I'm going to buy my first digital camera... please suggest an affordable and good camera for newbie like me...


UPDATE To be precise, these are my criteria

  • Compact
  • Digital
  • Price: Anything between $250 - $300

I like to travel a lot; want to take some snaps along the way :)

  • 4
    This is really impossible to answer. In the entry level range, most of the stuff is of similar quality. You also don't tell anything about the size (pocket, bigger), and what you would like to do with the camera (which would tell us if you need a compact or a DSLR).
    – gabr
    Jul 16 '10 at 7:09
  • 1
    I know, just wanted to know what others recommend; so that I'll get a head start to my search. Basically, I'm not going to pursue photography career; i'm looking to spend sometime took some pictures; which will give some kind of satisfaction :)
    – CoderHawk
    Jul 16 '10 at 8:18
  • 1
    Looking for pocket size cam, which can be tuck into my backpack...
    – CoderHawk
    Jul 16 '10 at 8:20
  • 4
    It's subjective. I think you would have had a lot more success if you'd asked for features that you should look for in a camera. Also, any answers given may not be correct in the future, or in different parts of the world.
    – Edd
    Jul 20 '10 at 14:03
  • 4
    The problem with this question is that new models come out every few months, making the answer a changing target. An answer given back when this question was asked in July '10 would certainly be obsolete by now. A better question might be "what to look for in an camera for a newbie" (like this one photo.stackexchange.com/questions/2876), or maybe "what review sites are helpful in finding the current best camera for my needs"?
    – mattdm
    Feb 26 '11 at 15:46

10 Answers 10


There is no right answer to this. Everyone will recommend their favourite brand, and then argue for months about the relative benefits. The best thing to do is set a realistic budget (for a beginner DSLR you're looking at around £500), buy a couple of magazines or read a few reviews online, then go down to your local camera shop and play with each of them.

Personally I'm a Pentax person and have a Kx, which is brilliant. If I was starting again and didn't already have a lot of money invested in lenses I'd go down the Nikon route.

  • 1
    Yes, I'm looking for everyone's personal interest; then I'll go for my own research to find a suitable one.
    – CoderHawk
    Jul 16 '10 at 8:21

If you want to buy a DSLR nothing would beat the Pentax Kx in Performance / Price ratio. It has a great Sensor (Look at DXO Mark), Built In Stabilizer (Every Lens is stabilized, in Canon Nikon you pay for Stabilization in each lens) and great price.



The low price of the Canon 550d (Rebel T2i in US) and all advantages of Full HD Video shooting up to 30 frames per second is a great choice if you go to Canon ...

Canon and Nikon are like BMW and Mercedes, they are both great in this range that you are looking for, because I already had 4 Canon's and 3 EF lens, I bought the 550d and the Video and the Shooting is just fantastic, the LCD has vibrant colors and it's huge :)

It's very light and an excellent choice not only for beginners, but as well when you start to know a little better of shooting photos and you need a little more.

There are several magazines and reviews that put head to head both Canon's and Nikon's ... just go to a photo shop, pick up one in your hand and see witch you prefer more.

Digital Preview review

Key features review (youtube)

If you want to save more money and the 550d is a little out of your pockets range, try the 500d or 450d, a used model is very cheap and people are trying to sell them to buy the new 550d.

alt text
(source: letsgodigital.org)


All the major DSLRs have excellent sensors and optics - far batter than even the best pro gear of 10years ago.

You get more value for money by staying away from the top two (Canon/Nikon) - Olympus/Pentax give you a lot more for your $$

Consider buying used, the pace of new DSLR models and the latest shiny toy factor means that you can buy last years models that are hardly used, for a fraction of their original price. (checkout bhphotovideo and keh)


It sounds like you might be happiest with a small point and shoot that you will have with you when you travel. One key feature to look at is shutter-lag. The most frustrating aspect of p&s cameras is not the inability to fine-tune the settings but the fact that you miss shots because the shutter doesn't respond to the button quickly enough.


Digital, pocketable, $250-300?

I would look into a used Canon S90 or spend a bit more and go for the S95.

Why? They have larger sensors and relatively fast lens compared to most pocket cameras. This will give you better image quality and allow you to shoot in darker places other pocket cameras couldn't touch.

Note: There are newer cameras entering into this space like the Lumix LX5, but I don't think they've been out long enough to sell as used in this price range.



Take a look there, try to figure out what you'd want. Let us know if you need any tips for things to look for.


I found the Nikon D3000 to be a great entry-level camera as a newbie.

alt text
(source: img-dpreview.com)

The DSLR has all the features you will want to learn and the price point is not too far away from high-end point-n-shoots or super-zoom cameras.

It also contains a guide mode that lets to start taking specific type of pictures instantly without meddling with too many settings at that time, which you can learn later.

Check out the DP Review for more information. HTH

  • I bought a D40 last year, the D3000 is now sinking to a similar price point that I picked my D40 up for, and this is a lot more camera for the cash. If I was making my first purchase now the D3000 would be a serious contender.
    – user17
    Jul 17 '10 at 5:39

You could try finding something at a flea market and start taking pictures? I don't want to seem antagonistic, but some of the best cameras I have ever bought cost me less than $20 with a few lenses to boot.

Amateur photography is absolutely no different than it was prior to the DSLR. You still need to understand things like aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, colors of light, filters, bracketing, frames per second, sealed, ass gaskets, light modifiers, burning and dodging (no matter if you use film or digital), ethics, viewfinder range and brightness and a plethora of other things. Additionally, metering (spot, matrix or a 'new invention') also apply. Taking vacation snaps or doing photojournalism, you still need to be able to argue with your camera. The point (in both cases is), you bring back great pictures.

Or you could buy a really expensive camera, set it to auto and get less quality than the camera maker did on their sample photos (hint, they use photographers). In that case, why not get a point and shoot?

If you buy a DSLR, the major difference is you have to deal with white balance and a bunch of other settings that you'll need to research, beyond filters that color any artificial light that you use. Seriously, that is it as far as exercising the shutter is concerned. Post processing is a different story for another question.

I highly recommend a Minolta SR series camera for any beginner. They are quite cheap, they offer great metering and they are very simple to use. I got my latest replacement for $50 at a garage sale, with a 50mm f/1.7 lens that takes perfect pictures.


I started with a Fuji FinePix years ago, then upgraded to a Nikon D40x. I'm afraid I caught the photography bug after that and have since upgraded to a Nikon D700, and who know's what camera I'll get next...

If it's really just snaps, then I'd go for a Canon S95; it's the best pocket digital camera around, the same sensor as the G11 and G12 for much less money and a fast lens too, taking wonderfully clear pictures at decent resolution.

  • 1
    It might be a great question, but it doesn't fit well with this site.
    – mattdm
    Feb 26 '11 at 15:43

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