We chose the Nikon D5200 kit (purchased from Best Buy) that came with the body and a standard 18-55mm Nikkor Lens. This camera has great reviews and is in the upper echelon of beginner DSLRs. This was perfect for us as we were looking for an affordable but also quality body that left us some money to purchase an upper tier lens for amateurs.
The D5200 is lightweight, takes great photos on auto, and has the capabilities to perform.
After a couple months of practice with manual settings we both felt comfortable purchasing our first separate lens.
We chose the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II – for a few key reasons.
The prospect of having one lens for everything was one we both really liked. Yes, it’s not the very best at what it covers, but it’s damn good (especially for amateurs). Not to mention that the reviews, the feel, and the price was right.
We also bought a very portable Joby tripod and a smaller camera bag for day-to-day use.
Our Tips for Purchasing a DSLR:
- Do your research. Trusted Reviews was a great help to us. All you have to do is google “Nikon D5200 trusted review” and that specific page will show up.
- Know your budget. Don’t go over! Especially on a camera body. The body of the camera depreciates very quickly as technology progresses. However, your lenses DO NOT depreciate much at all (wahoo) so look to buy an affordable body so you can buy some quality lenses down the road. Your lenses will also be interchangeable on a new body of the same camera company.
- Shop around. Check out your camera at a specialty store (like Henry’s) and go in with questions. The clerk will likely be educated and familiar with any topic you ask. Follow up by going to a bigger box store such as Best Buy or Future Shop – they might be able to offer you a more attractive price.
- It’s an investment. Just remember to be patient – there’s no need to rush. Photography can be an exceptionally expensive hobby with steep learning curves. Break into it slow and steady.
Body + Lens with 4-year warranty – $819.99
Nikkor 18-200mm Lens with 2-year warranty – $799.99
Two bags – $100
Extra Battery – $80
Tripod – $65
32GB Memory Card – $45
Buying a DSLR as a beginner can be intimidating. As long as you do a bit of homework, stick to your budget, and take your time, we can almost guarantee that you’ll be happy. After all, if you’re in the market for a DSLR you must have an interest in photography.
So enjoy the process and have fun learning your camera!
We would also like to take a moment to thank Carlie Woodworth and Chris Atkins for their invaluable guidance.
We appreciate your help so very much.