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What’s the Best Digital SLR Camera for Beginners?

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Question: I see more and more people carrying digital SLRs these days. And when I look at the great photos, I understand why. I'd like to upgrade from my point-and-shoot, but the choices are overwhelming. What's a good beginner SLR that can also grow with me if I want to get more serious?

Advice: Our current favorite among beginner models is the Nikon D5000. It's not the cheapest -- even from Nikon -- but it has great room to grow. The D5000 is very similar to the company's pricier D90 camera and comes with one significant upgrade: An articulating, 2.7-inch LCD screen allows you to frame the photo while holding the camera above your head, down at your waist, or even facing towards you for a self-portrait. That gives it a leg up on Canon's Digital Rebel line of entry-level SLRs.

The LCD is especially handy when using the D5000's video-capture feature, since you don't have to hold the camera right up to your nose while shooting. The 720p HD movies it takes don't match the crisp images you can get with a dedicated high-def camcorder, but they make a fun supplement to the excellent 12-megapixel still photos.

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