Beginner Just starting out.

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Rebecca
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#1
Hello everyone,

I'm a beginner and like I mean just born not got a clue about nothing so I'm looking for some advice. I've always fell in love with a good scenic view and wherever I go I'll take pictures on my phone. A number of people said why not get into photography properly considering I enjoy it but with work and a busy life I've never really thought about it so now I'm giving myself the kick and diving in.

I've a whole lot to learn and was hoping I could get some advice on the things I'd need to know and look into so I can become half decent. Looking for a teacher haha.

What's the best camera for a beginner?

Thanks ☺️
 
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droj
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#2
What's the best camera for a beginner?
There's no 'best' one. Especially since it hasn't gelled yet exactly what you want to do.

Maybe first choose a price point, then review the options. It's a bit like that old party game, pinning the tail on the donkey. Then what's a camera (with lens) like in the hand, and what's it like to look through? Balanced with portabilty ...
 
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Andrew Cliffe
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#3
All modern cameras are good, but a beginner will often need a twin lens zoom kit - a wider angle zoom and a longer range zoom. Then its experiment, learn, critique, repeat until your interests pull you in a more specific direction and then start upgrading equipment. Handle some cameras, see what you like the feel and use of.
 
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droj
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#5
The modern digital camera tends to have an absolute labyrinth of dials, buttons, menus, modes and settings. It can seem like too many choices, and be hard to get to grips with them all.

For general purposes, aperture priority mode is a useful default (where you choose the aperture). Look up 'exposure triangle'.

Here's a handy tutorial that touches on some basic principles ...


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUtlZ3sahz8
 
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1,373
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Chris
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#6
The best camera for a beginner is one that's cheap enough that you don't mind giving it away when you've found out what kind of camera you really want. Its cost is part of the price of your education. But you do have to decide what kinds of photography interest you. A good camera for photographing sports may not be much good for photographing jewellery, and vice versa.
 
OP
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Rebecca
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#7
I'm more interested in landscape than anything. It's the idea of being able to capture the beauty of the world.

Appreciate the comments guys!
 
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Phil
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#8
There isn’t a camera that won’t work to take pictures.

Unfortunately newbies to everything believe they need ‘the best...’ because they don’t understand what they do need.

What’s the best car for a learner?
What’s the best TV channel?
What’s the best shoes?

Your ‘first’ camera will be exactly that, it’ll not be important in a years time, because you’ll have either moved onto another hobby, or learned enough to choose the right camera for you. As it stands, you cant answer any of the questions that would get you some specific advice.

So as above, don’t spend a fortune, have a feel at a few in the shop, buy second hand so you lose very little money, and get practicing.
 
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Rebecca
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#9
Yeah was just meaning getting an idea of buying something that is half decent to start. You've all been really helpful so I'll have a feel and see how things go. Hopefully leaning what I'm looking for.

All been very appreciated ☺️
 
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#10
Hello everyone,

I'm a beginner and like I mean just born not got a clue about nothing so I'm looking for some advice. I've always fell in love with a good scenic view and wherever I go I'll take pictures on my phone. A number of people said why not get into photography properly considering I enjoy it but with work and a busy life I've never really thought about it so now I'm giving myself the kick and diving in.

I've a whole lot to learn and was hoping I could get some advice on the things I'd need to know and look into so I can become half decent. Looking for a teacher haha.

What's the best camera for a beginner?

Thanks ☺️
As others have said, there's no "best" camera, only what's best for you, and that will depend on a lot of things. The route I took, when moving from a compact point and shoot was to get a bridge camera with a big zoom as that was primarily why I wanted to upgrade. The bridge camera has given me the opportunity to learn how to use the manual settings to get the picture more how I want it rather than rely on Auto, but without the need to learn all about which lenses you need to get or anything like that. I've now reached the limits of the camera for what I want to do, but I'll know when I do go to a proper DSLR I'll have more idea of what I'm looking for and will have a relatively easy learning curve when it comes to finding out about lenses, etc. I'm sure some will advise you to go straight for the DSLR, but the bridge camera has been great for me to learn on, and discover just how much I'd use it, how into photography I'd get and what type of photography I'd enjoy the most and want to focus on before handing over a few hundred quid for a decent camera and lenses.
 
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Graham
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#11
There isn’t a camera that won’t work to take pictures.

Unfortunately newbies to everything believe they need ‘the best...’ because they don’t understand what they do need.

What’s the best car for a learner?
What’s the best TV channel?
What’s the best shoes?

Your ‘first’ camera will be exactly that, it’ll not be important in a years time, because you’ll have either moved onto another hobby, or learned enough to choose the right camera for you. As it stands, you cant answer any of the questions that would get you some specific advice.

So as above, don’t spend a fortune, have a feel at a few in the shop, buy second hand so you lose very little money, and get practicing.
Could not agree more with this. Great advice.
 
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Alan
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#12
If the OP comes back she may get a chuckle out of this...

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/letter-to-george.html

And in the spirit of that I'd recommend the Sony A7III with 35mm f2.8 (or wait for the 35mm f1.8 to come out) and 85mm f1.8. That'll be a rather expensive little package but maybe George or anyone in that position should give it serious thought given the alternative learning and spending process :D

But maybe the learning buying journey is worth it :D
 
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Tony
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#13
If the OP comes back she may get a chuckle out of this...

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/letter-to-george.html

And in the spirit of that I'd recommend the Sony A7III with 35mm f2.8 (or wait for the 35mm f1.8 to come out) and 85mm f1.8. That'll be a rather expensive little package but maybe George or anyone in that position should give it serious thought given the alternative learning and spending process :D

But maybe the learning buying journey is worth it :D
Funny and also uncannily true!!

Also, once you 'invest' in a brand it is very hard to then switch without loosing lots of money!

T
 
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Richard
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#14
I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Ive posted on a few forums too. As I don't Particularly want to do much / if any post processing many have recommended fuji for its great jpeg images. Sadly i have no idea what fuji to look for. Guess its all price dependant at first
 
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Phil
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#15
I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Ive posted on a few forums too. As I don't Particularly want to do much / if any post processing many have recommended fuji for its great jpeg images. Sadly i have no idea what fuji to look for. Guess its all price dependant at first
Indeed it is.

If you’d never had a car, and wanted something to make a start on your driving career, any car built in the last 5 years should do all you need, so a 2014 Polo would be great, as would a brand new BMW 5 series.
 
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Richard
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#17
I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Ive posted on a few forums too. As I don't Particularly want to do much / if any post processing many have recommended fuji for its great jpeg images. Sadly i have no idea what fuji to look for. Guess its all price dependant at first
The Fuji XT-100 is a great beginners camera. My wife bought one recently and for £500 including a little kit lens it's great. It has a viewfinder and has most of the buttons and dials a proper camera needs. Can I ask why you don't want to do any processing? This is just as important as taking the actual photo in the first place.
 
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Richard
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#19
Can I ask why you don't want to do any processing? This is just as important as taking the actual photo in the first place.
Honestly, as I work in IT, I don't want to be sat editing at a screen as thats where I spend my working day. Also photography is also intended to get me out the house more as id like to photograph wildlife, landscape, flowers, colourful things
 
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Alan
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#20
Honestly, as I work in IT, I don't want to be sat editing at a screen as thats where I spend my working day. Also photography is also intended to get me out the house more as id like to photograph wildlife, landscape, flowers, colourful things
I know where you're coming from. I worked in computers and wider electronics for years and even now I have very much a love/hate relationship with tech and I'm mostly sick of it but... if you shoot raw and process the pictures for best effect you can/uaually/very often get a better result than you'd get from a jpeg, if you go looking for the differences.

Shooting raw needn't mean spending a long time staring at the pc. You can load presaved setting and batch process and if you want to tweak every picture or just 1% of them you can. I normally load presaved settings and then just do a quick check and if I need to spend more time on a picture it's usually less than a minute for stuff like straightening the horizon. cloning out a piece of rubbish etc.

It's worth thinking about, maybe not now but at some point in the future.
 
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#21
Fuji mirrorless are great if you only want JPEG, the auto white balance is extremely good and you have live exposure preview so you get high keeper rate IMO.

If that makes sense to a beginner, not sure
 
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#22
I would think more about which lenses you would like to shoot with. Figure out what you'd like to shoot, landscapes, portraits, travel photos, etc. Looks at which camera systems have the lenses that you want, where you can get the best bang for your buck.
 

sirch

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Chris
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#23
The Photography show at the NEC is coming up in the middle of March, if you can hold off that long it may be worth going there and getting hands on.

As have been mentioned lenses tend to tie you into a particular vendor more than the camera body but the thing I would urge you to do some research on is sensor sizes. Again there is no "best" sensor size but the three common sizes, Micro four thirds (MFT), APS and Full Frame (FF) all have pros and cons. In a nutshell the bigger the sensor the bigger lens and bigger lenses are often more expensive. But then a bigger sensor gets you lower noise and shallower depth of field at a given f-stop.
 
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Mike
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#25
The defacto start-point is an entry model DSLR..... Then you have choice between Nikon, Cannon and 'Other Makes', and chucked into that conundrum, is the 'mirror-less' question, championed by Olympus and the 'Micro-Four-Thirds; aficionados, with MFT and mirrorless cameras now oft offered by incumbent Nikon/Cannon.... but.... starting out in 'enthusiast' photography, the entry level Nikon/Canon offerings DO take some beating, and you have to either be a bit clued up, or prepared to get clued up pretty quick to choose else-where... so THAT is where I would suggest you start.

As has been said, on the technology front, pretty much any 'digital' made in the last five to even ten years, is probably far 'better' than you really 'need' to get going. ~(And since we managed to get going in years before digital? It could be said that ANYTHING will; get you going! Even a 50p 'toy' film camera from a charity shop! But still)

Just for illustration; about five years ago, my daughter elected to take photography at school for O-Level. She's gone on and taken that through A-Level, and into university, so pretty much the full range of amateur to professional, with the highest levels of academic in the middle.

Her enthusiasm, was started, I suppose, because I bought my first 'Digital' camera about 2003-ish, when she was still a pre-school terror... I used 'Serious' film cameras, and the wigi-pact of that era was not particularly 'serious', but dead easy to point-and-press use, I could chuck it at a tear-away toddler to go 'play' with, and stay out of my hair... when I still had some.... and was pigging around with f-stops and focus and everything else, pretty much making a meal of the deal..... mean-while, she progressed through camera-phones when that was the 'must have' play-ground accessory of primary school, to a more sophisticated digi-compact, 'for school trips and holidays and stuff' as she went up to High-School.... A-N-D ultimately elected to take the subject for exams.....

WHERE, for the first year, she was frustrated, at the teacher, in her words NOT teaching her any 'real' photography, because all they seemed to do, was go snap away with their camera-phones, and play with them in photo-shop on the computer..... and I recall a lot of rants about "Health and Safety Audits' and not being allowed to do much more than go look for squirrels in the trees on the school soccer pitch... but still..... her main 'gripe' was that she didn't get to play with 'fancy' cameras like mine.... (that still mostly took FILM! lol) BUT, cutting through a lot of play-ground politics, ACTUALLY, she was learning a LOT of good photography, and top of the lesson list IS that it AINT all about the camera...... and it wasn't until almost her second year of O-Level, that I bought her a 2nd hand, entry Level DSLR, a Nikon D3100, as it happens, mainly so she had compatibility with my batteries and lenses, and that camera has pretty much taken her to university.... that was five years ago, and it weren't brand new even then....

Lesson number one: Before learning to play 'settings' you NEED to learn to LOOK!
Its good photographers that make good photo's NOT more expensive cameras.

A-n-d.. you can do an awful lot with a humble camera-phone, so don't get your expectations up, and don't chuck the baby out with the bath-water, thinking that some-how a more expensive, more dedicated camera will revolutionise your photography. If you hunt around threads on here, or on flikr groups or elsewhere on the web, you will find some stunning photo's people have made with a camera-phone.... you just need the 'eye' to start with, and the small know-how to make the most of it.

Which begs the next bit of lore; WHY do yo think you need a new camera or bit of camera kit.... what does what you have now NOT let you do?..... and again, there's more than a good chance that what you 'think' that the camera wont let you do, ISN'T the camera, but your know how to exploit it and use it and if needed 'make' it do what you want.

Back to good photographers vs expensive cameras, and if not entirely able to dodge 'Gadget Acquisition Syndrome' and falling into the forever trap of always falling for the hype of the latest must have techno-wonder on offer in the shop...... at least being aware of it!

But back to top, and where to start. Already alluded to what I bought daughter, five years ago; a then, I think 3-year old 'entry-level' DSLR from Nikon, which has far more capability than 'enough' to tyake her through the full gamut of academia photography, and from the amateur rankings, towards making a living from it with the 'Pros'!

Main 'features' of the entry level DSLR is that they are first, SLR's, the kind of 'fancy-camera' with interchangeable lenses, my daughter expected to play with when she was 14, BUT, aimed at absolute beginners, they generally have all the automation and easement of more 'sophisticated' and expensive offerings.... BUT which you can 'switch off'.....

I use a Nikon D3200 Digital SLR, which is another 'entry' level camera. I bought that, just a little before Daughter started her O-Levels, and daughter insisting that she 'had' to borrow it for her 'home-work' and finding it in the bath-room surrounded by puddles where she had been bursting balloons full of water in close proximity to its sensitive electronics, I have to admit, WAS not small factor in my decision to buy her her own DSLR.... but still. Six or whatever years on, from 'new' I have little motivation to run out and buy the 'latest' must have 'upgrade' DSLR... that camera pretty much does everything I want it to, and an awful lot I never do......

Which brings me to the "Pro's go Manual" mantra so often bandies about. Yeah, well, my entry level DSLR has completely manual 'settings', I can choose to use, over-riding the automation. I rarely do, though... I did not spend umpety hundreds of quid on an all singing all dancing, automatic electric-picture-maker to turn ALL that 'off'.... and use it like I might my old clock-work Zenit film camera! If I want that sort of 'faff' I may as well slap some film in the old Zenit! Which begs mention of another niggle with the "Go Manual" mantra, in that there is a nice, easily identified 'M' or 'Manual' setting on the dial of the EPM, which begs you do have to manually select your own shutter-speeds and apertures, same as with the old Zenit.... BUT... its only 1/3 the story.... that 'setting' is on the 'exposure mode' dial, and all using it is doing is turn 'off' the coupling between the cameras internal meter and the aperture and shutter speed settings, and leave you to cock-them-up for yourself, rather than letting the programming of a silicon chip more often likely get them 'right' for you.... you are still, most often, relying on the cameras internal exposure meter, and even more often, making settings to 'balance' that meter reading, which at best, probably wont be far off what the electrickery would pick, anyway, an awful lot faster, with a heck of a lot less 'faff'.... and more... its only going 'manual' on the exposure settings! As hintimated, you are not metering manually, and you almost certainly aren't focusing manually.... leaving the Auto-Focus switched on....

However, even 'entry-level' DSLR's will let you do this, and 'over-ride' automation, to use it more like a traditional old film camera, with as much or as little 'manual' user involvement as you want or deem necessary..... and many, unfortunately DO seem to think that this is the major bit of being a photographer, and twiddling buttons and dials... not SEEING pictures, as you want them to be seen.

But, point is, with pretty much ALL the automation and versatility of interchangeable lenses built in to them, entry level DSLR's will let you either, leave all the automation switched 'on' and pretty much use them as a big point-and-press, like a camera-phone... OR turn as much or as little of it off as you like, to play settings....... This is what makes them useful for the beginner.... you can use them either way, or anywhere in the middle.

Onto lenses.

This is the 'big' and obvious difference between a DSLR and a Camera phone or compact. They usually have interchangeable lenses. And I have mentioned the incumbent Nikon and Cannon offerings, because, when it comes to DSLR's, this 'feature' is the one that most often inspires. And, in that 'game' the number of lenses that are available in Nikon or Cannon 'fit', either from Nikon or Canon themselves, or third party lens makers such as Sigma or Tameron, among others, is enormous. Not only is there an enormous number of lenses on offer, holding something like 80% of the market between them, the lenses on offer, not only are more often available, they are often better priced too.;

Hence IF you want to move on from the 'interest' in photography, with a consumer camera-phone, into 'hobby-photography', going with one of the incumbent Canon or Nikon DSLR's, offers pretty much the whole range of what you might want in a camera, but more, there are plenty of them, there are plenty using them, the advice and expertise to 'learn' with one is very very available and 'easy', as well as lenses and other accessories, IF you decide to have a dabble.

Not knocking MFT or Mirrorless.... or 'bridge' cameras, b-u-t..... what the heck... I'm gonna knock'em!

There are, especially second hand, an awful lot of a apparent bargains in the MFT 'world'. And its possible to buy a pretty high end camera, with a bag full of alternative lenses and accessories, for as little as an entry level DSLR.... there's oft good reason for this, and the big one is that there really isn't the range of alternative lenses on offer for them, and what there may be, is probably rather expensive, and the seller of the MFT kit, has probably decided its 'cheaper' to switch system completely to get a lens they really want, than buy it in MFT fit..... IF they do what you want, great, but they are probably making life harder for you in the long-run, as a starting point. Especially when it comes to that know-how on the ecact make and model and situation you would like advice over.

Bridge Cameras? In the show-room, are often sold with a lot of hype, that as an 'all in one' camera with umpety times zoom, built in, its ALL the lenses you might ever want, in your hand, nothing else required..... simply? No! No they are not! They achieve enormous 'equivalent' zoom ranges, normally by dint of a very very small 'micro-sensor' and the enormous amount of 'zoom' they offer, perhaps 20, 30 or even 50x, might seem very very good, b-u-t...... even at a mere 20x 'zoom' the equivalent focal length to a 35mm or full-frame camera, is around 500mm, which is an awful lot, and if you had a full-frame camera, probably not a length of lens many would want. let-alone use very often. Meanwhile, for all the oft unnecessary 'zoom' they offer at the narrow-end, they probably don't go all that 'wide' very often, and most will start 'fairly; high on the scale, at an equivalent 'zoom' to perhaps 25mmm which is pretty much in the 'normal' territory for 35mm/full-frame, where a 27-80mm lens, covering the 'normal' angle lens length of 50mm, on 35mm/FF., is the more usual 'kit' lens that comes with the camera, and equivilent to about the 18-55mm lens that normally comes as standard with most APS-C sensor sized 'entry-level' DSLR's, so while these cameras offer an awful lot of probably unneeded 'telephoto' zoom, they don't offer anything beneath that, on the wide-side, you would more likely want for 'landscape' photography, and you cant change the lens! Some do have a lot of DSLR like automation 'over-rides' and you can often go to manual exposure settings and stuff, but rarely can you manually focus with them, and you are stuck with that all-in-one lens.

SO, the entry-level DSLR's from Nikon/Canon, then are bang on the money for what they are intended. Beginners. They offer all the support by way of know-how and expertise that comes with either brand, plus the major chunk of any alternative lenses you may want to try or accessories you'd use, AND all of them available and affordable... and you'd likely find few niggles with them.

Go, get, go play, go learn... go from there. With that know-how and bit of camera savvy, the quirks of an MFT may suit you, and not be a problem, and you could get a bargain, and could exploit one pretty well. Alternatively, you might want to go 'Dull-Frame' and step up to a bigger sensor camera, and again you'd have the camera savvy, hopefully' you know what you were about, and why that might be a good move and what to expect from it. OR.... you find that you don't get into it all, or don't often get to exploit what you could from an SLR or more sophisticated camera, and a consumer 'bridge' may be as much as you really need or want, and still be conveniently 'more' than a camera-phone.... of you go back to a camera phone!

The entry level DSLR is then, exactly what it says on the box; your "entry" from which you might progress any way your interest develops, as you learn, the camera making that learning pretty much as easy and painless as it may, and opening more doors for you to explore than leaving barriers for you to try climbs.

Off the shelf in Argos of Curry's for under £500, new, and you are away. Searching second hand, you can get started for half that, or less, and start to explore all the options open in 'hobby' photography... IF you have a mind to......

But STILL, its down to YOU and your eye and your know-how, NOT the camera.

FWIW, the camera that has taken most of the 10's of 1000's of photo's I ever have, is an Olympus XA2 'compact'. Not actually my first, which I was given for my 11th birthday many decades ago, I wore that one out! But, lovely little 'compact' film camera, that is point-and-press easy to use, and mostly is used that way. Despite all the 'fancy' cameras cluttering up the shelves, despite how much they may have cost, in years past, THAT little camera (or at least a another, working example!), with a fixed lens, and probably about as much, if that, user twidle-ability, as a camera phone..... IS more often STILL what is in my pocket, and probably more often than the 'phone' which is probably left at home, cos I cant find it, or on charge in the car, 'cos the battery is flat... a-gain....

Like I said, its NOT the camera, its what you do with it, and more, what you KNOW how to do with it. And starting out? Wanting to learn more? Tjem entry level DSLR's can get you going, and take you as far as you might want to go after, and make that journey as easy as it can be, and only as hard as you want to make it!

Choice really comes down to what's in the shop, and which you like more; Nikon or Canon.... go try, play, fiddle, and see which you like best. Personally I prefer the Nikon, it's more intuitive to me to use, with most stuff on a dial like my old film cameras, rather than hidden in an obscure menu that takes twenty button prods to find, like a mobile-phone.... but.... go try, see what you preffer.... but that's the answer... an entry level Nikon or Canon.... new or used.... what's your budget, and how much of it do you want to splurge?
 
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Phil
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#26
The defacto start-point is an entry model DSLR.....
Christ knows what the rest of that waffle says, but your opening premise couldn’t be more wrong.
Entry level DSLR’s are made for the camera industry, not for photographers.
They’re more difficult to use than mid level cameras, rather than easier, purely designed to create an upgrade path.
 
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#27
Christ knows what the rest of that waffle says, but your opening premise couldn’t be more wrong.
Entry level DSLR’s are made for the camera industry, not for photographers.
They’re more difficult to use than mid level cameras, rather than easier, purely designed to create an upgrade path.
Totally disagree.

My first DSLR was the Canon 350D which I finally selected after checking reviews on line and going to the shop (Jessops) to check the viewfinder etc.

Since I had been a pro 'Tog many years ago I knew what I wanted in general but not the specific camera.

I wanted interchangeable lenses, through the lens viewing with a good screen, good noise levels, decent MP size.

And finally settled on the 350D which I used for 5 years until I felt it was time to move on - then a 450D for about 18 months then finally the 1Ds MkII.

What I learned was that a really good lens or lenses was more important than the actual camera - but my skills were the most important of all.

And that it was possible to get excellent results with quite modest equipment if you knew what you were doing.

Nowadays it doesn't matter to me what camera I have because the advent of new programs incorporating AI mean that the 350D can provide larger image sizes than more expensive models and it is now possible to get almost noise free photos from such a camera.

What is becoming more important is the power of the computer you will be using to edit your photos.

But as always the one thing which has never changed - your skill levels and a commitment to get the best photos you can.

And never stop learning.
 
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Phil
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#28
Feel free; But the rest of the complete b****x you posed about AI puts a definite value on your opinion ;)

Completely worthless :LOL:

In fact the rest of your post bore no relation whatsoever to the points I raised about ‘entry level’ cameras, so what exactly are you disagreeing with? Not with anything that I posted ;)
 
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#29
Feel free; But the rest of the complete b****x you posed about AI puts a definite value on your opinion ;)

Completely worthless :LOL:

In fact the rest of your post bore no relation whatsoever to the points I raised about ‘entry level’ cameras, so what exactly are you disagreeing with? Not with anything that I posted ;)
I'm sorry you don't understand it but I was actually addressing the OP who asked about the best camera for a beginner and I tried to answer.
 
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