Article Written by Casey Midgley on March 4, 2014

How to buy your First Digital SLR Camera

Digital SLR Cameras are becoming increasingly popular for the thriving amateurs in the world of photography. However it can be quite a daunting task when it comes to choosing your first Digital SLR Camera, especially when you throw a salesman in the mix!

This guide is intended for beginners in Photography so please bare with me if some of the basics we will be talking about bore you to death.

*Republished Article
Original article from May 2013
Some information may be a little out-dated

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS-6D-Body Digital SLR Camera

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS-6D-Body-Back Digital SLR Camera

Okay, so lets get started!

First things first, you need to determine what you are wanting to gain from your photography. Do you want to treat your passion as a hobby? Do you want to sell your creative photos to high-end art dealers? Do you want to treat your photography as a Career and sell your images to your clients?

Finding out what you want to gain out of your photos is a major step to working out what type of DSLR camera should be your first Digital SLR Camera that would best suit you to start out with!

Why bother upgrading to your first Digital SLR Camera?

 

Faster Speed

Digital SLR Cameras are Quick! Point and shoots can sometimes take a very long time to snap endless shots in a row which makes it hard to capture that perfect image! Most DSLR’s take only a couple of seconds to start up and can generally shoot a fair amount of images per second (Obviously dependent on your shutter speed)

 

The Possibilities

You cant change lenses on a Point & Shoot. Sometimes the onboard Optical Zoom on any given point and shoot is more than enough for some occasions however if you are serious about what you do then one day your 5x Optical Zoom will just produce more than crappy results and you will find yourself kicking and screaming that you didn’t upgrade your gear sooner. With a DSLR your vast array of lenses available to you range from High Quality Macro lenses (like the close up photos of bee’s you see everywhere) to Long Telephoto lenses (like at the footy) that allow you to capture any moment in its prime.

Lenses aside, you can only do so much with a point and shoot’s flash to lighten up your subject. Generally your portraits will be left shadowless and flat and dont get me wrong, same goes for the beginners onboard flash on their shiny new First Digital SLR Camera! However you are presented with the possibility of attaching an external flash to your camera allowing you to “bounce” your flash off different surroundings (walls, kittens, ceilings, studio umbrellas, etc). You are also presented with the opportunity of connecting up to an existing studio setup or even setting up your own small studio. With your Digital SLR Camera… the possibilities really are endless!

 

Amazing High End Quality

Your First Digital SLR Cameras will have a large image sensor (the device that converts your image to a JPG though i hope your shooting in RAW). These image sensors allow for larger images and a higher quality photo and lets face it, your reading this article because you want higher quality photos. You can push the limits to low lighting with the ability to push your ISO (Image Sensitivity) put simply a 100 iso will result in a darker image than 1600 iso.

Most Point & Shoot cameras can only be pushed to 800 iso and thats their maximum, some high end DSLR’s can be pushed up to 6400 Plus! Giving you a great combat to poor lighting. Just be careful when shooting at high ISO settings to know where your limit is with Digital Noise, the higher the ISO the more noise you will get and unfortunately, Digital Noise is not as aesthetically pleasing as the old Film Grain. Know your limitations!

 

How can I decide which Digital SLR Camera is right for Me?

What to Consider!

 

Your Budget!

Let’s face it we would all love to have Canon 1d Mark IV’s but the reality of economical setbacks prevent us from buying the greatest and most versatile beautiful camera on the market. So Price is going to be a main contributing factor in your decision making process.

Most DSLR’s these days are quite affordable when it comes to their quality, which is Great for you. My advice to you is to set yourself a budget for your DSLR early, before you even know what type of DSLR you need, remember needs and wants are completely different, as i said we all want 1D Mark IV’s but we probably only need a 650D at most. Dont forget your not just buying a Camera now, you need to consider the total costs of actually purchasing a Digital SLR Camera.

When buying your first Digital SLR Camera you’ll need; Lenses (I started off with 2, A large zoom (18-200mm) & a fixed 50mm), Memory Cards (at least 2), Batteries (at least 2), A Good Comfy Camera Bag, Lens Filters (At Least a UV Filter for each of your Lens’ mainly for protection), Extended Warranties, Tripods, External Flash Systems – etc. Just be prepared for the Total Costs and make sure it all fits into your budget!

 

Type of Photography

Most sales people will jump straight into the question “So what type of photos do you want to focus on?” Be prepared for this question. You need to know whether your going to dive straight into wedding photography (which I highly recommend not doing) or just to capture your babies first steps.

This is a big question in regards to working out what type of camera you are going to need as your first Digital SLR Camera, what gear you are going to need to setup, Lenses Etc. If you want to capture birds, your going to need quite a nice, fast and long zoom range. If you are going to be shooting apple’s for Stock photos, a fixed 50mm may suffice.

If you need to record video, be sure to know what type of video you need to be able to record. All these factors will affect your budget, so be clear in what you want out of your Digital SLR Camera. It is worth knowing what type of features/accessories you’ll need before even venturing to your local camera store.

 

Resolution

The common misconception is More Megapixels = Better! This is not always correct. For instance a 12 megapixel DSLR is going to kick a 20 megapixel Point & Shoot out of the water when it comes to image quality.

You also need to ask yourself how you will be using your images, if you are going to be printing massive high resolution copies of your photo’s then yes, More Megapixels can assist in this for you. If you are just printing small versions, emailing them to your friends or putting them on facebook/pinterest and/or any other websites then no, more megapixels will more or less mean a waste of your hard earned cash. Be sure to know what you will actually be using your Digital SLR Camera for, especially when cost is a highly contributing factor.

 

Sensor Type

Put simply, if you have a budget under $2000- Your getting a Crop Sensor in your DSLR. You are generally only going to find full-frame sensors in high-end professional DSLR’s. Full-Frames are great and down right amazing pieces of machinery to use and own. They are very expensive and can be a waste of time if your not using your DSLR as a Career. A Crop  sensor just means your missing out on the outside edges of your photo. Imagine taking a photo and cropping the image in the centre but where you cut roughly 15% off all four edges. This is effectively the difference between a Full-Frame & Crop Sensor.

If you enjoy taking photos of landscape’s and architecture then it is definitely worth checking out the larger sensor. For standard, photography enthusiasts sticking with a Crop Sensor is perfectly Okay. Previous Gear could also come into this also, most of the old Nikon 35mm Film Lenses are fully compatible with the modern Nikon Full-Frame bodies and all Canon Bodies work with the EF-Mount from the 35mm days (EF-S Lenses only fit Crop-Sensor DSLR’s).

Conclusion, for your first DSLR Camera we would recommend the crop sensor – unless your filthy rich or wake up to luxurious scent of freshly printed money each morning. (dream big)

Future Upgrades

Consider when it is time to upgrade to your Second DSLR! Entry Level DSLR’s are quite attractive due to their quality and more importantly their price. They tend to date quicker than high end models and you can risk growing out of them as your expertise grows. You will find yourself thirsting for a more professional approach and the high end features.

You need to be clear about your current skill level in photography and whether you are going to move forward within the industry quickly. If you do, the Canon 1100D is not going to suffice! Look at intermediate to high end level Crop-Sensor bodies and look closely on choosing the right lenses. It may be worth your while to spend

 

Extra Features

There are a lot of DSLR’s out there with a large array of features that can be both overwhelming and confusing at an initial glance. Compare the features of different brands and models to find one that will fit your needs appropriately.

They will all have basic features (even your very first digital slr camera) that will include aperture and shutter speed settings, ISO and white balance. Most lenses come with both the ability of Manual & Automatic Focus and plenty more basic, on board features but there is a lot of variation from body to body when it comes to onboard image editing, sepia/black & white modes. Some more feature you may want to consider might be;

Burst Mode: The ability to shoot in bursts by holding the shutter button down.

Maximum Shutter Speed: Most DSLR’s have a decent shutter speed range, however if you wish to shoot sports or moving cars. A high shutter speed is your best friend.

LCD Size: Not so important as you will find yourself using your viewfinder to frame most your shots, however viewing them on a little larger screen is always nice.

Semi-Auto Modes: If your not diving into professional photography, some semi-auto modes such as; Sports, Portrait, Night & Landscope modes may appeal to you.

Flash: We highly recommend purchasing an external flash for your DSLR which is attached via the hot-shoe on top of the camera. If you hate the idea of carrying around a bulky flash, consider an entry to intermediate level DSLR with an on-board flash.

Down to your Choices!

Okay, so here at Esthetik. We are Canon lovers so we will only be talking about Canon from here on out. We are in no saying they are any better or any worse than their competitors like Nikon, Sony, Olympus etc. We just like Canon! it’s a Personal Preference really…

Entry Level DSLR’s

Canon EOS M

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS-M-Front-Body-Only Digital SLR Camera

Description

The EOS M combines the renowned EOS DSLR quality in an ultra compact body that is fun to use. The compact system camera enables users to lose themselves in the moment rather than the camera manual, through its ease of use and incredibly compact body. With the ability to attach EFM, EF and EF-S lenses, as well as an array of EOS accessories, the EOS M is the perfect tool for those stepping up from their compact camera and not wanting to embark on DSLR photography.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  •  Sharper Previews
  •  EOS Movies (Full HD)
  •  Fast Shooting
  •  Scene Intelligent Auto
  •  Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  •  Sharp Focusing
  •  Superior Processing

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the Canon M @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 1100D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon 1100D Top Digital SLR Camera

Description

A 12.2 megapixel Canon developed CMOS sensor and DiG!C 4 Image Processor combine to deliver high image quality for first time DSLR users. LiveView enables the photographer to preview images in real time and enhances High Definition recording. The EOS 1100D will take first time DSLR users to the next level of photography.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  • Clear Previews
  • EOS Movies (HD)
  • Fast Shooting
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Sharp Focus
  • Superior Processing

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 1100D @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 650D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS-650D-Front Digital SLR Camera

Description

The Canon EOS 650D is the most powerful creative tool for budding photographers, offering ease of use for complete newcomers and huge scope to grow into the camera. It introduces significant quality and performance enhancements to suit creative photographers, while simpler functions allow newer photographers to experience amazing Digital SLR Camera quality with ease.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  • Sharper Previews
  • EOS Movies (Full HD)
  • Creative Art Filters
  • Scene Intelligent Auto
  • Fast Shooting
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Sharp Focus
  • Superior Processing

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 650D @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 600D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS_600D_E_006_CA Digital SLR Camera

Description

The Canon EOS 600D allows anyone to capture breathtaking images with creative freedom. With an 18.0 megapixel Canon developed CMOS sensor and DiG!C 4 Image Processor, users can create inspiring images with incredible detail even in low light. The EOS 600D is perfect for those looking to pursue the creative world of DSLR photography.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  • Sharper Previews
  • EOS Movies (Full HD)
  • Creative Art Filters
  • Scene Intelligent Auto
  • Fast Shooting
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Sharp Focus
  • Superior Processing

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 600D @ Canon.com.au

Enthusiast Level DSLR’s

Canon EOS 60D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon 60D_07_AUS Digital SLR Camera

Description

The Canon EOS 60D is the perfect camera for those looking to take the next step in the creative world of DSLR photography. With intuitive technology and a brand new Vari-Angle LCD Screen anyone can experiment with different angles and capture beautiful images that truly inspire everyone around you. The EOS 60D is the perfect companion for any creative photographer.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  • Sharper Previews
  • EOS Movies (Full HD)
  • Creative Art Filters
  • Fast Shooting
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Sharp Focus
  • Superior Processing
  • In Camera RAW Processing

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 60D @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 7D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon_EOS_7D_image01 Digital SLR Camera

Description

An 18.0 megapixel Canon-developed CMOS sensor together with Dual DiG!C 4 Image Processors combine to deliver outstanding image quality with fine detail and brilliant reproduction of colour and tones. Features also include 19 point Auto Focus, with an ISO range expandable to an incredible 12,800 and Full High Definition movie recording making the Canon EOS 7D an essential for the promising enthusiast.

Specifications

  • High Quality Images
  • Sharper Previews
  • HD Movies
  • Cleaner Images
  • Fast Shooting
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Sharp Focusing
  • Superior Processing
  • Live View Modes

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 7D @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 6D

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS-6D-Body Digital SLR Camera

Description

Stepping into full frame photography has never been easier thanks to the Canon EOS 6D – a lightweight and compact EOS equipped with a full frame sensor and close in size and weight to the EOS 60D. Upgrade with ease thanks to simple to use modes whilst experiencing the benefits of full frame quality such as incredible image detail, DiG!C 5+ image processor and amazing detail in low light.

Specifications

  • Incredible Image Detail
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Full HD MOvie Recording
  • Superior Image Processing
  • Continuous Shooting of up to 4.5 Frames per second
  • Sharp Focusing
  • High-Precision Exposure Control

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 6D @ Canon.com.au

Professional Level DSLR’s

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon EOS_5DMarkIII_Professional_Kit_front_CA Digital SLR Camera

Description

The EOS 5D Mark III delivers images like you have never experienced before, as a result of the incredible 22.3 megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor and fast DiG!C5+ image processor. Plus you’ll be able to push your photography to new heights with numerous creative features such as HDR and Multiple Exposure modes. The EOS 5D Mark III has refined the high-performance Digital SLR camera category.

Specifications

  • Incredible Image Detail
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Full HD MOvie Recording
  • Superior Image Processing
  • Continuous Shooting of up to 4.5 Frames per second
  • Sharp Focusing
  • High-Precision Exposure Control

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 5D Mark III @ Canon.com.au

Canon EOS 1D X

First Digital SLR Camera - Canon-Cameras-DSLR-EOS-1D_bodyonly_front Digital SLR Camera

Description

The EOS-1D X revolutionises the world of professional photography, combining the fastest shutter release and AF continuous shooting of 12 frames per second (fps); benchmark image quality of a new 18.1-megapixel, Full Frame CMOS sensor, standard-operation ISO range from 100-51,200 – and an innovative new AF system, and FULL HD video compliant with video industry standards.

Specifications

  • Incredible Image Detail
  • Incredible Image Detail in Low Light
  • Full HD MOvie Recording
  • Superior Image Processing
  • Face Detection Technology
  • Sharp Focusing
  • Live View Mode over Wi-Fi

Download Brochure

Click Here to Read More about the 1D X @ Canon.com.au

So there you have it, an in depth guide on how to choose and what to look for when purchasing your very first Digital SLR Camera!

Stay tuned for our next how to on choosing the right lens for your new DSLR Camera
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