Before discussing the matter of what recommendations could be made for SLR cameras for beginners, let us start by defining the concept of “beginners” in this context. Is this person new to photography in general, or just new to SRL cameras? The person I’m talking about has some experience in photography with his inexpensive compact digital camera, but having seen what his friends have achieved with their SLR cameras, he now wants to upgrade as well.
You can actually go about the business of looking for SLR cameras for beginners in two ways: You can buy a good used SLR, or buy a new entry-level SLR.
The Drawbacks of Buying a Used SLR
- If you buy one older than 2009, your SLR will only capture still pictures – no video.
- Live view LCD: This excellent feature, enabling a preview of the picture you’re about to take (as in compact digital cameras) has only recently become available in SLR’s. This means that you might end up with one without this feature.
- Dust control: Older SLR’s are simply not that good in this department, which could be quite an irritation. Surely you wouldn’t want dust showing up as small unwanted black spots in every picture.
- Too many features: You’re a beginner and you do not want to be overwhelmed by all the features available in good used cameras.
So new entry-level SLR’s will offer the best options for SLR cameras for beginners.
Obviously, being entry-level cameras you can expect them to have limited features as compared to more expensive SLR’s, but don’t worry about this. As a matter of fact, this will probably be a blessing in disguise. High-end SLR’s offer the photographer limitless opportunities to tweak all aspects of how the image is captured by the imaging sensor. Controlling all these variables will be a nightmare to a beginner, so not being able to do that to the same extent will not be a concern at all. I know two professional photographers who are still intimidated by all the options provided by their high-end SLR cameras, in spite of their vast experience.
The Limitations of Entry-Level SLR’s
- Auto focus (AF) system: Entry-level SLR’s have less focus points than the high-end ones, which will only be a drawback when trying to take pictures of very fast moving subjects.
- Continuous capture speeds: Professional photographers love to activate their “continuous capture” feature from time to time, taking a number of pictures per second. Entry-level SLR’s does allow you to do that as well, but not at the same speed.
General Guidelines for Buying Entry-Level SLR cameras
- Cost: Do not pay too much. For $900 you can walk away with a SLR which will bring you lots of satisfaction and enjoyment.
- Ease of use: Entry-level SLR’s are supposed to be user-friendly, but make sure you will feel comfortable using it.
- Which brand name? Go for one of the giants in the industry – either a Nikon or a Canon. The main reason for this is that chances are good that you will eventually start considering extra lenses and that’s when you might end up stranded – unless you’ve bought a Nikon or Canon. Even though you might have an entry-level SLR camera, you can add any lens – even very expensive ones – to cameras from these brands.
- Resolution: Most DSLR’s come with 10 MP (megapixels) and that’s quite enough. As a matter of fact, nowadays many argue that 6MP are enough!
- Weight: Make sure you will be comfortable with the weight of the camera. You could hardly do better than the a Canon and Nikon featured here weight less than 500 grams.