For the newcomer to photography, as well as for the amateur wishing to advance their photography, buying or changing their equipment can seem very daunting.
Here I want to provide a step-by-step guide as to how you can go about making your purchases without having (too many) regrets.
1. KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS
- family or personal "snaps"
- pictures to send to social media
- photographs for photo club competitions
- images for publication
- prints for a photographic exhibition
2. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
As quality of camera and lenses rises so do their costs (though I will suggest some ways in which you can keep costs down).
Only you can decide where your financial boundaries lie in relation to the equipment that you want/need/
3. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE BUYING
Do you know the difference between a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, a mirrorless camera and a bridge camera?
You cannot make a sensible choice until you do know the differences.
4. FEEL THE CAMERAS IN YOUR HANDS
Different cameras suit different hands. When you have made a shortlist of the cameras in which you are interested, go to a camera store and feel them in your hands. Comfort in use really matters.
5. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY NEW
It is lovely to have a new camera of your own. However, there is no need to do so if a quality used camera is the only way to stay inside your budget. (See the discussion on the Blog Page.)
6. THE QUALITY OF THE LENS IS VERY IMPORTANT
When you buy a DSLR or a mirrorless camera you also need to buy a lens.
If you buy a 'kit camera' it will come with a standard zoom lens (usually having the focal lengths that you are likely use most).
However, you may well want to have an additional wide-angle lens, or more of a telephoto lens. These will cost you extra. These too can be obtained second-hand, just choose a reputable dealer and obtain a guarantee against faults and repairs.
WHAT TO BUY?
I cannot answer that question for you, but here are a few observations that may help you.
The major manufacturers (such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Fujifilm, Leica, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic) have reputations to maintain for making good cameras.
These companies (mostly) also manufacture lenses. However, independent lens makers of quality also exist; these include, Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss and Samyang.
WHICH CAMERA IS BEST?
Here are a few suggestions based on the intentions listed at the outset:
(Cameras known for their good Video Recording ability are indicated with a star (*).)
Modest need for quality - social photography
Medium quality - good prints
High quality - Exhibition Display
EOS 4000D, EOS200D
EOS80D, EOS6D, EOS7D
5d MkIV (*), EOS-1DX, R5 (*)
D 6, D610, D810, D850, Z6 (*). Z7 (*)
K-70, K-3, KP,
X-E3, X-T20, X-T30,
X-H1 (*), X-T4 (*), X-PRO2, X 100V,
A7R III, A7R IV (*), A 9 II
OM-D E-M5 MkIII, OM-D E-M1X (*),
LUMIX G9 (*), S1R (*), GH5S (*),