We see it happening all the time – People buying a brand-new camera without doing the proper research needed to buy the right camera for them! And then realising it’s a bit too complex so a £5K PLUS camera just stays in the box at the bottom of a cupboard.
Ask yourself (and be honest) the following questions before buying your camera.
Why have I chosen to buy this camera?
When Lee was a travel consultant, she was trained to ask at LEAST 12 questions to the prospective holiday goer to understand what they wanted – no good selling someone an all-inclusive, sit by the pool holiday when what they really liked to do was to experience the culture of a historical City and see all the museums!
- Maybe you’re loyal to a particular brand and you are upgrading a previous make & model and want to stick with what you know.
- Have you succumbed to peer pressure (“You NEED to/MUST get this camera” – or, even worse, the dreaded, “Oh, you’re not going to get THAT camera, are you?”) and you feel that if you don’t buy an expensive or certain type/brand of camera, you won’t be a ‘Proper’ photographer.
- Maybe you want a camera that you can grow into? If this is the case, are you prepared to take responsibility for your learning? Are you willing to put in the time and effort? Do you have the time?
- And the last one, which we hear time and time again – The camera shop advised me to get this camera, they said it was the best on the market. When, really, it just meant they earned more commission for selling that particular camera! We know it happens because it has happened to us!
Is this camera too complex/too expensive for my needs?
Recently we have seen a larger than usual number of people purchasing high end, professional cameras that have ALL the whistles and bells – while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, we do wonder why?
What is their motivation?
We’ve asked ourselves the questions mentioned in point 1 more than once recently, especially if they are beginners to photography and buying their very first camera.
Why would you want (or need) facial recognition when you are not a wedding or portrait photographer? Why would you want auto-tracking when you are never going to do action or wildlife photography?
Again, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t buy an all singing, all dancing complex, high end professional camera, maybe you will grow into it – but make sure you ask yourself these questions we’ve mentioned.
It might save you time, money, and tears.
Am I prepared to put in the work, time, effort, and cost to invest in learning this new camera?
There is no use buying an expensive camera if you are not prepared to learn how to use it properly. Whether this is learning the basics such as the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter, Aperture) settings and how they work together to make an image, or more in-depth knowledge such as the menu and functions setting SPECIFICALLY for your make and model of camera.
All too often we hear the same old comments…
- I don’t have enough time to learn my camera.
- My camera never comes out of its bag.
- Training/tuition is too expensive (this applies to in-real-life events/training/tuition as well as online, paid for training) and I’ve already spent my budget on my camera and lenses.
If you are going to invest in a camera, ANY camera, no matter the make, model, or cost, it is always going to be a bad investment if you do not spend the time, effort and/or money learning how to get the best from it.
If you are on a budget, and you know you want to have some help to learn how to use your camera, perhaps buy a cheaper camera and save some money for some training.
We would challenge ANY photographic trainer or camera dealer who says they know the workings of every camera make and model in existence – there are so many cameras with differing menus, functions, and settings on the market today it would be near on impossible for someone to be completely up to date with all the technology of every camera. Even models within the same camera manufacturer differ enormously.
This is where our ‘Bonus Top Tip’ comes in:
Take some responsibility!
- Read your manual – print it out or buy a hard copy if you have to and always keep it in your camera bag – you never know when you (or your photographic tutor) could need it.
- Watch YouTube or other videos (we recommend paid tutorials by reputable and knowledgeable experts – especially if you get downloads and workbooks included) specific to your camera.
- Sign up for newsletters from the camera manufacturer, and subscribe to their social channels.
- Join an organisation so you can mix with like-minded people to learn from – You might even meet someone with the same camera.
- Get to know YOUR camera by practising and using it at least once a week.