Hold each make of camera, play with the menus, just for a moment, and go with the one that feels best. Really both Nikon and Canon make excellent cameras that will do everything you need.|
Nikon and Canon are the big players. I'd personally stick with them. Not that other makes are worse, just will make life slightly easier for you.
Similarly for lenses - you'll be able to get what you want for either type of camera. The ranges are not that different. The prices are not that different, especially with 3rd party lenses.
If I were you I would look at the Nikon D90 or the canon 550D. Both excellent cameras that will last you. See which feels better and go that way. Both companies do a lower tier of cameras. Nothing wrong with them but given the budget you are quoting this would be what I'd look at...
Then pair that with a 100mm macro lens in the £300-400 territory. This takes you up to a grand. You'll lack cash for a tripod or other lenses, if that is a problem downgrade on the camera and get a kit lens and tripod in the package, or get a more versatile mid zoom macro lens to start with - it won't have the same quality but will give you more freedom to experiment which I think would be good for someone in your position - worry about the specialist lenses later when you know how you want to specialise. Then you'd have a 200 or so left over for a reasonable tripod and other bits and bobs.
#6343752, By Jos DSLR advice
Jos 709 posts
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Registered 12 years ago