What gear did you start off with?


TPF Noob!
Jan 20, 2012
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BC, Michigan
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I'm looking for my first DSLR and I'm just wondering where some of you started. Did you start off with an entry level camera, older semi-pro, whichever. Hell, maybe even a D3 to start off with. Personally, I'm wanting a D90 or D200, but with something like a refurb D5000 in my budget now should I do that.
Well at least you know what brand you're interested in, that's more than most "What should I get" posts start with. :thumbup:

Honestly it depends on you. How long before you can afford your desired camera? Are the additional features worth waiting for?

If it will be too long before you can save enough for a d90 or d200 then I say get what you can afford and start shooting, you can always upgrade the camera body later on, and the knowledge/experience you gain will carry over.

To answer your question I am a canon person myself, still have the same camera body I started with (50D). This was mostly chosen on the "feel" vs cheaper Canon alternative (Rebel) as I have huge gorilla hands and the rebel didn't fit well, and the 50D was still within my budget.

I am sure a D5000 is capable of taking good pictures, and will have all the functionality you will need as a beginner. In a few years once you have gotten comfortable with the basics, and are looking to expand your capabilities, you might be in a better place financially to afford the better camera body (and glass) to match your needs at that time.
My very first digital camera was a used Nikon D1 a little over a decade ago. At that time point and shoot cameras were expensive too, and were not all that good,really.
Film was K1000, still around here somewhere. Digital was the Nikon D100 , finally parted with it last year , guy just needed a simple camera etc.
Shoot well, Joe
Started with a Rebel XS.. only reason I upgraded was it took a dive off the counter and didn't live to tell the tail. Purchased a Canon 40D about a year ago. I still have a long way to go before I need to start thinking about upgrading it.
Some old Pentax camera that my older sister didn't want to use. Eventually, it was stolen right out of my car (someone broke the window and took it). Then I saved money and got my first DSLR in 2004, Fujifiml S2pro.
I had a Pentax film SLR in high school that got me half way through college. I've wanted back into photography ever since. I've gone through a few P&S's, but my return to SLR's was my current D7000. I believe strongly in "spend once," as long as you don't have to sacrifice basic necessities to do so...
I started off with a Kodak Instamatic 44. That's all I could afford in 1969 at 10 years old. At 14, I got a Polaroid and started experimenting with long exposures and multiple exposures, night photography and more. Soon after, I got my first 35mm SLR, a Nikon F with Photomic viewfinder, a 50mm f1.4 and a book on exposure.
I spent my first 2 years in photography with a D90. I am completely self-taught, thanks to the internet, and have built a consistent stream of income with my photography company that I started in 2009. I recently purchased a D700, and a D7000 for my wife, who's interested in building her own skills and partnering with me as a second photog for now.

A D90 is a great way to start! I'd choose a D90 before a refurb D5000, but that's just my opinion.

When you get going, please post some of your images for C&C! I'd love to see your style.
Remember a body only records a lens defines the light.

I'd go for the best body you can, without going silly and forgetting the lenses.

Myself I went for a Canon 400D, top of their entry level at the time and a great little camera body. Honestly we can stat talk all day long, but the entry level and midrange refurbs/second hand bodies on the market now are all pretty good performers. Yes newer tech is better, but the rest is still very capable performers. Especially when used correctly and when paired with good glass and good light.

Myself I've spent several years buying and putting good glass infront of my 400D and even though I've now added a higher level body I'll still use the 400D without concern. It might not be better, but its still good enough.
First digital camera ever? Canon Powershot A95. It had a titly-swively screen. I thought that was so bad ass at the time. This was all before I was into photography. My first DSLR, Rebel XT, kit lens, aperture motor was broken on the lens, could only shoot wide open.
I started with a 110 point and shoot camera.

Then, onto a fixed-focus 35mm Fuji point and shoot in 35mm. No zoom. Humble as it was, it was much better. I shot with that for a few years, before I figured out that no matter how hard I tried, my pix wouldn't get better with that camera; it was for snapshots only.

My first serious camera was a Pentax K1000 SE, a 35mm SLR, and a 50mm f/2 lens. Added a Sigma 28mm f/2.8 and a Tokina telephoto zoom. I shot a lot of pictures with that. I worked in a Ritz Camera and I had two girlfriends that were the lab girls. MAN did I have good prints for those couple years!

Then, my grandpa gave me his Olympus OM1n, which was a step up. He included the 28mm f/3.5, 50mm f/1.8, and 135 mm f/3.5 Zuiko lenses. All very sharp.

I had a Yashica FX3 Super; a very cheap mechanical camera body; nowhere near the quality of the OM1n or the K1000, but it took the Carl Zeiss lenses. I had scored a 50mm f/1.4 for that baby!

Then, a Yashica-mat TLR, followed by a Rolleiflex TLR.

Then, an Olympus OM4. That was my best 35mm camera ever. The spot metering was pure magic.

I also flirted with Nikon with an FM2n and an EM. The FM2n felt more industrial and I never really bonded with it. The EM was low quality.

First digital camera was an Olympus C720 Ultrazoom. Fantastic lens sharpness, but terrible 38mm wide angle. Sold it and put some serious dough into my Pentax K100D. It was the only entry level dSLR at the time with stainless steel lens mounts both on the body and lenses, and the entry level lenses were the smoothest around, with all glass elements. This camera is kind of future-proof, and I think I'll stick with it. It uses AA batteries, and I'm powering it with Sanyo Eneloops. SD cards are still used, but if they're not, it has a USB cable.

I bought the 80-200 equiv. kit lens for it and a used 50mm f/2 manual focus like I had on my old K1000. It still works, and is still very sharp. $50 from ebay. Then, I really splurged and bought Pentax's top-of-the-line flash. I lugged this around Europe on vacation one time, and now, it doesn't see the light of day too often, because...

I bought a Canon S90 pro point & shoot a couple years back, and have been using that for EVERYTHING. This one, I can always have on my person. f/2 lens @ 28 mm, and the sensor is twice as big as most point & shoot sensors. Now, it is an old model. The only thing I miss from the SLRs is the hot shoe and bounce flash. So I think I'm going to get an Olympus XZ-1 and a bounce flash for it.

Don't be like a sheep and only consider Nikon and Canon. There's nothing wrong with them. But Pentax, Olympus, Samsung, and Sony all make good SLRs too, and they are often overlooked. Also, don't overlook previous generation models. Save money on the body. Even a clean used one is a good buy. Spend your money on quality glass and a good bounce flash and tripod. I bet you could get a Pentax K100d like mine on ebay for $100. It has 6 MP (all you need) and body-integral anti-shake, so it works with all lenses, instead of just the ones you pay extra for, for the image stabilizer. Outfit it with a couple of good lenses for another $150. Maybe even a really classy f/2.8 28-70 or something...

You wouldn't know it to look at today's market, but Pentax invented the SLR, and they co-developed probably the world's best lens coatings with Carl Zeiss. Zeiss calls it T*, and Pentax calls it SMC. Just a devil's advocate here. :)

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