Best Bang for Buck DSLR

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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RobIL
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Best Bang for Buck DSLR
11 months ago

Hi,

I am looking to buy my first DSLR. I have been away from photography for a while - had kids etc. - and my last camera was a Nikon F80 that I loved.
Now I want to start getting back into the game with a DSLR, mainly to use for work: food pictures, website design images, portraits and general images. The camera will be working almost every day, so it will have to be a dependable and reasobaly rugged tool.
I have seen quite a few deals around, but I am having trouble deciding on what camera to get.

I'd like to spend no more than $650 on a body and a couple of lenses, one of which must be a 50mm prime and the other a good general/multipurpose zoom, 18-80 or even longer - I don't mind third-party lenses.
I am considering the following cameras:
Nikon D90 ($345, body only)
Nikon D3200 (around $500 for various kits)
Nikon D7000 ($615, body only)
Is there that much difference in performance between the D7000 and the D90? If the 7000 is streets ahead of the D90, I may be willing to stretch my budget. But will I notice the difference as someone new to digital and used to "old" technology?

Should I even consider the D3200?
What other options are available from brands like Olympus (wish I had never sold my OM2n), Canon or Pentax?

Any particular lens suggestions?
Many thanks in advance for your help.
RobIL

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