Buying your 1st DSLR ..??

Thinking to buy a new DSLR …Peek into this tips to decide what to look for and get the best of the bucks you invest.


So you have been taking pictures through your iphone or android phone or a point & shoot camera.. and felt that you are just not getting enough out of them or just felt that you are missing something…!!

If YES — this article is for you. If NO — then this article is definitely for you, as you could be missing a lot.!!

Choosing or upgrading to a DSLR is a decision which will involve many factors. Not all factors will affect you, but they are worth having a look at. This guide will help you to understand some of the basics of DSLR and will help you to select one fitting your budget and needs.

The most important stuff

  • A higher resolution (more megapixels) or bigger zoom range doesn’t make the camera better. I’ll repeat: you’re never looking for the camera with the most megapixels or longest zoom.
  • Do not think that camera is everything. Even the cheapest camera can create wonders with specific lenses. So remember you have an investment to make in lenses as well.
  • Do not over-invest in thinking you need the best in class. The truth is, you want something that’s best for you.
  • Always try before you buy. Make sure it fits comfortable, provides quick access to the most commonly used functions.

1. Budget

This is the most important variable in determining the type of camera. DSLR’s can be in a massive range from as low as $400 to $4000 depending upon the type, brand, quality and specifications. The most popular brands to consider in the DSLR market are Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus and Sigma. All produce entry level and more advanced cameras. There are subtle differences as well as obvious similarities between the various makes. Always think about what you need the camera for. Are you willing to only shoot special moments like birthdays, parties, outings with families or are you willing to develop an incline towards portraits/ landscape photography.

So setup a budget and always remember- camera body is not the only thing you need, invest in lenses and other accessories like extra battery, external flash, tripod etc…

2. Sensor Size (Crop sensor vs Full frame)

The most easy explanation of sensor size is explained in the picture.

It could also mean the bigger the sensor = more picture is captured in the shot = picture quality is better.

It also has its drawbacks as it will require bigger camera to fit the bigger sensor = bigger lenses required = price goes higher.

But do not think that smaller sensors don’t produce better quality pictures. There is something called “resolution, aperture, ISO” which also plays crucial roles in determining quality of a picture.

3. ISO (Low light sensitivity)

Remember- The higher the number, the better capacity of a camera to take clear shots in low light but require a stable image. To take sharp day light images — always keep the ISO at lowet

ISO is the sensitivity to light of your digital camera. The higher the capacity, the better you can shoot sports (in daylight) or shoot pictures in low light situations like indoors or weddings or where no flash is allowed. If you always shoot outdoors on nice sunny days, or indoors with flash, this may not be a specification that you need to worry about.

Now just because a camera has the higher ISO capacity will not mean that it will perform amazing at that ISO. Most cameras are only capable of producing an image with acceptable noise at a mark below the maximum number. Cameras that are capable of ISO 1600 really can only go to ISO 400 without getting excessive noise. So yeah..!! Don’t crank that ISO too high unless you really need it.

4. Resolution — Does it really matter..??

Higher Megapixels will only matter if you zoom in and see tiny details

Megapixels are merely the total pixels or points of light that a digital sensor has to make an image. Having more does not make for a better image, it only allows for that image to be blown up to a larger size. Every modern camera has more than enough for any need. That’s why it’s not important as a spec. What you need to see is how the camera process the image as sometimes there are cheap camera with higher megapixels but poor processor — which in turn will still produce a poor image quality.

So ask yourself — “Am I going to blowup or enlarge every picture that I take?” — If the answer is NO — then do not consider running after the megapixels, But if you want to explore yourself as a future landscape photographer then I strongly insist in buying a decent DSLR with higher megapixels.

5. Large and High-Resolution LCD with “Liveview”

Not everyone is a big fan of the LCD screen, but I think its a great option to consider buying a camera. Consider a camera with at least 3 inch or larger LCD with bright display. One of the key point is that you will enjoy reviewing your shots or zooming in to check focus while taking pictures.

Liveview — acts as if you are using a point & shoot camera where it allows to compose the shot into the LCD screen instead of looking into the viewfinder. It is also helpful when your subject is at a difficult angle and you take the shot with the tilt screen feature.

Moreover consider a camera with the tilt or swivel screen option as sometimes it is very useful in difficult angles, or taking portraits or even selfie shot with wireless remotes for DSLR.

6. Extra Features

Anti-shake or Image Stabilization (IS) — Better if the camera has its own Anti-shake, but not essential as now all the lenses have them in-built.

Different Shooting Modes- For all those who want to achieve more by shooting just at Auto mode, consider having shooting modes. They can be like night mode, portrait mode, indoor, party, landscape mode and so on….

WIFI & GPS — If they come standard with the camera — Its excellent add-on. Many of you like to share those amazing snaps right from the camera without waiting to reach their own desktop or laptop. This feature serves their purpose, but always remember — anything that is uploaded or transferred wireless from camera will reduce the clarity of the picture.

Battery Type and Life — Please make sure that the battery type is a rechargeable. DONOT invest in a camera which uses a AA or AAA battery, you will always be looking for a charger or new batteries. Lithium-ion rechargeable battery lasts for almost 2 days with extensive usage of camera.

Conclusion

So before you rush out, pick up a camera and think “Wow, this has amazing features and I love it…”, STOP! Think about what you want the camera for. What features you need and also think long term.

At the end of the day, you want a camera that will satisfy your needs and not wants. So select one without breaking the bank.

Now which Camera should I consider buying ?

Don’t miss this article coming up next week..!! Remember to follow the Facebook / Twitter link to get regular updates.

Originally published at www.as-photography.ca on May 15, 2015.