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Camera advice please EOS 650D, EOS M or Nikon D 3100?

By kitttheknightrider - Posted on 05 September 2013

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I am after some advice and as quickly as possible (looking to buy tomorrow)

My 14 yr old daughter is about to start photography at high school and is desperate for a "decent camera" for this as a birthday present which is this weekend. She had in mind a full on DSLR until I started showing her the prices of the ones she liked the look of. Yes I know if it was bike parts for me it would top shelf but we are budget restrained on this particular issue and I would like to get out of it for under $600.

We have several point and shoot and all of them let us down in low light photography. I still use my F717 but it's dated and the low meg count and the inability to change lenses hampers it somewhat. I also have an older (less than 10yrs) EOS 35mm with EF 75 -300 series 3 USM lense and a 28-80mm EF lense.
I have been doing a fair bit searching and I have narrowed it down to a choice of three by dollar value, obviously the htree in the title, Canon EOS 650D, EOS M or a Nikon D 3100. A link to a side by side comparison is here, sorry I would cut and paste but it is too large for me to manage that.

The Cost
Canon Eos M with EF-M 22mm Lens and Lens adaptor $428
Canon EOs M with EF-M 18-55mm STM Lens plus Lens adaptor $511
Canon EOS M with EF-M 18-55mm + 22mm STM lens + 90EX Flash + Lens adaptor $651

Canon EOS 650D 18-55mm Kit $670
Canon EOS 650D Body Only Digital SLR Cameras $600

Nikon D3100 twin kit with Nikon 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR Lenses Digital SLR Camera $543

My thoughts.
Well I'm leaning towards the Canon's simply because even with the EOS M and the use of an adaptor I am able to use the lenses and speedlight flash I already have (yes I will be testing my existing lenses and flash to make sure they are actually compatible). Narrowing that down further I would probably get either the M 22m kit or the M 18-55mm kit. When I compare the M to the 650D, the features on the M seem to be better with a better ISO capability. I also think the size of the M would be better suited to the smaller hands of a 14yr old and with the 22mm lens on it's not that much bigger than many point and shoots which would lend it to being easier for her to put in a bag and take with her on general outings.

So what say the font of all knowledge that is the Nobmob photo community? Also does anyone have any experience with the lens adaptor for the M, good or bad? I am also happy for any other suggestions or recommendations.

Thanks in advance for all of the help

... but you knew that anyhow, right? Eye-wink

I'm a Nikon man so don't know much about the Canon lenses you mention you already have, but if you can get away with using the 28-80 (even though it's a bit limited on the wide end on an crop sensor) why not pick up just a 650D body to get started?

That said, is it worth paying $70 extra for a 18-55 kit lens? Quite possibly.

Personally, I would steer clear of the EOS M. IMHO, mirrorless cameras with only 1.6 crop are too much of a compromise. Because of the crop size you'll never get glass small enough to feel nice on the body. This is where I think Nikon 1 will come good, but that's another conversation entirely Eye-wink

I'm guessing you've mentioned a cheaper body twin lens Nikon because you have those Canon lenses which means you can look at only a single lens kit from Canon? That's fair enough.

thanks Rob.

I threw the Nikon in on the recommendation of one of the local camera shops I visited today and picked that particular model based primarily on it sitting in the middle of the Canons on a cost basis.

When you say kit lenses are pants do you mean they are just ok in comparison to the far more pricey after market lenses available? I think the extra $70 is worth the investment because where my existing lenses fall down is they don't have image stabilisation which, for canon at least, now seems to be built into the lens rather than the camera and they aren't designed for HD video work. This isn't a priority but the newer STM lens range are quieter than the older USM range, or so I am led to believe.

Looking further I could throw in the Nikon D5100 twin kit with Nikon 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR Lenses at about $630. Would that interest you more as a good camera for a young person just starting with photography as a hobby?


Edit: Have added the 5100 to the comparison

Looking at those comparisons, to a non camera person the M seems to be the pick of the bunch, is there that much of a difference to end picture quality between a 1.5 crop and a 1.6 crop? Remembering this is for a beginner and not someone that has a true passion for photography and could probably classed at the high end of the enthusiast category.

Kit, My 14yo daughter started photography in the past year and we ended up going with the 1100D. She has been very happy with it and hasn't asked for the extra lens. I expect anything you chose will be better than the school cameras. I have found that my daughter and her friends do go and take photos on the weekends etc so imho it was worthwhile.

Maybe I was being too picky about the lenses Eye-wink

But you know what I mean. Kit lenses are built to a price. They typically have lower build quality like plastic bayonets and lower spec glass without fancy coatings, etc. I'm sure they will seem fantastic compared to pretty much any point and shoot.

For all intents and purposes 1.5 & 1.6 crop are the same so I wouldn't worry about that.

That Nikon kit sounds tempting but it is an old model.

All I'll say about the M is that I was all set to get a mirror less model and was talked out of it by a photog. And am now very happy about that - there's something nice about looking through a proper viewfinder.

My 2¢

If you already have an investment in Canon glass then stay with that. I agree 100% with Robs comments about kit lens. But for only an extra $70 you can't go far wrong plus you have your glass if she wants to get more creative. I can't comment on the mirrorless system so would say go the 650, it looks and feels like a 'real' camera and more importantly it looks and feels like yours too so you will be able to help her.

It's a no-brainer Smiling

PS What glass do you have that you can put on?

thanks guys for the replies.

ps, the 1100D is not out of the picture and I am sure would be the CFO's camera of choice, we may end up with that yet.

Rob, I know exactly what you mean about the viewfinder but I think that is something about our generation, we grew up without the choice of a nice screen on the back of the camera, that was if we were lucky enough to have a camera at all. I thought that was what you meant with the kit lenses and at this stage am happy to work with that. If the passion grows as she gets older then better lenses can always come then.

Phil, as for the lenses I already have, well they are nothing flash. A Canon EF 28-80 1:3.5 - 5.6 II and a Canon EF 75 - 300mm 1:4-5.6 III USM which is fast and relatively quiet but as I mentioned earlier neither of them have image stabilisation and I have been told both "may" be too noisy for video work. They do though give her a greater choice out of the box without any initial extra outlay for us, this at least lets us spend a little more on a better body now.

Again thanks for the replies and the advice.

Then can I reccommend you get a 50mm prime - Canon do an f1.8 for not many dollars. For the price it's cracking and fully open will make the images looking stunning. I'm a sucker for DOF (have the f1.4 version). Actually on a crop sensor you could probably do with getting a 35mm.

Kit, One other thing is that my daughter takes the stand every time she takes the camera to school and I think she ends up doing as many video's or still movies as straight photos.

btw we also looked at the 650 and essentially went with the 1100 because it was on special at the time. It meant she had the option of getting the stabilising lenses but has never actually asked for them.

for $125 a f1.8 50mm prime is awesome!! Although on the crop sensors i.e. cameras in the list it will end up being a 75mm which might be a bit much or you can go a 35mm prime but they cost around $300.00. I think you guys are giving kit lenses a hard time..yes maybe the big lenses are a bit iffy but my nikor 18-55 is a great little bit of kit and i bought it by itself. The 18-55 is plenty for someone starting out in photography.


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