You have decided that you want to learn photography and that means you need to buy yourself a DLSR camera. But what exactly should you be looking for in a DSLR? Where do you start? There are so many different camera makes and models on the market that it can be quite overwhelming to know where to begin.

In this Blog Post we hope to give you some idea of what you should be taking into consideration when doing your research. And make sure you do your research, don’t just buy a DSLR on a whim. They do take time to learn how to use and the more expensive the camera, the more features they have, and the higher the learning curve.

The first thing you need to do is work out exactly what your budget is going to be. There is no point looking at the Lamborghini when you can only afford the Kia. Also don’t make the mistake of buying an expensive camera because you are going to make lots of money using it by turning it into a business. That is like buying a really expensive oven and thinking it will make you a chief. It takes time and practice to build the skill set that you need to be a great photographer. If you want to make a business out of it then you also need to learn business.

Price

There are 2 things to consider when it comes to price. That is the camera body and the individual lenses.

Camera bodies come in many different price ranges and some come packaged with a lens or a couple of lenses. You need to decide if the camera body is going to be a learning tool or if you want to spend more now so that will last you longer. There are always new and improved camera bodies hitting the market. You might find in a few years time that you want to get the latest and greatest camera body but you know that your current body does the job you need it to do because you spent extra on a really awesome camera body when you started learning. Or you might go cheaper on the camera body now and then find that it cant cope with what you want to use it for as it is limited in some way.

Lenses come in so many shapes and sizes that it can be really difficult to work out what you need until you start to understand photography in general and then play with different lenses to see what will work for you. A good all purpose zoom is a good starting point. Something like a 24-105mm lens will give you a good wide angle for landscapes but will zoom in for really lovely portraits.  You might hear the term “good glass” used in regard to a lens. It is true that not all glass is the same and the more you pay the better the lens will perform. Also consider the second hand market for lens options but purchase from camera shops as they have checked the lens and you can always return to them if the lens is faulty. If you can get it cheap enough on sites like eBay then go for it but consider the risks of buying online.

What do you want to use it for?

Are you a landscape lover? Do you travel? Do you love street photography? Do you want to photograph weddings? Do you want to be a newborn photographer? Do you want to shoot events? Are you primarily going to photograph your cats? If you know what you are going to photograph the  most then it will help you to decide what you need in a DSLR.

So let give you some answers to the examples above. Landscape photographers look for a full frame DSLR and a wide angle lens with not a lot of distortion (such as fish eye wide angles). They need to fit lots of landscape into the frame and sometimes this means needing to be able to stich photographs together down the track. A tripod is also essential. Knowing how to bracket on the DLSR is also very important.

As a travel photographer you might not want to carry lots of heavy gear. So we need to travel light and be a little inconspicuous. You don’t want to look like you are carrying thousands of dollars of equipment in your bag when you are traveling for safety reasons. A good light DSLR with a zoom that covers a variety of focal lengths might be your best bet.

Street photography is a bit like travel photography. You want to be discreet and not be obvious so that you can get some great shots. Wide angles can work well but so can longer lens options so  you need to decide if a zoom is the way to go or if you are going to develop a particular style using a particular lens.

Weddings need a variety of lens options and some additional equipment like flash. Off camera flash is a must for weddings so consider a camera that doesn’t have a built in camera. A back up camera body is also really important and weddings are a pleasure environment so make sure your camera foundation skills are solid before attempting to shoot weddings.

Newborn photographers like to get up close with their subjects and use shallow depth of field. So consider a 50mm lens with f1.4 as the aperture. This will give you lovely softness with the shallow depth of field and make people focus on exactly where you want them to look. Be careful though as sometimes you can go to shallow with the depth of field. Always make sure that eyes are in focus and not one in focus and one out of focus. Natural light is usually used so a body that can handle low light is also really great for this genera.

Event photography is often shot in low light conditions and a flash here is essential. You will also have to photograph people in a spot light and in low light so a good low light body is also important as is a zoom or variety of lens options.

Cats a quick. Fast shutter speeds and lots of focus is important. But the lens options really don’t matter to much unless you want to get in really close and do some macro images on their awesome faces. Then you might want to look at a macro 100mm lens where you can get in close and focus. If you want to photograph them by stalking them in the back yard then you might need a longer zoom and if you want to photograph big cats then you need a really long lens and a safe way to do it!!

So these examples will give you some idea of what you should be considering. Do you need close up or long lens? Wide angles or macro lenses? A flash built in or a flash off camera? Most camera bodies will come with a lens so see what is out there and make an informed choice.

Size and weight – how does it feel in your hand.

There is nothing worse than something that doesn’t fit. We all have different sized and shaped hands and some camera bodies will feel better in your hand that others. There is also quite a difference in weight. If you are traveling this weight consideration is really important. It is also important if you have shoulder or back issues. Think about how much you will be carrying the camera around and how strong your hands will need to be if you use a big heavy camera. You might need to consider using a monopod if you are using a heavy camera to help with the weight. Think about sports photographers who use the really long lens. You know the ones, they are squatting on the sidelines with the big massive lenses and get the awesome close ups of the action. They use the monopod to hold those heavy camera lenses.

So consider what will fit you. Do you have short fingers, can you reach everything easily? Do you have long fingers and feel like the camera is too small in your hand? also consider your camera bag and straps as they can really help with the OHS side of photography.

Do you already have gear that you can use?

Have you inherited some gear from someone and want to add to it? Firstly, make sure that the camera gear can be used on modern cameras. There are some amazing old lenses that will never be used again as they will simply not fit to a modern body. But some will, and you can get some really awesome results from using old well made lenses. They have some of their old cameras that are still sort after because of the particular qualities that they possess.

Leica and Nikon lenses will work from over 50 yrs ago. The other companies have some lenses that will work depending on when it was made. So it is worth considering this when looking at the camera you are about to buy.

Sensor size.

Sensor size will determine how your lens performs on your camera. A cropped sensor cuts in from the edge of the frame considerably. This effectively increases the focal length. A full frame sensor is the same size as a traditional 35mm film frame, measuring 36x24mm. the cropped sensor is 22x15m. so the main consideration here is that the focal length of your lens will change on a full frame compared to the cropped sensor.

When do you expect to upgrade?

Sounds weird thinking about upgrading when you are just about to buy a camera, but this is a really important thing to consider. Saving a bit more now to get something that will be more suitable in a few months is better than getting something now that you can afford and not being able to afford something better soon. You will get frustrated and disappointed if you rush into something that is not what you want. Learning photographic composition and lighting can be done with a phone camera or a point and shoot camera. A DSLR will give you more creative control and allow you to do things that are more than just light and composition by learning about shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

If you are prepared to save that extra cash to get exactly what you need then you know you are keen. This is not just a passing phase. This is something that you really want to learn. You are more likely to be successful if you do your research and make the right choices early on. Now this is not to say that you should get something expensive, but your original budget might not be able to get you what you want. Photography is a hobby that is not cheap and there will always be another lens or gadget that you will want to buy so be prepared to invest in your new love.

The bells and whistles.

OMG I just love what is coming in the top of the range cameras. Now these are more than just nice to have things. These are really useful.

Bluetooth and wifi connection. This is amazing. You can download via an app from your DSLR to your mobile device like an ipad or iphone. You can also use this for others to be able to instantly see what you have shot. How amazing. If you want to be able to upload for social media you can now do this quickly and easily and for a photographer on the go, this is just brilliant.

GPS. Can’t remember the location of that shot, then you can look it up with inbuilt GPS. This is wonderful for travel photographers who often wander around and sometimes get a little lost. They can easily locate on a map where a shot was taken. Or where a shoot was shot. Great addition.

Video. DSLR’s are now regularly used as video cameras. Their quality is just amazing and there are all the abilities DSLR’s use for still shots that you can use for video like shallow depth of field and different focal lengths for example.

low light capabilities. Not all DSLR’s have great low light capabilities. If you need to shoot in darker locations, then you need to address this. If you don’t have good low light capabilities you will get what is known as noise in your images. It looks grainy and can have lots of different colours speckled in the dark areas of the image. Its is difficult to edit out if not imposable.

Community

Your final decision is all about community. I have seen the communities built by both Nikon and Canon in Australia and both are awesome. They have Facebook groups, events, and product release specials that are fabulous. A great way to meet like minded people and learn from each other. Photography can be a very lonely hobby if you don’t get involved in some kind of group. Also consider your local camera clubs. A great place to make new friends and get help when you are learning.

And finally, when learning photography, you need to get as much right in camera as possible but be prepared to learn Lightroom. This program is an industry standard and can take ordinary looking images and process them to a very high standard. Raw files need some kind of processing. In the good old film days we had a lab that could process, enhance, and print our photos. Now we need to be able to sort, store, export in different sizes, sharpen, crop, straighten, and do all sorts of editing. Take your time to learn both the camera skills and the basics of editing. Understanding the foundations of both will make it easier in the long run to really create magic.

You have decided that you want to learn photography and that means you need to buy yourself a DLSR camera. But what exactly should you be looking for in a DSLR? Where do you start? There are so many different camera makes and models on the market that it can be quite overwhelming to know where to begin.

In this Blog Post we hope to give you some idea of what you should be taking into consideration when doing your research. And make sure you do your research, don’t just buy a DSLR on a whim. They do take time to learn how to use and the more expensive the camera, the more features they have, and the higher the learning curve.

The first thing you need to do is work out exactly what your budget is going to be. There is no point looking at the Lamborghini when you can only afford the Kia. Also don’t make the mistake of buying an expensive camera because you are going to make lots of money using it by turning it into a business. That is like buying a really expensive oven and thinking it will make you a chief. It takes time and practice to build the skill set that you need to be a great photographer. If you want to make a business out of it then you also need to learn business.

Price

There are 2 things to consider when it comes to price. That is the camera body and the individual lenses.

Camera bodies come in many different price ranges and some come packaged with a lens or a couple of lenses. You need to decide if the camera body is going to be a learning tool or if you want to spend more now so that will last you longer. There are always new and improved camera bodies hitting the market. You might find in a few years time that you want to get the latest and greatest camera body but you know that your current body does the job you need it to do because you spent extra on a really awesome camera body when you started learning. Or you might go cheaper on the camera body now and then find that it cant cope with what you want to use it for as it is limited in some way.

Lenses come in so many shapes and sizes that it can be really difficult to work out what you need until you start to understand photography in general and then play with different lenses to see what will work for you. A good all purpose zoom is a good starting point. Something like a 24-105mm lens will give you a good wide angle for landscapes but will zoom in for really lovely portraits.  You might hear the term “good glass” used in regard to a lens. It is true that not all glass is the same and the more you pay the better the lens will perform. Also consider the second hand market for lens options but purchase from camera shops as they have checked the lens and you can always return to them if the lens is faulty. If you can get it cheap enough on sites like eBay then go for it but consider the risks of buying online.

What do you want to use it for?

Are you a landscape lover? Do you travel? Do you love street photography? Do you want to photograph weddings? Do you want to be a newborn photographer? Do you want to shoot events? Are you primarily going to photograph your cats? If you know what you are going to photograph the  most then it will help you to decide what you need in a DSLR.

So let give you some answers to the examples above. Landscape photographers look for a full frame DSLR and a wide angle lens with not a lot of distortion (such as fish eye wide angles). They need to fit lots of landscape into the frame and sometimes this means needing to be able to stich photographs together down the track. A tripod is also essential. Knowing how to bracket on the DLSR is also very important.

As a travel photographer you might not want to carry lots of heavy gear. So we need to travel light and be a little inconspicuous. You don’t want to look like you are carrying thousands of dollars of equipment in your bag when you are traveling for safety reasons. A good light DSLR with a zoom that covers a variety of focal lengths might be your best bet.

Street photography is a bit like travel photography. You want to be discreet and not be obvious so that you can get some great shots. Wide angles can work well but so can longer lens options so  you need to decide if a zoom is the way to go or if you are going to develop a particular style using a particular lens.

Weddings need a variety of lens options and some additional equipment like flash. Off camera flash is a must for weddings so consider a camera that doesn’t have a built in camera. A back up camera body is also really important and weddings are a pleasure environment so make sure your camera foundation skills are solid before attempting to shoot weddings.

Newborn photographers like to get up close with their subjects and use shallow depth of field. So consider a 50mm lens with f1.4 as the aperture. This will give you lovely softness with the shallow depth of field and make people focus on exactly where you want them to look. Be careful though as sometimes you can go to shallow with the depth of field. Always make sure that eyes are in focus and not one in focus and one out of focus. Natural light is usually used so a body that can handle low light is also really great for this genera.

Event photography is often shot in low light conditions and a flash here is essential. You will also have to photograph people in a spot light and in low light so a good low light body is also important as is a zoom or variety of lens options.

Cats a quick. Fast shutter speeds and lots of focus is important. But the lens options really don’t matter to much unless you want to get in really close and do some macro images on their awesome faces. Then you might want to look at a macro 100mm lens where you can get in close and focus. If you want to photograph them by stalking them in the back yard then you might need a longer zoom and if you want to photograph big cats then you need a really long lens and a safe way to do it!!

So these examples will give you some idea of what you should be considering. Do you need close up or long lens? Wide angles or macro lenses? A flash built in or a flash off camera? Most camera bodies will come with a lens so see what is out there and make an informed choice.

Size and weight – how does it feel in your hand.

There is nothing worse than something that doesn’t fit. We all have different sized and shaped hands and some camera bodies will feel better in your hand that others. There is also quite a difference in weight. If you are traveling this weight consideration is really important. It is also important if you have shoulder or back issues. Think about how much you will be carrying the camera around and how strong your hands will need to be if you use a big heavy camera. You might need to consider using a monopod if you are using a heavy camera to help with the weight. Think about sports photographers who use the really long lens. You know the ones, they are squatting on the sidelines with the big massive lenses and get the awesome close ups of the action. They use the monopod to hold those heavy camera lenses.

So consider what will fit you. Do you have short fingers, can you reach everything easily? Do you have long fingers and feel like the camera is too small in your hand? also consider your camera bag and straps as they can really help with the OHS side of photography.

Do you already have gear that you can use?

Have you inherited some gear from someone and want to add to it? Firstly, make sure that the camera gear can be used on modern cameras. There are some amazing old lenses that will never be used again as they will simply not fit to a modern body. But some will, and you can get some really awesome results from using old well made lenses. They have some of their old cameras that are still sort after because of the particular qualities that they possess.

Leica and Nikon lenses will work from over 50 yrs ago. The other companies have some lenses that will work depending on when it was made. So it is worth considering this when looking at the camera you are about to buy.

Sensor size.

Sensor size will determine how your lens performs on your camera. A cropped sensor cuts in from the edge of the frame considerably. This effectively increases the focal length. A full frame sensor is the same size as a traditional 35mm film frame, measuring 36x24mm. the cropped sensor is 22x15m. so the main consideration here is that the focal length of your lens will change on a full frame compared to the cropped sensor.

When do you expect to upgrade?

Sounds weird thinking about upgrading when you are just about to buy a camera, but this is a really important thing to consider. Saving a bit more now to get something that will be more suitable in a few months is better than getting something now that you can afford and not being able to afford something better soon. You will get frustrated and disappointed if you rush into something that is not what you want. Learning photographic composition and lighting can be done with a phone camera or a point and shoot camera. A DSLR will give you more creative control and allow you to do things that are more than just light and composition by learning about shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

If you are prepared to save that extra cash to get exactly what you need then you know you are keen. This is not just a passing phase. This is something that you really want to learn. You are more likely to be successful if you do your research and make the right choices early on. Now this is not to say that you should get something expensive, but your original budget might not be able to get you what you want. Photography is a hobby that is not cheap and there will always be another lens or gadget that you will want to buy so be prepared to invest in your new love.

The bells and whistles.

OMG I just love what is coming in the top of the range cameras. Now these are more than just nice to have things. These are really useful.

Bluetooth and wifi connection. This is amazing. You can download via an app from your DSLR to your mobile device like an ipad or iphone. You can also use this for others to be able to instantly see what you have shot. How amazing. If you want to be able to upload for social media you can now do this quickly and easily and for a photographer on the go, this is just brilliant.

GPS. Can’t remember the location of that shot, then you can look it up with inbuilt GPS. This is wonderful for travel photographers who often wander around and sometimes get a little lost. They can easily locate on a map where a shot was taken. Or where a shoot was shot. Great addition.

Video. DSLR’s are now regularly used as video cameras. Their quality is just amazing and there are all the abilities DSLR’s use for still shots that you can use for video like shallow depth of field and different focal lengths for example.

low light capabilities. Not all DSLR’s have great low light capabilities. If you need to shoot in darker locations, then you need to address this. If you don’t have good low light capabilities you will get what is known as noise in your images. It looks grainy and can have lots of different colours speckled in the dark areas of the image. Its is difficult to edit out if not imposable.

Community

Your final decision is all about community. I have seen the communities built by both Nikon and Canon in Australia and both are awesome. They have Facebook groups, events, and product release specials that are fabulous. A great way to meet like minded people and learn from each other. Photography can be a very lonely hobby if you don’t get involved in some kind of group. Also consider your local camera clubs. A great place to make new friends and get help when you are learning.

And finally, when learning photography, you need to get as much right in camera as possible but be prepared to learn Lightroom. This program is an industry standard and can take ordinary looking images and process them to a very high standard. Raw files need some kind of processing. In the good old film days we had a lab that could process, enhance, and print our photos. Now we need to be able to sort, store, export in different sizes, sharpen, crop, straighten, and do all sorts of editing. Take your time to learn both the camera skills and the basics of editing. Understanding the foundations of both will make it easier in the long run to really create magic.