Which brand of camera should I buy?
Deciding which brand of camera to buy can be a bit of a nightmare for beginners: Cannon are better at this, Nikon at that and so forth.
Ask the internet and you’re not going to get much more sense; one guy spouting technical data about how this lens has less chromatic aberration while that body shoots more frames a second.
the point I’m trying to make is that a camera’s nothing more than a tool… for capturing images
The Right tool
So what do you do? Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a device capable of capturing images. Think of it like this: if I asked you to dig a hole, would you really care who made the shovel? No! OK, cameras are a ‘little’ bit more expensive and have many more features; the point I’m trying to make is that a camera’s nothing more than a tool… for capturing images.
You might still be left wondering what the hell to go for, so I’ll run you through a few factors you should be basing your decision on.
1. Mate’s Rates – do you have any friends or family who shoot photos? If you do, matching their brand might be a good choice – just don’t be tempted to buy the model up.
If you’re close acquaintances with of another photographer, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to lend you a lens – even if just to see how it performs before you buy. Or you could always buy different models and swap. But even if you’re just getting reliable advice on how to use the equipment, it’s always a bonus to have someone ‘in the know’ on speed dial.
2. Budget – unless you are very, very lucky and can just go and buy some pro-level kit to learn with, you’ll have a budget. If you do have a limitless budget, stop reading now and go speak to your local camera store… they’ll be more than happy to ‘advise’ you on which to buy.
Set a budget and stick to it. But remember you might need more than just a camera. There are some good camera/lens kits on the market if you’re just starting out and you can easily sell, or keep them as a back up as you advance.
3. Grey imports – there are a number of sites that sell imported equipment. In my experience they are pretty cheap and reliable. I’m not affiliated, but take a look at Digital Rev, who also have a really entertaining YouTube Channel.
When it comes to the classic online vs in-store debate… the choice is yours (I interchange). You can’t beat a face-to-face conversation and the help a shop will give (especially as a beginner), but online’s a lot cheaper. That’s if you have a local camera shop these days.
4. Usability – you’d expect to test drive a car before buying it, right? Try and hold your choice of cameras before you buy – even if you have to go to a camera show. Trying in a shop and buying online isn’t really ‘on’, so I couldn’t possibly recommend that.
How does it feel to operate and is the interface easy to use? You’ll get used to most brands and their ‘ways’, but you’ll probably find you prefer some over others and that will drive your buying decision.
5. Love – ultimately, you want to own something that inspires you to go out and shoot. And if that means squeezing the budget, so-be-it.
If you have a few thousand spare and want to invest in a camera then do it – there’s nothing stronger than inclination when it comes to improving and taking some wonderful shots.
Image credit: Peng Hui Cheng