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A beginners guide to buying a DSLR

A beginners guide to buying a DSLR

Are you sick of your photos looking sloped and fuzzy?

I’m sure you’re an alright photographer, but there’s only so far you can go with a point and shoot.

At a recent family gathering, my mother and I were attempting to take the same photo of Christmas decorations with her point and shoot and my DSLR. It’s fair to say that the photos taken by the point and shoot looked… well… pretty crap in comparison.

It’s possible to take a good photo, or even a great photo, using a point and shoot digital camera, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to take a great photo with better equipment. You can make overexposed, washed out, and blurry photos a thing of the past by upgrading to a DSLR!


Digital Camera Comparison

Why get a DSLR?

If you want to be a decent photographer, there is no doubt that you will need a good quality camera. I originally got my DSLR to improve my product photography for my Etsy shop, but now I’ve transitioned into using it mostly for travel photography and freelance photography.

There are a number of reasons why DSLRs are a gazillion times better than point and shoot digital cameras:

  • DSLRs have higher quality sensors, which result in more detail and better contrast in your images.
  • The zoom on DSLRs are much better quality than point and shoot, which often use a digital zoom that reduces the size of the photo and causes unsharp images.
  • You can manually adjust camera settings to ensure you photos come out exactly the way you want. Especially useful for night-time shot and action shots.
  • External camera parts can be interchanged and upgraded instead of replacing the entire camera. There are countless extras such as multiple lenses, external flashes, tripods and remotes, etc.
  • A DSLR will last much longer than a point and shoot camera before it needs to be upgraded.

Best brands

One thing you might find out if you ask a few photographers is that everyone has a different opinion on what brand is better. Most will say either Canon or Nikon, so I’m going to stick with these for my recommendations.

I personally use Canon, but my choice was tied between both brands for a while before I made my decision. The tipping point for me was that the Canon felt better in my hands than the Nikon, but it’s really just a matter of personal preference!

DSLR 101: A beginners guide to getting a good camera

Camera models

You don’t have to fork out thousands of dollars for a good camera. In fact, you can spend only a few hundred dollars on a camera body and still see great results, as long as you have a good lens or two to accompany it.

The following cameras are reasonably affordable as far as DSLRs go, and are aimed at entry-level users. Beginners can easily start on auto mode on each of these models and work your way up to manual modes once you get more familiar with the camera.

Best Canon models for beginners:

Best Nikon models for beginners:

I use a Canon EOS 600D (T3i) which is now discontinued, but the newer Canon models would be even better. Nikon is a great brand too – it really doesn’t matter which brand you get, as long as you’re happy with your choice.

DSLR Camera

Things to look for:

  • Megapixels – Most models will be somewhere between 18MP and 24MP. This number isn’t really as important these days as it used to be, as a photo taken in both of these sizes will look much the same. Unless you are planning on blowing up the photo to very large sizes (such as printing on a large canvas) then it won’t make too much of a difference.
  • Video quality – if you’re interested in doing any sort of videography then I’d recommend going for a camera that captures HD (high-definition) video. Anything less than this will look crappy when played on a television screen.
  • Screen – A larger screen makes the world of difference for beginners, as you can use the display to show how your photo will appear. A swivel screen might cost a little more but I do find it useful sometimes, particularly for taking selfies but also when I’m holding the camera at a funny angle and still want to see the screen.

Choosing your model:

I’d recommend going into a camera store and seeing the functions of each camera for yourself. Compare which models feel more comfortable for you and which have the functions that you would like to use.

After you’ve made your choice, you might get a cheaper price purchasing online. I got mine for about $300 less than what they were selling for in stores. The only thing to be aware of is whether the camera comes with a warranty and accepts returns. You don’t want to be stuck with a faulty camera and not be able to replace it.

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