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How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera

Lesson 13 of 16

Free Preview: Tips for Purchasing Your First Camera

John Greengo

How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

13. Free Preview: Tips for Purchasing Your First Camera
John spent a lot of time close to the camera industry and in this clip shares helpful tips on buying your first one.

Lesson Info

Free Preview: Tips for Purchasing Your First Camera

As I've said before, I worked in the industry for quite some time, I sold a lot of cameras and so just on the buying aspect here's, some tips and ideas and things to think about so new models who are often going to come out about two times a year kind of in the early spring and in the fall time so february to march we see a lot of introductions as well a september to october I don't care who you talked to nobody who really knows is going to tell you what next year's model is going to be and so if you're like, well, well what's the next model and winds are going to come out nobody knows this is not like the car industry where we announced things six months ahead of time of what's coming these things are closely held secrets and even the sales rep you go to the camera store and there's the cannon rap he's like joe can and I worked for can and I'll tell you everything about canada when's the next cannon camera coming out, he was going to say I don't know and the truth is is he probably do...

esn't know because if they told him he'd probably tell somebody and they need to button up those leaks it's a tightly held secret about what models coming out next and what it has on it and so there's lots of rumor sites and I love going to the rumor sites you know, all we heard that cannon was testing out this new high megapixel camera where's that nikon d four hundred and all these sorts of things that may or may not be happening on in the industry and all I can say is that they are highly inconsistent now there are some rumors that just seem to persist and they get more more valid all the time and they do materialize, but they're very inconsistent and so if you want to waste some time and just rumor around it's fine, but I wouldn't base a lot of buying decisions on it I've known some people who saw rumors and they said I'm going to hold off buying because I the rumor is is that this camera's view to get replaced and it doesn't get replaced for five years so you could wait forever if you plan on a rumor if camera stores on ly sold cameras, we would have no camera stores. There is very little money. If you would like to make someone laugh here's what you do go to a camera store and say I'll take that camera but give it to me for half price you're going to hear somebody laughing at you because that is not going to happen cameras generally are sold at around five or ten percent profit margins in many cases, they're sold at or below cost in the hopes that you're going to buy lenses and filters and batteries and bags and all the accessories where there's a little bit more region margin of sale in there and so there's very little you can do about talking them down on the price of the camera, the camera, the lands. And what about all those other accessories? I I don't mind the kits that come from the manufacturers with a body in lens that's usually a pretty good deal you're going to get the camera body, you're going to get a battery, a battery charger, you are not going to get a memory card and all that other stuff if they're throwing it in there's, probably not a lot of value to it. I've never seen much value to the extra stuff that they've thrown in, and so I tend to shy away from these multi packaged kits that air repackaged up by the camera stores. I just don't think there's a lot of good value now if you're getting all that extra stuff for no extra charge, then fine go for it, but even an extra charge of twenty five dollars if you're not getting the the core body and lens that you want, then don't buy it. So you got brand new models to come out like the d seventy two hundred brand new camera twelve hundred bucks, the seventy one hundred, which is nearly identical to it, his clothes out price still brand new in the box from nikon for a thousand bucks, and this is where you have to look really closely at what's new what did they actually change age? And is that worth two hundred bucks to me? Because in some cases they've made a noticeable job and I have seen cameras. Probably the most dramatic was nine months after the first one came out. They had figured out some major improvements, and it was in the next model, in some cases it was five years later, before the next camera came out, and in this case, which one should you buy? Look at those features, what's the difference, how important is that to you? And does that fit your budget or not? Of course, we all like the latest generation camera, but if you said you know what, I'm on a little bit of a budget and I need to save some money on a camera. Last year's model is a great way to save money because there's a lot of people that always have to have the latest technology and if you look back right now, say that the year two thousand seven how much difference does it make if you're using the two thousand six camera in two thousand seven at this point time they all seem pretty close so let's just imagine the pricing of a camera so new camera comes out we'll call it camera x and it sells for a thousand dollars as you start shopping for that you're going to find it at a thousand dollars every place you shop because they're all selling it at this very slim margin of profit and it's going to be there and it's going to be there and then after a certain while after the sales have dipped a little bit it'll drop one hundred bucks and that'll be that price for a while and then it'll drop another hundred bucks and it's just going to stay there and then what's going to happen how then they're going to introduce x two and that's a good reason for them to jump the price off about a hundred bucks and this one's got new better features and that's right when ex takes a precipitous drop in price because nobody wants it anymore because new x two is out now the quality of camera x is no different than when it was right here it's just that there's a new better system out there and so this is a great spot by if you're willing to get last year's camera model and you want to save a bunch of money now, the other thing that I don't have factored in here, that I don't no completely in other countries, is here in the united states, there is a lot of temporary price reductions called instant rebates, and this is a way for a manufacturer who says, you know what? We're not moving enough of product acts, we need to move more product x this next month, let's, throw one hundred dollars, instant rebate I always liked like, why don't you just lower the price a hundred bucks? Because they want to be able to bring it back up, and it looks really bad. Toe lower your price and then bring it back. But last week it was one hundred dollars less, and so what they do is is an instant rebate. I'm sorry, the instant rebate expired last week. I missed it, and so watch for those instant rebates if they do those in your country. In general, camera prices come down over time because new models get introduced here's kind of a strange thing, though, is that lens prices tend to increase because lenses are round for ten, fifteen, twenty years. In some cases, they will go up in value now, as you buy them. As soon as you buy them, they take a dip in value, because anything you drive the car off the lot it loses a lot of value but with lenses I have purchased the lands I have one lens that I can think of that I purchased for about eight hundred dollars that currently sells for about twelve hundred dollars and I've had it for about eight years eight or nine years and so they're just going to tend to get more expensive which maybe means is if you have the money for the lands is by him now another way to save some money on cameras is with used cameras so the nikon d seventy two hundred twelve hundred bucks but the seventy, one hundred these cameras take the same picture quality both everything that this can't these cameras do is exactly the same I went on ebay I found a bunch of them for sale in very good condition for seven hundred fifty dollars and I don't have a big problem with used equipment. However, when it comes to cameras you really got to make sure that it's working right so either you need to test to yourself or you need to get some sort of warranty on it. In my opinion I have not bought a used digital camera online because I want to see it I want to be able to check it out and the most important thing to me is that sensor clean because there is dust in gunk that can cling to the sensor and be very hard to clean and so that's. The problem with old digital cameras is that they have dirty sensors that are really, really hard to get clean and that's very hard to deal with. Once you are downloading and working with your pictures and whatever software program you are, many cameras will have the option of doing a shutter account check to see how many times the shutter has been clicked, and this is a general indication of how heavily the camera has been used. Ah, small number it's kind of like miles in a car, ten thousand clicks would be a fairly new camera one hundred fifty thousand clicks that's a lot. A lot of shutters are only rated up to one hundred thousand or one hundred fifty thousand clicks before it's expected to wear out and just test the camera out as many ways as you can turn all the dials, push all the buttons that you can see if they're working that this is something you're doing in person. You want to look for a lot of wear marks. I look for a lot of wear marks on the bottom of the camera to see how much the camera has been set down because on the bottom of the camera usually there's a couple little nubbins where you can see the camera rubs a lot and you can just see about they use a little bit where marks around the edges and so forth and you can get a better feel for how much that camera was used did we have an in class question I want to know how do you know if the sensor is clean or not you need to shoot a picture and you need to photograph something that is plane like a plain white wall a plain sheet of paper a plain blue sky and a dirty sensor is going to have spots on it almost like like look like birds in the in the hair but it's going to be a little dust specks it's going to be a hair it's going to be a little blotch and sometimes they're easy to clean off and sometimes they're hard and so that's why there's talk about sensor cleaning in my classes a lot because keeping that clean over time can be a bit of an issue because it's kind of hard to get in there and clean that's not something that everybody feels comfortable doing and then finally be very wary of heavily used cameras if somebody said you know I worked for the daily times and I was with this camera for the last six years every single day thousands of photos a day I'd be like I'm going to take two steps back from that care I don't care how good a deal it is that is just something that I could really wouldn't want to deal with very much so those are some ideas on using a used camera. Yes, how about the factory refurbished options like right if they take it back in and go through it? So let me explain what a factory refurbishing camera is many times people will buy a new camera and they'll be a small issue with it, and it could be everything from a dirty sensor to something that is technically not working right now with the battery doesn't thing doesn't turn on and they they forgot to plug in the the battery switch on it or something. There was a problem with it in some ways, and so they camera store sends it back to the factory the factory goes through, they clean it up now may have a fingerprint on it that they've had to clean up that may have had some clicks on the shutter count and they package it all back up as new and it's been refurbished and you know it's now meets their new standards and it's essentially like buying a very nice used camera and so I would never pay as much for a refurbished as I would a new camera there should be a discount and I bought and sold a lot of cameras for the camera store that I worked out as well, personally, but it sold a lot of cameras and in general a good number that I can give you, and this varies a little bit. His take a new camera, about eighty five percent of that is what a good camera will sell for. The refurbished cameras will generally be between ninety and ninety five and a lot of times, because you're getting a warranty on them. And so, if you have a camera that sets sixty percent of what it sells for new that's, a really good deal, eighty five is kind of that, yeah, that's, that's, about the going price and that's for lenses and cameras. If it's more and demand it's going to be in the ninety percent range, if it's less and demand that it's going to be more around in the eighty to seventy five percent range, and the more use you get on it, the more it kind of drops down on that. Okay.

Class Description

It’s nearly impossible for any beginner to sort through all of the functions, features, and price points of DSLR and mirrorless cameras and make an informed choice. In How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera, John Greengo will simplify the buying process and help you find the camera that fits your needs and your budget.

The key to finding a great DSLR camera for beginners is knowing the market and which questions to ask. In this class, you’ll learn about all the different types and brands of cameras and which one is right for you. 

You'll learn:

  • Which features are beneficial to your style of photography
  • The importance of having the right lens
  • The differences between Digital SLRs and mirrorless
  • How a camera’s sensor size impacts image quality

John will look closely at all the latest DSLRs from Nikon and Canon, and the mirrorless cameras from Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, and others.

The current crop of photographic equipment is more diverse than ever before and finding the right DSLR camera for a beginner can be a challenge. There is a huge range of variables between cameras, even when they come from the same manufacturer. How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera will help you know what to look for and which questions to ask when it’s time to buy your first camera.



I have to thank John Greengo and the CreativeLive staff for another wonderful class. Mr. Greengo is a very good instructor (he has a nice Bob Ross ambiance), very knowledgeable and very technical with the camera and the terminologies. I am very grateful that he has material to download so I can continue to review and learn. I own a DSLR but I never truly understood the baseline technology. I am in the process of purchasing a new camera system and lens for some photography but mostly for filmmaking. With the knowledge I gain by watching this course, I can better choose and identify the features of the future cameras in my upcoming new passion. Thank you CreativeLive and Thank you Mr. Greengo. I am looking forward to attending future classes.


This was a great class. I already had an idea of the direction I wanted to go as I start my new business, but this class really helped me focus on the most important upgrades I need to make to my current system. I was particularly impressed with the visual graphics used to explain the technical functions of cameras and how those functions affect image quality and camera use. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to up their camera system and I am looking forward to taking the classes that are specific to the camera systems I am using. I would love to see a class on image processing and getting the most out of editing software. Great Job! Glad I signed up for CreativeLive.

Bev Anne

Excellent course. I was happy to find out that I made a good choice when purchasing my entry level DSLR camera -- it does everything I need at the moment. I was also interested to find out that mirrorless is the wave of the future -- I really like the idea of the light weight because I am developing some arthritis in my wrists and when I am ready to move up in the future I will have great options. Meanwhile I also learned that there is an inexpensive lens that I can get that will upgrade my system enough for the immediate future. Thank you John Greengo for this informative class it was well worth the purchase price.