NWR: Best DSLR for Beginners

posted 4 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
2535 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Do you have some time to wait to get it?
Because I think black Friday would be an ideal time to pick this up – you could save hundreds.

You might want to check what camera brands have better lenses… because the lens will help you capture the images you’d like to moreso than the base camera itself.
Even a less expensive camera with an additional (more expensive) lens will make a big difference. There are also tons of accesories to help capture images the way you’ve described as well.

FI has an Olympus that is very easy to use, however they no longer make DSLR’s… so I know, not helpful.

In NYC, I know of two decent (major) camera stores… B&H and Adorama. Both may have helpful information on their websites!
It may also be helpful to call up a photographer friend and ask for reccomendations for either a specific camera or a camera store to help you out – that’s what FI does occationally, and the camera store his friend pointed us to is fantastic and very knowledgable.

Post # 4
969 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@BakeosaurusRex:  Whatever DSLR you go with, be sure that you are able to buy lenses for it… Ie, stick with canon or nikon.  If it you first DSLR you can easily get an entry level for $600, try BandH Photo, Adorama, or Beach Camera, they all have very good prices with BandH photo being the best. 


The Canon Rebel T4 and purchase a 50mm lens and you may be able to still find a T3.  I am a fan of canon .


My first DSLRwas an Olympus E500 and I still have it and it takes good photos… if I had it to do over again, I wouldnt buy it as a kit, you can outgrow those kit lenses very quickly. 

Having said that, there are sup intermediate Pointa and Shoot Cameras which take REALLY good photos.. that may be an option as well and less expensive…

I do photography on the side and htat was my reason for an upgrade. 

Post # 5
969 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@CakeyP:  Love my Olympus E-500.. but it was so hard to find compatible lenses that I switched to Canon… which one does your FI have?


Post # 6
969 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Also… whatever lens you decide on.. if you want to take portraits and food.. you want a lens with good bokeh…. meaninga  blurred background so that all of the focus is on the subject of the picture….  I think a good starter lens is a 5mm lens….

Post # 8
8993 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I would go and try out both in a store.  Both brands make very good cameras so you probably can’t go wrong.

I sold cameras for a very long time and I just prefer Canon so that is what I would go with.  It’s more user friendly to me.  Make sure you check out the lenses both brands offer.  You will definitely need to purchase some lenses.

Post # 9
2810 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

i have a nikon d3100. it takes beautiful photos without me really “learning” anything.

i would like to get a different lens for it. i have the kit lens, and it does what it needs to do. but i want a 50mm lens, it’s great for basic everyday photos.

Post # 11
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

How “crisp and clear” your photos come out depend more on your lens and the settings you choose. So if you wanted everything in the picture to be clear, you’d choose a setting of f11-f22. The lower the f-stop (ex f5.6) the more out of focus the space around the subject is.

My FI and I are Canon people. I’ve also used Nikon in the past. I do like that Nikon’s shutter sound is quiter, but personally prefer Canon glass and all. I have an old Rebel XTi that needs to be upgraded but it still works perfectly fine even years later. A fixed lens 50mm will be your go to for portraits. A wide angle is good for landscapes but they are usually expensive. I honestly use my FI’s upgraded kit lens for a lot of things even though people say kit lenses aren’t great. They’re good for a variety of situations when you don’t want to bring a lot of gear though.

Post # 12
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

@BakeosaurusRex:  One of the best bits of advice I got when looking for an entry DSLR was to buy second hand – they’re such an expensive bit of kit that people look after them really well. I have a Canon 450D (which I think is the Rebel XSi in the US, not sure about Canada!) and it’s great – but as that was a few years ago they’ve moved on a bit – I think they’re on the 600D now. 

I find it really good – when I’m feeling lazy it takes great photos on the automatic settings, but it has plenty of options when I want to take the time to control it. 

I have a  50mm canon lense I bought (which was surprisingly cheap!) and it take amazing portrait type photos. 

Do you still have any lenses from your Canon Rebel? I believe they’re interchangeable. 

Post # 13
10369 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

“Clear and crisp” pictures are all about the lens, which means $$$. One of the few really good lenses that is cheaper is a Canon 50mm f1.4. DOn’t buy a kit lens – buy the body only – kit lenses are crap! You should be able to get a used Canon Rebel body and the lens I listed for under $1k.


The cheaper bodies (Rebel, 60D, etc) are not spectacular in low light if you have a cheap lens and have to bump up the ISO to make the shot. So, i’d really recommend a lens like the one I listed that goes really wide open to allow in more light.


Post # 14
277 posts
Helper bee

I have a Nikon D3100 and I love it. I haven’t had it long so I haven’t had the time to put into learning the amazing things it can do. People are going to hate on me for this, but I just use it in auto/guide mode with the original lense it came with and it shoots amazing photos. I’ll learn how to use it properly when I have some more spare time, but I’ve loved this camera straight out the box so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to newbies!

I’m in the UK and I bought mine from a department store for around $480 (£300) back in February.

Post # 15
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

+1 for not buying a kit.

if you’re interested in shooting manually, i’d look for a body that has separate knobs for shutter and aperture. i’d also go to a shop and hold the ones you’re interested in in your hand. some people find one brand much more comfortable than the other. i’ve shot both canon (5d) and nikon (d50, d80, d700) and find them both comfortable. i think nikon’s menus are a bit more intuitive, and they have some more photographer friendly settings (like being able to change your file number in camera…ie instead of dsc you can change it to jam or pbj or whatever you wish…depending on whether the model you get has that option.)

i’d recommend the nikon d90 (or its equivalent) and start with one prime lens (i have and rarely take off my camera) dx 35 1.8. dx means it’s designed for a crop sensor camera (which you will very likely be getting for your price point)…the cropped sensor means that whatever focal range your lens is, you multiply by 1.5 (nikon) or 1.6 (canon) to get the effective focal range you’ll actually work with. so the 35 would be roughly equivalent to a 50mm lens on one of your old film bodies. the 50 would be more like a 75mm lens. 

on amazon, those two together would come to just under $1000 USD. (you could also look for a good deal on used lenses…i usually buy used if i can. :-D) 

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