The most important decision you’ll make is choosing a camera body. If you are serious about photography, you will stick to either a Canon or Nikon SLR (single lens reflex, meaning you can look through the lens as you shoot). I am a Canon shooter, as are most pros, but in the last few years Nikon has introduced some superb bodies (and great lenses, too). Get the best body you can afford. I prefer a full-frame sensor body, such as the Canon 5D Mark III or the Nikon D800. Is it necessary to spend $8000 on a camera body? No, it’s not. You can get everything you want in a high end camera for less than 1/2 that price.
The only advantage of a less-than-full-frame sensor camera is that when you shoot wildlife or sports, the magnification factor (1.6x in Canon, 1.5x in Nikon) adds to the focal length of your lenses. With Nikon, if you have a 300mm, it becomes a 450mm lens. In essence the image is being cropped in-camera. This is slightly sharper than cropping a full-frame sensor picture in Photoshop.
The disadvantage is that your wide angle lenses are also magnified, and they become less wide. A 24mm focal length on a Canon Rebel, for example, becomes a 38mm lens which isn’t much of a wide angle. In order to address that issue, both Canon and Nikon came out with ultra wide angle lenses made for these type of cameras. The 10-22mm lens is really a 16-35mm lens when multiplied by the 1.6x magnification factor inherent in Canon’s less-than-full-frame sensor cameras.
In looking at the various options when shopping for a camera body, there are three things that I feel are important:
1. You should be able to use a flash off-camera.
2. The camera should have an automatic sensor cleaner (which is very effective in reducing
the dust problem)
3. Noise should be minimal at 3200 ISO and below.