I am a relative newbie here. Bought my first dSLR about 1 year ago. Had lots of fun shooting with it. Now hoping to give a bit back to the CS community.
This thread aims to describe the processes that went through when I looked for and bought my camera (incidentally a 450d). Not helping for seniors, may perhaps be useful for newbies
1. Why do u even need / want an SLR ?
My reason was stupid. I needed to look at a viewfinder. I dont know how to use a liveview screen. This was a result of being too used to film cameras during teenage times.
An SLR is NOT LIGHT AND IS BULKY. if weight might prevent the camera from being brought around, a P&S may be a better option. Image quality from most P&S is good enough for most people in most applications.
2. Decide on a budget and stick to it !
Plan for important additions like cleaning equipment, dry box/ dry cabinet FIRST as no matter what camera you buy, they are ESSENTIALS. Plan $50 to spend on a good book to teach basics. " Understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a nice start.
Only after deducting cost of essential items, then begin hunting around for the new camera.
Realise that camera / lens / accessory buying is ENDLESS. There is always something better, that costs more. Sticking strictly to a budget is the only way of staying comfortable.
3. Go to the shops and look around.
I went to some big name stores to play the cameras on display. I only played with those that I could afford. Dont have a brand restriction at this time. Honestly any camera brand is great ! When handling the camera, check for ease of handling, balance on hand-holding, whether functions are easy to access. Make a checklist of difference in functions at the particular price point you are looking at. (personally i looked and handled about 7-8 models over a 2 month period)
Visit www.dpreview.com, www.fredmiranda.com for some comments regarding each model.
4. Narrow the checklist to 1-2 models
To do this, look at the functions that are available.
For an ABSOLUTE NEWBIE who is clueless about what the functions are, the functions that you dont know about probably will not be critical to have (yet) .
During this time I kept looking at the most ex models with more functions.
Kept my head by going to flickr,
Look at links like
(all photo pools of entry dSLR)
Realised something! No matter what limitations the camera may have, they are all capable of brillant pictures ! Those cameras are all entry level, but the quality of pictures far exceed what i can dream off. A good picture / nice photo is therefore NOT ONLY THE CAMERA, its about how the user optimises the equipment.
After realising that, I then finalised my decision based on ergonomics. No matter how good the camera is, if after holding it for 10min, you get a cramp in the hand, or its too heavy, then its not for you. (For my only 450d passed the 10min handling test)
5. Buy the camera
Look at price guides at CS. Absolute greatness.
I then visited the shops personally or obtained e-quotes.
Looked at big stores like HN, Courts, Best Denki, and small shops like J316, MS color, PS
Bought from the person who was nicest to me during the whole long process
6. Enjoy SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT and READ READ READ and LEARN LEARN LEARN
buying the camera is only the start. The most important thing to do next is to learn about how to use all the functions in the camera and optimise them.
Only way is to read the manual, more books and practise more.
Like playing the piano, photography is a skill which takes time, patience energy to acquire, and even much much more to do well.
For myself this process took about 3-4 months, from thinking of buying to actually buying one. Hope that this thread may be useful to just 1 person.
Thanks for anyone who had the patience to read through this long long thread