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Okay, folks. I only have the camera on my smartphone. It's okay, but I am thinking about purchasing a good camera. I do not have thousands of dollars to dedicate to this at one time. Right now, I'm just looking for a good starter camera. Something that I can add accessories to later as I develop my skills and as funds allow. I know everyone has their favorite brands, so I won't ask about that. Instead I will ask what features and specifications should I be looking for in a camera? Keep in mind that price is a big issue. I will be looking in the range of $300-$700, but will definitely not be able to go over that to start with.

Katie, I went from a small point and shoot to a Canon Rebel T3i and I have been very satisfied with it. The Rebel has come out with several models since then, and I think they are up to the T6i. I would recommend that you check on Amazon and I think you would be able to find several options well within your budget. I would recommend getting a kit that includes the standard 18-55 mm lens and the 75 to 300 mm lens. My camera kit came with a 75 to 250 mm lens and I find that I constantly switch back and forth between the two lens. I also have image stabilization on my camera, which because of my age and a slight tremor in my hands is a big help. As add-ons as you can afford them (and believe me, I definitely understand limited budgets) I would recommend buying an extra battery and an extra memory card for the camera. For those I would compare prices between Amazon and Walmart online since they alternate as to who has the lower price. If you are reluctant to use either a personal check or one of your credit cards, the beauty of Amazon is that you can buy the amazon gift cards at a local store and add them to your amazon account without any threat of identity theft. With Walmart, you can have the item shipped to the store in most cases for free and then just go down and pick it up. I hope this helps you..

Keep in mind there is no need to buy new. You can get a generation or 2 older body for peanuts compared to the latest and greatest. Try Ebay. My latest camera body (this year) is about 5-6 years old but I snagged it for 1/3 of the cost of the latest generation of that line. Still has plenty of features. I was coming from a 10 year old entry level camera and the difference is stunning. Higher and better ISO is a big deal for low light shooting. Lenses will transfer up with body upgrades, so I would recommend trying for a deal on the body and spending the bulk of your money on decent glass.

Thanks, guys! This was helpful! Now to just get the income tax return!

I'm not sure I know exactly what you need, but I saw a nice article full of explainations and tips on FixThePhoto.com, maybe it'll be suitable for you too)