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What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR?

I am beginner in photography. And i m thinking to buy a DSLR priced between 30k - 35k. I m very confused between these two camera's . Please suggest me the best amuong these two.

Requirements: 1. In future the camera must be compatible with latest lens or higher lens. 2. It should have Bulb mode and AF Motor. 3. Should be easier to change settings in Manual Mode.

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    30-35k in which currency? For £35k you could skip Canon and Nikon and get yourself a Hasselblad! – Matt Grum Sep 12 '12 at 7:18
  • Neither of those cameras have an AF motor; no current Canons have them. – ElendilTheTall Sep 12 '12 at 8:04
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    30-35k in indian rupees(INR) – Aniketh Sep 12 '12 at 10:11
  • Why do you believe you need an AF motor? Which lenses are you intending to buy that don't have a built-in motor? – Philip Kendall Sep 12 '12 at 10:31
  • Hi Aniketh. Welcome to Stack Exchange. Please take a look at this blog post blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping for some suggestions on how to get the most out of a camera-shopping question on this site. – mattdm Sep 12 '12 at 12:37

I think for the begginer there will be little real difference between this cameras. Both provide good enought image quality and both will allow you to learn photography. Both support wide range of lenses.

It will be good idea to try each camera in the shop and decide which feels more comfortable to you.


All camera try to target a specific target (audience). The difference is mostly build quality, size, image quality and features. In the table they've marked every camera without AF in yellow. These yo should not buy. Since bulb is such an cheap feature, I would be surprised if you find any (relative new) DSLR without it; since even D3000 have it, you know that the successors will have it, like D3100, D3200, D5100, D90 etc.

Since you are a beginner, you will probably not buy nor need a Full Frame camera. To make it simple, you can use about all Nikon lenses on all cameras, but you should avoid DX (crop) lenses on FX (fullframe) cameras, and vice versa (FX lenses on DX bodies). But that is generally not a problem. You will not lack in quality with a new DSLR. They are that good. Therefore, try how the camera fits in your hand, that for a beginner is really important.

Nikons you could buy: D800, D7000, D300s, D90

So In conclusion:

1) Should not be a problem. There is superb lenses for any segment. Nikon and Canon have their own, but also Sigma and Tokina have produced excelent lenses with outstanding quality versus price. Check at least 2 different reviews on the lenses at youtube before buying any.

2) Bulb: Everyone, AF: Check non-yellow marked lenses on the first link

3) Most DSLR have one or two dials for changing the settings. Generally, the more expensive, the more options you will have. Also it's way easier to shot manual with a advanced DSLR than most of the small point and shot.

If your budget is limited to a D3200 (as in the title), and you still need AF such, I believe you are bound to pick up a higher model at second hand. That is always risky (insurance, lifetime, old battery, scams etc), but some times there are no choice. If you are not willing to wait and save more money that is.

  • Just to add. Don't buy THE most expensive body you can get for the money. Lenses are equally or even more important, especially since they hold their quality and value way longer than a body. – wingerlang Sep 12 '12 at 8:39
  • 30-35k in Indian rupees(INR) – Aniketh Sep 12 '12 at 10:10
  • Why avoid FX lenses on DX bodies? Can you elaborate on that? I've been using the Nikon 80-200 F2.8 and 24-70 f2.8 fx lenses on my D300 with great succes. – Rene Sep 12 '12 at 10:49
  • You are most welcome Aniketh! With that budget, I would probably pick up a D90 or if you could find a used D7000 -- Rene: Perhaps I was a bit unclear. I guess there is not that many reasons to avoid it, but also no crucial reason to buy it. I thought of it as somewhat more professional and therefore perhaps sharper, but then also more expensive. For a beginner the 10% extra sharpness is most likely a complete waste of money. – wingerlang Sep 12 '12 at 11:34
  • There is nothing wrong with using FX lenses on DX bodies from image quality or usability point of view. However they tend to be more expensive that similar DX lenses, and unless are certain to be upgrading to FX in the future you will be just wasting your money. – Sergey Matvienko Sep 12 '12 at 11:56

I have the 550D and it's a great camera, I'm sure the D3200 is also very good - both are entry level DSLRs that will let you learn photography and take grate photos.

Out of the two you should get the camera that is more comfortable for you.

Also, it's important to know that the lens and lighting equipment has more effect on the photo than the camera body so you should think about what lens to get (and leave some money for the lens, obviously).

Your requirements don't really make sense:

1) Lens compatibility - the 550D all Canon lenses and the D3200 can use all Nikon lenses (it's the high end cameras that can't use lenses designed for cheaper cameras)

But the D3200 won't be able to auto-focus on some older lenses (see 2b below)

Both are great cameras and both have an almost unlimited selection of lenses and accessories available for them

2a) Bulb mode - I think all DSLRs have bulb mode (the 550D does)

2b) AF motor - this is not relevant for Canon (because Canon DSLRs never had AF motors) and becoming less relevant for Nikon (because all the newer lenses don't use the in-body motor), I believe the D3200 doesn't have an AF motor

Unless you plan on buying an older Nikon lens that doesn't have it's own AF motor this isn't important.

3) Easy to change manual mode settings - it's much easier than point and shoots but not as easy has pro DLRs (the entry level cameras have less buttons and dials than the higher end models)

  • While the D3200 can use all Nikon lenses, it won't be able to autofocus on any (older) lenses which don't have the autofocus motor in the lens; see the link @mattdm has posted in the comments for more details on this. – Philip Kendall Sep 12 '12 at 14:21
  • @PhilipKendall - I've updated the answer – Nir Sep 12 '12 at 15:03

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