DSLR Camera Recommendations

I wrote the following up for a friend and thought it would be useful to archive it more permanently here, in case anyone’s looking to get into digital photography. Prices are from Amazon as of 2/28/09. HTH.

1. Camera: I would recommend the Canon XSi — it’s a good mid-level camera — without any lenses (i.e. Body Only). Getting a cheaper model means you could spend a little more on the lens (see next item). If you need to upgrade the body later, you can (and can still use the nicer lens). == 1 Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12MP Digital SLR Camera (Black Body Only); $569.88

2. Lens: So you won’t have to change lenses all the time, I would recommend a good lens that has wide-angle, normal, and telephoto all in one. It’s expensive, but it’s a good lens and does everything you’d need (especially if you’re just starting out). YMMV. == 1 Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras; $595.00

3. UV filter: The lens (whichever one you get) is too expensive to leave unprotected from bumps and scratches. Get an inexpensive UV filter to go on the end and protect your real lens. == 2 (one for immediate use + 1 spare) Tiffen 72mm UV Protection Filter; $17.95 each

4. Memory Cards: There’s a guy at work who believes that you should have lots of smaller memory cards (e.g. 2GB) in case any of the cards are corrupt (partially or fully). I have more confidence that memory cards these days won’t have big problems, so suggest buying fewer but higher-capacity (e.g. 8GB) cards, so you won’t have to change cards around alot (each 8GB card holds hundreds of high-res pictures or thousands of low-res pictures). OTOH, if you loose one, you loose more pix. C’est la vie. == 4 Transcend 8 GB SDHC Class 6 Flash Memory Card TS8GSDHC6; $13.18 each

5. Extra batteries: Get a few extra batteries so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice. Go for the name-brand just so you won’t have to worry about quality == 2 Canon LP-E5 Battery Packs for Canon Digital Rebel XS & XSi Digital SLR Camera; $47.44 each

5. Bag: Gotta have something to hold the camera. == 1 Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent); $41.01

6. Flash: The built-in flash is good only for a few yards. This one is probably more than you’ll need — there’s a 430EX (not the “II”) that’s a good bit cheaper and might do what you need. == 1 Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras; $270.00

7. Battery Grip: Very useful for holding an extra battery and larger surface to hold the camera (better for guys with big hands 🙂 == 1 Canon BG-E5 Battery Grip for Canon XSi Digital SLR Cameras; $135.96

8. Rainsleeve: To protect the camera in rain. I don’t like the idea of trusting my nice camera to a garbage bag (which is what a lot of people use to protect their camera). It may work, but it seems disrespectful 😉 == 3 Op/Tech 18″ SLR Rainsleeve for Digital & Film Cameras with Lenses up to 7″ Diameter, 18″ Long; $5.99 each

X. Other stuff: tripod (~$80+ each) and/or monopod (~$45 each); quick release for monopod (~$35 each); circular polarizer (~$45 each), replacement/upgraded camera strap; etc…

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