Buying a first DLSR camera can be a difficult and daunting experience, and this is the case whether you are totally new to the world of photography or have been shooting point and shoot, mirrorless cameras or film cameras for years. Yep, buying your first DSLR camera isn’t a decision you should take lightly as making the wrong choice is going to end up being a very expensive mistake.
All the major camera manufacturers, i.e. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus etc. have entry level DSLR cameras aimed at newbies, so there is no shortage of choice. The large choice may seem like a good thing, however the more entry level DSLR cameras there are, the more options there are to consider and compare, and the bigger the Headache.
First off all of the entry level DSLR cameras are much of a muchness, and there is very little between them. All of the manufacturers state there entry level DSLR camera has this or that, and is therefore better than the competition, however you need to take this with a pinch of salt. At the end of the day, despite what the manufacturers may claim, all of the entry level DSLR cameras are built to the same standards, have the same image quality and have the same features. Yep, there is very little between them and all of the entry level models are equally as impressive and produce images of similar quality.
Bearing in mind all entry level DSLR cameras are basically the same and there is little between them buying you have to ask the question “why is buying your first DSLR so difficult?” When buying your first DSLR camera there are some things you need to consider…..
The type of subjects you will be using the camera for
It is worth remembering that different subjects require different lenses, and you may need a specialist lens (such as a macro lens, a superzoom lens or fisheye lens) to get the types of shot you want. If the type of photography you want to pursue needs a specific lens you need to make sure you can get that lens (either from the camera manufacturer or one of the third party lens manufacturers) for the camera you are potentially going to buy.
This may seem like an obvious point but I have a friend who jumped in and bought his first DSLR camera without thinking about it and he ended up with one that couldn’t take full circular fisheye photos because of the crop factor. There was a fisheye lens available for the DSLR camera he bought but circular images weren’t possible.
The type of camera you will replace your entry level DSLR with in the future
There will come a time when you outgrow your entry level DLSR camera and want the next model up to take your photography skills further. Many people say that this will never happen to them and that once they have bought their entry level DSLR camera that’s it. I have heard this many times and I never believe it. In fact, when I bought my entry level DSLR camera I too said that would be enough for me, however I wanted, and needed, the next model up as my photography skills and techniques improved.
Before buying your first DSLR camera you need to take a look and see what each manufacturer offers in the next model up. Let’s put this in to perspective using an example, as follows:- If you like the look of the Nikon entry level DSLR but prefer the Canon prosumer model over the Nikon prosumer model you don’t want to go and invest in the Nikon entry level DSLR and Nikon lenses/flash equipment etc. because it won’t work with a Canon.
I would suggest buying your first DSLR based on the brand of the DSLR you are going to upgrade to. If, the entry levels DSLR is going to be the end of the road, and you are definitely not going to upgrade in the future you should obviously base your purchase on the entry level DSLR.
The biggest piece of advice I can give in helping you choose your first DSLR camera is to go and physically see them. You can read reviews about each of the entry level DSLR cameras until you are blue in the face; you can look at Youtube video tutorials about each camera for a year and a day; and you can ask what other photographers think on every photography forum on the net but you will find out more by going to your local camera shop and seeing each camera.
You need to see each of the entry level DSLR cameras in the flesh, you need to touch and feel each of the camera’s, you need to have a play with each one and see how the menu works and if you like and can use the interface and you need to take a few test shots with each to make sure you are happy with the image quality. The best entry level DSLR camera for you will feel “right” when you hold it. It will feel comfortable and will fit right.
When I bought my entry level DSLR camera my mind was almost made up on a Nikon, however after holding the Canon, taking a few test shots with the Canon and having a play with the Canon I was convinced Canon was the brand for me. I should point out that I was in the fortunate position whereby Canon and Nikon prosumer DSLR cameras were basically the same, and I could happily own each one, so Nikon or Canon would have suited me. The Olympus, Sony and Pentax entry level DSLR cameras were not suitable because the prosumer models did nothing for me. It’s a shame because the Olympus entry level DSLR was a really nice camera, and would have been a serious contender.
So there we have it, a mini guide to buying your first DSLR camera. Personally I would suggest you forget about researching the cameras because there are only a few to choose from, and I would also dismiss the reviews. Instead, head down to your local camera shop and have a play with each of the models. Whilst you’re there check out the prosumer models too, as well as the lenses and other equipment you can buy for each brand of camera.
Whatever entry level DSLR camera you choose to buy there is one thing I can guarantee, and that is that you won’t be disappointed with anyone of them.
Entry level DSLR cameras
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.