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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Photography peeps! I wanted to tap your knowledge to get some feedback and recommendations before making a camera purchase. I'll be honest, I have tried doing some research on this matter but every time I try to bone up, I find myself lost in a sea of artfulness that sounds good but doesn't end up making a lot of sense. The wife is really interested in picking up a nice camera and getting into Photography and I would like to feel somewhat educated before buying it for her to make sure we know what we will be getting into. She will be going mostly nature and landscapes but will want to do some macro shots as well. I will selfishly of course make her shoot my watches and probably the car on occasion. At this point, she seems pretty sent on a Nikkon and I think she has been eyeing this one:

Nikon D5500 DX-format Digital SLR Dual Lens Kit w/
- Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens
- Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens

My goal would be to get her a quality camera that she could grow into as she becomes more learned in the mysterious picture ways. Appreciate the thoughts and feedback and education.
 

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Even if Nikon was bought by another company, which is unlikely, prices wouldn't plummet.

The 5500 is a solid entry level DSLR. I'd suggest getting the body only and adding a 35mm 1.8 prime lens. The G version is very reasonable. For an all in one lens, Tamaron makes an 18-270 that I used when I first started and had good luck with. It can be had for around $350.

The kit lenses are OK, but you'd be surprised how great of a shot you can get with that 35mm on that crop sensor body.
 

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The Nikon/Sony thing is just a rumor that's been around since last year.

I use the Nikon 7200 and have been very happy with it. I don't keep up with the latest news, but I see the 7200 has had a price drop since I bought it, which I would guess means there is an updated model coming or already here. I think it will give you a little more room for growth than the 5500 for maybe $250 more or so for the body. The one really cool thing the 5500 has that the 7200 doesn't is an articulating screen. I do a lot of beach photography, and the 7200 being weather sealed has been a big thing for me. If I remember correctly, and it's been a while, i think the thing that made me go for the 7200 over the 5500 was that the 7200 gives more control of camera settings through dials and buttons on the camera, with less need to go into the menu system.

Personally, I'd just go for the body by itself and hand pick the lenses based on what you think you'll be doing with them. The lenses are going to be a bigger factor in getting the quality photos you want than the bodies in the long run if you're looking at that range of cameras. Hope this helps!
 

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I have a 5300 and I have still not reached the capabilities of the camera. The 35mm dx prime lens is awesome. Its the perfect walk around lens. The 70-300 is good but tou really need vr on that big of a zoom. But i have the 55-200 ed and have enjoyed it just wish I had grabbed the vr version for the extra $$$
 

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So here's the deal, all those cameras are pretty darn good and can yield professional results.

Think of "kit" lenses and "all-in-one" lenses as "walking around" lenses, mostly useful for vacation photos.
For macro shots you're going to need a macro lens.

This doesn't mean you have to go out and spend all your money on the latest lenses, in fact many pro's opt for vintage lenses.
The vintage lens market is very hot but you have to do your research and know what you're looking for. These lenses are manual focus.

If she's just starting out, set a budget for the camera (used is fine), get a refurbished kit lens from Samy's and get a really good macro lens.

Oh yeah, typically after market lenses plummet in value the moment you walk out of the store. There are a handful that are awesome, but that's another thread.
I will say however, if you want a cool lens to take car photos with, you can buy a Tokina 11-16. Groundbreaking performance in an after market lens and is in every pro's kit.

Cheers.
 

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Oh yeah, typically after market lenses plummet in value the moment you walk out of the store. There are a handful that are awesome, but that's another thread.
I will say however, if you want a cool lens to take car photos with, you can buy a Tokina 11-16. Groundbreaking performance in an after market lens and is in every pro's kit.

Cheers.
Speaking of Tokina lenses, I'd recommend the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 for inexpensive and high quality entry to Macro photography.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
…I use the Nikon 7200…I do a lot of beach photography, and the 7200 being weather sealed has been a big thing for me...The lenses are going to be a bigger factor in getting the quality photos you want than the bodies in the long run if you're looking at that range of cameras. Hope this helps!
Awesome. This is exactly the type of information I need. We do spend a lot of time at the beach so the weather sealed option would be a plus, but I’m concerned that it’s increased size would be prohibitive.

…Think of "kit" lenses and "all-in-one" lenses as "walking around" lenses, mostly useful for vacation photos. For macro shots you're going to need a macro lens…
I will say however, if you want a cool lens to take car photos with, you can buy a Tokina 11-16. Groundbreaking performance in an aftermarket lens and is in every pro's kit…
That sounds fair and kind of the way I was leaning. I think she chose this kit as a good “value” which I can’t argue with. Guess we have a lot of lens education to do now.
 

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So it sounds like the consensus is that the D5500 is a solid body choice. Stupid question for you all, if I start looking at buying just the body and grabbing individual lenses, do lens come in different diameters ie. Will we have to be cautious of pairing other brand lens to the body? I'm up for doing some shopping and education but don't want to end up paying twice as much and not getting her what she needs to plug and play.
 

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Awesome. This is exactly the type of information I need. We do spend a lot of time at the beach so the weather sealed option would be a plus, but I’m concerned that it’s increased size would be prohibitive.
The 7200 is roughly a half pound heavier if I remember correctly. This I think is more significant than the physical size of the body which wouldn't be as potentially prohibitive.
 

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So it sounds like the consensus is that the D5500 is a solid body choice. Stupid question for you all, if I start looking at buying just the body and grabbing individual lenses, do lens come in different diameters ie. Will we have to be cautious of pairing other brand lens to the body? I'm up for doing some shopping and education but don't want to end up paying twice as much and not getting her what she needs to plug and play.
Not a stupid question at all! Hopefully others will also answer because I'm no expert on lenses, but the major 3rd party brands like Tamron, Tokina and Sigma usually make compatible equivalents to most Nikon lenses. The 5500 is a DX camera so when shopping, as long as you see DX as the format compatibility, you'll be set. There will be many that are listed as DX and FX, but as long as the DX is there, you're good to go. Ken Rockwell's site (no affiliation) is an excellent site I use regularly to research lenses if I'm shopping for one.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not a stupid question at all! Hopefully others will also answer because I'm no expert on lenses, but the major 3rd party brands like Tamron, Tokina and Sigma usually make compatible equivalents to most Nikon lenses. The 5500 is a DX camera so when shopping, as long as you see DX as the format compatibility, you'll be set. There will be many that are listed as DX and FX, but as long as the DX is there, you're good to go. Ken Rockwell's site (no affiliation) is an excellent site I use regularly to research lenses if I'm shopping for one.
Thank you Carl, you have been a tremendous amount of help. I tried to do some massive research on lenses int he meantime and holy crap. This is a little complicated. I have a whole new level of respect for those who know this inside an out, let alone know how to apply to create and excellent photo. Looks like the included 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens will be a solid do all and then I should add in a "Nifty 50" and one of those Macro recommendations. Whew, what a whirlwind
 

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Ken Rockwell is where I got a lot of information when I first started. I always thought he seemed a bit full of himself. Later I realized just how wrong he is in some of his articles. If I remember correctly he suggested taking photos in less than full resolution, shooting in jpeg, and decreasing the size of the files. He also over saturates his images that I've seen, but that's a personal preference thing.

Ive found Matt Granger, Tony Northrup, and even Jared Polin to be way more informative.

I think someone answered, but all you need is a Nikon mount lens. With a DX body you can use FX lenses, but it's really not worth the expense.

If you wife wife really wants to learn, she should start scouring the sites of the folks I listed, watch their videos, etc. Its not as easy as a point and shoot.
 

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...Ive found Matt Granger, Tony Northrup, and even Jared Polin to be way more informative.
I think someone answered, but all you need is a Nikon mount lens. With a DX body you can use FX lenses, but it's really not worth the expense. If you wife wife really wants to learn, she should start scouring the sites of the folks I listed, watch their videos, etc. Its not as easy as a point and shoot.
I will definitely point her that way, thank you for the references
 

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Thank you Carl, you have been a tremendous amount of help. I tried to do some massive research on lenses int he meantime and holy crap. This is a little complicated. I have a whole new level of respect for those who know this inside an out, let alone know how to apply to create and excellent photo. Looks like the included 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens will be a solid do all and then I should add in a "Nifty 50" and one of those Macro recommendations. Whew, what a whirlwind
Glad I could help! For whatever this is worth, you and your wife could easily just take that 70-300 lens to start, by itself, and get to know the camera because that lens alone will satisfy many of your early photography needs and on the go learning. From there, after getting comfy with the camera and delving into manual mode photography, you can always add lenses to your collection. I have a 50mm lens that I like very much. It's a fine lens, great for portraits etc but to be honest, the best thing I got out of it was using it to learn how to "focus with my feet" as the expression goes. It has no zoom, so it forces you to move around, closer or farther away from your subject to get the right shot....But, the only time it ever goes on my camera these days is at family gatherings when I'm taking pictures of the kids, my wife or the dog.

What I use almost exclusively these days is a 18-200 lens. It stays on my camera all the time and gets used for all the beach photography I do which includes coastal birds, beachscapes and sunrises/sunsets and it's my lone take on vacation with me lens. The macro lens was purchased for watch photography, but as it turns out, I don't do that very much. What I do use it for however far more than I ever expected, was for photographing flowers. If not for the interest in taking pictures of flowers up close, it would have ended up a waste of money to buy that lens for me.

I guess what I'm suggesting is not to be in a rush to buy lenses until you're sure of what your needs and desires will be, and how deeply you want to go with photography otherwise you could end up with lenses you don't need or use. Whether you buy the 5500 or 7200, you're going to be able to take outstanding photos with great clarity right out of the box, even in auto mode. You could get the 50mm now of course, and it's a great lens, but you could end up wanting something with a shorter focal length later on that's not a macro lens, and there's a nice versatile, inexpensive 18-55mm lens that when added to your 70-300mm lens will give you a great full range, with just two lenses....then maybe down the line, if you really develop a strong interest in one or more areas of photography, you could get a prime lens to improve on the photos you're taking with the zooms.
 

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Ken Rockwell is where I got a lot of information when I first started. I always thought he seemed a bit full of himself. Later I realized just how wrong he is in some of his articles. If I remember correctly he suggested taking photos in less than full resolution, shooting in jpeg, and decreasing the size of the files. He also over saturates his images that I've seen, but that's a personal preference thing.

Ive found Matt Granger, Tony Northrup, and even Jared Polin to be way more informative.
I have to laugh at this just in the spirit of having fun, because my wife calls Tony Northrup "Mr. Smug" and can't stand him....That said, his ebook and associated videos are excellent instructional information. Where Ken Rockewll's site is good is that it provides a lot of research information all in one place. It's great to do comparison shopping of features and specs of cameras and lenses, and his reviews are solid. For instructional information, I agree, he's not the place to go. I like John Greengo's intro to photography course a lot. It really helped me figure out how to get past the confusion of aperture, iso and shutterspeed and the relationship between them.
 

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So it sounds like the consensus is that the D5500 is a solid body choice. Stupid question for you all, if I start looking at buying just the body and grabbing individual lenses, do lens come in different diameters ie. Will we have to be cautious of pairing other brand lens to the body? I'm up for doing some shopping and education but don't want to end up paying twice as much and not getting her what she needs to plug and play.
Now that you have specific questions I think you would be better served addressing them, and getting to know a community on a proper camera forum.
I'd recommend DPReview, as well as Flickr. There are others.
 
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