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whentaniatalks: Beginners’ Guide To Buying A DSLR – Things To Consider

Monday, 16 February 2015

Beginners’ Guide To Buying A DSLR – Things To Consider

Hi Everyone!

I am by no means an expert on photography or cameras, but I know an awful lot of questions get asked about what the best camera to buy is. I have just purchased my first (& I’m hoping my only) DSLR, so I thought I’d share my experience with you!

To avoid you all having to read an essay, I thought I’d separate this subject into four posts; ‘Things To Consider’, ‘Where to buy’, ‘My Thoughts On My Camera’ & ‘Accessories’.

I started seriously looking at DSLR cameras about 6 months ago. I went to a number of stores, the two most productive being Currys & Jessops on Oxford Street. I was particularly impressed with the help I received at Currys.

The first thing to decide upon is your budget. When doing this, take into consideration any extras you may need – tripod, memory card, extra battery, camera case, etc., etc. Once you have your budget & your list of accessories that need to come within this (it’s helpful to have a rough idea how much these will come to), you’re ready to start looking at cameras.

This is a good time to think about what you want from your camera – you may already have some ideas!

For me, I wanted the camera to:
  • be light (because of my joints)
  • able to film well (for my YouTube videos)
  • capture moments quickly (as I want the camera to be able to capture a growing family & babies don’t wait around!)
  • be able to perform well in low lighting situations (because of my photosensitivity flash photography is problematic).

Through my research into DSLRs, I learned that I needed the highest possible ISO to get the best images in low light. I also found that I needed to pay attention to shutter speed for quick image capture.

Initially, I thought I wanted a Canon – everyone else is using them, so they must be good. Right? Wrong.

I’m sure Canon’s are great & I’m sure I wouldn’t have any complaints about a Canon, but the Nikon I chose was just that little bit more suitable for me. It took me a while to come to this realisation – that not everyone is the same & we all have different needs!

Something I would totally recommend is to go into a shop & hold the different cameras. Each camera model feels different, regardless of whether they are from the same brand or not. Buttons are usually in a similar place over brands, but a lighter, smaller camera body can mean that some features are omitted. If you can, get a demonstration for the cameras you’re interested in.

So although I came to the realisation that a Canon was not the brand for me, I initially looked at the Canon 1100d (this was the camera I was certain I’d buy, but it’s not being made anymore). This has been replaced by the 1200d, which seemed to me to be more money for not a lot more camera! Canon then came out with the 100d – the weight of this camera was what really appealed to me! I also debated the Canon 700d & it’s Nikon counterpart, the D5300.

Once I’d worked out the three cameras I was interested in, it came down to features. It was when I spoke to a friend with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome about cameras that I felt confident removing the Canon 100d from the equation. This camera lacked the features I wanted & though it is extremely light, the body felt too small & I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get a good enough grip.

This left the Canon 700d & Nikon D5300, both of which have flip screens. The Nikon is lighter & slightly better in terms of low lighting photography & takes 5 frames per second on continuous shooting mode rather than 4. This was something I thought would be useful for catching the first baby moments – set the camera up & leave it to shoot. If I only get one good shot each time, it’ll be worth doing! The Nikon also felt more comfortable in my hands – the body is smaller & the buttons are in a better place for me to reach. I did have to make some compromises. The Canon is slightly better for capturing video, more specifically for the omission of audio during focusing. The display is also touchscreen &, though this is something that isn’t important to me, might be a deciding factor for some.

For me, the small differences weighed in favour of the Nikon D5300. The addition of the built in wifi made the Nikon irresistible, as I can upload directly to my phone & post on my social media!

I really hope this post has been helpful. It took me a long time to work through all the information I needed to make my decision & wanted to share my thought process with you.

What were your priorities for buying your camera (DSLR or otherwise)?

Tania Xx



At 24 February 2015 at 10:18 , Anonymous Caz said...

Hi Tania,

Have fun at the Bloggers Love Hub event today. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this, I'm currently looking for a DSLR cam and I'm hopelessly lost, because I know little about photography. Like you, I've got a model in mind but need to check out the technical details first if it fits to my needs. The problem I have at the moment with my compact cam is that all pictures are blurry and not clear and sharp. It has a terrible macro modus so close ups are usually a catastrophe. I've been looking at a Nikon as well. Not so sure about Canon as most bloggers I follow (and admire their pictures) shoot with a Nikon. Shutter speed is defo a criteria, nothing is more annoying than a slow camera. Love you went for a pink camera. Hope you're well and speak soon xxx

Caz | Lunch Break Adventures

At 26 February 2015 at 21:33 , Blogger Tania Jayne said...

Thanks Caz! Don't worry - I knew very little about cameras & photography. When people tried to tell me about it everything got jumbled up in my head & I was left none the wiser. I found exactly the same problem with my compact camera as you are having with yours. That was why I felt the need to upgrade. I don't know what macro modus are, so you're ahead of me in that respect! It's interesting that you say most bloggers you follow own Nikons. I have found the opposite! This actually isn't my camera - I didn't have a pic of mine & didn't have time to shoot one before the post went up so it's actually Chloe's from Clos Beauty Spot! I could have got my Nikon in either silver or red but would have had to pay an extra £40 or so. If there's anything I can help you with while you make your camera decision please let me know! Xx

At 3 March 2015 at 19:32 , Blogger Kimmy (Beauty Isles) said...

I really do want to upgrade my camera one of these days. I just went from my ipad to a fairly decent point and shoot last year, but maybe one day soon. :-) I'll bear in mind what you said here - especially going into the store and actually testing the camera in your hands to see how it fits and feels. :-)

Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

At 3 March 2015 at 21:04 , Blogger Amy Shearman said...

This post was so helpful, thank you! Totally agree with you on the whole Nikon and Canon thing, I checked them both out in store and for me the Nikon wins. Hoping to get a new camera soon to take pics for my blog and my growing family. x

At 5 March 2015 at 10:07 , Blogger Tania Jayne said...

I really noticed a difference when I went from my iPad to my point & shot. I'm still learning my way around my DSLR, but am already noticing the difference in quality there too. I'm so glad I heard all three of the cameras I was interested in. It makes such a difference! Xx

At 5 March 2015 at 10:09 , Blogger Tania Jayne said...

I'm glad you found it helpful Amy! I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth posting as I'm certainly no expert! As well as blogging, one of my priorities for getting the camera was to capture those family moments, particularly as my memory is very bad! Xx

At 3 April 2015 at 17:50 , Blogger Noor Unnahar said...

I have never owned a DSLR but I am certainly looking forward to buy one. My first concern would be price for sure but i have to decide which feature I would focus on. I have always loved Nikon more, though Canons are more hyped.
Noor's Place blog

At 3 April 2015 at 22:11 , Blogger Tania Jayne said...

I completely agree - know your budget & stick to it & focus on the features that are most important to you. You can use the other elements to narrow your choices. Xx


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