***Please note: Camera models change every year. New models that have come onto the market several times a year and you can sometimes get great bargains on older models. It is best to visit your local camera dealer and try out several models to see which one is best for your needs as a photographer.
For the Introduction to Digital Photography class you need to have a camera that has manual functions to get the most benefit from this class. All Digital SLR (single lens reflex cameras) or DSLR’s have the ability to be controlled manually. Both Nikon and Canon have good entry level models. You’ll want to get a kit. Most kits come with the camera body and one or two lenses. If you can afford it, I’d recommend getting the two lens kit which will offer more versatility.
Amazon carries many good entry level cameras for decent prices. A lot of the online camera stores sell through Amazon as well.
If price is an issue, the Nikon D3100 is a good entry level camera. The kit comes with both the 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm lenses.
There are newer versions of this camera, the D3200. The kit comes with the camera body and 18-55mm lens.
If you prefer a Canon camera then you may want to look at the Canon EOS Rebel T3 kit which comes with the 18-55 and 75-300mm lenses
Best Buy has a good selection of entry level DSLR’s like the Nikon 3100, Nikon 5100 or Canon Rebel series. The benefit of going to a store like Best Buy is that you can handle the camera and talk to the salesperson.
If you know what you want, you can also find good deals on kits for these cameras at Sams Club, BJ’s or Costco. You can also buy online not only from Amazon but camera dealers such as B&H Photo and Adorama.
Kits are nice but you can always buy the camera body and lens separate so you know you are getting the lens that is best for your shooting style/subjects.
Some of the small point and shoot cameras do have manual functions but they are limited.
The new “mirrorless” cameras like the Micro four thirds Panasonic G5 and Olympus Pen E-PL1 do have interchangeable lenses and manual functions. These cameras are light, versatile and priced much less than a DSLR kit. Plus, you can use any micro four thirds mount lens from any manufacturer on them.
If you do not have a camera with manual functions you will not be able to participate in many of the class excercises and may want to sign up for the How to Take Better Pictures workshop instead.
As always I’m happy to try any answer any questions you may have. You can email me at jackie (at) tjphotoarts.com