camera recommendations

Tax refund time - I want to finally buy a dslr but I don't have the first friggin' clue what I'm looking at.  What kind of camera do you use?  What brands do you recommend?  What should I pay the most attention to, especially since right now I don't know what most of the descriptions even MEAN?!  I fully realize that a nice camera means nothing if you don't know how to take a picture, so I'd like to pair this purchase with a photography class since I'm so clueless - which unfortunately means I have to stay on the low end of cameras price-wise.

I posted this picture because it makes me laugh - I would have liked this picture if it wasn't for the fact that you can see the lens cap (cover?) in the corner because it won't always open all the way because is sticky with the remnants of peach juice.  That's not funny actually - this owner needs to take better care of things, particularly a future camera.

I also posted it because summer sounds nice right now.


  1. Summer does sound nice right now!
    I don't have much advice on a certain model (I just got a Canon 5D Mark II but that'll be well out of your price range. I've been saving for mine for a year). I will say however, that it's very important to get a good lens with the camera. Depending on what you want to shoot...for portraits the Canon 50mm f1.8 is a steal and offers you lots of possibilities because of the wide aperture (shooting in low light conditions and getting that nice blurry background). For landscape shots like the above you'll want to get something in the 28mm range at most. Prime lenses produce better quality than zoom lenses, but again it depends on what you want to shoot.
    I'd recommend getting the camera body without the kit lens and investing in one good lens. Hope that helps :)

    1. Oh, that is so helpful. I knew you'd have good advice. If I got that lens will it fit any Canon? Or only particular ones (you can see how novice I am). I'm interested in both landscape and portrait, but I guess portrait more. Thank you!!

    2. That's a bit tricky...there's two different 'snaps' on Canon cameras. Generally the better lenses fit both the pro series and the beginners cameras (calling them that for lack of a better word), but the lenses you buy for the beginners camera body won't fit the pro series. I actually have two lenses I need to sell now because they don't fit my new camera. I'd say get to a local camera store and let them show you and recommend you some lenses. You could read up on that online I guess, but you'll need to do some googling on it as I don't have a link :)

    3. Got it - thank you. I'll research it.

  2. Oh man, I got lost in a vortex of camera research last summer. I struggled too with the question of DSLR vs. souped-up point and shoot.

    In the end I picked out this Lumix: http://foxflat.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/my-orders-been-placed/

    I love it. I still drool over DLSRs, but my DSLR-owning friend played around with the Lumix and saw the pictures it took and said if she could do it all over again, she'd probably get it instead. It's not as good as DSLR, but the small size, cost, and ease of use were good enough trade-offs for me.