/ SLR Camera for beginner
It will be used to take all sorts of pics from holidays to the outdoors etc. Not bothered about super advanced functions but being able to take good pics of wildlife would be nice.
Any of the cheapest/budget reputable brand name dSLRs will be perfect. They are all as good as each other and will keep her happy for years. Just because these cameras are relatively cheap compared to the more expensive models does not mean that they will produce vastly inferior images.
A cheap lens on an expensive camera will produce the same sort of image as a cheap lens on a cheap camera. Buy a beginners camera with a kit lens. And when your other half has learnt as much as she can and wants to progress to the next level of photography buy a better lens. No need to buy a more expensive camera.
Taking good wildlife shots takes money, lots of money.
I use Nikon, so I'd suggest a D3200 or D5100 with the 18-55 kit lens (shop around, there are normally good deals), followed by a 70-300mm (£400) or 55-300mm (£250) tele when you want the long lens for wildlife (gives you the equivalent of 450mm in film terms, which is pretty decent).
To the poster who suggested a bridge camera, READ THE OP! He's decided on an SLR, so bridge suggestions aren't that useful...
I got the basic Canon DSLR and its fantastic and easy to use. Also get her a beginners DVD on how to use it. I got one and its much easier than reading through the manual. I was recommended either Nikon or Canon. Both are way better than I will ever need. Plus all the magazines that give hints and tips all support/feature Nikon and Canon as well.
Since you say she wants to take good pics of wildlife, then you want a tele lens, I would get a basic level lens to start with, probably something like 50-200mm to start with? Not top end, but as you say your girlfriend is a beginner I think you might find to start with it will not be the lens that produces the poor quality pictures ;) You can always upgrade at a later date.
Try and find a reasonable body is my recommendation, you don't need a top model, but in comparison to lenses this is the cheap bit, so personally I would get something that has some of the advanced features. If she takes to photography, then she will have that little extra freedom to play with once her skills allow it. Top end of budget kind of area, good make.
A friend of mine actually found a rather good deal in Jessops recently as the old Canon 550D is coming to the end of its shelf life... £450 for the 550D + 18-55 kit lens + a Tamron 70-300 telephoto and the offer of the nifty 50 for an extra £50 which would be MORE than enough for any keen beginner for the next year or two!
Perfect, now don't forget about the important stuff such as spare batteries and SD cards.
I've used 7dayShop batteries for well over 10 years and never had a dud.
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