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Posts tagged ‘type’

What you want in a Camera

Calla Lily in Black and WhiteFrom time to time I get asked what camera someone should buy.  It is a tough question.  Then I thought about the questions we used to ask customers when I worked in a bike shop, and thought about how you should be able to ask similar questions, so today I thought we could discuss those questions and what you should ask yourself if you want to get  a new camera.

How often will you use the camera?

What type of photography will you do?

What is your budget?

These are basic questions, but they are a good start.

How often will you use the camera?

This is important, if you are planning on taking thousands of photos, then you will need a better quality camera than someone who is only going to be taking a few shots on the weekend at family parties.  Cameras do wear out, though, I’m not totally sure about compact cameras and whatDegraves Street moving parts they have, if any, but DSLR’s do have parts that wear out.  Shutter mechanisms can break, I had it happen to me earlier this year.

If you are not going to be taking many photos, then lower end or entry level cameras will probably be fine for you.  If you are planning on taking a few hundred a week, then you will need a better quality camera.

What type of photography will you do?

This is also important, the person who just wants to take photos at the family BBQ on the weekend will want a very different camera to someone who wants to go and take photos of waterfalls, or large landscapes.  It matters, and the camera you need for these will be different.

Other things to consider are how much control do you want over your image.  Do you want to be able to change lenses?  Do you want a compact camera but still have some control over settings?  Will you be using a tripod?  Do you want to carry a lot of gear around with you?

Cameras come in a variety of forms and you can find a camera to suit every need, from the very basic photographer to the professional.  This post isn’t for the latter, they know what they need and what they want.

You really need to know what sort of photography you want to do and then you have to match your camera to that.

I knew when I bought my first digital camera that I didn’t want anything flash, I just wanted something that was small enough to fit into my bag that I could take with me every where, but it had to take fairly good images as well.  I was looking at taking record shots just for me, and not shots that would be considered great photographic works.  It also had to be good enough to take 20120728-0592snaps of the family.  You get the idea.  I ended up with a Canon Ixus 60 which was perfect for what I wanted.

When it came time to buy my first DSLR I need more specific things.  As I knew that the main subject for my photographs would be cycling and netball, I wanted a camera that would be good for those, so frames per second were important.  I wanted to get the best I could afford.  The other things I wanted was to be able to use my old lenses from my days of film, which meant, for me, the camera had to be a Nikon.   I also knew that I had to get a certain level or the lenses wouldn’t work on it.  The camera I choose was the Nikon D300s, it took around 7 frames a second, was in budget and had great reviews.

What would I buy today? That is a good question, since buying my first D300s what I want in a camera has changed, and I do want a new one.  I thought it was the D800, but I have been doing some research and I am not so sure anymore.  I have discovered the spot metering isn’t going to be that different to what I have now.  Then I was reading a blog post over at  Nature and Travel Photography by Justin Reznick, and Justin has me thinking.  I don’t know what I want now.

What is your budget?

What your budget is is very important.  There is no point wanting a professional camera if you only have a few hundred dollars.  My husband always said you should get the best you can for the money you have.  Kangaroos Running Away

Think about not just what you want right now, but also try and think about the future.  If you want to play right now, to see if you like it, but seriously think it is going to turn into a hobby then get a camera that can become a hobby camera as well.  Don’t buy a compact camera that has no control over anything, but you think you might want some control, to try out things.  Compact cameras are usually point and click and not much else.  I got frustrated with mine in the end, because I had no control.

Seriously, most DSLR have the same basic features.  The entry level ones come with a lot of program modes that can be good to use.  The higher end ones don’t, and expect that you know what you are doing and what settings you need for photos.  If all you can afford is a entry level DSLR, and you are just starting out, you aren’t going to be disappointed.  Don’t forget with any DSLR you will need lenses and you will need to work out what you are going to photograph as to what lenses you will need, but that is whole other post.  Though, lenses need to be considered in your budget.


Have I just made it more confusing?  Maybe.  Really, you just need to know exactly what you want the camera for, and the more you know the easier it becomes to choose one.  It really only A Canon View Under the Jettybecomes hard when you can’t answer the questions.  The clearer you are, the more likely you are to find a camera to suit what you are wanting to do.

If I were looking for a camera today the things I know are, I want to do landscape and architectural photography.  I want the option of being able to print my images large.  I don’t mind carrying gear with me.  I want good quality lenses.  A full frame camera would be good.  I want to be able to mount it on a tripod and the camera needs to be able to bracketed shots.  My budget, $0, at the moment, so I won’t be getting anything right now, but you get the idea of what I am saying.

Know what you want to do and find the camera that will do that for you.

I know many of you have ideas about this as well, so please, share your experiences and what advice you would give others.