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Submitted on
June 19, 2012
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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?"


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...

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:
CinnaPyre Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist
I was wondering if you could help me a little: I wrote a journal… and I hoped you give me advice or suggest a camera.
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I've replied for you :)
CinnaPyre Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you! :)
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.

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 :)
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.
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:
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013

I'll be glad to.

Once I've sobered up from the festivities.

Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Indeed :D
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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