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Best Budget Camera

1546 Views 50 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Superscroll
I'm looking into getting my fiance a camera as a wedding present, as she is wanting to start taking pictures when we go out on the boat. I know nothing about cameras, so I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction. This camera would mostly be used for photographing waterfowl, tailing fish, and landscapes. I really don't want to break the bank, as I don't know if it will be something she sticks with or not. Ideally I'd like to be all in, with lens and camera around $750 or lower, but lets say a max of $1k. Amazon currently has a Canon EOS 80D with 18-135mm lens for around $850, not sure if anyone has any experience with that camera. When I was a kid my grandfather always used a Canon, but that was in the film days, back before everything went digital. Thank you in advance for any advice.
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The Canon 80D and Nikon D7200 are great DSLR cameras for the money. It depends on what she wants to do with the pictures too. Canon has the slight edge for autofocus, but Nikon has better shutter speed and lens options. A 135 might not get tight enough, but that is a great starter lens. Also, I would get a fast SD card for writing speed if she is snapping pics of birds in flight. Lastly, have her try out a few cameras in a store. I use Fuji because I love their ergonomics. The 80D and D7200 are bigger camera bodies. If she has smaller hands, she might prefer mirrorless like Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, or Olympus. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! She is only 5' tall so a smaller camera would be much better for her. I'm assuming that she would mostly be taking pictures of birds at rest, but given the opportunity I'm sure she would try to get some pictures of birds in flight.
 

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Check out the Sony a6500 line. The camera bodies are super small and you can buy small travel/portrait lenses. Then buy one long focal length lens for ~$600. Also, don't hesitate from buying from KEH or MPB for used gear. I've used them a lot and have gotten good discounts from them.
 

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Two ways to look at this…. DSLR’s are practically dead these days due to mirrorless. So either scoop up some old tech and lenses on the cheap or plunge straight into the new tech now. The Sony A6500 would make for a great compromise between the two.
 

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The 80d is a very old model. I'd highly recommend the new Canon R10 or R7. The R7 is the best bang for the buck right now and is getting stellar reviews. It's a bit out of your 1k budget though. The R10 would be a good substitute.

If you are still looking at the 80D at least get the 90D that replaced it. BUT the R10 and R7 and light years better for wildlife/outdoor photography.
 

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Just got back into photography this year after a long absence. Watch out for the rabbit hole that is photography. At even just a casual level it is every bit the equal (cost, obsessing over latest and greatest) of fly rods and reels.

Lots of very cool smaller body cameras out there these days in the mirrorless APS-C sensor style. If form factor is important I strongly suggest looking at these. Consider your lens options when picking a brand even if you don't intend to buy the higher end stuff from the start. I'll second B&H for new and KEH for used. Not sure i'd buy a used body but I did buy a used lens from KEH recently and was blown away by the condition and packaging.

BTW if you go to B&H you can view the mirrorless options easily. Plenty of reviews and even customer photos to be seen.
 

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I've been using Canon for my magazine work for years. I've also bought and sold cameras through B&H and have always had positive transactions at fair prices.

There are plenty of photographers who constantly upgrade (like fly anglers ;)) and B&H has a large selection of pre-owned gear that's barely been used.
 

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Perfection Challenger / East Cape Glide
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iPhone 14 Pro....and this from a commercial photographer. It's always with you.
Normally this is what I'd recommend as well but he mentioned birds and tailing fish.

iPhone 14 pro is superb but it just can't handle birds in flight or shooting distant movement like a tailing red or bonefish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all of the feedback guys. The used route sounds like a good option for me. We can always upgrade later, I'm just afraid it will be a cool thing to do and handful of times, and then she will lose interest. On the flip side of things if it turns into another addiction, like I have with fly fishing and duck hunting, that may be worse. I cant afford any more expensive hobbies.
 

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So I'm probably someone that would be considered slightly biased, since I work for Canon. Thought not in the camera division. I have an entry level mirrorless EOS RP with two lenses. A 50mm prime and a 24-240 zoom. Probably more than you want to spend but I would recommend buying for where the industry is going and not where it’s been. Mirrorless vs DSLR

cheers
 

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So I'm probably someone that would be considered slightly biased, since I work for Canon. Thought not in the camera division. I have an entry level mirrorless EOS RP with two lenses. A 50mm prime and a 24-240 zoom. Probably more than you want to spend but I would recommend buying for where the industry is going and not where it’s been. Mirrorless vs DSLR

cheers
What division? I used to work for Nikon and then did contract work for Canon Camera Division.

as to the OP, don’t get caught up in the brand wars. Canon, Nikon, or Sony will all have great cameras and great lenses and options. Anyone telling otherwise aren’t doing you any favors. Id ask if any of her friends or relatives own cameras and what system, and going with that system would allow for borrowing lenses, as a general rule. If not, look into budget and feature sets. If you can, go mirrorless as others have stated, its the way the tech has gone and would future proof.
 
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