How to choose your first Camera?
Are you a beginner photographer who wants to level up his photography game by his/her new camera, or just an enthusiast who’s thinking of buying a camera?
Either way, this article could be of great help to you. Many people get confused with the question “what camera to buy?” when they’re about to begin their journey and this article will help you with just that by laying out certain factors that you should consider, some would be very basic but important, and some lesser-known factors.
It is the major factor, or I would say the most important factor in determining your first camera. You should ideally keep at least an extra headroom of 17% after selecting a camera as that will be used to get accessories like lights, tripod, filters, remote shutter, extra battery, CF/SD card, etc.
So keep that in mind to have the extra 17% headroom provided you’re happy with the quality the kit lens offers you. The extra budget would go somewhere between 30-40% in case you want a prime lens too.
Tip – You can go to the actual offline store, they may have some offers going on and you could possibly bargain and get it at a better price. Also, you can try second-hand cameras but make sure to have a thorough inspection.
Video vs Stills
Every camera has a strong point in either video or stills. For example, Nikon D or sony A7 lineup is great for still, it doesn’t mean it takes bad video and similarly in the case of Canon which is generally better at the video.
So it depends on your use case, you can choose according to your priorities.
There are all-rounder cameras too but in that also either video or still would have some edge over the other.
Type of photography
There are various types of photography like landscape, low light, portrait, fashion, sports, etc and every type would need a camera that would cater to that specific scenario.
For example – If you’ll do sports photography you’d need a camera that would have high continuous shooting modes like 16fps, 20fps, or even 24fps to capture that fast motion while taking the picture.
Or you do low light photography in which case you’d need a camera with bigger pixel sizes, high iso performance, and slow shutter capabilities.
Flexibility and Portability
This is totally a subjective thing. Some people like to have small and compact cameras while some like the feel of those bulky big DSLR with battery grip. There are pros and cons to both.
For example, a small and compact camera would be handy for a person who likes to travel light and still is at no compromise because nowadays mirrorless cameras are as good as DSLR if not better. On the other hand, a bulky DSLR would help a person look more professional and also helps in balancing the whole system while using a big lens (like 600mm).
Features like eye autofocus, 4k, 8k support, flip screen, IBIS, HDMI out, mic port, charging through USB-c, dual SD card slot, etc are offered in a lot of cameras at various price points, you obviously don’t need all the features and those features would be merely just a ‘gimmick’ for which you don’t have to pay more.
For example, if you’re just a beginner you don’t need 8k video support which would be useful for a professional.
So choose the features wisely.
Every camera maker has its own signature style of post-processing the image camera has to take and also a set of profiles.
For example, Canon is known for its color science and its C-Log video codec which appeals to the masses similarly Sony also has its signature S-log1, S-log2, and S-log3.
It’s a personal preference, you can see the samples of the camera from the net and choose which you like.
Support and service
There are very few chances that you’ll damage your camera if you follow the basic method and just be a little cautious while using the camera.
But still one should know about the kind of service the camera manufacture provides because after all, you would require that at some point.
As for the support, major big brands would provide very good support like an OTA firmware update that would improve the performance of a camera.
So be sure to purchase from a reputable brand that would provide good service and support.
Ideally, you should go for the newer camera as they’ll contain all the new features and technological improvement but that doesn’t mean the 2-3 yr old cameras are bad.
You have to weigh the features you’re getting for the price. For example – Last year’s top of the line camera would have come down in price to this year’s upper midrange camera, it would have all the advancement and best features of that year but the newer one would have better technology, for instance, so one has to weight the pros and cons of each that’ll help them to get a better value for money camera according to their needs.
Some of the best midrange camera recommendations in their respective price range are:-
Sony A7riii, A7iii, a6600, a6400
canon eos r, eos RP, 90d
Nikon z6, d850 (second hand if good price and condition), etc.
Important tip – Focus on the lens too, as the kit lens would not give you as good quality as a prime lens because kit lenses aren’t meant for professionals, for beginners they would get the job done but it would be better to opt for a prime lens from the beginning as they do make a difference and can be used with other cameras too (provided they support the camera mount or have an adaptor available).
Hope it helped you to choose your first camera.
And have a good day.