8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Camera
1. Not Understanding Why You Want to Buy a Camera
You definitely want to know why you want to have a camera before actually deciding to make a purchase. I clearly had no idea. When I first started out I thought, hey a camera where you can change the lenses – that’s what pros use so I’ll do that too. Well I had no idea some of those lenses costs thousands more than the camera body, not to mention the tripods, extra batteries, accessories, off-camera lights, etc…. I just wanted to take better photos. This was an era before the amazing camera phones we have today. I didn’t really know why I wanted to a new camera. Did I want to shoot people, wildlife, landscapes? Did I want to shoot video? I didn’t have a clue. I wish I had thought of those things before I started. It would have saved me a ton of money! Think about what you want to use the camera for. There are so many great options out on the market now that we didn’t even have 5 – 6 years ago – you have mirrorless cameras leading the charge, micro 4/3 cameras still holding strong, classic DSLRs, and even camera phones that rival top of the line point and shoots.
2. Getting Caught Up in the “New Technology” Hype
Sometimes you’re just tempted to buy things, because they are new and trendy. I definitely fell into this category. Back in 2011 DSLRs were definitely “in” and without thinking about it, I automatically thought it was the best choice. I mean thousands of other photographers couldn’t be “wrong”. Well Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for you! Don’t get caught up in the hype.
I’ll give you a more recent example of “New Technology” Hype. When Lytro’s light field technology came out, I have to admit it was pretty darn awesome. It would allow you to take a photo of something and then with the final photo change where you would like to see the focus. It’s hard to explain in writing -hop over here to see examples. Anyways the Lytro is a classic case study of technology hype – where creators banked on the technology and didn’t focus on user experience. The first generation camera ended up being a flop. It was boxy and a weird shape – basically a giant rectangle. Anyways, again I repeat, don’t get caught up in the hype!
3. Megapixels, Megapixels, Megapixels!
Megapixels were and still are all the rage! People think the more megapixels a camera has the better it is! Well I hate to burst your bubble, but more in this case doesn’t always equate to better. As I’ve said before, it’s the quality of the megapixels that matter. Also other factors that are more important than megapixels such as processing speed, image sensor size and quality, and auto-focus speed should be priority. I always thought the higher the megapixel count the better the camera. This is definitely not the case!
4. Not Researching Enough
What I recommend doing (which I didn’t do) is watching a ton of reviews via youtube as well as reading a bunch of articles on the camera you’re interested in through DP review, Petapixel, and Fstoppers (among other photography review sites). Having different perspectives will allow you weigh the pros and cons and whether or not the reviewers pros and cons apply to you. For example if a reviewer says a camera is best for still photography, but falls short on videography – and you don’t care about videography, maybe you should consider it. What I also find that helps is to look at example images. A quick pro tip for this is to just google “[camera make and model] flickr images” So for example for my Canon 70D I’d search “Canon 70D flickr images”. You’ll be directed to images of a variety of photographers who have used the camera you were interested in.
5. Researching Too Much
Wait, didn’t this just contradict reason number 4? Well if you start researching too many cameras and features and what-nots, you get into something called analysis paralysis. You need to research, but only enough research where you can make an informed decision. You don’t need to know every single spec of a camera! Once you have enough information to make an informed decision, you don’t need to go further, unless that it is your version of fun.
6. Not Physically Handling the Camera
This I think was the biggest mistake I’ve made when I bought my first DSLR. I didn’t get to handle the camera and when I bought my first DSLR which was a Canon EOS Rebel T3 – a very basic DSLR – I bought it basically on a whim during a black Friday sale. I was really wanting the the T3i but it was much more expensive at the time, and I thought the T3 would have the same features… well I was wrong on that too (remember reason number 4). Anyways handling the camera will help you get a feel for it. The Rebel T3 has a plastic body, and feels pretty cheap, compared to a more prosumer camera (at the time) such as a Canon 50D with a magnesium alloy body which feels really solid.
7. Buying More Camera Than You Can Afford
If you are just starting out, you don’t need to “bite off more than you can chew” Sure if you can afford to drop $5000 to $8000 on a camera by all means go for it. But if you are just testing the waters, you won’t even know how to capitalize on the features of an expensive professional grade camera. I recommend buying something you can afford and be mindful of any other accessories you may need. Some argue that lenses are actually more important than the camera body in terms of image quality. I actually agree with this argument. A $300 camera with a $2000 lens is going to take a better image than a $2000 camera with a $50 lens. There’s no question about it!
8. Buying A Camera Just Because It’s on Sale
As you read earlier I bought my first DSLR “what I thought was pro” on Black Friday. I bought new (before knowing the wonderful world of refurbished) and I bought on impulse. The camera came with a kit lens and a generic Canon Camera Bag. I don’t recommend this at all! Usually there’s a reason cameras go on sale – sometimes for good reasons – the stores are overstock. However, I tend to find that the cameras that do go on deep discount sales are ones that don’t sell at all, because of some flaw (bad reviews, terrible features, etc…). I’d probably chalk this rule to anything that goes on a deep discount sale – such as a T.V.
Anyways those are 8 mistakes I’ve made that I hope you won’t make too when purchasing your next camera!
Thanks for reading!