Question of the day: Help me buy a DSLR camera…

Question:Yo Scott, I’ve been looking at DSLR cameras. Right now, I’m considering getting the Nikon D3100 because it is a decent price and can shoot full 1080p video. Do you think the KX or K-7 would still be better than the D3100? Also, since I’m going to acen, which two lenses would you recommend for taking picture of cosplay? I do like the features of the camera you showed me though… Damnit, why is it so difficult to decide?

Answer:
The low light performance of the K-7 isn’t good, so I’d say skip that one (it would be hard to find it new anyways as it is recently discontinued along with the K-x).

For best APS-C in dynamic range/high ISO: The K-5 and D7000 are it, but both are expensive. It would probably be better to spend more money on lenses than camera bodies though. These two cameras can let you “get away with” kit lenses if you don’t have much desire for producing artistic blurry backgrounds.

For example:

That was done with a K-5 at ISO 12,800 with a *cheap* 50-200mm kit lens. I was able to capture multiple frames of movement thanks to the high ISO that isn’t too grainy.

If you want backgrounds to blur like this:

The best way is a lens with a large aperture (that was taken with a 31mm f1.8 lens at f1.8).

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Camera-Sensor/Sensor-rankings
That site will give you and idea of what each camera can do at high ISO.

Glancing at the Nikon D3100, it looks pretty good. Probably a bit better overall than the K-r.

I don’t really know much about Nikon except that I hear their flash system is the best.

Lenses would depend on the system you choose and what you find out works best…
A zoom lens in either 16-50mm constant f2.8 or 24-70mm constant f2.8 would be ideal, but expensive.

OR to supplement a kit lens:
Something like a 35mm f1.8 would be fun and not too expensive. Wider than 35mm might be a good idea though for full-body shots.

A telephoto zoom lens for sit-down events (say 50-200mm or 70-300mm). Something cheap here is probably your only option because fast telephoto lenses are usually more than $700. However if you do want to spend, a 70-200mm constant f2.8 is good.

My last suggestion would be to check out Camera Craft in Rockford to actually handle some cameras (They have Pentax, Canon, and I think Nikon…). David ( david [(A.T.)] cameracraftinc.com ) has been willing to deal with me in the past and knows his stuff. Not sure about his brother though. Having a camera in your hand and trying it out might be the deciding factor. If you want me to go with you there, let me know. I’m always up for window shopping camera gear.

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