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I'm a beginner at photography, I'm looking at buying my first DSLR (currently the Canon 550d looks promising) so I'm wondering if I should buy the camera with the kit lens (EFs 18-55mm IS) or buy just the body and a different lens or buy the kit with two lens (EFs 18-55mm IS and EFs 55-200mm IS)?

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It depends on A) your budget and B) what kind of photography you plan on doing. The longer lens (55-200) will be useful for wildlife and sports shots, but if you're not bothered about those, why spend the money on it? You could get yourself a decent tripod and bag for the same amount, which you will probably have much more use for.

Personally I started off with just an 18-55mm and happily used that for well over a year - they're very good beginner's lenses as they cover everything from landscapes to portraits. Once you've got used to your camera and discover what you really enjoy, you can look at investing in a new, appropriate lens.

One final tip, that I've given a few times this week, is not to just go with online reviews when buying your camera: go into a store and try a few out. Not just the Canon: try a couple of Nikons, Sonys and Pentax cameras too. Then you can be sure you're getting a camera you like.

  • +1 for hands-on experience and trying different camera brands. – Sean Mar 28 '11 at 23:52
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The EF-S 18-200mm is another option. It kind of combine the 18-55mm and the 55-250mm into a single lens.

Here's a review: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-18-200mm-f-3.5-5.6-IS-Lens-Review.aspx

  • It's an option, but one that comes with significant drawbacks. – Philip Kendall May 13 '17 at 11:36
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As a beginner I will suggest you to go for the kit lens because you will do a lot of R&D with the first lenses you get and that's when you will know what you exactly want. On the other hand you will do some mistakes with your first lenses which will be better if they are on kit lens ( in terms of damages ). I have used kit lenses with my canon 1200D (Rebel T5i) for a long time and now I know exactly which advanced lenses I need next.

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