Buying your first DSLR camera

January 13, 2015

When you’ve decided to make the leap from a point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR, there are several things to consider before you find that camera that’s right for you.

Reasons for considering a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

You've been snapping photos for years and now you’re ready to advance your skill to improve the quality of your images. How will a DSLR help?

Image quality: DSLR cameras have larger image sensors that produce images with larger pixel sizes. Entry-level cameras usually feature crop sensors rather than the full-size sensors featured in a professional camera. The number of megapixels won’t be too important if you’re sharing images digitally but for printing purposes, more are better.

Interchangeable lenses and accessories: DSLR cameras can use various lenses, from prime (fixed) lenses to wide angle, zoom and macro lenses, so your shooting options are vast. There are also other optional accessories for your DSLR camera such as powerful flash units and filters for creating special effects.

Optical viewfinder: Unlike many point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras use optical viewfinders so you can pretty much see what your image will look like before you press the shutter button.

Factors to consider when buying a DSLR camera

You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before deciding between various digital SLR cameras.

Cost: Since digital cameras can cost a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars, deciding on your spending level at the outset will narrow down your choices.

What is it for? Deciding on the type of photography you want to do will help you narrow down choice. If you’re primarily interested in shooting great family portraits, a couple of fine prime lenses will suit. If you want to shoot birds and other nature shots, you’ll need a lens with long zoom capabilities.

Package deals: At the entry level, DSLRs are usually offered as packages with a body and one or sometimes two kit lenses. However, a quality lens is really best for taking beautiful images. Think about buying a camera body plus a lens of your choice. You'll get a battery and charger with your camera and sometimes a basic memory card. Upgrading to a better card with more storage is also a good idea.

Size and weight: DSLRs come in a variety of sizes and weights. Big and heavy cameras with long lenses attached can be pretty uncomfortable to carry around. If you have small hands, a streamlined body may feel better than a large one.

Once you’ve determined what you need for your photography, you’re ready to see what’s available in your price range. Today’s entry-level DSLRs from top manufacturers offer good quality and a wide range of features, but the best advice is to visit a reputable camera store and try before you buy so you’ll be happy with your new investment.

Buying your first DSLR camera
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