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Buying a New Camera? Keep these Details in Mind

January 29, 2015 8:00 am

When buying a first camera or updating current equipment, there are many factors involved. Everyone has their own opinion on what the best kinds of cameras, lenses, and flashes are, but ultimately, the photographer must choose what works best for them. To avoid becoming lost in the confusion of options, a great photographer follows these rules to keep everything in focus.

Great gear doesn’t equal great photography

When just starting out in photography, the best camera is the one that fits the artist’s current budget. While big names like Nikon and Canon are popular among professionals, until the craft of photography is learned, working within a budget and upgrading gear as technique improves is the best idea. Better lenses, lighting, and accessories have the ability to improve the quality of an image, but if the original image lacks good composition and execution, all the great gear in the world can’t help. The best photos are those that evoke emotional responses and the only piece of “gear” capable of capturing that is the photographer. With the ability to share images via the internet and social media, the budding photographer receives instant feedback on their work and can apply that toward improving their craft. In the right hands, even a simple camera phone can capture stunning photographs.

Function over flashy

The temptation to buy the latest and greatest gear is strong, but it’s a wasted investment the elements selected don’t suit the intended purpose. The right equipment for each photographer might not be flashy, but it will fulfill needs perfectly. When gear will be going through extremes of temperature and location, a heavy duty pro body with a wider lens is better than a lightweight camera that damages easily. For taking a high quantity of daily and weekly frames, a mid-range camera with a shutter designed for numerous frames is worth the extra investment. If the subject matter of those multiple frames is headshots, select a long fixed focal lens. However, if the subject is weddings, a selection of wide, long, and in-between lenses helps capture every nuance. Up-close, detailed subject matter benefits from the use of a macro lens.

Brand considerations

Nikon and Canon are two of the most popular camera brands and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. For a first-time photographer, the price and function are more important than the brand. A photographer who is upgrading gear has learned what their favorite brand is through experience and they usually stick with that because it’s familiar. Overall, it takes trial and error to figure out what brand of gear works best for each photographer, but important considerations include:

  • Comfort
  • Quality of warranty
  • Customer support after the sale
  • Availability of service and repairs for a particular brand

Researching resale value and reading online reviews from customers and photography publications help an artist discover if they’re paying extra just because it’s a brand name or because it’s higher quality gear.

Sensor sizes

The first-time photographer might think that more megapixels equal better quality shots, but that’s not the case. Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to megapixels and the size of sensor is extremely important. A high quantity of megapixels in a small sensor creates lower-quality images that appear grainy when zooming in on the shot. The size of the sensor helps determine the size of the camera. The sensor in a camera phone is pea-size while the sensor in a pro-level SLR camera is the size of 35mm frame of film, so keeping the intended use of the camera is necessary.

  • Primarily online image sharing – a compact camera or smart phone
  • Printing midsize images (8.5×11 inches or below) – mid-range/entry level camera
  • Billboards or large wall prints – camera with full frame sensor capable of producing raw image files 20MB and above

Camera weight and size

While someone new to photography is busy sizing up and weighing all the options, they might overlook the actual physical size and weight of the camera. Having a large heavy camera with a long lens becomes cumbersome to carry for extended periods, so a second, smaller camera is a suggested investment for more casual shots. An effective photographer transforms the camera into an extension of their body and can easily change settings without missing a shot, but it takes practice and experience to achieve.

Access more expert advice on camera selection and digital photography by contacting Baboo Digital. Ask us about the variety of ways we can help print and display your images from standard sizes to posters and wall art.