After just a few minutes of browsing some camera retail web sites for the latest and greatest of cameras, the question, "Which camera should I buy?" quickly became more ominous then first thought. With so many options of makes and models, as well as, varied opinions and reviews from others, I soon figured out that I would have to find the answer for myself. So, if you find yourself asking the same question or wanting to know what equipment to upgrade to, here are the questions I asked of myself that helped me know which camera to buy.
1. What type of photos will I be taking the most of? Today's "Point & Shoot" cameras perform very well, and are convenient during vacations, but a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera would be more effective for taking photos of a sporting event. My plans were to take photos of landscapes and city street scenes at night.
2. What camera functions/techniques do I know? Look for cameras that have functions you are familiar with, and include some additional functions to allow for some growth. Not too many additional functions, nor so advanced that you may feel intimidated and confused. I knew the basics of exposure (Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO (Film speed)), Bracketing, and basic B&W darkroom experience.
3. How much money do I want to spend? This one is totally up to you. I'll just say, the camera I really, really wanted cost more than I could afford at the time, but during this process I was able to identify alternatives that were within my budget.
4. Canon or Nikon? My choices boiled down to Canon and Nikon. To avoid a lengthy debate, I took my eyes of the name brand and took notice of the many accessories each had to offer and their cost. Canon seems to be more popular, and offers more accessories, but the influence from my photography mentor had quickly prevailed. I became a Nikon user.
Since my first camera purchase, I have just one more piece of advice. Rent. If at all possible, rent the camera and/or equipment you are interested in purchasing. Get familiar with the many different features, the feel of it in your hands, the picture quality, it's ease of use, etc... When you feel as though it is yours, it's time to buy.
The best place I know to purchase photography gear, and they have tons of information, is B & H