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Are there disadvantages to a prosumer camera for a beginner, aside from cost?

I would like to get a DSLR. As a beginner, I'm tempted by Canon T4i, Canon D7 and Nikon D7000. They all seem good cameras. T4i is a bit cheaper and that would allow me spend more money on lenses.

I am looking to hear some advice about a reasonable combination of body and lens(es).

Initially, I would experiment it a little bit by taking photos around. However, the final goal would be taking photos of objects. For example, red wine falling into a glass, or a photo of some fruit, or a glass breaking, that sort of stuff.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If there's a broader question you can ask on this site, I don't know what it is... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe also When buying entry level cameras, are lenses really more important than the body? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 22:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ And one more thing: on the last bit, you are in luck, because that's not particularly demanding of either camera body or lens. What you need to invest in is lighting. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any combination of body and lens(es) could be "reasonable" for someone, and "taking photos of objects" is one of the main uses for any DSLR. Can you make your question (a lot) more specific? In general, you should keep learning about your options... at some point, you'll feel ready to make an informed decision that's the right one for you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ My personal opinion is that people think "Oh, I'll get a DSLR and my photos will turn out great!" and there's more to it than that. Just because you own a DSLR, doesn't mean that will happen. If you're learning, I reckon a mirrorless camera would be a GREAT start. NEX, OM-D or the Panasonic G series. Micro 4/3 has a good selection of lenses too. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 23:00

4 Answers 4


I would caution AGAINST a Nikon D7000. I love mine. Love it. It's awesome. It's also more camera than a lot of people will really want or need. The D3000 was a lot cheaper, let me get better lenses as I figured out what to do with them, and had nice little tutorials built in. Perfect for a beginning photographer. As a middle case, take the D5100. An ex-girlfriend purchased it to learn photography and in essence found that her pictures, on manual mode, were crap. That scared her back onto automatic mode, and there she has stayed for years. A complete waste of money. She would have been better served by buying a nice point and shoot, like a coworker did. He has used it and focused on learning the craft of composition, and has produced really nice photos for about half the price my ex paid.

It's good to think of it like buying a car. If you buy emotionally, you're gonna get taken for a ride, my dad told me. Don't let yourself get bamboozled by big or small numbers, beautiful photographs taken by a pro with that camera, and so on.

That's another reason to go with an entry level DSLR: it will let you learn the art and craft of photography, because even with the right equipment, cool pictures of wine glasses shattering don't just take themselves. That's what I really got into with my D3000. Then when I started to feel its limitations - when in concrete ways it started stopping me from going further - I started thinking about buying something that cost 2x, 3x, or 10x as much.

You want to itemize very specifically what you want in your camera, so you can see which provide what you're looking for. Then it's only a matter of researching through specifications.

For instance, the Nikon D5100 and 5200 let you plug in relatively low-cost attachments that will enable you to do high-speed photography of things like wine glasses shattering, so you wouldn't need a D7000.

If you want nice portraits focusing on the foreground and blurring out the background with lovely bokeh, well, any DSLR can take awesome portraits like that with a good $200 lens (50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 will do the trick). No need for a D7000 there. In fact, the nice kit lens that comes with the D7000 won't do that. Doesn't open the aperture wide enough.

Do you want to do frozen motion? My D7000 can do 1/8000 second exposures, but you know what? The soccer photos I took with my D3000 at 1/1000 and 1/2000 are pretty spiffy.

But all the megapixels? Aren't those good? For marketers. But really, unless you are gonna print oversized prints, bigger than say 8x12, an 8 megaixel is perfectly ample. Really.

In short, the limitations of most photography has more to do with the photographer than with his camera. If you want to learn, and have a history of learning that you don't like a new hobby as much as you thought you would (like my ex), then I'd really recommend an entry- or mid-level DSLR. Nothing over, say $600. Just not necessary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 even with the right equipment, cool pictures of wine glasses shattering don't just take themselves \$\endgroup\$
    – GoodSp33d
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 6:10

First, ALL modern DSLRs are good. There are levels of good but they are all good. Any one will do but there are some differences.

Higher end cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Canon 7D you mention and Pentax K-5 family are more efficient to use because they offer more external controls. They let you work faster which is more important when you actually have to work fast or frequently use photographic controls. These models are also all weather-sealed, so you can use them in the rain or snow, as long as you buy a weather-sealed lens too.

You can pay less for an entry-level DSLR. The image quality is similar but the main difference is speed. Considering you are shooting objects, rather than sports, that should be acceptable and give you more money for lenses as you suggest, which is very important. A poor lens can easily cripple a camera's performance.

Speaking of lenses, that is the biggest reason why you need to chose a brand of DSLR first. The lens lineups are different between brands, so you must see if some are more suitable for your needs. If you want to do tilt-shift photography for example, then only Canon and Nikon have such lenses. Third party offerings exist but are very limited.

It is very difficult to be more specific without particular needs. You should read about Lens Lineups and my Digital DSLR Buying Guide to get you oriented between different models available.

At this time, one stand out model is the Pentax K-30 which is the cheapest DSLR to have dual control-dials, a 100% coverage viewfinder and a freeze-proof weather-sealed body which are all professional features costing hundreds more on other cameras. Paired with a nice DA* 16-50mm F/2.8 lens it can make some excellent photos. You may want a macro lens such as the D FA 100mm F/2.8 WR to take close ups of objects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That K-30 is a killer. So many great features for $600. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 0:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Before choosing any brand, another point to consider is the community around you. My first DSLR was a Nikon one, but looking around I found that most people around be was using Canon cameras, so I switched to Canon: this way I could exchange lenses with friends, experiment more and understand better what I need before investing money on new lenses. \$\endgroup\$
    – gerlos
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:47

I think your budget is most important thing, first you should decide about your budget, how much can you spend on a body and how much will remain for lens and other accessories.

It's good that you already know your goal, then you should look for specific lens and accessories for close-up photography, for example you'll probably need one or two speedlights and a tripod for photographing "red wine falling into a glass".

IMO don't get too confused by different brands, although there are many good cameras in the market, and some of them may have similar features and prices, but you have to choose one and stick to it for a long time, so choose wisely.

Ask your family and friends, if someone you know has brand X and they can sometime lend you their equipments, then go for that brand. for the start it could be very useful for you to borrow lens or other expensive equipments.

Although Nikon and Canon are very popular brands, but there are other good brands too, for example Pentax is very famous for their weather-sealed body, and Sony SLT cameras offer a new system (compared to SLR) which is a big plus for the video and live view modes.

You should also decide if you want to start with the kit lens and stick to it for while or if you're going to get a good lens from the start. you may want to choose a cheap body and an excellent lens for the start and then upgrade the body in the future, remember that a good lens is like an investment and you'll be able to use it on newer cameras too, but cameras get old after some years.

Nobody can suggest you any brand or model unless you be more specific about your needs, plans and budget. it would be helpful if you share about your past experiences too, if it's your first SLR camera, then Canon 7D may be a little complicated for you, Nikon D7000 is perhaps one step easier than 7D and Canon T4i is easier than both of them. but if you're willing to learn and if you have the money to spend, then nothing should stop you from getting a good D-SLR camera for the start. I should also mention that cheaper cameras usually have shorter life time, they may break easier compared to professional models.


Getting the "right" camera is too subjective for anyone but you to answer.

What is critical to understand is that a camera body is just a box with a computer and some buttons on it. Usually it has a screen on the back. Both the computer and the screen are subject to Moore's law, and they become obsolete over time. How obsolete, and over what time, again are subjective. But the difference between a 6 year old Canon Rebel XT and a new Canon Rebel T4i is night and day.

Of course, the box, the lens mount and related stuff doesn't go obsolete for a few decades.

You will change your body if you stay an active enthusiast. Your skills will change, and you will know more about your interests.

So, not only is there no right answer that anyone can give you, but the answer will change as you move from being a beginner.

My advice: pick a major brand, and get their current entry DSLR. Take pictures and have fun.


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