There are many beginners as well as “momtographers” (moms who love taking photos of their little ones and prefer a good camera over those cell phone snap shots) out there who simply can’t decide or don’t know how to go about purchasing a decent camera to use. This article aims to help you with your decision as to the best DSLR camera to buy.
First we need to answer a few questions. What is a DSLR camera? Why are so many people spending money on them? The simple answer is that it’s a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, and the reason that so many people purchase them is because they are a far higher quality over a point and shoot, if you know how to use them. We will discuss how to use them in a later post, but for now let’s talk about how to choose one.
The two top brands are Canon and Nikon. Most people have heard of both brands, and have quite possibly had a point and shoot camera made by one of these two companies. There are also other brands out there such as Sony, and Fuji who make DSLR cameras but they are less common. Your first consideration needs to be your budget; how much can you afford to spend on a camera? This will set the base point in choosing your camera and brand.
Just about all brands will have a camera that is in your budget. For beginners and momtographers, the Rebel series from Canon is a fantastic starting point and they are nice to the budget as well. For almost any DSLR camera you will want to plan on spending at least $500+, but believe it or not, that is very low cost compared to most cameras. Many times you can find kits with lenses that will be great for you to start out with. Be sure to search around for the best deal before committing to your decision. Amazon is most likely going to be the least expensive place to purchase an item like this and accessories.
The kit above comes with just about everything a beginner or momtographer needs!
Or, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, you can go for the one I recently purchased myself for under $500!
Do not be afraid to purchase a used camera! Be sure to purchase it from somewhere that is known to sell quality used items. As long as the camera was taken care of, it will have plenty of life left in it. It will likely be worth your while to buy yourself a book on photography, as well – especially if you can find one for your exact camera.
Once you have found your camera, you will find that it is all too easy to get caught up in the various accessories available. But remember – some are better than others, and there are some that will be absolute life savers! Here are a few you will want to consider to make your life easier.
Flower Lens Hood
For a few dollars you can pick up one of these lens hoods. This item will aid in keeping the harsh sunlight “haze” out of your images when you are taking photos in full sunlight. That is, of course, only when you don’t want it. Sometimes it gives photos that extra touch!
Extra Lens Caps
You will lose lens caps, there is no arguing. Unless you attach them to the camera from the start, that’s always a good idea, but so many of us don’t do that, or feel that it gets in the way when trying to take a photo. There are tons of bundles that you can purchase that are under $10 and contain 4+ extra lens caps. Be sure to get ones that will fit the lenses that you currently use, not all caps will fit all cameras.
Camera Strap or Cover
Cameras will come with straps, but if you’re going to have it around your neck often, or all day when out and about, you will want to invest in a better quality more comfortable strap. This etsy shop creates adorable camera strap covers for an affordable price. They slip over you’re regular strap and even have a spot for putting your lens cap.
SD Cards can be purchased in any electronic department near the cameras or camera accessories. If you take a lot of photos, you will want some backups to keep in your bag because you might fill them fast. Having a few 16gb memory cards will be more than enough as long as you empty them frequently.
When you purchase your camera, be sure to purchase an extra battery or two for it. They do not run on regular batteries so you won’t be able to head to the store and pick some up last minute. Keep a few charged and in your bag ready to go.
For any brand there are two lenses that many beginners and professionals alike love to use and also love the price of. One is the 50mm f/1.8 also referred to as the nifty fifty, and the other is the Canon 40mm f/2.8 lens also known as the pancake lens. Here are the links to both Canon and Nikon varieties for the 50mm.
Nikon does not offer a pancake lens, though this will work if you need it. Of course there are TONS of lenses out there, but for the sake of them being affordable, these are the best ones to try out other than your regular 18-55mm kit lens that will most likely come with your camera.
This is where price will highly come into play. Often time’s bodies of cameras (without the lens) can be found at just about equal price. It is when you begin looking at additional items that Nikon seems to be a bit pricier than Canon.
Both of these lens options for either camera brand offer clean and crisp images even in auto mode. Be sure to purchase a lens that will auto focus as well as manual if you prefer or would like to experiment with that.
Hopefully this will help you on your way to choosing a new camera. In our next post, I will discuss how to use the various settings on your camera to get some great shots, including aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Check back soon for more great info!
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If you want to read the other articles in this series, check them out.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.