A lot of people ask me what camera to buy or advice on what to look for in a camera. So here is my list of the things that you should do before you buy a new camera.
1. What are you going to use Your New Camera For?
Portraits, landscapes, sports, macro or general life (family, holiday etc). How often have you walked into a shop for something and left with something completely different. If you want a compact camera to take travelling with you then buy a small camera and don’t get forced to change your mind to buy a huge medium format camera 🙂 If you are looking for a studio camera to shoot portraits on film then a RZ67 medium format camera will be great. Get specific and know what you want. At nearly any price range you can get a little point and shoot or a massive medium format film camera with interchangeable lenses but they are very very different cameras.
2. How much do you have to spend On Your New Camera?
There is a vast variety of cameras and they range from about $50 to $50,000, choose your price range and only look at cameras that are the correct price. Chances are there will be one for you. For example, for about $500 you can get a Nikon 3200 DSLR a Canon Powershot G16 Point and shoot or a Sony NEX-5T Mirrorless camera. They are all very different I am sure one will fit your needs.
3. What Type Of Camera Should You Buy?
Point and shoot, interchangeable lenses, DSLR, mirror-less. Each one of these camera types have different advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you choose the one that suites your needs best.
4. How Much Control Do You Want?
Will you mainly stay in ‘auto’ or do you want to be able to control every detail for artistic creativity? Some cameras are built to do the work for you, some give you a few creative controls but help you out whilst others offer full manual mode. If you want to play it safe and have no interest in photography then being honest and going full auto is perfect. I would say having manual setting are a good idea though as you may want some creative control in the future.
5. Do You Already Own Compatible Camera Gear?
If you already own a DSLR with a few lenses then it may be a good idea to stick with that brand so that your old lenses work with your new lenses.
6. What About The Extras?
Memory cards, cases and batteries. Different cameras and brand have very different price points and capabilities. Is there any other things that you may need to buy to get the results you want? You may get a DSLR but if you want to get a really wide shot you may need to buy a 28mm or you may want to zoom all the way in 300mm which may cost another $200+ each. Whereas a point and shoot may already have a wide angle super zoom lens which means no extra cost like the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS40 (24 – 720mm Zoom).
7. Read Camera Reviews.
I know this obvious but read the reviews of the cameras you might buy, don’t just read hundreds. Narrow it down to about 3 cameras then go into detail to see which one is best. People usually give a far more honest opinion compared to the advertisement.
8. Don’t Just Buy It Because Its On Offer.
Sometimes deals are great but sometimes its because a new model is about to come out. Often it is on offer because it is not selling well which may mean that it may have had bad reviews or most probably it was over priced in the first case.
9. Buy From A Reputable Photography Dealer Or Store.
So many online stores do things with huge discounts, just be careful. They could be fakes, faulty or do not have a guarantee. I buy all of my equipment from B&H Photo in New York. They have an awesome online store, phenomenal customer service and all of there stock is of the highest quality. Not only that there prices are usually some of the best.
10. Enjoy Your New Camera…… Use it.
Keep your camera in a place that is easy to find and get it out often. So many people have amazing cameras that stay in a draw.
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