I often get asked about buying cameras so I thought I would share some of my views and hopefully tips to make it less of a mine-field!
Tips for SLR's (thats single lens reflex cameras - the ones where you can alter the settings manually and change the lens)
1. Canon and Nikon are the leading makes (ie they have invested heavily into the digital market and have the cutting edge technology).
2. There's no real difference between the two really - just depends which you like in your hands most - so go to a shop and ask to handle both makes (it doesnt matter which model as they standardise how the camera body works through the ranges).
3. Bear in mind once you've made a decision you will probably stick with the same make forever!
4. Im a Canon girl and they bring out a new model in the entry level SLR's pretty much every year. The new models are always expensive and although they may have more pixels in my view they're not all that much "improved" from the older models..So buy second hand! check out mifsuds.
5. With your second hand body you have more money to spend on the lens. Yay. This is crucial and where you should spend your money. A good lens is going to give you way better pictures than the latest body in the range you want is. Good glass creates good pics. When I started in wedding photography I had a Canon 400D but it was the lenses I invested it.
6. Which means dont buy the kit lens.
7. So you need a lens think what you want to photograph - if its portraits maybe a zoom lens would be good. If its close up details buy a macro lens and if its landscapes a wide angle lens may be what you need. If your unsure I would get a 50mm lens (which is the lens that pretty much shoots what you see in terms of distance).
And just in case you were wondering this is what I use:
Canon 5D Mk II
Canon 400D (back-up)
Canon 50mm L f1.2 mm lens
Canon 24-70 L f2.8 mm lens
Canon 70-200 L f4 mm lens
Canon 85mm L 1.2 mm lens
Canon Speedlite EX580 II
I like to shoot quickly without a flash so, I just have two cameras on me, and mainly use a combination of 3 lenses - all of which are really fast (the smaller the f number the faster they are).
Here are a couple of pictures of me and Emmanuel on a walk a couple of weeks ago (before it turned to winter again!).