Camera Buyers Guide for beginners

Camera Buyers Guide – for Beginners

This camera buyers guide for beginners is merely a guide. It is my opinion and as such every person is allowed their own opinion. You might agree with me or you may not. But it will hopefully shed some light (yes that pun was intentional) and it may hopefully help you to understand that there is more to consider than just camera brand name or believing the camera salesman.

Choose your quick section of our Camera Buyers Guide below.

Our Best Handpicked Camera Buyers Guide considerations Revealed:

Having a camera buyers guide to help you formulate a plan, will save you money in the long run and help buying your first camera a lot easier. 

Brand loyalty

This is a biggie. Many photographers will swear by X, Y or Z photography brand name. Unbeknown to most newbie photographers, the professional photographers use brand X, Y, Z or a very good reason. The MAIN reason for them using a specific brand is as strange as it seems not all brands are the same. Some brands shoot great DSLR video, some brands perform better under low light conditions than others. Some brands give a unique look and feel when shooting studio photography.

First above all before you even think about brands, think about what type of photography you  want to do. Knowing this will help you make an informed decision and will help you narrow down the pros and cons of the camera brand which is best suited to your photographic needs.


Once you have considered what genre of photography you will most likely be interested in, now consider your photographic lens(es) you may need at a later stage.

Some photography manufacturers bring out bundle kits with two or 3 lenses with a camera body. This is great and this option will really help any new aspiring beginner photographer.

Consider this:

2 years from now, you want to upgrade your lens(es) and only then do you realise that camera manufacturer X (whose bundle kit you bought on promo) offers the lens you require specific lens in one lens option while camera manufacturer Y (whose bundle you did not buy) offers the same lens you require but in 3 different lens options AND they are cheaper than camera manufacturer X whose bundle kit you bought.

As you know lens from manufacturer X will NOT fit on manufacturer Y, and versa-visa.

Also ask those in the know what the second-hand reselling value is of camera lenses. You will be surprised to know that there are certain lenses that cost a pretty penny when bought new but in the second hand market they are almost worthless and a dime a dozen. While there are other lenses in the second hand market which cost a pretty penny when bought new but their reselling value remains high.  

Megapixel Resolution

Unknown to most photographers mega pixels is just the area of your photograph in pixels. Think about it this way, a pixel is like a tile on a floor. Say you want to tile your bathroom and it requires 10 tiles length wise and 10 tiles breadth wise you will need 100 tiles (simple match 10 x 10 = 100). But say you want to tile your lounge and it requires 20 tiles length wise and 20 tiles breadth wise that’s an area of 400 tiles (20 x 20 = 400)

It’s the same with mega-pixels. Mega means 1 million. So a camera that shoots with 12 mega pixels the maximum area of the photograph is 12 million pixels (length of photograph in pixels x breadth of photograph in pixels = 12 million pixels (ie 12 million tiles). That may sound great…

Consider this:

To produce a photo quality image that is an A3 in size you ONLY need 5 or 6 mega-pixels to do so, provided the original photograph was correctly exposed and correctly edited !

So……….. do you really need a gazillion mega pixel camera? Rather look at the cameras features rather than just how big of a photograph it can produce.

Camera settings and features

This is the important part, and you can do a lot more with a camera that offers you more features and camera settings than one that gives you less features.


Consider the type of photography you might be doing and consider the lighting conditions you might face. For example wildlife photography, and you need to photograph something at dawn or dusk with low lighting conditions.

Different cameras have different maximum ISO limits. Having a camera that can give you a higher ISO rating should you need it is always very helpful.


This setting has to do with the lens that you have attached to your camera, so we wont get too much into this. All you need to know now as a beginner photographer is the better the lens you attach to your camera, the more options it will give your camera to set the aperture according to the lens you have attached.

Shutter speed

Here is another important camera setting. Look at the shutter speed that your camera model can do. This is NOT lens based perse like aperture but is camera based. Some models in the same price bracket can shoot a LOT faster than others

Consider this:

The shutter mechanism in your camera is a mechanical part, and each time you go “click” that mechanism moves, this is called an actuation. Many don’t know that their camera shutter mechanism has “life-time” and once you have reached that maximum amount that the manufacturer has guaranteed the shutter lifetime for, then it needs to be replaced as it will lag, the camera will be slow to take a picture, it will feel as though your camera has I mind of its own.

One way to save your camera shutter mechanism is not to shoot on burst mode all the time. Most mechanisms are guaranteed for 50 000 or 100 000 or 250 000 actuations. It may sound like a lot, but if you photograph on burst mode constantly for a year or two and you take 1000’s of images you will soon see that your shutter mechanism will start to fail.

Viewfinder / LCD

Having a camera with a LCD screen is a great help, especially a swivel LCD screen.

Consider this:

You are in a crowd and you need to photograph someone / something but there are people in front of you….. no problem with a swivel LCD screen, put camera between your hands stretch your arms and hands up as high as they can go, swivel your LCD screen to face down towards you, frame your shot, click and hey presto you got your image you require and there are no people in front of you as there are at eye level.

A viewfinder helps a lot too. When you get into photography you will learn to shoot using your viewfinder, it will help steady your camera and you will compose better images. Switching your LCD off and using your viewfinder will save extend your battery life. You will be able to take MANY more images on one battery when using just the viewfinder when compared to when using the LCD screen. Don’t believe me, try it and see for yourself.  

Video Capabilities

Most DSLR cameras offer the capability of video. If you want to do DSLR videography then this is option will be the most important to you.

When is the best time to buy a camera?

Strange as it seems there are 3 answers to this question. Now, September or December.

In September ALL the photography manufactures launch their new ranges and lines of cameras, lenses and accessories. Camera suppliers order new lines but have to sell out their “last year” models before they do. The result is we as photographers usually get last years stock at reduced prices and we pick up bargains.

December, this goes without saying as suppliers create great camera combo’s and camera and lens combo’s with lots of added accessories.

In conclusion

There is a lot to consider when buying a camera. Its usually best to do your homework and research. After taking the above mentioned things into account and consideration you will be able to make a much better informed choice towards your first camera which is an investment. Rather than an impulsive buy.