March 13, 2012

Before Buying Your First SLR Camera

If you are planning to purchase DSLR camera then this article is for you. If you are serious about photography then only you should consider it otherwise my advise would be taking a better point and shoot with creative controls (Tv, Av, M modes) and with 10x or more zoom. Often I have seen many people take SLR and they don't shoot because the camera is too big to carry, or they don't want to go beyond the kit lens and hence limiting their shoots. Nowadays, there are good point & shoot cameras that perform very fast and effective.

Few questions that can decide your purchase.

  1. Which Brand?  There are many brands available in market, some are them are quite famous since the beginning of photography like Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji and few of them are new like Panasonic, Sony etc. I would suggest you to opt either from Nikon or Canon because these companies have been spending lots of money in research and development in the field of camera and lenses and other accessories. Many third party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, Zuiko etc also creates product for Nikon or Canon but not for other companies. You will never get short of choices in Nikon or Canon. Both cameras are equally good and there are some pros and cons. This is a famous classical question btw discussed many times over the web. Good photographers will suggest you to go either of them as it doesn't matter much. It is individuals preference to select one brand. Note that you can't mount Nikon's lens on Canon or vice versa. So once you decide your brand, you have to struck to it for a long time because it is a kind of investment and it is very difficult to switch between them as you will be building your kit. Read more from experts here - Ken Rockwell or or Digital-Photography-School and there are lot more when you google :-)
    • Nikon gives you bolder colors and it is quite fast in performance.
    • Canon gives you more natural and saturated colors, its autofocus system is faster than Nikon usually.
    • In the low end, Nikon has sturdy build than Canon but as you go higher in the ladder, the difference is negligible.
  2. What type of photographer am I? What would I will be shooting? Depending on subject you should consider your purchase. If you are going to do product photography or advertisement photography or journalism which requires faster camera will bold colors and depth and sturdy build quality then you should pick Nikon. If you are in to Nature or Wildlife photography or Sports or Wedding/Portraits then go for Canon. But I again like to say that both can be deployed to any type of work and it will just work. This divide is just based on the observation of photographers's exif and their work. But it is not a rule.
  3. How much I am willing to spend? Both camera manufactures have good range of cameras in all segments so it should not be a major factor in deciding your pick. Spare some money for lens purchases also and also think of replacing the kit lens with some good lens. 
  4. Future plans and upgrades? There are two types of SLRs - full frame (35 mm censor) or Crop (1.5x or 1.6x of 35mm). So basically it is the coverage of your sensor which is going to record image. With same lens, a full frame camera will have more coverage over frame and it will be true focal length. So suppose if you have taken a picture with 50mm lens on full frame, effective focal length is 50 but on crop sensor it will look like a 80mm (50mm x 1.6). Many lenses are only compatible with crop sensor camera and they won't work on full frame. Plan your lens purchase accordingly. 
  5. Which lenses should I purchase? You can read more about Canon lenses here, here and Nikon here.
Best combination on full frame camera is 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8, it covers almost every situation. 

I hope you will focus more on photography than your camera or lens. There is no rule in photography, shoot directly from your heart and enjoy it. 

Some great sites that you should visit before your pick.
Wish you good luck and Happy Shooting. Please join me on Facebook