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How to select your perfect first DLSR

Buying your first DSLR camera can be daunting. Not only do you have to decide between brands you have to decide between a plethora of models, lenses and accessories, before potentially committing yourself (financially and emotionally) long term to the equipment provider of your choice.

The goal of this post is to make your buying decision that little bit easier!


Why Nikon?Laurence Sweeney Photography - Nikon logo

The two main players in the DSLR market are Nikon and Canon. If you have friends or family that use one or the other that will probably have already swayed your decision, and it’s a good reason!

I’ve been using Nikon for years now. They benefit from a huge, supportive online community and their lens mount size is consistent (going back to the 70’s!) so there is plenty of choice and you get pick up quality used lenses and accessories at relatively inexpensive prices. Also bear in mind that you end up replacing your DSLR body every few years whereas quality lenses can last years.

Megapixels, pah!

Any new camera you’re considering will have more than enough megapixels for what you need (unless you’re an aspiring commercial noticeboard photographer). Even models at the lower end with 10-12 megapixels will give enough detail to blow up your photos to posted size with no major issues, and how often is that likely to happen!? Moreover it just isn’t practical to shoot at very large megapixel sizes (a number of higher end entry-level DSLR’s now have 22-24 megapixel sensors) as the file sizes are enormous, take time to process and save, and ultimately just aren’t that practical!

Cropped frame vs full frame

Unless you’re an experienced professional photographer do not even consider full frame DSLR’s as they’re overkill for what you need. Full frame cameras are very expensive and all you’re getting in day-to-day terms is more weight and on-camera controls you’ll probably never use.

Budding HDR photographer?

You can do HDR photography with any camera that allows you to set manual controls but if you’re serious you’ll need a camera that has bracketing built in. This means the camera can automatically take 3 images at varying exposures (usually one at normal exposure, one underexposed, and one over exposed). You can then use HDR software to create one perfectly exposed image.

Professional features but on a budget?

You may be tempted to buy something like a Nikon D300 as you can pick them up for less than the price of some newer cameras. You’ll get fantastic build quality, more manual features and a decent price. However, the D300 is an old camera now and there have been a number of major advancements in camera technology in recent years, meaning you’ll get better photos and many more usable features in something like a Nikon D7100 (almost half the price of the cheapest full frame camera the D600 but essentially the same in terms of features!).

If you are interested in learning more or require the services of an experienced professional photographer in North East England, please contact me I would love to hear from you.

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