5 things to know before buying your first DSLR camera

A camera system is an investment. But whether you are a hobbyist, or you want to shoot better, higher quality pictures for school or family activities or you want to dive into the art of photography, a camera system will serve you well. There are two choices in camera systems for professionals and hobbyists, the DSLR and Mirrorless. They have two characteristics in common that make them the choices of professional photographers and hobbyists, quality and versatility. One feature they share is interchangeable lenses. You can change lenses as needed for the shoot. This is the reason why both DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are also called ILC’s or Interchangeable Lens Cameras. 

DSLR or Mirrorless, The Question of Choice

A camera system is an expensive investment for sure. The camera and the lenses are quite pricey and investing in these needs some time for consideration and thought. The first consideration is DSLR or Mirrorless, which is a better choice?

  • DSLR – A Digital Single Lens Reflex camera has a mirror inside that reflects the light from the lens and sends this through a prism or a series of mirrors and then to the optic viewfinder. This is a feature shared with older professional film cameras. This gives you the advantage of seeing right as something is happening or real time, the exact scene, exactly what you want to capture. Because of the mirrors, the cameras are bulkier, in both size and weight. They have more lens options, faster burst rates and better battery life.
  • Mirrorless, as the name implies, are cameras that do not use mirrors. They work by passing the light through the lens and onto the image sensor. This captures a preview of the image which is displayed on the back screen. Some advance mirrorless models have a second screen inside, an electronic viewfinder that you can look through. In size and weight, these are weigh less than the DSLR and are smaller.

Depending on your needs, feature-wise, DSLR cameras are still the best choice, if you don’t mind the bulk and weight. On the other hand, for handiness and lighter weight, for pictures on the go - Mirrorless are advantageous. Plus, manufacturers are upgrading their models to be at a par in features with DSLRs.

Camera Brands

Professional grade cameras are carried by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Fuji brands. Canon and Nikon are good brand choices for DSLRs. While Sony, Olympus and Fuji are leading the pack when it comes to Mirrorless. For someone new to photography, any brand will do. There’s no big variation on quality and subtle details of the image no matter which brand you choose.

Does Higher Megapixel Really Matters?

Let’s get this out in the open, higher megapixels are only needed for editing and really large printing. Megapixels are simply the million pixels in an image or picture. You need higher megapixels if you are printing the picture or images. Lower megapixel results in blurry or less sharp prints. Now, if your pictures are just meant to be viewed via your computer screen or uploaded to photo sharing websites, 1 to 3 megapixels are just right; and for small to large prints, 2 to 7 megapixels will do.

The Importance High Resolution and Large LCD Screen

The main reason for the screen in the Electronic viewfinder is to compose and frame the scene that you want to capture. High resolution and large LCD screens in a digital cam serves as the viewfinder and helps you steady the focus, and gets rid of the shaking which results in better images. It is also a better option when shooting a video.

Does Size Matter with Sensor?

The very central element of a camera is the sensor. And the bigger the sensor, the better images you will capture and produce. But it also means a larger cost. There are 2 sizes, full frame and crop sensor. A full frame is advantageous in terms of more dynamic range and wide angles. It is also more sensitive to incoming light and very useful in low light settings. Crop sensor is good for zooming in on a long-range image such as in a safari, bird watching and shooting sporting events. The crop sensor has the advantage of optimal details at long range.