Ever been asked this question? How would you answer your friends or family? I have been asked this question several times and so I’ve decided to come up with a list of important questions to ask yourself before you put your hard earned money on the table.
1) What is your budget?
Always work towards what you can afford and don’t aim for the most expensive or the newest technology that is out in the market. Sales personnel will always try to entice you with this megapixel or new features. As much as we enjoy new features, always lean back towards how much you are willing to cough out first and try not to go beyond 10% of your initial budget. Think through this before you move on to the next question.
2) What kind of camera should I buy?
There are countless types of cameras out in the market. From the DSLR to mirrorless to Polaroid cameras and more. Important thing to do is not follow the crowd. Don’t buy a DSLR because your friend has one or the group you follow have one. Ask yourself after deciding on your budget what are your options. I spent my life savings when I was younger following others, buying the expensive cameras but I knew nothing about photography at all. I just kept buying and buying because everyone had one. Don’t! i repeat do not follow after me! I now have quite a number of dead weights in my dry cabinet screaming for my attention. Asking me the same question everyday, when will you take me out?
3) How often will you use it?
How often will you use your camera? 95% of the time, I’m snapping pictures using my camera phone. Serious! Why you ask? Because the camera adds weight to my bag and carrying it out everyday will cause my shoulder to ache. I went on a vacation in 2008 to Australia. I brought along with me 2 cameras, the Canon 5d and the Panasonic GH1. I wanted to capture videos using my Panasonic and beautiful images using my Canon. In the end, I used the Panasonic about 90% of the time. Reason was simple, the Panasonic was so much lighter than the Canon I had which was left in my bag.
4) What kind of photography are you going to shoot?
There are various forms of photography out there. From taking portraits (pictures of your family and friends), to macro ( pictures of really small things such as insects), to landscape or weather. You need to think about what is it you want to capture. Once you roughly know what you want to shoot, it will become clearer to what you may require to buy. I’m sure a lot of people will say I want to try everything. Yes, even I thought of that. After all, you definitely need to try to be able to see what you will like in the long run.
5) Which brand to buy?
This is a tough cookie to munch. There are countless brands out there. Many would tap into the main stream players such as Canon, nikon or Sony. I have tried to use Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Fuji, Rollei, Holga (yes I did start with lomography) in case you didn’t know. So there are so many choices for you to choose from. Really take your time to look around and don’t jump into it so quickly. The cameras will always be there for you. Just take your time to see which you like or which suits your photography interest.
I’m currently using a Fuji because I love the colors and it’s super lightweight. I don’t feel the strain when I carry it in my bag and it’s a beautiful camera to capture my street photography, portrait photography and even landscapes as well. A beautiful all rounder in my opinion.
6) Is X camera good?
So the most important question. Is this camera good? Or that camera good? Great question to ask any expert photographer. My take is to go out there and try the camera. Go to show rooms and hold the camera. Go online and look for reviews of the cameras. Always do your research first and like I said, don’t jump impulsively into a certain brand so quickly. Everyone is unique and it would be great to find a camera that really suits your needs. Be it a DSLR or a mirrorless or a point and shoot. You can also ask your friends to lend their camera to you (if they are willing) or go out with them and see how they use it.
These days, cameras are improving through the years. Cameras started with film and has progressed to advanced technology and is still improving. So choose wisely and have fun! I pray that you find a system that serves you well.
I look forward to photography outings in the future with anyone who wants to learn and have fun. After all, photography is enjoyable and exciting!