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Again, my advice would be to go for quality. These cameras are more expensive anyway and you want one that will last and put up with a bit of knocking from your "getting creative in photography" moments! Once you have your advanced digital compact, don’t be swayed by latest upgrades, updates or releases. Get to know what you have, learn how to use it effectively and learn photography side of photography, not technical side.
Once you are happy with your progression and feel that you want to move on, be more in control and maybe even start to earn from photography, only then should you splash out and upgrade to a Digital SLR.
The Semi Professional Digital SLR or consumer DSLR is a fantastic thing in photography. Many of "die-hard" film photographers are seeing light and going digital. Many aspects of film are still widely used and will do for some time, as large format film photography produces absolute finest detail I have seen (at time of writing. In 2020, who knows?).
However, latest batch of Digital SLR's have now reached point where they match or out perform 35mm film. It is predicted that next year (2006) will be "boom time" for sales of DSLR's as quality increases and prices come down. There has never been a better or cheaper way to get into 35mm photography!
The BIGGEST thing to consider when buying a DSLR kit is to choose your brand loyalty. Look at Canon, Nikon, Konica-Minolta, Olympus, Kodak etc., and make your choice, why? As you progress and become more enthusiastic or serious, you will want to add more lenses to your kit. Wide angle, telephoto, zoom, macro, standard….there is a massive choice.
With way technology is going, you are much more likely to upgrade your camera than you are your lenses and it will be a lot cheaper to do so once you really get into this hobby, believe me! One decent lens in my kit cost €2,000 (£1400) alone. A decent lens will, with care, last you a lifetime. There is only a certain level of quality of glass you can obtain with optics so remember this point when buying your camera.
My choice? Canon. I used to work for Nikon and had a preference towards them, but nowadays all my kit is Canon. I feel they are one step ahead with technology and lenses (especially nice white ones) are amazing! Just look at next major sporting event on TV, how many "White" lenses you see. Only Canon makes white lenses.
Again, once you have made your choice, BUY camera, ENJOY it and LEARN from it! If sensor (i.e. 8MP of bigger) produces LARGE, high quality prints, why be swayed by newer, latest upgrades? Photography is about "learning" and enjoyment, DO NOT be intimidated by technological gobbeldy gook, as long as your camera has features that you need, quality to match and you build a nice set of lenses over time, who cares if latest model has 0.1% better white balance control, or flashing lights?
If you are new to Digital SLR's, I have a section on my website that explains all bits and buttons…
Digital SLR Newbie?
All best and enjoy yourselves!
Nick Stubbs All Things Photography
Professional photographer with more than 20 years experience. Started at 13 by building own darkroom, progressed to become an apprentice at 16 and have not looked back since.