What Would I Like To Use It For?
Think about what you will actually use your digital camera for. What do you shoot now? Is there anything you'd like to take pictures of that you currently can't, like concerts in dark clubs? Are you printing and framing them? Putting them up on Facebook? Is this camera just for snapshots with friends? Are you trying to get into photography, or do you just want to take pictures? A bit of reflection here will narrow down your search tremendously.
What Do I Hate About My Current Camera?
Digital cameras have been around for about 15 years, and for most of us, our next digital camera won't be our first. If you are replacing a digital camera think about what frustrates you the most about your current camera. Does it take forever to shoot? Is its focus incredibly slow? Do the images come out flat and noisy? Is it too bulky to fit in your pocket?
Almost every camera you buy will, in some way, be a compromise. You'll be trading size for quality, price for speed, simplicity for specialization. Know what you are absolutely unwilling to deal with in your new camera so when it comes time to make that compromise, you'll know what you can't live with anymore so you're not spending more money just to live with the same problems.
What Do I Want Most: Portability, Picture Quality, Or A Mix?
This is an important question to ask because it will quickly narrow down your options to a certain range of cameras and can turn a choice between 50 cameras into a choice between five. First, a primer: With cameras, the size of the camera's image sensor has a great deal to do with the quality of the images.
A dSLR is large because it sports a very large image sensor, which produces amazing-quality photos but requires larger, interchangeable lenses to produce clean, sharp images over such a big area.
A point-and-shoot, alternatively, is amazingly portable and can even pack a great zoom into a tiny package because of its small sensor. But compare the images that come from a typical point-and-shoot to a dSLR, especially in low-light settings, and the difference is obvious.
There are, of course, compromises between the two, like fixed-lens super-zoomers and interchangeable-lens mirrorless formats. It's up to you to decide if splitting the difference is a worthy move.
How Much Am I Willing To Invest?
The more you spend, the more you'll get (for the most part). dSLRs are phenomenal cameras, but you'll have to buy the camera body, lenses, and accessories, so the cost can quickly cross four figures. Consider whether you'll use it enough to justify that expense.
It's likely that more of you reading this right now are figuring out whether to spend $250 or $350 (rather than $599 versus $899). At this price range, it's important to take the time to understand the true quality difference between the cameras in that price range. Is it something that actually affects image quality like a larger sensor or optical stabilization? Or is it superficial, like a touchscreen LCD versus physical buttons?
Really, put some thought into this decision. Time is the best investment you can make.
What matters most to me in a camera?
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- On your blog create a new page for this titled "My Camera", this will be a new section, not placed under assignments or photography
- Include on that page an image of the camera you would like to purchase.
- Include: Price
- What are the reasons you chose it (you would like to photograph landscapes or portraits or night photography or sports etc.)?
- What features do you feel are most important to you and swayed you to make this decision?
- Do you feel this camera can last you 5 years without becoming obsolete? Why?