It’s probably one of the most commen questions asked in the photography forums - “I’m just becoming interested in photography, and my point-and-shoot camera/camera phone/other camera just isn’t cutting it anymore… So what’s the best beginner dSLR?” It’s the gateway question into the wonderful world of photography. The answer the budding photographer receives could shape their photographic purchases for years, even decades, to come. For those of us that participate regularly in photography forums like the Corner, it’s a question we come across frequently, and one we (hopefully, at least) answer with some thought.
For many, it usually comes down to choosing the (usually) newest and cheapest dSLR that’s made by _____ or _____ (fill in whatever company names you want - but it’s almost always Nikon and Canon these days). Several times a year, the answer will change - the Canon Digital Rebel, the Nikon D50, the Canon 550D, the Nikon D40, the Nikon D5000, and the list goes on. I asked on Twitter and our Facebook Fan Page, and almost every response I received was different - literally dozens of different answers with no real clear winner.
What it really comes down to is personal preference. If you’re in the market for a good, beginner dSLR, there are several to choose from, but before you make up your mind, head down to your local camera shop and hold them in your hand. Some cameras simply “feel right” in your hands, and that may be enough of a tie-breaker to pick one. Sure ‘camera X’ has slightly different features than ‘camera Y’, and ‘camera Z’ has more megapixels than ‘camera X’, but a smaller LCD screen - they all are a little different. But when it comes down to it, a good learner camera for me could be different from a good learner camera for you - we may have different photographic tastes and expectations, different sized hands, different subjects, different feature requirements. So the answer to the question “What is the best beginner dSLR?” is “whatever one seems to fit your photographic needs.”