So, the first time I walked into a camera store, and decided I wanted to buy a camera, I wish I had done 5 things before I had purchased my first camera. I want to share with you those things now, and even maybe help those who have even been taking pictures for a while with decisions that will help them as well:
I will admit there are a lot of brands out there. Why doesn’t it come down to one or two? I guess it comes down to the same reason as why are there so many car manufactures. Right? Ask the same question about cars, and you will get the same answer about cameras. The reason some people like Ford over a Toyota, or Chrysler over a Kia, is they try it out, they like it, or they have had a friend try it and they said it is the car to buy, and they trust them, and so on and so forth. So, it is with the camera industry. Someone tried Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Leica, etc, and they were amazed at the pictures, and the way it felt, and they were sold on it. So, if you don’t take any body’s opinion on it, then you must study it out for yourself. Go to unbiased magazines (where do you find them?) and get the reports of how these cameras stack up against each other. Learn about the different lenses and who makes the variety of lenses for your camera, and how easily it is to get the lenses for the camera you seem to be narrowing your decision to. I must say, that magazines today are not going to say one camera is better than another, generally. Can you imagine the advertising they would lose if they say one brand is not as good as the other. But, the one thing I found out is that every person has their own opinion. So, that means, not one brand is better than another. So, what do you do? Go to step 2:
Try holding the different cameras you have narrowed your list down to, and pick them up, feel how it is in your hands. Do the dials feel comfortable in your hands? How are the placement of the dials or buttons? Can you move the dials or buttons easily? Do they make sense compared to other cameras? Go into a store and “test drive” the camera. As you do this, beware of the camera salesman pushing a certain brand of camera. That may be the one they make their commission on. So, just look at it, and see if it does feel good to you, but, look at the different cameras, and see which ones feel good to you. How do the controls feel to you? If you want to get into running all the controls, how easy is it to run those controls?
I have seen a few cameras where the accessories for the cameras were limited to the manufacture only. 3rd party accessories were very scarce. That just opens up the prices to be very expensive. That is like having a Rolls Royce car, and not being able to buy a part for it in your local auto parts store, but only from the Rolls Royce dealer. The price is outrageous, but, really, really good. If that is what you want, then there is no problem, but, you may also have to wait for parts too. I would highly recommend that you get a camera where 3rd party accessories are readily available. There are really high quality 3rd party lenses, for example, that rival the manufactures lenses on the market today. That gives you so much variety in your accessories if that is possible for you.
Just what kind of photographer do you want to grow up to be:
A landscape photographer:
A portrait photographer:
A wedding photographer:
A sports photographer:
A Photo journalist:
A Real Estate photographer:
Ok, let’s stop there. There are probably a few others we could include. And as you look at some of the above categories, you may be thinking that some of those pictures are easy to take, or, that some of those fields of photography are something you would like to get involved in. Let me tell you that you need a lot of study in lighting, perhaps get involved with someone who does it for a living, to make you successful in any of the above fields. I know someone who decided that they would take up portraits. Decided to advertise that they are officially a portrait photographer. No official training, he just liked a few photos that he took of people and he thought he was a pro. Then when someone asked him to take their wedding engagement photos, the couple was very disappointed. It takes training and finding a mentor, and studying yourself from books, blogs, etc. to get to the point you would be good in any of these fields.
I had a doctor who I thought was really good. I also noticed that he was always studying and kept up to the new technologies that were coming out in the medicine field. And it is the same in the camera industry. Where can you go to learn all the new things out there. Well, I will be right up front with you: I am trying hard to provide good instruction for all types of photographers on this blog, and on my website. In fact, my website will expand into different subjects and even provide an email list soon in which you can subscribe to different topics. I am looking to really expand this website to help all my fellow photographers, and I am looking to have photographers who want to add their expertise to help on this site as well.
Good magazines are always a good source as well. They are constantly updating tools of the trade, as well as tips on how to do certain types of photography. You should never fail in photography with all the helpful things there are out there for you.
So, hopefully this will help you as you decide on your camera or equipment in the future. Don’t make your camera and equipment purchases without doing some research, and I hope you don’t take your friend or relative’s opinion in the decision process. You will feel better if you follow the above steps.
Article written by: Lanny Cottrell for 123PhotoGo