If you’ve been bitten hard by the photography bug, then you may have decided that you want a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera. As with any of today’s digital technology products, you’ll quickly realize there are a huge number of cameras available. Before you rush to the camera store, spend some quality time reviewing the following tips to help you narrow your search and spend your money wisely.
1. Know your Photography Goals.
Nothing’s more wasteful than buying a product, and then discovering that it won’t fulfill your expectations or help you reach your goals. That’s the first question you must ask yourself: “What kind of photography do I want to shoot?” Your answers could include pictures of family members and friends, both casually and at important events, such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc. You might like to travel, and want a DSLR camera to record all the places you visit and people you meet. Maybe, you want to develop your artistic skills, so you need a camera that accepts macro lenses, for example. Take the time to write a list that you can take with you to the camera store, so the experts are better able to recommend the right camera and accessories.
2. Set a Budget.
As you do your research, you’ll quickly determine the general price range of the DSLR camera that may be best for you. Remember, it’s not just the camera you are buying. You may want to include in your budget an extra battery, a larger memory card (1GB), a second lens, a UV filter for each lens, a flash unit, a camera bag and an extended warranty for the camera and lenses. Some retailers may offer a bundle deal, and include one or more of these items. Be aware that some bundled items may not be as high quality as the camera. Generally, it’s better to buy the highest quality lenses and camera bag you can afford.
3. Do Some Research.
You don’t have to rely completely on the camera store experts (after all, their priority may be to sell you the camera with the largest profit margin). Visit Web sites and learn a little in advance about which DSLR cameras have the features that match your goals. Compare the following factors during your research, so you have more control of the buying process (and camera store employees who may be more interested in their commissions).
• DSLR cameras tend to be larger and heavier than point-and-shoots. If you’re interested in travel or nature photography, then you may want to consider smaller and lighter cameras.
• Megapixels can be a good or a bad way to choose a camera. The size of the image sensor is a better measuring stick of resolution, since a DSLR’s larger megapixels translates into sharper images. This is important if you plan to print enlargements; less important if your pictures will be snapshot size or mostly shared as digital photos.
• A general rule of thumb is that lower-priced DSLR cameras become obsolete faster, with fewer upgrade options. Spending a bit more initially may allow you to upgrade further into the future. Another factor is just how advanced of a photographer you eventually want to become. It’s difficult to predict the future; but you don’t want to spend money on features you’ll never use.
• Some of those additional DSLR camera features include burst, or continuous shooting, mode; shutter speed; ISO ratings; LCD screen size; camera shake reduction; protection of the image sensor from dust; multiple computer connectivity; and various auto settings, similar to point-and-shoots and typically found on lower-priced DSLRs.
An excellent method to make smart comparisons between DSLR cameras is to create a chart with these various factors and features for three to five cameras. Then, take your list with you to the camera store or refer to the list if you purchase online.