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Photography, like all art forms, is about continuous growth, evolution and an ever increasing expansion of your possibilities. Purchasing a new camera can open many doors in your creative journey, allow you to produce higher quality images and keep your work fresh and vibrant.
Buying a new camera is a major investment and the choice you make will have an ongoing impact on your photography. Selecting the right camera is fundamental to set yourself up in the best possible way so that you can really express your creative vision to the full and leave all your options open as you move forward.
5 Things you need to ask yourself before you buy a new camera.
- What is Your Available Budget for the Camera? One of the first things you need to clearly establish is what your potential budget is. Do you want to splash out and buy a seriously outstanding piece of high tech equipment or are you looking for a simple point and shoot camera? For a good all round DSLR you will need to spend $500 or more however for a very basic camera you can find a good quality one for around $200-$300. Realistically, if you want to get the full functionality, a high quality light sensor and the ability to change lenses then you will need to be looking more in the price range of $700-$1000. However if you have a very tight budget and can’t afford to spend much on a camera don’t let that put you off! It’s better to start with what you can afford and over time work your way up to better equipment.
- What do you plan to use your camera for? This question is connected to the first one because your budget will be linked to what you plan to use your camera for. If you’re looking for a camera to take holiday snaps or a basic model for travel photography then you can get away with a basic all round digital camera. This will be fine for posting photos on Facebook or Instagram but will not be up to scratch for more serious projects. If you are looking for a camera that you can use as a freelancer you will have to be much more careful in your selection. You will need to do some research to establish what your genre requires and buy a camera that meets those needs. For example, if you are planning to do studio photography, portrait work or architectural photography you will need a high quality DSLR with interchangeable lenses. For real estate photography you will require a wide lens and great functionality to stand out in the competitive markets of professional photography.
- Are you going to be printing your photos? If you are planning to make printouts of your photos or display your work in exhibitions then you will need to consider the quality of the light sensor in the camera. The resolution is usually measured in Megapixels which determines how much detail will be captured in your photo. The more megapixels you have in an image the bigger you can make the printout. If your image has a low resolution and you blow up the picture to larger than an A4 page the final result will be a very poor quality image that will ruin the photo!
- Are you going to be editing your photos or using post production software? If you are planning to do a lot of post production work then you will want a high quality camera that can take high enough quality pictures for you to be able to retroactively modify them without getting too much noise and resolution deterioration. If you are planning to edit your pictures then you will need to purchase a good DSLR or mirrorless camera with a decent megapixel resolution of 12 MP or above.
- Do you want a new camera or a second hand camera? Buying a second hand camera is always an option for you. It is better to buy a second hand camera from a local store where you can return for future repairs, tips on using it and other information. You can also buy a second hand camera online from sites such as eBay however this is not always advised because you cannot inspect the camera before handing over your cash and might find it is damaged or not working as described. It is better to buy a new camera from a reputable manufacturer because you will get the full warranty and access to the best repair services should you need it. Ultimately though you will have to balance your choice based on your budget.
Once you have figured out what you want from your camera, how much you want to spend on it and whether you want a new or second hand one, you’re going to have to get down to some serious research to help you decide the exact specifications you will require. Do you want a DSLR, an all round point and click, or a mirrorless camera that houses interchangeable lenses?
5 Questions you need to ask before you buy a new camera lens.
Before you buy a new lens for your camera you need to ask a few basic questions to help guide you to buy one that will serve you in the long term, meet the requirements of the photographs you want to produce and will work well in conjunction with your current camera system.
- What kind of subjects are you planning to photograph with your new lens? Portrait photography, real estate photography, wildlife photography, landscape photography etc. all require very different lenses (the alternative is buying an all purpose lens).
- What is your level of skill and technical knowledge? If you have never even used an interchangeable lens camera system then it’s probably not worth splashing out thousands of dollars on a top of the range lens however if you have been working in photography for a while then a higher end lens might be just the ticket!
- What is your budget? How much are you looking to spend on a new lens?
- Are you going to buy First or Second hand? When it comes to lenses it makes far more sense to consider buying a second hand item that it does with a camera. Check in your local camera shop for second hand bargains or have a look on the grey market.
- What kind of environment are you going to be working in? Indoors or outdoors? In the city or in the wilderness? Make sure that the lens you buy is compatible with your needs and practical to use in the situations that you intend to be using it.
Buying a New Camera or Lens is a Big Investment so getting it right is important.
Purchasing a new camera or lens is not only fun but it will also supercharge your work, open new possibilities up for you in terms of professional work and let you continue to evolve your photography. Asking the right questions before you buy a new camera will help you to clarify what it is you will be using it for and therefore what specifications you will need, what your approximate budget will have to be and how it can best serve you once you have purchased it.
Which camera and lens did you buy first?