That’s a big question and will change depending on who you are and what you like.
But what I can do is tell you my experience as a beginner DSLR user, and hopefully that will help in your own decision making process.
You may also want to check out The Ultimate Guide to buying an Entry Level DSLR.
*Update at the bottom of this article…*
A Beginners DSLR – Canon Rebel XSi/450D Review
I bought a Canon Rebel XSi /450D in August 2008, it was my first DSLR, and I’m still as happy with it’s performance today as I was when I bought it. I think that speaks volumes about it’s build quality and performance as its an entry level DSLR. Since it was launched Canon has released the 500D, and the 550D will be available from April this year.
Although the XSi/450D is not Canon’s latest model in the entry level range I won’t be rushing out to change it. I’m not even tempted by the HD video on the newer models, I want to explore my photography, video can wait. Of course that’s one of the questions I asked myself before I bought it, will it last me for a while or will I want to move on quickly and upgrade?
I’m happy to say I haven’t felt that, I’m learning more and more about my camera and still have some way to go. It is an entry level camera but it has lasting features that keep me busy.
After deciding I wanted a Canon DSLR camera the next question was which one, and a huge influence on my decision was budget. Lets face it digital photography is a very expensive hobby and as much as I lusted after a 40D or even a 5D I just didn’t have the spare cash that those cameras demand.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have options for the future, I can buy a new Canon body and my exisitng lens’ will still fit it. So I can happily save up for a 5D Mark II (aaaahh…dreaming…) and keep my XSi/450D as a spare body, because of its compact size compared to the larger higher end bodies like the 5D.
The XSi/450D has got a 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor which is well enough to enable me to print poster sized pictures, and it includes the EOS integrated sensor cleaning system.
I bought the camera body with the Canon’s EF-S 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. I’ve read a lot of talk about kit lens’ being poor quality, but I came from point and shoot land so to me its fantastic, my images are sharp and full of rich colours.
Ok it’s plastic, and I agree when you look at the kit lens compared to other Canon lens’ then it’s not the best lens in the world, but its not meant to be.
The camera has a Digic III processor so its fast and can shoot up to 3.5 frames per second and that’s fun to try out.
It’s also one of the first Canons to use SD or SDHC memory cards instead of Compact Flash.
The camera body is constructed in plastic instead of metal and is small in size, so very light and portable. While the 3″ LCD screen is large and I can see images really well, and zoom in nicely while still in camera to check what I’ve just taken.
I still need to try out the Spot Metering and Live View modes as I haven’t got that far yet.
The XSi/450D has got a lot in common with the 40D that came out at the same time, and although its been out a while it’s still no slouch.
They say it’s all about the ‘glass’
The one other element that can seriously effect the images that you can take is the lens or ‘glass’.
Investing in better lens’ than the kit lens that comes with the camera, can drastically increase the quality and type of images that you can take.
So I will look at expanding my lens collection before thinking about changing camera bodies!
If you are on a tight budget and you want a DSLR that delivers, has great features and you want some money left over for an extra lens or tripod. Then the Canon Rebel XSi/450D is the right camera for you.
Also if you have just bought a DSLR and want some great tips to get you started then take a look at our DSLR Tips section.
I am still very happy with my Canon 450D and I’m looking at investing in some more lens. But if you are looking for a more recent model, then Canon have developed an excellent entry level DSLR range. Why not check out the Canon EOS Rebel T3/1100D or the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600Dboth have HD Movie Mode!
P.S. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links so you can easily add to your Amazon wish list, if you so wish!