I doubt anyone here is going to recommend a particular brand because to my knowledge no one brand stands out as being the vastly superior top dog. I shoot Nikon and I will make one recommendation if you do decide to choose Nikon. And that is: Some entry level Nikon DSLR's do not have a focusing motor built into the body which means the lens itself must have a focusing motor for auto focus. Nikon as well as other manufacturers of lenses such as Sigma and Tamron are producing more and more lenses with built in focusing motors but you will still be somewhat limited to some degree if choosing one of these cameras.
Our friend Narsuitus offers the best advice so far in his last post when he advises you to contact the instructor for requirements. That may not answer the which brand to buy question but it will help with the next step which is what madel to buy and it may help with the which brand to buy as well.
As you stated Canon, Nikon and Sony are all excellent cameras so the decision on which to buy actuall comes down to things other than the camera. I suggest you look at the list of accesories that is available for each camera brand or model because as a photographer those will be important in the future even if they are not at this moment in time.
But the most important thing to decide is which camera feels best in your hands or has the menus laid out in a way that makes the most sense to you, this the only reason why I shoot Canon. So I suggest you fnd a good photo store and go look at cameras, check the menus, chek how they feel in your hands.
And to get on my soap box for a moment, if you do this please reward the store and it's sales people by buying your camera body from them at the least. Off the soap box.
Good luck in your decision and don't forgeet we are always here to answer more questions.
Most pros use either Canon or Nikon. My advice would be to decide right now it's going to be one of those two. Now, which of the two? That's like deciding between Coke and Pepsi. Both will serve you well. Canon users love Canon. Nikon users love Nikon. remember, once you choose, you are pretty much married to that brand as the lenses, flashes and other equipment are not interchangeable. I switched from Canon to Nikon a couple of years ago and it was a very expensive and long ordeal. I am still working towards having the inventory of lenses I had with Canon. But I'm glad I made the switch. I prefer Nikon. The only thing better that I've noticed about Canon is the customer service.
If you are taking photography classes planning to become a pro you are best off with Nikon or Canon since they have the most extensive pro systems. If you are not planning on a career in photography, you should consider Pentax and Sony also. One big difference is that Pentax and Sony have stabilization in the bodies where Nikon and Canon have it in the lenses. Each has its advantages, but having it in the body can be a big money saver since stabilized lenses are generally more expensive than similar nonstabilized lenses. If cost is an issue, that can be important.
Skipper, I use Nikon but I used to use Canon. I find Nikon's customer and tech support far better than Canon's.
The last time I called Canon was a few years ago. I had a problem with a Canon scanner. The Canon nonsupport person didn't want to be bothered. The few times I've called Nikon, I couldn't have been more pleased with the service. Maybe it depends on who you get and what kind of day he/she is having.
I just made the jump to DSLR and just want to take great pictures, want to capture life and nature and bring vacations to life. But I was looking for a happy medium where I could go all out manual and broach semi pro results, and have the luxury of auto and really great high res pictures. For me this choice was a Canon T3i and actually PopPhoto I think sold me with the glowing reviews that it gave. I have dropped about $1,100 so far and that was my budget, but comfortable that I can grow into this camera but it doesnt scare me with all the features. I think that is maybe my best advice feel comfortable after your research that you and the camera can grow together. Hope that helps some.
. . . What i'm asking is for some experienced users to help decide from either Canon, Nikon, or Sony. I know that one brand is not necessarily better than the other, and each have pros and cons but how do people pick which brand they want.
How do I suggest YOU choose the brand for you . . .
Go to your camera shop and use (USE) each of three brands.
Get a gut feel as to which camera feels good in your hands.
Use the controls and get to know the fundamentals.
One camera’s FUNCTIONALITY will be more intuitive for YOU.
Originally Posted by clu5
(why do you use the brand you do) I'm looking for a brand i can stick with and invest in. I'm really excited to here your thoughts.
You can invest in any of the three brands. You might find depending upon your geographical location either Nikon or Canon will be easier for you to get serviced or repaired; rent additional items; and or have other photographers with the same brand.
I chose Canon DSLR mainly for these three reasons (at the time of purchase into Digital):
The unique EOS lens cache available
The unique availability of three camera formats, especially 135 format.
the leverage of my colleagues using Canon
You should ask your teacher for an opinion of what THE BASIC gear requirement is for the course. You will likely find that an entry level DSLR and standard zoom lens (kit lens) e.g. 17 to 55F/3.5~5.6 will suffice for the course requirements: if this is so, then I advise to buy nothing more, at this point in time.
Because...? While you suss that out, I'll address the original poster:
ANY major brand DSLR camera with a kit lens should suffice for a beginning photography course, there's no need to go through Narsuitus' somewhat intimidating checklist. ANY major brand DSLR camera will offer manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program controls. Pick the one that fits your budget and that you find comfortable to hold. If it's not comfortable in your hands, it's worthless to you.
I notice in post #8 that clu5 mentions wanting to present transparencies: this can only be accomplished by sending the digital files to a lab that makes these conversions, shooting transparencies requires a film camera and the appropriate slide film.
But since post #8 was also clu5's third of a total of four posts, and was made two months ago, I realize I'm talking to the air right now.