Buying a camera – read this first

People often say to me, you do photography, what camera should I buy? And I always say, well it depends on what you are going to use your camera for.

I think that we can talk about a few different types of photographers when it comes to buying cameras; the social media snapper, holiday snapper, Photo enthusiast and the Professional. My buying advice is not aimed at the Professional.

Of course, we can be all or any of the above.  So, the first step in buying or choosing a camera is to ask yourself, what kind of photographer am I and how might my interest in photography grow or change?

You don’t want to have to go through this process of choosing a camera again next year when you realise that the camera you have no longer meets your needs.  Thinking about your aspirations for photography will help you choose a model more suited to your needs both now and in the future.

The next consideration is to look at the different types of cameras you can use and match them to your most likely use and future needs.

Photography need and camera type

The quality of smartphones all the way up to pro-cameras means that if you aim at the upper end of the market in your choice of a camera, then you are going to get good results from whatever you choose, provided that you have matched your camera choice to the type of photographer that you are most likely to become.

As an example, I used to shoot professionally and used DSLR’s for a long time. I now consider myself a photo-enthusiast (pro = getting paid) so I have changed to a quality compact camera with a small zoom and a compact mirrorless camera system CMCS). My CMCS allows me to shoot professionally if I want to and my compact camera is a quality compact camera with excellent image quality as it has a large sensor and was a flagship model.

What about picture quality?

Another important consideration is, what are you going to do with your pictures once you have captured them?

All modern digital cameras are capable of producing good quality images, the key point to consider here is how are you going to use your pictures. Even a basic smartphone can look good on a tablet screen or on a digital photo frame.  If you are going to be printing your images then you will need to look towards the higher end of the camera market and be prepared to pay more for your equipment.

Which brings us on to the subject of sensors and pixels and optics

This is a complex subject. However, in a nutshell, you will get the best results when you use quality optics a large sensor for maximum light capture and enough pixels to capture the detail of your chosen subject when shooting pics. Your chosen camera will also need a decent in-camera image processor.

The camera marketplace

Once you have considered the above and know where your needs lie you can research the market and compare the different camera manufacturers models. My advice would be to read as many reviews as you can and where possible always, always get your hands on a model and try it out before you buy it. Things to think about when trying out a camera are

  • How it feels in your hands
  •  The layout of the controls
  •  Access to the cameras many functions and features through its menu systems
  •  Camera accessories
  •  Warranties
  •  After sales support.
  •  Does it support both JPEG and RAW shooting or only JPEG
  •  The camera’s ability to focus and shoot quickly, after all, you don’t want to miss those all important shots!
  •  Any other criteria that is important to you.

Resources:

Here are my two favourite places to go when researching buying a camera

DxOMark

DxOMark scientifically assesses image quality of smartphones, lenses and cameras. DxOMark they score and sums up a devices’ photo and video quality. The higher the score, the better the image quality.

dpreview

This is a great site for news, articles and reviews on cameras and other photographic devices.

I hope this helps you make the right choice when choosing a camera. If you need any other advice just drop me a comment.

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