Photography How-To

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Photography How-To: Choosing a Camera

A collection questions and considerations before you buy


  Also see:  Equipment choices  |  John's Photo Galleries  |  Client feedback specific to John  |  About Us
Choosing a new camera that is a perfect fit for your type of photography can be intimidating,
but hopefully the following questions and considerations will give you the buying confidence you seek

What do you like to photograph?

  Your answer has a significant bearing on the camera you choose, as does what you ultimately do with your images. Do you shoot mostly family, pets and post to social media, or do you print and frame your images, or sell them for 'stock'.


Bearing in mind the above question, what type of camera would you like to own?
  You've most likely already had in mind either a compact camera, or a DSLR [Digital Single Lens Reflex] with interchangeable lenses. You might be considering a compact camera because of what you shoot and is lighter and more convenient. Same goes for the DSLR choice, you want such a model because you want to shoot wildlife and so on.
  Lightweight and convenient describes a compact camera [also known as ['mirror-less'], while DSLR could be a synonym for 'heavy gear'! So the drawback with the latter is weight and additional cost, while compact cameras are prone to shutter lag, have a fixed lens [non-interchangeable], and don't always come with a standard viewfinder. Would you be happy using the rear LCD screen as your viewfinder?
  Then there is that flat thing in your pocket, your phone. Does it tick all the boxes and have settings that you've become accustomed to while using a camera. The good news is that there are now many camera apps that provide the same settings as those on a camera. However, does your phone provide good quality images in low light without 'noise'. Many do not, but that may not be an issue for you depending on your choice of subjects.


Does the camera you're considering have the features you need?
  What of the following is important to you . . . . Aperture, shutter, auto or manual control?  Image stabilization?  Shooting video?  Exposure compensation?  Bracketing?  A high frame per second [fps]?  Jpeg and RAW capability?  White balance adjustment and so on?
  The good news is that these days both types of camera mentioned above have pretty much everything I've listed . . . but make a check-list to be sure!


If choosing a DSLR, will your existing lenses be compatible?
  There's a money-saver right there! However, some DSLRS have what is called a cropped sensor [known as APS-C or Advanced Photo System Type-C], and you'd have to check on whether your old lenses will fit be they standard lenses, or lenses made especially for cropped sensors.
  If you want to compare lenses before buying there is a website that compares image quality, distortion, flare and so on with graphs, rather than using what I term as 'inconclusive scenes'. Go here, and in the drop down choose which two lenses you want to compare.


Budgetary considerations
  Cost had to come up at some point, so the question is can you afford new equipment, or are you savvy enough to recognize a used bargain?
  Try before you buy is a an appropriate adage, but it's possible that you'll meet with pressure to spend more at your local store. The answer is to do your research online, and listen to what friends and family have to say on the subject. Online reviews are a good guide, but you must be able to sort the honest review from the disgruntled review.


So in conclusion I must add that having a new or expensive camera doesn't make you a better photographer!
  For sure, the right equipment will help you capture your choice of subject quickly, but providing you are familiar with the most pertinent settings. However, the main ingredient for great images is you!
  [Commercial time!] If you join us on a Travel Images photography tour we'll most certainly make you a better photographer with day-long advice covering photography's many facets, and spectrum of settings. 

Thank you for the privilege of your time.



Written and photographed by John Baker, Photographer/Guide, Travel Images Photography Tours

All images and text are strictly copyrighted by John Baker Photographer LLC/Travel Images Photography Tours, 1988-2022.

Permission in writing must be sought for any form of reproduction.


Do you have questions or comments about 'Photo How-To'?

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You're also welcome to submit images for critique, which run the risk of being used as a Photo How-To topic!


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Also see: John's Photo Galleries  |  Client feedback specific to John  |  About Us

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