Last time we covered the basics of camera buying and simple point & shoot options. This time we'll focus on the high end of my recommendations in this three part series. If you are…wanting the challenge of stepping up to an SLR with interchangeable lenses, feel your old point & shoot just doesn't do it anymore, desire to shoot sports of any kind, want to expand your artistic eye, and don't mind carting around bigger equipment: then it's time for an SLR! This will be the high end of my recommendations so be prepared for perhaps a little sticker shock. While I won't recommend the SLR that the guy from Sports Illustrated uses, there are plenty of more entry level priced SLRs that pack a serious punch in both quality and features. And of course the ability to change lenses pushes your creative senses to new heights!
There is a saying in photography to spend the money on the glass (lens) and not so much on the camera body. In my opinion it is a very accurate statement. One of my favorite images I've ever taken came from my 'lowly' Nikon D40X which at the time was an entry level digital SLR. I had a very nice lens that I had rented which certainly made a huge difference. See below for my testimony to this belief.
With that said, you can feel good about buying an SLR camera body on the lower end of the spectrum even if you plan to step up your game down the road. Whichever camera you choose, you'll be on solid footing as you begin to explore the creative possibilities of owning an SLR.
My recommendation? The Nikon D3200. This is Nikon's latest entrant in the do-it-all SLR category. HD video? No problem! Low light? No problem! Fast shutter speeds? No problem! I think you get the point. At $700 MSRP (lens included) it might be a little bit of sticker shock for the new entrant into higher-end cameras, but believe me that price is worth it. One of Nikon's perpetual strengths is the quality of the image sensor in their camera bodies, even the lower end cameras as evidenced above in my Zebra image offer excellent output. The sensor found in most SLRs will make or break the image quality and Nikon simply gets it right.
Most DSLR camera kits come with one or two lenses, often a 18-55mm lens is common. It gives a good range to start with a decent wide angle option at 18mm and a bit of zoom on the other end at 55mm. Just enough range and quality to get you started on your adventure and education in photography.
Whichever camera you choose, be sure to test it out at your local camera store and ask lots of questions. Be sure to check back soon for the final part of my 'which camera to buy' series!