All hail the entry kit! [The entry kit dSLR Part 1]

Yesterday, a friend was interested in purchasing a dSLR at Costco and asked me which he should buy: a Nikon or a Canon. I get asked that a lot.

Costco dSLRs
Costco dSLRs
Costco, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Olympus E-P2, Lumix G Vario HD 1:4.0-5.8/14-140 ASPH. Mega O.I.S.
1/60sec @ ƒ4, ISO250, 14mm (28mm)

From left to right: The Nikon D3000, the Nikon D5000, and the Canon 500D (called the Rebel T1i in the U.S.).

The higher pricing is because Costco usually sells supersets in order to be above the manufacturer minimum advertised price but still yield a decent value to the consumer. For instance, the Nikon D5000 kit contains not only the 18-55mm VR lens, but also the 55-200mm VR lens, a camera bag, two Nikon school DVDs, a book, and an SD card.

The Canon 500D is the most expensive of the trio because Canon and Nikon avoid competing head-to-head by interleaving price and features in models. The 500D sits between the Nikon D5000 and the enthusiast Nikon D90. The 1000D (a.k.a. Rebel XS) was introduced to compete between the Nikon D3000 and Nikon D5000 price points and wasn’t for sale the day I took this photo. (Update: Last time I was at Costco, the Canon 1000D, Nikon D5000, and Canon 500D were for sale. During the writing of this series, Canon introduced the 550D)

“Uhh, the Nikon D3000.”

“Well that’s because they stopped selling the other dSLRs there.”

“Yeah, I noticed that. Why was that?”

“Partly because the Canon 1000D is old. Everyone expects it to be updated.”

“It’ll be updated?”

“Most likely if Canon wants to sell any cameras. It’s been a year and a half, which is a long time to have a camera in that category. The D3000 just came out.”

“You know what camera I really like? The Nikon D5000. In fact, I ordered one the other day. It’s arriving this evening.”

Nikon D5000 kit
Nikon D5000 kit
South of Market, San Francisco, California

Olympus E-P2, M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6
1/60sec @ ƒ3.5, iso 12500, 14mm (28mm)

Actually, this was purchased for Marie, not myself.

It sounds strange that someone who owns a Nikon D70IR, Nikon D200, and a Nikon D3 would purchase an entry level Nikon dSLR. Over the next week, I’ll explain why by going over the Why, What, How, Where and When of a good first dSLR purchase.

And don’t worry. While my experience is with Nikon, I won’t give the short shrift to the other brands.

Table of contents

  • Why dSLR?: Why a dSLR produces better images than a pocket digital
  • What dSLR?: Don’t buy a dSLR that is too much dSLR for you
  • What dSLR? (2): The Pentax, Sony, and Olympus dSLRs and about entry dSLRs compact size
  • How DSLR?: The Canon and Nikon dSLRs, a big spreadsheet, return policies, and what I bought
  • Where dSLR?: About first lenses and things to buy with your first dSLR purchase
  • When dSLR?: About books, videos, and classes

(Article continued in part 2)

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11 thoughts on “All hail the entry kit! [The entry kit dSLR Part 1]

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