One of the more stressful moments involving digital photography, is choosing the digital camera. Taking a trip to your local favorite camera store, or even surfing the thousands of merchants online, can be an experience which most of us would have avoided if we knew what we knew now.
Every month, in the beginning and at the end of the month (don't ask me why), I receive a good number of emails pertaining to a future camera purchase. Which camera should I get? Should I pay more than $xxx.xx? Is Store A better than Store B? These are good questions. And I would be asking them myself. Which is why I'm writing this article.
For those who are in the process of choosing a digital camera, this article is for you.
For Every Camera, There Is A Reason
I can't tell you how many times I've read about camera owners who end up changing their perspectives on photography once they own a digital camera for about 6 months. Most of this change of perspective has to do with the reason they purchased their camera in the first place. This is where I ask you, my inquiring reader, to be honest with yourself. At this point in the digital game, you don't want to lie to yourself about the reasons for purchasing a digital camera. Trust me when I tell you that down the road, the real reason will pop up and will divert and distract you. So, one of my first questions to you is, What Are Your Plans?
What Are Your Plans
I almost always ask my digital inquiring minds what their plans are with digital photography in general before I even get into the details of the camera itself. And by this I mean, are you going to be paid for your photography? Do you know you will be paid for your photography? Do you plan on getting paid for your photography? Do you intend to shoot professionally? Are you looking for something to take a few pics of the kids, cats, and dogs on the weekends? Do you have a local church or community organization which will more than likely be requiring your services in the near future? Do you like going on hikes and taking pictures of the wildlife? Do you prefer taking images of plants versus wildlife? Do you like taking pictures of birds? Will you be taking pictures of the local high school's sports events?
If you don't know exactly what your plans are, or your intentions, this is fine. In fact, I've observed many camera purchases end up taking the owner on many exciting adventures, which end up becoming a paid hobby or even a professional form of recognition. However, you should have some sort of idea. As I stated above, you and I know there's a reason why you want to purchase a digital camera. It's just a matter of realizing it.
Don't Forget About Acce$$orie$
When purchasing a camera, accessories need to be taken into account as well. There's a reason why I replaced dollar figures with the letters. Lenses, batteries, filters, camera bags, lens bags, camera/lens cleaner, media cards, tripods, flash units, storage devices, larger monitor, faster computer (for processing images), and the list goes on. Your "camera purchase" could easily end up doubling (maybe even tripling) by the time you actually get the camera. Be sure you research the available accessories for the camera and get some notion of the costs involved. My advice is to get an idea of what you will be doing with the camera, when you get it. This goes back to realizing the plans and reasons of your photography purchase.
Ok, I Realized And Recognized My Plans--Now What
Now it's time to look for a camera which will fit into your shooting style. Many of the cameras today are "multi-purpose", so you can get away with not spending a small fortune. At this point, if you're going to only take pictures occasionally, and it's just an experiment into the realm of digital photography in general, I suggest you will not need a DSLR, and will probably want to purchase a "DSLR-Type" camera. The price range should be anything under $400. What I mean by "DSLR-Type", is the camera has most of the features of a DSLR, but does not quite fit in the category. With a "DSLR-Type" camera, you reduce your expenses mostly in the lens accessories department. Most DSLR-Type cameras have a zoom range which has a focal range of 35mm-350mm. This is more than enough for the average photographer. This could save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars, depending on your focal length requirements.
In the next part of For Every Camera, There Is A Reason, we will take a look at the purchasing process itself, and how to make sure you don't spend more money than what your particular dedication is worth.