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Starting digital photography. Choosing a camera

Digital Photography 101 Choosing your digital camera.

One of the most basic mistakes that budding photographers make is buying an expensive camera and expensive lenses thinking that now they have the gear they will automatically now take good photos. Not true. As with so many things in life, It’s not what you’ve have but how you use it that counts.

It doesn’t matter what gear you have, it’s you, the photographer, that ultimately captures the images, not the gear itself. Your camera equipment can only capture the image that you put in front of the lens. And that regardless of whatever sort of photography you engage in, if you don’t have a camera with you, you can’t capture the image. This post is designed to help you decide what camera is best for your needs as a photographer.

So the best advice I would give, is for you to think about what direction you would like your photography to take. When you know that, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you happy to just snap pictures with your smartphone camera? For posting on Facebook, twitter, pinterest instagram etc.
  • Would you like to be a little more creative in what you photograph? Maybe a point and shoot camera would suit you better, and allow you more control over what you shoot, and how you shoot it?
  • Do you want to be in control of all aspects of the images that you capture? Or are you happy to let your camera make some, or all decisions about the images you take.
  • What type of photography interests you?
  • What will you be using your images for?

Once you have answers to these questions, then is the time to think about what gear you really need to be buying, and what your total budget is likely to be. Once you think you know what you want, it’s time to do some research. Check out local photography shops / Electronic stores, any of your friends who have the sort of gear you are thinking about. The next section is assuming you are looking for a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera.

digital photography using Canon digital camera.
Canon DSLR


Whilst it is true that expensive camera gear doesn’t automatically make you a better photographer. It is also true that camera technology is getting better. So in real terms, the cost of this technology is falling. Especially if you are looking at camera models a few years old. If the camera has all of the features you are looking for, does it matter that it isn’t the latest model?

Most stores that sell photographic equipment have demonstration models, and are happy for you to try them out. This gives you a feel for the camera, especially the weight of a DSLR and lens. The reason I would advise trying out different camera models, is that although most cameras have similar controls, the layout of one may suit you better than that of a different brand.

If asking friends who are photographers, you will only get to see and try out one, or perhaps two models. These will generally be the same brand, since as a rule, your friends with photography gear will have their own favourites, which may not suit you.

Having tried out various cameras, and made a short list of camera models you are thinking about, see if you can find a review about your prospective camera. This may help you to choose one model over another, and will certainly give a comparison of the cameras features.

Having made your decision, shop around for the best deal. What are you getting for your hard earned cash? Is the price simply for the camera body, is/ are lens(es) available with the camera? Is CF (compact flash) card included? You may even be considering a second hand camera kit, as you may get the gear for you want, for a lot less money.

Whatever you finally decide, when you have your camera, be sure to learn what features it has, and how to access them, and then get out and use it.

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