manual digital camera recommendations

i am a student and don’t have a very large budget for a new digital camera, but i’m looking to buy a manual for this semester. i’m willing to bump up my spending for a camera that has a good performance record and one that i can grow with over the next couple of years. any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.


manual? you mean 35MM or DSLR? or any digital camera that allows some manual adjustment of exposure/shutter speed? These are all 3 different things…

what’s the budget? (“not very large” is all relative…)


sorry, i meant dslr…and i was thinking of around $500, but am willing to spend more for something that will be a better long-term purchase.

Pentax K100D, the one with the stabilization. Second hand if you can find one, because people are upgrading. Then try to get free Pentax kit lenses from your older relatives and family friends.


The Canon Digital Rebel is an all around great camera, just not with the kit lense.

All of the entry level bodies from Nikon and Canon are more than powerful enough for most photographers. It’s the glass that makes the difference.

I agree that a good used camera and lens may be the way to go. You don’t say what you want to use it for, but since you’re on the Core77 site I assume it will be used at least in part to document design projects. In that case a moderate zoom lens may fill your needs, say something in the 18-70mm zoom range.

If, on the other hand, you’re planning to take a photography course you may want to try to get in touch with the instructor and find out what he/she recommends for a zoom lens or a couple of prime (fixed focal length) lenses for the assignments you’ll be getting.

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a Nikon, Canon or Fuji FinePix S2 (it uses Nikon lenses) body. I know others may disagree, but I’d stick with Nikon or Canon lenses unless you can get really good advice on a specific lens. There are some good third party lenses, but there’s also some real junk. The biggest difference is frequently in the mechanical quality rather than the optics, so you may get decent pictures until it jams or otherwise fails.

Here’re a couple of sites to give you an idea of what’s available in used equipment. Keep in mind that unless you’re as OCD as I am, cosmetic blemishes on the equipment don’t matter. They don’t affect the quality of the pictures.

Also check out the used equipment on Amazon and be sure to check out eBay, but be sure to look for return policies and the seller’s reputation. Some of the eBay Power Sellers have an amazing variety of equipment.

Good luck!

Hey, the kid has a $500 budget.

The Canons and Nikons cost more money, and nobody will just give away their old lenses, making the overall costs much higher. Not only are there a lot of Pentax compatible lenses out there, people are more likely to part with them for free.


She (I’m assuming it’s a girl by the name. If not, sorry.) said, “… and i was thinking of around $500, but am willing to spend more for something that will be a better long-term purchase.”

With some shopping around, especially at one of the many eBay stores, it’s possible to find a good body for around $300-350 and a lens for around $175-200, so she can have a complete starter system for $500-550. I think she’ll be happier with a Canon, Nikon or FinePix S2 in the long run, and she doesn’t have to hunt for a benefactor to give her a free lens. I’d hate to think of her standing at an intersection holding a sign saying, “Lensless. Please help.”

Most important for great photos is the sensor size and lens quality.
I agree that the Canon and Nikon lenses are the best for entry models, they produce nice soft fading with the Nikon producing a slightly better bokeh but that’s a matter of taste. Nowadays there are also entry model cameras with Zeiss lenses and even some affordable ones with a Leica lens which are of course a class better. For example the Sony RX100 has a large sensor + a Zeiss lens making it the best overall compact camera currently available.
Another option, if you have roomy pockets or don’t mind carrying it in a separate bag/purse and want to obtain professional photographs is a system camera such as a Lumix with a f/1.7 20mm pancake lens.

I’ve been a fan of the Panasonic Lumix GF-series micro 4:3 ‘mirrorless’ format. Interchangeable lenses, digital viewfinder on the hot shoe, and a pop up real flash were things I liked about the GF-1. Its still my go-to. Smaller form factor helps with portability. Am selling a GF-2 in hard-to-find white body color, let’s make a deal! :smiley: