Author Topic: Moving up and seeking advice . . .  (Read 4065 times)

BanjoTom

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Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« on: September 21, 2014, 08:53:13 PM »
I'm about ready to move up to a DSLR from my old Canon Powershot A710IS point-and-shoot camera.  After reading a lot of reviews and feature lists, I *think* I will soon purchase a Nikon D5300 with 18-140mm kit lens.

My basic questions for you experts:

1. Where to purchase?  Prices are similar at most dealers for this combo, but those who are out-of-state and have no stores in Kentucky (where I live) are likely to NOT charge me Kentucky's 6% sales tax.  There are a lot of big photo dealers in New York, but I don't know who to trust.  Any suggestions/warnings?  Fully-authorized Nikon dealers only? 

2. Memory: I have a spare 16Gb SDHC Class 10 memory card -- is that likely to work in this camera?

3.  What other basic accessories would you recommend to me as ABSOLUTELY essential to have right from the start?  I already own a good tripod, camera bag, etc., and will soon start saving up for additional better/different lenses, but what, in your opinions, are ESSENTIAL to have from the very beginning with a camera like this?  (Other than IMatch, of course . . .  ;)   )   Clear or UV lens filters?  Extra battery/charger?  Extended warranty?  etc. etc. etc. 

THANKS for any advice you may be willing to offer!
— Tom, in Lexington, Kentucky, USA

sinus

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 09:09:28 PM »
Hi BanjoTom

Gratulation for your decision.
Well, to number 1 I can say nothing, I am living in Switzerland. If you are willing to travel here, well, in this case I could you advice!  ;) :)

Point 2: I am not 100% sure, but, say 99.451% sure: this should work

point 3: phew, first the eye behind the camera. It depends of course also, from what you want take pics. Generally good lenses are a good value. I personally never had UV or sky-filters. More necessary than filters is a hood for the lens. I use also a second accu, though Nikon accus are very good for lasting long.
And of course, I think, a good flash is essential, one, where you can flash indirectly (up to the ceiling or wall).

Hm, at the moment I do not know more. Wait, Cam, lens, flash, card ... that's it. And a good sense ...
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 06:43:47 AM by sinus »
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

P.Jones

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2014, 10:24:23 PM »
A lot of the sites I've visited recommend B&H

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Camera+Model_Nikon+D5300&ci=6222&N=4288586280+3999800993


not sure about the tax though

Just realised this may be against the posting rules, sorry.
If so please delete.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 10:27:37 PM by P.Jones »

jch2103

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 10:26:54 PM »
Congratulations from me too!

You've decided on a camera, so I won't touch on that at all (everyone has at least one opinion!). I think you find it a nice step up. There are pros and cons for a 18-140 lens (flexibility v weight and other considerations) but you're in the best position to decide your own trade-offs.

1. Where to purchase. Be sure you get a Nikon with a US warranty from a fully-authorized Nikon dealer. (Some shady stores sell cameras with 'grey market' warranties, which are a problem to get honored in the US.) Reliable NYC stores include B&H and Adorama, but I don't know if they charge sales tax in KY. There are a number of other stores in NYC to avoid at all costs. Amazon is reliable, but I believe they change KY sales tax. And I wouldn't want to slight local stores. One other option to check is Costco, although their bundle doesn't include the lens you want.

2. Memory. Your 16 GB card should work fine in the camera. Extra cards are cheap (e.g., ~$11 for a 16GB SanDisk Ultra at Amazon), plus some sellers include one in their bundle (e.g., B&H with their 5300 & 18-140 lens bundle). But you may want to consider a USB 3 card reader, especially if your computer supports USB 3 (for future compatibility even it doesn't), as it will speed getting files into IMatch.

3. Other. The accessory I would choose first (given what you already have) is an external Nikon flash with bounce capability. That would let you avoid 'head'on' flash shots and give you future flexibility for more advanced flash work. Of course only useful if you use flash. I also agree with sinus about UV/skylight filters and lens hoods.

Good luck!
John

JohnZeman

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 05:02:59 AM »
I'm a Canon shooter so I can't comment on your Nikon choice but I can second the suggestion to buy from B&H.  I've purchased most of my photo gear from them for 9 years now (usually 4 or 5 orders each year) and have never had a problem.

I have to pass on your #2 question since I don't know anything about the Nikon you want to buy.

In regards to #3 are you a pro shooter?  If not I wouldn't consider an extended warranty.  Other accessories?  Can't suggest anything because we don't know what you like to shoot and there are about a gazillion accessories out there that may or may not be vital to you depending on what you like to photograph.

voronwe

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 08:45:13 AM »
Congrats also from my side

My comments on that:

1) I found out that is good to use a local dealer which you know, even it is more expensive than online. Reason is mainly that if something went wrong with the camera (e.g. it has to be repaired), they can maybe lend you a camera for that time. And also, you can test it there before buying (and testing it local and then buying online in IMHO a bad behavior (That is a general remark, not that I think you will do so ;) ).  I had this good experience not with my camera so far (fortunatly the D90 seems to be quite robust  ;) ), but with my TV (when my old TV brokes, he said "No problem, I can give you a new one just for testing whether it fits in your room"), and my bike, where it took a long time until we got the my optimal seating position - all  things that an online dealer can not do.
And there is a nice saying I found: "If you want to live in a rich neighbourhood, by locally".

Ok, back from my general thoughts to your other questions:
2) I can not say anything because I do not own this model

3) Depents on what you want to shoot. Nothing is essential, a kit is a good base to find out what you need more. Maybe a Tele would be a good idea. And yes, a flashlight where you ca do indirect flashing (e.g. against the roof) would also be a good idea. But as I said, that depends on what you want to shoot. If you do mainly landscape, a flash is not that essential, but maybe a polarizing filter would be.
On recommendation for an additional lens: the 50mm 1:1.8 - It is a very cheap one, with a good open aperature and therefore good for portraits.
Oh yes, a good RAW-converter an a lot of space on your harddisk would be essential ;)

Sorry, if the english is bad, it si not my native language

Ferdinand

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2014, 09:01:48 AM »
1.  Even though I'm not in the US I've bought a lot of stuff through B&H.  No problems at all with ordering from them and having it delivered in a timely manner.  On the one occasion I had an issue with something delivered not working it was dealt with promptly.  Everything I've read and all my experiences suggest that they're a class outfit.

I've also bought a few things from Adorama, but not as much.  The freight doesn't work out as well for me.  I had no problems with my orders.  There were some grumbles about Adorama on DPReview early this year, but it may have been an isolated incident.  It wasn't clear.

It's nice to buy local, and I do try  to support my local dealer where possible, but B&H prices are hard to beat.  Esp when there are specials on in the US but not in other countries, as happened with Fuji XF lenses some months ago.  If Fuji (and others) put on these specials in the US and not elsewhere, what do they expect?  At least Fuji reportedly honours grey market warranties (not that I've had cause to test this myself), unlike Nikon.

Re tax, I have read that an increasing number of US states are requiring businesses like B&H to collect state sales tax, but I don't know the details.

2.  Re SD cards I use Sandisk, but whatever you do don't buy them on eBay.  There are a lot of fakes out there.  B&H and the other reputable companies are ok.  Nikon have a page on SD cards for the 5300 and it looks like just about anything would work:
https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18823/~/approved-sd-cards-for-d5300

Faster cards are better for video, and for burst shooting and for cameras with large RAW files, and of course you can download from them faster.  But otherwise most people wouldn't notice the difference.

3.  I don't know about extended warranties.  A lot of the consumer information that I've read suggests that they're a waste of money, but I don't really know.  It may depend on your country and what your extended statutory rights are.

BanjoTom

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 02:57:27 PM »
Thanks to ALL for your helpful and speedy replies!  (IMatch users are the best!) 

I'm certainly not a pro shooter, but for years I've used my cameras a good deal for folklife/ethnographic documentation of people, objects, and events that represent or help to communicate traditional aspects of American culture.  That is, of course, a very general sort of usage . . .   Think of it as social or journalistic photography. 

I don't think I'll be wanting an extended warranty, but will certainly acquire a lens hood and probably a good flash unit too, right away.  I haven't decided about a UV filter -- I would think the lens hood will provide at least some basic protection for the lens's front element.

And today I will check out the best local camera dealer, which is an authorized Nikon dealer.  As Ferdinand and Voronwe both noted, even with the slightly higher prices due to local sales tax, etc., there are many advantages to buying locally.   
— Tom, in Lexington, Kentucky, USA

jch2103

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2014, 05:59:30 PM »
A couple of extra thoughts re #3:

GPS. It's nice that the D5300 has GPS built in (GPS is well supported by IMatch!) . If you use it extensively, though, you may find your battery doesn't last quite as long. If that's a factor, you may want to see if your seller will throw in an extra one. It's had to find reliable third party batteries, so camera brand ones are usually best. 

Flash. Nikon's introduced a new flash (SB-500). I don't know much about it or your possible use pattern, but something to keep in mind if you're shopping.

John
John

Erik

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2014, 10:44:17 PM »
I'll add that B&H is probably the best New York dealer.  Adorama isn't bad, but I've had difficulty on occasion getting exactly what I ordered and with their packaging being less than ideal.  I'll add that if you ever consider buying used equipment, KEH is a decent dealer.  I use them for buying used lenses.  You'll find that as you grow, your desire for better lenses will grow.  Many users have this happen, too, so the used market is quite a good way to pick up items at a cheaper price than new, and KEH products are usually better than what they advertise.

I would add that perhaps before you go through the process of selecting a lens that you use IMatch to see what your usage has been with focal lengths.  It won't be easy because the focal length on your point and shoot isn't going to correspond to an actual lens, but if you review the Focal Length 35 mm field in the EXIF record (it might be called something slightly different) and potentially create a DataDriven category or summary of that field, you can see what your shooting history has been like.  Of course if the dSLR is an APSC sensor, the actual focal length you'd want would be 2/3 of the 35mm one.  I did that when I purchased my first dSLR (compensating for sensor size) and ended up buying essentially two kit lenses, one for wider angle (in my case 18-55 mm) and one for telephoto (70-300 mm).

It's worth noting that kit lenses can be a mixed bag.  A larger zoom range can mean lower quality, less speed (aperature), etc.  Many zoom lenses are good at certain focal lengths and bad at others.

Finally, I'll note that a polarizer is perhaps the most useful filter in my kit for the lenses I own.  It's the one lens that you can't create an effect for in Photoshop or other software. 

Ferdinand

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2014, 09:38:37 AM »
A couple of after-thoughts.

I certainly recommend an extra battery.  I couldn't imagine not having a spare for any camera I own.  I tend to go with OEM.  Many years ago I did use third-party, but I felt like they didn't last as long.

Re lenses, frequent lens changing will sooner or later lead to dust on the sensor.  There are three things that are certain in life:  death, taxes and sensor dust.  An all-in-one lens will minimise this risk (you can still get dust from lenses that expand and shrink as you zoom, as air is sucked in and pushed out, but it's rare).  So you have a trade-off between one lens to cover all focal lengths that may not be that sharp, and several sharper lenses which sooner or later will lead to some sort of sensor cleaning.

sinus

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2014, 10:02:08 AM »
A couple of after-thoughts.

I certainly recommend an extra battery.  I couldn't imagine not having a spare for any camera I own.  I tend to go with OEM.  Many years ago I did use third-party, but I felt like they didn't last as long.

This is a good tip, if I remember correctly, I made the same.
Thougth I have to say, that usually the battery, what comes with a nikon, lasts really for a LONG time.
I use a lot of different batteries, but the accus from nikon are really very good.
But of course, a second one does help relaxing ... or at least take the wire for charging with you.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

lenmerkel

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 06:50:48 AM »
As you're moving 'up' to a DSLR (congratulations  :) ), you might also consider upgrading your camera bag. I did see you mentioned you already have one, but once you taste the DSLR drug, you'll likely be acquiring one or two additional lenses, other accessories etc, and your existing bag may not be up to it.

I used to own a pretty good shoulder-carried camera bag, but frankly, often got tired of trying to keep it in place on my shoulder while simultaneously balancing to get a steady shot with my camera. I do a lot of hiking, and often need all my wits about me just avoiding slipping down a gravely or rocky hillside!

Several years ago I switched to a LowePro SlingShot and it's been my favorite bag ever since. I love the fact that the weight is distributed evenly on my back when moving, without me being consciously aware that it's there (i.e. no shoulder strap balancing act and the feeling that I'm 'lopsided'). Then, when I want to get my camera out, or maybe change lenses, the bag quickly swivels in front of me at chest height, and I have access to what I need without having to stop. The SlingShots also have a waterproof cover in the base that you can quickly pull out and cover the whole bag with, in case of sudden downpours. I've used that often! Showers are 'quite common' in my native UK, in my wife's native Beautiful BC, and even here in Northern California where we live right now.

N.B. I'm not affiliated with LowePro in any way. I just love a great product that performs well and does the job (a bit like IMatch . . . . . )
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 06:53:08 AM by lenmerkel »
Over the hill, and enjoying the glide.

Erik

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 09:21:13 PM »
As you're moving 'up' to a DSLR (congratulations  :) ), you might also consider upgrading your camera bag. I did see you mentioned you already have one, but once you taste the DSLR drug, you'll likely be acquiring one or two additional lenses, other accessories etc, and your existing bag may not be up to it.

I used to own a pretty good shoulder-carried camera bag, but frankly, often got tired of trying to keep it in place on my shoulder while simultaneously balancing to get a steady shot with my camera. I do a lot of hiking, and often need all my wits about me just avoiding slipping down a gravely or rocky hillside!

Several years ago I switched to a LowePro SlingShot and it's been my favorite bag ever since. I love the fact that the weight is distributed evenly on my back when moving, without me being consciously aware that it's there (i.e. no shoulder strap balancing act and the feeling that I'm 'lopsided'). Then, when I want to get my camera out, or maybe change lenses, the bag quickly swivels in front of me at chest height, and I have access to what I need without having to stop. The SlingShots also have a waterproof cover in the base that you can quickly pull out and cover the whole bag with, in case of sudden downpours. I've used that often! Showers are 'quite common' in my native UK, in my wife's native Beautiful BC, and even here in Northern California where we live right now.

N.B. I'm not affiliated with LowePro in any way. I just love a great product that performs well and does the job (a bit like IMatch . . . . . )

I'll second the need for a camera bag.  There are lots of good ones.

... I have to laugh at the showers being common in Northern California... I live there too, and the drought were in has provided us very little rain in the past three years.  But, all kidding aside, you do want to be able to protect your gear.  As an aside, weather protection was part of the reasons I chose Pentax as my camera brand.  I'm not sure I'd recommend the brand to anyone who is starting out unless they are aware that the offerings and support for the brand are significantly less than Nikon or Canon (and even Sony now).  That isn't necessarily a bad thing as the brand is quite economical, and the weather sealing and shake reduction they provide in their camera bodies makes getting lenses in the system fairly cheap.  But if you are looking at the long term and ever consider a full-frame camera in your future, Pentax would not be the way to go.  It sure has been nice being able to shoot my camera out in the rain, though.

jch2103

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 09:46:34 PM »
I'm certainly not a pro shooter, but for years I've used my cameras a good deal for folklife/ethnographic documentation of people, objects, and events that represent or help to communicate traditional aspects of American culture.  That is, of course, a very general sort of usage . . .   Think of it as social or journalistic photography. 

I can't resist asking if you're considering taking advantage of the video capabilities of the camera. I can't say I use video much, but your focus (sorry!) seems like it might be suited. Video quickly gets a lot more complicated than stills, though, so completely different trade-offs.

John
John

lenmerkel

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2014, 03:01:16 AM »
... I have to laugh at the showers being common in Northern California...
Agreed, it's bone dry here in the Folsom area. Folsom Lake is looking very sad.
However, I can say we've had some wet winters in the 18 years we've lived here, and that waterproof cover for the LowePro did come in handy several times. A good bag is definitely high on my priority list.

Incidentally, there must be something about IMatch users in Northern California. I too am a Pentax shooter, and use DxO for raw processing. I like my K10D for the same reasons you mentioned: great weather sealing and in-body shake reduction. Considering an upgrade to K3 now as prices have dropped somewhat since the launch. Recent rumors in the DPReview gossip columns suggest a FF Pentax is finally on the way. Personally, I'm not sold on the hype that FF has to be better than APS-C, plus I don't want the extra bulk & weight, and the cost of replacing APS-C format lenses with FF equivalents (ouch$$).
Over the hill, and enjoying the glide.

Erik

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2014, 09:49:05 PM »
... I have to laugh at the showers being common in Northern California...
Agreed, it's bone dry here in the Folsom area. Folsom Lake is looking very sad.
However, I can say we've had some wet winters in the 18 years we've lived here, and that waterproof cover for the LowePro did come in handy several times. A good bag is definitely high on my priority list.

Incidentally, there must be something about IMatch users in Northern California. I too am a Pentax shooter, and use DxO for raw processing. I like my K10D for the same reasons you mentioned: great weather sealing and in-body shake reduction. Considering an upgrade to K3 now as prices have dropped somewhat since the launch. Recent rumors in the DPReview gossip columns suggest a FF Pentax is finally on the way. Personally, I'm not sold on the hype that FF has to be better than APS-C, plus I don't want the extra bulk & weight, and the cost of replacing APS-C format lenses with FF equivalents (ouch$$).

I know about what is thought of as normal winter here in Northern California, or even the Sacramento area. I live in Davis work in Sacramento for the state Department of Water Resources.  I had started with a K10d and now have a K5 (original).  I somewhat want the K3, but actually don't really want the extra Megapixels.  I won't be going Full Frame either.  Maybe if I was a pro, but I'm not.  I'm an engineer that enjoys photography when I'm not at work.  At this point, I'm waiting a bit to see if the K3 comes down further.  I do want its auto-focus abilities.  My only complaint on the K5 is that it isn't a bit better at auto-focus. But, I enjoy the camera quite a bit and would be happy to stick with it for many more years.  I actually like it's 16 MP and Dynamic Range and ISO handling.  I haven't seen many cameras in APS-C that are as good as it is besides maybe a couple of the Nikon models that use the same sensor.  And, I've just loved the backward compatibility with older Pentax mount lenses.  It made it an easy way to get into owning a dSLR and lenses without having to invest in all new stuff. 

I've only recently started with DxO.  I'm trying to learn it and see whether it can suit me as a replacement for LR.  I think that if I can get a handle on its color adjustments, I'll be set.  There are a few other items that I've grown to like in LR 5 that I am hoping I can easily get around in DxO.  As important as a camera can be, if you shoot RAW, the software becomes quite important, too. 

BanjoTom

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2014, 03:37:04 AM »
Wow!  Collectively, you guys seem to think of EVERYTHING!  I will certainly heed your advice . . . at least, some of your copious advice  ;)  . . . (!) and I know that whatever new worlds I move into with this significant upgrade, I'm in a great place as a dedicated IMatch user, with the advantage of all your experience.  THANKS, again, one and all!  (But if you add more to this thread, I'm still reading and very pleased to be benefitting from it!) 
— Tom, in Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Sorted

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Re: Moving up and seeking advice . . .
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2014, 10:39:49 AM »
Hello Tom,

I have little to add to the useful replies above but, as a Nikon D7000 user, I was going to say that the Nikon flash system is probably the best available, especially its versatility through CLS (Creative Lighting System). I use the SB-800 flash, which I use off-camera (on its little stand or mounted on a tripod) and fire ite remotely from the D7000's built in flash, thus being able to use the SB-800 as a modelling light filled in by the camera's flash. Using the camera's menu I can control flash output from the SB-800 and the built in flash. Complex lighting can be controlled from the camera by using several flashes if desired (if you can afford them!).

Having said this, I note that the D5300's built in flash cannot trigger additional flashes remotely in this way because it has no Commander mode. Thus you would have to mount the flash on camera and use it as a commander to fire other remote flashes, should you wish to, or use a wireless accessory. This may not be an issue for you but it is worth noting. Another function it doesn't have (I think I read this somewhere) is the facility for 'fine tuning' the autofocus for each lens. I found that, probably due to an error in camera calibration, that I have had to set the focus for all my lenses to one extreme limit of the fine-tuning range. Again, this might not be of importance for you because you lens/lenses will probably focus accurately 'out of the box'. I'm sure that image quality will be excellent.

By the way, there is a definite advantage to using the higher quality 'professional' Nikkors. Contrast, colour saturation, sharpness and low distortion are significant and, unfortunately, the full benefits of a DSLR will not become apparent until you do sink some money into these optics, albeit some of the cheaper 'primes'.

Jeremy