Oh, Snap!

I’m in the market for a new toy…a very expensive gadget that I can’t wait to get my hands on.


No, it’s not the cupcake I’m after, it’s the camera on top. A dSLR, to be exact. But which one? Cannon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, oh the list goes on and on. And then they all have letters and numbers attached to them, which is making it practically impossible for me to keep track of what’s what.

I currently own a fantastic Canon PowerShot SD1300is — a wedding gift from my husband!—that I love, and I only take pictures in its manual mode. I took a film photography class back during college, but the technical side of taking pictures (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.) has almost completely left my mind; I’m building my knowledge base back up by trial and error, and I love it! I’m not looking to become a professional photographer. There are plenty of wonderful photographers out there handling that job and I know it would be years—if that short—before I would be ready for that. In other words, at this moment in time, I’m not out for a profit; I just want to take great pictures that I’m proud of to share with family and friends.

I’d love to go and hold each and every camera I’m interested in so I can literally feel them out and see which works best for me, but my town is pretty tiny and as far as I know, there aren’t any camera stores around.


So I’m opening this up to you. Do you have a digital SLR? Did you do your research before picking your camera? Why did you pick the one you did (price? features? functionality? weight? etc.) And PLEASE let’s not get into a Canon vs. Nikon war over which is “better.” Fancy schmancy names aren’t going to win me over. If a Sony turns out to be the best fit for me, then a Sony it is (for example)!

I’m hoping I can come back to my comments and use it as a starting point for narrowing my choices down to at least three, then I’ll see about getting my hands on each one so I can test them out. 

Thank you in advance 🙂 


  1. my husband just got me mine. He did a TON of research, asked photographers, etc. Now, if you are willing to spend the money, The Cannon EOS 50D is what he got me. It is what would be considered a moderate-professional camera. It is a little more in depth than a lot of the DSLRs, and I am getting free lessons on it tomorrow from my wedding photographer (the one who took the pic at the top of my blog)A friend of mine has been brave enough to volunteer her family for my first ever "session" with their newborn….we shall see how that goes. Since I do not have a line of customers behind her, we can take our time, and wait for the "perfect shots".
    the camera with lens cost around $1150. Then you have to buy the memory card too. I would suggest a 5GB card, because the pics are 15mega pixels a piece, and their memory size is HUGE!!! I actually bought an external hard drive (an additional $79 of 500GB memory for this camera alone. The best part about this camera, is that as I grow into my photography, the camera grows with me. There are so many different lenses, flashes, and filters that it will be fun getting new attachments as gifts.
    Whatever you get, I am sure you will love it! and keep a look out, I will be posting my first UN-Photoshopped pics from my new camera shortly….it is an amazing device, and I have not even learned a quarter of what this thing can do!!!!

  2. Yeah, I have ZERO advice for you… But I'm in the market for a good camera too, so I'm gonna be keeping an eye on this post!! =D

  3. My husband bought me a Nikon D60 a few years ago after he got back from his last deployment. In automatic it takes some pretty amazing pictures, but what's tricky is learning how to shoot in manual. I've owned a canon point and shoot (until the hubs broke it in Iraq) and it was nice. I do like my Nikon, but I'm looking to upgrade.

    My advice if you're going to go for a DSLR is to not go straight for one of the "best" because you're going to have a hard time learning how to use it. Learning manual on any DSLR is going to be time consuming and require a lot of practice.

    Nikon is a good "starter" camera, and if you're going with any kind of DSLR I'm going to suggest you go ahead and pick up the book "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. It's a wonderfully dry book on shooting in manual, but it is highly recommended by a lot of a the "pros".


  4. I have a Canon Rebel XS, it's just the entry level Canon. After a lot of research I chose this one because I had no previous experience. I didn't want to get a REALLY expensive, REALLY in depth dSLR when I new absolutely nothing about them and never used one previously. It has everything that I'm looking for currently, I've owned it since February and I still don't know how to use ALL the features (although I must admit I don't use it constantly either). I can tell you that when I was looking it was really between the d3000 and the rebel xs, the rebel was on sale at that moment and I had known other who had a canon and nobody that had a nikon. 🙂 Good luck in your search.

  5. I have no idea lol but I want a good camera as well. I have been shopping around for one and am just stuck on what to get.

  6. I have a Cannon Rebel XTI…it will be a sophisticated point and shoot if you want or you have lots of options to play with setting…I love it..

  7. I was kind of at the same place as you when I got my dslr. I took a film photography class in '02 and LOVED it. I'm still trying to play around with ISO/f-stop/shutter speed at this point because everything I learned in that class has left me. Anyways I own a Canon EOS Rebel film slr, a canon (digital) powershot, and recently acquired a canon (digital) rebel t2i.

    The advantage of purchasing another canon is that the setup is similar to both my powershot and film slr. I haven't really had to learn how to use a new camera and I can focus on my photography skills (or lack there of 🙂 ).

    I debated between either the t2i or t1i. I finally decided to go with the t2i because of the hd video capability, higher iso range, and larger m.p. The price of both cameras is <1K, which was also a deciding factor. I would have loved a 50d or 7d, but I figured that it really wouldn't be worth the price since I'm not a professional nor am I trying to be. Also, I figured I can always purchase a higher end camera later on if I feel that I've outgrown the T2i (which won't be happening for a while).

    Another advantage of purchasing an entry level dslr is that because I saved $$ on the camera body, I am now able to splurge a little on lenses. I only own one at the moment: 50/1.4, which took some getting used to, but the picture quality is amazing. I'm now saving for a zoom lens. (canon lenses are interchangeable on all canon bodies. I can use the 50/1. on my film slr too).

    Hope this helps- good luck!

  8. e,louise has a similar story to mine. I have the Canon Rebel Eos T2i and I love it. I've been working with pro photogs for two years and am just now starting to max out what this camera can do. I can put on auto and not worry and know that I will get good shots. In manual, I get good enough shots that multiple pros I've worked with have said I could easily do it professionally. Look at functionality and ease of use to start with. These big cameras are complicated! to use all the settings and adjustments. They sell used well so you can always trade up later. I'd rather splurge on a great lense

  9. You know my thoughts on the nikon vs. canon debate. Both make great cameras and you will be able to take great images with either! It's just a matter of which you prefer in your hands and what you want to grow with. I've told you a few reasons why I prefer Nikon over canon, such as two seperate dials for aperture and shutterspeed, but whatever you learn to shoot with become second nature for you! Any questions you have don't hesitate to call, and I would highly, HIGHLY recommend you take a trip to a camera store to hold them in your hands before deciding.

  10. I have been a professional photographer for number of years, and gone through quite a few film and digital SLR's. I shoot Canon but in real life there is not a whole lot of difference between Canon and Nikon – it really depends on which brand you get used to.

    Choosing a camera is usually defined by a couple of aspects – budget and what you want to be shooting. An important thing to remember is that any camera is as good as the lens you have on it. So if I use a crappy, very low-end lens on my 1D, the picture quality does suffer. So with the SLR's it is not only about the price of the body but also lenses.

  11. Ah! Cameras! I have a Canon Rebel. And by me, I mean B has a Canon Rebel and I steal/love/sleep with it. It's AWESOME. I also work with electronics and personally I'm not a huge fan of Nikon because it leaves an odd yellow tint to the photos, and that ain't cool yo.

  12. I have both a Canon (40D) and two Nikons (D90 and a D700) and I have shot extensively with a Canon 5D. As a person who has shot with both brands and both full frame and cropped sensors, I have to say that I prefer the Nikon. I prefer it for it's usability. The Canon is more user friendly but the Nikon feels more professional because of the way you can customize and really work within the camera.

    I had a Canon point and shoot first – way back when 🙂 So the decision on which brand was easy the first time around. I knew I wanted to go with a Canon because I was already familiar with how the dials worked and the layout of the camera. That may be a good thing to think about. Staying with the same brand made the transition of shooting with a p&s to shooting with a dslr a lot easier.

    I'm excited for you, Jessica!

    p.s. I wrote this comment out but deleted it because I spelled "canon" as "cannon." Gah! This base is getting to me, Jessica! I've been stationed here at Cannon for far too long! Ha!!

  13. I agree that you need to go out and actually hold and just play shoot with both Canon and Nikon in a camera store so you can get a "feel" of each!! But I wish I would have went with Nikon personaly 🙂 The cameara that Lindsay has is a GREAT starter for the Nikon family and if you go Canon I recomend t2i 🙂

  14. The mister bought me a Canon Xsi two valentine's day back and I love it. While I learn how to use the manual settings of a SLR, I can still take amazing photos with the all the different auto settings. =) It's a great starting camera.

  15. I appear to be the only commenter with a Sony (I have the a200 from a few years back). My sister-in-law gave me some good advice about it all and I ended up opting for it — not only because it had won awards for being the most user-friendly entry level camera, but also because of the lens prices. The sony (and I think they're interchangeable with minolta as well) lenses tend to be a bit cheaper (in price!) than the nikon/canon which is something to definitely consider as well, because chances are, you will end up getting more than one lens! 🙂

  16. The Hubble did research and asked his friends for recommendations before he got his Canon Rebel Xti. I love the camera (I use it more than he does) but I've heard Nikon is more user friendly. If I get my own camera I'm going for Nikon.

  17. I have the Nikon D3000 and it came with the 18-55mm lens, 55-200mm lens, and a camera bag. It cost around $700 It was a pretty good deal, and I love it. I've had one since March 2010 and loves the amazing pictures it takes!

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