I'm in search of a new camera and I've been reading reviews, researching the last couple of weeks. The choice is daunting to say the least. There are so many models, types etc not to mention all the different lenses.

I would like some advice since I know there are people on here who have way more experience and knowledge about photography than I do.

Some background: I'm relatively new to photography. First DSLR I bought was back in 2011 Nikon D40 with 18-200mm (it was stolen in Asia) Second camera: Powershot SX220HS (I was still in Asia and didn't have the funds at the time to purchase another DSLR)

In Hindsight, I probably should have started with a P&S but anyhow.Once you get used to the responsiveness of the DSLR, it’s not easy going back to a P&S… :)

My budget is pretty low ($400-800) . I don't mind buying used. I will be using the camera when I go to Asia this winter. I enjoy taking photos of landscapes, portraits, nature sometimes macros.

I prefer as light and compact as possible. I used to have a Nikon D40 w/18-200mm and while it was great. It was a tad heavy and bulky (this would discourage me to taking camera out with me sometimes). Ability to shoot nice video is almost somewhat important.

So far I've narrowed it down to the Nikon D3300, D5200, Canon SL1, T4i or 5i.

One more thing I should mention, I remembered I have an old Canon 35mm film camera with two lenses which I bought years ago and haven't really used.

Cam body: Canon EOS 500 QD First lens: 35-80mm 1:4-5.6 III Second lens: 75-300 EF 1:4-5.6 II

I have several questions I was hoping you might be able to answer or at least shine some light on.

1) How much do you think this Canon camera is worth (if anything) at this point? how much are the lenses worth?

2) Can I use these lenses on a newer Canon body? like a SLI or T4i or T5i or any other new entry/mid level Canon camera? If so, I think it would make sense for me to buy a new Canon body and use these lenses (if they’re any good)

3) Given my photography level (entry to low end intermediate), which camera would you suggest I purchase? I prefer to have something that's not too heavy, don't necessarily want to carry lots of lenses.

Thoughts? suggestions? advice?

closed as too broad by TFuto, mattdm, MikeW, John Cavan Sep 11 '14 at 17:01

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hi Samadi. Welcome to stack exchange. It's really better to put individual questions into... individual questions, so they can each be answered on their own. (And some of these, like "can these lenses be used" may already be answered.) – mattdm Sep 9 '14 at 17:44
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    That said, be aware that we're probably not the best place for price speculation (I'd suggest doing searches on eBay or on keh.com to see what kind of price you might be able to get for your old camera), and we generally avoid telling people what camera to buy in specific, because this is highly opinion-based, changes quickly as new models come out, and often invites fans to fight over their favorites — something we'd like to keep away from. See this question for general advice. – mattdm Sep 9 '14 at 17:48
  • D5200 is a big step up from the D3300 - I really recommend it. I did recommend the D3200 due to price - but it lacks some things you'd want. The D5200 is a serious bit of kit. Only con so far: no Auto-focus motor built into body - so old old lenses wont do AF. So you can't buy great old kit and use it with autofocus. Also the bendy screen is something you will wonder why others don't have. – Alec Teal Sep 9 '14 at 19:04
  • @Samadi: your question #1 and #3 does not fit the question requirements on this site, so this question is pending to be closed. If you get rid of the "what is your opinion" type question part, your question about lenses and mounting compatibility is a valid question. I suggest doing a research on your own or on discussion forums as of what is your right camera to purchase. – TFuto Sep 9 '14 at 22:49

I won't get into vintage camera gear values, but yes, you can still use EF lenses on any Canon dSLR camera bodies--the mount is compatible, as is the electronic communication between the lens and body. And if you like small and compact and want to stay in the Canon lineup, the SL1/100D (or any successor) may be worth looking at, but is unlikely to be found used at the time of this writing.

However. I would also say that there are other choices open to you, and that the lenses you have are entry-level/consumer-grade, and therefore may not be worth staying in the mount system to keep using. The crop factor of today's dSLRs means that lenses tend to look longer (i.e., have a narrower field of view) on digital than they did on film, because the sensor is smaller than the frame of 35mm film. So, for example, your 35-80 is no longer a wide-ish-to-slight telephoto lens on a T5i, but frames more like a normal-to-telephoto lens (e.g., the FoV would be equivalent to 1.6x 35-80 => 56-128mm on a film camera.

Today, there is a new class of camera that is displacing or supplementing dSLRs for many shooters--typically those for whom travel and street photography is the largest portion of their shooting. And those are the mirrorless cameras. These cameras also have interchangeable lens mounts, but they combine some features from SLRs and others from digital P&S cameras (live view exposure simulation, focus peaking, etc.) and are overall quite capable feature-wise, but much smaller, lighter, and more discreet. The three main systems that seem to have the bulk of discussion/reviews about them are the Sony E-mount (NEX, or Alpha Mirrorless), Fuji X, and Olympus & Panasonic micro four-thirds cameras. These are only the most popular systems; there are other mirrorless systems like Canon's EOS M, Nikon 1, Samsung NX so you'll want to do research to see which might be the best fit for you. The sensors in the mirrorless cameras can be the same size as those in dSLRs, so the image quality is on a par. And while the overall lens systems are more restricted than dSLR systems which are leveraging film era designs, all of them have "the basics" covered; and you say you don't want to carry a lot of lenses. So depending on what you shoot, these may be as good (or better) of a fit than a dSLR.

  • Thank you, inkista. I decided to hold the 35mm film camera and go with a micro four-third. – samadi Nov 1 '14 at 4:27

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