Looking for a budget DSLR for beginners

planesguy2004

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Sep 7, 2016
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Hello! I am looking into getting a DSLR camera. I am a complete beginner when it comes to DSLRs, and honestly, know little about photography. I’d like to keep this around $200 and below, maybe $250. (Maybe I could look during Black Friday) I’ve been looking on B&H, Amazon, and reading articles but I’m still lost on comparing the different cameras. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Here are some features that I’d like to have:
Date/time stamp
Fast zoom
Mic input
Good for short video
Possibly have WiFi for an app
Rechargeable battery
Flash
Video out port (I’m guessing is standard?)

If my features are too much for my budget, please let me know..;)
Thanks in advance!

 

InvalidError

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May 18, 2007
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If you want a remotely decent DSLR, you are looking at ~$300 for the body only or ~$500 for a starter kit. Most kit lens are decent jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none that you may end up wanting to replace with a faster and/or sharper lens with different focal, zoom and aperture ranges, which is where you may end up spending another $300+.

I bought a Nikon D5300 a couple of years ago. While the camera itself is great, I am very disappointed with how much more expensive Nikon accessories tend to be compared to equivalent Cannon stuff, should have shopped for accessories I knew I'd be interested in before committing to a brand-specific ecosystem. Once you're $1000+ into a brand, switching becomes considerably more painful on the wallet.
 

cryoburner

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Oct 8, 2011
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That Rebel XT is quite an old model though, and probably does not meet most of the criteria they are looking for. It's definitely not "good for short video" since it doesn't even do video. : P

A recent model might cost more, but will do far more, be faster, take higher quality photos and video, and will have features that will be helpful for new SLR users. I haven't been following SLR camera releases much recently, but something like a refurbished Rebel T6 with 18-55 kit lens would undoubtedly be a far better option, for around $350...

https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Camera-18-55mm-3-5-5-6-Built/dp/B06XNTPN8C

Or you can find them new for around $100 more. You might be able to find better pricing for new, refurbished or used units on other sites as well, but pay attention to whether the camera comes with a bundled lens or not, otherwise you would need to spend more to get started. Also, there are undoubtedly good cameras from other companies around that price range as well. And you might also consider a "mirrorless" camera, which also have interchangeable lenses, but cut out the typical through-lens viewfinder found on traditional SLRs, in favor of more-compact dimensions while relying solely on the screen (or maybe an electronic viewfinder) for framing shots.

DPReview is a good site for thorough reviews of cameras, but be aware that most of the models they review are well above your budget, with many being targeted toward more professional use-cases...

https://www.dpreview.com/

And of course, just because a camera got a good review five or ten years ago doesn't mean its necessarily a good option now, even at a low price.
 

bicycle_repair_man

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Jan 10, 2014
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A Nikon camera for $300 is going to have exactly the same features and quality as any other brand in the same price bracket. The most important aspect of a camera is how intuitive it is, particularly when you're just starting out. My first DSLR, a Sony A270, had an on-screen guide so I could gauge how much of the shot would be in focus and what I needed to do to make the image sharp. That's trivial now, but it helped me to understand how a camera works.

As InvalidError said, when you buy a camera you're buying into an ecosystem and the more you buy into it the harder it is to switch to another brand.

My advice, go out and try some cameras for yourself.
 
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