MindspillQuite often I’m contacted about which camera I use & what would I recommend to someone looking to get started with a DSLR.

My most recent inquiry came from blog stalker “Lianika”. Lianika wanted to know what I shot with & what I would suggest for a novice.

Well for all of you dying to know, I shoot with Nikon exclusively & my main camera body is the D300 & I also have a D80 to back me up just in case. My 1st DSLR was the Nikon D40, but I quickly outgrew it in a matter of months.

In terms of recommendations, if you are looking to get a DSLR to step your family/party/outing photography game up, the Nikon D40 or D60 will be great to get a hold of. Both cameras come equipped with very useful features, that can be easily be figured out by any crack baby (no offense if you really were a crack baby).

The one downfall of the above mentioned camera bodies is that they will not auto focus with any older Nikkor lenses or basically any lens that is not AF-S (AF-S lenses have a motor inside of them, AF lenses do not. The D40 & D60 do not have the focusing pin that other more expensive Nikon camera bodies have, which makes them unable to auto focus AF lenses). The good news is that Nikon has been rolling out new lenses that offer auto focusfor the D40 & D60 bodies like the new Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G.

Most Nikon users love to hate photographer Ken Rockwell but he has some solid advice on the Nikon D40 & the D60.

If you are looking do a little more with your photography or need more camera flexibility, I highly recommend the Nikon D80. Unlike the D40 & D60, the D80 works with all Nikkor auto focus lenses AF or AF-S. The increased shutter speeds & 11 point auto focus sensor alone makes the D80 a nice step up from the 2 cameras mentioned above. The good news/bad news about the D80 is that it is no longer being produced & the prices are falling faster than a ton of bricks.

Another mid-range camera to consider is the Nikon D90. Admittedly, the D90 kicks the D80’s ass in terms of features. It can do video, has a very high ISO option & as a higher megapixel count. I have seen the D90 a little more than 300-400 bucks expensive than the D80.

If you happen to be on a budget & these camera’s are a little out of your recession proof budget, you can always try getting a used camera body. This is a great option honestly! B&H Photo, Adorama, & KEH Camera are trusted shops that I have purchased from & would recommend for camera bodies & lenses.

Speaking of lenses; they are expensive & are a serious budget killer! Depending on what type of photography & lighting conditions you work in will dictate what type of lens will be the best option for you. To keep this post short, I will not get into lens recommendations at this point. But here is a list of what’s in my camera bag:

Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G
Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G
Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D
Nikkor 105mm f/2.8g VRMicro
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR
Lensbaby Composer

Hopefully this helps someone. If you need more info/advice, leave comment or hit me up via email.