I generally receive many of the inquiries about “What all things to keep in mind while selecting a camera?” “Which camera shall I buy”, etc. So here in this post, I will be your helper guide to a camera shopping. Bit first of all, let me be very clear, I will not go brand or model biased here. Being brand biased is all your decision, and not mine, and I will all say the general stuffs here. So the beginners, kindly carry on and continue reading. And the Professionals, please wait and stay tuned for more coming up shortly. Here you have to ask these basic 7 questions to yourself before purchasing a camera.
Q1. What is your Budget for the camera?
Money comes first. This is the first and foremost question I ask to anyone who enquires about or seeks my recommendation for any camera. You may have a little variation in it, but you can always fix a lump sum basic budget, that will help you getting the best deal while shopping for a camera. For those who are seeking to buy their first DSLR, save a few more bucks, as you will also need lenses. You should have, in general language, a medium range, and a long range lens, if you are desperate about photography. Hence, keep in mind the price of the lenses that you are going to buy, and the lenses which are sometimes included in the kit, and then decide the range which you are going to spend for the camera body accordingly.
Q2. What is your Purpose of Photography?
This is always my second question after the first question gets answered. You must choose a camera wisely; afterall the cameras come with different features. For a person who has to shoot nature and wildlife shots, the zoom is a major deciding factor. For zoom, do not go for the cam which has higher digital zoom, but optical zoom. For shooting sports, athletics, kids, pets, etc you need a camera which has higher shutter speeds, so that it clicks faster. If you are a party animal, you need a camera that shoots well in low light, and make sure the images are stable, as generally in low light, you do need a tripod stand to shoot good photos, which surely don’t slip in to your pocket. Some cameras even come equipped with macro modes to shoot the closer objects. If you do not want a camera for serious photography, or are confused between the main purposes, or rather want to shoot everything; better choose quite an all-rounder camera which suits all your needs.
Q3. How far do you rate yourself on your experience level? (Please be honest here)
Having the money power will not help you buying great cameras, but may mess up something. Beginners must always try themselves on the basic cameras. Buying a Nikon D3x or a Canon 5D Mark II in the very first level won’t serve the purpose. Though, a complete beginner must start from a fully automatic point and shoot, whereas a bit experienced can go for a camera that has more of the manual controls and settings.
Q4. What have you decided for the size and style?
This is sometimes a big issue. Depending on the main purpose for buying the camera, the size, weight etc can also change. If you are a party animal, and love the things which come handy, you should go for a slim camera which easily slips in your pocket or purse. The ones who need something that is easy to grab in hand, must go for the bigger ones. Outdoor photographers must choose the lightweight cameras, the size is the second aspect after weight in that case.
Q5. How many megapixels do you actually require? (There’s a difference between ‘Want’ and ‘Need’)
Large numbers of megapixels are not everything. They are alone not responsible for a good quality image, but also the lens, and most important being the image sensor. So anything above 6MP is good. Now a days, camera manufacturers seem to race around this particular point of megapixels. Out of today’s available models, getting a 12MP camera is more than enough. More megapixels also increase the picture size, which eventually, affects the storage. Just for an example (no, this ain’t any comparison between a DSLR and a Point and Shoot, but just for reference) my 10MP Point and Shoot (Canon Powershot A480) shots great pictures, with each photograph ranging from 1-2 MB storage space. On the other hand, my 17MP DSLR (Nikon D5100) shoots images ranging from 8-9MB. A 6 MP camera image can clearly be printed on a A4 size paper too. So have the comparison in your mind.
Q6. What are the important features you are looking for in the camera?
There may be a list of features in every model, but you may not need every feature while using. The features add to the cost of the stuff. For example, a camera which is waterproof and has larger controls for assisting a trekking or snow-climbing thing may not necessarily be purchased for just shooting indoors.
Q7. Have you done enough enquiries in the market? (Homework stuff, eh!)
You do have to search the market for the shops that provide the best deals, also, I would suggest reading reviews by experts (easily available on the web), striking out the excessive options, and including just a few brands, to narrow down your search so that you get a better stuff in your hand. Check for the accessories, and compare the prices. Some companies may provide camera bag, memory cards, etc for free, another company may sound cheaper, but they only provide the body, sometimes even devoid of batteries. Purchasing all of them separately adds up the cost and the price of latter exceeds the former. Do check for the warranty card, the terms and conditions, and also make sure every moment that you are not being cheated by a grey market product.
At last, buy the camera, get a genuine bill/invoice with all the taxes paid (yeah that’s necessary stuff) and you’re all set. Happy Clicking!
Image Credit: http://goo.gl/YJ6Nj