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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so how much should I be looking at spending to get a decent used mirrorless camera that will be better then a phone camera and will be something good to learn with? I want to learn how to take better pictures and I have messed around a little with my cell phone but I am sure I could use something a little better.
 

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This one is sweet, we have the old version https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1223211-REG/canon_1066c001_powershot_g7_x_mark.html

We love our Fuji, we don't have this one, but I'm sure it's great https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...6582593_x_t100_mirrorless_digital_camera.html

This one https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...c_dmc_g7kk_lumix_dmc_g7_mirrorless_micro.html

This one if you focus on video

Lenses are more important than the camera, so I'd say spend <$1000 now, read a couple books, develop the basics and then decide on lenses and legacy gear later. Don't need the latest and greatest at all.
 

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learning > lenses > camera body.

Getting your head wrapped around the relationship between iso, aperture, shutter speed, etc. will go farther than any hardware you can buy. The type of photography desired also plays a major role in both how to use those settings, and what kind of hardware might work better for your intended purposes. A telephoto lens on a high fps body is great for sports, for example, while a slower fps body with higher resolution and dynamic range with a wider lens might be more suitable to landscape shots.

FWIW, even a lot of modern cell phones can enter into some semblance of the manual modes you would find in dedicated hardware. I've been chasing better phone cameras for years (and as is the trend, the camera is my primary motivating factor to upgrade my phone every year or two.) But only recently have even remotely considered the hassle of dragging along proper camera gear on my rides. For me, there almost has to be a specific shot/event/scene that I want to capture to get me to pack the camera.

I also wouldn't necessarily be wooed by mirrorless just yet. While it can make for a smaller setup, if you really get sucked into the photography world you'll easily end up with hardware that negates any size/weight advantage that mirrorless offers. And it's still an emerging scene (at least in the realm of models with interchangeable lenses.)

For the cost, it's hard to overlook a generation or two old SLR like the Canon digital rebel series (I'm a canon shooter, so not sure what the equivalent would be in the other major brands.) Buy a gently used kit setup for dirt cheap and you get something that won't hurt as much if it gets crushed in a crash, or if you do lose interest it'll be a minimal loss for resale =) But most importantly, it's a great platform to learn on without dumping buckets of cash into the idea.

Regardless, check out this place. I learned a metric ton from there when I was starting out and it might help you better decide what route is best for you.:

https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm
 

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saddlemeat
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You can get some economical used gear, the sony a5xxx and a6xxx are solid cameras and lenses are widely available, maybe $500 or less for a body and basic lens. B&H has some real bargains occasionally.
 

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I agree with the used stuff, as long as is gently used.

Depends a lot on your will to carry (a little) bigger stuff. This will define if you want a DSLR or a mirrorless. If you already carry a fairly large backpack, I'd say to go with a DSLR, that you'll find more used, and potentially cheaper. If storage space is a problem, go with a mirrorless. In this case, I suggest the Fuji cameras, just because the controls are manual, right at hand so you can modify them very fast and easy.
 

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Sony mirrorless has complete manual control as well. Just make sure you choose the platform that feels best to you. At the end of the day...picture quality coming from any of the cameras currently on the market will be the same or so incredibly close that it would be all but impossible to see any real difference. Certain brands and certain models within each brand do certain things better...but after a little post processing...it all comes out in the wash. Keep in mind too...mirrorless cameras are great but if you are planning to shoot action shots they aren't quite up to par with DSLR's in regards to focus speed. Image quality is the same though so if you're not after action shots then a mirrorless camera would be perfectly suitable. The biggest negative I've found, at least with Sony mirrorless...the price of native lenses is absolutely stupid. But one of the great things about mirrorless...again, at least with Sony, is they work wonderfully with legacy glass with adapters. And you can usually get awesome glass for cheap and it's very often times has better build and image quality.
 

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saddlemeat
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Sony mirrorless has complete manual control as well. Just make sure you choose the platform that feels best to you. At the end of the day...picture quality coming from any of the cameras currently on the market will be the same or so incredibly close that it would be all but impossible to see any real difference. Certain brands and certain models within each brand do certain things better...but after a little post processing...it all comes out in the wash. Keep in mind too...mirrorless cameras are great but if you are planning to shoot action shots they aren't quite up to par with DSLR's in regards to focus speed. Image quality is the same though so if you're not after action shots then a mirrorless camera would be perfectly suitable. The biggest negative I've found, at least with Sony mirrorless...the price of native lenses is absolutely stupid. But one of the great things about mirrorless...again, at least with Sony, is they work wonderfully with legacy glass with adapters. And you can usually get awesome glass for cheap and it's very often times has better build and image quality.
Yeah the sonys aren't perfect. They are extremely durable in my world, which is rough. I can put up with a lot for the ability to just take a picture, anytime, anywhere, any conditions. By good picture I mean suitable for a print on a gallery wall. With Ps and a decent printer it's achievable. Focus speed has not been an issue, screws and parts falling off the camera is my biggest persistent camera issue. The big pro gear is too bulky and heavy to be useful to me. Galen Rowell, a back country photographer known for his stunning prints, had a useful approach to camera gear for outdoor use that translates well to mirrorless gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I was leaning mirrorless to keep the size smaller.

What is a reasonable budget to get started? Can I do $400 or $500? Or do I need to spend a big more. I am more interested in landscapes and nature shots then action shots right now.
 

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A Sony a6000 with a manual 12mm wide angle lens will work amazing for landscapes. The Sigma 30mm and 50mm lenses are not too hateful in price and have great IQ. Also check into old legacy glass with adapters. They can be had cheap and for doing static work like landscapes and a lot of nature stuff...they can't be beat.

Here's a few shots from my Sony. The two landscape shots are with a Rokinon 12mm manual lens. The flower shot was with my Sigma 30mm.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I was leaning mirrorless to keep the size smaller.

What is a reasonable budget to get started? Can I do $400 or $500? Or do I need to spend a big more. I am more interested in landscapes and nature shots then action shots right now.
I made the switch to mirrorless a long time ago when the Olympus OMD E-M5 was introduced and never looked back.

With that budget I would suggest Micro 43rds over Sony or Fuji. Good high quality lenses can be had much cheaper on the Micro 43rds. I have owned Fuji, Sony, Olympus (mu43) and Panasonic (mu43) and settled on Olympus. The lens quality and availability (price) more than made up for the slight sensor performance of the Sony and Fuji line for my shooting. Olympus bodies can use panasonic lenses and vice versa, they are both mu43 systems.

If I were building a Micro 43'rds kit I would start by buying the Olympus 12-40/f2.8 lens. I've seen them used for less than $500. Lens is as sharp as they come wide open from 12mm (24mm equivalent) all the way to 40mm. Constant 2.8 aperture. Very respectable close focusing of around 7 inches makes for a decent Macro lens. It's weather sealed so if you pair it with a weather sealed body you won't have to worry about it getting wet. A used body would start at less than $200 (Olympus E-M5). That would give you a weather sealed waterproof combo great for outdoor use. E-M5 MK2, E-M1 would be newer than the E-M5 and offer more features (like WiFi, focus stacking, etc) for around $400.

I might suggest a different route instead of a mirrorless. I own a Sony RX100 MK3 which is a large 1" sensor advanced compact camera paired with a Zeiss f1.8-2.8 24-70mm equivalent lens. It's tiny and fits in a pocket. I keep mine in a camera case attached to the shoulder strap of my camelback. If you compare it something like the a6000 with a kit lens, the lens speed/quality of the built in Zeiss lens of the RX100 will make up for the smaller sensor. If you are buying just a mirrorless body and a cheap kit lens I would suggest the RX100 MK3 or above instead. It's an awesome backpacking/travel/biking camera.

Fred Miranda for sale forums is a great place to look for used camera deals.
 

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saddlemeat
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A Sony a6000 with a manual 12mm wide angle lens will work amazing for landscapes. The Sigma 30mm and 50mm lenses are not too hateful in price and have great IQ. Also check into old legacy glass with adapters. They can be had cheap and for doing static work like landscapes and a lot of nature stuff...they can't be beat.

Here's a few shots from my Sony. The two landscape shots are with a Rokinon 12mm manual lens. The flower shot was with my Sigma 30mm.
I use an a5000 with the sony 16mm (24mm) 2.8 prime 99% of the time. I have an old nex5 with the 16-50 kit lens on a tripod for studio use, works well but menu hell. Lenses work on the a7 series too, which steps down to apsc to accommodate them. Let's you move to full format if you wish without a huge lens investment up front. Not everyone needs these large files, not everyone is a serious photographer. My pixel phone takes pretty stunning images for screen use...
 

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I didn't see it mentioned here, but what about a Sony RX100 MK IV or V depending on what the prices are in the use/refurb market? It's not mirrorless, but it has very good video and is more compact compared to most if not all mirrorless cameras. Plus, you could find online a budget hardshell housing marketed at the diving and action market. Not going to be as good as the mirrorless suggestions here at night, but it still will be better than a phone and most other cameras in its size.
 

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I didn't see it mentioned here, but what about a Sony RX100 MK IV or V depending on what the prices are in the use/refurb market? It's not mirrorless, but it has very good video and is more compact compared to most if not all mirrorless cameras.
I might suggest a different route instead of a mirrorless. I own a Sony RX100 MK3 which is a large 1" sensor advanced compact camera paired with a Zeiss f1.8-2.8 24-70mm equivalent lens. It's tiny and fits in a pocket.
Another vote for the Sony RX100 series. It's small, has a great lens, and the older models are less costly.

Here is a recently updated comparison of the different models of the RX100 series.

You might also consider the Sony RX10 (MK II model) which is the big brother of the RX100. It's much bigger but easily fits in my CamelBack.

Note: The Sony RX10 MKIII and MKIV went to a much larger zoom lens which makes it almost as big as micro4/3 or APS-C.
 
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