What’s the best first DSLR you can get for $400

Jan 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

What’s the best first DSLR you can get for $400

Jan 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Buying your very first DSLR is a thrilling event, but it’s not an easy task. The choice is huge and it may be overwhelming and confusing when you start looking at all those cameras. In this video, Kai Wong compares two options from Nikon you can get for under $400 along with lenses. One is new and the other is used, and Kai looks into the pros and cons of both.

YouTube video

A camera from this series is what Kai also recommends as the first DSLR. In the video, he shoots with a Nikon D3500, and you can get it brand new for under $400, along with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. It’s lightweight, has a good dynamic range, AF is quick, and even the video is decent (although it’s not 4K).

Although a Nikon D3500 can be a great choice for new photographers, Kai wanted to see what else he could get for the same amount of money. So, he got himself a used Nikon D700. They go from $100 on eBay for body only, depending on the condition. If you’re on a budget, you can buy a used Nikkor AF-D lens or one of affordable third party lenses such as Meike or Yongnuo.

Compared to the D3500, the D700 has a sturdy body and more AF points. However, the dynamic range and auto white balance are better in the D3500. In terms of low-light performance, they are pretty much equal. When it comes to the ease of use, Kai votes for the D700 because it seems that it could be easier for beginners to grasp all the buttons and dials. Personally, I find all Nikon cameras intuitive, but I know it’s totally individual.

I still remember the exciting times when I was choosing my first DLSR. I spent weeks reading specs, comparing them, looking at sample photos. Oh boy, my head hurt from all the information! And when I finally made a choice, it was Nikon D3000. It turned out to be perfect for me as an aspiring photographer who needed an upgrade from a point-and-shoot camera. Today, when someone asks me what DSLR to buy to upgrade from their smartphone, I recommend a camera from the D3x00 series, which is one of Kai’s recommendations, too.

On the other hand, you can get more for the same price if you opt for a second-hand camera. Still, this is when you need to be cautious and make sure that it’s working properly. Personally, I’d always rather go for a new camera with a warranty, but that’s just me.

I hope that this video has helped you at least a bit choosing your first DSLR, or buying one as a gift for someone. And if you already own a camera (or cameras), tell us – what was your first DSLR? And do you still use it?

[Best First DSLR for $400 | Kai Wong]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “What’s the best first DSLR you can get for $400”

  1. Stacy Anderson Avatar
    Stacy Anderson

    Sony alpha 58 and yes

  2. eddiepearson Avatar
    eddiepearson

    at 400 bucks, I don’t feel like you should buy a DSLR. Why not get something similar to the Fuji X70.

  3. Galonii August Avatar
    Galonii August

    Canon rebel XT, sometimes if I’m going to be somewhere my camera could get ruined and I don’t care about how many megapixels I’m shooting with. LOL

  4. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    my two current bodies are Nikon D3200 and Nikon D7200 …. the D3200 paid my bills for many many years and the D7200 is now my main camera. Spend in a basic body and buy premium lenses… best advise ever… I use manual mode… believe me when I say a D3XXX will do almost everything you need.