Which Camera Should I Buy?

At some point in time of our digital photography journey, we will ponder which camera to buy. It’s kind of like asking “which car should I buy?” To which I would graciously responding that I do not know, because I do not know your requirements or what you want to do. Only you do. You are better equipped at answering the question that I am.

The choice to buy a camera is an important decision – it needs to be researched. It depends on a lot of factors.

First: How much money do you have? There is no point buying a large format digital camera if you are only going to do small format shooting. And, when it may be nice to want the latest Canon or Nikon that cost 5 grand for the camera, it may or may not be feasible for your budget. Only you know the answer to that.

Second: What sort of photography do you want to do? Do you want to be able to change your lenses? If so, then look at a DSLR. If not, stick to the mid-range point and shoot digital cameras.

It is advisable to go for a DSLR if you want interchangeable lenses and want to get the maximum optic quality from your images. In other words if you want landscapes to look big, wide and expansive, then the lens is what does it, not the camera.

Third: Things to look for from a camera are the capability for interchangeable lenses if you want more freedom and flexibility. Look for something that feels nice in your hand. I find that if a camera is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit well into my hands, I tend to not want to shoot all day long with it.

It’s important that it feels good to you. Your wrists and hands do a lot of work holding a camera and after a whole day of shooting, you don’t want to be worrying about aching arms or hands.

Fourth: Is it user friendly? Camera companies are highly competitive and making their manuals easier to understand now. Make sure that if you do not understand something you can quite easily go to the manufacturers website and find out the information you need.

Fifth: Buying a camera overseas to save a few bucks? I’ve never been a fan of grey imports. But that’s just me. You don’t know if they’ve been tampered with, refurbished, used before, and travelled well or not…
I tend to spend thousands on gear and the last thing I want to worry about it whether the battery is going to give way on me or not, half way into a shoot because the battery was used by several different people before it got to me. No thanks. I want that “new-camera” smell when I take it out of the box for the first time.
That’s just me, do your own research. Here’s a bit about Grey Imports from the Nikon site:

Sixth: Don’t get too hung up on the camera. It’s your lenses that are more important. I can’t stress this enough. The camera is really just a black box with lots of excellent controls, but it is the lens that makes the difference to the overall quality and sharpness of your image. You lens controls the quality. Never forget that.

Seventh: Do your own research and don’t be swayed by anyone. You know what you need more than anybody. Trust that.

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 (18)

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  1. Adam says:

    Thanks. I’ve been confused about this for sometime, but you’ve helped me make a good decision.

  2. Scotch says:

    Hey Amy, that’s such a good point about lenses and how important they are. Most people DO get hung up about camera bodies, wanting the latest and greatest, while forgetting it’s the glass that influences picture quality to a large degree. Pse keep emphasising the point. Thanks!

  3. Alan says:

    Over the last few years, the picture quality in digital cameras has becoming amazing. As recently as the year 2000, even the very best digital cameras you could buy produced grainy, poor quality images that could never compare to what film had to offer. Today, though, digital cameras can easily rival and even exceed the quality of film, capturing pin sharp digital images and never needing to be refilled with anything except power.

    When you buy a digital camera, the most important thing you should look for is how many mega pixels (million pixels in the image) the photos it takes are. Cameras available today range from about 3MP at the low end to 10MP or more at the high end, with the price increasing steadily with each extra mega pixel.

    However, how many mega pixels the camera has is not the only thing you should consider. Battery life is very important, as cameras with a short battery life can be frustratingly unusable, and the presence of various features in the camera s software like auto focus and digital zoom should also be a consideration, as well as the camera s ability to record non photographic material like sound and video.

    Ultimately, the best thing to do with digital cameras is to either buy the cheapest one you can find or a very high end one if you go for something mediocre, you will just be frustrated at having paid a lot of money for a camera that isn t really all that great. If you are choosing between two cameras at a certain price point, it is almost always better to buy the one made by a known brand, as they will tend to have much better build quality, software and battery life, as well as being generally better designed and easier to use.

    As a final note, if you just want a cheap digital camera to take around with you and take occasional snaps of your friends and places you go, it s well worth considering getting a mobile phone with a digital camera built in. As you take your phone around with you anyway, it s no extra hassle to carry a camera phone, and the pictures they can take are rapidly increasing in quality, to the point where they are now where digital cameras were only a few years ago. As technology gets even better, a camera phone is increasingly becoming a very smart alternative to a digital camera for the casual user.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Annie Jackson says:

    I was going to buy just any old digital camera until I came to this article, now I will look for the things you have mentioned. Thanks Amy! You saved me from making a costly mistake.

  7. David Cobb says:

    I agree with the post above and I will enjoy finding reading information from you.

  8. Jake says:

    Thanks for the article it helped alot.

  9. Cheryl says:

    Thanks Amy. I ended buying a Nikon D300- I belive you have this camera too, do you like it?

    • Yes I do have a Nikon D300, but I also have a Canon 300D and a Canon 5D, plus a Sony something arather and a Nikon F60. I am starting to make a habit of it! LOL I think I’m the only person I know who owns both Nikon and Canon. I love them both for different reasons.

  10. Guy says:

    Very good article. I’ve found your site via Google and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your articles. Anyhow keep up the good work!

  11. Eva says:

    What sort of lens should I buy?

  12. Suzanne says:

    I am pleased that this demonstrates to me just what to look for.


  13. Fran says:

    Thanks for this, it really cleared up a lot for me.

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