If you’re interested in photography, I highly recommend starting your journey by learning to shoot in manual. Though there are many wonderful courses for learning manual, I learned from Shoot Fly Shoot‘s Photography 101 course and highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy video learning.
There are also many awesome, free resources. This online simulation walks you through the exposure triangle and lets you play around with settings. This explains all of the different functions on your camera. The Photo Sisters also have fantastic information and reviews.
Your camera doesn’t matter so much as your knowledge and your lenses, at least not at first. I do recommend sticking with either Nikon or Canon, if only because it makes it easier to buy lenses and find information online.
Wiser bloggers have written recommendation posts on camera purchases:
- Kristen Duke’s How to Decide What Camera to Buy
- Click it Up a Notch’s Looking to Buy a DSLR?
- Ashley Ann’s Intro DSLR Photography Gift Guide*
- Shoot Fly Shoot’s Shop Gear*
*Just note that as of March 2014, I find the bottom two’s recommendations and actual listed prices to be slightly outdated, although still very helpful.