Monday, October 26, 2015

Choosing your first camera

Photography is a really exciting hobby and at the same time can be very expensive for those who really become passionate about it. There are a lot of confusions for a photography enthusiast when it comes to buying a camera since so many companies, so many formats, so many models and options are available with each manufacturer, they just confuse people. This post will help you choosing your first camera so that they can choose one as per their requirements.

Before moving to the list of cameras from different formats, contemplate on the following questions which will help you in choosing your first camera.
  • What kind of photography are you going to do ?
Portrait, Nature, Wildlife, Landscape, Macros, low-light etc. You love taking pictures of birds, wildlife, or you love taking pictures of insects magnifying them to life size.
  • Does size and weight of the camera matter to you ?
Do you want to carry a large camera and a backpack or you prefer to carry a small camera which has less weight and finds some space between your luggage in a small bag.
  • Do you want a camera with interchangeable lens or a fixed lens inside giving wide angle to long zooms ?
Cameras with interchangeable lens will cost more in the long run as you invest in lenses and they are a wise purchase once you master photography with the bridge cameras by learning to play with all controls manually. Bridge cameras do not require huge investments unlike a DSLR where you will require a lens for different occasion and different types of photography. The focal length, speed of lens, glass elements, VR/IS etc decide the price of the lens which can run into lakhs depending on the type of photography you do.
  • Are you just going to click your pictures and store them in Computer or going to print them in banner size ?
You don't necessarily require a DSLR camera unless you are going to make banner size prints. A small sensor than 35 mm would do for you. Bridge cameras can still produce images which can be printed in larger sizes. Since you are a beginner you should be focusing on improving your photography skills and mastering the various aspects of clicking photos and playing with light.

It is always best for a beginner to choose a camera as per his requirements in future, if you are going to become a professional photography or aim to make a career in photography an investment in DSLR is the best investment for you in the long run. But those who want to learn photography slowly as a hobby can start with a bridge camera and develop photography skills over time before moving to some other system. There are many systems like micro 4/3rds, Prosumers, Bridge cameras, DSLR available in the market today as per the requirements of users.

Once you have answered the above questions you can move ahead to the next step of selecting the best camera for yourself. Those who want to start photography with a DSLR can close their eyes and buy any camera from Nikon or Canon without falling into the trap of which is the best. Both Canon and Nikon are leaders in the market and both produce equally good cameras. It is upto you to select one of them as per the ergonomics, handling and ease of use for you. You can just go to any shop or camera outlet and try cameras from both manufacturers in your hand and choose which feels the best as per ergonomics, handling, ease of use etc.

For beginners who intend to make a career in photography in future should either opt for a full frame if their budget permits as it will be the best investment for the long run and you will not need to look back. Let us take a look at some good full frame cameras from Nikon and the Canon stable. You can even choose Sony and pentax they both make awesome cameras but nikon and canon are recommended in India as they have a wide market presence and all accessories, lens, service centres are easily accessible.
Canon Full Frame camera.
Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 22.3MP Digital SLR Camera with 24-105mm Lens (Black)

Nikon Full Frame Camera.
Canon EOS 6D 20.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with 24-70 Lens

Sony Full Frame Camera.
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V 24.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Black)

Those looking to start with Crop sensor cameras due to budget restraints can start with the below models. They are also suitable for professional photography and many professional use these cameras as they have been the best since a few years.

Nikon Crop Sensor
Nikon D7000 Kit (18-105mm VR Lens)

Nikon D90 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with AF-S 18-105mm VR II Kit Lens, 8GB Card and Camera Bag

All the above cameras are best in their segment and you can google out the reviews to know more about them.

If you are a photography enthusiast and want to learn photography slowly without spending too much into lens, flashes and other equipment, you don't want to carry heavy weights around but at the same time want wide angles, high zooms macro capabilities and video shooting abilities in one and the same camera you can opt for bridge cameras.

Panasonic is a leader in making excellent bridge cameras though canon, nikon and sony have followed panasonic into this segment and started making good bridge cameras.

Panasonic FZ lumix series should suffice all your photography needs. The Panasonic lumix DMC FZ-300 has 4k Ultra Hd video capabilities, upto 600 mm long zoom which is very helpful to shoot wildlife photography, astro photography. It also has wide angle upto 25mm which is useful for landscape and nature photography. It has 2.8 constant aperture at all focal lengths which is excellent for low-light photography and it also supports image stabilization which helps to reduce blurr due to handshakes.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 4K Digital Camera

Sony cybershot DSC HX-400 is yet another good choice of a bridge camera. It has the same features as panasonic lumix but comes at almost half the price of lumix.
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400 20.4MP Digital Camera (Black)

Canon powershot SX60
Canon PowerShot SX60-HS 16.1MP Advanced Digital Camera (Black) with 65x Optical Zoom
This camera has more zoom than the above two and can be great for those who want to shoot wildlife. It comes with a built in wifi and NFC for easy transfer of photos.

You can also take a look at the other cameras in the panasonic lumix FZ bridge camera series and the Sony DSC series. The panasonic FZ 200 is a very popular camera but older version of FZ 300, Panasonic has also launched a Lumix FZ1000 which will retails for around 1100$ in the market.

For those with extremely low budget Canon SX 400 IS can be a good choice for learning.
Canon Powershot SX410 IS 20MP Point and Shoot Camera (Black) with 40x Optical Zoom, 8GB Memory Card and Camera Case

Choosing your first camera should can be a very daunting task when it comes to making a choice between different manufactures, different models, different systems. A camera is just a tool to click photograph. Its not the camera but the man behind the camera who makes wonderful images with excellent use of his creativity, camera and the available light. Photography is all about mastering and playing with light. I hope this article helps you in choosing your first camera.