The 5 Mistakes I see beginners make when buying a DSLR or mirrorless camera

Identify your photography soulmate by avoiding these Mistakes.

Moving from a smartphone to the world of “real” cameras might be difficult. Should I Buying a mirrorless camera or a DSLR? Do I require many megapixels? Does having a viewfinder matter?

While asking questions using the camera is helpful. I’d advise you to leave your web browser (after reading this, of course). Go back, and ask some more important questions. What makes a DSLR or mirrorless camera necessary? What do I want it to do for me?

Your future DSLR or mirrorless camera has a very good chance of elevating your photography to a new level. Frequently empowering you on your creative journey, and consistently encouraging you to produce excellent photos, in my opinion. If you apply some guided thinking.

On the other hand, I frequently observe beginners making the following errors. When purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless camera as a reviewer with over 5 years of experience in the photo industry. By avoiding them, you’ll not only receive the greatest beginner camera, but the one that’s best for you.

5 mistakes to avoid when buying a DSLR or mirrorless camera

Mistakes buying a DSLR :

1.Only buying the latest and greatest

It makes perfect sense to go new when purchasing your first camera. However, there are numerous trustworthy used-goods shops where great deals can be found. Especially for cameras that have been replaced by more recent models.

Check out our explanation on how to purchase a used DSLR or mirrorless camera for a detailed guidance on how to accomplish this. Some of our favorite used cameras. Advice on how to check your camera’s shutter count, and the best places to shop are all included.

A used camera from a prior generation is frequently less expensive than the latest model that is still available. Additionally, mirrorless cameras have advanced to the point where most beginners can get by with the previous generation (with newer features tending to be more video-focused).

No of the price, there is such a thing as too many cameras. A professional sports camera like the fantastic Nikon Z9 is not necessary for a beginner. Professional studio and landscape photographers, for whom resolution is paramount, would be foolish to choose it. They can get the same image quality potential from the Nikon Z7 II, which is half the size and cost.

Don’t be fooled by megapixels either, unless you’re printing onto billboards. The size of the image increases with the number of pixels, however anything with 12MP or more is more than sufficient for an A3 print. Additionally, because smaller pixels are less able to capture light. Having more pixels on a sensor of the same size has a negative effect on the quality of low light images.

Mistakes buying a DSLR :

2. Not budgeting for lenses

The camera body is just the start of a system that includes DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. I practically guarantee that the majority of people who have grown disinterested in using their DSLR or mirrorless camera never acquired a second lens.

Choosing the appropriate lens is crucial since it can help you save money on your camera purchase. Perhaps even more so than choosing a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Although kit lenses have improved over the years, purchasing a system camera will allow you to fully utilize its capabilities. Especially by purchasing the best lens or lenses for your needs and budget.

Are you drawn to portraits? A lens with a maximum f/1.8 aperture has significantly better out-of-focus results than one with an f/5.6 aperture. You can get vibrant portraits with silky-smooth backgrounds with the former. In practice, it is far more difficult—if not impossible—to obtain the same result with the latter.

The majority of DSLR and mirrorless camera systems have inexpensive lens choices that can perform better than kit lenses. A inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lens is a fantastic place to start for family photos and portraits. Because it offers a comparable experience to the phone’s portrait lens. A close-up lens, whether telephoto or macro, is something you’ll want if you enjoy taking pictures of wildlife and activity.

Mistakes buying a DSLR :

3. Focusing on the camera ahead of your passions

A few years back, I was at a camera store where a customer was asking for recommendations on a camera purchase. The customer was mostly listing the features of the cameras they had read about online and obviously believed they needed. What do you prefer to make images of, the sales representative inquired after patiently listening.

The customer’s body language first indicated that they were flustered. But as their cognitive memory began to take over, they began to relax. The delight of taking the images was emphasized instead of the camera equipment itself. This, in my opinion, is the key question to ask while looking for a new camera equipment.

Inadequate equipment will lead to disappointment and disillusionment. The camera will sit in a bag gathering metaphorical dust and losing value if you don’t use it. By enabling you to take the photos you want, a camera equipment can provide you the most joy.

In actuality, most current cameras are capable of most tasks, but some are more appropriate for particular subjects than others. A camera that has good autofocus and can take a lot of photographs per second will be more effective for wildlife. The action photographers in capturing a key moment (known as the burst rate). Consider the Canon EOS R6, Panasonic Lumix G9, or the used Nikon D500 DSLR.

Contrarily, a tiny, quick-response camera like the Ricoh GR IIIx or Fujifilm X100V lets you blend in and people around you unwind. Making it perfect for capturing family moments and candid street photography. The key message is to be aware of the situations that spark your imagination and utilize those to direct your camera search rather than the other way around.

Mistakes buying a DSLR :

4. Not getting your hands on the camera first

Passions should come first, but it doesn’t hurt at all if you like the camera you’re holding. Where do you start when there is such a large selection of designs, sizes, and brands when DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are so different from smartphones?

My advice is to experiment with different camera systems firsthand to discover how they affect you personally. When I had some spare time in an airport years ago, I remember feeling an instant connection with the Fujifilm X-T2.

Better yet, head over to your neighborhood camera shop, if you have one. If so, visiting chains that still have physical stores is still well worth the trip. These include stores like Adorama, B&H Photo Video, and Samy’s in the US, while you may still visit Park Cameras or the London Camera Exchange in the UK (which is also outside the capital).

The small design details of a camera can make or break your experience when you first handle one. And don’t be embarrassed to take a camera’s appearance into consideration when making your choice; after all, a camera that you like to pick up and handle is one that you’ll use more frequently.

How do its dimensions and weight fit your needs? Do you find the grip to be cozy in your hands? Feel the balance of several lenses while wearing them (for more on lenses, see point 4). Find a camera with a viewfinder if you are upgrading from a smartphone and see what you think of it. These are especially useful for good vision in strong light.

Consider how simple this camera is to use for a novice as well as the possibilities it offers as your abilities develop. At first, auto shooting modes are great, but are you truly learning how to use a camera when the camera is in charge? Get one with adequate manual control instead, and become familiar with how everything operates. This camera might just be the catalyst for your artistic growth and the source of some of your most treasured images.

Mistakes buying a DSLR :

5. Dismissing smartphones

I’ve been a photographer for a long time, so writing this one hurts a little. When purchasing your first DSLR or mirrorless camera, it is possible to make the error of purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Nowadays, smartphones have amazing cameras, so you could use the money you would have spent on a camera to buy one of the greatest camera phones instead, like the iPhone 13 Pro.
Even my mid-range Google Pixel 4a smartphone, which is three years old, has a passable camera for casual photography. Since I bought it, I have used this camera the most because it is always ready to use and is always in my pocket. Since then, however, smartphone camera technology has advanced significantly, with multi-camera setups and larger sensors providing more accurate depth perception.

Therefore, your best alternative might be to improve your smartphone rather than purchasing a “real” camera. Of course, a phone won’t be suitable for all types of photography. A DSLR still outperforms a phone in at least five areas. It can be a good approach to figure out what kind of camera will fit you best for general photography. Though, and for learning how to use different focus lengths.

Even if you decide to utilize a smartphone instead of a DSLR or mirrorless camera. I still suggest improving your skills with it. Have you ever investigated the numerous manual modes or dived deep into the camera’s menus? discovered the optimum lighting conditions and composition techniques?

Our articles on how to shoot epic landscape shots with your phone, how to take professional portrait photos with your phone, and how to take professional food photos with your phone are great places to start. Another resounding testament for how far smartphone cameras have come is the fact that every single one of them includes advice from professional photographers who use their phones for work.

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