My main camera for the past few years has been a tiny little point-and-shoot that happens to have great macro capabilities. It's rugged, waterproof, and can focus as close as 1cm from the lens, which is great for taking pictures of moss, snowflakes, and insects. But after trying a friend's fancy mirrorless camera while on vacation, I'd been itching to get my hands on a "real" camera.

Unfortunately, "real" cameras are expensive, so I bought mine off eBay. It's a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which is a full-frame 21-megapixel DSLR released in 2008. It was all the rage back then due to being a compact DSLR that could take video. Now, it sells for around $250 secondhand.

My only lens at the moment is a 100mm Canon macro lens, which also cost roughly $250 on eBay. It works well, even though it lacks the crazy-close-to-the-lens focus of my point-and-shoot. I enjoy the fact that the focus adjustment is a whole big piece of the lens that you spin -- my point-and-shoot has a manual focus setting, but you have to use some buttons on the camera body and it's pretty frustrating.

My biggest gripe with the camera and lens is that neither have image stabilization, which is a big deal when you're holding the camera at an awkward angle because you saw a cool spider in the underbrush. If I want to spend more money in the future, I'll buy a lens with IS. Still, I'm happy about this setup for $500.