questionswhats the best slr for the best price?


i'm seriously looking at the pentax k-x. It seems to be the best bang for the buck right now on high feature entry level dslr cameras. Go to and they have review matrixes on a lot of the latest cameras.


Canon Rebels are great, and there's a ton of lenses for them everywhere.


Any thoughts on the Nikon D90? Where to get the best price? What lens do I need? Thanks


Though everyone here is probably going to start singing about canon or nikon right away (which are fantastic companies, don't get me wrong -- my little powershot point-n-shoot is top rate), I must put in props for Olympus. My e-510 is an OUTSTANDING camera and was the only camera, when released, to ever out-rate the comparable canon at the the time (the rebel xti) and was a couple hundred less. They're definitely worth looking into if you really want to explore all of your options in the dslr world. The only reason olympus isn't as big as canon or nikon is because they don't really advertise. Though I will admit the only drawback is you're a little more limited with lenses than canon or nikon..........


Although, b&h ( has some real steals on Canon DSLR starter kits and bundles that come with all sorts of accessories. Olympus sometimes does too if you know where to look. I wound up getting my camera body and 2 lenses (14-42 and 40-150mm zoom lenses) for just under a grand.


+1 to the Pentax K-x, but if you want to skip to the pro-level features for low price, I say skip the k-x and go straight to the Pentax k-7. An alternative is to go with the older Pentax K20D which holds its own against the other cameras as well - with the exception of not having Video.

Your needs will ultimately dictate what kind of SLR you should look in to. Both Canon and Nikon lenses will set you back substantially if you go image stabilized route.


Simple advice from a wedding & portrait photographer is to go beyond the Canon Rebel or Nikon D3000 series. Get into the prosumer cameras and you will be much happier in the long run. Personally, I'd go with a Canon 50D or Nikon D90 right now as a beginner SLR. You get a lot of your manual controls out on the buttons and dials, rather than having to navigate electronic menus to get there. The cameras have much better intelligence built into them, too, so your exposures will be far better than the entry level SLRs.

Happy hunting! You're about to enter an addicting world with limitless upgrades.


I have been a film photography hobbyist for thirty+ years. Develop and print in my own darkroom, etc. I was ALWAYS a Pentax guy. So when it came time to move to DSLR, I researched the heck out of all the brands. The one I kept coming back to was Canon, a brand I despised for reasons I cannot recall. I ended up buying an XS kit with an 18-55mm Image stabilized (IS) lens, and a 70-300mm non-IS lens. I added a 55-250mm IS lens to the purchase. The whole lot set me back $729.00 shipped from Abe's of Maine. Their reviews were not the best, but the transaction went smoothly, but took about two weeks. I then sold the 70-300 on ebay for 115.00, thus giving me a great setup for just over six beans. Add in a couple haze filters and a circular polarizing filter for a total under 650.00. Have not been disappointed. Great camera, fits a mans hands (unlike some of the lower Nikons made more for soccer moms)plastic body is lightweight.


Some say the XSi is better because it has more megapixels (12mp vs 10mp for XS). However, the chip is the same size, so there are more sensors packed onto an already crammed chip. They actually seem less sensitive on my cousins XSi. Remember, a good photographer can always take better photos on inferior equipment than a novice on top of the line stuff. IMHO.


Your question cannot be answered. What do you plan on shooting? Low light? Fast action? Portrait? Landscape?

Look beyond the camera. The camera will die, the lenses you buy will live on. You are really buying into the lenses. I have shot most brands and currently have chosen Canon due to their extensive line of lenses. You have many aftermarket choices and I love the Tamron 2.8 28-75 I have as an all purpose lens.

The high end cameras have "full size" sensors and the smaller ones have a 3/4 size sensor if I recall. See for technical details.

What this really kills is wide angle and helps zoom. You will find more and more that wide angle is a lot harder to obtain than zoom with good wide angle lenses costing more than good zoom lenses.

The rebels are a great entry level SLR that do not disappoint. They give you a great starting point for a reasonable price to find out what is important to you.


I like referring people to adorama's refurbished cameras. Most of them come with an Adorama 1 year warranty, and their warranty service is top notch from what I have heard. Check out this Canon 40D with a 28-135 image stabilization lens. I think its a great starter kit if you want to get serious later on. The Rebel series is nice, but they feel like a toy to me.


I just want to put out a word of warning for anyone looking for great deals on cameras: Watch out for bait-and-switch operations! If the price looks too good to be true, it is. You'll end up getting a call that the camera you bought doesn't come with a battery that's $80 extra, or it doesn't come with a warranty, or some such crap.

I order just about everything camera-related from B&H. They always have a competitive price and are extremely reliable.


@poundcake: Abe's of Maine FTW! Love that place. I even got my office when they needed to buy a high end Canon EOS and they got it for hundreds less than anywhere else was offering it.


I agree with the person that mentioned olympus and the person that said you are really buying into a system (lenses). The zuiko lenses are really top notch, from their standard grade to their super high grade. The standard grade lenses are better than the competition in sharpness and contrast, and are stabilized with almost any new Olympus DSLR body, since the stabilization is in body, not in lens. The higher grade lenses perform in such a way that you couldn't really ask for more. The system can cover from 14mm-->1200mm EFL with only a few lenses. THe kit lenses (14-42 and 40-150) are the best kit lenses sold by any company, and they cover 28-300mm

With that said, go to the store, try them out and see what fits your hand and style better.

Due to the reasons above, I ended up with an olympus e-620 over a Nikon D60. I wanted something small, and the Olympus just felt right, and had great lenses.

Basically any DSLR you buy today is really going to be a great performer though.


@OldElvis: I played with about three Rebel XT's when I was in college and they were great. The one thing I know that canons have problems is that the red on them is slightly off. At least they used to, not sure about the newer ones.


That's a general of a question. What are your needs? Low-light, fast action, landscape, weatherproof... all are features that come at a price. in fact, an advanced point-and-shoot such as a Canon G11 might even suit you.

You might consider a used camera for a good deal. Older models might not have all the newest features but they still can do a great job (Actually a film SLR would be an even better price if you don't shoot much).


For a DSLR that will grow with you for a decade, I'd go Nikon or Canon. Both manufacturers make great cameras and in most cases the lenses you buy will work if you buy a newer or fancier body later.

Personally, I use a Nikon D200 and the pictures it can take still exceed my skills as an amateur photographer.

For instance, I shot this photo from a moving boat, at a moving boat, at long range zoomed. Took it in Vietnam in a floating vegetable wholesale market.

(photo was resized and watermarked in a photo editing program)


Nikon D5000 or D90. Awesome bang for the buck. While you're at it, pick up the 50mm 1.8 lens on the cheap and get some really pro looking images! Cheap lens, incredible look and value. Many pro sources have voted the Nikon D90 the best in many categories. Just for reference, I'm a pro who shoots with nikon D700's and D3s.


How does sensor-based stabilization stack up?

I was looking at the Sony Alpha because I had the understanding that you didn't need to get expensive lenses (with VC built in; still pricey glass, but I have a few K-mount adapters from my 35mm Pentax days).

But I hate Sony. And I'd like video (shooting with my Kodak 1280is is a hoot, but I hate it's low-light noise and that it quits after 29 minutes of recording)....

Anybody use DSLR-esque cameras for video?
How'd it go?


Grab a few grains of salt and check out - he has strong opinions. Essentially they boil down to Nikon or Canon and mostly for the reasons others have mentioned - you're buying the system. The lenses you get will have a lot more to do with the quality of your pictures than the camera you hook them up to.

I followed his recommendation and bought a D40. It came with a terrific 18-55mm lens ($459 for the package i think) and I picked up a 55-200 VR ($150 ??) to go with it.

If you're really looking for a deal, you might consider picking up a film SLR. I got one on Craigslist for $25 - came with two lenses and a case. And film still gives much higher quality pictures than digital.

I've been happy with it and I've gotten some terrific shots. I'm looking to pick up a used 50mm 1.8 lens to get better low-light shots.


@md1088: You are correct. I have had my Olympus DSLR for about three years now. Sturdy and robust the camera is better operationally than any of the mainstream cameras. You can buy lens adapters and use other lenses but for the most part that is the ONLY complaint about the camera. If that is it then save some money and purchase one. Take the money you would have spent on the more expensive Cannon or Nikon and get another lens..


@commodog: I did a lot of research before I bought my Nikon (D60). The only reason I opted for the Nikon instead of a Pentax (K-something or other) was the feel. I just found it uncomfortable. Otherwise, I thought it gave excellent bang for the buck.


Never go wrong with a Nikon!


My suggestion, even though I own a Canon XSi and love it, is to go to the store and see how the camera feels in your hands and how it operates. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony are all going to have good cameras, so figure out what you like and go with it. You're not going to enjoy shooting pictures if you don't like how the camera works.

I have the XSi, its kit lens (the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS) and a Sigma 30mm 1.4. Eventually I want to get a 70-200mm tele, but those are pricey.


I am a Canon user and I am quite satisfied, but I started with many Canon lenses.

A useful comparison is background noise. This is equivalent to film grain but in a different way. ( graphs noise in their camera reviews.)

If you often shoot in "available darkness" instead of "available light" (a childs performance on stage) you will find that stretching the performance to get an acceptable image becomes a little more of a problem.

Otherwise, you can almost go by price alone, provided (here are my rules) it is a real camera company (Sony did buy the camera assets of Konica Minolta), and there are an acceptable range of lenses without relying on an outside vendor. (In other words; what Canon lenses are availble for the Canon body though other companies make compatible lenses.)

Are there exceptions to this rule, certainly, but a manufacturers committment to their brand shows up in the range of accessories and lenses that are available.

Just my 2 cents.


Canon Tsi has the most features for the money IMO. CMOS chip equipped for $200 less than Nikon. Live View mode and is easy to use if your a Newbie to DSLR'S. I Love mine and researched for months before purchasing it.


I just bought a Nikon D5000 and love it! But I would suggest seeing what your friends are shooting with. Because if you have the same brand as them, you can swap and share your gear. Also, if you currently have a 35mm SLR, you should stick with the same brand so you can reuse your old lenses.


The Mercedes SLR. It is a wonderful automobile.


Just purchased the Canon T1i w/the kit lens. Good deals can be found, even at the usual big retailers (amazon, etc.), as this camera has just begun being discounted down to around $700, possibly for the holidays.

Lots of new/used lenses available, passable video, decent learning camera for a first time DSLR user.


The point really is that it depends on what you want to do. As a photographer, I think most people are over-equipped when it comes to their cameras. The learning curve is too steep. If you aren't using all of the options on your point-and-shoot, you're probably not ready for a DSLR. Too many people buy them then end up shooting full-auto and don't understand why they are getting lousy shots. The important thing is to know the equipment you are working with. Buy literature (field books) to research what you're working with.

That being said, as a photojournalist, a Nikon D90 with a Promaster 18-200mm lens has suited me well in every situation I've encountered.


I'm a Nikon fan from my days as a 35mm shooter. Really there's not a lot of difference between going with Nikon and Canon. If you have a Nikon or Canon already, the lens are interchangeable, and you can save money that way. I also appreciate user support communities like that of Ken Rockwell's (

To save some cash you could go with the D80, a few years old, but a fabulous pro-sumer camera. Check out Ken's website for reviews on bodies and lens in the Nikon family.

I hope that helps!


Does anyone have any experience with the Lumix Panasonic DMC FZ18?


If you're talking film, the best deals will be found at flea markets and thrift stores. I found and bought a ten year old cannon rebel a couple years back and it still takes the most phenomenal pictures. Then last year I found a zoom lens for it, camera and lens all for under 100 dollars. It's the only way I've been able to afford this hobby.

Digital is obviously another story though since the technology keeps getting better.


i am a big fan of the nokin d40 or d40x for first time dsl buyers...


@md1088: Abe's of Maine is great. Good deals that you can trust.


@commodog: I have several Pentax (non-digital) bodies and multiple Pentax lenses. They are all excellent. Every lens Pentax has ever made, including the ones for its medium format models will work on the new digital models.

Back when I bought my first digital SLR, Pentax didn't have a particularly high-end model, so I bought a Canon 20D and several lenses. But the image stabilized lenses are so expensive that I believe the new Pentax bodies are the way to go.

The K20D is on a par with the new K7, so I think it is a tossup. If you have to have video, go with the K7, otherwise save a few bucks and get an extra lens and get the K20D.

BTW, I've used Nikon's, Bronica's, the Kowa 6, Sony's, and many others over the years and if you stick with a top manufacturer it's hard to go wrong. The key to any camera is the lens.

Digital cameras are getting close to what you get with film and since most of the "low ASA" films are no longer available, it's hard to tell the difference anymore.


Will cast my vote for the Olympus E-520 two-lens kit. In-camera IS, Great kit lens optical quality, light and relatively compact. Pretty widely available, I'd start with Amazon.


@oarleaf: Great site, good organization, but no super deals on the D90, thanks


I actually got a better deal from Dell on my XSi with the kit (18-55) lens than I could from Amazon at the time and that was even including tax (delivery from both was free). You have to really watch the deals that people will post about. My wife loves her Canon and now I am trying to find a deal on a zoom lens. Help me people.


I agree with what has been said many times-- its not the camera its the photographer. A great photographer will get great shots with a crappy camera. With that premise Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Olympia, etc-- they will all give great pictures. Choose based on 1) Do I already have lenses that I can use or borrow? Good lenses can far out-cost the camera. I might note that because the lens of a Nikon camera sits closer to the sensor, you cannot get adapters that will allow it to correctly use other manufacturers stock lenses. 2) Does it have a feature set attuned to my liking? My Nikon D40 has a terrific menu system, for me, you may hate it. 3) Don't get caught up by megapixels. Unless you are making posters or billboards, you just can't buy a new camera with too poor a resolution.

Get a camera that you will use and love to use because it meets your needs. Focus on functionality not on brand or resolution.


Canon Rebel has worked for me - extremely durable - point and shoot when set to automatic.


Go with a starter kit from either canon or nikon - you can't go wrong and you can build up your lens collection from there. Bodies are surprisingly cheap once you have all your other kit, and you'll end up giving/selling your original kit to a family member who is so impressed by your pictures.


Canon Rebel XSi at Costco. Great deal and great camera!


Asking "What is the best camera" is tantamount to asking "What is the best operating system?" It is sure to start a flame war and the answer really is "it depends". I like canons, and managed to get a refurb off amazon for about $250. Keep checking amazon for the camera you decide to go with, and watch for refurb deals.