Best DSLR for under £500 - what would YOU recommend?

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Friend of mine is after a DSLR for his missus for Xmas. Has £500 to spend, inc lens.

She's just completed a beginner's course.

I used to have a Canon 100D, and reckon the 250D would be a decent option, especially in terms of handling. But, of course, the lenses can be big.

Friend has been looking and round-ups and notes the Nikon D3500 is well-reviewed.

I've mentioned that mirrorless may well be a better option.

As a Fuji X-T3 user, I recommended an X-T20, despite its age. But even that will push over budget with a lens.

Maybe an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III with 14-42mm and 40-150mm lenses? It's just £415 at Currys. https://bit.ly/3oRtCQ6 (slow lenses though)

What would YOU recommend? Any help appreciated!

(I've suggested going to a store to try, but I think he wants it to be an Xmas suprise)
 
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Graham
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Mirrorless is not a bad shout, typically smaller, lighter and no lens fine tuning required. Would used be an option? Could get more for the money and this site is excellent for finding things (and created by a member on here): https://usedlens.co.uk/
 
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Toni
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That E-M10-MkIII would be my choice. Although the lenses are a bit slow, he could add a faster prime for not too much money later. My wife and an E-M10 because it's light and compact & easy to carry around. The D3500 is good for what it is, and still lightweight, but I find Nikon D3XXX/5XXX viewfinders very dingy, especially with a kit zoom.
 
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That E-M10-MkIII would be my choice. Although the lenses are a bit slow, he could add a faster prime for not too much money later. My wife and an E-M10 because it's light and compact & easy to carry around. The D3500 is good for what it is, and still lightweight, but I find Nikon D3XXX/5XXX viewfinders very dingy, especially with a kit zoom.
Not the fault of the camera or screen, it is the smallish aperture of a kit lens.
 
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If it were my £500 (and odd ;)) I would consider the D5600 over the D3500 for the better Auto Focus, and the rotatable screen. But I would agree with what hunnymonster has said, if someone has been on a course, they may have used certain cameras during the course, either provided, or gained experiences of other learner's cameras, and may have a preference for one brand, or even a specific camera.
 
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Redsnappa
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She would love the compact size and image quality of the Canon EOS M50 with kit lens.
 
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Chris
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furq
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This is great, folks. Please keep the suggestions coming.
 
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Clint
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Amazon/Pentax are doing a DSLR K-70 plus weather resistant lens 18-55 plus a photo pack with extras for £527. I know it’s Pentax but they still produce decent cameras and for a beginner it’s excellent value for money.
 
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Am I the only one a bit uneasy about recommending a camera for a total stranger three times removed? Call me weird and ungrateful, but it seems to me the intended recipient is being deprived of the opportunity to choose for herself, and she might already have something in mind. Don't we all love poring over and choosing stuff? Would we want that choice taken away?

If I'm in that particular minefield, I make up an attractive representation of the gift in question and present it in the spirit of a gift voucher. Not as good as the real thing on Christmas morning obviously, but boy does it sidestep expensive disappointment.
 
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furq
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Yeah, I hear you, Stegosaurus. I did recommend going into a store to get a feel for size and handling.

It is an impossible question really - like asking "What car should I buy?".

Although the price limit is a key parameter. Obv looking for quality on a budget.

I would imagine most (all?) of us would agree that a) there are any 'bad' cameras on the market and b) the purchase doesn't need to be a DSLR. (But perception is still that only DLSRs are 'proper' cameras).

I'm actually thinking the OM-D E-M10 Mark III offer above is ideal. Decent feature set, handles like a DSLR, reasonable size, everything you need for a beginner, great value.

As ancient_mariner says, can always add a better/faster lens down the line (if really needed).
 
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I think one thing that might put me off recommending the Oly or indeed any MFT camera is that there's no upgrade path which is fine if the user is happy to stay with MFT (I have nothing against the system as such, I've had MFT since the GF1) but a bit of a problem if for whatever reason "Full Frame" calls at some point. Keeping that in mind if the user is open to mirrorless rather than a DSLR the Sony A6xxx system could be an option but maybe not in this price range unless willing to look at the used market. At least with the A6xxx range "FF" A7x series lenses can be used and any APS-C lenses can be used on any future FF bodies in crop mode. Actually if looking at the used market could a used original Sony A7 be an option? That wouldn't leave much for a lens though but it may be worth at least a look before forgetting about it. I'd be willing to buy used but for this user maybe buying new would be best.
 
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(I've suggested going to a store to try, but I think he wants it to be an Xmas suprise)
The ergonomics vary from manufacturers, I found that Canon felt more comfortable to hold when I bought my Canon 450D in 2008 and I've stuck with them.
I remember a couple of female members back then who also went for Canon for the same reason.
I always suggest going to a shop and holding the bodies to see what they feel like but obviously that's not an option for your friend.
Unless he already owns a DSLR perhaps a trip to the shops and pretend he is interesting in buying one and asking his Mrs to hold them for a second opinion?
 
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furq
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Thanks woof woof. Sony A6xxx would be an option if cheaper. Don't think he wants to go down s/h route. Would be a v different thread if so.

Also, I think there is plenty of room to expand - eg 45mm then 75mm, both amazing lenses. Eventual dead-end I know, but probably many, many years off.

I agree hashcake. Let's face it, most DSLRs are big, lumbering boxes. It's why the I suggested Canon 250D - it's a lovely, petite thing. (Even if Canon lenses aren't)
 
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TBH I'd see a crop DSLR from Canikon as being a real dead-end system, much more than M43, just like it is already from Sony. While those cameras will continue to work as well as they ever did, their future as a system must surely be limited.
 
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I would scan through the members market on here and see what is for sale within the £500 budget.
As suggesting a camera is very subjective if the limiting factor is £500 as there are so many protentional cameras.
Fuji, canon M50, used canon 100D or 200D, Nikon D3200 ets all vey good cameras.

if the Op uses Fuji and has spare glass then go down that route as in the future both can swap lenses between them. Instead of investing in different eco systems.
for instance, I shoot Canon so if my wife brought a Nikon she would not benefit from the lenses I already own !
 
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Thanks woof woof. Sony A6xxx would be an option if cheaper. Don't think he wants to go down s/h route. Would be a v different thread if so.

Also, I think there is plenty of room to expand - eg 45mm then 75mm, both amazing lenses. Eventual dead-end I know, but probably many, many years off.

I agree hashcake. Let's face it, most DSLRs are big, lumbering boxes. It's why the I suggested Canon 250D - it's a lovely, petite thing. (Even if Canon lenses aren't)

If not already done might be worth having a browse through this site for quick access to ideas and prices https://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk

My choice with that budget would be the Sony A5100 with the 16-50mm kits lens (Currys link). Mainly based on its size and because that kit lens is quite low profile when powered off, so the whole thing would fit in a handbag or such easily; she might be more inclined to take it out more often whereas a bulky DSLR may sit at home? It's also very good in low light.
 
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Tony
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Em-10 mk3 with twin lens kit, 14-42mm and 40-150mm now available for £499.
Great value.
 
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Dave
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I agree with the comments about asking the lady in question what she wants and also considering what camera she has used in the course.

One of the comments in nearly all queries about buying a camera on here is the suggestion that it is best to try the feel of the camera and this applies here too.

Having said that, as a Pentax user I would be inclined towards one - generally you get a fair bit for the money. However, one older camera that get mentioned(and is well liked) a lot is the Canon 6D - full frame and small

The body only is about £470 so with the kit lens, just a bit over £500.

But really I think the lady should decide.

Dave
 
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furq
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if the Op uses Fuji and has spare glass then go down that route as in the future both can swap lenses between them. Instead of investing in different eco systems.
for instance, I shoot Canon so if my wife brought a Nikon she would not benefit from the lenses I already own !
Thanks but it's for a friend's wife, not my own!

There are at least two cameras per family member in this household, and I have three kids. :eek:
 
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That's a very good price for the E-M10iii It's also the EZ 14-42mm which is the tiny pancake kit zoom not the larger II R they sometimes bundle in to keep the cost down.

I started with the E-PL5 with that pair of lenses and it's a good start covering a lot of bases.
The E-M10iii is a capable camera with a pop up flash which is handy

I use the M10ii and I'm very happy with the quality/cost/portability ration though I have moved on from the kit lenses.
 
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Found mention of this (same as above) kit and an extra goodie of the 45mm lens and a 64GB SD card

E-M10 Mark III Pancake Kit: £449 + FREE gifts with code BF10

Clickable link below


Olympus Shop
 
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New DSLR go and try them out. Do not settle for I will get used to it. You be are buying into a system so make sure it is the right one. Good luck
 
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Yeah saw thart too. He is creating good and sometimes also hilarious content like his NISI filter for GR video
 
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Thanks woof woof. Sony A6xxx would be an option if cheaper. Don't think he wants to go down s/h route. Would be a v different thread if so.

Also, I think there is plenty of room to expand - eg 45mm then 75mm, both amazing lenses. Eventual dead-end I know, but probably many, many years off.

I agree hashcake. Let's face it, most DSLRs are big, lumbering boxes. It's why the I suggested Canon 250D - it's a lovely, petite thing. (Even if Canon lenses aren't)
There are plenty of cameras and lenses, lenses for just about every use from the humble to the very good indeed but there's no moving beyond the MFT format. Having said that MFT performs well in isolation and the system is used professionally by many people and anyone not interested in perusing the whole pixel peeping kit chasing aspect of photography may well be very happy with MFT.

Personally I like the RF style bodies and currently have Panasonic GX9 and GX80. The GX80 sometimes crops up at bargain prices and could be worth a look as could the excellent and truly tiny 14-45mm G Vario Mega OIS. IMO this system works best when applying the crop factor and shooting wide open to f4 or 5.6 or so.

Good luck choosing / recommending.
 
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furq
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Punchline: Mate's wife decided she didn't have the time/patience to learn real photograpy, so is sticking to her iPhone 11.

The Olympus Em-10 went back...
 
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Some people want point and shoot plus a filter. The quality isn’t that bad for Facebook and Instagram so unless you need RAWs ......
 
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