Beginner What camera should I buy?

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#1
I am really a beginner here, I found I really liked taking pictures of woodlands and natural landscapes on my phone (only cheap huawei) and some images actually turn out ok until you zoom in and only in very fortunate light conditions. I was thinking I should get a better phone to take better pictures but then thought a proper camera would be better value for money. From what I have seen from google, the lens seems to be more important than the body of a camera but would I get these separately? The budget is under/around £200 (I don't really know if thats normal or cheap for cameras) but I will definitely be buying used. I really just want the photos to be sharp and high definition (so I could use it as a desktop background for example) and work well in the varying light of nature and woodlands. I am going to the alps in december also so would taking pictures of mountains require a different lens to look good? I have never really taken a picture on a dslr or proper camera before (again showing how little I know about this haha) so would waiting to go to a camera shop to try them be a good idea? Sorry for so many questions, I also would link some pictures but I think I need to do 3 posts before I can.

This looks like a really fun hobby and I will definitely upgrade my camera later on down the line to try wild animal photography!
 
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#3
@randomperson42 First of all, welcome to the world of photography and Talk Photography forum.

Okay...

Normally the first important thing to think about is the camera body, not the lens. You need to find the right kind of camera for your needs, but the most important thing is you need to feel right with the camera. You need to know if you feel comfortable holding it, and taking photos with it. No point in buying a big camera if you got little hands, no point in buying a small camera if you got big hands. You also need to fee comfortable being able to reach for any of the controls as well as the weight of the camera.

Once you're done with the camera body and after you've bought the camera body, then the next thing is yes, the lenses are the important parts. Yes, Google could be right about the lenses being more important than the camera body. That is because you would need the right sort of lens for the right kind of photography. Although anyone new to photography would assume it is a case of no point buying a wide angle lens for a football match, or a 1000mm lens just for taking a landscape photo. It really does deeper than that. There's the questions of which lens can let you take photos in much lower light levels, which wide angle lens is better before it starts showing distortions in the photos, and so on.

But usually for many photographers, the body is the important thing to start with first and just get whatever lens you can get to go with it. You need to take some time familiar yourself with the camera, improve your skills with the camera, light levels, exposure settings, and all that. As we gain experience, we tend to start being careful with the choice of lens.

You can get the camera body and the lens separately. But usually a kit (a camera and a lens) is cheaper than buying them separately.

A budget of £200 is only good for second hand cameras that were made about 10 years ago. A Nikon D200 could be bought for around £200 depending on where you can find it. But the D200 were made roughly 10 years ago, nowadays it's a D700. I don't know much about Canon, so I would guess it's something like buying a second hand 300D when nowadays they have brand new 800D.

It would be kind of like with limited budget, you can only buy a second hand Apple iPhone 4 when nowadays most would be buying iPhone X or 11.

But the good thing is that as long as you stick with the same brand camera, you can in future upgrade your body but keep the lenses.

As for trying to take photos so you could use them as a desktop background. The trouble is that it boils down to the different ratio between a photo and a screen. Many of the cameras are roughly around 4:3, that's like the shape of a television, monitor, paper, etc., but nowadays most desktop computers have widescreen monitors. If you try to use a photo you took with a camera as a desktop background, either you crop off the top and bottom parts to fit it in, or fit it in between the top and bottom but leave black bars at both sizes, or squeeze it in. But if your monitor is not one of those widescreen types, then you'll do fine.

If you got a widescreen monitor, then when taking photos with a DSLR, you have to use your eye to frame the subject. You may be looking at the subject in a 4:3 viewfinder, so you may need to image an imagery widescreen, and try to frame the subject within your imagery widescreen. Most camera models can have the option to turn on a grid setting, where you'll see lines in the viewfinder, sort of shaped like a hashtag, so you could use those lines to get a rough idea of how to frame the subject for a widescreen monitor to use as a background desktop.

Well, when you start, you need to accept that your photos won't be that good, you'll be lucky enough to get the one you hope for. You just need to know that it would take you time, a matter of weeks or months, depending on how often you take photos, to build up experience to get the right look for your monitor as a desktop wallpaper. Good thing is that with a memory card, you can just keep trying by trial and error, don't worry about having some bad photos. In the old days of film, we can't afford to waste rolls of films trying to get the right photo, so we tend to have to try to get it right as best as we could.

Anyway, hope this all helps?
 
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#4
so would waiting to go to a camera shop to try them be a good idea?
YES!

There are many types of cameras. A lot of people who post on photo forums are slightly obsessed with the sort of camera where you can change the lens. While for many purposes this is a good idea; for a beginner it can be a route to confusion and frustration. One of the best places to look is John Lewis if you have a branch handy. They have a good variety and you are generally free to handle the cameras on display (so long as you don't trigger the theft alarm!) There is usually a partner around who will know a fair bit about the products so you can ply them with questions. Another group that is generally well staffed is the London Camera Exchange and although they do tend to the upper end of the market they carry a fair selection of less expensive kit. They also sell second hand.

Good luck!
 
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#5
Thanks for your replies, it seems like I should go to a camera shop and try the ones out there as the working of the camera is the most important thing. As for the desktop background, I am fine about black bars at the sides, its just a comparison I made to say the photo should be of high enough definition to look good as a desktop background (I think high sharpness and not much noise is how to describe it?) I asked someone I knew and they said a d3300 could be good but not why other than "it's for beginners". Maybe I am so used to phones that nearly any proper camera I buy can shoot photos with high definition? I won't be able to buy any other camera equipment for at least a year or two so getting a good thing to start with is important.
 
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sirch

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From what I have seen from google, the lens seems to be more important than the body of a camera
Obviously you need both and they both contribute to the photo in different ways. It tends to be the lenses that tie you into a particular system, once you have lenses from a particular manufacturer you will be reluctant to sell them at a loss and change to another brand. Also bodies get superseded by newer versions but lenses get upgraded far less frequently.

I suggest you take a look at secondhand Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, the lenses are interchangeable between all MFT cameras so a Panasonic lens will work on an Olympus body and vice-versa. Being smaller the lenses are cheaper and easier to carry around. Think about a second hand Olympus OMD-10 Mark ii, you may well get one with a lens in your budget and it's a great start, go for the Mark ii if you possibly can.

The one thing I would point out about MFT is that because the sensor size is smaller than an APS of Full-Frame DSLR you don't get as shallow a depth of field (DoF). On the other hand they are great for landscapes where you normally want everything in focus. If you want shallow DoF you can get something like an f1.8 prime lens will give you an equivalent f2.6 DoF.
 
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#8
Hmm. Most people on here spend tons on their equipment and will be biased towards wanting you to do the same. But for £200?

There are so many criteria - what's a camera like in the hand, how heavy / bulky is it, what's its viewfinder like, as well as how its output performs. If you're happy to see pictures just on-screen then that's less demanding than wanting to make big prints. If getting photos from low-light situations is low priority, then that keeps things cheaper too.

Your budget would cover one of these from 2012, used -
https://www.wexphotovideo.com/sony-...MIkMn90t-15QIVhbTtCh3cPA6eEAQYASABEgJ9hvD_BwE

There are so many factors involved that you'll just have to take the plunge somewhere along the line, and take it from there. Welcome to the labyrinth!
 
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#9
The DSLRs in a camera shop will have some similarities to the older models in your price range. Look and hold some of them. See if you like the feel of Canon vs Nikon vs the others.

Then look back at the older models within your budget. The feel will be similar.

If you decide a dSLR is better for you rather than a compact camera, and was spending £ 200 on a starter system, I'd buy from MPB (other shops are available) the following:

Canon EF-S 18-55 IS II - £ 50.00
Canon EF-S 55-250 IS - £ 80.00
Canon EOS 450D body - £ 74.00
Total - £ 204 plus delivery. Slightly over budget I know.

I always give Canon as suggestions as I know the canon range, whereas Nikon and Sony models are a mystery to me.

You'll also need a memory card or two and a bag to keep it in. With some padding you can re-purpose a ruck sack that you may already own. If you enjoy landscapes a tripod may be on your christmas or birthday list, then some filters and so on.

The lenses are really entry level lenses, but they are better than most people given them credit for and the two combined can give you a change of taking photos of lots of subjects, and where you find your particular interests lie, you can upgrade your kit to suit your developing tastes and skills.

Photography is a very fulfilling hobby. Frustrating at some times, like many other hobbies, but rewarding in so many ways.
 
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