A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Digital camera

What is the best camera to buy? This really is one of the first few questions any kind of aspiring photographer would have, especially with so many cameras out there today. My goal in this article isn’t to say one brand is preferable to any other, but just to introduce the most prominent criteria that matter when choosing a camera.

Although most of us have a phone that’s perfectly capable of taking good photos, there are certain areas where mobile phones are yet to catch up with modern DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Below are some things need to think about to determine exactly what camera is best for you.

Table of Contents

The Three Issues of an Expensive Camera

1 . Lens and Other Costs

Over the years, I have discover quite a lot of beginners asking whether it’s worth buying a DIGITAL SLR, or if they should keep on using their phone. I always respond to that question with one more question:   “Are you serious enough regarding photography that you are ready to buy additional lenses and add-ons, which would possibly cost you much more than your first DSLR entire body? ”

A significant part of the cost of the camera is in all the other things may need to buy. Lenses, a tripod, camera bags, an IPS monitor, post-processing software program, monitor calibration equipment, and so forth. If the answer to that issue is no, then a good cell phone is what would work as the smartest choice for you. If the answer is definitely yes, then comes the next question.

second . Sharing Images

The second question I actually ask is: “ Are you ready to accept the fact that you are unable to upload the pictures immediately to your Facebook or Instagram page? ” If the answer is no, you would probably be happiest with a cell phone rather than a DSLR.

It is true that contemporary DSLR and mirrorless digital cameras come packed with options want built in WiFi to make spreading a bit faster. But however, it doesn’t make a lot sense to get a DSLR for those who have no interest in loading all those photos on your computer and editing them the traditional way. The majority of those stunning pictures the truth is from professional photographers on social media are seldom right out from the camera. They are results of extended planning and hours spent post-processing them on a computer.

If that will sounds good to you, and you are ready to linger around a single image instead of merely clicking and sharing, it is time to ask yourself the next question.

3. Learning Curve

Photography demands a learning curve, both on the technical and creative fronts. So , my final question is,   “Are you willing to work hard for months to actually sometimes years? ”

There is a reasons why photographers get annoyed whenever someone comes out with an opinion “Wow! This picture appears amazing. Which camera did you shoot it along with? ”  The technical and artistic work that goes into making a photograph is of tremendously greater importance than the device that was used to make it. This particular question is as naïve because asking an artist Which brush did you use in order to paint this picture? ”

Camera fishing gear does play an important part in getting good images. But , the mere buy of an expensive DSLR or even mirrorless camera doesn’t guarantee a great shot. In fact , in case it’s not coupled with knowledge means use your camera, even a cell phone may give you better point-and-click shots.


Now that you have answered a yes to all the questions above, the next step is to fix a budget. Regardless of whether you choose to buy a DSLR or a mirrorless, a $500 budget would be the minimum. A $750 budget would be desirable while a $1000 budget will be great, particularly if you want a great set of other accessories.

If you buy a consumer plants camera body with a package lens for $500, you would be upgrading it between 1-2 years, assuming that you create serious progress. A semi-pro/enthusiast level gear that would price about $750 for the body alone should keep you happy for about 3 years, before a good upgrade would seem inevitable. A good entry level full frame body for about $1500 should keep you happy for quite a while.

Irrespective of the budget, an exposure camera today will be at least a generation or 2 behind in about five years, and maybe even outdated. Shooting above ISO 1600 was considered a joke in 2010, but today we are seeing print-quality pictures shot with ISO 6400 and past. Even lenses are not the immune system to this. For example , the Nikon 20mm f/1. 8 G   has long been considered one of the best quality wide angle lenses accessible, until its new  mirrorless counterpart outperformed it by a significant margin.

This is simply not to say you need to buy the “latest and greatest. ” You can take high quality pictures with any kind of modern camera, or even any DSLR made within the last 10 years or so. But if you prefer to become on the tip of the technologies curve, you may find yourself spending more than you first designed.

Brand new or Used?

It is often a wise decision to go for an older, utilized camera body with better specs rather than a new, basic one as your first camera. In fact , a camera body refurbished by the manufacturer might even be the best choice. As you progress from a beginner to amateur level, you will end up learning much more on gear and begin to appreciate some of the more advanced features and manual controls. You’ll also have a better idea of what equipment you need in the future, so it is best to save some money early on by purchasing used.

Allow us to consider the fact that someone wants to buy their first camera from Nikon, Canon or even Sony. It might sound reasonable to buy the best equipment on the market, similar to what we do along with most other electronic goods. But how many of us would buy a Ferrari as our first car?

When Camera Gear Does not Matter

The image below was chance with a Nikon D5100, that was an entry-level camera in 2013. A basic 18-55mm kit lens was mounted on the particular camera to capture this – not fancy equipment at all. And yet this picture made it to the WWF schedule with a print dimension associated with 18″ x 12″ and high image quality. Weather conditions were great, and the background light was close to perfect when I captured the image beneath.

NIKON D5100 @ 18mm, ISO one hundred sixty, 1/650, f/14

In situations such as this, with daytime images associated with static subjects, gear actually is much less important. You can imagine taking the photo above with a phone, and while it would not have very the same image quality when printed large, it would appearance reasonably similar overall.

When Digital camera Gear Does Matter

1 . Low Light Performance

Take a look at the image below, which was shot when conditions were far from perfect:

Gray supported woodpecker | NIKON D750 @ 500mm, ISO 3200, 1/25, f/5. 6

The image of the grey backed woodpecker above was shot along with extremely low ambient light. A major credit would go directly to the Nikon D750’s high ISO performance and the Nikon D750 + Nikon 200-500mm f/5. 6 combo that car focused accurately, despite the low light conditions.

The D5100 would have thrown out an unusable, noisy picture, and any entry-level zoom lens would have kept hunting for concentrate indefinitely. On the other intense, a lens like the Nikon 400mm f/2. 8 would have given me an even much better image than the one above. There’s a reason why benefits on the sidelines at the Olympics usually use such lenses. But they are also substantially more expensive than the telephoto I utilized, or many other cheaper telephotos on the market.

2 . Autofocus

AF performance is one of the prominent selling points of any modern camera or lens. There are two components to it: AF accuracy plus AF speed. There are certain problems like photographing birds inside flight where we depend almost entirely on autofocus. Most entry-level cameras have no especially fast autofocus and they also may have lower tracking features as well. It’s unlikely to be a problem for photographing your kid’s sports from a distance, but it will become more apparent if you want to do complex wildlife or sports photography below difficult light.

3. Megapixels

Really? In the event that was all that mattered in a camera, would any professional choose flagship camera physiques like Nikon’s D4, D5, D6 or Canon’s 1DX Mark 3 , none of which has greater than 21 megapixels? Megapixels have minimal impact on image high quality, even if you are doing a 20″x30″ print out. (And how many beginners actually do that? )

It’s true that a lot more pixels can make it easier to harvest your images, but even with nice high resolution, it’s not advisable to crop too much into a picture. So obviously, you should not care much about megapixels and  camera resolution .

4. Do You Need a Flagship Camera?

In the past, I admit which i have sometimes come back empty-handed in part because our gear wasn’t enough to capture a great scene. It’s especially true with tricky subjects like birds in airline flight, Milky Way photography, plus specialized genres like underwater photography. We all know that if entry-level cameras and kit lens yielded perfect results in each condition, no one would consider buying professional gear and accessories that could cost 10x more.

On the other hand, a pro grade lens mounted on a flagship camera will not guarantee good results. It takes many years of experience to learn how to use the camera, and even to understand exactly what gear you need in the first place. If you don’t understand these things, you may find yourself upgrading the gear constantly without any visible change in the high quality of the image.

Differences Between Digital camera Companies

If one manufacturer held making substantially better equipment than others, by now that will manufacturer would have become a monopoly. Others would have run out associated with business for obvious reasons, which hasn’t happened. You will find happy professionals using Nikon, Canon, Sony & Fuji gear, among many other brands.

The issue on who manufactures the very best camera, Nikon vs Canon, has been going on for decades now. In fact , when users were debating the superiority of the above two brands, Sony silently made a place for alone by investing heavily within the mirrorless segment. Please take a look at Nasim’s Nikon vs Canon vs Sony article to get a comparative review, and also observe his article on DSLR vs mirrorless cameras .

I use Nikon gear not because I believe it is the greatest. I stick to Nikon since I have invested thousands of dollars in it, have gotten used to it over the years and am pleased with the results, too. Anyone who is definitely an unthinking brand fanboy is just trying to be a gatekeeper and stop people from getting into pictures.

All that mentioned, if you’re buying a camera for the first time, you do still need to come to a decision on which camera company to buy into. Below are a few pointers that will beginners may find useful while choosing a brand:

1 . It’s All About the Glass

Lenses are the eye of your camera system. These people determine what you see and capture, as well as most of your image quality. In time, every professional photographer realizes that they buy camera bodies to suit the lens they have and not the other method around. Many photographers have got half a dozen lenses or more, with just one or two camera bodies to put them on.

It is because of this fact that changing brands will be increasingly tough as you ascend in photography. For example , I am into shooting landscapes and wildlife. Since the day I’m publishing this article, Sony mirrorless cameras probably have better autofocus than Nikon mirrorless. Autofocus overall performance is one of the most sought after qualities when it comes to wildlife photography. But I would rather wait for Nikon to catch up (which they surely will) than shift to Sony.

2 . Ecosystem

There are 2 reasons that force photographers to stick to their brand names. First, someone who would possibly end up being owning half a dozen lenses might lose a lot of money selling all of them and switching to another brand. Second, the photographer will have to get familiar with an all brand new button system, menu design, and so on. This is similar to Google android users struggling with iPhones right after switching, and vice versa.

Be it Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax or Panasonic, you will not be making a bad choice. When a producer makes game-changing progress, it is only a matter of time before the others catch up. You don’t have in order to shift ecosystems with each advancement. For example , Sony continues to be ahead of Nikon and Cannon for years in the mirrorless market place, but now Nikon and Canon are investing heavily inside it and catching up. In a few years, only meager differences will exist, and there’s no chance to know which brand will be ahead. (It may even differ brands depending on your favorite style of photography. )

3. The Future

Mirrorless cameras are certainly the near future. All manufacturers are clearly heading in that direction. However , there are a lot of people who are going to stick to DSLRs for a while, and DIGITAL SLR prices are also trending lower (especially on the used market). Even if you pick a DSLR instead of mirrorless, at least keep an eye on the company’s mirrorless lineup, due to the fact there’s a very good chance that’s what you’ll be picking in the future. Again, see DSLR vs mirrorless camera s to learn more.

When to Upgrade?

Manufacturers keep coming up with new gear every month. 1 does not need to buy every improve a manufacturer comes out with. I was pretty happy with my Nikon D7000 for many years. It was only when I started photographing the night sky that I discovered the image quality a bit missing. I moved to the Nikon D750 over a couple of years back because of its larger sensor plus better low-light performance.

A day will come each time a photographer realizes their gear is incapable of capturing a go you want, no matter what you do. That is the time to consider improving (either the camera, zoom lens, or some accessory that will help) – not whenever new gear surfaces.


Some of you would have started reading the article hoping it was a position of entry-level DSLRs. Which was not the intent of this article (though we have written about that if you’re curious. )

Instead, our hope is that this article will provide you with a better understanding of what to look for when buying a camera for the first time, so that you can decide on the brand and model by yourself. It is always preferable to know what you need prior to buying the tools, rather than buying a device just because it is rated higher by others.

If there are any questions, please share them within the comments section, and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.

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