Purchasing a quality camera is a process filled with exciting possibilities. Choosing the right camera can be as difficult as choosing which college to attend; each option holds a different future for you and your images. The goal shouldn’t be to find the best camera, but rather to find the right camera for you and your needs. I’ve realized that there are six important questions that need to be answered to help buyers’ narrow down their choices:
How will you be using the camera and what will you be shooting?
Knowing what and where you will be shooting will help you determine the range of camera gear you need. Challenging subjects are fast, small, dark, and distant subjects. Having clarity around your goals in photography is the first step in choosing a camera.
How will you use your images?
Are you planning on creating prints for clients? Will you be photographing for a blog or a print publication? Perhaps you need a camera that also shoots great video. This will influence your choice as sensor size and pixels will make a difference when it comes to printing and publishing online. Knowing the differences will save you from headaches in the future.
How much manual control do you want?
If you are most comfortable using the auto button you might not want the higher end camera that thrives in manual mode. If you’ve been a photographer for a while or are willing to learn the extent of what you can do with your camera, more control can help you get the photos just as you imagine them.
How important is size and weight?
A mirrorless camera system that weighs 2.5 lbs versus a DSLR system that weighs 6.6 lbs can make a big difference in your travels, especially if you have additional equipment that also weighs you down. If you’re a street photographer you may want to have a camera with a lower profile, if you’re shooting within a studio setting it may not matter as much.
How much can you afford?
Beyond the camera body, there are lenses and other important accessories that significantly increase the cost of the entire package. One of the common mistakes people make when purchasing is underestimating the money needed and not budgeting for the additional accessories. Price shop and don’t get distracted by special deals if they’re not the right fit for you.
Do you have existing gear?
Not all lenses fit on all camera bodies. If you have a couple of Nikon lenses and you’re starting to think about switching to a mirrorless Sony system, make sure you know how much those new lenses will cost. You can resell old gear, but the return rate may not be as favorable as you’d like.
Still need some help deciding what camera may be best for you? If so, check out my free Camera Buyer’s Guide. There I dive into these questions, explain the differences of sensor size, lens lengths, and give my best recommendations for different types of photographers.
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