Canon Camera and lens for a beginner

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ray ., May 30, 2021.

  1. Hi Everyone

    I have a friend who wants help picking out a camera to learn photography. My first thought is a basic 35mm film camera used, but I think she may want to go digital. She’s mentioned the Canon EOS M50. I had recommended Canon but I don’t think she necessarily needs to spend that much ($650). I’m looking at used Canon Rebels that are quite reasonably priced, but having only had a 5D, I’m not familiar enough with the Rebel to know which model, if any, might be a little too old in the tooth. My 5D is 14 years old and has never skipped a beat, though it hasn’t been used intensively for commercial work. If the chosen camera for a beginner is 10 MP or even less, that should be fine IMO.

    As for a lens, I see the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens has good reviews and goes for $125 new. For a Rebel that may be a little long in focal length though. I’m thinking 35mm or wider for a Rebel. Btw, did all of the Rebels use the same size sensor?

    Last edited: May 30, 2021
  2. Any of the 18mp or 24mp Canon Rebels with the 18-55mm IS lens would be just fine for a beginner. The 18mp sensor is OK while 24mp sensors are better. Latter models (24mp with dual pixel AF) have very good live view performance if that is important. Check for specific model numbers and for used pricing. Too many model iterations for a specific one to look for since Canon was quite prolific in introducing new models annually with very little difference in performance.

    I would also look at Nikon 3000 series DSLRs with the 24mp sensor. I know less about theses than Canon but the sensor is excellent.
  3. Film is becoming so difficult to handle (finding a processor, or setting up a simple laboratory. etc.) that it's no long a realistic "beginner's" option in my opinion.

    (see 17-Year-Old Thinks She's Getting Into Photography)

    So a good camera to 'learn photography' is a digital one with that has the option of simply accessible manual controls. The choice between Canon and Nikon or even some other 35mm-like form of digital is momentous, but any way you go, simple after the initial choice of system is made.

    I use both Nikon and Canon cameras, but have come to appreciate the Canon line more as time goes by. That's a personal choice, of course.

    Don't overlook the availability of lightly used (pre-owned if it's an expensive model to start with) cameras. Ditto for lenses and other accessories.

    Any model that has 6 megapixels or greater resolution is good. 12 MP is superb. Few people, and almost no beginners, need 20 or 30 MP.
    Various Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop programs on a decent computer are very good. But there are other options ranging from "free" to "cheap" that do work, if not so smoothly (see

    GIMP (LINK) is really very powerful, but does have a steep learning curve. The typical GIMP user may also collect LINUX distros as a hobby :rolleyes:
  4. I have a Cano T5i that my grandson now uses and it does a pretty good job.
  5. I think this is very good advice. If you are looking at used gear, there are other options as well. The cameras from some years ago that used to be a step up from the Rebels are now very cheap. These will have older sensors than the current Rebels but better ergonomics. For example, you can buy a 15 MP 50D for less than $200 in good condition. I shot with a 50D for several years before upgrading to a 5D III.

    I learned with film, and that was all I did for years. That's all there was back then. Trying to learn with film now is a very bad idea. Film is expensive, and you don't see your successes and mistakes until much later, after you or someone else has developed and printed the image. Digital provides fast feedback and doesn't punish the novice for making mistakes. It makes it much easier for a newbie to experiment and learn. I see no upsides whatever for a novice to start with film.
    peter_c|5 and ajkocu like this.
  6. Thanks for answers… I advised her to get something like a used Canon Rebel from KEH, but I think she was just determined to get a Canon M50. A friend of hers has one and she had tried it and felt comfortable with it, so I guess that's as good a choice as any. Spending a little more apparently was not an issue.

    Btw, photonet email alerts aren't showing up for me so if my response is a bit late, apologies.

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