Even before someone asks “the lens question”, I get asked “the camera question”. As in, what SLR camera should I buy? There are so many things I could comment on about cameras, but I am going to try to keep this as simple as possible, without too many confusing specs and comparisons.
My very first SLR camera was a completely manual Pentax film camera. I LOVED this camera, and brought it everywhere with me. Everywhere just happened to include Madrid, Spain and on my flight home someone stole my camera and all the film I had shot over there. I cried. A lot. Thankfully, I have never had a camera stolen since then, and with digital, I always back up my cards right away! After my Pentax, I found a film Nikon that I enjoyed, and also took great photographs.
Soon it became time to purchase a digital camera, which is where I had to make a choice. Would I stick with Nikon, which was my film camera, or would I go Canon? In the end, I decided to go Canon and have never looked back. The main reasons for my choice was that I had used both a Canon and Nikon digital camera and I simply just liked the Canon better.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that whether you choose Canon or Nikon, you will be able to make quality photographs if you know how to use your camera. It also means that even though I like Canon, you may decide you like Nikon better! So try out both, and see what feels better to you. However, remember that once you choose what brand you are going with, it will be hard to switch later.
With that said, here are my suggestions. These are all Canon cameras, but most of them have a Nikon counterpart that is similar.
When you are choosing a camera, don’t worry about all the extra features. The Pentax that I loved had zero automatic, zero extra features, and it served me very well. People have asked me what is better, the Canon Rebel XS or the Canon Rebel XSi which is about $100 more. The main difference is that the XSi has more features which you don’t necessarily need, so save that $100 and put it towards a lens!
If you are really serious about sticking with photography, I would suggest skipping the newest Canon Rebel and purchasing one of the prosumer x0D lines. These are a great line of cameras that are built to last longer than the Rebels and are so high quality that many, many professional photographers use them. You can also purchase the older models for the same price or less than the Rebels, and take home a much better camera. If you have $1200, you can purchase the newest in the line, the 50d. If you don’t want to spend as much you can purchase the 40d for under $800 on ebay, the 30d for under $500 on ebay, and the 20d for around $300 on ebay.
I hope this helps you not only decide on a camera to use, but also helps you see that you don’t need a fancy camera to take good photographs! Here is one of my favorite images from when I first started out using the Canon 20d. This image is straight from the camera. No editing was done to it.