With my little disclaimer out of the way, I can begin. There are pieces of equipment that may help you in learning photography. If you want to get serious about photography, I will lay out two systems that will get you started. I have listed both with lenses that have an aperature of 1.8. These lenses are professional and can created that "blur in the background" that professional photos have. They also work better than other lenses inside. I recommend either 35mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8 lenses to all new photographers, they can't be beat for the money.
I personally use Nikon - specifically the Nikon D700 but for new photographers I recommend the most inexpensive DSLR (digital single lens reflex) currently made. Here is why, the image sensor (the digital film) in the cheaper SLR cameras are usually the same ones as some of the expensive cameras. These cameras are easier to use for beginners and can take just as good quality photos as a much more expensive cameras. The difference is that they don't have all the bells and whistles of an expensive camera.
The Nikon Camera System:
Here are all the pieces for my recommended Nikon beginner system.
Canon Camera System
I am not a Canon user but they do make great cameras. So I will list my pics here:
- Canon EOS Rebel T1i with 3-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
- Sandisk 8GB SD Card
We recommend Picasa for simple photo management. It is simple, easy to learn and FREE. Once you are ready to get more advanced we recommend Lightroom 3. Yes, it is as good as everyone says!