What's a good DSLR for beginners?

hey guys, i just need your suggestions here. Could you suggest me a good and high quality DSLR for beginners like me? I’m learning photography but I want to upgrade my point and shoot cam into DSLR. Thanks!

Depending on your budget and options you want to have on your dslr. You can best opt for a Nikon or Canon, as they have the most available lenses, for if you want to buy other extra lenses in the future.

Maybe buy it in a Kit as it makes it cheaper, body + standard lens (18-55mm mostly).
All DSLR’s have standard the basic options you need, like: manual settings for Aperture, Shutterspeed, Iso, etc… I guess you don’t need more. Anyway, I don’t need more :slight_smile:
Ow, and make sure it has RAW output aswel.

Besides what bulevardi has mentioned, you might want to go to a store that sells DSLR cameras, hold them, see what feels better in your hands, where buttons are placed, and things like that.

Canon 550D.

pentax kx - dirt cheap and excellent for beginners, currently being phased out by the KR.
sony a33 is worth a look bout the price of the KR

If you are still looking I highly recommend that you read this page.

While some of it seems flippant or tongue in cheek his advice is backed by solid reasoning, experience, testing and independent.

If you know someone with some good lenses of a particular brand, I’d lean towards getting a compatible camera - it’s very handy to be able to borrow a lens every now and again rather than having to buy one yourself, especially when you’re starting out.

For the record, I use a Nikon, which I love, but I have no doubts I’d be equally happy with a Canon.

I bought NEX5, its a great camera for beginners and even fro pro photographers.
It has got a great sensor packages in world’s smallest camera.

I am using Nikon D90. I would like to suggest you go for Nikon D3100.

How many times have I heard this question (work in a camera shop as a developer, unfortunately whisked out into the shop when busy!). I agree and back austinparkar, both of those are excellent cameras. There’s also the newish Nikon D7000 which is proving popular.

On the otherside there’s Canon, the 550D or the perhaps one of the recently launched 600D or 1100D.

I’d avoid Pentax for love and money! The amount of problems we get with them, they’re painful. We’re dropping them.

Slackr, that’s a great link. Annehilton, thanks for asking this question. I’m the happy owner of the old student favourite, the Pentax k-1000 (yeah, film, w00t!), but since it’s developed a light leak and film is getting harder to find, I’ve been wondering what I could get that basically is just like mine but digital. Thanks for the suggestions above, guys.


I just got a BRAND NEW Panasonic GH1 with a 14-42 lens, shipped to my door, for only $550. (It’s about $850 with the 14-140 lens, though, which is about $600 by itself lol)

IMO, One of the greatest SLRs ever made… it’s 4/3 format, so not quite a 35mm, but shoots really good pics, and is arguably the best video-shooting SLR ever (1080p, silent autofocus, unlimited recording time, stereo mic, and more!). Seriously, this thing shoots video on par with a $5,000 professional mini DV. Search “gh1 video” on YouTube and Vimeo to see some examples of people’s work!

Well, they just discontinued it, and they’re now making the GH2, which has a touch-screen flip-out, better motion video recording, and other minor enhancements, so they dropped the price of the GH1 IN HALF!!!

If you EVER think you may want to shoot professional-grade video, go to eBay and get one while you still can!!!

  1. The good news: it’s never been a better time to buy a sub-$1000 camera. There’s so many fine options, many of which have been covered here. Now that excellent HD video has been added to so many cameras, the world is your oyster. Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus. Many great options.

  2. The bad news: this camera market is changing soooo fast. . . what ever you buy today will be superceded in 12 months with more options/features.

Just took the plunge with a ‘closeout’ price on a Canon 500D/T1i. Couldn’t be happier.

  1. More good news. As long as you get a cheap body, you shouldn’t be worried so much about price. I effectively paid $250 for my Panasonic body… and whatever lenses, mics, and other add-ons I get will work with the GH2 if I choose to upgrade.


Since when is the Panasonic Gh-1 a “DSLR” camera? It’s NOT. It’s a Micro Four Thirds camera. Big difference. And no, there is no such thing as a “DSLR in 4/3 format” because they’re two different formats. I just had to say that as a warning to beginners rushing to get this camera thinking it’s a DSLR.

As for a good DSLR for beginners, it really depends on your budget. If you want to get a decent DSLR dirt cheap then get the Sony Alpha A230. But don’t go to Amazon or some other 3rd party seller; go to the actual Sony site. You can get a refurbished one for a little over $300, including S+H. The only reason why it did so poorly-- or so I heard-- was because people didn’t like the hand grip but I personally had no problems with it.

Huh back?

gh1 dslr - Google Search <— Google shows many results for GH1 + DSLR

I’m no expert on cameras, but what you’re saying sounds to me the same as: “A V-6 is not a V-configuration engine, because V-configuration requires 8 cyllinders”. As far as I know, “DSLR” has nothing to do with the optical sensor size… here’s how I understand it:

DSLR means “Digital Single Lens Reflex”. That has nothing to do with the optical sensor - it has to do with the way the lens system works. The “micro 4/3” format has to do with the size and sensitivity of the optical sensor. Certainly, a 4/3 DSLR is smaller than a full-frame DSLR, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a DSLR (it’s also about 1/4 the price, fyi).

Digital single-lens reflex camera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to Wikipedia (and I QUOTE): “The first DSLR camera to shoot a standard HD broadcast, Blu-ray and digital cinema format is the Panasonic Lumix GH1 (both 1920x1080/23.976p and 1280x720/59.94p).”

Not saying Wikipedia is always correct, but maybe you need to double-check your own research and post some support for your statement?

PS - Your Sony A230 isn’t a full-frame DSLR either, FYI. It’s APS-C format. Yes, it’s a bigger sensor than four-thirds, but still smaller than full-frame.

I wouldn’t worry too much about formats. The OP just wanted to update from a point and shoot to something more flexible to extend his/her photography. Apart from the very simple and locked or limited cameras available almost anything can be used to great effect to learn about photography. Most of the point and shoots these days also fall into this category.

Basic models from say Canon (A400 series at local $100) include a Program mode. And given a read of the manual you come to realize the other Scene modes are just preconfigured settings to combat typical shooting conditions. These aren’t a barrier to improving ones photography either. Typically you’d bias a manual or digital slr to similar settings anyway (eg. Sports mode = bias towards fast shutter speeds).

The real advantage to an slr set up is the flexibility and special attachments etc that help to extend the range a slr body can cope with. Longer lenses. Specialized lenses. More expensive and better quality materials in the lenses. Powerful flashes. And the list goes on.

When it comes to improving your photography there’s much much more to it than what system you invest in. A true master could take a good photo with a budget point and shoot without making excuses.

He didn’t ask about a DSLR with a specific sensor. He asked for advice on a DSLR.

What the “Single Lens Reflex” refers to is the REFLEX mirror system used to produce an optical “WYSIWYG” viewfinder, as opposed to the less sophisticated type of viewfinder in which the snapped photograph is slightly different from how it appeared when you were composing it. So it has to do with the way the viewfinder system works, not the lens system.

Cnet’s definition:

The term digital SLR is short for digital single lens reflex, so named because these types of cameras use a mirror positioned behind the camera lens to direct light toward the viewfinder when you’re composing a photo. When you release the shutter, the mirror swings quickly out of the way, letting light from the lens travel straight to the sensor and momentarily blacking out the viewfinder. The viewfinder in an SLR incorporates a prism–usually a pentaprism–that flips the incoming image around so that you can see it right side up and bounces it onto the focusing screen where you see it.

The Micro Four Thirds Camera doesn’t use that mirror system. Even if for the sake of argument we agreed that it doesn’t matter whether a camera uses a mirror system or not to be qualified as a DSLR, the fact is that there are still enough distinguishing characteristics about a Micro Four Thirds Camera that separates it from one.

It’s why you would never, ever see a Panasonic GH1 listed as a “DSLR” or the “4/3 format of a DSLR” at any reputable retailer or photography website. Just read this page on the differences between the two formats, then scroll down to the bottom of this page at Cnet Asia to see where the GH1 is listed: http://asia.cnet.com/micro-four-thirds-vs-four-thirds-vs-dslr-62054778.htm. It’s listed as a Micro 4/3rds camera, not an SLR. Because that’s what it is.

Wow, thanks for taking the time to post that, webfreebies. I had no idea that a 4/3 was different internally than a standard SLR. That’s good to know. I see what you’re saying about the viewfinder, but since I primarily use the GH1 for video, I use the pop-out screen more than the viewfinder. FYI, it takes really good photos, too, even if it’s not a “real” SLR, and it has full control over aperture, shutter speed, manual focus, interchangeable lenses, and more. So it’s effectively as good for leaning how an SLR works. :slight_smile:

PS - You should go update the Wikipedia article on DSLRs lol. :smiley:

Yes the OP asked for advice on a dslr but it was in the context of wanting to learn to improve his photography. Improving photography has very little to do with the camera you use or whether you can correctly identify and classify a camera system.

True technically it seems the micro 4/3 or whatever it is doesn’t fit nicely into a dslr category, but we all know what he meant when he posted it. And it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the OP actually took the advice and purchased one. Definitely an upgrade from a point and shoot.