DSLR Buying Guide for Beginners
One of the most common questions I get is what kind of photography equipment I use. What I see happen time and time again is that someone starts a new blog as a fun hobby and quickly realizes that no matter how little they know about photography, pictures are VERY important on a blog. In fact, this is pretty much exactly what happened to me. So, you realize you need pictures, good pictures, and the first logical thought seems to be “I guess I should get one of those DSLRs huh?”
My photography setup:
I LOVE this camera. It was the perfect intro DSLR camera for me and I would highly recommend it to others (or, the new version of it at least).
When I bought my camera, I knew that I really wanted to get into photography more than just taking pictures of my family and friends. I knew (hoped really) that I would use it a lot and so I decided to go a step above the intro level camera.
What I recommend:
**First I would like to say that I HIGHLY recommend ONLY buying the body of the camera and then buying a lens separately. The kit lenses that come with cameras are not great. I used mine a couple times before quickly realizing that I hated it. I was lucky enough to have a friend who lent me her 50mm 1.8 and I LOVED it. I’ll talk more about lenses and what I recommend later.
If you’re looking for a DSLR at a very basic level, don’t have a ton of money to spend, or maybe don’t plan to use it all that often, I recommend getting a camera similar to this one:
If you want to get something a bit nicer, especially if you plan to use it a lot, but are a beginner, I recommend the Canon EOS 70D which is equivalent to the camera that I use now (pictured above).
I have a long list of lenses that I really want. After borrowing a friends’ 50mm (known comonly as the nifty fifty), I knew I needed my own. I got the 50mm 1.4 (this one to be exact). I use the heck out of this lens. In fact, it’s pretty much the only lens I use right now. I highly recommend this lens as a first lens.
I know that buying a new camera and lens can be pricey so for a beginner wanting to save money, I think it’s okay to get the 50mm 1.8 instead of the 50mm 1.4. The 1.8 is about $125 while the 1.4 is closer to $400.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just know this for now: the 1.4 lens, compared to the 1.8, lets more light into the camera and results in a brighter, more vibrant picture. It’s not a huge difference but enough that I noticed and prefer the 1.4 over the 1.8. That being said, I used the 1.8 for about 6 months and took some truly great pictures.
Pretty much everyone is going to tell you that natural light is TOTALLY the way to go. And I agree! Natural light creates the most beautiful and evenly lit photos. But here’s the thing: I often wake up for work while it’s dark outside and don’t get home again until after the suns gone down. What am I supposed to do? Never photograph food which I love doing SO much? I try and do most of my photographing on the weekend. However, that’s not always possible.
So, in order to be able to do this thing that I love, I needed to find a way to light my photos for the times that it is necessary to take pictures at night. I agonized over this for about a month looking at all the different options. I bugged the HECK out of a photographer that I know and ended up buying exactly what she recommended. It’s worked out great for me and I would highly recommend my setup to others.
I have this speedlight which I got as a birthday gift (~$250). I would eventually like to get another one but for now, I’ve learned to make one work well for me.
The only other equipment I use (and I personally don’t use them all that often) is a tripod (similar to this) and a remote (this one). I mostly just use my tripod and remote for gifs like these (I really like gifs :)) :
from my BBQ Skillet Nachos
from my Sangria Popsicles
from my Banana Protein Pancakes
David is a photographer in the Knoxville, TN area and focuses most primarily on Wedding and Engagement photos.
Would you recommend it? I would definitely recommend it to somebody wanting to get started as a professional photographer. The low-light capability it provides is crucial when wanting to make high-quality images at all times.
What camera did you start out/ learn on? I started out with a number of different point and shoot film cameras as a kid but my first serious camera I got when I was maybe 15 or 16 was a Nikon N65 35mm SLR.
What would you recommend to someone wanting to get into photography? Unless you are wanting to get into serious professional photography and need everything a full frame sensor DSLR provides I would recommend getting a mirrorless camera. A mirrorless camera allows you to capture high-quality images in a much smaller form factor. I don’t have the funds available for one yet, they aren’t very expensive though, but a photographer friend of mine has a Samsung NX300 that he loves so that is what I would recommend.
What lenses do you use most? Currently with my two lenses I use the 20mm the most but the both get lots of use. Once I am able to purchase one my main lens will be the Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED.
What lens would you recommend to someone starting out? I would recommend the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G and the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Lens. If you have boatloads of money go for the Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED and the new Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II.
What other equipment do you have that you find very useful? One of my favorite pieces of equipment is my JOBY Gorillapod Focus. It is a small tripod with flexible legs that allows it to be setup or mounted practically anywhere. Very nice for when you might want a tripod handy but don’t want to bother carrying a full-size tripod.
David’s website: http://www.britnellphotography.com/
David’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/britnellphotography
Mary-Katherine is a fashion blogger at the Gold-Hatted Lover and takes most of the pictures for her blog herself. Much like myself, she learned as she went along because she knew that quality pictures were important for a successful blog.
There you have it! A little insight into our DSLR cameras and what we recommend to beginners. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help! Leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Do you have a DSLR? What advice do you have for newbie photographers?
Disclaimer: Many of the above links are affiliate links. This means that if you found the above information useful and decide to purchase anything through my links, I will receive a small percentage of money from the sale at no extra cost to you. If you do decide to buy anything from above, thank you!