What do you need to consider before buying your first camera?
Here are some of the things I considered.
If I was serious about learning photography I needed to move on from my phone camera, but what to choose? Bridge camera, mirrorless, DSLR - I needed to do some research...
I asked myself some questions.
What type of camera do I want?
And more specifically, what do I want to do as I embark on my new hobby?
Do I want a good 'point and shoot' that I can use to share images online?
Do I want to get out and about and take more landscape photography or become the 'family photographer' as I perfect my skill in portrait photography?
Or am I up for a completely new challenge, willing to embark on a steep learning curve and master the 'art of photography' in all it's glorious forms? The real answer to this question will decide the next steps.
Doing the research
One of my favourite pastimes - doing research - yielded some pros and cons of each camera type.
1. Bridge camera
Firstly I considered bridge cameras. They sounded like a good compromise. With their good zoom abilities they offered more than 'point and shoot' and they still gave options to share and use images.
Verdict - too similar to point and shoot/phone cameras, without offering enough opportunities to develop photography skills. Most reviews suggested that image quality from bridge cameras did not match that of mirrorless or DSLR cameras.
2. Mirrorless camera
The next option to consider was the mirrorless camera. I have to confess I hadn't come across these cameras before and didn't think they would offer a 'real camera' experience.
Verdict - after discussing this option in a camera shop I realised that the battery life was short in mirrorless cameras and they were also a tad expensive for my budget considering that I wasn't sure that I would keep up the hobby.
So they were out!
Which left the inevitable choice -
3. DSLR camera
I liked the look and chunky feel of these cameras, they had good battery life and there was a good choice of lenses available. There were still lots of choices to be made - should I go for entry level or more advanced? Canon or Nikon? Sony or Pentax?
Verdict - numerous reviews, both professional and user, listed some 'cons' to every option and on balance I opted for the Nikon D3400, a reasonably priced entry level DSLR, with generally good reviews and 'cons' that I could live with.
The real learning begins.
I have answered my question, what do I want?
I want to take good pictures, to learn new techniques, to challenge myself as a photographer by experimenting and using my own techniques, to be creative and to enjoy wherever this new journey takes me.
Camera bought, battery charged, the adventure begins...