Just curious: your most fun DSLR to shoot?

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Ovi
Heuou, as per title I would like to ask the community which is your most fun DSLR to shoot photography (strictly for yourself and not necessarily professionally)?

My question is a pondering on the subject because I came late into the photography world, my first time interest was in 2008 when DSLRs were the best and my 2nd camera was the first generation of mirroless: the Panasonic G2/G1. My experience with DSLR in the last 16 years have been very brief: about one year with my first ever camera, the Pentax K200D, and though I have tried it recently for a while I found it not as fun as I remember it so I didn't keep it for long.
But I am still intrigued about using a DSLR for a different aspect and user experience for photography that I would like to do sometimes, to keep things more diverse and engaging.
Looking around on CEX today (UK store) I have noticed how far the princess have fallen for used DSLRs: Canon 5D Mark I for ~200 £, 5D Mark II for ~ 250 £, Nikon D3 for ~ 300 £, Nikon D610 for ~ 350 £, etc
Some of the better/best DSLRs still float between 500-1000 £ like Nikon D810, D850, Df, Canon 5D Mark III, Mark IV. 5Ds and r, etc but that might be a stretch for me just for a fun camera for a few days per month.

Of all Pentax seems to hold their value pretty high competitively: Pentax K-70 for 370 £ and K-5 II for 230 £ ... Good cameras but you can get a Full Frame for that money.

What would be your choice and preference and if you have the time why as well, could be fun and educational read and conversation.
 
As I got older, I moved away from Nikon gear to m4/3 primarily because of the size, weight, and expense of the system. My last two Nikon pro cameras were a D1x and a D2H. After all these years, I still miss those two cameras and at one time I seriously thought about going back. I did try a Df for a brief while, but once again, it raised the issues as to why I left Nikon in the first place. However, the D2H is tempting all these years later as some of my best photography was shot with that camera.
 
I moved from Nikon DSLRs to mirrorless with the Panasonic G1. I was over the moon with joy to find that the G1's autofocus was so reliable that I didn't feel the need to check sharpness after a shot. The Nikon D200 and D300s frustrated the hell out of me. Some lenses would misfocus with the D200 and had to be sent in to be adjusted. The D300s had a feature to correct for front- or backfocus, but that would only really work for primes; my wide-angle Tokina and Nikon standard zoom could be corrected but really only for one focal length. The only lens that worked well, very well even, was the Nikon 70-300 VR. As I said, a hair-pulling experience.

So I do not at all long back for the DSLR era, mirrorless was a gift from heaven for me. Only recently with the Fuji X100V I got disappointed with AF reliability, but all my other mirrorless cameras (Panasonic, Sony, Leica Q3) work(ed) very well for me in this regard.

Unsurprisingly, my advice is to stay away from DSLRs if you're a sharpness fanatic like me.
 
That's interesting Ad, as when I first got my D7000 after upgrading from a D80, I couldn't take an in focus picture with it to save my life.
Then I found out how the AF worked on the D7k as I came to call it, and all was good.
I have to say my D80 was a lot of fun to use as it was a camera that just fit my hand like a well worn glove from the first time I tried one at a cars 'n coffee meet.
Now days I'm thinking about reviving my CoolPix 995 just for grins and to remind me of where I came from and how far I've come in the digital world. I'm sure it would help me more fully appreciate the cameras I have now.
 
I am a Nikonite (as well), so bear with me here ...

The DSLR I enjoyed the most was the pleasantly small, very competent Nikon D5500; it punched way above its size and weight in terms of image quality; handling was good a well. In spite of its small size and weight, it sported a great, deep grip that allowed for the unimpeded use of bigger lenses, so it worked well enough with the gigantic Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art; that said, I liked the smaller (if somewhat lesser, optically speaking) Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art even better. The D5500 still counts among the best APS-C cameras I've ever had the pleasure of using - the Z 50 is its spiritual successor in my book (not the D7500's or D500's!), and I'm glad about that camera's great performance because otherwise, I'd miss the D5500 for sure.

Anyhow, the camera I can't let go because it's just so good overall is the Nikon D750 - it too is rather small for a FF DSLR, but still has one of the best 24MP sensors I've ever shot with (the Z 6 and Z f notwithstanding) - best highlight recovery I've ever seen, for one thing. The D750 certainly wasn't the reason for my growing interest in mirrorless; if anything, it delayed my full transition for several years. Even now, I prefer shooting long lenses on the D750 because its grip is next to perfect. Everything works as expected to this day. Of course, the D750 is not a professional or action body, but it works great for general photography.

If you really want to go FF, my vote goes to the D750, with the D610 coming in second because it shares most of the core assets of the D750, but please be aware that that camera's got a bulkier body - the difference is noticeable in the hand. APS-C: D5500/D5600, hands down - the best small DSLRs Nikon ever made.

Having read Ad's caveats above, I'll say here that AF precision can be an issue on all DSLRs. I haven't had to use focus corrections on any mirrorless to date, but my D5500 and D750 were both in need of some manual adjustments in this regard, especially with the Sigma lenses I preferred at the time (the fast Art line primes, mostly). Over time, I moved on all lenses that had such issues; I have only kept three "modern" AF-S/AF-P lenses, all made by Nikon: the 60mm f/2.8G Micro, the 70-200mm f/4G and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E (though I usually shoot the latter via the FTZ adapter on the Z 50!). Everything else I use on F mount today is vintage (AF-D or older) - which precludes high hopes as to peak sharpness and performance anyway.

M.
 
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Thank you so much for the replies, it's a very interesting read indeed. I know of the misalignment between the PDAF sensor and the lens focusing system and I never knew how often or bad the issue was (given my lack of DSLRs use experience). I may be looking at a few primes and a couple of zooms (don't want to cover everything because I have the Olympus OM-1 for most of those usages).
I do remember Nikon and Pentax having the best sensors in terms of image quality (Sony manufactured sensors) especially in terms of DR and ISO performance, especially for Nikon with it's base 64 ISO.
 
Whilst being a former Nikon DSLR user (I even prefer their images to the Z gear), I have to say used Canon D5/6 and accompanying lens prices must surely represent the best value, the rendering remains wonderful all these years later. I think there's enormous fun still to be had.
I have been thinking about th Canon 5D and 6D, recently it has been getting a lot of attention for it's IQ and colour rendition, being very similar to film though I don't know how to "see" that since I haven't shot much film in my life so I don't have that point of reference. Canon 5D seems to be the cheapest Full Frame DSLR on the used market right now.
 
When I got into photography with a serious camera, it was when DSLRs were really filtering into the entry-level, and it was a Nikon D40 for me. my friend got a Canon Rebel XTi at around the same time. Those cameras had the advantage of super-small bodies and really nice CCD sensors which gave great results at low ISO. There was an upgrade to the D40, the D40x, which had 10mp. Of course, the advantage of size was also the disadvantage with these kinds of consumer DSLRs; the viewfinder was abysmally small (I remember struggling to see with it when I was 21, so I can only imagine at 38 and having started wearing glasses as I am now), and the Nikon only had 3 focus points(!) which were arranged horizontally. Also that camera had no focus motor, and at the time, Nikon AF-S lenses were more expensive than the older options. So I spent most of my time with that camera avoiding the lower-quality 18-55mm kit lens (maybe it needed focus adjustments) and squinting through the effective-75mm crop of a Nikkor 50mm f1.8D. However, it was enjoyable because of the purity and simplicity of it. I shot on A mode almost all the time, manually focused and composed for that tighter crop.

But I have to give the edge to my second and current DSLR, the K-1 II. It's such a purpose-built thing of beauty. Aesthetically it's really nice to look at as an implement, but the ergonomics, image quality, viewfinder, everything about it is quite wonderful. I can shoot in TAv mode with the top control dial set for exposure comp and the two main dials for SS and aperture, and forget about ISO because I know it's going to be a good file that will clean up nicely. And the mount compatibility with such a large lens catalog is also great.

Edit: just to add, I think FF DSLRs offer something over APS-C in the size of the viewfinder; there's physics involved in the size that isn't there with mirrorless because your mirror has to match the size of the sensor (to have the same coverage) and that affects the amount of light and the resulting size no matter what you do. Plus, you know, it's full frame. Being able to shoot legacy lenses at their intended image circle, seeing the effects in the corners and all of that is another thing which enriches my use of the Pentax, and would be the same with Nikon, etc. I think there's a real something to the D610/D700/D750 and that era. The D600, which was plagued by sensor problems early on, is dirt cheap too on the used market.
 
My first experience with SLRs was with an Edixa Mat Reflex camera in 1957, made by Wirgin in (then) West Germany. I had a Leica M3 after that, and that was followed by an Olympus OM1. I replaced the Olympus with a Minolta DiMAGE 7i, my first digital. That was a great camera, for it's time.( I bought one for my eldest son for his 21st.) After that, I went Nikon DSLR: D70, D80, D90, then finally D7000.
I am now into Fujifilm mirrorless, and for all the lenses in China I wouldn't go back to a DSLR!
 
When I got into photography with a serious camera, it was when DSLRs were really filtering into the entry-level, and it was a Nikon D40 for me. my friend got a Canon Rebel XTi at around the same time. Those cameras had the advantage of super-small bodies and really nice CCD sensors which gave great results at low ISO. There was an upgrade to the D40, the D40x, which had 10mp. Of course, the advantage of size was also the disadvantage with these kinds of consumer DSLRs; the viewfinder was abysmally small (I remember struggling to see with it when I was 21, so I can only imagine at 38 and having started wearing glasses as I am now), and the Nikon only had 3 focus points(!) which were arranged horizontally. Also that camera had no focus motor, and at the time, Nikon AF-S lenses were more expensive than the older options. So I spent most of my time with that camera avoiding the lower-quality 18-55mm kit lens (maybe it needed focus adjustments) and squinting through the effective-75mm crop of a Nikkor 50mm f1.8D. However, it was enjoyable because of the purity and simplicity of it. I shot on A mode almost all the time, manually focused and composed for that tighter crop.

But I have to give the edge to my second and current DSLR, the K-1 II. It's such a purpose-built thing of beauty. Aesthetically it's really nice to look at as an implement, but the ergonomics, image quality, viewfinder, everything about it is quite wonderful. I can shoot in TAv mode with the top control dial set for exposure comp and the two main dials for SS and aperture, and forget about ISO because I know it's going to be a good file that will clean up nicely. And the mount compatibility with such a large lens catalog is also great.

Edit: just to add, I think FF DSLRs offer something over APS-C in the size of the viewfinder; there's physics involved in the size that isn't there with mirrorless because your mirror has to match the size of the sensor (to have the same coverage) and that affects the amount of light and the resulting size no matter what you do. Plus, you know, it's full frame. Being able to shoot legacy lenses at their intended image circle, seeing the effects in the corners and all of that is another thing which enriches my use of the Pentax, and would be the same with Nikon, etc. I think there's a real something to the D610/D700/D750 and that era. The D600, which was plagued by sensor problems early on, is dirt cheap too on the used market.
Only 38 eh? Don't worry, I'll catch up with you in 3 years :p ... I can understand the pain of small viewfinders, one of the usability issues I had with Pentax K200D was the viewfinder (especially zooming to 135mm at f 5.6 how dark it quickly got or how fast ISO 100 ramped up to 1.600), I have glasses for the last 28 years and it's gotten worse: I can tell you what hit me crossing the road without glasses but I can't tell you what brand of car it was :p
 
My first experience with SLRs was with an Edixa Mat Reflex camera in 1957, made by Wirgin in (then) West Germany. I had a Leica M3 after that, and that was followed by an Olympus OM1. I replaced the Olympus with a Minolta DiMAGE 7i, my first digital. That was a great camera, for it's time.( I bought one for my eldest son for his 21st.) After that, I went Nikon DSLR: D70, D80, D90, then finally D7000.
I am now into Fujifilm mirrorless, and for all the lenses in China I wouldn't go back to a DSLR!
I wouldn't give up on daily use on my Olympus OM-1 or any mirrorless, I expect the AF to outperform any DSLR. But I would like to have a different experience from time to time making images. One point I have noticed since I got the OM-1 in late October last year is that I have been photographing my dog so much less, especially indoors, most likely because of DoF being less and the high ISO (it is winter and less light) makes it annoying to make images that I would like.
 
There is something I have noticed about shooting with a DSLR versus years of mirrorless, which I'd sort of forgotten: somehow it's much easier to just set exposure comp to -0.7 or thereabouts (it's different with the camera; typically I have the Pentax at -1) and end up with well-exposed shots, which can certainly easily be adjusted if need be. I was always hyper-aware of the nuances of exposure with micro four thirds, which I'll mostly peg the narrower exposure latitude to, but obviously shooting with an EVF you are constantly reminded of exactly how your exposure is set (never mind the fact that worse EVFs can mislead you, and only the best give you a really close representation of what it's going to look like). With a DSLR, the meter handles different lighting conditions really well, and only when you have a substantially overall lighter or darker image do you need to dial in exposure changes - it's almost like shooting negative film, where you can err by a stop or two and not really pay much of a penalty for it. I know the core concepts of metering and exposure aren't "different" with the technological difference between single-lens-reflex and mirrorless, but it "feels" like it's different.
 
My favorite DSLR for output was the Canon 5D original. The output on that camera was just amazing. But it was frustrating to shoot with - had to manually set ISO was one of the biggest issues. No sensor shake, so the sensor constantly was in need of cleaning. I did enjoy the Canon 6D (original) as well, but by that time, mirrorless had come in strong, and the EVF over OVF, using the rear LCD screen for low shots (instead of craning to use the OVF), and then "micro adjust" to work with each lens to get your sharpest photos. I don't miss DSLRs.
 
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