This is one of the questions people ask me over again. What camera shall I buy if I want to start photography a bit more seriously? What gear do you recommend for an enthusiastic beginner? Since the market is filled with new cameras and many different options, I will attempt to give my two cents with writing down some good guidelines about entry level DSLR cameras.
What is a DSLR camera?
In camera-land there are a few different types of cameras. The compact or point-and-shoot is a simple and small camera that comes with a built-in lens and equipped with digital zoom as well as with manual. You usually can’t use it in full manual mode (meaning controlling all the settings) and usually they come with a couple of presets, like landscape, portrait or night mode.
The second is the bridge camera, which looks already a bit more serious, appears as a DSLR but you still can’t change the lens.
Then there are the DSLR – digital single-lens reflex cameras. These combine the mirror-system of the old school analogue cameras with a high tech digital sensor. On these machines you can change the lens and you can also set it to full manual mode if you want.
If you have been snapping photos with a point-and-shoot or your phone so far and you start to grow more and more interest towards photography, you can find yourself with an arsenal of different camera gear. But what do you really need?
Here is my recommendation: first of all, buy a so-called entry level DSLR. This means that the camera has all the great qualities of DSLRs: you can change the lens and the settings, better quality sensor, more options to use. But they come at a more affordable price compared to the semi or fully professional ones.
You can prepare to invest around 500 euros and you can already have a nice start up gear!
Entry level cameras like that usually come with the kit lens. This is usually a simpler lens with an average zoom range of 18-55mm. I find that this lens can be really versatile and until you try your hands on learning the basics, and figure out what other lenses you might need, this will serve you well. The 18mm will give you a bit wider view and the 55mm is good for example for portraits.
Canon EOS 100D and co.
Since I use Canon, I can’t tell much about Nikon or other brands, so I will just stick with Canon cameras for the sake of this post. The 100D is relatively new to the Canon family and it is advertised as the world’s smallest DSLR camera. This is good news for those who are concerned that a DSLR will be too heavy and bulky to carry around. For me, at a glance this camera seems like a good option to start with, it seems to be agile and it has all the good manual setting ranges that one can ever need when shooting just for fun. You can read a full review on it on the Trusted Reviews website here.
Summing up, here is what I recommend for the ones who are interested in photography but don’t know where to start:
- Buy an entry level DSLR like the Canon 100/700/750/760D or equivalent.
- Get it with a kit lens, which will serve you well in the beginning
- DON’T go crazy and don’t start to dream about/buy all the fancy lenses
- DO invest in some basic accessories: an extra battery, an extra memory card, some wipes for keeping the lens clean and a basic camera bag
- DO take time to read the manual and learn how to use the camera – I know it is boring, but you’ll thank me later!
- DO have fun with learning and don’t feel bad if you don’t get good results at the first go. This takes time to learn.
I hope this blog post helped you a bit, if you have more questions about gear and related, leave it in the comments and I will answer in a next blog post!