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If you\’re thinking about buying your first DSLR camera, or getting a more feature-rich model, I want to share some useful tips on how to choose SLR cameras for beginners. One or two of the things I mention might seem obvious, but I want to explain my decision making process when I consider buying a new camera.
It depends on what your budget is, what your needs are and what your desires are. Photography is a hobby and the equipment is part of the hobby.
1. Know what your budget is. When you\’re thinking about the camera itself, start at the bottom of the price range and work your way up. You already know what the features are that you want. If you\’re not looking for any specific features, you should start by considering a simple point and shoot. Check the reviews then decide if you should consider a more expensive model.
2. Consider these features:
* Auto focus
* Video capabilities
* How heavy or how light do you want it to be?
* How many frames per second (fps) do you want?
* The number of memory cards the camera can hold at once
* How decent is the sensor?
* Do you want a full frame or not?
Any extra cash you have left in your budget after the camera can go towards lenses, which can get very expensive very quickly. Remember, you don\’t need to spend lots of money to take pictures.
3. What kind of photography do you want to do? What kinds of photos do you plan on taking? Everyone has different needs. Some people want to do landscapes, others want to do sports, some want to do all of it. You get buy kits that come with the camera body, lenses, flash and a bag. It is a good idea to see how it feels in your hands. Beginner level DSLRs are getting more and more powerful, meaning you can do almost anything you want with them, so save money for the lenses.
4. You may want to get a second hand camera body to have money cash available for the lenses.
5. The advantage of getting an entry level body over a more advanced one is obviously cost, but you also get the choice over auto mode or scene modes which you don\’t get in the more expensive professional lines. These modes will let you use it as a learning tool to see how the camera sets itself up in different situations.
6. You should consider getting a kit that has the camera body and an intermediate lens like the 18 to 55, which comes with the Nikon D3100 kit. This lens can also be used for macro photography. It\’s also worth getting a photo lens such as the55 – 200mm lens that you can get with many D3100 kits. If you\’re just starting out, these two lenses will be an excellent choice, but if you want something extra, you may want to consider a lens that will allow you to shoot in low light. Such lenses have apertures that go all the way up to F1.8 or even F1.4.
7. Be sure to check whether the lens is DX or FX. The entry level Nikon DSLRs come with DX format sensors. This type of sensor is a crop sensor. The FX sensors are in the most expensive Nikon DSLRs and are bigger. You can use both DX and FX lens types on all Nikon DSLRs.
8. For auto focus enabled cameras, ensure that the lenses can also auto focus.
9. You also might want to invest in some inexpensive UV filters, which attach to the end of the lens and will provide a little extra protection. You can get them in different sizes, so take a look when you make your purchase.
10. Think about what flashes to get. These are called Speedlites in the Nikon system. Many digital DLR cameras include pop up flashes. A Speedlite has more power and will attach to the hot shoe of your camera. Some flashes let you control the direction of the light to some degree by tilting them. You can also control the power of some.
11. You\’ll also have to get a memory card for your camera. There is a huge range out there.
12. A bag is something else to think about. Most kits come with a bag. Again there are hundreds to choose from.
13. You\’ll also need think about editing software. Google has a freeware called Picasa which is great to experiment with before getting something more powerful, such as Apple Aperture, or Photoshop Elements or Adobe Lightroom.
So as you can see, there\’s a lot of information to take in. Thee are lots of options when you are just getting started. Spend the time to work out what technical features you want to have the most. After that you\’ll be in a better position to make the right decision for you.