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what camera should i buy?

Isn’t buying a camera such a chore? I mean, unless you’re super geeky about photography and already know which brand of camera you like and what the latest models are all about, diving into the camera purchase process is really just not pleasurable for most people.

The Joys of Shopping for Photography Cameras

Personally, I love shopping for cameras. I know more about more brands and models than even a lot of professional photographers since, while I’m teaching, I get to look a wide variety of cameras on a weekly basis.

But, join me on a trip to an electronics store while I try to buy a TV and you’ll see a look on my face akin to a deer caught in headlights. I can’t imagine anything less enjoyable. I had a friend ask me to accompany her to an electronics store once since she didn’t know what TV to buy and she thought I would know something about it. We both left the store frustrated and with no TV. Thus, I know what it’s like for the non-professional photographer to try selecting a camera.

Too Many Camera Models; Too Little Time

It doesn’t help, to be honest, that camera manufacturers don’t make it easy. Go to Canon’s or Nikon’s website and see how many digital SLR models they have (about 15 each) and that some of those models are sold for very much the same price. What is one to do in this situation?

There are two questions I ask anyone wondering “What camera should I Buy?”:

  1. What is your ideal budget?
  2. What is your ideal size of camera (pocket, purse or over-the- shoulder or, if you’re a man: pocket, messenger bag or over-the-shoulder)?

These are really the two questions you want to get solid for yourself before you dive into figuring out all the other aspects— like megapixel count and what lens to get. Mostly, I suggest Canons and Nikons. The only time I diverge from this lately is the Sony NEX series, which is phenomenal.

So Canon or Nikon?

Canons are easier to learn on for beginners. Buy a Nikon if you’re planning on doing a lot of professional photography using flash (weddings, events, red carpet). If you want a smaller camera with all the bells and whistles, go with one of the Sony Alpha or NEX cameras. If you want a pocket-sized camera, any of the Canons or Nikons will do perfectly. To learn more about using Nikons specifically, check out my online classes that currently cover a handful of different Nikon digital SLRs.

And that’s about it. Anything beyond that and, most likely, you’re over-thinking your purchase. (I’m talking to beginners, here, so if you’re a photography geek and want to consider every camera specification under the sun, this blog post is not for you.)

Over-thinking your purchase is one of the most awful, early pitfalls you can fall into as a beginner photographer. It happens to the best of us.

I had a student once who couldn’t make a decision between a Canon and a Nikon for an entire year. He spent hours upon hours upon hours online looking up articles comparing the two. He sent me long emails detailing out the various arguments he had found between the two cameras. And, for that entire year, he didn’t create a single image because he didn’t own a camera. Finally, he bought a Nikon. He brought it home, took it out of the box and held it for the first time. In that moment, he decided he didn’t like how the handle felt so he returned it and bought a Canon.

Don’t overthink your purchase. Just buy a camera and see how it works for you. There are very few bad cameras on the market, and the longer you spend thinking over your purchase, the longer you’ll go not making images.

My friend eventually bought a TV. She realized it was better to shop for one without me.

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