Camera Buying Guide

I see a lot of people ask about what camera they should buy, especially when they’re looking to move up to a dSLR. So I’ve put together a recipe for choosing your next camera. This guide is geared toward the dSLR, but you can apply the same thinking for any type of camera. I’m not going to tell you one camera is better than the other — those are just opinions. In fact, I won’t even mention any specific models of cameras. When looking for a new camera, here’s what you should do to get the facts (if not exactly, then something similar).

  1. Go to Outdoor Photographer and read the article on How to Buy an SLR Camera.
  2. Go to Consumer Search and read the Digital SLR Camera Reviews (be sure to read the full story too).
  3. Go to Digital Photography Review and pick up to 5 of your favorites based on what you now know and compare them side by side. Read the reviews and pick out what’s important to you.
  4. Go to a local camera shop and put your top 2 or 3 cameras in your hands. Take some sample shots and experiment.
  5. Go to Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama and look up lens prices for each of your top 2 or 3 cameras.
  6. Use the same stores to buy your new camera once you’ve picked out the winner. Don’t buy from the places that advertise prices lower than everybody else — they’re a scam. Trust me.

The moral of this post is that there’s no easy way to pick a camera and it’s highly subjective. To each their own; so if you hear somebody ranting about why camera X is better than camera Y, don’t be too trusting of their suggestions. My (personal) biggest factors for buying a new camera would be how it feels in my hands, how easily I can operate it, and if it falls into my price range (don’t sweat $100 or $200 bucks — you’ll spend more than that on most lenses). My least important factors for buying a new camera would be resolution (I have a 6MP and I’m perfectly happy), image processing (I shoot RAW), and sensor size (most are APS-C sized anyways).

Feel free to leave comments to other useful resources if you have any. Happy Hunting!

This entry was posted in Equipment, Features on by .

About Brian Auer

a photography enthusiast from North Idaho. He's also the guy behind the Epic Edits Weblog. As a hobbyist photographer since 2003, his passion has been to constantly improve his photography skill set, to share his own knowledge with others, and to become an integral part of the photographic community.

6 thoughts on “Camera Buying Guide

  1. inspirationbit

    You’ve got some really good points here. Thanks for the links. I found this article to be helpful as well.
    So if the resolution is the least important factor for buying a new camera, what’s the most important one?

  2. Brian Auer Post author

    My single most important factor is probably the usability of the camera. It has to feel right and I have to be able to get to all the controls quickly and without trouble.

  3. Brian Auer Post author

    Thanks for the info Ryan, but I think those would fit better into step #3. Step #2 is really just to give you an overview of what kinds of features are stonger in various cameras. So for step #3 (research) these are good resources. I found the ProductCritic a good gateway into many many more reviews. Viewscore is also a good gateway, and it’s very easy to navigate and find the cameras. Thanks again for the tips!

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