When setting your budget, don't forget to allow for accessories and extras. A couple of spare memory cards will definitely come in handy. If you don't get yourself a spare battery you will almost certainly regret it at some point, probably when faced with a golden picture-taking opportunity, only to find you are out of juice.
You might hear of a Digital SLR being referred to as a camera system. This is a term used to describe a camera and the associated accessories you build up around it.
When buying accessories one of the choices you face is whether to buy accessories made by the same brand as your Digital SLR or from a third party brand. This is certainly true for lenses, flash units and memory cards. The market leading brands for other accessories such as filters and tripods tend to be third party companies specialising in those areas. There are no hard and fast rules for whether you should buy from the brand that makes your Digital SLR or not. Usually buying from third party companies will make your budget go further.
Some accessories depend on the type of photographs you are planning to take. Therefore planning up front can help you to make the best use of your budget. For example if you are serious about landscape photography or certain types of night photography then a tripod is a must. If on the other hand you have an interest in street photography a tripod is a handicap in this fast paced environment.
A tripod is invaluable, especially if you want to do a lot of landscape photography. A decent one will be strong and sturdy but not too heavy.
As well as landscape photography a tripod really comes into its own in lowlight photography. When you are forced to use longer shutter speeds using a tripod helps you to avoid any picture blur.
Don't forget you will also need a good bag to carry all your gear around. There is a huge choice available, from simple shoulder bags to backpack-style bags with room for a camera plus several lenses as well as a laptop. It's a good idea to get one that is a little bigger than you need initially, to allow for your kit to grow.
One accessory that many enthusiast and professional photographers often use is a battery grip. This is an additional hand-grip which can be screwed onto the camera, and which holds an extra battery. This can effectively double battery life and can make the camera easier to handle. The battery grip usually incorporates duplicate shutter release controls, making it much easier to shoot when taking portrait-format pictures, and some photographers find the grip gives a more balanced feel to the camera, although bit does, of course, add considerably to the weight.
Buying a Digital SLR or Compact System Cameras with a hot shoe opens up further possibilities. For example you can attach an external microphone or a light to the accessory shoe. Landscape photographers may want to attach a spirit level to ensure they get their horizons straight; or why not attach a GPS unit to accurately record the exact location each shot is taken?
Digital SLR Basics
Digital SLRs and Digital Cameras Key Differences
Digital SLR or Compact System Cameras
Digital SLR Handling
Help for Beginners
Lenses and Accessories
Buying a Camera Lens
Digital SLR Accessories
Learn More About Features
Resolution and Sensor Size
Manual Exposure Modes
Help With Tricky Lighting
Live View and Articulated Screens
Depth of Field Preview Button
Current and Recommended Models
Summary of Current Models
Recommended Digital SLRs
Digital SLR Guide Author
This guide was written by Ian Younger
For indoor or low-light photography you will soon find the limitations of your built-in flash will cause frustration, so an external flashgun may be a wise buy if you want to avoid harsh shadows and red eyes.
A UV filter is essential to protect your lens, but there are also a number of other filters that will improve your pictures. A polariser, for example, will boost contrast and colour saturation on sunny days, while a neutral density graduated (ND Grad) filter is a great help in controlling exposure with bright skies.
Filters have fallen out of fashion a little over recent years as you can now apply a lot of the effects that filters provide in post production when working with software such as Photoshop. However they are still great to experiment with and give your photos something different.