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roxfontaine

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I was looking at the entry level Nikon D3400 and D5500. Does anyone have any experience or advice with these or types like these that I should look at or avoid?
I started with a D3000 when I was blogging. It quickly hit a limit for my needs and I moved beyond it as soon as I could. I'd strike the 3400 from the list entirely. I next bough the D7000 that I'm selling now. I skipped the 5000 series because the D7000 got me closer to my needs. The 5500 is good. I would use it primarily for video over photo but that's just me. I think even Nikon views it as a video tool with the articulating and touch rear screen. It takes solid images though, especially when paired with good glass (as with any camera).

If you want something relatively small and want to avoid multiple lenses, I'd skip both of these cameras and go with a mirrorless option. The Sony a6000 is roughly the same price.
 
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mgarbowski

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Subject - people and scenery when traveling (idk if I answered that correctly)
Video - doesn't matter tbh, it would be cool to have but no issue if it's missing
Size - something relatively small, not trying to carry around multiple giant lenses

With that in mind, any suggestions?
I'd also give some consideration to a mirrorless. There's no reason, with your criteria, to require a DSLR. The Sony Rox mentioned is good. I'd also consider a Fuji or Olympus.

Fuji
X-A3

Olympus
Pen EPL-8 or the slightly older EPL-7

You can go more expensive on both but that doesn't seem necessary.

If you want a quality camera and aren't set on changeable lenses look at the Fuji x30.

One note, the Fuji lens focal lengths are on the same scale as the Nikon kits you are considering. But the Olympus has a smaller sensor and so you multiply an Oly lens focal length by 1.33 to get the roughly equal Fuji or Nikon. So the Olympus 14-42mm kit lens would be similar to a 19-56mm Nikon or Fuji. (Meanwhile the Nikon D700 Rox is switching to is on yet another scale).
 
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NickA

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Subject - people and scenery when traveling (idk if I answered that correctly)
Video - doesn't matter tbh, it would be cool to have but no issue if it's missing
Size - something relatively small, not trying to carry around multiple giant lenses

With that in mind, any suggestions?
If you want a small pocket sized 'do almost everything' camera that takes really good pics:
Sony RX100 V

If you want a small system that you can build up with lenses and upgrade bodies as you go: Definitely look at Micro 4/3 systems like the Olympus E-M5 II, Olympus PEN-F. Panasonic makes some good choices too, but I am partial to the Olympus kits. Both are very capable cameras for general use. Even with lenses, it is a relatively small kit, definitely not pocketable though.

If you want something bigger that has one zoom lens built in and could replace many DSLR kits out there, it's the Sony RX10 III. It's a great all around camera, but on the larger side.

I personally use a Sony RX1R & A7S now. I've had plenty of Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji gear. If I was buying my fiancé a camera to be able to take better pictures than her phone. Used for people & landscapes...and she didn't need big zoom. The Sony RX100 V.

I was never a big Sony fan and think they are overpriced, but the sensor quality is too good to deny. Even other manufacturers use their sensors. I am not a loyalist to any brand and wouldn't push something just for the hell of it. I am a big Sony fan now for the quality of the images I can get out of their cams.

If size is a factor...check out camerasize.com and you can compare different cameras/lenses to see the difference.

In the end, the best thing to do is to hold them in your hand.
 

NYCFCfan

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You guys are great. Now I have a lot more research to do.

Out of curiosity (and ignorance), what the hell is the purpose of DSLR cameras? Long distance shots?

I remember taking a photography class in college and was told that the type of camera helped but in the end it mostly cam down to lighting. If that's the case I'll eschew the bigger, and more expensive DSLR cameras and go for a mirrorless like Rox suggested.
 

roxfontaine

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The purpose of DSLR, like all cameras, is to capture light. Generally, the better a camera is at capturing light, the more it costs.
 
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NickA

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You guys are great. Now I have a lot more research to do.

Out of curiosity (and ignorance), what the hell is the purpose of DSLR cameras? Long distance shots?

I remember taking a photography class in college and was told that the type of camera helped but in the end it mostly cam down to lighting. If that's the case I'll eschew the bigger, and more expensive DSLR cameras and go for a mirrorless like Rox suggested.
The biggest draw to DLSR is compatibilty with a huge range of decades worth of lenses. It's top end stuff is considered pro-gear, so there's also been the weather/dust proofing and reliability of it that is appealing. Also Full frame sensors have been exclusively Nikon/Canon DSLR's, which has vast appeal for numerous reasons. Mirrorless cameras have really improved over the last 5 or so years. It's a matter of opinion. I choose to travel lightly now and as the saying goes...the best camera you can have is the one that's with you.
 

mgarbowski

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The specific technical benefit to DSLR is that you look directly through the lens to compose. They use mirrors to reflect the light through the lens up into the eyepiece. So what you see is exactly how it should look when you click the shutter. "Mirrorless" cameras don't have this feature which saves size and therefore weight. You look either through an eyepiece with some parallax to the actual lens, or via an electronic viewfinder (EVF) which also lets you look through the actual lens, but as interpolated by the electronics. There is also sometimes some lag between real life and what you see on the EVF. It might be short, maybe 1/30 of a second, but occasionally that makes all the difference in what you capture. But unless you're doing sports photography, it's actually not that big of a deal.
 

NYCFCfan

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The specific technical benefit to DSLR is that you look directly through the lens to compose. They use mirrors to reflect the light through the lens up into the eyepiece. So what you see is exactly how it should look when you click the shutter. "Mirrorless" cameras don't have this feature which saves size and therefore weight. You look either through an eyepiece with some parallax to the actual lens, or via an electronic viewfinder (EVF) which also lets you look through the actual lens, but as interpolated by the electronics. There is also sometimes some lag between real life and what you see on the EVF. It might be short, maybe 1/30 of a second, but occasionally that makes all the difference in what you capture. But unless you're doing sports photography, it's actually not that big of a deal.
Well that seals it for me. Mirrorless camera it is. Thanks again everyone.
 

danger

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I started with a D3000 when I was blogging. It quickly hit a limit for my needs and I moved beyond it as soon as I could. I'd strike the 3400 from the list entirely. I next bough the D7000 that I'm selling now. I skipped the 5000 series because the D7000 got me closer to my needs.
I don't have the spare $$ for an upgrade right now (or I'd consider your D7000, although I'd only need a body, not lenses) but out of curiosity what limit did you hit with the D3000? What did the 7000 series get you that the 5000 series didn't? I'd have to go back and do research again, but I thought, for example, that the sensor was improved from 3000 to 5000, but 7000 was same as 5000. Though I think the # of AF points was substantially increased. Other features aren't coming to mind at the moment.

I'd like to upgrade my D3100 but I think I can still improve my shooting before it would actually be worth the cost
 

roxfontaine

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what limit did you hit with the D3000?
I was doing a lot of event photography for my blog. The ISO range severely limited me. Additionally, I was gaining greater access as I progressed and it just didn't look pro to any degree. Luckily, it was only borrowed from a friend so when I needed to upgrade I just gave it back and moved up. The 7000 got me a lot more than the D5000. Higher ISO range, better dynamic range, more pixels, more AF points and, of course, a more professional look. It was the right package at the time as I needed a mid-range camera to match my mid-range ability.
 
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