When it comes to photography, which one applies to you?
Beginner
Hobbyist

Correct!

Wrong!

Which one of these are you looking for?
Camera and lens
Camera body only

Correct!

Wrong!

What kind of photos will you mostly take?
Portrait
Landscape
Macro
Low light
Fast moving subjects
A variety of photos

Correct!

Wrong!

Will you use it to record video?
Yes
I need to record in 4K
No

Correct!

Wrong!

Do you want to wirelessly transfer pictures from the camera to your smartphone or laptop?
Yes, I want that feature
No, I do not need that

Correct!

Wrong!

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How to choose a DSLR camera

If you’re on the lookout for a new DSLR camera or you have never owned one before and finally want to take the plunge into the fantastic world of DSLR photography,  Look no further.

It’s easy however, to get lost in all the technical specification and what they mean for newcomers. So in this guide we will answer some questions you might have before you make your purchasing decision so you’ll end up with a camera that you love.

Try out camera finder at the top of the page for easy guidance to the best camera for you.

How much to spend on your camera

Let’s start by talking about price first. As with any other hobby product, you should start with the most basic model that has the feature you want. There is no reason to buy an expensive DSLR camera, use it for a few weeks and then let it collect dust on a shelf for months only to use it occasionally. You start at the bottom and work your way up if you really enjoy photography.

With that being said, even the most basic cameras will get you good photos. You might not even upgrade the main camera body, just your lens. We’re going to talk about lenses a bit later.

Buying a camera kit or just camera body

Cameras are sold in two types; just the body of the camera, and a camera kit which comes with lenses, SD cards for storage and other things you need to get started right away. If this is your first DSLR camera, then going for the package deal is probably the best option for you.

The downside of purchasing the camera kit is that you might not get the lenses you might want for your new camera. Or if you already own lenses they might not work with that type of camera brand.

What will you mostly photograph?

Asking yourself this question can help you determine what type of camera and lenses are best for you. There is many different photography styles:

  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Macro (extreme close-up)
  • Moving subjects
  • Low lighting

Or you might want to photograph a wide range of things.

Why this is important is because a normal 50mm lens is great for taking portrait shots, but not that great for macro photos.

As we talked about in the first point, the best way is to start with a basic camera and a basic lens, perhaps a zoom lens, and then buy new lenses as you get better.

Lenses

That brings us to the next point, lenses.

Maybe you thought you could buy any type of lens and put it on your camera? Sadly this is wrong. Canon lenses have a certain lens mount which makes them fit Canon cameras. Likewise, Nikon cameras only fit Nikon lenses.

There is a way to go around this problem, and that is a buy a lens adapter which will make your Canon lenses fit your Nikon camera, and vice versa.

Something you might have noticed is that lenses have a certain number attached to it, ex. 25mm, 50mm, 100mm and so on. This is called focal length. There are two types of lenses, prime lenses and zoom lenses.

Zoom lenses, as you probably know, can go from a low focal length (ex. 17mm), to a higher focal length (ex. 85mm). This gives you greater flexibility to frame your shot as you don’t have to swap lenses, you can simply zoom in or out.

Prime lenses have a fixed focal length can only shoot at that specific focal length (ex. 50mm). You would either have to move closer or move back to get the perfect framed photo.

You might ask “why would I every want a prime lens when I can get a zoom lens which is much more versatile?” The answer to that is prime lenses are smaller in size, weigh less, and also has a larger aperture which lets it take in more light. Making them better in low light conditions.

Starting out, you might want to go for a zoom lens as it is troublesome to continuously change lenses. Also having a set of prime lenses will also cost you more money.

Camera features

Trying to read up on every feature of a modern DSLR camera can be time consuming, so let’s go through some of the more common features found on a DSLR camera today.

Wi-Fi connectivity: This is useful to transfer all your files wirelessly to your computer. Some also lets you share photos directly on social media platforms.

Shutter speed: Essentially how fast the camera can take a photo. A higher shutter speed is prefered if you are into sport or action photography.

ISO: Tells you how good the camera is in low light conditions. A higher ISO means you can take pictures in darker areas. Although it might sound good, a higher ISO will most likely give your pictures some visible grain.

Automatic mode: Setting your camera to this mode will let you use it as a simple point-and-shoot camera.

Manual mode: Using this setting will let you control things such as exposure, white balance, and much more. Only recommended for more knowledgeable photographers.

Aperture: Technically, this is more of a lens feature. It is the opening or closing of the lens to control the amount of light entering the camera. A wide aperture will give you a shallow depth of field, meaning the object in focus will be clear while background will be slightly blurry.

Camera accessories

When you have decided which camera is the best for you, you might think about any accessories for the camera to make your photographic experience even greater. Let’s look at some common camera accessories.

Tripod: Not a necessity but definitely a useful thing, especially when taking low-light photos which requires the camera to be steady. If you’re trying to do this handheld, you end up with blurry pictures. Reason being that the shutter needs to close slower to be able to get the right amount of light it needs for the exposure.

Flash: Most entry-level cameras and hobbyist cameras comes with built-in flash. However, sometimes you might want a more powerful flash.

SD cards: Always useful to have a spare SD card laying around for when your current card gets full. You don’t always want to go through and delete pictures you’ve already taken.

Camera bag: If you got a set of prime lenses you want to carry with you or you just have a lot of accessories, a camera bag will easily fit you camera and other gear in it.

Lens filters: Filter for your lenses can be for protection but also give you some interesting effects. UV filter is one of the more common filters.