Are you thinking about buying a DSLR? I know one of the questions I hear most often is “I’m looking to upgrade to a DSLR, what type of camera do you recommend?” Here are a few tips and things to consider before buying your first camera.
Expensive DSLR does not equal professional quality photos. I think one of the biggest surprises people may have when they get a DSLR is that their photos do not look like the professionals. It isn’t the camera that makes the amazing photos, it’s the photographer. My first DSLR even when used on “auto” was still much better than my old point and shoot but nothing compared to when I started to shoot on manual mode.
Don’t buy the “kit lens”. Wondering what the “kit lens” is? A kit lens is the lens that comes with the camera you buy. When you purchase a DSLR you have the option of buying just the “body” (only the camera body) or you can buy it as a “kit” with the body and a lens. In fact, when I was shopping for my first DSLR I found an ad for just a body and said, who in the world would buy a camera without a lens. Ha! I bought the kit lens with my first camera b/c I didn’t know better.
After I started to learn to shoot in manual I realized my lens didn’t allow me to capture the pictures I wanted. Your kit lens probably has an aperture that only opens up to f3.5. That is not a lot if you are looking for those blurry backgrounds everyone loves. Getting a lens with an aperture that can open up to f/1.8 allows you to get just feet in focus and the rest of the baby blurred out. Do you get it? Check out my post on aperture if I am confusing you!
Get an inexpensive prime lens instead of the “kit lens”. If you are looking to actually learn to use your camera one of the best ways to do that is to use a prime lens. I would recommend the 50mm f/1.8 or the 35mm f/1.8. These are both relatively inexpensive lenses.
What is a prime lens you ask? A prime lens is a lens that has a fixed focal length AKA it doesn’t zoom. So for example that 50mm f/1.8 I was talking about will not zoom. It is set at 50mm f/1.8 and your feet have to move yourself forward or backwards :O) Some people only like primes and others only like zooms. The thought used to be primes gave you a sharper image but with the fancy zooms now that run around $1600 they are just as good as a prime. Personally, I love primes. I shot only with my 50mm f/1.8 for about 8 months before I bought my Tamron 28-75 f2.8 zoom lens.
Canon or Nikon? That is a personal decision. I would recommend going to a camera store and get the camera in your hand. Does a Canon feel more comfortable or do you like the button placement of the Nikon better? If you are wanting to shoot on manual mode figure out how easy it is to adjust your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Don’t be afraid to ask the employees for help with this! Both Canon and Nikon have great starter DSLR cameras such as the Canon Rebel T1i and the Nikon D5000 (Body Only). Which ever camera you get be sure to check to see if it is compatible with the lens you want. I know with the Nikon D3000 and the Nikon D5000 the auto focus won’t work with a 50mm f/1.8.
What other advice would you give someone looking to buy their first DSLR??