"Melanie, I'd like to upgrade - what cameras do you recommend?" So, you're tired of not capturing the photos you'd like and you've been thinking of purchasing a DSLR. But...where to start?
Below I'll highlight these four things:
*What is a DSLR and what are the advantages?
*How do I begin to choose which one to buy?
*Where should I buy it?
*Recommended Reading to Learn
1. *What is a DSLR and what are the advantages?
Before we get started, it’s important to note that no camera will make you a better photographer. No matter how fancy or expensive! That said, your camera may limit your progress and creativity if it doesn’t do what you need it to.
SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. Basically this tells you that when you look through the viewfinder, through a series of prisms and mirrors, you will see exactly what the lens of your camera sees. You are looking through the lens. As opposed to some of the viewfinders (if your point and shoot even has one) which just gives a representation of what your lens sees. “D” just designates “Digital” as opposed to a Film SLR.
DSLRs also allow you to change lenses as opposed to the lens on a point and shoot camera which, while capable of being zoomed, cannot be changed for different specialized lenses. There’s the second major advantage!
DSLRs also have a larger digital sensor than point and shoots. With that comes better quality, and lower noise. So even if you find a point and shoot with the same 10 megapixels as a DSLR, the quality will not compare. The third advantage.
2. How do I begin to choose which one to buy?
When I was ready to buy my first DSLR what I did (and would recommend to you) is to go to a store and hold one (Target, Best Buy, etc). Check it out. Look at the menus, feel the Canon Rebel or Nikon Dxx in your hand. What I usually tell folks is that Canon and Nikon are virtually parallel in comparing them side by side. It's all just a matter of preference. I ended up going the Canon route just because of ergonomics, it fit better in my hand!
3. Where should I buy it?
Once you've decided which camp you'd like to be in - I'd recommend only buying from www.amazon.com or ww.bandhphotovideo.com where you'll find the best prices, hands down.
Now, some have asked me about the Costco/Sams Club offerings that look 'too good to be true'. Well It is and it isn't. The package deal at these warehouses bundle the DSLR camera with 2 fairly mediocre lenses. So while it looks like it's an amazing deal the truth is the lenses are really really cheap lenses. The one thing about photography is that the GLASS (lens) is the most important part.
I would highly recommend that folks buy just the BODY of the camera (like here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/753760-REG/Canon_5169B001_EOS_Rebel_T3i_Digital.html) and ordering the 50mm 1.8 lens separately (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12142-USA/Canon_2514A002_Normal_EF_50mm_f_1_8.html) or the Nikon comparisons. The 50mm 1.8 is great lens for the price ($110). No zoom, but you can zoom with her feet. Fixed lenses are called PRIME lenses. Prime lenses are always Better in lower light because they allow more light to enter (hence a lower fstop like the 50mm 1.8) and therefore take better portraits.
A zoom lens I would recommend if you'd like some extra reach for things like Kids Soccer games is the Canon 28-135mm. http://www.amazon.com/Canon-28-135mm-3-5-5-6-Standard-Cameras/dp/B00006I53S/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1353946247&sr=1-1&keywords=canon+28-135
Now that you have most of the information that you need - if you're still saying, "Wow - I didn't expect to invest this much money!" I'd recommend scoping out some used camera sales.
BandH Photo and Video has a used department here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Used-Equipment/ci/2870/N/4294247188 for used cameras like this one: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/831734-REF/Canon_5169B017AA_EOS_Rebel_T3i_Digital.html
Another place to shop for used cameras is any Lens Rental Company http://www.borrowlenses.com/category/For_Sale (today they're having a 15% off cyber sale!)
4. Recommended Reading
The very very first thing I recommend is READING YOUR MANUAL. You heard me right. It's dry and boring but really includes a lot of photography basics (terms like fstop, aperture, shutter speed, etc), please READ IT! Secondly if you're really looking to grow into your camera, perhaps buy more lenses and learn photography I'd highly recommend http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Photographs-Digital-Updated/dp/0817463003 This book is more of a workbook which will introduce you to the art and technic of photography and take you that step further.
And just because a post isn't a post with a photo - a picture back from when I was learning photography, of my daughter. Taken with Canon Rebel XT and the 50mm 1.8.
Happy Shopping and Capturing!
If you found this helpful, please come back and let me know! Feel free to share with friends and refer back to this post when you're ready to purchase! If you're looking for a photography mentor to take the next step please email me firstname.lastname@example.org about Mentorships I offer.