Thank you for your great comments on my Part 1 post on this topic.  This post will finish it off!  Hopefully you’ll have ease of reference when someone asks you what camera they should get if they want a “better” camera than what they have, whatever “better” means to them.

I’m going to start this post off with a well said quote from my photographer friend Harry Lim’s comment in Part 1: Remember a camera is just a box that records light. It’s just a tool, how it’s used is up to the user.

We last left off with your decision to buy a DSLR camera for the right reasons.  And you’re off to the camera store to “try them on.”  Great!

What should you keep in mind at the store?  I considered the following as do many others I know:

  • Are the menus user-friendly?
  • Does it feel good in my hands?  Can I easily manage holding it for a while?
  • Is it heavy?
  • On the converse, is it so light it feels like it’s not made from good materials?
  • Is the screen quality?
  • What kind of card does it take?  (I actually had a friend text message me this week out of frustration that his first DSLR, and Olympus, didn’t take an SD card.)
  • Can I grow with this body until I can gauge how serious I am about photography to either stay where I am or move on up with new equipment or am I going to grow weary of it in 2 weeks?
  • What kind of lenses does it take?

All things to consider.

Keep in mind buying a camera should not be a 1-2-3 purchase.  Be an educated buyer. Don’t buy on a whim. Do your research.  If you want somewhere to start, model-wise, for both Canon and Nikon my suggestions are below.  They’re the minimum I would even start considering for a DSLR camera.  Anything lower, in my personal opinion, isn’t worth the money.  Of course price and bells and whistles go up and up from these models but it’s a great place to start.  (Note the date of this post if you’re reading this next year or years from now, even.  Prices and model numbers will change!)


  • Nikon D3100 (newest model of this level of camera): about $650 (includes body and lens as a “kit”).
  • Nikon D3000 (older model of the above, doesn’t do video like the 3100 does but you can get it for less money): about $500 for a kit.  Word to the wise: Ken Rockwell quotes this as Nikon’s worst DSLR ever.  I trust what he says.  It’s worth reading his review because it’s important to know what makes a camera bad as well as good.
  • A step up from the 3100 is a Nikon D90: between $900 – $1000 as a kit.


  • Canon Rebel T2i : comparable to Nikon’s D3000 series and will run you approximately $800
  • Canon Rebel xSi: approximately $725.
  • Canon EOS 60D is comparable to the Nikon D90, I believe.  It’ll run you around $1200 for a kit.

And as I once mentioned before, I’m not an expert nor do I play one on this blog.  Professional?  Yes.  Expert?  No.  So I’ll leave you with someone who I do consider an expert though I don’t personally know him.  His site’s a great reference go-to place on the web: Ken Rockwell.  He provides great reviews on Canons and Nikons.  Also, if you do start your own business one of the best things I ever did was join The B School.  It’s a private forum and learning “location” for serious photographers.

I’m going to throw in an add on portion of this 2-parter just to shout out some lens terminology.  Crash-course, if you will.

Have a great Friday.  Especially Christmas Eve for those of you who celebrate!





The Bradford NC Photos captured by Mikkel Paige Photography. This North Carolina Raleigh event venue has beautiful gardens and is perfect for outdoor or indoor ceremonies and receptions. Design by @vivalevent with a green, black and peach palette. Hair and makeup by Silverceiling Beauty. #mikkelpaige #brideandgroom #Raleighweddingphotographer #raleighweddingvenues
Groom and bride walking away from the camera at Huntington's Harbor Club at Prime.