Which DSLR should I get

With all the Black Friday deals and Christmas around the corner, the question “what DSLR should I buy” dominates the photography Q&A.  Here is my take on the subject.

Since the question is about DSLR’s let’s first consider two factors, full frame or crop frame.  The full frame camera bodies start around $ 2,000 where as the crop sensor entry level DSLR starts around $ 400.  Decide which one you want.  A few quick tips – the full frame sensor camera will have better image quality, low digital noise and a shallower depth of field compared to a crop factor camera.  If it is relevant consider video capability, most DSLR’s in the market are video capable.

Resolution and Mega Pixels do make a difference, but do not make this a key factor when you’re choosing the camera. Today’s entry level DSLR’s  are capable of capturing images that will produce sharp print enlargement. A camera with over 16 megapixels is adequate for most photography.

Next is brand selection as you will make a small investment in the camera body but considerable investments in good lenses.  This is a long term investment and remember lenses are not interchangeable between manufacturers. Lens selections are an important consideration and currently Canon and Nikon offer the widest lens choices with Sony following close.  Third party lens manufactures offer good choices but for now I suggest you stay with the manufacturer of choice.

So how do you decide?  Go to your local camera store and hold various camera bodies (with the kit lens attached) in your hands.  Get a good feel for weight comfort and size.  Next look at the controls, the position of the key controls is important, do you feel comfortable with the position and your ability to press, turn and maneuver through these.  Now look at the menus and the ease of understanding the various settings – do they make sense to you?  The newer models have inbuilt help so it is easier to understand the various functions.

So once you have a good feel for the camera body select a good lens in the 18 to 135 mm focal length range.  If you feel you might upgrade to a full frame camera in the future, make sure you do not buy lenses designed specifically for crop factor cameras.  You do not want to repurchase the same range again just because you upgraded your body.  Camera Kits are cost effective but I suggest you buy the boy and better glass.

Once you have made you purchase and want to learn the basics of photography, or if you just want the basics, sign up for a one day workshop on December 8, 2012 – click here for more information.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Singer November 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Shiv, a smaller sensor (for instance Nikon’s DX versus FX sensors) could be the better choice for many. Noise has less to do with sensor size these days than algorithms and size of sensor SITES. The 36MP Nikon D800 seems to suffer more noise at high ISO’s than the last generation D700, the result of squeezing smaller sensor SITES into the given space of an FX sensor.

    • sverma November 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      Hi Bob, Its not just the noise but also the quality, the shallower depth of field that is appealing. Personally I feel more and more pro and semi pro photographers will lean towards the FF camera bodies. The crop factor cameras will be replaced (slowly) by the micro four third format. The P&S will die (that is great) and phone devices will become the the multi purpose still and video replacement. I could be wrong but hope not.

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