People in search of a device that they can use to take pictures have a lot of options. They can use a cell phone with a good camera, a pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera or even a video camera that can take quality stills. For people who want to take really great photos and handle whatever light conditions that they find themselves in, a DSLR camera is the best option. These cameras have interchangeable lenses and a level of control that is just not found in smaller or cheaper cameras. It is easy to get carried away with pixel statistics and extra features, but, for most people, a good DSLR that costs less than $1,000 is suitable for all their picture-taking tasks.
If you want to take great pictures that you would be proud to share on sites like Flickr and SmugMug, then these DSLR cameras might be for you.
Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Canon introduced one of the first quality SLR cameras for amateur photographers back in the pre-digital days. The Rebel has been a popular choice for consumers who do not need professional level cameras, but who still want a camera that gives them a decent level of control and allows them to take professional quality photos. The latest incarnation of the Rebel, the T4i, is available with an optional lens kit that makes it the best choice on the entry-level DSLR market. In fact, the advantage of this camera is that it can be used with Canon’s huge array of high quality lenses. So, if you are buying a DSLR so that you can take advantage of the ability to change lenses easily, then this is probably your best option (some of the lens kits put the overall price tag of the rebel T4i over the $1,000, however). At the same time, if you want a camera with a standard lens, there are some equally interesting sub-$1,000 options out there.
Other Cannon Rebel models
The Rebel 3Ti is a cheaper option that has many of the features that people seeking a camera in the $800 price range could want. It can shoot great video and quality still images, but its overall speed might make it a poor choice for people who want to shoot action pictures. The Rebel 2Ti and 1Ti offer more basic controls and features, but are still good options for people in search of a budget DSLR.
Sony Alpha SLT-A37
The Alpha is another long-running line that has stood the test of time. This latest version costs less than $800. It does not bear the name of Nikon or Canon, but it is a solid choice with a few outstanding lens options. For people who want a basic camera that can take stills and shoot decent video, it is a solid choice. The Alpha has a good LCD screen and a fast processor so that it can work when shooting at speed. The Alphas might lack some qualities that advanced shooters are looking for, but it is certainly a solid choice for people who want a basic, user-friendly DSLR.
Nikon’s D-series is the answer to the Rebel. These cameras can do pretty much everything that the comparable Rebel models can do. It comes down to a matter of preference. At the high end of the sub-$1,000 market, Nikon cameras might prove a little more user-friendly overall, while Canon’s lower end models might get the best-in-class nod. But again, the difference is so miniscule that most photographers won’t be able to choose a favorite. However, these cameras have different menus and user interfaces, so many people find that they prefer Nikon’s interface.