone in terms of detail and resolution, but most people aren’t interested in that at the beginning. They want a photo that looks good on Facebook.
A standard photo taken on a dslr in auto mode won’t look as good as a photo taken by a smartphone on Facebook, as the phone process the crap out of them to look good, where as a dslr won’t.
If you zoom in, the phone pic will fall to pieces very quickly, where as a dslr or mirrorless will hold its detail much further.

If you have a genuine interest in photography and are prepared to learn how to use the camera and edit the photos, then any camera made in the last 10 years will suit you.
if you just want to take snapshots to stick on social media for likes, then I wouldn’t bother as you’ll be disappointed and will have wasted a load of money.
By better I suppose I want a camera which takes photos of much better quality. A camera which captures the colours better, overall looks much crisper and gives me many different options. If I get a nice photo I'd like to share it, but it's ultimately not my reasoning for wanting a camera. My phone captures shots which look great on social media, so I wouldn't be wasting money.
 
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#9
I think it depends a lot on what you photograph. I recently upgraded to this bargain which i absolutely love - https://shop.fujifilm.co.uk/fujifilm-x-t100-kit-xc15-45mm-lens-refurbished

The tilting touchscreen is one of my favourite features. I read some reviews which noted that the autofocus can be slow for moving objects but i've had no issues so far. Again i think that depends on what you photograph.

The a6000 is another one I hear lots of good stuff about at a decent price.
 
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#10
Another point: the Nikon like any dSLR is a camera body. The lens or lenses you choose to fit on it will have an immense effect on the results you can obtain. At the simplest level, fitting a camera with a wide angle lens will give you one type of result...

Chieftain tank at the Yorkshire Air Museum GM5 P1220743 copy.JPG

...while fitting the same camera with a long focus lens will give you quite a different view...

Mustang at Weston Super Mare Air Show P1010680.JPG

Zoom lenses cover ranges of focal lengths. A camera like the Nikon will often come with a zoom that covers from quite a wide angle to a moderate telephoto. The two pictures I've shown are from two quite different zoom lenses and there is no one lens available that could have taken both shots (although some do provide very wide ranges).

So before choosing a camera, work out what lens you really want and choose the camera that will work best with that lens.
 
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Nathan
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#11
Hi Nathan and welcome to TP

IMO rather than think "will it take better pictures than my smartphone..." perhaps consider it as ~ Whats it that my smartphone lacks and what do I seek/expect from a traditional camera?

What do you like to photograph?

Why did you conclude that the Nikon D5300 was the leader in the pack?
Thanks for the welcome!

My smart phone lacks real quality. As highlighted, it may look great on initial viewing, but when you zoom it quickly evaporates. Also it'd like a camera which takes great pictures in low light settings.

I'd say nature is what I take pictures of mostly.

Every article/review I've read in relation to starting off with a DSLR has the D5300 at the top or near the top of the list. It's affordability and built in beginner guide made it seem a very good option.
 
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Nathan
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#12
Quick follow up: Do you use the Pro mode on your phone with manual settings and RAW mode?
I definitely agree with you on the P20 Pro. It is a superb phone!

I play around with all the settings. I normally just use the standard mode, but I've used the RAW mode a few times.
 
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Steve France
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#14
Hi,
I am new to digital photography also, and bought a 2nd hand low shutter count D3200 from CEX and I have not looked back. Since than I have added a collection of 2nd hand Lenses as they come up and good prices and have been very pleased with the pictures ranging from MotoGP and BsB motorcycles to flowers and since getting a 300 zoom lots of wildlife. I also now use Lightroom (badly) to play with RAW images. Still use my smartphone for snaps for FB etc... Hope thi squirrel99.jpg woody2.jpg woody2.jpg dovi.jpg s helps
 
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Nathan
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#15
I think it depends a lot on what you photograph. I recently upgraded to this bargain which i absolutely love - https://shop.fujifilm.co.uk/fujifilm-x-t100-kit-xc15-45mm-lens-refurbished

The tilting touchscreen is one of my favourite features. I read some reviews which noted that the autofocus can be slow for moving objects but i've had no issues so far. Again i think that depends on what you photograph.

The a6000 is another one I hear lots of good stuff about at a decent price.
They both look like great cameras. Do you prefer mirrorless to the DSLR?
 
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Alan
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#16
Mirrorless is imo definitely worth looking into.

If in your place and just starting out now I'd go mirrorless rather than DSLR every time. There are some great bargains on DSLR's though but even so I'd go mirrorless.
 
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#17
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Nathan
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#18
Good, so what does it do badly? What're you wanting/expecting out of a dslr? Lower noise and higher detail?
The camera does not take good photos at night, capture colour that well during the day and a little zoom quickly shows the image flaws.

Yeah, that's exactly what I would want from a new camera. Less noise and much more detail.
 
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#19
They both look like great cameras. Do you prefer mirrorless to the DSLR?
Size wise it is ideal for me, it takes up less room in the bag. I also try a bit of street photography, and it feels less stand out with a smaller camera. I don't know much about the technical side though between mirrorless and dslr. There's a lot of very knowledgeable people on this forum who may be able to give some insight to that.
 
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Josh
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#20
The camera does not take good photos at night, capture colour that well during the day and a little zoom quickly shows the image flaws.

Yeah, that's exactly what I would want from a new camera. Less noise and much more detail.
Well you'll get that from a dslr, in a roundabout way. I say get one within your budget and play with it. If you initially struggle to get the results you want, you'll know you just need to learn/practice more, as the camera is capable of it. Good lenses are more important than the camera too, so a lower end camera will last you a long time with decent glass on it.
 
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Jonathan
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#21
The D5300 should be excellent if the D5100 I had is anything to go by but I'd second mossienet's suggestion of a used D7200 for two reasons. First, the viewfinder is much better and, second, it has a focussing motor built-in which lets it autofocus with a huge number of older lenses that don't have a motor. The AF is probably better too.

The Sony D6000 is capable of very good results but I found the ergonomics to be poor. The lack of controls can make changing functions very fiddly.

Mirrorless is almost certainly what future there is for ILCs but DSLRs are much better value at the moment.
 
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Nathan
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#22
Thanks for the responses guys. Really appreciate it!

I still can't make my mind up on the camera but I'll most likely get a mirrorless one. I'm massively overthinking it at this stage!

My budget is £500 - £700. The Fujifilm X-T30 seems an exceptional camera (again, from what I've read) and it seems it could be got for £700 with a XF 18-55mm lens kit. But again the Sony A6400 or Nikon Z50 seem more great options. I'm not clued in on the different types of lenses and their capabilities, but maybe I'm better going for a much cheaper camera with lenses.
 
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#23
Sorry I've not gone through all the posts but in answer to your question, the D5300 will have markedly better IQ than a smartphone assuming it's in the hands of someone that know's what they're doing. Also, how much that is perceived will be dependant on the viewer. For example the difference between a smartphone image and DSLR/mirrorless camera is usually blatantly obvious to me, but my wife often struggles to see the difference. Another thing to consider is that often to get the best quality from your images you want to process them in software such as Lightroom, photoshop, capture 1 and various others.

The D5300 is an excellent beginner camera that can take you right through to a more experienced enthusiasts level. My only word of caution would be that the camera market is changing and Mirrorless Cameras are expected to be the future and are getting the lions share of the new tech. The Nikon Z50 is a really good camera, but lens selection is limited unless you want to use adapted lenses. The X-T30 is another great camera, but I would also consider a used Fuji X-T2 over the X-T30 if you have big hands or want weather sealing. Just be aware that Fuji files require different processing techniques to other brand cameras and some people do struggle with them. Persevere and it won't be an issue, plus Fuji files tend to be very nice straight out of camera due to their film emulations.
 
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Toni
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#24
Thanks for the responses guys. Really appreciate it!

I still can't make my mind up on the camera but I'll most likely get a mirrorless one. I'm massively overthinking it at this stage!

My budget is £500 - £700. The Fujifilm X-T30 seems an exceptional camera (again, from what I've read) and it seems it could be got for £700 with a XF 18-55mm lens kit. But again the Sony A6400 or Nikon Z50 seem more great options. I'm not clued in on the different types of lenses and their capabilities, but maybe I'm better going for a much cheaper camera with lenses.
You might want to consider something like the Olympus E-M10 MkIII kit:

https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/camer...0-mm-f-4-5-6-r-lens-silver-10203744-pdt.html? £543 (but it's Currys :p )

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/olymp...mm-ez-lens-and-40-150mm-r-lens-blac-1637000/? Or £619 with a 'free' 45 f1.8 lens as an offer from Olympus.

Small, light, decent image quality and you'd get a versatile outfit in one go that would cover a lot of bases.
 
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RWDW

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Name
Robert
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#25
Mirrorless is imo definitely worth looking into.

If in your place and just starting out now I'd go mirrorless rather than DSLR every time. There are some great bargains on DSLR's though but even so I'd go mirrorless.

Got to agree with this TBH.

Anyone starting out in photography these days would ignore the Sony brand at their own peril IMO
 
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