help! i want to buy a camera

OK, folks — I think it’s time for me to upgrade from a simple point and shoot. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a pint-sized piece of equipment I can throw in my purse. But, that said, I’m looking to take my photography to the next level. I’ve started styling and shooting some of my own recipes, and I feel I’m ready to invest in a big-girl camera. So, all you artsy Shelterrific readers out there…what do you shoot with? — Erica P.

Photo by meral akbulut

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Nikon D3000 (dSLR). It doesn’t have Live View or HD video but it’s fast, compact, and good for what I need it for.


Funny I have just started looking at cameras. The only thing I would buy right now is a Canon T2i (aka 550d). I have a Nikon D80 right now, and one of the big factors in looking is the thing gets SO heavy. The T2i is maybe 20% lighter. Also shoots HD video, and accepts SDXC memory cards. So I’m going to sell my D80 on ebay or whatever.

Anyway, look into the Canon T2i. It’s a very very slick camera. If you get the kit lens (18-55) also at least get the 50mm f/1.8 lens too. You will love it (and it’s cheap — if you are just trying to burn money get the 50mm f/1.4 instead).

I just picked up a Canon S90. It’s a compact camera, but it has an amazing lens and a lot of the same features as an SLR. Definitely worth checking out.


Actually with the type styling and shooting pictured in those 2 links, you can’t NOT get the prime lens. just saying. ;)

I love my Canon Rebel but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert photographer! The thing I love the most is the speed of it. I have a little one who is always on the move and I got so tired of missing those action shots. I’ve since learned to love it for other reasons and I think you will too! Good luck with your purchase.


I have the Nikon D60, which has now been replaced by the Nikon D3000. It is the entry level of the Nikons but it really has taken my photography to the next level…I am even being commisioned for photoshoots, which was never part of the plan but really cool. Just bear in mind the costs associated with additional lenses etc.

Depends on your budget. The entry level DSLR’s from Canon is really good but just as Jay says, you need to invest on prime lenses. The nifty-fifty (50mm 1.8) Best bang for your buck prime and the 100mm 2.8 Macro is great for those close-ups!

If you have some spare cash to spend, you can also look at the micro four-thirds cameras. I have the Panasonic GF-1 with the 20mm 1.7 pancake lens and it’s AWESOME. Very compact (like the Canon G11) but with the versatility of changing lenses.

Best of luck on your camera hunt!


Nikon all the way!

Nikon d60. I love it! It takes great photos, while still being relatively simple for an amateur to use. My only complaint is that it lacks a video option.

It depends on how much you’re looking to spend. For around $500 you can get a Canon G10/11. It’s closer to a p&s, but it’s a really great camera with tons of capabilities and mp’s. I have a Nikon D300, which I love, but it’s around $2000. I would suggest a middle ground of Nikon D90, which is a really great camera. I’ve also heard good things about the Canon 50D, but I’m a Nikon girl!!

Nikon D60 or its predecessor, the D40. I run a photo collective in NYC and work with about 150 very good amateur to professional photographers. Never have I ever heard a bad thing about starting off with a D40. They’re great: light-weight, powerful, and a great starting investment. Check out Ken Rockwell’s review for more: Review of the D40″!!


I just came across this blog, but thought I would chime in on the topic. I think the majority of dSLR users have either a Nikon or Canon camera. You really can’t go wrong with either brand. That said, to help you decide between the two, I would consider 2 factors.

1) Do you have any friends/family with a Nikon or Canon dSLR? For instance, if you have a couple of friends who have Canon cameras, you can use their experience to your advantage if you have any questions or need any recommendations on accessories (oh yes, you’ll be needing a lot of extras!). Also, you might be able to test out or swap lenses with them as an option.

2) My techie best friend advised me that before I make my purchase to go into an electronics store and physically hold the dSLR cameras both for weight and to test how it fits in my (tiny) hands. A specialty camera store is probably your best option because a big box store like Best Buy has bulky security devices attached to their cameras, which can make holding any camera awkward.

Personally, I’m a new owner of a Canon T1i and I’m very happy with our purchase. The Canon is very user-friendly. While the T1i does have HD video shooting capability, I’ve yet to use it and am not really sure if I ever will (although I do like the thought that I have it). If I do want to shoot video in the future, I think I would rather get a camcorder for that purpose. If we hadn’t gotten such a great deal on our T1i, I think we would have bought the Canon XSi to save a little money, which is also an excellent choice for a beginner. Good luck in your decision!

Gomushin Girl

Get the least expensive, most comfortable body for you, and sink your leftover cash into some good lenses, taking into account what you’re going to shoot, and under what conditions. I use the Nikon D60, which has a nice, small grip for my little lady hands, but invested in a good macro, 50mm, and wide angle lens.


I bought a Canon Rebel XSi a year and a half ago and it’s fantastic. I looked at Nikons but here’s what decided me against them: a) weight. Canon’s are significantly lighter than Nikons and I found the Nikons too big and bulky for my smallish hands. Of course, YMMV. b) auto-focus. Nikons below the D80 level don’t have the AF motor built into the camera, so when you buy certain lenses, they won’t auto-focus (like the 50 mm). Now that may have changed with the D3000, but it’s certainly still true of the D60 and D40. I didn’t want to have to pick and choose which lenses I could use based on whether or not they have AF built-in – a lot of Nikon lenses don’t.

Gomushin Girl

Nikon now makes lens, including a 50mm, that will autofocus with the models below D80 . . . they’re a bit pricy, but depending on what you’re shooting, you may not need auto-focus. If you’re photographing mostly still subjects, for example, you can pick up a very good used lens for a song. Besides, while auto-focus and all the rest is useful, there’s something to be said for working a camera on manual.