Buying a cheap digital SLR (DSLR) for less than AU$1000 is easier than ever, with so many great models to choose from.
While you can shop around for the best deal online, all the models listed below can be found with a kit lens for under a grand in major retailers, making them a great buy for a first-time DSLR user. For more tips on how to get the most out of your photography after buying your camera, check out our 10 tips for beginner photographers.
Do I need to buy a twin-lens kit?
Many first-time DSLR buyers will find options in-store and online for their chosen camera, with two kit lenses. More often than not, these cover a pretty common focal-length range of 18-55mm and 55-200mm. But do you need both?
Most of the time, no. If you are comfortable with around 3x optical zoom, which is roughly equivalent to the reach that an 18-55mm lens gives, and want to take your photography hobby more seriously in the future by adding extra lenses, stick to the single lens kit.
Carrying around multiple lenses for first-time photographers can be frustrating, especially as you are learning the ins and outs of the camera. Depending on your needs and photographic style, an equivalent lens that covers exactly the same reach as the two kit lenses in one unit is an 18-200mm lens, which most major camera brands have in their range. It's a tad more expensive but could be a better solution for long-term use.
Brand new or secondhand?
Don't feel like you need to fork out top dollar for a brand new DSLR. Sometimes you can find great bargains on run-out models, which are still new in the box but not necessarily the latest model from each particular brand.
There's also the option of going secondhand and buying a kit from a fellow photographer who has decided it's time to upgrade. There are a number of things to look out for when buying a used camera, all of which are covered in our buying guide to help you through the process.
Which DSLR is best for beginners?
All entry-level DSLRs are designed to be easy to use for beginners. They feature automatic mode, which makes all the decisions on exposure for you, plus some models — like Nikon's D3200 or D3100 — come with guide mode, which takes you step by step through the process of getting the right picture depending on your shooting situation. We have a complete guide to buying a DSLR for beginners right here.