If you are thinking of getting serious about your photography, then a point and shoot digital camera probably won't meet all your needs. Of course, there are still good reasons to consider whether you want an SLR or point and shoot camera, especially since some of the superzoom prosumer models on the market today combine some SLR features in a point and shoot model, but these have their limitations. As you start looking more towards digital SLR models, you need to balance their enhanced capabilities with the higher prices of SLR cameras as well as the steeper learning curve associated with getting the most out of them. So, what are some of the best digital SLR cameras for beginners? These would be relatively cheap SLR camera models that would have the features and performance that allow you to get into some serious photography, but without burning too deep a hole in your pocket. Another reason to buy a relatively cheap digital SLR camera starting out is that you may also want to invest some money in a set of digital SLR lenses, from wide angle to zoom, so you can stretch out your camera performance and take a range of shots ranging from wide-angle landscapes to zoomed-in wildlife photos.
In buying a beginner digital SLR camera, you also want to consider ease of use. Sure, these models will take a bit of a learning curve, but you don't want them to be so advanced that you need professional training to get the hang of using them. The nice thing is that the cheapest digital SLR cameras also come with fewer features than advanced DSLRs that are meant to be used by professional and semi-pro photographers.
Best digital SLR cameras for beginners
When considering a beginner SLR camera, you could go two routes:
1. Buy a used digital SLR (which means you can get great features for less money), and this way you can learn to use a DSLR camera without investing a lot of money into it. Later, you can always buy a fancy new DSLR camera if you want. Great sources for cheap used digital SLR cameras include amazon.com, ebay and craigslist. You may also be able to get used and refurbished digital SLR cameras at your local camera store. These often represent great value for money, and while they are likely to be older models, often they have all the features you need. Besides, manufacturers frequently upgrade models to keep their inventory moving, and you don't really need the latest model to have a perfectly good digital SLR camera.
2. Buy a new cheap DSLR – While these will be more expensive than some of the used digital SLR cameras you can get on the market, they won't cost more by much. You can get cheap digital SLR cameras for sale in the $500-$700 range. Furthermore, these beginner DSLR cameras come with all the features you could possibly need starting out, and even beyond. It is said that the best camera is the one you have, and ultimately, even a cheap SLR camera can produce stunning shots, and it all depends on the skills of the photographer – skills you can develop just by playing around with your camera, and by reading photography tips online or in a good photography tutorial book. So, what are some of the best cheap digital cameras out there? Without a doubt, the entry-level Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras fit in this category.
For Nikon, you cannot go wrong with the Nikon D3000 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm lens. The Nikon D3000 produces excellent images and has many user-friendly functions that allow you to use it without needing a lot of skill, although you have the option of learning its many advanced features if you want to really take your photography to the next level. It also has a large LCD screen to help with composing your shot, and to review the shots you took. You can even retouch your images on the go, without needing to run them through a photo editing program on your computer.
For Canon, the Canon EOS Rebel series offers some great DSLR options at bargain prices. These include the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Canon EOS Rebel XS both retailing in the $400-$500 range.
Lastly, you can save money by buying a DSLR bundle. These are available at amazon.com and other retailers. For a few hundred dollars, you get not only a cheap digital SLR camera, but up to two digital SLR lenses, a tripod, memory card, camera bag and maybe other accessories that would have bought anyway, but you can save significantly over buying these items separately.