Important things to consider when buying a DSLR - Buying Guide

If you have a passion for photography or interested to try photography and considering to invest in a new DSLR, we have some helpful suggestions on things to consider while buying a good DSLR camera.

Buying a DLSR is not only expensive but might even confuse you when you attempt to get one for yourself. Today, there are so many good brands offering numerous models with varying features and combo packs that are priced so competitively that you might have to scratch your head and wonder which one shall be a better model for you as a beginner.

If you ask for a review or expert opinion from others, there are more chances of getting a reply suggesting a list of the best DSLR models you can buy but did you ever think whether these best DLSRs are well-suited for your requirement or your expertise as an amateur.

We are not going to suggest any particular DSLR here but we will try to break down all the important aspects to consider while buying your first DSLR so that you do not regret your purchase.

Types of DSLR and its Intended Use

There are DLSRs in three categories - beginner series, semi-professional and professional. Further, there are basically two types of DSLRs, one with a crop sensor and the other being a full frame camera.

Now, almost all beginner level or semi-professional cameras are being offered with crop sensors. The term full frame in photography generally refers to a frame size equivalent to a 35mm film format. Crop sensors, on the other hand, are those whose sensor size is relatively smaller than a full frame and is cropped out. Not going to the technicalities involved, the difference of the photo output of the same scene using a crop sensor & a full frame camera can be depicted in the following picture.


As seen above, the most visible difference you can take note of between a full frame and a crop sensor is its field of view. In a DSLR with a crop sensor, the image is cropped out at a magnification scale of 1.5x as seen on the picture above.

So don't get confused on which one to buy as although a full frame is preferable, a crop sensor camera, on the other hand, works well too and is most widely used. The practical difference apart from its picture output between cameras of these two sensor sizes are given below:-

Advantages of full-frame camera over crop sensor DLSR

  • Full frame DSLR covers more in the photo frame and looks closer to natural

  • These DSLR bodies are more expensive and start at prices almost double of the crop sensor ones. Hence, it falls under the category of premium as well as professional cameras. Further, a lot of professional features such as the secondary dialer, better focus points etc. are offered in these models.

  • They support older lens which is quite inexpensive as they mostly have autofocus motors inside the camera body and does not require a lens that is nowadays available with built-in focus motors that are comparatively also very expensive.

Advantages of crop sensor DLSR over full-frame camera

  • Crop sensor DSLR has inexpensive bodies and can be bought by most people even with low budget.

  • Different lens with different focal length compensates for the 1.5x magnification factor and as such is no longer an issue. For instance, a 35mm prime lens serves as a 50mm with the magnification factor kicked in and can hence be adjusted accordingly while opting for a lens.

  • There is no support for the older lens but the modern lenses are highly sophisticated and offers excellent picture quality with its great optics and important features such as quick and soundless autofocus, VR etc.
To sum it all, don't get distracted when anyone suggests a full frame DSLR over a crop sensor but rather go for either of it based on your budget, preferably the later one if you are an amateur.

What DSLR features to consider when buying first time?

Who doesn't like features? Almost all newbie camera enthusiasts would like to have their camera packed with all the cool features they have either heard of or seen on product brochures. But believe us, most beginners will not use any of these features at all for years until they reach a very prominent stage to capture photos like a real pro. The bottom line is that don't care for a lot of features which are nothing but advertising gimmicks and not any USP for the camera.
Mega Pixels and Autofocus points: Most people fancy a lot about megapixels of the camera and take it as a decisive factor while choosing between cameras. Although higher numbers are preferable, I see no practical difference for a person who does not shoot posters to prefer 24MP over an 18MP camera. It is no big difference unless your requirement says otherwise.

The autofocus points, on the other hand, is an important feature but the use of the same depends on what you are trying to shoot and how. For instance, if you are trying to capture landscape or close portraits, I doubt what will you do with the additional focus points which sounds so good if offered in more numbers. However, if you do sports photography or wildlife photography or bird photography or like shooting your kids playing around then autofocus points would matter. And yes, there are other situations too when you will need it but I hope you got the basic idea of what we are trying to convey.

Tilt Screen, Articulating Screen or Fixed One
This feature of the camera display is the most misjudged by many to be an unnecessary feature for beginner photographers but its practical utility has to do nothing with a persons photography level but is rather more relevant to a person height apart from other great advantages it offers. For instance, a person with less height won't be able to click a photo of a subject crowded by a dozen other people around it. In such cases, he may try to stretch his hands high up in the air and shoot but it would be more or less a blindfolded attempt that has many chances to go wrong. On the contrary, if the camera of such a person would support a tilt or an articulated screen, he would have easily got enough visual to compose and frame the shot properly as intended.


Buy DSLR Body or with Kit Lens or Combo one?
Buying a DSLR body alone has no great advantage even if you own a kit lens because price difference in Indian currency is only Rs.1,000/- to Rs.1,500/- whereas the kit lens is worth around Rs.5,000/- if not more. If budget is not a concern, we would recommend the combo offer as it gives you a telephoto zoom lens which is generally 70-300mm one along with 18-55mm. The Nikon DSLR with18-105mm is also a better combination but a combo of kit lens and 70-300mm will be less expensive overall.

Nikon or Canon or Other Brand
Nikon and Canon are the most popular DSLR cameras for beginners and whether or not to choose between any one of them depends on your requirements. For instance, if you choose between the entry-level camera models then Nikon & Canon are both a good option with little to no big difference except for the fact that Canon will come at a cheaper rate than Nikon. If you go for mid-range, Canon with dual pixel autofocus is a great option for videography whereas Nikon scores much better in still photography.

Nikon DSLR is not bad for videography but the autofocus hunts a lot while recording videos if there is too much movement of the subject.

Buy DSLR camera online or offline
Buying a DSLR camera will be much cheaper online than in offline stores. However, not all e-commerce stores are authorized sellers for the cameras and one must do a quick research before placing an order as buying from an unauthorized store might leave you with no warranty or customer support which is bad for a product this costly.

Battery Capacity
DSLRs battery capacity is often advertised by the number of shot one can take in a full charge. However, practically it is to be noted that how the DSLR is used also makes a difference in the runtime of the camera. For example, if you use the display screen more often to change settings or preview images, the prescribed number of shots achievable will differ a lot with the actual numbers. So, carefully consider all these points and take a decision on your own.

What Accessories to buy with DSLR Camera?
First and foremost, if possible get a Prime Lens and you will not believe how your photography level enhances immediately on using it. We have an article on prime lens and its usefulness in DSLR that you can read for further reference. Other than a prime lens, try to get a Class 10 memory card of higher capacity and an extra spare battery if possible.

For those interested in videography or low light photoshoots, we recommend buying a tripod or a Gorillapod for better picture quality in such conditions.

Other accessories that you can go for are filters, lens cleaners, camera backpack with lens pouch etc.

If you liked this article, do share it with your friends on your social media pages. Also, comment down about your experience with DSLR and your feedback on this article.


Guest Author: Bhaskar Raj03 Mar 2019

Thanks Konwar for the detailed guide of DSLR cameras.
Your guide will help many beginners to buy the best DSLR camera with budget and avoid getting caught by the ads and information published by the manufacturers.
All the pro and cons of DSLR cameras from the type of lens advantages and disadvantages are clearly mentioned.

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