Over the last week I have helped two friends in picking out their first SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Cameras…
So, with the holidays coming up, I figure there might be some more folks out there that have similar questions if they are looking to invest in a nice camera for capturing all those awesome family moments.
Disclaimer: Please know– I am not a professional photographer… at best I claim to be a photo enthusiast 😉 Pros, other enthusiasts and/or you may have a totally different opinion, but this is just my unaccredited opinion 😉
To Nikon or To Cannon, that is the question…
Most folks in the market for SLRs are posed with the question of whether they should go with a Nikon or a Canon… and let me tell ya… Team Nikon and Team Canon are both fierce with tons of cheerleaders on each side that would make most hometown basketball team rivals seem minor in comparison… Just sayin’
What was key for us was to get the same brand so that we could learn together and also share equipment and lenses from time to time.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is that this is one time where peer pressure is ok 😉
What to Buy?
Truth be told I am not a big fan of the Kit Packages that are popular at a lot of box stores…
Again, just my opinion.
Kit Packages typically come with the camera body and one or two lenses. One lens will typically be for close by situations 18-55mm and if your lucky the other will have a decent range of zoom on it 55-200mm or something along those lines.
My issue lies with the fact that those kit lenses are still a huge investment even though they seem like a “deal”. And, if I were going to spend money on lenses, I would MUCH rather have an all-in-one lens that stays on my camera and I don’t have to switch out in-between shots.
Have specific needs? Here is a guide about lenses… it is a little dated, but the basic info is solid.
I currently use a Nikon D5000 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens.
Where to Buy?
If you are still unsure about what you need to buy for your specific needs, I would highly recommend you go to a camera shop like Roberts or Cord Camera and talk to the people there.
Camera shops (Note: I am not talking Best Buy or electronics stores) are usually filled with very talented people that are way more passionate about cameras than they are commission… so utilize their knowledge.
However, if you are someone who already knows what you want…
I would recommend purchasing a refurbished body with a warranty from a reputable online Amazon seller and use the majority of your budget on the best lens you can afford.
Your lenses will outlast your camera bodies… and they are what make a major difference in the quality of your pictures (besides the major factor… ya know the person behind the camera ;)).
Resources to Learn?
So what happens after you get your uber-awesome camera?
You can always sign up for classes at your local camera shop or, if you are more of a book learnin’ kind of folk… the best tip I ever received was that your manual is the best book you’ll ever use.
Next to that, I highly recommend the VERY entertaining and very informative Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book, The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2, The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3 or you can get them all as a Boxed Set if you’d prefer.
I am sure there are TONS of online resources to learn from, but I haven’t personally used them, so I am not going to recommend any…
So, there ya have it… my completely unqualified opinion on what to buy… unless you count my credentials as someone who regularly shoots adorable 4 year olds, girlfriend outings and falling salt granules one-handed on a regular basis 😉
Are you a photo enthusiast? What are your tips?
NOTE: As always, the links in this post are affiliate links.