Help with our first DSLR purchase

Picture Power Question and Answer

Question: I was wondering if you could help. Photography is my wife's hobby and I was looking to get her a gift of a new camera as she is currently using a Sony Cybershot DX! or something like that, I know its not an SLR. Unfortunately, I am only just starting to get into the field.

I have a Go Pro Hero 3+ and an EE action Cam. I am mainly focusing on video.

Basically I am looking for some advice on which camera to get her. I am trying to get a balance between professionalish (Not sure if that's a thing?) features at a hobbyish price. Her last camera we spent about £500 or so. I'm probably expecting I'll have to be somewhere in that ball park for a decent DSLR.

Any wisdom you could share would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Your GoPro stuff is great and I am really enjoying it!



help with first dslr purchase

Answer: Hi Allan, what kind of videos are you making with your GoPro?

And good for you to help your wife find the right camera.

Here are my thoughts.

I Googled it and "profressionalish" is indeed not a thing. But, I know what you mean. My simple straight forward advice is to get a used Canon Rebel/Kiss DSLR.

I say this because I have always used Canon and cannot speak authoritatively about any other brand of camera. That said, I just bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX7 which is not a DSLR because I needed something smaller. But that is another story.

Whether you get a Canon or Sony or Nikon or Fuji don't get the latest version of what is on the market. You can save a lot of money buying older cameras. Cutting edge quality from two years ago is still very good quality. Don't get caught up getting the latest camera just yet. You'll have time as the years move on to upgrade for the right reasons.

Canon T5i

The Canon Rebel/KISS series is a great place to start. It uses the same guts and sensors as the more professionalish 40D, 50D and 60D series.The Rebel series doesn't have as many setting options as its bigger brothers and its body is not as weather proof. But it is smaller and that may serve to your wife's advantage. How a camera feels is very important. I'm still trying to get used to the smaller Lumix I just bought. 

Another huge advantage in buying an older (and less expensive) camera is that it frees up money to buy a better lens. A good lens is more important than a good camera. If a sacrifice has to be made, sacrifice the camera every time. Just to prove this, I've shared a picture taken with a Canon D30 (below).

The Canon D30 was Canon's first Digital SLR camera. It came out in 2000. The lens I used in this picture was a Canon 200mm f/2.8L USM. I still have the lens but the camera was given to a friend's daughter long ago. I think this picture helps to prove my point that you want to understand the difference in lenses more than the differences in cameras in the long run.

For now, look for a used Canon or Nikon entry level DSLR from any source you find trust worthy. I have bought from eBay, Amazon and B&H and have never had any problems ordering camera equipment. By the way, anytime you click on a product on Picture Power that takes you to Amazon, I get a commission on any purchase you make. Just so you know.

With the money you save, consider buying the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM. This is a smaller lens that will fit well on an entry-level Canon or Nikon camera. I owned one for a few years and sold it to change to another lens. The Sigma is very well-built and with f/2.8 constant throughout the zoom it will save your shots when the lights get low. Read my full review of the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. And my review of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens - another inexpensive way to ignite your photography.

One more thing, don't buy a camera with a kit lens. Save a little money and put it towards buying the Sigma or something similar. 

I hope this helps to give you some sense of guidance as you look for the right DSLR to get for your wife. Thanks for your question. If anyone has any comments let us know in the comment section below.

More From picture power

Shooting video with your DLSR.
Fighting back the evils of darkness.
Prevent blurry GoPro pictures.
Prime lenses mean business.
Ignite your photography genius!
Walk around with your GoPro.
Ideas to get you going.
Is there one lens to rule them all?

Camera and lens reviews

Hi there! I'm Scott. PTMY. Photography is a constant challenge and there is always something to learn - if you want to learn.  For those that do want to learn, I created Picture Power as a resource for you to sharpen your photography skills. If you don't find the answer you're looking for just let me know and together we'll find a way to ignite your inner superhero photography genius. Contact me

New! Comments

Let me know your thoughts about this site or what you've just read. Leave a comment in the box below.

More from picture power

Recommended for you

photography lesson plans pack


Return Home