What Camera Should I Buy

Are you venturing into the world of photography and are wondering what would be the perfect camera to buy? Or are you planning to upgrade that old-timer which seems to visit the repair shop too often? There are so many cameras in the market these days and the various features that manufacturers and camera shops are parading are not making it any easier to arrive at a decision. Ask yourself a few probing questions before you buy a camera:

What do I need it for?
There are as many answers to this as there are camera models. Some people may want a camera to capture special occasions, which is not too often. They might want something simple and easy to use. Others might need it for business purposes and need a camera that can provide their and the client’s needs. Define what exactly you want to use the camera for and you can then focus on only those models that can provide your requirements. Certain features such as ISO capabilities, optical zoom and image stabilization should be looked into since they can greatly benefit you no matter what the camera purpose.

What is my budget?
Camera prices vary from dirt cheap to exorbitant. You might long for that high end camera that is crammed with features but you might have only enough credit balance to buy a regular point and shoot. You can either wait until you earn enough money to get that dream camera or you can go ahead and buy one that still suits your needs even if it isn’t loaded with fancy extras. After all, breathtaking photographs have been taken with regular cameras. Hone your skills as a photographer and you will be able to take great pictures regardless of what camera you end up with.

Does it feel right?
Carry and hold the actual camera in the store before you decide to buy it. Fiddle with the buttons and check its heft and casing. You must remember that you will be using your camera for hopefully a good long while. For you to want to use it often, it must feel comfortable in your hands. Cameras are built differently from each other; some are big, some tiny, and some might have buttons too close to each other that it is hard for large fingers to press. Others might be very heavy and skinny arms might tire quickly after holding them up during a whole day shoot. So don’t just rely on the reviews, the advertisements and the pictures of the camera you think to be the ‘best’ of the bunch. If it doesn’t feel right when you hold it, think twice before buying one.

Do I have compatible gear?
Waste not, want not. If you already have old lenses, memory cards, chargers, filters, etc. then it would be advisable to pick a camera that will be compatible with your existing gear so that you can still make use of them.

Do I really have to buy a high megapixel camera?
There is so much hype about megapixels as a major feature to consider in choosing a camera. In a previous article, http://www.photostockplus.com/wiki/article15-Shedding-Light-on-the-Megapixel-Myth&highlight=megapixel, it was explained that megapixels affect the print size of an image but not so much the image quality. If you aren’t planning to print extra large images, a 5 megapixel camera should be sufficient.

What do others say?
It is always good to read up on reviews of your potential camera. Do not simply believe the salesperson or the advertisements since they will always be subjective in favor of the camera they are selling. A lot of online reviews or magazine reviews come from regular customers who have already bought and tested the camera and therefore know its strengths and weaknesses. They have no ulterior motives other than to share their observations so that others can be enlightened.

What extras are included in the purchase?
Cameras can be bought as a package/bundle or purely as a unit. You might want extras that aren’t normally part of the camera kit such as additional batteries, memory cards, a waterproof case, etc. Camera packages are usually given at a discount but bear in mind that these extras might not be enough to meet your needs. For instance, that memory card included in the package might have only a 64mb memory when what you need is at least 1gig.

What brand should I buy?
Let’s not go into the never-ending debate of which brand is better than the other, because there will never be a definitive answer. Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Sony, these are just some of many great brands although Canon and Nikon seem to be the most popular. Again, check your old gear and if they are compatible with only one brand, then try to stick to that so your gear won’t go to waste. Also, if you are surrounded by family and friends who are using only Canon, for example, you can go with Canon as well so you can borrow their extra gear if needed.

What type of camera do I need?
This brings us back to the first question of what you will need the camera for. If you want a camera simply to capture images without having to fiddle with settings, then a point and shoot (compact) camera with basic features and an auto mode will do. If you are a hobbyist and want to experiment with your shots without having to spend too much, an advanced point and shoot (bridge camera) would be ideal. It will have more features for you to play with compared to a regular compact, although you will not have full control as with a DSLR. If you are really serious with practicing the craft of photography, or are a professional who does it for a living, then a DSLR is the way to go. In fact, you’ll probably end up owning more than one type of camera at one given time.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 at 9:00 am and is filed under Articles, Cameras and Equipment, Miscellaneous, Photography Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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