So you'd like to...

Buy a starter DSLR camera kit

A guide by Davey Morgan "Davey Morgan Photography" (Greenville, SC USA)

Products sampled from this guide:
Here are great starter DSLR cameras below to get started in photography!

You can buy great cameras, lenses and accessories that are more expensive to get started, however I'm focusing on the low-end price range.

Most starter DSLR's do not have a focus motor built into the camera, so you need to make sure a focus motor is built into the lens when buying it. For Nikon they are marked with "AF-S" in the title of the lens.

* Money Saver: If you can find a refurbished camera, go with that, because you are saving a lot of money and the cameras are sent back to the factory and thoroughly checked and still have a warranty!


Steps to building a "camera kit":

1. Pick a camera body (some camera's included lenses in the package).
2. Pick a wide or multi-range/purpose lens in the 18-55mm range.
3. Pick any extra lenses you may need, macro for close-ups, low f/stop (like a f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2.8) for artsy pictures with blurry backgrounds, and tele or zoom for sports or animals in nature far away.
4. Pick at least a standard UV filter to go on the front of your lens to protect it from scratches and cracks (they are $5-$15, compared to a lens that is $200-$800).
5. Pick a memory card that suits how many pictures you will take, depending on the next time you can upload the pictures to a computer (like if you go on a vacation or trips that are weeks at a time), or if you just take a lot of pictures.
6. Pick a camera bag that is comfortable and easy to carry.
7. Pick any extra accessories that you think you may need (an extra battery or two comes in handy sometimes).
8. Get some software if you choose to edit pictures more than with just whatever comes on your computer.


Cameras (Body Only, no lenses)
Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch Vari-Angle LCD Monitor (Body Only)
Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera Body (Kit Box) No Lens Included (Import Model).
Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Body (Kit Box no Lens Included) International Model


Cameras w/standard lens
Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens (OLD MODEL)
Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens (OLD MODEL)
Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens


Lenses
Lenses with "VR" in the title indicate they are a lens with VR (Vibration Reduction) which reduces blurring in low light or if you are shaky with the camera when taking the picture. VR lenses are more expensive, but normally worth it! The 35mm and 50mm lenses are my favorite two lenses!

18-55mm (wide to mid-range zoom, great standard and multi-purpose lens)
Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens
Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

35mm (great for close-up artsy portraits)
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

50mm (mid-range, great for artsy portraits)
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

55-200 (mid-range to long zoom, great for nature and sports)
VR Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens
Non VR Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

55-300mm (mid-range to really long zoom! superb for nature and sports)
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR

18-70mm (wide to mid-range zoom, great standard and multi-purpose lens, a little bit more zoom than the 18-55mm)
Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

18-135mm (wide angle to almost long zoom, covers most anything, great multipurpose lens!)
Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras


Memory Cards
We prefer Sandisk. The best out there are Sandisk, Lexar and Kingston. Most of the low-end DSLRs use SD Memory Cards (but check which memory card your camera uses first)

Sandisk SDSDX3-004G-A31 4GB Extreme SD Card
Most people never need more than 4GB

Sandisk 8GB Extreme SDHC Card-Class 10 (SDSDX3-008G-A31)
This will be great for traveling

SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC 30MB/s High Performance Memory Card (SDSDX3-016G, Bulk Package)
If you travel a lot or take thousands of pictures!

Sandisk 32 GB Extreme SDHC Cards (SDSDX3-032G-A31)
Overkill or you plan on being a way for a few weeks to a few months.


Accessories
Nikon 8072 Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
This is good to carry around to clean your lenses if you get fingerprints, dust or dirt on them.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control
This is great if you are taking pictures with you in them, such as group or family shots.
* The wireless remote only works with the low end DSLRs and not the $1500+ DSLRs

Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
You can use this to get a little more flash than your on-board camera flash can do and you can turn the flash upwards to do a bounce flash off of a ceiling to get a more natural or studio look.

Sunpak 620-660PG Tripod
*I own this
Has a pistol grip head, so you pull the trigger and you can reposition the camera and let go; no annoying things to twist and turn to make adjustments.

Smith Victor 700190 Smith Victor Photo Video Tripod P920 Pinnacle 3-way Panhead & Heavy-Duty Base
*I own this

Joby GP3 GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod
You can wrap the legs around trees, fencing, rocks, railing, etc.

Neewer® Camera Protector Rain Cover Rainproof for Digital SLR Camera /such as Canon Rebel T5i T4i T3i T3 T2i T1i XS XSi XT XTi SL1, EOS 700D 650D 600D 550D 500D 450D 400D 350D 1100D 1000D 60D 60Da 50D 7D 5D series Nikon D7100 D7000 D5200 D5100 D5000 D3200 D3100 D3000 D90 D80
Protect your camera in rain, sleet and snow.


Filters
There's too many to list, but I would buy at least a Tiffen or Zeikos filter. The best in the world (which I use) are the Hoya Super HMC filters.

You can figure out which filter you need by looking at the description on the lenses and it will tell you the filter size (ex. 52mm, 58mm, 62mm)

You can also get "macro" or "close-up" filters, which normally come in a set of 4 with different magnifications. They range $10-$20 and is a lot cheaper than a "macro" lens that costs $800-$100.

We use these:
Hoya SUPER HMC Haze UV(0) - Filter - UV - 52 mm
Digital Concepts cl-58 58mm 4-Piece Multi-Coated Camera Lens Filter Sets


Camera Bags
I use a Tamrac Velocity 7x (sling bag). A sling back has one strap that wraps around you that provides quick access to your camera and gear; the shoulder bags have one strap that hang on your shoulder; the backpacks have two straps but are normally larger and take longer to access your camera and gear. I prefer Tamrac and Lowepro brands, however Caselogic and Bower are great too!

Sling Bags
Tamrac 5766 Velocity 6x Compact Sling Pack (Black)
Tamrac 5767 Velocity 7x Photo Sling Pack (Black)
Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag-Mica

Shoulder Bags
Lowepro Edit 110 Camcorder and Camera Bag
Tamrac 5534 Adventure Messenger 4 Camera Bag (Gray/Black)
Tamrac 3536 Express 6 Camera Bag -Khaki
Tamrac 3445 Rally 5 Camera/Netbook/iPad Bag (Brown/Tan)

Backpacks
Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black)
Bower SCB1350 Digital Pro Series Sling SLR Backpack
This one holds a tripod on the side.


Software
If you are a student or teacher, you can purchase discounted software! Make sure you pick for yourself, Mac or PC. I use Adobe Photoshop, however Lightroom and Aperture are great too!

Student
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Student and Teacher Edition [OLD VERSION] Mac & PC
Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 Student and Teacher Edition [Mac] Mac
Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 Student and Teacher Edition PC

Non-Student
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 [OLD VERSION] Mac & PC
Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 [Mac] [Old Version] Mac
Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 [Old Version] PC
Aperture 3 - MB957Z/A [OLD VERSION] Mac (Not available for PC)

Products mentioned include:
Cameras (Body Only, no lenses)
1.  Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch Vari-Angle LCD Monitor (Body Only)  by Nikon
Used & New from: $319.95
4.6 out of 5 stars   (837)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
2.  Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera Body (Kit Box) No Lens Included (Import Model).  by Nikon
$285.99 Used & New from: $248.00
4.4 out of 5 stars   (32)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
3.  Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Body (Kit Box no Lens Included) International Model  by Nikon
$367.39 Used & New from: $209.85
4.5 out of 5 stars   (8)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Cameras w/standard lens
4.  Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens (OLD MODEL)  by Nikon
$405.00 Used & New from: $289.99
4.6 out of 5 stars   (876)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
5.  Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens (OLD MODEL)  by Nikon
$679.99 Used & New from: $389.00
4.6 out of 5 stars   (837)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
6.  Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens [CD-ROM]  by Nikon
$389.95 Used & New from: $194.00
4.5 out of 5 stars   (472)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Lenses
7.  Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens  by Nikon
$100.00 Used & New from: $74.95
4.3 out of 5 stars   (152)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
8.  Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens  by Nikon
$196.95 Used & New from: $75.00
4.5 out of 5 stars   (190)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
9.  Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras  by Nikon
$196.95 Used & New from: $174.00
4.8 out of 5 stars   (1,363)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
10.  Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras  by Nikon
$216.95 Used & New from: $185.00
4.9 out of 5 stars   (535)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
11.  Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens  by Nikon
$246.95 Used & New from: $102.94
4.6 out of 5 stars   (747)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
12.  Nikon 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens [CD-ROM]  by Nikon
$169.00 Used & New from: $59.95
4.3 out of 5 stars   (181)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
13.  Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR  by Nikon
$396.95 Used & New from: $220.00
4.6 out of 5 stars   (561)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
14.  Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens  by Nikon
Used & New from: $135.00
4.2 out of 5 stars   (57)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
15.  Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras  by Nikon
Used & New from: $179.99
3.8 out of 5 stars   (75)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
Memory Cards
16.  Sandisk SDSDX3-004G-A31 4GB Extreme SD Card  by SanDisk
$19.97 Used & New from: $7.99
4.6 out of 5 stars   (22)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
17.  Sandisk 8GB Extreme SDHC Card-Class 10 (SDSDX3-008G-A31) [CD]  by SanDisk
$22.93 Used & New from: $13.93
4.3 out of 5 stars   (92)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
18.  SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC 30MB/s High Performance Memory Card (SDSDX3-016G, Bulk Package)  by SanDisk
$39.45 Used & New from: $32.93
4.1 out of 5 stars   (24)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
19.  Sandisk 32 GB Extreme SDHC Cards (SDSDX3-032G-A31)  by SanDisk
$70.00 Used & New from: $66.99
4.0 out of 5 stars   (79)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Accessories
20.  Nikon 8072 Microfiber Cleaning Cloth  by Nikon
$5.00 Used & New from: $4.95
4.5 out of 5 stars   (257)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
21.  Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control  by Nikon
$12.49 Used & New from: $5.77
4.4 out of 5 stars   (1,743)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
22.  Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras  by Nikon
Used & New from: $179.99
4.6 out of 5 stars   (544)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
23.  Sunpak 620-660PG Tripod  by SUNPAK
$82.66
4.0 out of 5 stars   (30)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
24.  Smith Victor 700190 Smith Victor Photo Video Tripod P920 Pinnacle 3-way Panhead & Heavy-Duty Base  by Smith-Victor
Out of stock
3.4 out of 5 stars   (5)
  Add to wishlist
25.  Joby GP3 GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod  by Joby
$33.39 Used & New from: $24.99
4.0 out of 5 stars   (363)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
26.  Neewer® Camera Protector Rain Cover Rainproof for Digital SLR Camera /such as Canon Rebel T5i T4i T3i T3 T2i T1i XS XSi XT XTi SL1, EOS 700D 650D 600D 550D 500D 450D 400D 350D 1100D 1000D 60D 60Da 50D 7D 5D series Nikon D7100 D7000 D5200 D5100 D5000 D3200 D3100 D3000 D90 D80  by Neewer
$8.95 Used & New from: $3.96
3.9 out of 5 stars   (63)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Filters
27.  Hoya SUPER HMC Haze UV(0) - Filter - UV - 52 mm  by Hoya
Used & New from: $26.99
4.7 out of 5 stars   (31)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
28.  Digital Concepts cl-58 58mm 4-Piece Multi-Coated Camera Lens Filter Sets  by Digital Concepts
$8.95
4.3 out of 5 stars   (246)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Camera Bags
29.  Tamrac 5766 Velocity 6x Compact Sling Pack (Black)  by Tamrac
$35.99 Used & New from: $27.99
4.3 out of 5 stars   (58)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
30.  Tamrac 5767 Velocity 7x Photo Sling Pack (Black)  by Tamrac
$48.95 Used & New from: $40.00
4.3 out of 5 stars   (86)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
31.  Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag-Mica  by Lowepro
$35.95 Used & New from: $32.00
4.4 out of 5 stars   (262)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
32.  Lowepro Edit 110 Camcorder and Camera Bag  by Lowepro
$17.99 Used & New from: $7.75
4.4 out of 5 stars   (209)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
33.  Tamrac 5534 Adventure Messenger 4 Camera Bag (Gray/Black)  by Tamrac
$46.95
4.2 out of 5 stars   (43)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
34.  Tamrac 3536 Express 6 Camera Bag -Khaki  by Tamrac
Out of stock
4.1 out of 5 stars   (83)
  Add to wishlist
35.  Tamrac 3445 Rally 5 Camera/Netbook/iPad Bag (Brown/Tan)  by Tamrac
$68.48 Used & New from: $55.00
4.7 out of 5 stars   (32)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
36.  Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black)  by Lowepro
$72.60 Used & New from: $55.00
4.6 out of 5 stars   (191)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
37.  Bower SCB1350 Digital Pro Series Sling SLR Backpack  by Bower
$26.99 Used & New from: $24.88
4.3 out of 5 stars   (123)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
Software
38.  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Student and Teacher Edition [OLD VERSION] [DVD-ROM] [CD-ROM]  by Adobe
Out of stock
4.1 out of 5 stars   (132)
  Add to wishlist
39.  Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 Student and Teacher Edition [Mac] [DVD-ROM]  by Adobe
Out of stock
4.0 out of 5 stars   (52)
  Add to wishlist
40.  Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 Student and Teacher Edition [DVD-ROM]  by Adobe
Out of stock
4.1 out of 5 stars   (127)
  Add to wishlist
41.  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 [OLD VERSION] [DVD-ROM]  by Adobe
$169.97 Used & New from: $99.99
4.4 out of 5 stars   (229)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
42.  Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 [Mac] [Old Version] [DVD-ROM]  by Adobe
$999.00
4.0 out of 5 stars   (4)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
43.  Adobe Photoshop Extended CS5 [Old Version] [DVD-ROM]  by Adobe
Used & New from: $2,995.00
5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
44.  Aperture 3 - MB957Z/A [OLD VERSION] [DVD-ROM]  by Apple
Used & New from: $75.00
3.2 out of 5 stars   (66)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist

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About this Guide

 

Author

Davey Morgan "Davey Morgan Photography" (Greenville, SC USA)
Qualifications: Professional Photographer
Last updated: 6/17/11
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