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What camera to start off?

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Posted · Original PosterOP



What DSLR camera would be good to get started with photography? What would be a good entry level? What would be better than a entry level?


Should I go mirror less? 


I am thinking about going with one of the lower end Nikon DSLR cameras.


Want to be able to shoot in raw. 

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I'll go over the Nikon lineup since its what I am familiar with, but Canon has a similar organization.


First off you've got crop-sensor cameras, DX models, and full-frame sensor cameras, FX models. The difference being the physical sensor size, with the FX cameras costing more. Additionally FX cameras require FX lenses which also cost more. There are benefits and drawbacks of either, but for a budget you're best to stick with DX unless you really want a full-frame.


DX Lineup of Cameras:

D3xxx = Entry-level, consumer focused

D5xxx = Consumer focused but with more features

D7xxx = Prosumer level

D5xx = Pro level


FX Lineup of Cameras:

D6xx = Entry-level full frame

D7xx = Mid-level

D8xx = Prosumer/Pro

Dx = Real Pro


The actual image quality does not vary greatly between the various models. The differences really come in included features. Take a look at specific models and see what features peak your interest. KenRockwell.com has some very detailed reviews of nearly every camera model. The low-level D3xxx and D5xxx are very affordable but personally I would skip over them if you are serious about learning photography. My recommendation is to look at getting a used D7xxx. I have a D7000 and am still shooting with it as my regular workhorse.


With regards to mirrorless, here are some Pros and Cons.



- Smaller overall camera

- Better for video

- Faster continuous shooting

- Newest models have very advanced autofocus and in-body image stabilization



- No optical viewfinder if you like that

- Much worse battery life

- Less lens choices

- Haven't been around as long as SLR/DSLR so the used market is not as good for both cameras bodies and lenses

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Your overall setup really depends on what you intend on shooting, and your exact budget.


Certain types of photography requires different equipment, and camera gear can get expensive quick; you really need to figure out what you intend on doing with the camera first so you can get the right gear. For example, if you intend on birding and wildlife photography, long lenses, and a good, higher end camera that can shoot fast rule the day.


Also, your budget matters; I can easily recommend, depending on your intentions, a $25,000 USD setup that will rock the type of photography you want to do, but if you can only scrounge up a couple hundred, that doesn't make any sense.

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This is always the million dollar question and, as those who posted before me have said, it really depends on your budget and what you want to shoot. Fortunately, there aren't really any bad choices out there, but some choices will be better suited to certain use cases and budgets than others. There's also a subjective element of what just "feels right" in the hand.

 Advantages of DSLR:

-wider variety of bodies and lenses

-tends to have longer battery life if you shoot through the optical viewfinder

-bodies tend to be a bit more robust and durable


Advantages of mirrorless:

-electronic viewfinder allows you to see your exposure before you take the picture

-is definitely the future of photography

-generally tend to have smaller and lighter bodies and, to a lesser extent, lenses

Don't feel you need to get it right on the first go around. If you buy a camera and a lens or two, it's still fairly easy to switch systems as you haven't sunk a huge amount of money into any one ecosystem.

I did a write-up of things to consider over in this thread:


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On 12/27/2019 at 2:26 PM, g335 said:

What DSLR camera would be good to get started with photography?

The one that feels right in your hands.

If it's awkward to hold/use, you won't use it.

Every modern camera does more than your current ability. Get the best handling one and learn with that. Later, when you outgrow it, you can start looking for specific features.

So rise up, all ye lost ones, as one, we'll claw the clouds

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Mirrorless is definitely the future. I'd go for mirrorless in a heartbeat.


Fuji cameras are awesome right now(not too much intuitive if you ask me)

also Sony a6000 is a great starting point too.


I second the above answer. Get one and start shooting.

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