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Recommend me my first SLR


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Oct 11, 2009
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So Ive been using the same midrange P&S camera forever, but I want to step my game up. I want a "starter kit" digital SLR that wont break the bank.

Let me preface a few things :

-I know nothing about cameras, settings, aperatures, lenses, etc.
-The majority of the pics I will be taking with it are photos for my eBay auctions, and WAYWRN shots (maybe)
-Must be easy to use for a n00b
- Roughly $500-$750 at the very most - as I said, Im a camera n00b.

Thanks in advance for any recs.


Stylish Dinosaur
Jun 7, 2007
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the question is do you really need a dslr?

i would say for majority of consumers today all they really need is a decent p&s that give you as much customizability as dslrs. unless you're going to buy a ton of different lenses i would just look into

for non changeable lenses
canon g12
panasonic lumix lx5
canon s95
ricoh grdIII

for changeable
olympic ep2
pansonic GF2
samsung nx100

not trying to be a hater or a dick, but just very honestly for your needs you'll have a much more enjoyable time with the above than a low end dslr. i find that most ppl after a few months find that dslrs are very cumbersome and rarely take them (except on photoshooting projects) and use above point and shoots to carry daily as they're much more portable.

they're within your budget

also if you want i have a few photography books i dont need/read anymore. if you want to pay for shipping i can have them shipped out to you


Senior Member
Oct 6, 2009
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lumix dmc-gf2 (should be avail any day now) or the lumix dmc-g2 will fit the bill perfectly...


Senior Member
Nov 1, 2010
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Originally Posted by grit
This guy gives good info:


+1. Rockwell site has excellent advice for amateurs and newbies.

My question to the OP is, how involved/serious are you about E-bay auctions and photography in general? If you're looking for crisp detail, you'll want a macro lens (for those detailed, close-ups). Also, colour and white balance are important if looking for "pro" type shots; if so, consider a used Nikon D-90 with a used nikkor (or sigma for nikon) 60 mm lens w. a macro function. The D-90 is a prosumer model (and first DSLR to incorporate HD movie making, which is kind of fun). Might also consider a used D200 (popular among wedding photographers, etc. in its day), among others.

One of the nice things about Nikon is that their cameras are backwards-compatible with their lenses (and you can get a great deal on used equipment, with many manufacturers also making compatible lenses, thus building up your stable on your own time). Being able to change lenses is important if you're serious about photography. If not, and/or if you're looking for something new in that price range, then any good P&S with a macro function will do. While not comparable to a DSLR, it will still give you good usable e-bay shots, and cover the basics. (You can read more about it here: http://www.digital-photography-schoo...l-camera-users ).

Hope this helps, and that Rockwell site is good advice, too. Cheers.


Senior Member
Jul 21, 2008
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every dslr that costs $500-750 is good for n00bs. go to a store, see how different models fit your hands, get the one you like best. if the one you prefer is too expensive, the previous generation may not be. you can figure out what other lenses you need based on your experience with the kit lens.

mirrorless is generally more expensive than entry level dslrs, but there have been some great deals lately.


Distinguished Member
Nov 18, 2008
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I would get a basic second hand SLR made by someone respected, Nikon or Cannon or something, from a few years ago. At this point the limiting quality of your photographs is not going to be the number of megapixels and fancy bells and whistles the camera has.

It will still take better photos than anything else you have, will let you learn your way around the thing and decide if it is really for you, and when you have made your mind up you can buy something fancier.


Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2008
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Any current DSLR should be more than enough for your usage. So getting a Nikon 3100 oder a Canon D1000 should to the trick. You also might want to check www.dpreview.com, they have very good reviews for most DSLR cameras.

Cary Grant

Distinguished Member
Sep 8, 2008
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Spoo- a recent thread I started here.

Since you said you know "nothing" in this regard and are mostly shooting ebay pics and WAYWN... take a look at the Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3's... several regulars here use them, PG, YFYF and others... they ahve the convenient size and ease of P&S' and are in your price range. Plus they do afford the ability to change lenses if you really get into it.


Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2010
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Do you want to have more control over your camera and are willing to take the time to learn?? Or do you just want something that's "automatic" and will do your eBay and WAYWRN shots with minimum fuss???

I need to know your level of commitment/expectations before recommending something.


Stylish Dinosaur
Aug 15, 2008
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slickdeals often has remarkably good posts for the starter cameras (canon rebel series or whatever nikon equivalent)

I mostly ignore them since I don't need a starter kit but from seeing the subject lines, there are often pretty good deals with a couple of lenses that fall near the bottom of your price range


Senior Member
Jan 24, 2010
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It seems like you will be using you camera in "auto" mode most of the time and you want good image quality. I'd suggest you get a low end dslr and pair it with a high end lens, if kit is not good enough. The resale for lenses is very good so if you decide that you don't like it, you won't lose that much. Get something like a Nikon 3100.


Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2010
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I just bought an Olympus E-420. It is significantly smaller and lighter than other SLRs - that is Olympus' claim to fame on many of their cameras. Especially for someone who's just getting started with photography (as my wife and I are...), if the camera is big and heavy, you just are not going to end up toting it around. FWIW, I got a great Ebay deal on mine for $280 shipped. Kick-ass deal.

There are slightly fewer lenses available for the Olympus body, but that's not really much of an issue. Don't get talked into being married to Canon or Nikon because there are so many lenses you can choose from. It will be years before you'll need that wide of a selection - when you're learning, the basic kit lens and one upgraded zoom lens is all you need. Maybe add a fish-eye if you want to do some creative landscape shooting.

I'm really happy with the Olympus because of the size and weight, but you can't really go wrong anywhere. The Pentax K-X is a great camera. Sony (former Minolta) makes a great SLR, and of course Canon and Nikon make great stuff. Just pick one that appeals to you for whatever reason, get out and shoot!

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