Photo Gear

Of all the photography questions I get asked, the most common by FAR is, “what camera should I buy?”  This is such an opened question that begs a long list of questions I need to know before I can attempt to answer that.  So, below is a list of some of those questions:


  • What’s your budget? 
    • Getting into a DSLR is generally far more expensive than the average person thinks.  Often the answer goes something like this: “well I need a good long zoom and a good wide angle lens, but I would like to keep the cost under $500”.
    • A lot depends on your defenition of “good”, but in any case, getting new gear under $500 is not likely to happen.


  • What do you normally like to shot? 
      • This helps identify the lenses you need to get.  Of course you can more of them later, so don’t go to crazy at first.


  • Do you have any lenses from a film based SLR?
      • If you do, then just may be the deciding factor between Canon  or Nikon.


  • Do you have a family member or friends close by that will let you borrow some of their lenses?
    • If so, this can help you decide if you should go Nikon or Canon.  Being able to borrow lenses can be a HUGE help when first getting started.
    • Yea, I am only mentioning Nikon and Canon because IMO, those are the only ones most people getting into photography should consider when looking at DSLR’s.  NONE of the other DSLR’s have as wide a selection of lenses and accessories, it’s not even close!

The thing must people focus on is the camera body.  Truth is, camera bodies will come and go, the real investment is in the lenses and other gear.  Don’t get too focused on the body.  Yea, different bodies have different features, but in most cases the long term benefit comes from spending money on lenses not the bodies.  Get a new camera when yours breaks or you have truly out grown it.  In the mean time, spend your money on lenses and other gear, like a GOOD tripod and ball head.


Ok, so what is going to follow on the next few pages is my picks for what someone should buy when first getting into a DSLR at several different price points.  It will almost exclusive be Nikon based because that’s what I know.  I would love to have a comparable list from the Canon perspective, so if you want to add your contribution to that, let me know.  I will also include a page of my current gear, aging as it is.


So I was  going to set up this nice Amazon store with nice links and all this built shopping cart stuff.  It really is a slick system Amazon offers which would have made it really easy for you to purchase the recommended gear directly from Amazon.  However, while this worked for the under $1,000 kit, it became increasily difficult while building the other recommendations.  What I didn’t want to do is limit the recommendations to ONLY things that could be purchased from Amazon.  So, while the resulting pages may not be as “user friendly”, the recommendations are better for it.