I get lots of questions from family, friends, moms, cousins, aunts about photography. I love chatting about it and I love photography – that is no secret. Helping is in my nature and I want to – for sure. However, when we are chatting over Thanksgiving dinner or in passing at school drop off I can only give fragmented information when I have so much more to give – so many resources to send and so much excitement to talk about! So I’m beginning a series to help with all of the information I’d like to to share and keep it in one nice organized place.
Welcome to POST ONE! “Keepin’ It Real… So You Wanna Buy a Camera…”
This is absolutely my most asked question and unfortunately my knowledge on this is probably the most limited. Camera knowledge I have – absolutely, but I bought my most recent camera (Nikon D800) last year and my camera before that in 2009 (actually, a D80, D300 and then D700… yes… all in one year and I sold off the lower model each time) if I’m not in the market for a new camera body I’m not really browsing the ads and checking out the specs – especially not the entry level ones (promise I’m not smack talking!). New cameras are coming out all of the time and it’s a constant contest and sometimes the changes from camera to camera are so incredibly small that you wouldn’t even notice. I honestly (in my very untechnical opinion) think we’ve hit the maturity level. In the past, each upgrade to a camera was huge…. today it’s kinda nitpicky.
I’m going to begin completely basic. When you buy a DSLR (stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex) – and this post is just about DSLR cameras– not Point and Shoot cameras because my knowledge on those is wayyyy low– you are purchasing a CAMERA but you will need a LENS, too. Typically, they will sell these in packages, but you don’t have to buy them that way. You can purchase “body only” for the camera. The lens that comes with a DLSR is one of each company’s lower end zooms called a “kit lens”. You will also need a battery/charger for the camera (I recommend 2 batteries) and 2 memory cards (either SD cards or CF cards).
Now we are going to choose your own adventure…
(this isn’t a right or wrong thing… just gauging your own interest!)
PATH 1… Are you interested in getting a DLSR, shooting in “Automatic mode” and just want nicer pictures than you are getting right now with your current camera or iPhone ?
PATH 2… Are you interested in getting a DSLR, learning more about photography, purchasing more lenses in the future and maximizing the cameras capabilities?
If you are on Path 1… The kit lenses that come with the camera are going to be perfectly fine.
If you are on Path 2… I’d consider getting a camera body only and purchasing a lens separately (a nicer lens that has more flexibility… we will be covering lenses in the next blog post!)
Let’s talk about camera bodies.
I’m not going to tell you what camera to buy. I can’t. I’m certainly not going to tell you what BRAND to buy. I have a Nikon camera but I am NOT anti-Canon, Sony, Pentax and so on. A Nikon feels right to me when I hold it, I like where the buttons are and I was happy with the lens choices back in the day when I started. It’s as simple as that. My first camera was a Nikon and I just kept going. You need to go pick up some cameras at a local camera store.
If you are on Path 1… the entry level cameras will probably give you what you need.
If you are on Path 2… you might want to go with a midlevel camera body. The reason I say this is because I started with the entry level without really knowing that I’d be really into this and once I started learning more I became frustrated and was ready to upgrade pretty soon thereafter (did you see alllll of those cameras above that I purchased/sold in 2009?!) If I had gone with a midlevel camera I would have saved myself some money and been able to get right to business (not a photography business… just taking cute pictures of my kiddo without the frustration).
So I’ve given you a little bit of a guide- but how do you know which camera is right for you?
Well, for that I’m going to send you outta here to these useful links:
Megapixels… They aren’t all their cracked up to be…
Sensor Differences/Intro to a DSLR
What Specs Really Matter with a DSLR?
And a favorite article, though I REALLY would like you to consider some Nikons, too… since he only mentions Canon
How to Choose a DSLR Camera
Here are some tips on how I purchase my cameras…
- I have never bought a brand new camera, except for my D40 which was the very first one when I didn’t know any better. Also, I’m not just talking about a brand new camera in the box… but when a new model comes out I don’t jump in line. I give it 6 months to work out the kinks! Then, when I do decide I need a new camera I listen to the buzz and I buy refurbished from a reputable place (Amazon, Adorama, Bhphoto.com, Keh.com are four that I’ve had great experiences with). This way if something is wrong, I have the company on my side, can send it back and get a new one. I have had positive experiences I’ve saved some moola!
- I typically look less at the bells and whistles and more at the performance, but this is going to be 100% up to you… If you are a techie sort of person – then go with bells and whistles – just make sure the kinks have been worked out! I’m okay with an older camera if the images are clearer at a higher ISO (we will cover this… but basically, when you are shooting in lower light).
To sum up… You aren’t going to notice an insanely significant difference from cameras that are on the same price level, as a whole. It’s going to be far more subtle than that! Don’t obsess so much that you never end up purchasing. If you end up hating a camera – you can ALWAYS sell it! <3 <3
Keep your eyes peeled…
NEXT POST: Keepin’ It Real… Which Flippin’ Lens Should I buy?!