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What Is The Ideal Camera For A College Student Photographer?


Hello everyone! My name is Parker Pelletier, and I am a paid student photographer at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. I got hired onto the campus marketing / photography team last September. I always took photos on my phone, but one of the main campus photographers saw some of my photos and had numerous compliments about them. I then got hired to take pictures of events around campus, and that same campus photographer keeps complimenting me on my photos. I never honestly thought that I had the potential to become a photographer; however, according to a lot of people, my work is amazing. Currently, I use a camera supported by Trine University; however, I REALLY want my own camera. 

My question to all of you is what camera should I get to further my photography? I have been looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T7, yet I am not sure if that is the best for the current position I am in. 

**As a college student, I am looking at cheaper models if possible**




Welcome to the forum.  Can you please assign an actual budget to "cheaper or (less expensive) models if possible.

Without that we really don't have a solid point to start from.  What camera are you being sponsored with now?

Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10

~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel6 ~CarePaks Are Worth It

I know that the Rebel T7 is in the $500 range, so probably something less than or equal to that. Now, I am using a Canon Rebel T5. It is a nice camera, but it belongs to the university, and I think it would be beneficial to have my own. 


Thanks for that information.  While I might like to recommend a mirrorless body for someone that has no previous investment, your budget doesn't really allow for this.  

The T7 does come in a kit for $549, body and 2 lenses.  18-55mm, 75-300mm.  The main issue is this, the 75-300mm is not a lens I would recommend. Even as a starter, I think you can do better.  This deal is offered at Canon and B&H.

A new T7 with the 18-55mm is $399, the issue here is you will likely need a second lens.   The 18-55 will provide wide angle, landscapes and portraits.  You'll likely want a longer lens after a week of shooting.

Another option.  Buy the T7 and 18-55mm refurb from Canon.  Same camera and lens, same 1 yr warranty as new.  Canon has it for $299 right now.  Pair this with a refurb EF-S 55-250mm $169.00.  Much better lens than the 75-300.

Other considerations:  Tax, shipping is free, 1 or more extra batteries and some memory cards.  You'll be just over $500, but easily under $600.  A decent start with your own gear. 


Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10

~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel6 ~CarePaks Are Worth It


Beside your budget, the next main most thing is what are the events you intend to photograph. Without knowing that it is difficult, yes impossible, to advise on a camera and lens combo. Just considering budget I like the Rebel T7 kit which comes with the same lens as the Rebel T5 that you are barrowing form the school. If that is working for you the T7 kit will work also. That's all you need.

If budget allows and you like the Rebel format I would like to see you extend the budget just a bit more and check out the Rebel T8i DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm Lens. It has a lot better specs and more features if they are something you would use.

If extended reach is something you need I do like the EF-S 55-250mm zoom.

Of course the long term and more budget friendly for the long term would be the Canon EOS R10 Mirrorless Camera. However the Rebel T7 or T8i will get you through college with ease.

You might come back and explain just what events you intend to shoot.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

So usually I am asked to photograph campus events (activities, sports fans during games, headshots for clubs). However, if I ever get my own personal camera, I want to shoot nature shots, or just things around me. 

Can the current EF-S 18-55mm cover all of your needs for the pictures you take. Or do you need a longer lens to get the pictures you need. Budget wise the T7 is a good camera to start out with. Have you found any limiting factor of your school provided camera. If not the T7 is a good choice for your needs. The T8i offers a better AF system, a swiveling screen, touch screen, better battery life, higher max ISO of 51,200. 7.5 fps shooting, wireless connectivity wi-fi & Bluetooth, Anti Flicker shooting. The T8i offers a new higher power built in flash an has a newer Digic 8 processor.


Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D & Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

Rising Star


In the long run, I think you would be happier with a T7i or a T8i.

(As a T8i owner, I am prejudiced), but the T7 technology is a little dated.

You can get a Used T7i in Like New Condition for about the same $500 you said you have to spend. I also like the 55-250mm lens.

Steve Thomas