In regard to proper cameras, i recommend either the Nikon, or Canon line of products.
These are pretty much the standard in professional work.
You do, however, get what you pay for. If you go with a cheap $1000 or less consumer model, you'll get fantastic photos, yes, but, the flexibility
and quality you get with the higher end models very noticeable once you've acclimated to a consumer model and then get your hands on something a
The bonus with the DSLR models is lens choices, as well as adapters available that will fit telescopes.
For medium to long-ish range shots, you can get a 75-300mm lens, while keeping another lens on hand for closer casual shots of friends, activities,
Like with the DSLR bodies, with lenses, there's also a consumer level grade lens that's much cheaper, and the much pricier professional level
Depending on what you want to do with a camera and how far you want to take it as a hobby, or art, you can spend less than $1000 on a whole package
deal for a cheap consumer level model, on upward to tens of thousands for some cameras. In the Nikon, or Canon lines, you can spend $10k+ easy on a
Flagship body and lens combo.
Aiming at something in the middle ground or just above the lower consumer grade level will, however, be more than adequate for your purposes with room
Something to consider in choosing a name brand is that you get stuck with that name brand since the lenses you get are most suited for that name
brand, and should you ever upgrade to a better camera body in the future, you can save by using the same lenses you did with the older body.
If, however, you jumped ship to another name brand, you would have to get new lenses that fit the new name brand, at extra expense.
I like, and shoot with Canon. Others like and shoot with Nikon.
It's an old rivalry, almost like sport teams. Either or, both are great choices.
There are, of course, other choices in DSLR name brands, but, you typically won't get the same standard and flexibility in choices, support,
compatibility and reliability you get with Canon and Nikon.
There's a number of photographers here on ATS. If you have questions before taking the plunge on an expensive choice (it's all expensive), open a
thread for a pros and cons debate on your choices, and/or U2U one of us.
As mentioned above by another poster, having a tripod is pretty important.
There's cheap, and even free tripods, and you'll notice and extreme difference in the stability and lack of wiggle you find with a decent tripod you
pay a couple hundred $ for.
You get what you pay for, or don't pay for. This works at most levels with most things. Buy cheap, you get cheap, and dems dat.