So you want to buy a camera?
Hello and welcome to my blog. If this is your first time here I suggest that you take a look back on what I've written in the past, especially if you're new to photography. I think that you will find several blogs that would be of aid to you.
A very common question that I get asked is "I want to buy a camera, what should I get?" This is not as straight forward a question, as many people seem to think.
The first thing you need to ask yourself before you make a decision is "what do I want it for?" Taking photos may seem the correct answer but what kind of photos? For example, do you want to take some snaps of your family around your home, maybe a few landscapes when on a trip and photos of your friends when out at the pub or on holiday? Perhaps you would like to take a lot of photos at matches or rallies or maybe, you would love to produce some very classy portraits. Wildlife photography may be your thing or flowers may be the love of your life. The answer to this first question will determine what type of camera you should go for, compact or DSLR.
You can get an answer to this by looking back on photos you have taken in the past and looking at your hobbies. The snap shooter, who rarely uses the camera should go for a compact but then, many phones now have cameras every bit as good as a compact camera, so is there need to trade up?
If you find that your phone or compact camera is not allowing you to take the type of images that you want it's time to consider getting a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera (DSLR).
Most brands of DSLR come in three grades, beginner, prosumer and professional. The beginner grade speaks for itself and should be purchased by anyone who is a beginner at photography. Apart from the fact that it will satisfy your needs it's not a huge investment and if you later decide that photography is not for you, you haven't lost too much.
The prosumer grade camera is for the more advanced amateur. If you've reached the point where the beginner level DSLR is holding you back it's time to move up to a prosumer camera. These cameras are much more advanced, better built, have more features and have much of what you'd expect to find in a professional grade camera.
You have a choice between purchasing the traditional mirrored version or the mirror-less version, which shouldn't really be called a DSLR, as the R part isn't there. There was a time that I would have told you to stay away from a mirror-less camera, as the range of lenses and accessories was very limited but that is more or less sorted now. If I was starting out again, I would go for the mirror-less version because of it's smaller size, lower weight and ease of handling. As things stand, the cost of also replacing my lenses and other accessories make the change over very expensive, so I'm sticking with the traditional DSLR for the present.
The last grade is the professional camera and I suspect that if you are ready for one of those you wouldn't be reading this blog. They are much more expensive, have much more features, are better quality and require a much greater understanding of photography than either of the two other grades, before you can get value from one. Unless you are ready to go professional the investment required can't be justified.
You may have a budget of x and can find a DSLR that matches your budget but that doesn't mean that you should buy it. All DSLRs allow you to change the lens, so you need to allow for that. They also use speedlights and you have to budget for one of them. The beginner models usually come as part of a package that will include a standard zoom and sometimes a speedlight or flashgun, as they are sometimes known.
Again, if your budget is x the camera you can buy may be too advanced for you and you would be better buying a cheaper one and spending the savings on going out there and getting experience. Then again, it may not buy one that is good enough for your level of skill and I would suggest then that you save for another while and buy the correct one, rather than buy one that you will want to replace again in the near future.
You also need to allow money for at least a second lens. The best arrangement is one lens at 24 to 70 mm or similar and a second at 70 to 300 mm. This gives you a huge range of coverage without breaking the bank. You may also want to get a much longer lens, 500 mm for bird watching, for example or a macro lens.
It doesn't end there. Now that you know what type of camera you want and the grade, if a DSLR, you still have to find a camera that matches your requirements within all the choices still available. You'll need to compare the brands, the range of accessories they make, the backup service provided, etc. Most likely they will have more than one model for you to consider, with slightly different features, which one matches your requirements? One will suit a sports photographer, another would suit a portrait photographer, for example.
You have a lot of research to do before you make that final decision but there's one more question that you must consider even before doing your research. "Am I ready for an upgrade?" Regardless of the quality of camera you have or it's age, is there any point in investing money on a new camera if you still have a lot more to learn about photography?
Perhaps you should be out there taking more photos, getting to understand the settings better and exploring your tastes in photography. When you've learned more you may decide to purchase a completely different camera to the one that you would purchase now or may even decide that the one you have at present is more than enough for you.
Regardless of what you decide, a new camera will not improve your photography, experience and experimentation will. Go out there and take lots of photos, try new things and be prepared to take bad photos. When you do, ask yourself what went wrong and learn from it. That should be your priority.
I hope that I've given you some food for thought and helped you make the correct decision. Until the next time take good care of yourself and those you love.
Leave a Reply.