How do I know which DSLR to buy?

This is a discussion on How do I know which DSLR to buy? within the Which DSLR should I buy? forums, part of the Digital Cameras, Lenses & Accessories category; Thinking about buying your first serious DLSR camera? Here is a list of suggestions made by members of the just for you. The list ...

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    Thinking about buying your first serious DLSR camera?

    Here is a list of suggestions made by members of the just for you. The list is a compilation of suggestions that have been made time and again when a member posts the question, "What DSLR should I buy?" We hope these suggestions are beneficial to your research and final purchase decision -- and help you avoid making expensive equipment mistakes we've all made.

    Things to know up front -----------------------------------

    1. It is not the camera that makes the photographer. Any camera can take a picture. It's the photographic knowledge, insights, time, patience and practice of each photographer that ultimately defines their personal style and the artistic merits of their photography.

    2. All major camera manufacturers produce cameras that take excellent pictures. Whether its Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, etc., each manufacturer is driven by customer demand and the ever-present pressure of competition. Consequently, you can be assured that each camera manufacturer has a camera with similar quality, capabilities and features within a your budget range.

    Suggestions --------------------------------------------------

    1. Determine a budget for the new camera. This will automatically narrow your search and define a group of cameras to evaluate.

    2. Determine whether photography will be a serious pursuit or possibly a passing fad in your life. If your interest falls into the "fad" category, save money and buy an inexpensive or even used camera. If you decide later that photography has become a serious passion, you can always move up to a more sophisticated DSLR camera.

    3. Determine the type of photography that most interest you. This knowledge will help determine the features that you "MUST" have in your new camera as well as the accessory equipment you should consider purchasing. (e.g. lenses, tripods, etc.) For example, the requirements of landscape photography are much different than those of portrait photography and macro photography. Know where you want to start your photographic experience.

    4. NEVER, buy a camera without first TRYING IT OUT!. Don't be in a hurry. Go to you local camera shop and "play" with all the cameras in your established budget. Which one "feels" best and easiest FOR YOU to use? Remember, you have to live with this camera. It should "feel" comfortable in your hands and to your eye. In addition, establishing a relationship with good and reputable local camera shop and their staff will prove beneficial as long as you are into photography.

    5. Read the "Camera Review" section on photo forums and in photo magazines. This will provide you with some (usually expert) opinions regarding the technical merits of each camera you are considering.

    6. Check out the Internet forums, go to local camera club meetings and ask friends who have the same photographic subject interest as you to see what equipment they are using. This research will probably spotlight two or three cameras in your price range.

    7. Prioritize a list of camera features that you want on you new camera. Do you need aperture priority, external flash capability, depth of field preview, high rate of shots per second, water resistance, diopter adjustment to match your eyesight, etc.? Take this list with you when you go to the camera shop.

    8. Don't get caught up in the megapixel race. This is especially true if you will seldom make pictures larger than 8"x10". Any camera from 6 megapixel and up can produce an exceptional 8"x10" enlargement. In reality, there is no noticeable quality difference between say a 10 megapixel camera and a 12 megapixel camera. It's certainly not necessary to purchase the camera with the most megapixels to create stunning pictures.

    9. When you've narrowed down your choices to two or three, go to the manufacturers' websites and download the electronic version of each camera manual. Read through the manuals to ensure that all the features you require are present and that you understand how the camera is operated.

    10. Remember: Once you purchased a camera, you are -- to a large degree -- "locked" into that particular manufacturer's camera line up. You can always buy up to more sophisticated or new models from that manufacturer. But, because each manufacturer has its own proprietary lens mount, you cannot use your lenses on another manufacturer's camera system. You will have to replace the camera and ALL of your lenses to make a manufacturer switch -- an expensive proposition.

    11. Know your camera seller.[b] Buy from a reputable dealer that you trust and has a history of good customer support AFTER the sale. If you are fortunate to have a good camera shop in your area, support their business -- especially in the current economy. They will return the favor by becoming your trusted partner in photography.

    12. Once you've made your selection, save yourself months of pain and frustration. READ the manual. Join a camera club. Sign up for a photography course at a local university or community college. Participate in a forum where you can share your pictures and receive constructive criticism. Do something that places you in a "hands on" learning environment. You'll not only learn the "ins and outs" of your camera but you meet others in your area who are either experts you can trust or fellow photographers at your same skill level. Misery and learning loves company.

    These are the questions and suggestions members of most often share with those in the process of buying their first digital SLR camera. Always feel free to ask specific questions of the forum. Hopefully these dozen suggestions will give you a head start in your search. We look forward to seeing the images you create with your new camera.

    Good luck,

    Your friends at
    "There was once a time when Ansel Adams knew nothing about photography. There's hope for all of us."
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  • #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Thanks Hub for the much needed post!

  • #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Would it be okay to post in this thread useful links that may help in the decision making process? One webite that I like to look at for camera comparions and anything of the sort is:

    The last two cameras that I have bought were "Dave's picks" and I was pleased with the information his site provided. My cameras being the Panasonic dmc-fz50, and the Nikon CoolPix p5100.

  • #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I should add that there are multiple approaches to buying cameras for pros, but then there is quite a range in what pros do. Some of the child, party, senior, and young sports photography is done those with entry level dslrs. Some of the more commercial wedding, portrait, and more professional sports photography is done with Nikon D3s, Canon Mark !Vs, Sony A900s, etc.

    Many working pros consider that cameras are consumable and in 3 years it is time to look for a new one. One approach is to buy the most expensive lenses and then buy the camera body that uses them.

    The more "individual" approach is no brand loyalty and to buy for features. Leica, for example has some very good pocket cameras such as the VLux 3. The Sony A99 with Zeiss lenses may prove to be an interesting more advanced camera.

    As to which camera, pros pick, it most often depends on their work. Public relations and event photography are different from Sports Photgraphy, and a personal business working for customers is different from doing projects for companies.

    A capable pro should be able to work with almost any camera or system.


  • #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    great post... + for this

    it can really help those people who wants to buy a DSLR that is so confuse and can't decide which is a good purchase...

  • #6
    Official Site Vendor
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I think this post is a useful tips for those who want to buy his first DSLR camera. Thank you very much!


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