Posted November 13, 2012 by Gavin Hoey in Articles

3 Questions to ask before buying a camera

What camera should I buy? With the huge and confusing choice of cameras on the market today, it’s a question that I’m asked time and again. I may be wrong but I get the feeling that most people who ask me that question want a short answer like… “You want to buy Camera X” Sadly it’s not that easy so here’s three tips to help you choose wisely.

Which CameraWhat are you going to photograph?
This should be the first thing you ask yourself before going any further. Sports or wildlife photographers will want different features then portrait and wedding photographers. The dream of one camera fits all is getting closer but it’s not here yet.

Things to consider might include:
Are you photographing moving subjects? If so then look for a camera with good autofocus and a fast frames per second (FPS) count.

Are you going to be shooting in low light? If so then a full frame sensor camera might be for you as they generally have much lower noise at higher ISO settings

Do you mostly shoot with long zooms? If you need to get close to your subject (from a distance) then a crop sensor camera will magnify the focal length of your lenses by around 1.5 times.

Do you need an SLR camera? If you’re shooting street photos or simply prefer to travel light then one of the new breed of mirrorless cameras might well be perfect for you.

What’s your brand?
This one’s really simple… If you currently have a Canon buy another Canon. The same rule applies for Nikon, Sony etc. Yes I know it seems like that other brand has all the best features but if you own more than two lenses you’re looking at a very big bill to swap brands.

So what if you’re new to photography, have had all your gear stolen or you only owned the kit lens that went with your old camera. What brand do you buy now?

That’s easy too. Buy whatever brand of camera your friend, colleague or neighbour has. That way you can swap gear and share knowledge with someone you trust.

How much do you have to spend?
At the end of the day it really is all about the money. Cameras are not cheap items so you want to buy the best one you can.

Before you rush out with your credit card let me remind you there is a big difference between the “best camera” and the “most expensive camera”.

Set yourself a budget which will include the things that aren’t in the box. Things like:

  • Memory cards (lots of them)
  • Spare Battery
  • Camera Bag
  • A lens or two

That last one is important. A new camera body may last you three years, maybe five if you’re lucky. A decent lens should last you 10 years or if you’re lucky it might last a lifetime. Invest in lenses whenever you can… but that’s another story.

Gavin Hoey