9 Things to Consider When Purchasing A Camera

In an age dominated by social media and visual storytelling, a digital camera has become essential for capturing everyday life and unleashing your creativity. Many digital camera options are available, from the iPhone you carry around in your pocket to DSLRs and new mirrorless varieties. So how do you know which one is right for you? There are several factors to consider when deciding which camera is the best option for you. This week’s article outlines 9 things to consider when purchasing a camera.

1- Determine Your Budget: Before embarking on your camera-buying journey, it’s crucial to establish a budget. Digital cameras vary in price, from budget-friendly options to professional-grade equipment. By defining your budget upfront, you can narrow down your options and focus on cameras within your price range. Remember to allocate funds for essential accessories such as lenses, memory cards, and additional batteries.

2- Identify how you want to use your camera: Are you a mom that wants to take better pictures of your kids? Or are you taking a dream vacation and want to get great pictures of all the scenery? Understanding how you want to use your camera will help you determine what kind of equipment you need. For example, if you want to focus on taking portraits, the lenses are very different than if you want to take pictures of landscapes. Understanding what type of images you want to photograph is really the first step in choosing the right camera equipment.

3- Determine how you want your images to look: Do you like a crisp, clean image? Or do you like an image that is softer- with your subject in focus and a nice blur (bokeh) around the subject? Look through different images and determine what you want your images to look like before you invest. A lens that shoots a perfectly crisp image will be very different than one that produces a soft image. A lens to photograph the night sky is going to be very different than one that takes portraits. Considering what your subject is going to be and how you want that image to look will define what equipment will be the best for you in the long run.

4- Be honest with yourself about what you are willing to take on: How many times have you made a purchase and just knew you would use an item only to find the same item in the back of your closet 6 months later with a pile of dust on it. We have ALL done that. So be honest with yourself about what you are willing to take on when purchasing your new camera. Does a camera with a ton of dials and buttons intimidate you? Do you want a camera that you can just take out of your purse and use without having to think? Be honest with yourself about how often and for what reasons you want a digital camera. If you find a camera intimidating, chances are you won’t use it. You will go back to using your IPhone and that expensive, beautiful piece of equipment will be left untouched. Don’t make a purchase based on “a deal” or get sucked into marketing tactics that make you think you want something you really don’t. Hold strong and keep to what you really think you can invest your time into, because it’s not just money you spend on a new camera, it’s time to learn to use it as well.

5- Understand where you are at and where you want to go: Understanding where you want to grow in your photography journey will also be a factor in your new camera purchase. Are you thinking about a career in photography? Do you want a camera that will grow as you grow your skill? Are you looking for a simple step up from your iPhone? Thinking about your long-term goals when buying a new camera will make sure your equipment grows with your interests.

6- Do your research: After you’ve determined what you want in a camera, do the research about what camera and lenses would suit you best. There are several good websites that will give you ratings on different digital cameras to help narrow your search and filter by the options you are looking for. Going into a camera shop and talking to a pro is also very helpful. When you are doing your research be an open book to listen and learn. A camera is an investment, so take your time, ask around, and do some research before you commit.

7- Rent before you buy: There are several amazing vendors and websites that allow you to rent cameras and lenses before you buy. Before you dive into that $2000 camera and $800 lens, go to Borrow Lenses and test drive your new equipment before you leap for that final investment.

8- Be careful buying package deals: Yes, be careful. So many camera vendors package camera bodies and lenses into kits to sell more but these are not necessarily the items you want. If you have done your due diligence, you will understand what you are really looking for, so don’t get pushed into buying a kit. Pay for camera bodies and lenses that you know are right for your needs- not just because they come in a pretty box and are a “deal”.

9- Talk to a photographer or mentor if you have questions: Camera equipment can be overwhelming. I am sure reading through this, you have a ton of questions like “How do I set my camera to get my pictures to look the way I want them?” Or “How do I know what lenses give me the look I want?” The answer is to ask. Take talk to a photographer- the only way you are going to learn and get the results you want out of your camera is to ask and practice using it. Just buying a camera and strapping on a lens isn’t going to get you as far as you want to go. So get out there and use your camera, ask questions, read books, and good luck on your journey.

We hope this article on 9 things to consider when purchasing a camera has been helpful. If you are interested in learning how to use your camera? Join us for our Group Learning classes where we will go over the basics of how a camera works and how to get great images. We look forward to seeing you in class!

woman looking through a Nikon camera

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