How to Buy a DSLR Camera – DSLR Purchase Guide

This is a comprehensive guide that will help you select and purchase a DSLR camera. Our readers ask us questions on a regular basis regarding a variety of photographic equipment, but the majority of their inquiries focus on cameras. Questions such as “What should I get to create good-looking pictures?” and “Should I buy Canon or Nikon?” are examples of the kind of inquiries that are received.

I’ve decided to create this “how to” and “frequently asked questions” piece on purchasing DSLR cameras since I’ve gone through the agony of doing research on what to purchase for myself a long time ago and because I’ve been continuously keeping track of the changes in this field.

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1. I have never owned anything more than a point-and-shoot camera and want to buy a professional camera to create professional-looking pictures. What do you recommend?

People who are just starting out in photography probably ask this question more than any other in the beginning stages of their journey. To begin, there is a widespread misunderstanding that in order to take photographs that appear to have been taken by a professional, one must first own a professional camera. This could not be further from the truth. The images that are considered to be among the greatest ever taken were taken with point-and-shoot cameras, and some individuals even capture amazing shots with the cameras on their smartphones.

Personally, I enjoy taking photos with my LG G4 just as much as I enjoy taking photos with my iPhone 7 Plus. I have obtained many beautiful photographs with both portable devices, some of which I have published right here on Photography Life.

Does this imply that the camera has no bearing whatsoever on the situation? Certainly not in every case. It doesn’t really matter for the vast majority of individuals out there who are just starting out in photography. It provides a significant amount of good for those whose livelihoods depend on the sale of images. More information on this topic may be found in the “A Camera Is Just a Tool” section of my Nikon vs. Canon vs. Sony essay, which can be found here.

Light is of the utmost importance when it comes to digital photography—the use of stunning light results in the creation of great images. Once you have mastered the techniques of working with light and how to arrange your shots, you will be able to take amazing photographs, and the equipment you use won’t matter as much.

The next step is to become familiar with the features and techniques of your camera. The vast majority of individuals who use point-and-shoot cameras are not even familiar with how to operate them! They don’t bother learning the critical settings and modes of their cameras, opting instead just to set their cameras to the “Auto” mode. It’s true that the “Auto” setting on your camera is convenient, but when you think back on all the pictures you’ve taken, can you honestly say that every single one of them turned out beautifully? I’m sure it didn’t! There are a few widespread explanations for this, some of which even apply to professional cameras:

  • Bad Light
  • Bad Subject
  • Bad Composition
  • Bad Technique
  • No Creativity

If you were to look through all of your images and separate the excellent ones from the poor ones, I have no doubt that the majority of the subpar photographs would be the ones that were shot indoors (at events such as birthday parties or other such gatherings), while the majority of the good photographs would be the ones that were taken outside on clear, bright days. I have no idea why.

It is, once more, due of the light. In low-light situations, a point-and-shoot camera will increase the sensitivity of its sensor by increasing the ISO, which will result in a great deal of noise (remember those grainy shots that you wish were a little bit cleaner?).

If the lighting is adequate and bright, a point-and-shoot camera will automatically lower its sensitivity and stop down the lens (aperture), which will reduce noise and produce images that are both attractive and crisp (here are some helpful recommendations for using a point-and-shoot camera).

However, there are some restrictions placed on point-and-shoot cameras. Even if you become an expert with light and know your point-and-shoot camera through and out, the camera still won’t be able to perform all of the functions that a DSLR can.

Therefore, in comparison to point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras have the following advantages:

1. Ability to change lenses and depth of field. The lens on a point-and-shoot camera is designed to be versatile, but the lenses available for DSLRs cover a far broader spectrum of specializations. Take a look at the following photograph if you are unsure as to why you would require various lenses:


Because the coyote would not allow you to approach so near, you would not be able to take this picture with a point-and-shoot camera (unless you also have digiscoping equipment). Even if it did, it would see the situation as dangerous and flee, or it would even try to attack you. This picture was taken using a very long telephoto lens, which cannot be mounted on a point-and-shoot camera since those cameras are too small. The capability to install a variety of lenses is a significant advantage since it enables the user to take photographs of a wide variety of subjects, ranging from landscapes to close-ups of tiny birds. The concept known as “depth of field” is yet another significant advantage. Notice how the background of the photo that you’re looking at has been blurred, yet the coyote is clear and in focus? A digital single-lens reflex camera gives you the ability to adjust the depth of focus, as well as the degree to which the backdrop of your images is blurred (sometimes referred to as “Bokeh”).

2. Overall, better image quality. When compared to a point-and-shoot camera, a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) has a larger sensor, which results in less noise, faster speeds, and improved image quality.

3. Shutter and focus speeds. Digital single-lens reflex cameras are able to rapidly acquire focus and capture many photos in a single second. Have you ever attempted to take a picture of a bird in flight with a simple point-and-shoot camera? Because of their poor ability to focus and slow shutter speeds, point-and-shoot cameras have a tough time capturing still images of moving scenes.


4. You see what you shoot. Because reflex mirrors are included into the design of a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR), the viewfinder on such a camera is actually the camera’s lens. Because of this, you may alter the focus on your subject as if you were looking through binoculars, which is a feature that is particularly helpful with long telephoto lenses.

5. Lots of ways to control the camera. Even though many of the latest point-and-shoot cameras feature a fair amount of manual options, digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) have the greatest control over the camera. In more powerful DSLRs, you have the ability to tweak everything from the ISO to the focus points, and you can even build your own unique layouts.

Where should I buy my first DSLR and photo gear?

It does not matter which good local reseller you choose provided that you are not overcharged due to the addition of local taxes and other expenses to the purchase price. Nevertheless, if you are looking for the most terrific deal, purchasing your photographic equipment online is the way to go. The following is a list of online retailers that I frequently shop from, and include links to their websites. I suppose that some of them even mail their products to customers in other countries.

  1. B&H Photo Video
  2. Adorama
  3. Amazon

It is far more convenient for me to place my orders through B&H Photo Video. Even though B&H is usually quite excellent at getting products into stock, I do occasionally check out other websites to see if they have what I’m looking for at a lesser price and see if they have any availability. When it comes to providing excellent customer service, they are without a doubt the most helpful company to work with. They are also able to handle the majority of the orders on the same day, which is a fantastic advantage in comparison to other suppliers. I make my purchases from Adorama when B&H is out of stock on an item since Adorama is likewise an excellent company to work with.

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