For the sake of keeping this simple, we will use the Nikon d3300 as your camera of choice, and there’s a very good reason for it. It stands alone as the best of the great ‘Beginner’s’ cameras, and although it’s a crop, not a full frame, if it wasn’t for my Lumix G5, it’s the camera I would happily marry and live with on the streets. We know Nikon are not known for being inexpensive, similar to Cannon they carry large price tags, but this is more to do with branding then any considerable difference in performance, however this little beauty is the exception to the rule.
With 24.2MP, and in some places still retailing at only $400, you really get a bang for your dollar. Yes it has it’s limitations, it’s not the Ferrari of the Nikon range by any means, but for the Mini of the class, it handles like a professional. The rubber hand grip and general weight compared to the G5 gives it a sense of importance, but the immovable screen at the back will need protecting and the sensor can be a bit fragile and worrisome. Even so, if you pair this chassis with the right lens, you’ll definitely feel the purr of the EXPEED 4 Image Processing Engine.
35MM 1.8 AF-S DX Nikkor Lens
If the Camera is relative to the performance of your new little sports car, then the Lens has to be the handling. And doesn’t she do well. One of the aspects of good handling is the lack of oversteer, and in this case the speed of reaction and dept are second to none. If you want dreamy bokeh, then this is your girl. It’s picks up those out of focus points of light, and spreads them thinly across a cacophony of blurred magic to help define your foreground image. For the Amateur, this gives you the same feeling you get when you actually catch the Big Bertha and you hit 300 with a roll. It won’t break the bank either, second hand, with no dust or fungus, and you might have change from $185.
Yes I did just use the plural. The biggest mistake we all make when buying the first camera is to think we won’t need a backup, as we are only going out to take a few snaps. Well we’re wrong, but you only find this out through experience. Cards and batteries are similar to car batteries and gas tanks, you need to keep filling them up and emptying them or they run down. Always keep a second fully charged with you, along with a plastic cover, just in case. Second hand batteries cost about $20.
Lens hoods to a lot of people are like those 1980’s spoilers, they must do something, but whatever it is can’t be too important. Well actually, unlike the mutant supped up escort spoilers of the past, Lens Hoods are really useful. Not only do they protect the lens but they fight against the dreaded flare, while at the same time not affecting the picture. The petal design above extends out, but being circular and cut it does not interfere with the square photo. Very clever, and useful:) These are very cheap from $8 upwards.
Camera Bag and Tripod
Yes I know it’s Nikon’s rival bag, but when your starting off, any bag will do. It’s important to keep everything dry as moisture is most definitely your enemy, especially for resale. Make sure it has enough room for food and drink too, and anything you don’t want to carry like a small umbrella or a flask.
The Tripod is only as important as the experience you have. However, for landscapes it is a must for both Amateurs and Professionals. Bags can vary in price try a second hand one for $20 and the same for the Tripod.
Filters are like sunglasses, you only wear them on bright days. They are great for taking the glare off water but they are notoriously fragile so buying something to protect them is a great idea. Filters are great at protecting your lens too, like a windscreen in front of another. New filters can cost around $28 second hand about half this or less.
Rain Covers for Cameras
As your Nikon is not waterproof, this is a great edition. Most people will improvise with plastic bags and caps and umbrellas but these don’t work. If you are using a Tripod these are a must, just remember to bring your lens cleaner.
Fuji and Sandisk is all I use, but there are many other makes out there I’m sure do the job. Make sure you don’t buy too cheap though as if your card goes, so does your day’s work. Always back up your photography after you finish, this way you can free up card space, and protect your images. Finally, never forget a second card. Not only will this help you if the other breaks, you will run out of space, it happens to us all.
This particular model does not come with inbuilt wifi, but if you buy a camera without it, some models come with a port which allows you connect. This allows you to transfer images to your phone.