Just 10 days into our August Photo Tips month. We hope you are getting some good tips. Stay with us as we have more to come (no free set of steak knives, sorry). One thing I’m often asked, and even more so as beginners are improving their skills alongside our tips, is “What camera should I get?”
Have you ever bought a car and asked yourself “Holden or Ford?”, maybe when purchasing a computer “PC or Mac?”, or smartphone “iPhone or Samsung?”. The same dilemma applies with cameras; “Nikon or Canon?”, etc.
Here at QP HQ we are an all Nikon family, from the compact point-and-shoot to the “Big Daddy” D4. In the end though, your choice of camera is personal.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Make a list. Simples.
Take the time to work out what you need in a camera. Large file size? Fast continuous frame rate? What your priority, or preference to shoot? Sports? Landscapes. Family happy snaps?
Generally you will trade off large image size for fast frame rate or vice versa. If you are looking at shooting billboard size landscapes to print and hang then you want the large file size, that will take time to process each shot. The processing time isn’t critical as you tend to have all day when shooting landscapes, there is generally no rush (except if you’re trying to capture particular light, etc).
If doing a lot of event photography (poorly lit indoor spaces) or nighttime streetscapes you will want a camera with good “low light” capability (which equals good quality high ISO performance). Need to know more about ISO? Check out our Tip #3 here.
If your are travelling often then camera body size is best kept smaller and therefore the weight of the camera is lighter. Compact / point-and-shoots are your best option. There are some brilliant little snappers out there. We have a Nikon A900 in our arsenal for just this purpose.
HOW I GOT HOOKED
When I chose my first DSLR I went through his whole process of deciding what I wanted. I was lucky enough to have a friend willing to teach me photography as well. I had the opportunity to borrow their camera and took it away on holiday and to shoot kids sports. Getting that “hands on” opportunity was what got me hooked on photography. The rest is history LOL!
I recommend you apply the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) Principle. If you are new to photography, find a friend or mentor who will let you try out some of their gear and ask questions. There are so many choices out there, so just start with one that feels right for you.
DO THE TOUCHIE-FEELIE
You’re the one using the camera. It’s your choice. Unless you share with the wife, then it’s her choice!
Work out your needs and wants, compare available models in your budget, then get out to a camera shop and do the “touchie-feelie” and ask questions. This is when you get a chance to test drive. Play with the camera bodies you have chosen by using your list from above. Hold them, snap a few frames, play with the menus, twiddle the knobs and push a few buttons. You wouldn’t buy a car after only kicking the tyres would you? If you have the opportunity to hire a camera for a day or two, do it! Really take it for a test drive
You need to find a camera that feels comfortable in your hands. It needs to be balanced. You need to fall in love with it. Remember this could well be the start of a serious relationship, so choose wisely.
CAMERAS DON'T TAKE PHOTOS
Biggest is not always best. Some of the best photos I’ve seen have been taken on some of the most basic simple cameras. In its day the old Nikon D5000 took some fantastic shots. It still does, even today.It’s really not the camera that takes the photos, it is the photographer who composes the image, visualises the story, adjusts the settings and edits the final result.
Learn to use the tools you have. Don’t be in a rush to upgrade. Photography can easily become a very expensive hobby if you chase every shiny new object. Take your time to choose your camera. One that not only suits your needs and feels comfortable to hold, but one that you’re just a little bit in love with.
It all comes back to which one makes your pulse quicken? “Holden or Ford” (Holden forever!): “PC or Mac” (once you go Mac, you never go back): “Nikon or Canon” (#IAmNikon).