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What's a Beginner Digital Camera Kit?

Learn about beginner camera kits from commercial photographer Dan Bracaglia in this digital photography lesson from Howcast.


Another question I often get is from beginner photographers regarding what gear they should buy and how to get started in photography. Thankfully all the big manufacturers have really well priced DSLRs that a lot of times will come with a kit lens for a pretty good bargain.

Canon for instance has the T2I, the T3I. Nikon has the D3100, D3200. Sony has cameras like the A35. These are all really, really powerful cameras with somewhat stripped down features just to make them more affordable. Most of them will come with some sort of kit lens. Generally it will be something like 17 to 85 F35/56 lens. Which is a decent average focal length. It's what called a normal or a wide to normal focal length. But it doesn't have a great maximum aperture because as you zoom in, the amount of light you can take in vastly decreases.

So when looking to start a photography kit, getting a kit lens is a great option, but I always recommend also purchasing a 50 millimeter F1.8 lens. Most companies sell a really well priced 50. Usually you can pick one up for between 100 and 15dollars. And it's a prime lens so it's a one focal length, but because it's that one focal length you're getting really high quality glass with a really low maximum aperture for a really good price. And it's just a really great way to learn.

When I first started shooting, I only had one fixed lens, one prime lens and it really forced me to see the world a little bit differently. I had to move around a lot more. Get real low, get real high. And I think I was fortunate because had I had a zoom lens, I might have been a little bit lazier and would have just seen things the same way.

Other good things to buy if you're just getting into digital photography, is always consider getting an extra battery, at least two memory cards. You know generally eight gigs, 16 gigs is a good way to go. Get one or two of those or at least two of those. Get a bag. You know, a lot of companies if you're buying this kind of gear will throw in a free bag. Some will throw in a free tripod. Although I caution against free tripods because they're usually really cheap, really plasticy. Not great for your camera because they break.

And if you're really looking to splurge a little bit, a flash is not a bad idea either. Yes, most DSLRs or all DSLRs, especially on the lower end have popup flashes, but it's not a really great way to light a subject because it's just blinding straight into their eyes. So if you can pick up, you know, a lower end flash or proprietary flash, a much better way to light is to bounce it off the ceiling. However, camera, extra battery, extra memory cards, kit lens, 50 millimeter lens, really good way to go.

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