What would you recommend to someone who is considering collecting dolls and taking photos of them? What camera and equipment would you recommend to start with?
It depends on what they want to do, what their budget is and how much effort they are willing to put in. Both photography and doll collecting are extremely expensive hobbies to become involved in and if you are not completely interested, it will likely be a waste of money to even try.
That being said, given the size of the most popular types of dolls (¼ and ⅓ scales), wide-angle lenses are necessary to capture your doll with its environment. Otherwise, a standard portrait lens will work just fine for close up shots. Any camera body will do so long as the lenses are compatible. There is no need to invest heavily in a camera that you might not end up using. That being said, taking photos of the dolls with a phone is just as good if the whole goal is simply to gauge one’s interest in the hobby further. Lastly, a good tripod and photo editing software are useful for any sort of photography and it also does not have to be too costly.