If you are in the market for a DSLR camera, here’s the best combination to get. I did two months of research looking at all the various DSLR cameras. My 7-year-old Nikon D80 died after 32,000 cycles. It was time for me to get a new camera. Being a semi-pro photographer with a baby on the way, I was willing to spend at least $999 on the body.
The criteria I used when purchasing a DSLR camera:
They are the best quality camera over Canon and the rest.
2) You want a full frame camera
Every DSLR is going to have plenty of mega-pixels. The REAL criteria for cameras is the size of the image sensor. Most digital cameras have a smaller image sensor to capture the photos. Smaller image sensors means less ability to capture wide ranges of tones. If you have a larger sensor, you’ll be able to capture more tones, and thus better pictures.
A full frame is a sensor built to the same size as a 35mm piece of film. When digital cameras first came around, they were able to get away with using a smaller sensor, because the mega-pixels weren’t very large anyways. But now that all cameras have a large mega-pixel count, you really need a full frame sensor to take advantage of the large mega-pixel size.
How do you tell the difference between a full frame sensor and something else? With the Nikon range of cameras the full frame sensor will use “FX” in the name. The other smaller sensors will use “DX”.
3) Best-value full frame camera
Nikon currently offers seven FX cameras:
- D610: $1,499.95
- D750: $1,999.95
- Df: $2,749.95
- D810: $2,799.95
- D810A: $3,799.95
- D4S: $5,999.95
- D5: $6,499.95
At about $1,496.95 for the body, it’s the least expensive model of all the FX cameras. If you come from the world of paying $1000 for a camera, it’s definitely worth it to pay a bit more for the full frame. The other FX cameras simply get too expensive. Besides, you should really be paying money for your lenses, not the camera body. Get the Nikon D610 and spend the rest on your lenses. You’ll thank me ten years from now.
4) Lens bundles with Nikon D610
Now that you know you want a D610, what lens package should you get?
Nikon offers three lens bundles:
- D610 with 24-85mm VR Lens: $1,899.95
Why go with the 24-85mm lens? It’s just a mediocre basic lens. Down the road you’ll end up getting a zoom lens and then you’ll have multiple lenses. Consolidate your lenses with the 28-300mm.
- D610 with 24-85mm and 70-300mm Nikkor VR AF-S Lenses: $2,459.95
This package is essentially the same as the 28-300mm lens. Except, with this two-lens package you end up paying $150 more than the single 28-300mm. Plus, you have two lenses to carry around, instead of just one lens. When you are in the field, would you want to be switching around lenses all the time? Or would you rather just have one lens. Less weight, less to deal with. Stick with the 28-300mm.
- D610 with 28-300mm VR Lens: $2,299.95
Is the 28-300mm lens a value in this package? The 28-300mm lens alone sells for $950. When buying the 28-300mm lens in the bundle, you end up paying $803. You end up saving $147 by getting this lens with the D610 body.
5) Where to buy the Nikon D610
Now that we have settled on what camera and lens bundle to buy, where should you buy your Nikon D610 camera? Adorama is nice. So is B&H photo. However, neither of these places have any great add-ons they include with the camera.
You are plunking down a good amount for a camera, certainly the store you buy your camera can give you some enticing goodies to go along with your purchase. Cameta Camera offers five great kits. Each kit has 11 add-ons! Some of them you get over $200 of add-ons for paying just an extra $50.
Their kits are rather overwhelming in scope, so I put together a chart outlining each item in the the kit, and their worth.
I went with the kit that includes the geotagging device. You can’t go wrong with any of these kits–except for the one with the 500mm telephoto lens. Why would you get the kit with a low-quality 500mm lens, when you are already buying a 300mm quality lens? Skip that kit, and get any of the other ones.
(Please note that I pulled these specs in February 2016, Cameta Camera might change some of the contents of the kits)