I’d like to get started in photography, mostly taking pictures of wildlife,views, etc… Any ideas on a started camera that won’t break my bank? (Also, if you guys could find some underwater camera that can take pics. underwater, that would be cool. :o) Thanks!


Well muh friend you are about to embark on a wondrous journey of creation and magic. I wish it was as simple as saying “hey get X Item” but there are a lot of variables in buying photography gear. I’m a portrait photographer my self but I dabble in several types of photography. What you should mostly focus on in photography to get a good image (and this is no particualr order) is spending what money you can on the best lenses that you can currently afford. Next is composition. Take your time especially in wildlife photography. Be patient. Sometimes you will have to wait hours for a good shot, but when you get THAT shot it will be totally worth it and you will have such a great sense of accomplishment. ( also respect your surrounds when doing wildlife and landscape photography. when you leave your location make sure it looks like you were never there.) And lastly LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT. Without light, you can’t make an image. Learn how light moves through space and what affects light quality. There is so much to learn about light it’ll blow your mind. Since you are going to be doing wildlife and landscape photography learn about natural ambient light. The light that is given of by the sun or other continuous light sources like lamps. Learn what The golden hour is.

Sorry I know you wanted equipment recommendations but equipment is only about 40% of photography. Try not to focus so much on gear but rather techniques and developing an eye for framing and seeing the world in a totally new way. Photographers have a term for people who focus a lot on gear. We say they have G.A.S. ( gear acquisition syndrome) Now this isn’t a term to slander anybody. It’s just a nickname that we call people who are really into gear and that’s cool! We need those people in photography they help drive the industry forward just as much as anybody else. If you really want to create memorable images focus on techniques and light. ALSO, learn the exposure trinity of ISO(how sensitive the sensor is to light), Shutter Speed, and aperture. These settings are what you change before you take an image. Higher ISOs increase how much light the sensor can take in giving you the ability to use faster shutter speeds which prevents blur but also puts more noise or speckles in your images. Shutter speed controls HOW MUCH light actually hits your sensor. The faster the shutter speed the darker yet sharper your image will be. Slow it down and you will get brighter images but have a higher chance to get motion blur. Aperture also controls how much light hits the sensor. This is a ring inside the lens that closes down to whatever you set it too. The wider the aperture (circle inside the lens) the more light comes into the camera to hit the sensor and the faster the shutter speed you can use. Wide apertures also create blurry backgrounds that help separate your subject from the background. Smaller (smaller circles) apertures let your background be less blurry but let less light in. Balancing these settings creates an image after you press the shutter button. You don’t have to know how to adjust every setting starting out though. All modern cameras have modes that either let you go full manual control or let you change one or two settings at a time and the camera will figure out the rest and it usually does a pretty good job. EG: Shooting in “A” aperture priority mode lets you change how big or small the ring inside the lens is while the camera will change all the other settings for you. “P” mode on advanced cameras is basically full auto mode. The camera decides everything for you and all you have to do is frame your subject. “S” Shutter priority mode lets you change the shutter speed while the camera changes the aperture.

This all depends on what your budget can allow. If you let me know what your specific budget is I can better help you find and get started in the gear department. I will, however, give you some general advice. Don’t be afraid to buy used. Almost all of my gear I have purchased used. But buy only from trusted sources like b& and KEH is more for old-school cameras but you can find newer stuff on there too. Make sure you learn the used rating system from each company as this will really help you decide how used you want an item to be when you buy it. I have had no problems with any of these companies sending me an item that was less than described. Most items I purchased came better than described. I buy most of my used stuff from Adorama as they have the best prices, selection, and their rating system is really good. The first question you need to ask yourself is what sensor size do I want. for DSLR cameras you have two sizes: The smaller APS-C (Or crop Sensor) or the APS-H (full frame) sensor. A full frame sensor is roughly the same size as a 35mm slide of film. APS-C is smaller than that. Each sensor has its pros and cons. APS-C sensors are great for wildlife and sports photography because when using any lens on a smaller sensor it gives you a “crop factor”. This crop factor will make your lense have a longer focal length ( more zoomed in) than on a full frame sensor. So say On a full frame camera a 50 mm lens is actually 50 mm but you take that same lens and put it on a crop sensor you will get around a 75mm focal length. This applies to all lenses used on smaller sensors. Since you want to do wildlife photography I would say start with a crop sensor camera. It will give you that little bit of extra reach. Crop sensor cameras are a lot cheaper than their full-frame counterparts and the lenses for these cameras are also A LOT cheaper as well. If you want a really good DSLR for as little as possible, a camera that is pretty good in low light is the Nikon d7000. You can get this in very good used condition with an “E” rating for about $340. This is a fantastic camera that will give you room to grow and has all the auto modes you could need starting out while learning the setting of a camera. There are three types of lenses you should have starting out #1 lens is the Nikon 50mm f1.8D. This lens can be had for about $130 new. This lens will let in a lot of light and let you get great sharp photos for not a lot of money. Most photographers have one of these in their bag or have had one in their bag. I have had three because I like them so much. Next, you want a wide angle zoom for landscapes and then a decent telephoto lens for getting close to animals. A good wide angle lens is going to be hard to find for a cheap price. Most wide angles that are priced cheaper are going to be kit lenses. The Nikon 18-55 VR kit lens is not a bad kit lens. There are sharper lenses out there but for the money, it is not bad. SUPER wide angle lenses are all expensive, unfortunately. If you want one you are just going to have to save up :(. I shoot full frame and use the NIKON 18-35mm f3.5-5.6. Sucker is sharp but I paid $700 for it. Telephotos are a different story. A really the good telephoto lens for the money is the Nikon 55-200mm lens. you can get this for about $100 used. Full frame setups I won’t get into because they are just really expensive. If you buy a full frame camera you HAVE to buy full frame lenses and those lenses are much more expensive. APS_C lenses can be used on Nikon full frame cameras but you will have super heavy vignettes on your images that make them unusable since the lens will not make use of the entire sensor.

So, in summary, Starting out I would recommend these 4 items

Nikon D7000 about $340 USED

Nikon 50mm f1.8D $130 new. Cheaper used (There is a newer “G” version that is slightly better but is $200 new. used about $169. I still use the cheaper “D” version on the daily)

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED for getting close to wildlife. you could also do portrait work with this lens. It is about $130 used (easy to find alternative: Nikon 55-200mm about $100 used)

Nikon 18-55mm VR is your best cheap bet for a wide angle that will get the job done. About $100 Used

If you have any questions about any aspect of photography feel free to ask my dude!


I’d recommend a good beginners book of digital photography from the library or elsewhere.

I really like my Panasonic LX-7 (older now) because it has an aperture ring.
It’s really not all that complicated, once you understand the relationship between speed and aperture, it’s much easier than yo-yoing :slight_smile:

Also, as you get better, you start messing with white balance to warm things up or cool.

And finally editing. I don’t like it, I usually get what I’m after right from the camera. A little cropping now and then.


yeah, I’m not a fan of editing either. I know how to do it but it’s tedious and boring to me :confused: