Choosing 35 Millimeter SLR Camera Equipment

Tom Davis
Tom's home page

Last Modified: March 31, 2006.

If you'd like to see if I'm competent to talk about cameras and photography before you waste your time reading this, here are some of my photos.

Warning: These photo pages were originally written before it was reasonable to think about getting a digital camera. Times have changed. Although the vast majority of the information on these pages applies equally well to digital SLR cameras, the text may refer to things like "film" or "development" that obviously do not apply in the digital world.

I have shot only digital for the last three years. I have a lot of information about digital cameras, but since the technology is changing so fast, it's hard to keep it all up to date, and the organization is a bit chaotic, but I keep working on it.

Should you get a film SLR or a digital SLR? Here is a short page listing the pros and cons.

Clapper Rail These pages are aimed at the beginning photographer who wants to purchase a 35 mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) or DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera body and enough equipment to get going. If you're reading this page, I assume that you know that you want this sort of camera and not a point-and-shoot, APS, medium-format camera, et cetera. If you're not sure, see this page about 35 mm SLR cameras.

On the left is a photo of the endangered Clapper Rail that I took at the Palo Alto Baylands in the San Francisco bay using a 35mm film camera. Click on the image to get a larger view.

In addition, there's quite a bit of general information written at a beginner's level that will probably not apply to your first purchase, but you can make a more informed first purchase if you have some ideas of how you may want to extend your system in the future.

I get the following question all the time from friends, on photo news groups, et cetera:

"I have $500 (or $1000, or $2000, or whatever) to spend on 35 mm SLR camera equipment. What should I get?"

The answer, of course, is, "It depends."

Here are some things it depends on:

I'm totally biased, of course, so to be fair, I'll try to list my biases up front:

Read the general advice below, and then read any pages on specific details that are of interest to you.

Return to my home page (where you can find links to some of my photography and judge for yourself whether I know what I'm talking about).

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