Like most teen girls interested in art, photography became an expected obsession of mine while I was in high school. -insert artsy photos of feet here-.
Ok, I'm sort of being self-deprecating: I still really enjoy photo. Right now I am using the EOS 400D (XTi) and am satisfied with it. A little backstory first that might help you find a Digital SLR:
I know how to work a manual camera. I took photos using film before I attempted to use a digital SLR.
My first digital camera (well, second after a TERRIBLE Kodak camera.) was a Canon Powershot - totally automatic/point&shoot.
While I had the Powershot, Canon made the announcement saying they were going to branch out into the digital SLR world. I purchased the now-extinct EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) - it was affordable for the time/technology and I was already familiar with Canon's settings and interface.
In April 2008, my Digital Rebel kicked the bucket. It was really sad, but I knew it was time to move onto bigger and better things with a greater number of megapixels. I immediately checked out my options on Digital Photography Review.com. I read about the new Canon Digital Rebel XSi, and was definitely interested. However, I found out that the XSi is BARELY different than an older camera, the 400D XTi - all the features are the same, the XSi just has a lightweight plastic body and about 2 more megapixels (really not that much of a difference in image quality). These things don't matter to me, and, since the XTi was not as new as the XSi, it was cheaper. SOLD!
I purchased the camera from B&H's online store for about $400 - that included a carrying case, a spare battery, the lens that comes with the camera (called a 'kit lens' ...these are never the best lenses to buy but they are good for beginners&cheap) and a warranty. That is an AWESOME price for all that stuff! Why? Because I bought refurbished. This means the camera is essentially used - but usually only by a member of the press who was sent the camera to test for a professional review, etc. Refurbished cameras are checked over by the manufactuer before they can be sold, so *usually* they're perfectly fine. The only problem is that if you DO get a defect, you cannot send it to Canon to be repaired. You'd have to go to an independent repair store. Still, I recommend buying refurbished.
Anyway, if you have used a Canon camera before and are comfortable with the settings, I'd recommend this camera 100%.
If you need to use this camera in a somewhat professional way, I'd say get the camera body but skip the kit lens and buy a better lens. HECK, if you care about your photos at all I'd recommend the same - just be prepared to spend a little more cash. The lens is (for the most part) what makes a great photo, not the camera.
If you are an amateur, I'd say- why are you interested in this camera? Ha just kidding. Still - if you want to get involved with DSLRs MAKE SURE YOU PLAN ON USING ALL THE SETTINGS ON YOUR CAMERA. Go buy a point&shoot if you don't. DO NOT JUST SET YOUR CAMERA ON AUTO AND GO. THAT IS A WASTE OF MONEY, AND IT WILL HURT ME AND MAYBE MAKE ME CRY A LITTLE. Make sure you know what ISO means, as well as how to set yout shutter speed. It's not that hard - you can learn online.
WITH THAT SAID- If you are not a Canon loyalist and willing to buy a different brand I would do so - go with a Nikon. Nikon's are a lot more more intimidating at first because the design/interface is not as "Fisher Price" as I tend to think Canon's are, but the manufacturing is MUCH sturdier! Both my Canons' have lost their ability to autofocus over time, and Nikon is not known for this at all. If you're looking for something REALLY professional, GO WITH A NIKON.
with THAT said- I'm happy enough with my XTi. It's great for photos of my friends/life, and affordable. I like that I can also use it to do some light freelance work and it's capable of getting the job done.
Here are some photos I've taken with the XTi:
(More at my Flickr if you're interested) If you have any questions, don't hesititate! I've done a lot of experimentation in the world of digital cameras so chances are I know what you're feeling :)
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About the reviewer
Melissa Aquino (MelissaAq)
Born and raised in NJ, relocated to Boston, MA to study at Emerson College, transplanted to Hollywood, CA to get my career started on the fairer coast. I love hiking, eating new … more
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Type: digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera Sensor: CMOS APS-C 22.2 x 14.8 mm (1.6x conversion factor) Maximum resolution: 10.10 effective megapixels, 3,888 x 2,592 Lens type: Canon EF lens mount, Canon EF-S lens mount Shutter: focal-plane , vertical travel, mechanical Shutter speed range: 1/4000 to 30 sec, 1/200 s X-sync Exposure metering: full aperture TTL, 35-zone SPC Exposure modes: automatic shiftable Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Auto Depth-of-field, Full auto, Programmed modes, Manual, E-TTL II autoflash program AE Metering modes: Evaluative, Partial (approx. 9% at center of viewfinder), Center-weighted average Focus areas: 9 AF points Focus modes: One-Shot, Predictive AI Servo, automatic switching Autofocus; Manual Focus Continuous shooting: 3 frame/s for 27 JPEG frames or 10 RAW frames Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror SLR, 95% coverage, 0.8x magnification ASA/ISO range: ISO 100 to 1600 Flash: E-TTL II automatic built-in pop-up, 13 m ISO 100 guide number, 27 mm (equivalent in 135 format) lens focal length coverage; compatible with Canon EX Series Speedlite external hotshoe-mount flashes Custom WB: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Manual, user-set WB bracketing: +/- 3 stops in 1-stop increments; Rear LCD monitor: 2.5 in color TFT LCD, 160° viewing angle, 230,000 pixels Storage: CompactFlash Card Type I & II Battery: NB-2LH Battery Pack Weight: 510 g (body only), 126.5 x ...