When I first started playing around with photography, the craft was limited to film. You may find some film photos here and there on this site, but almost all the images here were taken digitally.
The first digital SLR I ever used was a monster of a Minolta. This was in the early days of mass-marketed digital cameras, and the thing was basically like trying to use a film camera with a laptop computer stuck on the back of it. Since then things have improved a lot. Now good equipment is well within the reach of most beginning photographers, both in price and in ease of use.
My two cameras are both Nikons (because I inherited a Nikon film camera from my grandmother and it came with lenses that fit digital SLRs from the same company). However, I’ve also used a Canon digital SLR and film cameras from Nikon, Pentax and Olympus. Not to mention several different phone cameras.
All my experience with different makes and models leads me to one firm conclusion: it’s less about the equipment you buy and more about what you do with it.
Still, in case you’re curious, these are the cameras I used to get the photos you’re seeing in this text.
This is my “workhorse” camera, the SLR I grab first whenever I’m going out to take pictures. It produces good quality images and includes several features I really love. One of the biggest draws is that it has control wheels in front and back, which allow a user in manual mode to easily change shutter speed and aperture. I also work a little easier knowing that it has slots for two memory cards, making it highly unlikely that I’ll run out of storage space (even shooting in RAW format).
The only two reasons I might not recommend this camera to a beginner are the wealth of options (the settings menus can get downright confusing even to someone with experience) and the price (right around $1000 when I bought it new, camera only, from a store in Topeka).
This is the first digital camera I ever bought for myself (I’d done the purchase process for two digital SLRs for work before I decided to start spending my own money). It’s currently doing duty as my “second” camera. I rarely take it out by itself. However, I frequently take it along with the D7000. I find it helps me to have one camera with a standard, middle-of-the-road lens and one with something more specialized (such as a telephoto or fisheye lens).
It came bundled with a lens for around $450 (refurbished, purchased directly from Nikon). Though it’s a little harder to use than its more expensive cousin, it may be a more practical plan for a beginning photographer on a budget.
Canon EOS 10D
When I was first learning to swim in the digital photography waters, this is the camera I used. The college where I work purchased it for the students on the newspaper staff to use, and I practiced with it when the students weren’t using it.
Though it’s a fine camera, I don’t do much with it anymore. It’s a bit outdated, and some newspaper staffers didn’t take good care of it. Quick aside to my current students: this is why you don’t get “loaner” cameras from the college while you’re in this class.
You may find this camera in captions here and there, but most of the pictures in this text were taken with one of the Nikons.