So, after these years, you decided to go for Digital SLR photography. You have $1000 to spend, and confused what to to buy. This post will help you on deciding what system to get.
There are many other essential accessories that you need to get. There are: memory card to store pictures, external flash, flash diffuser, camera bag and cleaning kit.
For memory card, I personally use 1 or two 4GB SD card, and they performs well. Look for reputable brand like Sandisk, Lexar or Kingston. Avoid generic one because they are not reliable. Most of the 4GB regular card cost less than $10 a piece.
For basic flash diffuser, I will suggest Stofen Omnibounce. This little plastic is small, cheap ($10-12) and lightweight but could make a great impact if used in certain condition (indoor with a lot of wall to bounce).
For camera bag, I suggest Canon 2400 SLR gadget bag even if you don’t shoot Canon. This basic bag is spacious and a lot cheaper than other bag with the same capacity.
Ok here are the main course, the camera, lens(es) and flash
Canon EOS starter system: (Approx. $915 with accessories above)
Positive: Best entry-level camera, packed with many features, low light lens
Negative: No telephoto zoom lens ($250 to get Canon 55-250mm IS telephoto lens)
Nikon starter system (Approx. $999)
Positive: Nice low light lens lens equivalent to standard focal length
Negative: Camera lack of features and lens compatibility, no telephoto zoom lens.
Sony system (Approx. $915)
- Sony A200 with 18-70mm f/3-5-5.6 lens and
- Sony 75-300mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens
- Sigma external flash
Positive: Telephoto zoom lens, standard kit lens has longer zoom, built-in stabilization
Negative: inferior flash, inferior kit lenses and camera lack of live view feature, no low light lens, and not so good in handling high iso images.
Pentax system (Approx $895)
- Pentax k-m or k2000 with DA 18-55mm f/3-5-5.6 lens and Flash
- Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens
Positive: Telephoto zoom lens, built-in stabilization
Negative: No low light lens, inferior flash
Olympus four thirds (4/3) system (Approx $915)
Positive: Built in stabilization, telephoto zoom lens, good kit lenses
Negative: No low light lens, noise handling is inferior
As you see, every system has its positives and negatives, but in my opinion, Canon starter set is the best because of the camera is packed by feature especially live view, 7 points auto focus and compatible with all Canon lenses. If you value telephoto zoom lens better than low light lens for wildlife, or sport, then Olympus or Pentax system might be the best choices.