As a blogger and an “explorer like Dora,” I take pictures of almost everything that interests me (e.g. food, building structure, street signs, interior design of rooms, animals, plants, etc.) wherever I go using my iPhone 4 camera (with 5 MP) or sometimes my digicam—Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP3 (with 12 MP).
While I’m mostly satisfied with the sharpness and the vibrancy of the colors of the photos, picture quality in dark areas is dismal. Image noise can particularly be seen when I use the zoom function or when I shoot at night.
Both the camera-phone and the digicam have terrible low-light pictures. Even with flash turned on, pictures turn out to look harsh, full of red-eye and have too much contrast. It upsets me when I’m discouraged to capture great moments because I know the photos would result to be overly grainy anyway.
So as soon as the iPhone 5s was released this September 2013, my excitement has been up really high. I wished to buy the gold one! I felt that it was the right time again to get an upgrade, yet the only feature I wanted from the iPhone 5s was its camera.
Raves on iPhone 5s Camera
The iPhone 5s’ iSight camera is able to display photos accurately and it has improvements in low-light settings. It’s equipped with a larger sensor and aperture and it calibrates white balance and exposure well. What’s more, it has this new tonal mapping technique called “True Tone Flash,” which utilizes two different-colored LED lights while independently enhancing the contrast between various portions of it. As a result, dark subjects with bright backgrounds would not be washed out or difficult to see.
When prices of the latest iPhone were released in the Philippine market, frugality and practicality won me over. Prices surge from PHp 35,000 to PHp 50,000 in the initial weeks.
Trying to find other convincing motivations, I’ve watched the videos posted on the Apple website featuring the specifications and updates available in the new phones several times. I’ve also read several articles showing differences between shots taken by iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s cameras. After weeks and weeks of deliberation, I finally ended up with a decision. And that was to forgo the iPhone 5s and instead buy a more ideal option: DSLR!
An entry-level DSLR, at least. 😉
Transition from iPhone 4 Camera, Point-and-Shoot to DSLR
Hopping from one online forum and blog to another, I read reviews and recommendations on entry-level DSLRs and learned the things to consider before buying a DSLR. I found these two as the bottom-line best contenders: Nikon D3100 and Canon EOS 1100D. SnapSort.com shared a good comparison and rated the Nikon D3100 as the winner and the Canon EOS 1100D as the runner-up. I asked physical stores in SM Mall of Asia for suggestions and they also gave the same answer. So I dropped the Canon one and began asking around for the best buying price of the Nikon D3100 Kit (with 18-55mm lens).
- Gadget stores in malls sell the Nikon D3100 at PHp 19,990 (cash) – PHp 22,990 (credit).
- Sulit.com.ph sellers offer brand new Nikon D3100 at prices ranging from PHp 18,000 to PHp 20,000, while second-hand handsets’ prices range from PHp 14,000 to PHp 16,000. Freebies differ.
- Henry’s Professional, a reputable camera store in Hidalgo Street, Quiapo, sells the Nikon D3100, free bag and 8GB SD Card at PHp 17,399 with one-year store warranty. When my mom went to their physical store, the seller gave a discounted price of PHp 17,200 (cash).
- Amazon.com‘s prices are much more expensive at PHp 20,640 not including shipping fee from US to PH.
- eBay.com offers varying prices (auction and buy-it-now) from over PHp 12,000 (problem is that item cannot be shipped to the Philippines) to about PHp 19,000.
- Lastly and luckily, I performed a quick search on google with keywords “where to buy best cheap Nikon D3100 kit in the philippines” and landed at kim.com.ph. Kim Store (online gadget store) sells the same camera for PHp 17,150 with the lens, free bag, 4GB SD Card, screen protector, cable, Nikon F mount and one-year store warranty.
Meet-up and Purchase Transaction with Kim Store
Hurriedly, I booked a meet-up and confirmation of purchase via SMS and e-mail and immediately received a reply. Kim.com.ph has been operating for seven years now and I see that they have a lot of followers on Twitter and on Facebook. They also are responsive in interacting with users online—a point which makes them seem legit.
Our meet-up date was supposedly on November 10, 2013, last Sunday, at 1PM in Lucky Chinatown Mall – food court. I even exchanged confirmation with the Kim Store shipping guy the night before. The deal-breaker was when the guy did not show up on the agreed date, time and place, leaving me waiting for over an hour while calling their contact numbers (2 mobile phones and 1 landline, all of which were either “out of service” or “cannot be reached”) more than 10 times.
I was dismayed and disappointed, of course. After an hour, when I was already back home and had thoughts of buying from Henry’s instead, Kim Store called me up and arranged another meet-up. He asked if I can go to Vito Cruz, Taft Avenue, Manila at 4PM. The excuse he gave was that there was an event happening at the mall and the shipping guy may not be able to answer my phone calls because of the noise and the guard who was telling him to move.
I did not understand his defense as it was quite irrelevant. Going to Vito Cruz for another meet-up was negative because I had other things to do that day. The guy managed to negotiate and he asked if they can just deliver the item to my office the next day with no shipping cost since they were at fault. Being considerate, I said okay. He then took note of my free time so I can have a close look at the camera before cashing out.
Kim Store has been able to clear its name and restore its reputation in my view. (Trust me, it’s not a scam business.) The guy arrived on time during my lunch break and showed me the basic buttons and parts of the camera. He also answered my questions without a problem and without seeming rushed. I therefore conclude that I had a fair experience buying the Nikon D3100 at an affordable price from Kim Store, but that’s just the beginning. I may have to continue contacting them for any service/s covered by the warranty within the one-year time frame.
Meanwhile, I’ll still be using both my iPhone 4 camera and digital camera but maybe less in travels, blogger events and special occasions. I’m happy with the purchase transaction with kim.com.ph and enthusiastic to learn photography and take my first shots using this DLSR soon. Any tips and comments from my readers who are into photography will be appreciated! 😀
P.S. If anyone would be so kind to sponsor or give me an iPhone 5S-Gold as a gift, I will be super thankful! Hahaha. Although I know that’s highly improbable, I’m not losing my hope here.
I have no experience whatsoever with photography and every camera I use is ruined.
This post is a very detailed review of cameras, both for mobile phones and…uhm…not for mobile phones. Will definitely refer to this article when I decide to purchase one. Cheers! 😀
Haha thanks for reading, Yesh. I wrote this as a guide for those people who are considering to buy an DSLR when they are already users of cameraphones and point and shoot cameras.
I held a Nikon DSLR for the first time over the weekend and it felt soooo heavy… but yeah, it might still be cheaper than an iPhone 5
When I held the DSLR of my friend for the first time, I also thought it was too heavy compared to my compact camera; I thought I could not carry it for long especially when in travels. However, I can probably endure the weight knowing that I’d have quality pictures as reward. 😉
nikon d3200 is what i am eyeing to buy, is there a big difference between d3100 and d3200 – feature wise?
I’m not an expert on this so I’m not in a good position to answer. Based on research though, the d3200 is better. Reasons are that it has a much higher resolution screen 921k dots vs 230k dots of the d3100; much higher true resolution 24.1 MP vs 14.2 MP; has an external mic jack; has a built-in focus motor; has better maximum light sensitivity 6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO; shoots faster 4 fps vs 3 fps; and it’s lighter 455 g vs 505 g. Hope this helps. 🙂
DSLR does make better pictures especially under low light environment so I’m sure this upgrade would make your blog better.
I have the same thoughts. Sana nga, Franc. 😀
You should also try Go Pro in the future. It’s both handy and powerful.
I am planning to own a DSLR too, hopefully this december. My dilemma is that, my knowledge when it comes to DSLR is close to nil. Thanks for posting this one 🙂
Welcome. 🙂 Be smart to choose the best price one.
LEVEL UP! Ako masaya na ako sa camera phone and point and shoot cam… Dapat may art art ka nang aralin jan sa DSLR mo…
Hehe yup, I bought the DSLR not only to take great photos but learn something new for myself and discover another part of me.
Here’s one practical tip. On taking candid shots, never put your D3100 on manual focus, change it to auto-focus. Probably you’ll get best results. But when you’re up for a photo shoot, photography or modelling or something, manual focus is my recommendation. Anyhow, you choose well on cams. Great aricle. 🙂
Thanks for the tip, Alvin! I will have to learn more about the difference of using manual and auto focus not only through reading user guides but also through experience. 😀
OMG! I bought my DSLR from Kimstore also! The people there are nice and trust me sila pinakamadaling kausap sa online stores!! Siguro marami lang calls kaya better i-text nlng!! :)) Anyway, nice to hear you transitioned na to DSLR sis!!
Hehe thanks for the advice. I did send them text messages prior calling but also to no avail. They probably were too busy attending to everyone else’s concerns.
I think you made the right decision in choosing the camera over iPhone5 for your specific purpose. After all, you’re aiming for excellent images/photos. Thanks for giving me an idea of the cost of this camera as this is something I would really like to buy for myself as well.
Thanks for giving the affirmation! When searching for a DSLR camera, take exact camera specifications into consideration. The first thing that might hit you is the Nikon vs Canon argument. 😉
Carl: I am looking forward on seeing your great photos Roch. Your creativity will more be exposed
Thanks, Carl. 🙂 I gotta understand first how this camera works then later have my eyes get trained for exposure, color and composition.
i’ll be looking forward to your dslr pics on your blog… and hope that someone will give me an iphone 5s too… haha. Yahweh bless.
Haha thanks, Ralph. I joined Cashcashpinoy.com’s giveaway – registered my details – for the chance of winning iPhone 5s gold. 😆
technology really changes the way we use to do things and utilize things. am just so glad that whatever kind of cameras we have now, we can adjust and make it flexible to cater to our needs! 🙂
Yeah. There’s a saying that the best camera is the one you have. I also have read an article saying that the greatness of a shot does not depend on the camera but on the artistic skills of the photographer in taking interesting angles in appropriate lighting and background.
It will be very worthy indeed to use your DSLR camera for your blogging activities.
Your blog posts will be more appealing to readers.
Hope so. 🙂 I thought it’s a good idea for a blogger like me who’s looking to step up to get a digital SLR camera for amateurs. This gadget would be the bridge between the point and shoot cams and the behemoths used by the pros. The blog world has evolved. Taking good photos is important and the first thing you’ll need is a decent camera.
Nothing is impossible! Who knows? A special someone would give you something special this holidays… like a brand new iPhone 5 Gold. Ako naman, I wish someone get me a brand new Mac Book! 😀
Hahaha who knows din, a special someone would give you a new Mac Book! 😛 Thanks for making me smile, Algene!
I agree with your decision to opt for the Nikon. And that price canvass list that you posted was really cool. Thanks, I will be referring to this for sure.
Great minds think alike. 😉 A camera is a really must-have for bloggers who love to share experiences through pictures online.
Well, DLSR camera is a must for photographers who valued their photographs to the fullest than to the iPhone pixx.
Yeah and I feel I’m going to the same direction. Now my only worry is where to put my high-resolution photos which eat up a lot of memory in my laptop. XD
I have been taking pictures like family pictures, landscape,events, school activities, among others using instamatic camera. later I acquired a manual-operated camera of FX2000 and I was satisfied with its shots. It had a zoom feature which could take pictures in a distant to let them appear near with good quality. Taking pictures is one of my hobbies. But I never became a professional photographer.
This is a good hobby for you. Maintain it.
Thanks for sharing, Gil. 🙂 I think I won’t become a professional as well. Taking quality pics is good enough for me.
Well, it seems you got a tough way to choose there. But certainly you did a great job of researching for prices and on which is more practical to chose from.
Hmmm… which reminds me on which thing should I chose when it comes to taking photographs soon. Will definitely refer to this one.
Yup, when I really want something, I go and find the best prices as much as I can. I don’t want to end up regretting a purchase just because I didn’t practice smart buying when I had the chance. Thanks for reading. 🙂
[…] Sunday, Louie and I went to SM Aura (Skypark) and Serendra to practice taking shots using my new DSLR. He brought his flash kit along and we experimented on ISO, aperture and shutter speed. As a newbie […]
I bought my Canon EOS 1100D last year (around April 2012), an upgrade from my Canon 1000D, which was bought almost two years ago. Anyway, at first I really love the quality of the photos of DSLRs since they are capable of capturing high quality photos even at low light environment. However, I find DSLRs bulky especially when I’m traveling (I’m a travel blogger btw). It’s so bulky that it requires another bag, plus I have to bring at least two to three different kinds of lenses (macro, telephoto, prime) to achieve what I really want for my photo.
Right now, I seldom use my DSLR and now use my iPhone for capturing photos. Though it’s not a good camera on low light environment, but I get your point.
Anyway, I’m now looking for a mirrorless DSLR since it’s the new trend in camera these days. It captures stunning photos sans the bulky part. 😀
Hey Renz – thanks for sharing! I didn’t know that there’s such thing as “mirrorless DSLR” now. It’s interesting to learn about these things! Somehow I feel more excited to travel because of photography. Hmmm I have to practice taking pictures using my camera first before moving ahead. 🙂
I think you need a 120 GB USB for your photos. This is improvement on your part. Congratz!
I also love taking photos whenever I go out especially when I have my food tripping. We once have a dslr, a canon rebel xti. It was an old camera but it has captured lots of memories.
Honestly, I don’t know much about any of these gadget. What I do know is you really have that Chinese trait na known for their abilities to find cheap sale.
I am a fan of Canon DSLR (since my husband has one), but because of this post I might consider the Nikon D3100 if I decided to buy one for myself. I can’t wait to see your photos 🙂
Many people say that Nikon and Canon are almost the same so it’s hard to choose one between the two. But if you’re a newbie like me, I think it’s okay to start using whatever and grow from there. Learning the basics is key. 🙂 I have already tried using mine in the past two weeks and I’m happy with the results. Haha I need to practice often with the pros.
I was comparing between a Nikon and Canon too when I was shopping for a DSLR 2 years back and got a Canon 650D instead in the end after weighing up pro and cons. There is really a lot of difference but you have to move away from the kit lens and get other compatible lens. I recommend that you invest in a telezoom and a macro lens in time to come.. it will sure bring up your photography a notch. I agree the iphone 5s gold is good for taking quick snapshots too 🙂 I use that too.
For now I am still experimenting using the manual option but soon I’d like to get myself a macro lens and a prime lens as these are fit for food photography according to my photographer-friends. Thanks for your recommendations!
I own a canon 500D is not a latest model but im happy with it , recently a bought a wide lens to captured everything in one shot it was amazing 🙂 I love photography too
I heard the Canon 500D is a good way to get closeup without having to spend a ton of cash. It does not matter if it’s a model; as long as you take good pictures and know how to edit photos for enhancement as necessary, you’re fine! 😛
I have a Nikon D3100 and I love it. It was my first digital camera and I use it all the time, the only thing I sometimes don’t like about it is that is very heavy and it’s not handy, otherwise it’s perfect! The Iphone on the other hand is more practical, but I know what you mean about low-light pictures, ghrrrrrrr!!!
Recently, I have visited a camera stop and tested the mirrorless camera. Surprisingly, the quality of the photo it produced was just like the DSLR’s. So clear! I began to wonder then what if I bought it instead but not sure if it’s worth the cost to pay. Now I just have to take the consequence of carrying a heavy cam on my neck in every event I cover.
[…] To signal the start of the program, the Philippine national anthem was sung. We stood up from our dining chairs and walked towards our cameras which were already set up on tripods to capture great photos of fireworks as they’re exhibited. It was another good chance for me to experiment with the shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings of my DSLR. […]