After getting recently married me and my wife have started traveling a lot. We recently went to Canyon and Mt. Zion and unfortunately our digital camera broke on the way so we were only able to take cell phone pictures (which sucked).

So I am in the market for a new DSLR camera that would be decent for a beginner and won't be too expensive. My friend has a cannon t2i which is in the $600 range without the lens (which I think is a lot for a beginner).

  • What camera would you guys suggest to a beginner like me?
  • What are some of the necessary things I should be looking at when buying my first DSLR?


I plan to spend around 400ish and don't plan to get into photography too much. My main purpose is to take landscape pictures of traveling with family where in most pictures at max I will be about 10 feet away from the person in the picture. My desire to get into photography is being able to take good landscape pictures of family with some moderately advanced pictures.

Sample pics I like:

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    possible duplicate of What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR?
    – mattdm
    Oct 18 '11 at 16:02
  • So you are looking to spend $400(?) or so and want to take primarily landscape photos? Please describe your ability level and desire to get into photography, how serious do you want to get?
    – dpollitt
    Oct 18 '11 at 16:12
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    @mattdm that helps, but reading those answers I have another question. If I don't really want interchangeable lenses as I don't plan to go to the advanced level. what would be my choices then? do dslrs only offer cameras with interchangeable lenses? Oct 18 '11 at 16:15
  • @dpollitt I've updated the question according to your comment. Oct 18 '11 at 16:21

It sounds like you are a good candidate for an "SLR like" camera such as the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. It has very high quality, in a smaller package that is great for travel. It also gives a very wide zoom range for its size and cost.

These SLR like cameras typically have full manual control of things like aperture and shutter speed, but also have auto modes if you are less comfortable or desire less control of the camera.

A DSLR is going to set you back at least $400 for the initial body purchase, but much, much more if you want to accompany that with a reasonable setup of lenses. It also sounds like you are not interested in interchangeable lenses, which really puts you out of the market for a DSLR anyways.

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    Thanks a lot! thats what something I was looking for. something that would take comparable pics as DSLR but not involve lenses and advanced knowledge. This camera is about 400ish now so I'll wait till thanksgiving and pick one of these up! Oct 18 '11 at 17:18
  • I think this is a good recommendation, but I don't think it's accurate to classify that sort of camera as "SLR-like". There's no optical viewfinder, the sensor is fingernail-sized, zoom is "by wire", and while there are manual exposure controls, they are menu-activated rather than direct access.
    – mattdm
    Oct 19 '11 at 1:52
  • ok, maybe it is "prosumer" instead :)
    – dpollitt
    Oct 19 '11 at 3:37
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    Yeah, or "bridge". Although I think maybe "superzoom" is the most salient feature.
    – mattdm
    Oct 19 '11 at 13:16
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    I think they're designed like that (apart from the super zoom lens) to make it look like they're big and flashy when in reality they still have the tiny, noisy sensors. Oct 31 '11 at 22:02

as a very satisfied Pentax K-x user I would suggest its successor Pentax K-r. It is relatively small DSLR for very good price and offering some features from higher class. It has the perfect CMOS Exmor chip which has very low noise so you can use higher ISO when necessary.

You can look for example on my albums - for example this one from Austria: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/109234102038340227301/albums/5653965565229392113?hl=en

except some photos made with fish eye (Samyang 8 mm), they are taken with the standard Pentax 18-55 DAL kit lens and in my opinion, the results are not bad.

So I would recommend to buy the kit with 18-55 lens and you can later buy additional ones.

Otherwise you could have a look on the EVF cameras - I had Fuji S9600 some time ago and it offered many functions like DSLR including fully manual zoom etc. - only the lens was not interchangeable.

  • Juhele and klm9971, Lets relegate brand warfare to sites that cater to it. Here on PhotoSE, we prefer to keep that stuff off our forums.
    – jrista
    Nov 1 '11 at 22:23

For your price range, a DSLR is not what you really need. A premium quality point and shoot camera may serve you better. Digital photography has been the great camera equalizer. A DSLR gives you some more resolution, flexibility like changing lenses, and in some cases RAW files for your photo editing software. Since you are asking this question, I presume you don't know about technical things in photography like f-stops, depth of field, etc. Get a good P&S camera now, learn how to compose your shots, and have fun. If you end up really wanting that DSLR, you'll be more ready for it then, and have some idea why you want it.

  • as a P&S camera - Nikon P300 could be a good one, or they also have similar one with 10x zoom (of course, that the lens is not so good as in P300).
    – Juhele
    Oct 19 '11 at 7:15

I'd recommend the Olympus PEN EPM-1 - I've been using one for a few weeks now and love it. With it you can make your photography as complicated as you want/or as simple.

By the way, I'm a Hasselblad shooter and in the interest of honesty I've gotta tell you that Olympus gave me the PEN for free as part of their http://PENready.com Project (I'm camera #896).


I would suggest to use Nikon D40. I am in same boat as you in and believe me, you WILL learn alot. I am also a Canon fan, so cant comment on which Canon you should go for.

But I've taken pics from D40 and it looked truely professional.

  • Great camera, I agree. It would be a perfect place to jump off of and learn about photography.
    – dpollitt
    Oct 18 '11 at 17:00
  • Yeah, and plus you will learn small things like controlling Shutter speed + Aperture et all.
    – RG-3
    Oct 19 '11 at 14:24

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