I'm thinking about buying myself a new camera. My current camera is OK (Canon S230), but I think I'd like to move into SLR territory. I know that some of you have done this or researched it, so I'd appreciate some thoughts on the various issues of kitting up.
The biggest question is brand and body. As a SLR newbie, I'm not even in a good position to lust after the more "professional" cameras, or really to have a good sense of the advantages they confer, so I'm definitely thinking of the more amateur/consumer/entry-level models. The Canon Digital Rebel line seems to be the most common among people I know, and I'm certainly familiar with and reasonably happy with their pocket cameras. The obvious thing to do, then, would be to pick up the XTi and be done with it. However, I know that there's the whole rest of the world out there. Are there particular reasons to look - or thoroughly ignore - the lines from Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, or others? Recommendations for specific models or lines there would help, since I don't know as much about them (the Nikon D40X seems like the immediate competitor). I don't currently have any lenses, and I'm not aware of a secret stash of great old lenses I'm about to inherit or something.
Next is the lens question. DSLRs all seem to have the option of coming with a stock zoom lens (18-50mm or so) or without it, and I've seen arguments (like this one
) that the zoom lens isn't great and a prime lens is better, both in terms of the pictures that result and developing photographic skill. At least in the Canon universe, there's a 50mm f/1.8 that is about the same cost as the stock zoom lens (though reportedly quite fragile), so that's an interesting possibility. Any thoughts on which way is good to go, or if they're cheap enough that one should have both a vanilla zoom and a cheap prime lens? (Also, I'm a bit on how the third-party lens ecosystem works these days - notes about how that affects brand would be helpful). Are there any other "seriously consider this for starting out" lenses, or should I just wait and see?
Flash - I know the least about this area, except that having a "real flash" is supposed to be a serious advantage, but I don't know what the spectrum is like, or what I should be looking for. Any advice here would be helpful. I assume the world has changed enough that the old Focal DA-2000 flash that goes with my old film camera isn't relevant to anything.
Other kit - any other critical accessories I don't know about or don't know the importance of? A spare battery seems key. Lens filters? Hoods? Tripod widgets? (I'm sure the limitations of my current crappy tripod will become quickly apparent if I actually have a reason to use it)
And finally, the reality check. Should I bother? Should I not get into another set of expensive toys of limited utility? This is really a question for the other DSLR owners - has it been worth it, particularly if you haven't set out to Do Photography?