I get asked about what kind of camera I have a lot. There's a chip off my pride each time, since y'all think it's totally the camera and not the photographer! Sniff. Seriously, though, if you don't have the extra cash for an expensive camera and lens, don't lose heart. You can take awesome photos with a point-and-shoot and you can take crummy photos with an expensive SLR camera. It's all in the lighting. Still, if you want to know what I play around with, here's an email I wrote my bro a while ago. ~ Lori Seaborg
I researched a lot about a year ago and bought a Canon Rebel XT. Then Best Buy gave [my handsome husband] a Nikon D40 (see links below) only a few months after I'd bought the Canon (that figures). The Nikon and the Canon are so close to being identical that it seems Nikon and Canon are made by the same company. Or they copy each other.
These are "entry level" SLR digital cameras (SLR=single lens reflex -- meaning, you look through the lens that takes the photo, not through a window higher or lower) cameras. I paid around $700 total for my Canon Rebel XT, but since they've come up with newer models, they're cheaper now. They're selling the Canon Rebel XS at $499 on Amazon right now, here: Canon Rebel XS , and $449 for the Nikon D40 (prices fluctuate).
When I was shopping, the only reason I chose a Canon over a Nikon is because I owned a Canon Elan back in the pre-digital days.
When they gave [my man] the Nikon, they also gave him a class on it, so I use the Nikon now, only because he taught me what he knew. They're so identical, though, that I could have almost used the Canon as well, but it was easier going right off the camera he used when he taught me.
They come with one lens, an 18-55mm. I used that for an entire year and a half until I finally was able to get another lens through his work. I use the kit lens (the 18-55) indoors because my other lens is a telescopic lens and I have to be 5' away from the object. But most of my best photos lately (outdoor shots) have been with the new lens, which gives a nice background blur that I like. The new lens is a Tamron (a generic brand) 70-300mm with macro (macro meaning it can take up-close shots, like of the insides of flowers) [Edited to add: see my comment below about this].
You don't need to go higher than the Rebel XT (or the new one, which is XTi) or the Canon D40 for starting out. A more expensive camera, in my experience, doesn't produce better photos, but is more frustrating to learn because it has extra gimmicky things you can do to it. And they're heavier! (07/2008: I met a pro at Disney who gave me advice on this subject) As I get more experienced, my opinion of that might change, of course. For now, I'm really happy w/ both the Rebel XT and the D40.
Most of these shots were shot with the Nikon D40, many with the new 70-300mm lens attached. Look at the sidebar, lower right, for camera and setting details on each photo in Flickr.
And most of the 2008 shots in this album were shot with the Canon Rebel XT with the kit lens (except the 2/29/2008 photos of Colonial Day) Let me know if you have any questions!
Love ya, Lori