Which DSLR to get for beginner?


Registered User
Hi Guys

I'm looking to purchase a DSLR to replace my Olympus C70. I want something that has good preset functionality and full auto mode but can also do full manual.

My budget is £400-£500 and I've been scouring Amazon, eBay, etc and I've narrowed it down to the following

Canon EOS 1100D with 18/55mm IS II lens kit
Canon EOS 600D with 18/55mm IS II lens kit (seen on eBay <£500 but US branded Rebel T3i)
Nikon D3100 or D3200 with 18/55mm VR lens

I mainly take pictures of the family, holidays, etc but I need something that will also do indoor sports and high speed outdoor like airshows (and hopefully a grand prix one of these days) better than what I've got currently. I want something that will last me 5+ years and can be easily upgraded one way or the other (body and/or lenses) if I end up down that road. I've also got a couple of young kids who can't keep their hands off stuff so it needs to be able to take a few knocks as well.

Any thoughts, recommendations or advice would be appreciated.



Large Member
Are you wed to getting a brand new camera or open to secondhand?

Reason I ask is that you say you want to do airshows and motorsport, both of which will require a longer focal length lens which the 18-55mm lens is not, and it's also quite a slow lens too.

As an example i've recently bought a Canon EOS 1D Mk1 (ok it's old and not great for a beginner) and a Canon 70-200mm L lens all for £550.. and whilst it's not new, the lens is pro quality and thats where most of your image quality will come from, not the camera body.

If I was in yur shoes I'd consider an older camera (c.4 years old), but not too old like a 40D which you can pick up for a couple of hundred pounds, but is a good camera and better (IMO) than the entry level stuff you'll buy new, and then try and get yourself a decent lens - the 70-200mm f4 will set you back about £350 secondhand and is great quality (its a pro level lens), although you may find a tripod is handy for airshows in particular if using at full focal length. This lens will also actually do some nice portrait stuff if you favour a shallow depth of field (blurred background). If you really wanted also, you could pick up an 18-55mm lens on ebay for about £40 as they are very common being as they are supplied as the main kit lens. This set-up would be pretty sturdy too compared to the entry levels offerings.

Just my opinion, i've always bought my gear second hand and its never let me down. I've still got a EOS D-30 which is the first DSLR that Canon released under their own steam, and whilst it's not that good compared to newer models it still takes perfectly respectable pictures if you're not fussy with the white balance, but most of all it still works fine and its nearly 13 years old!
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Registered User
I was pretty much looking at new first time around to get me going. 95% of the stuff I shoot at the moment is portraits, landscapes and the kids playing. I do go to the airshow here every year (weather permitting) and my current camera is such a ballache to focus and track jets although I have managed some really good shots (7MP resolution helps when cropping images down). Even though an 18/55mm lens may not be best suited for this type of photo its only one day a year and I'm not bothered if I need to crop a ton of sky out of a 10-16MP photo. If I ever found the need for a different lens then I'd look at that then as I can't see me needed/wanting one for at least a few years and I do have a tripod.

Any pro's/con's to owning Canon vs Nikon or is there little difference in terms of types of lenses, backward/forward compatibility of gear, second-hand market for gear


Large Member
Ok, there's fair enough if you don't want secondhand I guess...in which case, you'll not likely see any differences between the Nikon vs. the Canon at that price point, they're all built to a price, they feel the same, they do the same stuff essentially. Anybody who tells you that one is better than the other is probably doing so because they are biased.

Personally, I'm a Canon user but only because I chose that brand many years ago and it doesn't make sense to change now. New Canons will use all EF Lenses although they have an EF-S mount and so backwards compatible to lenses from the early 90s onwards (maybe even earlier). Older Canon use the EF mount, but all of the mid to high end lenses that Canon make are EF lenses anyway.

I think Nikon are a bit more complicated with their lens compatibility, and i'd have a read of this if I were you..

Nikon Lens Compatibility

My advise is to go and try them out and see what works best for you. There really isn't going to be any difference in things like quality of the product, the picture quality etc, it'll be down to your personal preferences most likely.


I'm in Cruise control
Not read all the replies, get yourself on to talk photography after you join look in the classified there are some fantastic deals on second hand gear that's mostly been well looked after. You should get a decent bit of kit with in your budget.


Registered User
I would get yourself down to your local camera shop and have a feel and play with the cameras you're interested in.

I chose Nikon over canon as it felt more comfortable in my hand, i also thought it was better made.