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Shedding Light on Buying Your First DSLR

A few years ago I was turning 27 and I wanted to finally buy my first big-boy camera, a DSLR. I remember thinking, there are WAY too many options.

How am I supposed to pick the right one? Will it be outdated in a couple of months? Is it going to depreciate like a new car after I take it out of the store? Should I buy used?

All of these questions and more bombarded me so I caved to alcohol for the answers.

Just kidding!

Life is much harder than picking out your first camera, although, it can be a time consuming task because it goes something like this:

I have money, I want to get the best deal for my money, what should I buy? Where should I buy it? Do I buy mirrorless? Do I buy DSLR? Can somebody just make the decision for me already!

Oh, the questions kept coming.

So, naturally I did my homework.

[Quick brain fart] — Remember that scene in Taken where Liam Neeson is looking to buy a karaoke machine for his daughters’ birthday party but can’t seem to pull the trigger on buying it? Buying my first camera went something like that. Purchasing a product that costs more than $500 can sometimes makes a person freeze with inaction, or delay with research.

Keyword, sometimes.

The Nuts and Bolts of Buying

Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of actually buying your first camera and how to go through that process seamlessly and without hesitation.

You won’t!

No, truly, you’ll hesitate. But, allow yourself to hesitate a bit. Just don’t allow it to stop you from actually taking action.

Ok, #motivationmonday was last week.

Here’s the key,

Practice, practice, practice.

If practice is the key, then all you need is a camera to practice on. Whether that is a DSLR, mirrorless, pocket camera, film camera that your grandpa handed down to you, or your iPhone, you just need to actually practice.

You can spend all the time in the world comparing Canon to Nikon to Sony to Fuji-film to etc and you’ll eventually discover very minor differences between each brand that makes one camera rise above another.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk pro tips.

Pro Tips!!

After a several years taking photographs, I’ve learned a couple of pro tips.

  • Buy what feels good in your hand! You’ll make excuses not to use it if you don’t like the way it feels in your hand.
  • Megapixels don’t really matter!
  • Crop sensor vs Full-frame sensor. If you’re a beginner, stick with crop sensor, after-all you may not even use your camera that much. If you’re looking to step it up a notch and possibly try and make money with photography, buy full-frame — it costs more — but you won’t lose money on the resale of your crop sensor in order to buy your full-frame when that time comes.
  • Taking 1 photo each day for a year will make you a better photographer than 365 photos in one day!
  • The image quality is in the lens not the camera body!! If you’re going to spend the money, spend it on the lens, plus they don’t lose their resale value.
  • Buy a Nifty 50mm 1.8. You won’t regret it & you can get it used for ~$75.
  • Buy used if you can! You can save a lot of $$.
  • When buying used, ask about shutter count (before needing to be replaced, average is 100–150K).
  • Learn to get out of Auto mode as fast as you can!
  • Straighten your photos before posting them to social media! Please!
  • Imaging-resource.com is helpful for comparing cameras. Gives you a bunch of camera specs, if you’re into that.
  • Snapsort.com Compare brands and ranks against each other from 1–100.
  • Use Kenrockwell.com for simple camera reviews. The beauty of his reviews are that it suits both the beginner and the pro in simple language.

What I Would Buy?

Now for my recommendations. I’m not loyal to any one brand, I just want to take the best possible photos for the best achievable price. Any of these would be a great option. Be sure to check your local classified ads for great deals.

Sony a6000 — Probably the best all-around camera. It’s a mirrorless system (powerful image quality, half the weight). You can change lenses with this. It shoots extremely fast (11 frames per second), which means you can capture every facial expression your child has to offer in a second! Really affordable. Great for sports. Despite the size, pros still use this!

Fuji-film x100s/x100t — If you’re looking for more a film feel, but stay digital, look no further. It’s a fixed lens, so you can’t change the lens, ever! However, image quality is phenomenal. Captures light perfectly in any condition. Perfect for family, portraits and travel.

Canon T5/T6i — The Canon DSLR if you’re looking for a DSLR, look no further. For your first camera, one of these would be amazing.

Nikon D3300/D5500 — The Nikon DSLR if you’re looking for a DSLR, look no further. For your first camera, one of these would be amazing.

Canon 6D — Full-frame DSLR. Amazing image quality in all types of lighting conditions. Lightweight, affordable. This paired with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, would produce stellar images!!

Sony A7 II — Full-frame mirrorless camera. Meaning it’s half the weight, but professional build and quality. The Sony A7 series camera is game-changing. One of the best performing camera’s in dark lighting conditions on the market. Internal Stabilization = gold! Phenomenal image quality. Captures a lot of detail in each photo (Which means you can edit your image without losing quality). Affordable.

I hope this has been entertainingly helpful!


Thanks for reading! :) If you enjoyed it, hit that green heart below. Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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