Why selecting a new camera is like selecting a new date (or TV)

I’m in the market for a new TV at the moment. We went to a couple of stores and there are countless products with different and arguably the same features.

Trying to get the showroom staff to give you accurate info is a challenge.
Like moths changing direction to fly to the light so the sales staff change their song as you look like you are favouring one brand or TV over another. In the end Mr Google helped me clarify what I needed to know. But it’s a confusing experience!

That got me thinking about buying a camera and it’s as bad or maybe even worse. The thing is, like TV’s and many other products today, there are many cameras of all shapes and sizes. So it’s no wonder we don’t know which one to buy.

Do I get a DSLR, a Mirrorless, or a top end compact? Which make? Which model? What features do I need….?
What about lens, filters, bags —- the list is endless.

And then we’re fed this BS that it’s all about the camera

“You must have a great camera to get that shot”, I hear all the time. So the pressure is on us to buy the best we can with what we can afford.

Is it really about the gear?

Well yes and no!

gridYou certainly wouldn’t say to a chef that they must have a great kitchen or cooking equipment after eating a terrific meal at their 5 star restaurant.

And if you did look in their kitchen would the meal been any the less terrific if you found the same tools as anyone else, even those you find in a domestic kitchen.

Are drivers of Rolls Royce or Porsche cars any better drivers than you or me (assuming you are not one of them)?

If you’ve only got one device with you that is capable to taking photos whether it’s a phone or a DSLR – then that’s what you’ve got – period.

You can take great images with pretty much anything provided you know how.

Having an expensive camera is not directly proportional to the quality of the image.

In fact cameras of all shapes and sizes are all good. You just cannot buy a bad brand new camera!

I’ve heard it said amongst winemakers that you can make bad wine from great fruit but you can’t make a great wine from poor fruit regardless of the shiny expensive equipment you might have in the winery.

However you can make great wine from great fruit without necessarily having the latest, greatest and most expensive equipment.

Well the same applies to a camera if you have good technique, a good eye and skill then you can make great images with any camera.

The reality is that even for photographers, who rely on their cameras for their income, e.g. Weddings, Portraits etc. there’s plenty of smaller options than the traditional DSLR.
So for the vast majority a simple, usable and light camera is more than enough when you know how to use it properly.

So how to choose the camera you need?

Well that’s where ‘selecting a new date’ comes in (you were wondering what the connection was weren’t you!)

You see when you select a new date you’re looking for a good fit, in the dating sense its commonality and probably visual cues. Basically you want to be comfortable in their presence

Well it’s the same for buying a new camera. When you pick it up it needs to feel comfortable (the camera that is, not the date).

Does the grip feel good?
Is it easy to turn to portrait or vertical mode?Your camera takes really nice pictures

Does the weight seem too heavy, too light or just right?

If it has a viewfinder, does that fit comfortably against your eye?

Is the rear screen easy to see? How easy is it to see when you are holding it?

How easy is it to adjust the dials and access the menu/s?

This is what you need to look for in a new camera.

Of course before that you will need to decide on features and benefits, or do you.

As I said before, it’s not the camera that take the images but you. All features and benefits do is give you more options a lot of which you will never use or use once or twice a year at best. More on features in the next post in this series.

So a short cut is to decide how much you are prepared to spend, go into a shop and test drive those within your budget, decide on the most comfortable and buy it.

Now I know some of you will try before you buy in the shop and then jump on the web and buy from the cheapest online outlet. But just remember you wouldn’t be able to test drive it if the shop didn’t exist.

By all means shop around online but a least give the shop an opportunity to match it or at least get into the ball park.

So that’s my take on it. What about you?
Have you purchased a camera recently?
Feel free to add your tips and opinions below. I would really like to hear them.

While you are at it why not subscribe for future updates here.
You’ll get my free guide “Eleven easy ways to improve your marketing photography”.


Categories: Buying a camera, How to, travel photographyTags: , ,

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