Are you planning to buy your first camera but wondering what is the best camera to buy? This post will help you in deciding on the best camera option for you.
Before starting there are 3 points I would like you to keep in mind:
First, your “best camera” is the one that best meets your needs and within your budget and not the one that is the most technologically advanced or the most expensive in the market.
Second, Almost all cameras do the same job which is capturing images and saving them on memory cards. Some camera models today have extra functions such as WIFI connectivity, face detection and so on, but these are simply extras and not essentials.
Third, technology is changing very quickly. So there is no point in buying the latest model of a certain brand to learn photography knowing that soon after a new model will be available in the market.
Now let me list what to consider before buying your “best camera”:
1. Realize what do you need the camera for.
After answering the below questions, you will have a clearer idea on what kind of camera to look for.
- What is your budget?
- What type of photography are you interested in? (portraits, sports, wildlife, landscapes, macros, etc..)
- Will you be photographing indoors, outdoors, during the day, or during the night?
- Are you interested in becoming creative and artistic in photography or you just want to save memories?
- Are you a beginner or you do have a bit of experience in photography?
- Does size matter to you?
- What are the features that you want in the camera? (optical zoom, image stabilizer, HD movie recording, changeable lenses, etc.)
2. Which camera type to choose?
There are 4 major types of digital cameras available in the market to choose from. I will go through their specifications in details in a future post, but briefly they are:
Compact Digital Cameras (Point and shoot): These cameras are compact in size and can be as small as a mobile phone if not smaller. Almost all of these cameras are fully automated with many built in shooting modes (night, portraits, beach, snow, fireworks, etc.). Their lenses are fixed, they have optical and digital zoom, and some have extras such as face detection and image stabilizer functions. An affordable model can be the Canon Power Shot SX620 for around AED700
DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflux): These cameras are bulky, heavy and more expensive than compact cameras. They can be controlled in full manual mode, their lenses are changeable and most of them have up to HD movie recording capability. DSLRs are available to all levels of photographers from entry to professionals and they allow more control and creativity. An affordable model can be the Nikon D5300 for around AED1500 (body+lens).
Advanced Digital Cameras (Bridge): I like to consider these cameras a hybrid product between compact and DSLR cameras. They are larger than the compact digital cameras but almost half the size and weight of a DSLR. They have image stabilizer function, better image quality than the compact digital cameras, optical and digital zoom, fixed lenses, and some have a place for external flashlight (hot shoe). You can be more creative with this type of cameras compared to compact cameras, but still limited when compared to DSLRs. One of the affordable models is the Canon Powershot SX430 for around AED800.
Extras? What extras?
The number on the camera’s price tag is usually the price of the camera only (in case of DSLR and mirrorless it can be the price of the body only without the lens). Below is a list of items you should consider buying with your camera. Click on every item to browse different options available in the market:
- Camera bag/ case
- Cleaning kit
- Extra batteries
- Lenses (for DSLR/ Mirrorless)
- External Flash
- Memory cards (Larger than 2 GB)
- Lens filters
Cleaning kit is needed mainly to keep your lens clean from finger prints and dust. As for memory cards, look for larger memory capacity and higher speed class (speed class 10 is best for HD movie recording).
4. More megapixels = more expensive
The reason I mentioned this point is because sales personnels tend to convince buyers to buy more expensive cameras just by mentioning that a certain camera model has more megapixels than other models. If you are printing/developing your photos for family album, then 20 MP camera is more than enough. If your plan is to develop your photos for posters or billboards then you will need to pay a bit more money to get more megapixels.
5. Online search engines are your best friends
Before you visit the store or decide on online shopping, it will be a good idea if you do your homework first. Read reviews and check feedback about different camera models from different online resources – this way you will be able to know the pros and cons of most cameras. http://www.dpreview.com/ is a great source of information about cameras and lenses.
I added different links in this blog post to make it easier for you to find the cameras, lenses and other accessories I mentioned earlier. Just click on the name of any item I mentioned and it will take you to its specific search page on Amazon.ae.
6. Head to the store and give it a try
By now you should have your focus locked on 2 or 3 camera. Go to different camera stores and try them, and see how each camera feels in your hand. After checking the different models in more than one store you should be able to decide on your “best camera” and you will know which store is giving you the best offer. Other option is try it in the story then buy it online.
What do you think?
This is my answer to the question “what is the best camera to buy?”
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