Beginner DSLR & Lens advice for Travel (1st Post)

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#1
Hi,

I am looking to purchase my first DSLR initially for a Backpacking trip through SE Asia. I am primarily interested in photographing street and portrait. However, I'll undoubtedly be using for some landscape and architectural shots as well, so what I am looking for really is versatility.
The cameras I have my eye on are the Nikon D3500 or D5600.
My budget is limited so I am looking at either of the following :

  • Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR f/1.8G Lens - 50 mm
Very different lens'. What I would like to know is if I am looking at the right camera/lens set-up for my intentions and whether it would be worth spending the extra £ on the 18-200mm Lens kit.
I am very open to advice and other suggestions as I don't intend to purchase until a bit later in the year.

Thanks in advance!
 
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#2
Why would you want a dslr for travelling?

Much handier to choose a mirrorless apsc camera or micro four thirds surely?

Micro four thirds in particular due to the smaller lenses will be more practical and due to the smaller sensor give you good reach at little money.
 
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#3
I'm looking at the long term and an entrance level piece of kit that can offer versatility.
A friend has the D3400 and I was really impressed with the overall quality. I really liked the feel of a DSLR but I completely understand where you are coming from in regard to it not being the best choice for travel given its size - something that doesn't bother me so much.

I do have a Lumix GX1 but I didn't fall in love with it and it now feels dated. Perhaps as I didn't invest in a decent lens!

Any mirrorless apsc/MFTs you would recommend?
 
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#4
I'm looking at the long term
The long term future of photography is mirrorless. Nikon’s F mount has been around for decades but with their venture into mirrorless needing a new mount I think we will see less and less new F mount lens releases. You could adapt those lenses in the future to use on mirrorless bodies.

Whilst the beginner bodies are good for the price I would recommend a body that has front and rear dials for changing aperture and shutter speed without delving into the menus. It will potentially last you longer before you upgrade. If the idea of a camera is for travelling a mirrorless or mirco four thirds would what I would look at for a smaller lighter package.

What kind of budget are you thinking of? Are you thinking new or used? It may help people recommend you something.
 
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#5
I'm looking at the long term and an entrance level piece of kit that can offer versatility.
A friend has the D3400 and I was really impressed with the overall quality. I really liked the feel of a DSLR but I completely understand where you are coming from in regard to it not being the best choice for travel given its size - something that doesn't bother me so much.

I do have a Lumix GX1 but I didn't fall in love with it and it now feels dated. Perhaps as I didn't invest in a decent lens!

Any mirrorless apsc/MFTs you would recommend?
For travel I would recommend the Olympus E-M10II, the Olympus E-M5II or even the Olympus E-M1MkI or MkII - depending on budget.

You can pair one of these up with some really affordable lenses with great IQ such as the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 and/or the Olympus 40-150 f/4.0-5.6. Both of these have a 58mm filter size.

For low light the Olympus 25 f/1.8 is great or the Panasonic 25 f/1.7 gets good reviews as well.

I have used all of the above save for the Panasonic 25 f/1.7. All of these camera bodies should comfortably outperform the Panasonic GX1 and should be easier in use as they all have EVFs , which is lacking on the GX1 I believe.
 
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#6
The long term future of photography is mirrorless. Nikon’s F mount has been around for decades but with their venture into mirrorless needing a new mount I think we will see less and less new F mount lens releases. You could adapt those lenses in the future to use on mirrorless bodies.

Whilst the beginner bodies are good for the price I would recommend a body that has front and rear dials for changing aperture and shutter speed without delving into the menus. It will potentially last you longer before you upgrade. If the idea of a camera is for travelling a mirrorless or mirco four thirds would what I would look at for a smaller lighter package.

What kind of budget are you thinking of? Are you thinking new or used? It may help people recommend you something.
Thanks for the response, will take it on board. Thinking new and around £600 Mark.
 
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#7
I'd seriously consider with Maarten's suggestions.

However the entry level Nikons you've considered are excellent for their type, but I wouldn't touch either of the lenses you list. The 18-200 will compromise quality and light transmission, and *most of the time* you won't need to use the long end anyway. The 50mm is too long a focal length to use on a crop sensor camera like this *as the only lens*. Depending on your budget I'd either recommend the Nikon 16-80 as having higher quality and also slightly wider at the wide end (this is useful for travel - trust me) or the 35 f1.8 DX - more or less 53mm equivalent, much more versatile and also quite cost-effective. You might also consider a Sigma or Tamron 16/17-50/55 f2.8 'standard' zoom as being the most versatile, offering excellent image quality, versatile zoom range and better low-light capability than the longer zooms.

Do consider used too.
 
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#8
For travel I would recommend the Olympus E-M10II, the Olympus E-M5II or even the Olympus E-M1MkI or MkII - depending on budget.

You can pair one of these up with some really affordable lenses with great IQ such as the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 and/or the Olympus 40-150 f/4.0-5.6. Both of these have a 58mm filter size.

For low light the Olympus 25 f/1.8 is great or the Panasonic 25 f/1.7 gets good reviews as well.

I have used all of the above save for the Panasonic 25 f/1.7. All of these camera bodies should comfortably outperform the Panasonic GX1 and should be easier in use as they all have EVFs , which is lacking on the GX1 I believe.
Nice! Liking the look of the Olympus cameras paired perhaps with the 40-150mm lens for my needs.
 
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#9
I'd seriously consider with Maarten's suggestions.

However the entry level Nikons you've considered are excellent for their type, but I wouldn't touch either of the lenses you list. The 18-200 will compromise quality and light transmission, and *most of the time* you won't need to use the long end anyway. The 50mm is too long a focal length to use on a crop sensor camera like this *as the only lens*. Depending on your budget I'd either recommend the Nikon 16-80 as having higher quality and also slightly wider at the wide end (this is useful for travel - trust me) or the 35 f1.8 DX - more or less 53mm equivalent, much more versatile and also quite cost-effective. You might also consider a Sigma or Tamron 16/17-50/55 f2.8 'standard' zoom as being the most versatile, offering excellent image quality, versatile zoom range and better low-light capability than the longer zooms.

Do consider used too.
Food for thought! The general concensus is that I should step away from my original idea.

I'm wondering, what are the benefits of the Mirrorless over DSLR?

Apologies in advance - I am the definition of an amateur!
 
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#11
OK, for your purposes (travel in Asia, plus street, landscape/architecture) based on a £600 budget for a Nikon outfit I'd consider this lot:

D3500 £280 new https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/New/nikon-d3500-body-only_27309.html
Nikon 16-85 used £200 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Nikon-AF-S-16-85mm-F3.5-5.6-G-DX_246719.html
Nikon AFS 35mm used £100 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Nikon-AF-S-35mm-F1.8-G-DX.-WAS-109.99,-SAVE-10.00_242199.html

If you could afford another £100 then I'd swap the Nikon 35mm for the Sigma 30mm below
Sigma 30mm f1.4 used £190 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Sigma-30mm-f1.4-DC-HSM-Nikon-Fit-_247045.html
 
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#12
OK, for your purposes (travel in Asia, plus street, landscape/architecture) based on a £600 budget for a Nikon outfit I'd consider this lot:

D3500 £280 new https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/New/nikon-d3500-body-only_27309.html
Nikon 16-85 used £200 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Nikon-AF-S-16-85mm-F3.5-5.6-G-DX_246719.html
Nikon AFS 35mm used £100 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Nikon-AF-S-35mm-F1.8-G-DX.-WAS-109.99,-SAVE-10.00_242199.html

If you could afford another £100 then I'd swap the Nikon 35mm for the Sigma 30mm below
Sigma 30mm f1.4 used £190 https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Sigma-30mm-f1.4-DC-HSM-Nikon-Fit-_247045.html
Sweet, thanks for taking the time to find some links.

Question - what type of photography is 16-85mm useful for?
Benefits of the 30mm over the 50mm?

Thanks
 
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#13
I really liked the feel of a DSLR
Don't underestimate this. I've tried numerous of the new "rinky dinky" mirrorless bodies and none to date feel right in my (admittedly large) hands. Try and get hands on at a camera store first.

GC
 
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#14
Food for thought! The general concensus is that I should step away from my original idea.

I'm wondering, what are the benefits of the Mirrorless over DSLR?

Apologies in advance - I am the definition of an amateur!
We have an Oly E-M10 here - it's a nice camera, well made, small & light with reasonable image quality. There's a twin-lens outfit available for around £450 that you should consider if you want to go that way.

Mirrorless advantages: lower weight & complexity, theoretically focusing should be more accurate although they also generally focus more slowly than DSLR, generally they use electronic viewfinders so you see what you're taking, image stabilisation is often in the body.
DSLR advantages: longer battery life, faster focusing, larger bodies can mean better handling, lots of used lenses around (mirrorless is catching up now) image stabilisation built into the lens *may* do a better job than IBIS, optical viewfinder means you can see what you're photographing more clearly.

I've used both systems (presently use a Sony A7III mirrorless, previously Nikon D610) and they have their strengths. The Oly E-M10II twin lens outfit with a 25mm f1.8 lens (used) plus a spare battery would be ideal and probably as good as the Nikon outfit above.
 
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#15
Question - what type of photography is 16-85mm useful for?
All sorts except low-light and anything needing a long telephoto. 16-80 was my go-to lens for crop camera general use, especially travel.

Benefits of the 30mm over the 50mm?
In my first post - 50 gives too narrow an angle of view for general use on a crop sensor camera like the D3500 etc. You need a wider lens, and 30/35 is about right. This particular 30mm (Sigma) is known to produce excellent sharpness and it lets a lot of light in, allowing you to keep taking pictures in dim conditions.
 
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#16
Amazing. Thank you so much!

Hmm... still leaning DSLR despite seeing the benefits of the Mirrorless, especially for travel. I think the key for me is obtaining the right lens for my needs. A good all-rounder.

It's a really tough decision! Very torn. Good thing is I have time on my side but all the responses have given me a lot to think about!
 
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#18
What are your thoughts on this package? (£479 - Amazon)

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Compact System Camera - 14-42 EZ Lens + 40-150 mm R, Black

Are these Lens' decent?

I'm now torn between this and the D3500 + 1 x good lens
 
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#20
What are your thoughts on this package? (£479 - Amazon)

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Compact System Camera - 14-42 EZ Lens + 40-150 mm R, Black

Are these Lens' decent?

I'm now torn between this and the D3500 + 1 x good lens
These are a far as I know variable aperture lenses (f3.5-5.6?) which will be fine for general photography especially in good to low light and they'll probably cover 99% of your needs :D

I'd personally add a wide aperture prime to the list for low light and other things... maybe a 17 or 25mm f1.8 or even the excellent 45mm f1.8.

Good luck choosing.
 
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#21
Sorry to disappoint all the Mirrorless fans out there but I'm going for the D3500. I'm planning to purchase and the Nikon 35mm lens.
With this and the 18—55mm VR kit lens (which I understand isn't amazing) - would you say that this set-up would be more than OK for a relative beginner like me and for my purposes (travel)?
 
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#22
The camera and lens will be great for travel but I would question shelling out on a 35mm when your kit lens is already covering this, though, being a prime lens the quality will show .......
 
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#24
Hi Snapper, that's a fair point and my intention was exactly that, quality. I feel I will be using the 35mm most of the time
Yep, it's a great walkabout lens on DX, you'll soon find what focal lengths you want to expand to once you decide what you like taking pics of most.
 
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#25
If I can find a good deal for the 16—85mm as mentioned above then I'd opt for that (+35mm) and purchase the camera body alone :)
Will keep my eyes peeled!
Can you recommend any good websites for 2nd hand lenses? I see there is London Camera Exchange...
 
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#26
If I can find a good deal for the 16—85mm as mentioned above then I'd opt for that (+35mm) and purchase the camera body alone :)
Will keep my eyes peeled!
Can you recommend any good websites for 2nd hand lenses? I see there is London Camera Exchange...
mpb.com and wex are usually quite good ......
 
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#28
The standard-af-p kit lens is actually quite good. Sharp enough for normal pictures, very fast to focus and really light. I've got a 17-50 2.8 Sigma but the kit lens is a lot easier to carry around town.

Don't discount the D3400 either. It has an extra button which you can set up to select iso. Apart from that, it is effectively the same camera in a slightly different package.
 
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#29
Edit- just noticed you're getting the Nikon so just read my last paragraph re straps. :)

I'm a long time Nikon DSLR user (D7000 at present) and have just bought a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera to replace my compact. Quality against the D7000 (IMO) is easily as good but in a much smaller and lighter package.

I'm now in the position of seriously considering selling the DSLR. The only reason I'm not right now is my Sigma 150-600mm which spends its life attached.

The A6000 is generally available for £479 with the 16-50mm kit lens and if you buy in July, you can claim £100 cashback from Sony. For £675 you can get that plus the 55-210mm (then £100 back on that too).

The shape is great too with a nice palm grip.

The only disadvantage is the price of the Sony lenses, but there's plenty of Sigma and Samyang lenses for it too.

Whatever you decide, t's definitely worth trying some out in a shop.

Also I strongly recommend a decent neck strap like the OP/Tech Pro loop strap, or the Utility strap sling. You'll soon notice the standard strap weighing you down.

Happy travels!
 
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#31
Edit- just noticed you're getting the Nikon so just read my last paragraph re straps. :)

I'm a long time Nikon DSLR user (D7000 at present) and have just bought a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera to replace my compact. Quality against the D7000 (IMO) is easily as good but in a much smaller and lighter package.

I'm now in the position of seriously considering selling the DSLR. The only reason I'm not right now is my Sigma 150-600mm which spends its life attached.

The A6000 is generally available for £479 with the 16-50mm kit lens and if you buy in July, you can claim £100 cashback from Sony. For £675 you can get that plus the 55-210mm (then £100 back on that too).

The shape is great too with a nice palm grip.

The only disadvantage is the price of the Sony lenses, but there's plenty of Sigma and Samyang lenses for it too.

Whatever you decide, t's definitely worth trying some out in a shop.

Also I strongly recommend a decent neck strap like the OP/Tech Pro loop strap, or the Utility strap sling. You'll soon notice the standard strap weighing you down.

Happy travels!
A wealth of information! God - this is a really tough decision
 
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#32
If you do go for a Nikon, check out the 18-105 lens which is great VFM. There is one for sale in the forum at present.
 
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#34
Sorry to disappoint all the Mirrorless fans out there but I'm going for the D3500. I'm planning to purchase and the Nikon 35mm lens.
With this and the 18—55mm VR kit lens (which I understand isn't amazing) - would you say that this set-up would be more than OK for a relative beginner like me and for my purposes (travel)?
Before you splash the cash, (and I haven't read all the replies), have you considered a bridge camera? No lenses to change. Great for travel. Huge zooms and good IQ.
 
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#35
And the 35mm as part of a 2 x lens kit?
Personally I wouldn't buy a prime to start with. Buy a zoom and figure out what length the majority of your shots are taken at. Then buy a prime to suit.
 

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#36
Sorry to disappoint all the Mirrorless fans out there but I'm going for the D3500. I'm planning to purchase and the Nikon 35mm lens.
With this and the 18—55mm VR kit lens (which I understand isn't amazing) - would you say that this set-up would be more than OK for a relative beginner like me and for my purposes (travel)?

I'd go with your original idea of an 18-200 and a faster prime - probably a 35mm for a crop body. While the lens is relatively slow in terms of light gathering, it's a pretty good performer optically (for the price) and will give you a good idea as to where your photographic interests lie when it comes to upgrade time. Get a good second hand one and you should be able to trade it in or resell it privately without losing too much.

Most importantly, enjoy your trip!
 
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#37
Thanks for the recommendations.

I'm having a thought regarding the fact that the D34/3500 isn't waterproof. I'll be visiting Asia which has the tropical climate, so a lot of moisture in the air and monsoom rain. I'll obviously be looking to protect it from showers but was just wondering to what extent I have to be careful. Will the camera perform well in these conditions, particularly with the extreme heat and moisture?

Thanks
 
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#38
Famous last words...

I've used all my cameras in any and all conditions from pouring rain and snow in the UK through to blizzards on the beach, in the heat of central asia and the humidity of Thailand and the only hardware failure I've had was a manual film era macro lens that seized up in the garden at home. A few years ago I also had a series of three of four pictures that were taken at a place in Thailand which is the hottest and most humid place I've ever been that were slightly out of focus so I assume something fogged up and I didn't spot it. That was with a Panasonic GX7 and when I went back to the same place with my Sony A7 it was just as hot and humid and I had no problem. So, my mantra is that as long as you take just common sense care and watch for things fogging up your gear will probably be perfectly fine unless dropped in sea/water or given a prolonged soak.

In your position, probably being a bit more careful than me :D I think I'd take a look at the Olympus MFT cameras. There's one, I forget which, that seems to have very good weather sealing. I'm sure someone will tell us what model it is if you're interested.
 
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#40
I've come to the realisation that the D3500 isnt going to be practical for my travel needs. So I have whittled it down to the E-M10 Mark II and A6000. Strongly leaning to the Olympus.
Can anyone recommend 'must have' lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 MARK II? I may go for the double lens package but was wondering whether it was worth purchasing body only and then one or two lens for my travel/general needs as an amateur. Keeping my eyes peeled for offers but thankfully time is on my side
 
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