How to Choose Your First DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

Choosing your first DSLR or Mirrorless camera can be tricky. You fall in love with photography when you first hold a camera in your hands. It’s a unique moment and experience that ignites the desire in you to immediately start capturing the world around you.

There’s that feeling when you place your eye on the viewfinder, and point your camera on a subject and press the shutter button. You capture a moment that will stay forever untouched in time.

How do you know which camera is the right one for you? Have
you ever used a camera with interchangeable lenses? Start with baby steps. This
article will guide you and show you the process.

Choosing a Brand Name

Among a few of the best camera brands in the world are the Nikon,
Canon, Sony and Fujifilm. These four brands have the reputation of being the
best in the field providing excellent image quality, ease-of-use, customer
support, strong warranties and most of all system expansion.

You never know if the camera you buy now will become a professional tool in the future. Many photographers start small, taking photos as amateurs and later on they make it a profession. So, if you choose one of these brands, will allow you to expand and advance your photography in the years to come.

On the other hand, you should avoid buying cameras from brands that limits you. These limits could be small sensors with less image quality and overall performance, slow autofocus, poor lens selection and expensive service.

Select a Camera

When it comes to selecting a new camera, make sure to choose a model with the latest technologies and features. Good entry level cameras in 2018/2019 under $1000 are:

If your budget is between $1000 – $1500 you have many
options available. Some of the best are:

For those who can spend more than $1500 we recommend the
following models:

Specifications

Each camera model has its own unique specifications. The
most common cameras with interchangeable lenses have APS-C or Full Frame
sensors. These image sensors have better dynamic range, image quality in low
light and can create smooth background blur in portraits.

Full Frame cameras are more expensive than APS-C. They provide better image quality and higher resolution. It is as simple as this. The more money you spend on a camera, the more features and overall performance you will get. However, that doesn’t mean that APS-C sensors are not good enough.

The last couple of years, APS-C image sensors have evolved. With the proper lens, they produce excellent image quality and sharpness and they’re more budget friendly. Furthermore, they are really good for wildlife, macro and sports photography.

Select the Right Lens

Almost all cameras come with a kit lens. The kit lens is a standard zoom lens each brand gives as a bundle with a new camera. It is wise to buy the camera with the kit lens if you are just starting out in photography. As a beginner you will want to learn the basics first:

  • With the kit lens, you learn the differences between wide-angle, middle-zoom and telephoto focal range.
  • You need to get comfortable with setting the aperture and thereby controlling the depth-of-filed and the amount of light you allow into the sensor each time you change it.
  • It makes you understand how to focus manually, how to zoom and how to frame your subject.

When you take full control of the kit lens and you understand how to use it, you will be in a position to make a better choice when you select your next lens.

Lenses are expensive but to be honest, the more you spend on a lens the better the results. In some cases, you can find cheaper lenses with good quality from third party manufactures like Sigma, Tamron or Rokinon.

There are two kind of lenses:

Zoom lenses are generally more expensive than prime lenses. They are great for professional work, landscape photography, wildlife, action and everyday use.

Prime lenses on the other hand are great for portraits,
street photography and travel. They are sharper and can create amazing bokeh
images.

Don’t spend money on lenses you will never use. Ask recommendations from other professional photographers, read reviews online and decide which one is the best that fit your needs.

Buy Essential
Accessories

When you purchase a camera, you should expect to spend a few extra bucks in accessories and camera gear. That might cost you a minimum of $100. Some of those accessories are:

  • Tripod
  • Second Battery
  • Charger (sometimes it’s not included in the box)
  • Cleaning Solution Kit
  • Air Blower
  • SD Cards
  • Camera Bag

If you want to buy a tripod, invest in a good one from the
beginning. It is an essential tool for your photography. You can use it to
create long exposure shots and take photos at night.

Also, having a second battery with you is mandatory. Some
cameras don’t have high capacity batteries and they don’t last a whole day.
Make sure you always have a spare battery with you.

Learn the Basics

When you get your first camera, you should start learning the camera basics and how to use it. Read the manual that comes with it, set the dial to AUTO and start taking photos. Use this guide when you are ready to learn more about setting exposure manually.

A great way to learn composition and the basic settings of your camera is to read articles online, visit the manufacture’s website or watch videos on YouTube.

Additionally, another great way to learn is through online courses or through e-books. Many professional photographers teach photography and have classes in reputable e-learning platforms.

Avoid learning from people who only review camera products. They
usually don’t have the experience of a professional photographer.

The best way to learn photography without paying a penny, is to study other photographers. For instance, websites like 500px.com, Flickr.com provide high-quality images. They also display the EXIF data of the images. EXIF data is information about the camera settings used to take each photo! You can learn a lot from just studying the EXIF data, from professional photographers.

Conclusion

Selecting a new interchangeable camera is relatively easy, but it worth considering your options before you choose the DSLR or mirrorless camera to go for. First pick a brand, then choose a camera model based on your budget and finally buy camera gear.

It takes time to learn how to take good photos. Therefore, in the beginning everything will seem complicated. There are lots to be learned including camera settings, composition, how to use natural light and many more.

Don’t worry though. What matters most is to get out and take
as many photos as possible. Practice is the key to success. The more you
practice, the more you will learn how to do it right.

In any case, don’t forget that the camera is just a tool. Be
creative, use your imagination and use the camera to create the final
result. 

  • Author Posts
Author Details
Hi, I am John Mak a self-taught landscape, sports and event photographer from Greece. I love nature, traveling and cooking. I’m also a freelance writer. I create content for photography websites and other small businesses. I use Mirrorless Cameras, lenses, gear and I share more about it in my personal website. You can also find me on Instagram @johnmakphotography
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Hi, I am John Mak a self-taught landscape, sports and event photographer from Greece. I love nature, traveling and cooking. I’m also a freelance writer. I create content for photography websites and other small businesses. I use Mirrorless Cameras, lenses, gear and I share more about it in my personal website. You can also find me on Instagram @johnmakphotography
How to Choose Your First DSLR or Mirrorless Camera?

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