As an photographer we all love to sit and think about what kind of gear we need and what we would like to go do with that gear. I caught the photo bug as a high school student in my sophomore year shooting a Canon AE-1 with a pretty basic zoom lens. Spent a lot of time goofing off an shooting lots of rolls of film learning the program functions of a SLR (IE: P, Tv, Av, M). In addition to those we also learn a great bit about film development and how to print.
Fast forward 10 years and film is obsolete with few people using it and development centers not processing it anymore. The digital revolution has begun… This is where photography has gone. Why I shoot Canon DSLRs – no reason at all other than I had that old AE-1 and they have some cool looking white lenses that cost a lot of money. After owning about 5 different Canon DSLRs I’m pretty comfortable with them now and find I can navigate all the menus pretty easily. But I can say it really doesn’t matter with the big two Canon or Nikon. I think Nikon probably has the edge on certain things and Canon has an edge on other things. I’d tell people to buy what your friends have that way if you want help or want to try out a lens you’ll have a few people to lean on. The most important thing to remember is that the lenses are the most important part. I’ll focus on Canons cause that’s what I know.
So here is my list – I’ll start with the most basic kit for family, kids, and light travel shots and work my way up to a more advanced kit for a more advanced shooter. I’ll not dive into top end pro-setups because if you a pro needing help choosing a camera you’ve come to the wrong place.
Level 1 ($1200): This is what I would tell any new parent or grandparent wanting to get good shots or kids, on vacation, or learn the hobby.
- Canon T5i Kit with 18-55mm IS lens – http://amzn.to/1ijUWA8
- Canon 50mm f/ 1.8 (nifty-fifty) – http://amzn.to/1ijV02Q
- Canon 430 EXii Flash – http://amzn.to/1erMbF1
- Sandisk 32GB SDHC Class 10 (x2) - http://amzn.to/1eHTCCO
Level 2 ($1500 upgrades): Building on what we have before I would upgrade lenses first – sell the 18-55mm IS (should get around $100-$120)
If you find yourself shooting more people – These are excellent choices for fast focus and sharp pictures
If you shoot more travel & landscapes shots than people then choose this lens. You’ll still have your 50mm f/1.8 for people.
Level 3 ($2500): Again adding to what we have already bought. Sell the T5i (should get around $450) or keep it as a second body
- Canon 70D Body – http://amzn.to/1erNvHT - Also uses the same memory card as your T5i. Has much faster focus system and better image quality.
If you shoot a lot of people you may find yourself wanting more reach with your lenses this is a great upgrade.
- Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS - http://amzn.to/1qBQIqa