The best camera for a beginner photographer – How do I decide?

The best camera for a beginner photographer

How do I decide on the camera and gear I want to get?

So you want to explore photography more and you wish to purchase a good camera, but where to start.

Well there are a number of things that you will need to look at and to decide on.

Starting out with what features do you require or wish to have in your camera?

Ask yourself a few questions first before going out to look for a new camera. Be aware that more buttons and whistles is not always better.

Lets ask yourself a few questions here.
  • What is the main need for purchasing a camera?
  • What style of photography do you wish to be doing? Portraiture, scenery – landscapes, or are you more interested in sports or close-up – macro style photography?
  • What types of conditions do you want or do you feel you would be shooting in the most? Indoors, outdoors, bright lighting or low lighting?
  • Next, how much zoom do you wish to have available?
  • Do you want to be able to change lenses?
  • Playback screen sizes?
  • Weight and portability?
  • And the big one, your budget?

These are some things that you should think over before you go out to buy a camera and it will be easier to decide which camera will cover the features you are looking for.

Point and shoot or DSLR?
  • Do you wish to have an aim and shoot (not able to change lenses)
  • or Do you wish to be able to change the lenses (DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex)
  • And then there is budget. Deciding what you are able to spend to get started.

Digital camera produce different digital image sizes. The size of megapixels a camera’s image file size and data there in. But remember the larger amount of megapixels a camera has the larger the file size and in turn the more hard drive space these files will take up.

So to add to this question is, what plans do you have regarding printing  size of your images.  If you plan on printing the standard sizes, which are up to say 11 x 14 then a basic 5 or so megapixel camera will suffice. But if you might possible be blowing up your images a lot larger then you may want to invest in a more upper end and higher megapixel camera.

What else do I need to invest in to get started in photography?

Something to remember is that once you get your camera there are additional things that you may need, and things that you may want.

  • A camera case to protect your gear
  • Memory cards – these need to be purchased extra, they do not usually come with the camera
  • A spare camera battery (rechargeable)
  • Additional lenses if you choose to purchase a DSLR
  • An external Flash
  • A tripod
  • A mono-pod
  • Filters

Sometimes retailers will bundle up a get started pack but check them through to make sure you will be using all the items or it may not be the best way to purchase the extra gear.

Get the grip
So one thing that I really look at when purchasing a camera is the grip. Your right hand needs to be able to hold the camera without the use of two hands and not feel as if you are going to have the possibility to drop it.

I suggest that you go to a camera store and ask to hold different styles and makes of cameras.  You need to have a secure and comfortable feeling in the grip on the camera.

If you give your hand a bit of a shake when holding it and you get the feeling that you may drop it, then that is not the right camera for you.  This is very important when you are looking to buy a DSLR type camera, because when you decide to use larger lenses down the road, they are generally fairly heavy so it you struggle with holding onto the camera with just a basic lens then you will have issues when adding larger and heavier lenses to your camera.

Doing your research

Go to a couple different camera shops and ask questions, ask them to demo them ask about features, kit options, ask about their recommendations.  Hold different cameras and make notes.

I suggest not to make your purchase on your first visit.  Go home and think about the different cameras and the features that you really want and if budget is limited, which features you really can do without when starting out.

Your can save some coin by going used to start in photography

If you have a film SLR camera, some brands, the lenses will also fit and work on the DSLR’s .  Check with the dealers, and manufacturer websites to make sure. Also checking into used equipment when you are starting out may also be an option until you totally decide what type of system that is your preference.

Search for best prices and packages

Once you have decided on the camera you like and suits your needs, now you want to get the best deal you can.

I would start out doing some online research and check into options. Remember you can email the companies to see if they have any in store deals that are not advertised on their websites.  Just because you are looking online does not mean that you cannot negotiate a better deal.  Check out the smaller stores as well as the larger ones.  You can be surprised when you email a smaller store they sometimes can out beat the big guys.

Remember depending on the camera, this can be a substantial investment so you want to get the best deal that you can. I have purchased from Henry’s online and they have always had a great variety and reasonable prices.

Feel free to drop me a note with your questions and I will do my best to assist you with them.

This information on the site is my opinions, please feel free to add comments and suggestions you may have that have helped you in the past and share them here with others.

2 thoughts on “The best camera for a beginner photographer – How do I decide?

  1. I had this conversation with my sister about half a year ago. It was a heated discussion of why people even bothering selling DSLR or even point and shoot anymore when everybody’s phone is capable of taking pictures. I rolled my eyes and explained to her thoroughly that better cameras produce better quality pictures. For example DSLR allows a better control with manual mode where you can control the shutter speed, ISO speed, and the aperture much better. Deciding on a camera can be tricky, but DSLR is almost always the way to go. If the camera doesn’t work out, then you can always keep the lenses and change the camera if you want an upgrade. Thanks for sharing with the world. Any brands you highly recommend? I am Nikon person.

    1. Hi Blame,

      Thank you for your comments. I am now a Nikon shooter for the most part but I have also shot with Canon (back in film days), Olympus (digital), and Pentax (both film and digital)

      Yes photography has changed but stayed the same. Phone cameras can capture some amazing photos but you have a lot more creative flexibility using a DSLR. And yes if you get good higher end glass then you can always upgrade the camera body and not need to buy the lenses again.

      For me to recommend, I would like to know what types of subject matter you would be mostly shooting and what you plan to do with the photographs afterword. Print, digital slide shows, internet, advertising and so on.

      Let me know and I will give you my suggestions.

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