How To Choose A Digital Camera And Lens

The modern photographer, whether they are amateur or professional, will have an over abundance of equipment from which to choose. There are a huge range of digital cameras – from point and shoot to DSLRs. There are also many lenses, flash units and also special filters that apply to lenses and flashes as well.

The way any photographer should begin to determine what kind of equipment they are going to need should be based on the work they intend to do with the camera and its many attachments. For example, a wedding photographer is going to probably require two cameras as switching between various lenses and settings could easily allow them to miss a great shot.

It is important to review the following concepts when deciding on two cameras versus one camera and several lenses:

  • What type of photography will be performed?
  • How much weight is the photographer going to be capable of toting around?
  • Will the cameras need to be different, or is it just the settings?
  • Will there also be the need for such things as a tripod, flash unit and other equipment?

Consider the first question. There are many professional and hobbyist photographers who do infrared and nighttime or astronomical photography. Both of these varieties require the camera to have very special settings. The infrared camera alone could require the equipment to be radically adjusted each time a project is attempted. This means that a serious photographer or artist who regularly practices infrared or alternative photography may want to purchase two cameras in order to make life simpler.

Of course many professional sports and journalism photographers also walk about with more than a single camera at any given time and that is to allow them the opportunity to use powerful lenses without having to switch over to “everyday” lenses to do close up or traditional work. This is obviously a professional decision rather than a difference in the equipment, but is often necessary for those in any sort of photographic profession.

When considering which items to purchase, questions related to those above must be asked. For example, the photographer who answers the first question with something like “macro photography will be performed” is not likely to need two cameras to get their job done, but they will have to seriously consider the lenses to buy instead. This is because macro photography requires special effort where lighting is concerned and there are many lenses available with special lighting built right into the equipment.

Clearly, the decision for one camera with many lenses, versus two cameras set up and ready to go, is both personal and professional. Budget considerations should also be taken into account as well, and this is due to the higher costs of advanced cameras and lenses.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (17)

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  1. Kevin Jones says:

    Do you think that Canon or Nikon is better?

    • Hi Kevin,

      I’ve used both and I can honestly say I love them both. But the new Canon L series lenses are pretty amazing. I shot a wedding in September and used the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS II USM and it blew me away with the quality. I’ll be posting some of the images on this website. We’re still updating the site as you can see, but we’re working hard to bring you the best information about photography. I spoke about it in a video tutorial about wedding photography I recently did in our monthly Photography Magazine.


      P.S Still luv ya Nikon!

  2. Kim H says:

    Okay, so you finally decided to get that digital video camera youve been saving for. You have enough money to buy a kick-butt video camera. But have you considered the most vital part for the camera? The part that comes into play with every video shot. The digital video camera zoom lens. Without a proper digital video camera zoom lens, your prized video camera isnt all it could be. You would be much better off if you spend equal amounts on the camera and the digital video camera zoom lens. The lens is that important. Your choice of lenses can distinguish between a good camera and an outstanding camera.

    Spend More On The Lens

    The digital video camera zoom lens determines how well your videos turn out. It, more than anything else on or in the camera affects the end products. Think about it, every shot you take goes through that lens. Really the camera is just a case for the mechanisms inside. You could make a case for reversing the spending, more on the lens and less on the actual camera. Most digital video cameras dont come with the ability to change lenses. This fact makes it more important to purchase the best digital video camera zoom lens possible. Another piece of advice regarding the lens is too not purchase the plastic lenses. The clarity is much better from glass digital video camera zoom lens.

    If you do plan on purchasing a video camera where you can change the digital video camera zoom lens then compare the options of each lens to find the one that you want. Experts recommend that you purchase brand names such as Canon, Pentax or Nikon. Be sure to check if the lens will work for your camera. Digital video camera zoom lenses are not created equal and a lens from Nikon may or may not work with a digital video camera made by Canon.

    If you are a professional photographer, then you should check out Leica, Carl Zeiss and Leupold. These are specialty lens manufacturers. The quality of the videos will show if you use one of their digital video camera zoom lens. If you are just a beginner then these lenses may not be the best place to start, because of the cost. But if you want extraordinary quality, these digital video camera zoom lenses are the way to go.

    Options for digital video camera zoom lenses include normal, wide angle and telephoto. The focal length of the lens has a lot to do with the type of digital video camera zoom lens choice. The quality of the lens is also determined by lens speed, a significant factor in your shoot quality. You should think about focusing distance as well as advanced features such as vibration reduction, USM or ultrasonic motor and filter thread which should be present in any good digital video camera zoom lens.

    Before you make that digital video camera zoom lens purchase you should research each feature that you want and choose the lens that fulfils those wishes the best. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive lenses are usually the better choice since more of the elements in the lens with be glass, although this does increase the camera weight. In the end if you do the research and take into consideration your shooting needs and budget, you will make the right choice.

  3. Bob Johnson says:

    A great piece – thank you so much for posting it. I would definitely recommend thet every one else should have a look at it.

  4. Samy Sosi says:

    I understand the point that you were trying to focus on. I’m just not sure if this is going to make a lot of sense or be even relevent for a lot of people. Maybe I am just getting focused in on a little detail that really doesn’t make a difference in the big picture. I’m hoping that I’m not overwhelming you at all, but does that make sense? Do you see where I am going with that. I feel like my brain is competing/fighting me to find the right words to try and get my point across. Oh well, good post, I liked it.

  5. Harirams says:

    I just like a small camera that fits nicely in my pocket or the glove compartment of my car. I have an old Cannon but upgraded to the digital with 12MP.

  6. Paul says:

    I really love your ezine Amy,it’s the best photography information on the net.

  7. Lorraine says:

    Thanks for the great tips. Do you need any special lighting for yourphotos after you buy you gear? For example I was looking at a lighting kit the other day. Should I buy it or rely on the lens and camera? Thanks, LOz

    • Hi Lorraine,

      You always need good lighting for your subjects. The question is how to achieve this; via natural, ambient lighting (which might be enough), or external lighting like flash or soft boxes. It really depends on what you are shooting as to what you need.

  8. Darrell says:

    Excellent! Thanks Amy.

  9. Nicholas says:

    Wonderful article, thanks Amy. I was able to get the ezine download the other day by the way, thanks for replying and helping so fast. I love the ezine, it’s very helpful.

  10. Jules says:

    Amy what does hyperfocal distance mean?

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