Photographer's guide for buying a camera

Posted : 09/19/2009 10:51PM

What is the perfect camera? The answer to that is rather simple – there is none !

There is a better camera for every photographer, subject, there are cameras that are better than others in one feature or another, but there is no camera that is superior to all others in every situation, and in every feature, and for every photographer. Therefore, you must choose carefully the most appropriate camera for your needs, your knowledge of photography and most importantly – budget...

Today there are hundreds and perhaps thousands models of compact digital cameras and SLR or DSLR professional cameras. So choosing the best camera for you is not an easy choice.

Just remember that after all the buttons, screens and other nice toys, this is a camera, and it should posses few basic elements and features that will enable the production of good photos. That's it, nothing more, nothing less.


First, lets try to match the camera to our subject :

1. Landscape and nature photography :

I recommend a lightweight camera lens wide angle lenses or other adapters that enable a wider angle, and let you capture a wider scene. Should also be larger focal length (zoom, for example, optical zoom x10 or even X12) It will allow close-up of trees, buildings or animals. Get one before your next safari.

2. Portraits Photography :

You should purchase a camera with a medium focal length lens (For example, optical zoom x6), it will enable you to capture people from a reasonable distance.

More experienced photographer will use a wider angle, to capture more details from the wider scene, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. It is also highly recommended to make sure that you can control the camera's depth of field !

3. Close-ups (macro):

Choose a camera with a close-up and a large depth of field. There should be a possibility to add a dedicated close-up lens. In some digital cameras you can get as close as one centimeter (1inch = 2.54cm) from the object! A camera that allows an external flash will weight few pounds more, but will yield great results next time you decide to try to see how a bee looks like on a flower, colorful sunny day.

4. Night photography:

The camera must allow long exposure (at least 30seconds). Personally, I make sure it supports blub mode (continuous exposure). It must have manual mode (M), and I highly recommend a camera that has a remote control (either wireless or not), to prevent shakes, and subtle move while trying to hold the fire button.

5. Large indoor spaces, such as galleries, wedding halls, reception halls, etc.. :

Make sure you can attach a strong external camera flash. The built-in camera flash is only good for short ranges (up to 9 feet in most cameras) and its illumination intensity usually intended to illuminate the object itself, and not the entire scene.


When buying a new camera, you should also consider the quality of the photos it can produce. A compact camera's sensor with 10 million pixels or more (most of the cameras today), should be good enough, I printed 40x30cm using 8MP with great quality.

The most important thing to do before buying a camera – DO YOUR RESEARCH. Ask the vendor, consult online forums, and photographers if you know any.