Over the years I have had to listen to people with DSLR's carry on about all the technical bumph relating to their particular camera and how there are only two brands worth considering, Nikon and Canon. Don't get me wrong, these guys produce a very good product, however none of todays manufacturers of serious cameras produce an inferior or substandard product. They can't afford to. All the camera manufacturers have had their standout models as well as some classic lemons, even Canon and Nikon.
There are a large number of excellent cameras on the market and they all have their place in the grand scheme of things, but I am concentrating on the SLR.
If we can get away from the brand and feature bragging and concentrate on the process of taking a photograph and the end result, you will find the choice of cameras available to you suddenly expands. An often ignored brand is Pentax, a company that has been around since the dawn of the SLR and has produced some excellent cameras and lenses. This remains true today with their current crop of SLR cameras, like the K-50, K-5, K-5II and the latest release, the K-3.
Their cameras rank up there with the best in terms of performance and features, as do their optics. I have owned and used a wide variety of cameras starting in the days of film, ranging from Ricoh, Contax, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Olympus and more and whilst the layout of controls and speed of operation varied between models and brands, the end results were always good.
People tend to forget that the end result is dependent on the way the camera is used, not the camera itself. The camera is a tool that captures the image you are after, albeit a very complicated electronic tool.
So my advice is to look at all the cameras in you price range, find the one that feels comfortable and not too heavy, bearing in mind you will be the one carrying it around, and if your requirements are a camera for hobby use, pick an entry level or mid range model. These will be simpler to use, have less confusing layouts and still give excellent results.
Don't be pushed into something you don't need just because the sales person is trying to push his choice on you. Do your research with an open mind. Camera buyers often ask their friends, particularly if they happen to own an SLR, and these are often the wrong people to ask, because a lot of the time, they are more interested in the whistles and bells and will spend hours in programs like Photoshop trying to fix an image which could have been great straight out of the camera if they had only spent the time learning how to use it properly.
If you would like to learn how to select and use an SlR, get in touch and book a session with me.