Every year when the calendar moves from August to September, I can pretty much bet on receiving an email that goes something like this:
I’m getting a camera for Christmas – yay! I don’t want the fanciest, best camera out there… I simply want a camera that will give me good results when capturing moments of the kiddos. In your opinion, what is the best option? I’m thinking about a Canon Rebel. I am such a novice, so please forgive my ignorance!
This is a real email I received from one of our clients. So rest assured… if you feel overwhelmed about the options on the market, know that you are not the only one!
What Not To Do
When you are considering the purchase of a digital camera, there are a few things to keep in mind. Below are some common mistakes to avoid when starting your process.
1) Do not try to become an expert on every camera.
You can literally spend months reading camera reviews, and be no closer to making a decision about which camera is right for you. By the time you finish reading all of those reviews, a new camera will be hitting the market. The technology just moves too fast. Pick a camera, and jump in. Learn by doing, not by reading.
2) Do not get hung up on technical details.
If you are willing to spend around $500, you are ready to jump in. Just narrow down the choices based on what is available on the market, and go for it! The sooner you get a camera in your hands, the sooner you can actually start figuring out what you are doing!
3) Don’t read too many reviews.
Go with your gut. There is an opinion for everything on the market. One person will say its the best camera you can buy. Another person will say its the worst camera you can buy. Just go with what feels right. If you hate the camera after you figure out what you are doing, sell it, and buy a new one!
Some Ideas for Getting It Right
1) Narrow it down.
When I teach my Digital Photography 101 students the basics of manual exposure, we talk about eliminating choices. Buying a camera works the same way. So why not go ahead and eliminate Olympus, Sony, and Fuji from your list right now? Stick to the major players: Canon & Nikon. Narrowing down your choices allows you to focus your efforts.
2) Skip straight to the D-SLR.
You’ll find that jumping over the Point & Shoot models will allow you to develop your photography skills much faster. I recommend jumping straight to a D-SLR. If you aren’t sure what is available on the market, don’t start at Best Buy or Office Depot – go straight to the source. Canon & Nikon both have easy to read lists on their website:
Canon D-SLR Camera Bodies
Nikon D-SLR Camera Bodies
3) Read a review.
Once you set a budget, the choices become clear. To spend less than $800, you only have a few options. Narrow it down by reading a review. DP Review has been doing it better and longer than anyone on the Internet. Check out their recent review of the Canon 60D:
4) Buy from a reputable source.
We always recommend B&H Photo Video for anything to do with cameras. They are reputable, and truly the best supplier in the country. But their are deals to be had! Amazon, Adorama, and Best Buy can all offer great deals, so be sure to shop around. And if you want to try the camera first before jumping in, you can always rent it from www.BorrowLenses.com.
I hope this helps! If you have any questions as you prepare to take the leap this holiday season, feel free to send your questions in!