If you're looking for a cheap dSLR, about $500 or less including the usual 18-55mm kit lens, you don't have a lot of choice. If you're really vigilant and are willing to leave your comfort zone you can find a few more options.
What does leaving your comfort zone entail? First, ensure that the price you're looking at is for a new, not used or refurbished model. Second, if the seller insists that you have to speak to a salesperson in order to complete the order, that's a red flag -- they usually do that to deliver a high-pressure sales pitch for accessories. While you may be able to resist the pitch, outlets like that have a habit of messing up the order or delivering gray-market merchandise. (Note that gray-market products aren't bad as long as you're aware of what to expect, such as no warranty.)
I selected the products below because they are fairly widely available for less than $500, but with some work you can also find older recommended models like the Pentax K-x, Canon EOS Rebel T2i, and Rebel T1i for under $600 or with the occasional discount for less than $500.… Read more