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Courtesy of sine-out and his fantastic knowledge, we now bring you the fourth in this series of articles. sine-out has answered all the questions that have come up so far. Do you have one? Is there something you need help with? Drop us a comment and we'll see what we can do! And as always, if you have information that could help someone out, let us know!


"How do I select a new camera?"
~Eitvys200


 

With Camera by Pitrisek


"One of the most often asked questions I've seen regarding photography, above how to do something, is 'what is the best camera?', or 'what camera should I get?'.

Or something along those lines. The critical thing to note is that there is no such thing as the best camera.
Sure there are cameras that are technically better at certain things, for example, some cameras have very high resolutions, other are very good at low light photography, some are very small, and so on, but there's no such thing as an all encompassing camera that any person can point at and say 'that's the best one you can get', because all photographers are different and thus, have different requirements out of their camera.

As such, the type of camera I could recommend to you depends entirely on what sort of photographs you take, what sort of photographs you want to take, your budget, and a whole slew of other variables and in some cases, compromises, that will help to narrow down your choice.

camera by manson-sex


I use myself as an example.

When I first started to get interested in photography, all I had was a Vivitar 3765 (at least, I think it was). It was a point and shoot camera in the truest sense, it was slow, the picture quality was mediocre at best and it had no manual controls to speak of. Suffice to say, I managed to reach my creative limits with that camera very quickly. Any further creative development on my part necessitated a new camera.

When I managed to get the money for a new camera, I was convinced that I needed a dSLR, so I did my research which eventually lead me to the Nikon D50. During my research, however, I also came across the Panasonic Lumix FZ30, which is a Bridge camera.

It took me several weeks going over the pros and cons of either, I even made detailed analyses on both, listing all the factors of the cameras that I felt were the most important.

Obviously, I finally chose the Nikon D50.

The point, at the time, was that all my decisions in leading to my purchase were compromises. What I gained in some areas I might lose in others. For example, the Nikon D50 with its larger sensor was much better under low light than the FZ30, but it also had a (slightly) lower resolution.

camera by aurraskitten


Of course, at the time I was making this decision (middle of 2006), the market wasn't as developed as it is today.
I wouldn't dismiss any class of camera today in your final decision.

You'll probably have noticed that I've tried to avoid pointing to any one type of camera as a suggestion to go to. I mean, while there's no such thing as 'the best' camera, surely, you'd think that I'd be able to point to one camera, or camera form factor that would be 'good enough' for nearly any scenario. But even giving a recommendation for that is fraught with difficulty.

New Camera by Suckerpunchlolita


For example, I could say that getting a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC) also commonly called a Compact System Camera (CSC) would make for a good general purpose camera form factor, as they allow interchangeable lenses, and thus have flexibility to enable being general purpose, but aren't large or heavy in themselves that people would avoid actually using the cameras because they'd be a hassle to carry around all the time. I could say that, but then there'd be many people who'd disagree, some prefer the Phase Detection auto-focus of SLR cameras, some think that even CSC's are too large, and would prefer a camera with a fixed lens.

All my waffling is trying to make the ultimate point that it's basically subjective.
Set yourself a budget (ideally one you can afford :B), figure out what you want the camera to do, and then do lots and lots of research.
Ideally, actually get a hold of the cameras your looking at, and see how they feel to actually use (ergonomics are extremely important, after all, you want to be comfortable in using the camera, or you just won't use it).

Russian Camera by tumbler591


Once you've made a shortlist of the cameras you're considering, then you can get third party opinions and suggestions, to give you different perspectives in case you've missed anything obvious that would make a camera a hit or miss to you.

Unfortunately, doing all of this can take time, and it does take a modicum of effort. However, the reward in taking that time and effort, I think are worth it."

~ sine-out



I loooooove the camera.... by thrumyeye


Previous Troubleshooting Articles...
:bulletblack:Lighting
:bulletblack:Backgrounds
:bulletblack:Noise



This edition of Photography Troubleshooting will hopefully give you some advice as to what to keep in mind when selecting a new digital camera!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcinnapyre:
CinnaPyre Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist
I was wondering if you could help me a little: I wrote a journal cinnapyre.deviantart.com/journ… and I hoped you give me advice or suggest a camera.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I've replied for you :)
Reply
:iconcinnapyre:
CinnaPyre Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you! :)
Reply
:icongreenbank:
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2013

Great article, short and to the point.


One thing you mentioned, but I felt you didn't stress enough, is that the chooser needs to figure out what sort of photography they are most interested in. That will naturally narrow down the range of suitable cameras; but it should also lead them to consider what accessories (if any) would need to be available for their chosen system, and what focal lengths (or zoom ranges) they would need on their lenses.


And admittedly I'm biased, but you seem to have assumed that virtually everyone is looking for a digital camera. That may (regrettably) be true, but I think it might be helpful to write a companion article on the possible virtues of (a) film cameras, and (b) formats other than 35mm and its digital equivalents. For the next few years at least, there will be tremendous bargains in good-quality second-hand 35mm and medium-format film camera systems, which some people may prefer as learning tools for various reasons. Nor did you mention that second-hand equipment can in general be a good starting-point if the budget is tight - not so true in digital, of course, but still worth looking at.

Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the feedback :) Definitely an idea to focus on 'type' of Photography.
However I have no knowledge (sadly) on film cameras or other alternatives thus I didn't share them :)
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:icongreenbank:
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013
I can do something on those lines if you think it could be worth posting. Don't want to tread on anyone's toes here, so I'd be happy to supply a draft which could be re-worked by one of the group's gurus if that's preferable.

But I do feel that it's important to remind youngsters in particular that film is still a valid option which ought to be at least considered.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Definitely :) if you'd like to draft something up we could go from there? It would be very helpful, perhaps to tackle in the new year :nod:
Reply
:icongreenbank:
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013

I'll be glad to.


Once I've sobered up from the festivities.

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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Indeed :D
Reply
:iconmarob0501:
marob0501 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
also can you search for a camera where the lenses of you not-digital-camera can used on a new digital camera. So you spare for example the macrolens for your new camera, then you choose the same mark .

I hope this can add something to this article , which is great
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:hug:
Reply
:iconmarob0501:
marob0501 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
^*^
Reply
:iconsine-out:
sine-out Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
If that's a question, then the best thing to do is to find out what the lens mount is on the lens, and then you can use things like wikipedia or simply google to find cameras that use that lens mount.

Depending on the lens mount you might just be able to find a modern dSLR that uses it, but in some cases, like for screw mount lenses, or Canon's FD mount, you'll need an adapter to get them to work with current SLR and Mirrorless cameras.
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:iconmarob0501:
marob0501 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I want only to add a reason why you choose a special sort of camera.Because I had in early times a canon Eos 500 , and also the lenses therefrom. So I choosed a new digital camera of Canon, because my old lenses fit perfectly on the new camera.

So no question , but an added reason
Reply
:iconduperhero:
duperhero Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Student Photographer
Take me:
All I wanted was a cam, all I got is a Fujifilm Finepix JV100, must be a (d)SLR, 12MP(!), 3x (meh!) optical Zoom, 2.7 inch screen; MyFinePix Studio CD-Rom, cam-to-PC (USB)-connection and battery charger included. I got a 8GB SDHC memory card and a camera bag by Bilora extra. All got as a gift at Christmas 2010! I can tell you, you can even make movies up to HD1280! With my memory, I can record up to 1 hour at low 320x240! Additional lightning (of course), countdown (2 and 10 seconds) and macro mode! Own modes for babies, landscapes, panorama, sports, night photos, fireworks, sunsets, snow, beach photos, parties, flowers, and even text photos! Photo resolutions goes from 640x480 up to 4000x3000. My recent deviations are shot with this cam! The software works on Windows XP (which I have) and better and Mac 10.3.9+. I'm sorry, if I fed you with technical informations!
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow :faint:
But yes, I totally get your point :D
Reply
:iconduperhero:
duperhero Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Student Photographer
:iconspeechlessplz:
:iconohrlyplz:
Reply
:iconnightingaleshadow:
NightingaleShadow Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist
This is really useful! I have a pentax Fx currently but as the lens grow more and more limited, I may be needing a new Dslr soon, and this information will really be useful!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent! Good luck choosing! :)
Reply
:iconnightingaleshadow:
NightingaleShadow Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist
and thank you for all the help!
Reply
:icontalty:
Talty Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012   Artisan Crafter
This is so helpful, where were you when I was trying to decide what camera I needed? :love: I'm going to link this to people asking me about cameras, it's a common issue us crafters have. Thank you so much for sharing :heart:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
hahaha :D Everyone should have ^sine-out accessible to bug for info methinks :D
Reply
:iconaelith-earfalas:
Aelith-Earfalas Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is very helpful!
I wish I read this 3 or 4 weeks ago before buying my new camera. But, I used some of the methods you said and tried out a few. I loved the speed and manual focus that a DSLR would have, but it was entirely out of my families price range. So we set our ranges and found a camera we really liked,
A digital Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. I found out I really like having a larger optical zoom and than my older camera had, especially since it had quite a bit of digital zoom holding it back in some cases. I really liked the upgrades that came with it too. But when I feel I need a new camera, years from now, I'll totally give this another look!

I've only recently been into getting into cameras in depth, so I'm pretty new to the terms and may sound dumb and ect. but I'm happy to have actually been able to understand your tutorial. Thanks!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah it's a shame, but hopefully cameras will grow on you :)
Hope it helps!
Reply
:iconaelith-earfalas:
Aelith-Earfalas Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I hope they will too.
And this does help quite a lot! thank you!
Reply
:iconsavaliste:
Savaliste Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
good info! :la:

Yah how I chose my first DSLR was from a professional nature photographer :iconnivaun: I wrote him so many notes with camera questions and everything and I finally decided on the Nikon D3100 which was a wonderful camera to learn on and has great video quality as well..but as of a month ago I sold it in order to upgrade to a D7000 which I have yet to get ^^; but like you said there isn't a best brand camera you just do your homework and choose wisely and be happy with it. I'm just sticking with nikon for "now" so I can use my lenses with all the bodies I may or may not get :XD:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah yes, those professional types are so useful :D
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012   Photographer
Nikon D50 was my first DSLR. Wonderful entry level camera!
A general advice I'd give to anyone: Go for the largest sensor you can afford and the best optics and don't get impressed by megapixels. 6MP are more thatn enough to print in A4 size. How many of you print in larger sizes?
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Hmm great advice! Not many I imagine :D
Reply
:iconthesquarebrick:
TheSquareBrick Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Most camera shops allow you to try them... but it's always useful to have done your research before so you know which selection of cameras you want to try, otherwise they'll try and sell you a more expensive model. :P
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah yes definitely, never had a camera shop allow me :(
Reply
:iconclaremanson:
claremanson Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
this is going to be very helpful to many people. i remember how hard it was when choosing when i went from a compact to DSLR camera, i don't even remember why i went for my canon in the end but i am glad i did, i have always loved it :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I hope so! How's the lens? :)
Reply
:iconclaremanson:
claremanson Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
the lens is fine for still life close up but for people not so good, all out of focus because i just can't see when they are so far away how in focus it is so i am now on the look out for a second hand lens, i need one anyway as i will have to give my camera to someone at the wedding to use and everyone finds my camera complicated at the best of times.
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:iconvenry:
Venry Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Student General Artist
thanks for the advice :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
No problem!
Reply
:iconzokiart555:
ZokiArt555 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
Long time I use my favorite, Delphin 6317, I built myself personally! Is analog, suitable for long exposures! The tripod is mandatory!!!! :nod: ;)

:camera: ---------------> [link] :bow:
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
oooo nice!
Reply
:iconzokiart555:
ZokiArt555 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you kindly! :iconflowerheartplz::sun: :bow:
Reply
:iconicefire8521:
icefire8521 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
When I got my first camera for my own, I just looked for what I needed in a camera. Good quality pictures (obviously), and a good amount of setting adjustments in program mode. In the end, I got a Sony DSC-WX7. Nothing fancy, and ordinary shooting camera. It's no DSLR, but it does what I need it to do.

Good advice!
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent! Sometimes nothing fancy is the way forward :)
Reply
:iconmathness:
Mathness Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
Also do not buy a camera based on specs, they are somewhat meaningless unless you are already very familiar with cameras and their workings.

If you are going to be a bit more "serious" about photography, find a photo club or class/course that teaches it, to get some experience to make a buying decision on.

And if you do get a camera, bring it with you as often as possible and use it. :)
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very true! :)
Reply
:iconannajordanart:
annajordanart Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
One of the most difficult questions to answer! Totally down to individual situation. Never allow yourself to feel your camera is inferior to another because of its age or brand! <3
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Exactly! :D
Reply
:iconelectricjonny:
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very great information. Thank you ^sine-out :nod:

For myself, budget is my main limiting factor. So I bought a point & shoot, that had a good zoom (10X), since at the time, a good optical zoom was more important to me than megapixels (I have a Canon SX100 IS, 10X optical zoom but "only" 8 megapixels). But later on down the road, I discovered the CHDK community ([link]) which is a group of people that change the camera's firmware to open up a few hidden features, like longer shutter times and RAW support, along with scripts to automate certain things (time lapse photography, for example). So while I don't have a professional digital SLR, I've squeezed quite a bit out of what my camera can offer. Officially and with a little tweaking =P

In short, yes, the key is to know what you want to do, then learn what camera can do that for you. Then learn that camera in and out and tweak every inch you can out of it.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes...that's the struggle these days. I have found, similar to you, that a point and shoot does some amazing things if you just know how to point and shoot it :D
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:iconelectricjonny:
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yup :nod: And as always, the key is you need to have a camera on you in the first place to even get the shot. And lugging around a DSLR isn't always easy. That's one area where phone cameras are kicking ass.

But I still miss shooting with my old Pentax K1000 film SLR. Mostly the fact that all my manual controls were easy and there, and also the focus and aperture are right on the lens. Oh, and speaking of focus, do modern DSLR's still do a split prism kind of focus? My K1000 had one, and you would point the lens at something, then spin the focus wheel until the two sides lined up. I love that, over the graded texture material that you focus by trying to get it as smooth as possible.
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:iconsine-out:
sine-out Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Many dSLR's can have their focusing screens replaced with split prism ones, so, yes, they still can, but you have to buy it separately, and most people never do.
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:iconelectricjonny:
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Huh, I see. I don't use an SLR now, but if I did, I would certainly do that (if the cost was within reason), since I find it an excellent way to focus.
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