Tips for Beginners: How to Choose your First Camera for Serious Photography

By Ana Margarita Olar |

Choosing your first camera may be stressful because of many specs and features and the budgetary constraints. So here are some tips to consider in buying your first camera:

Consider available budget.

First and foremost, you should set a specific budget before you hunt for the camera. Considering the price range of most cameras today, have a list of your prospect camera that suits your budget. Also, be realistic about the fact that you won’t get each and every best feature in a single camera.

Prioritize the features that you need.

After listing the camera that suits your budget, make another list of the important features that you need to get from your camera. You might not get every feature that you want. But you can get the features that you need.

Expertise and familiarity.

Consider if you are a novice or an expert. If you’re a newbie, you might want to get some help from an expert. It will be helpful for your mentor to teach you tips and tricks on handling your camera if you have something of the same brand. As a novice, you have a lot to know about shooting techniques and technical aspects. So it will be more convenient if you have a camera similar to what your trainer has.

This tip is in connection with prioritizing the camera features that you needed more than other features. What is your passion? What type of photography do you want to specialize into? Photo Journalism? Sports photography? Wildlife?  Events? Nature? When you are clear about your goal then you can prioritize which features you needed the most. Don’t stress yourself and your budget trying to get all the features in one camera.

Ditch the megapixel myth.

Keep in mind that a high megapixel does not equate with high-quality pictures. There are many factors such as the techniques that you use, the angle which you’re taking from, lighting, camera lens and other that affects the image quality. Also, you must consider the print size that you always use. For example, a 3-megapixel camera is excellent for a 4×6 prints.

Limit your search to one or two models.

Once you have chosen two models that best suit your budget, your needed features, your goals, and passion, then start looking around to find the best price.

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Basic types of cameras to Consider

Point and Shoot cameras- very portable and fully automated cameras but the image quality is the same as what you’d get from your smartphone.

  • Phone Cameras- especially smartphone cameras have decent features. There are phone cameras with massive resolution as a way of making up with a lack of optical zoom. These cameras have sophisticated soft wares. Images captured from phone cameras can be easily shared on you online portfolio, providing your potential clients with the freshest images. But, its tiny image sensors tend to produce digital rain in low light images and most do not have optical zoom.
  • Bridge Cameras- Has Superzoom lenses to enable you to capture everything from wide landscapes to close-up of players down on the field. It has both automatic and manual control and tilt out LCDs to shoot difficult angles. But, the negative part is that it has a small image sensor and its built-in lenses don’t produce images as refined as with DSLR.
  • Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR).These cameras are the most famous when it comes to image quality. It uses a mirror and prism-based system that lets photographers see the exact image through the lens. It has fast shooting capabilities so it is suited for action photography such as involving sports. Though, it is more complicated, bulkier than point and shoot cameras.
  • Mirrorless Cameras.Also known as compact system camera, this is designed to combine the portability of a point and shoot cameras and the sharper quality images produced by the SLR camera. But, it has limited lens option and slower than the SLR cameras.