Why would someone buy the cheapest DSLR camera they can get their hands on? Actually, there may be some substance to that premise. While cheap does not usually equate with good or excellent, when you are talking about Nikon or Canon DSLR cameras, cheap does not mean bad either. In fact, the least expensive model could possibly be the best DSLR camera for beginners.
What makes a good picture? It surely is not the camera, although having a great camera never hurts. But the photographer makes a good picture, not the camera. He or she must know something about composition, lighting, and a few simple camera basics, like where the shutter button is.
It’s true that lots of quality megapixels are highly desirable among today’s photo buffs, but that does not make a good picture either. Years ago, 3 megapixels was “top of the line” and folks spent hundreds of dollars per megapixel. Now you can get five times that for less money. But the truth is that you can print an 8 by 10 picture of good quality with a 3-megapixel file.
There is a story circulating around the photography forums about a professional photographer who worked in New York. When he was commissioned to take a picture, he was paid very well. The way the story goes, he would show up at the location, set up his camera (a film SLR model), take a light reading, and take one shot. Then he would pack up his gear and head back to his studio. One shot! And, according to the story, he nailed it every time.
Granted, this may just be a story, but there are plenty of photographers who take fantastic pictures with cheap DSLR cameras. There are others who take great pictures with cell phones or point and shoot cameras.
What is the best thing you can learn with regard to photography? First, learn how to take a picture. This simply means that you should learn the basics of lighting and composition. “See” the picture in your mind’s eye. Move around your subject and find the best angle. Move in an out, up and down. Do that thing you have seen in movies or on TV where you make a frame with your hands to compose your shot. Then take that shot.
Whether you are using a cheap DSLR camera or a $25,000 model, getting the basics down is going to mean more than the kind of equipment you use.
Of course, you will need to know how to manipulate your chosen camera, and that can come with time, but to focus on the equipment is the wrong focus when you are starting out.