Just as a picture is worth a thousands words, a camera can cost a pretty penny depending upon what you need. Any person planning on being a serious hobbist or professional photographer, should expect to spend money on equipment. You can get started in photography for under $100, or you can go all out and buy a complete set of top of the line gear for as much as youre willing to spend. Since there are so many options for new photographers, lets skip all of the cool accessories (filters, lenses, tripods) and break down your most important first purchase: The Camera.
What Do You Need in a Camera?
The first thing to consider when buying a camera is to determine why you want a camera and know what you want it to do. For example, an all manual DSLR (like Canon’s Rebel) is great fun for photographers but is likely a major hassle if you’re taking pictures of your friends out having fun. Heres a few key questions to ask yourself to help decide what you need:
- Do I want to use film or digital?
- Am I shooting for fun, or for a career?
- How comfortable am I operating a manual SLR?
- Is image quality important to me?
Since every camera works differently and has it’s own pros and cons, you’ll need to figure out what you want so you won’t be overwhelmed with the choice in equipment. Professional photographers or those seeking to become professionals may not want to sacrifice image quality for cost, while the average shooter may not need that extra 0.5% of clarity for their family collage picture frame display. Its all up to you.
What Can You Spend?
The sky is the limit when spending money on cameras. You can pick up a little pocket camera for around $100, or you can spend as much as $10,000 on a top of the line digital. Even a manual film SLR can be expensive so make sure you know what you want before making a purchase. Before you pull out your wallet, ask yourself these questions:
- Can I really afford this camera?
- What features do I really need?
- Is this camera suitable for the activities Im buying it for?
Sure, a camera with 13,000 frames per second shooting option and a giant touch screen would be great, but it is overkill for taking a few family photos. Don’t go overboard but if you want to work as an professional, don’t sacrifice on flexibility and results just so you spend less out of pocket in the beginning. You’ll end up having to buy a better camera later, so it’s often best to wait a little longer so you can buy exactly what you need. You will be happy you did.
If youre honest with yourself about what you need from your camera and how much you can spend on it, youre going to be a lot more satisfied with your purchase down the line. If you need help working out what you need or how different cameras perform in different situations, do a little online research, read customer reviews, or talk to the guys and gals at your local photo shop (not the drugstore!).
If you’re buying a camera to take pictures of family and friends, your camera will likely give you what you need regardless of what you spend.That’s because most consumer level cameras shoot just fine in 90% of shooting situations. Mostly because the majority of people take pictures to put them in a picture frame at their home or office.Some of the photos in a recent Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated were shot with a disposable camera so dont think for a second that a lower budget is a handicap. As always, the most important thing is to have fun and take great pictures so you can enjoy looking at them whether you hang them on your wall or display them in a decorative picture frame on your table..