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_fonzo's avatar

Is there a good camera for beginners, not expensive, such as a Canon EOS?

Asked by _fonzo (67points) March 24th, 2010

So… I want to start on photography, as an amateur, of course. So, I wanted to buy a camera such as a Canon EOS (or, if possible, a Hasselblad, they look so fantastic) to start with. However… I’m afraid those cameras are too expensive. Could you help me?

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25 Answers

fyoz's avatar

EOS is not the place to start for beginners.

Check out the Canon Rebel (any model). They are a great stepping stone into the DSLR world. If it gets too overwhelming for you, you can easily adjust the settings for it to act like a “point and shoot”, and when you’re ready to progress, you can start adding lenses that you can move on new DSLR bodies when you out grown the Rebel.

lilikoi's avatar

Or their high end point and shoots – which would be a step down from the Rebel series. Forget the new name for those, but they are on the Canon website.

b's avatar

I recommend the Nikon d40. I am not exactly a beginner, but this camera fits all my needs and takes great pics with the bundled lens. The d40 is considered to be the best of the entry level DSLRs.

jaytkay's avatar

Here is an excellent no-nonsense camera guide from a guy who focuses on getting good results without worrying too much about hardware.

Idknown's avatar

What is your budget?

Hasselblad – HAHAHA good one :).

El Cheapo: Canon XS w/ Kit lens
El Cheapo Less: Canon XSi w/ Kit lens
I have a job: Canon T1i w/ Kit lens
I have a good job: Canon T2i w/ Kit lens
I have a job you all want: Canon 7d

_fonzo's avatar

@Idknown In, like, really really small, such as… 200 euros maximum.

b's avatar

Oh, never mind. The d40 is not longer available new. I upgrade my recommendation to the D5000, which had just come out when I got my d40.

Idknown's avatar

Hasselblad for 270 USD? :) I wish too!

At 200 euros – are you willing to go used?

In the US – we use Craigslist to buy our used gear.

Anyhow if it’s THAT LOW

Look into Canon XTi

_fonzo's avatar

@Idknown I told you, I’m new at this. If it has a good quality, then, why not?

Idknown's avatar

Well at the wishful thinking state – you should spend like $800 USD for a good current gen low end camera.

For barebones minimum – it’ll cost you like $300 for a Canon XT or Canon XTi, both are pretty old and have been around. You can likely get a good deal if you go used market looking for those models – but be warned – they are really outdated. But HEY! I learned on the XT – so… go figure.

_fonzo's avatar

Canon still sells Rebels?

b's avatar

So, any new DSLR is out of your price range. I started digital photography using a Sony cyber-shot. They are compact and durable, plus they take great shots for their class. Check out the Sony DSC-W350, it is right in your range.

lilikoi's avatar

@_fonzo Yes – check their website! They have all the specs for all their camera and accessories there.

_fonzo's avatar

@b The problem is, I wanted a DSLR. I tried a Canon EOS 150D (don’t remember it now xD) of a teacher of mine, but they don’t sell that model anymore, and I really liked it. :)

CMaz's avatar

First do you want to learn with film or go Digital?

Film will give you a more purest understand of the craft.

If you go with film. Look on Ebay. Get a good old camera. Like a K-1000 or Spotomatic.
Anything without automatic functions or that you can disable.

_fonzo's avatar

@ChazMaz Digital, I heard film was expensive. :/

b's avatar

@_fonzo If you want a DSLR save up a couple of months. You are going to need at least 600 euros to start. And yes, that is the cybershot I meant.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A budget number would help. You can get a quality new camera for $400. You can get a quality used camera for less.

I’ve been a self employed pro for 35 years. I’ve used everything you can imagine and really enjoy the equipment and knowing it and its history.

With all the fancy crazy gear I have, my snapshot runabout camera is an old discontinued Sony a200. They can use Ziess lenses (like Hasselblad) or you have a full line of quality vintage Minolta glass to choose from on eBay. There is a full line of professional bodies that go along with it.

Many things I like about Sony that the others don’t offer. All cameras in the lineup take the same batteries, so no separate chargers or different batts lying around. Canon and Nikon don’t. Sony’s have a locking toggle spot meter. It will hold the reading for an infinite amount of shots until you press the button again. Nikon and Canon only hold the reading for as long as you keep the button pressed. Sony’s also have image stabilization built into the body of the camera. This means that every lens is stabilized, including wide angle and old vintage glass. Nikon and Canon must have special lenses to get image stabilization.

Sony’s also have an extinction resolution far beyond that of other cameras. Most people just go by the maximum resolution. But the extinction resolution is where the moire’ patterns come in to play. That means they are better suited for small thread patterns in fabric, and great for fashion photography. Check out the extinction resolution comparison at the bottom of this page.

You can get a great condition used Sony a200 with a decent lens for $300 or so. Yes they are discontinued but they are great little cameras to start with. Very well built and more solid than any EOS or Nikon starter cam that I’ve ever used.

Here’s a body only sitting at $167. You can then get a used Tamron 28–200mm for around $60 bucks and be in great shape.

Find out anything you want to know about Sony/Maxxum at the Dyxum website. They have reviews on all the cameras, and every lens ever made that will fit it since the Maxxum line began in the early 1990’s. Not all used older lenses will still work on the Canon’s or Nikons. But everything still works just fine on the Sony’s. The old Minolta glass is top of the top and I believe has the sweetest color and bokeh of any lenses offered. They actually can’t make some of them any more because they had an extremely high content of lead in their lenses.

My thoughts are this. I prefer Canon EOS for Sports. I like Nikons for Journalism. I prefer Sony/Minolta for Art, Portraits and Fashion.

Good luck and have fun!

jaytkay's avatar

@fonzo _Digital, I heard film was expensive.

Yes, expensive. Extremely expensive compared to digital.

Idknown's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I would never imagine to… have so many brands. That would make me really poor…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Idknown I don’t use these brands simultaneously. I only use Sony currently. Gave up my Canons about two years ago when Sony finally launched a full frame DSLR that accepted Minolta lenses. Nikon before that. Leica before that, and Contax before that. And before that was Canon and Nikon again and Maxxum and Olympus.

No lie, I just love the gear side of photography.

What has my attention now is the new Panasonics. Very cool cameras with the micro 4/3 sensor. And the newest nanocrystal lenses from Nikon are unbelievable. I may switch again just to get an opportunity to shoot with them.

But get ready for a giant change in the digital camera industry. InVisage Technologies has announced a new chip technology based upon Quantum Dots. It will change everything overnight. Start saying goodbye to your CMOS and CCD imaging chips. Quantum Dots will give Camera Phones the resolution of Professional DSLRS. And DSLRS will break the barrier of 26mp and move upwards of 200mp to 1000mp. The biggest challenge will be designing lenses that can actually handle these massive resolutions. And you’ll need a crazy computer to process those files too.

It’s all about to change… again.

_fonzo's avatar

Hmmm, I was seeing that Cybershot and it looks good. Still thinking, though… maybe I’ll really want a Sony a – there are new models available.

lilikoi's avatar


Sony is way overpriced, they had proprietary memory cards last time I looked at them, and did not accept grocery store AA/AAA batteries (major deal breakers for me). I have the Canon S5 IS p/s which uses SD cards and AA batteries. Just saw someone selling a used one on Craigslist for $250. It takes nice photos, nice video. It is a high end p/s that gives you a “taste” of the SLR world by providing manual settings like focus, zoom, ISO setting, aperture, focal length, white balance (kinda rudimentary), and there are a limited number of lenses (macro, telephoto, maybe a wide angle) and I think even external flash that you can get for not too much money to fit onto the body. The LCD viewing screen is a decent size and rotates so you can take photos while facing the camera lens or other weird angles and still see your frame while shooting. It has good image stabilization, macro setting, super macro setting. Only complaint is that it leaves something to be desired under low-light conditions and you can’t shoot in RAW (but these are probably issues with ALL p/s cameras due to the nature of the technology). Oh and I get about a third or less as many shots on continuous mode as the guy next to me on the whale watching boat shooting with a 50D or 5D (those bastards!).

Canon customer service has been stellar. They had an image sensor issue with the S1 IS (which was where I started; the S1 is the first generation of this series) and sent me a free replacement S5 IS under a product recall program. When that got stolen, I was so hooked I replaced it one-for-one.

I spent about $350 probably on the S5 IS when it was new-ish (on sale at Best Buy probably, though I think it retailed for a little more). I am now looking to upgrade to an entry level SLR and plan on spending about $800—$900 for the body + extra for lenses. You didn’t really make your budget super clear, but IMHO I think this is a reasonable $ plan.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sony DSLR’s use Compact Flash cards just like all other DSLR’s. They also accept Sony memory stick. The batteries for Sony are compatible from the A200 all the way up to the A900. Try that with Canon or Nikon. Those take 2–3 different sets of batteries separating model lines. None of them take AA’ except with vertical grip attachments and a special cartridge.

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