What Should I Buy as My First Professional Camera?
Investing in your first professional camera is a big step, and often people end up consulting a magazine or online articles, without having a real understanding of the product. Although gathering information is a first step, one cannot believe and have faith in these alone. After all its their job to sell you something!
Our aim is to provide you with various options when choosing a camera. As photographer – beginner or experienced – you should know what you are buying as your first professional camera (even if it’s not your first camera). With the following tips we will guide you through this process, so you can make an informed decision.
1. What Type of Photographer are You?
First of all you need to know what type of photographer you are. Maybe you are interested in fashion photography, portrait, nature, events, war, studio or maybe you just want a good camera to take photos while traveling.
This will determine the kind camera to suit your purpose and, most of all, the functions and the type of lenses you will need. Remember these 3 questions that will help you a lot on this subject:
- What do you want?
- Why are you buying it?
- How do you see yourself in the future?
2. What’s your Budget for a Professional Camera?
I think this is the most important question of all: the money. Sometimes we want to buy many things – the best camera or accessories, but we have a limited budget. Most people will see this as a failure, but for me it’s totally the opposite. I know it’s great to have more accessories and the best of the best, but the truth is that you’re buying with your heart and not your mind. Better equipment will not necessarily result in better photographs.
I recommend you do your calculations; invest in a good camera body, with some really good lenses (the lens will make the difference). Remember, it all depends on how much money you have and what your goal as a photographer is – for work or just as a hobby.
3. Which Brand?
WOW! Publicity has taken this too far. For most people Nikon or Canon are the best brands, but there are many different brands in the market, which are equally good and with much lower price tags; FUJI, Panasonic, Sony to mention just a few.
Again, it all depends on what you want to do with it. If it’s just for traveling maybe a professional camera with interchangeable lenses can work for you. But it will take a lot of space and it’s not going to be that comfortable walking for long hours with a heavy camera bag. For example, there are compact cameras such as Sony, which has great quality are lighter and smaller than some of the other brands.
However, if you prefer fashion, portrait, industrial, wedding, sports or another types of photography as your work, it is highly recommend that you look at a professional camera with interchangeable lenses. They will have a longer life-span, have more functions and options to select from, and you’ll have more stability thanks to their weight, as well as stabilizer features.
4. Photography, Video or Both?
If you’re a photographer that want to enter into the video business in future, try to buy a camera with at least these 3 options:
- Manage manually the ISO of the video
- Minimum 24 frames p/second (Cinema Style/Full HD)
- Audio Stereo (Input: Microphone – Output: Headphones)
These are just a few things to know if you’re buying a camera for photography and video; the Canon EOS Rebel is good with these options and not too expensive (Canon T3i, T4i, T5, T6i, T6s and also some models from Nikon). I recommend you look at cameras for video recording capability such as Sony and the RED, or if you have enough budget and you want to have both options (photo/video) with an awesome quality, you can buy the EOS 5D from Canon (Mark I, II or III). Otherwise, you can just focus on the photography style and the lenses.
5. What Else should you Consider?
This point is a reminder that for professional photography not everything is about the camera. You need good lenses ($$$), a tripod, an external flash, light sets, memory cards, batteries, transmitters for the flashes, a strong and resistant backpack or bag, and more. These are the most important accessories if you want to enter the photographic industry.
Sometimes it is better not to spend your whole budget on the camera’s body, but to rather invest in good accessories. (At least if you work in a studio only, you can manage with one lens). However, I highly recommend you to have at least two lenses – just for a backup.
Well, as you now know, with photography it all depends on your plan for the future and your budget. Think wisely, don’t get fooled by all the new trends. As mentioned before, camera bodies are very similar (there’s a lot of competition in the market and they just want to sell) but buying a good lens and a nice flashlight will make the difference!
I recommend you do a research in several stores and on the Internet to compare prices and features of the different brands and models. If it’s your first camera there will be a number of additional items that come with the camera’s body, such as at least 2 lenses, 1 memory card and the backpack. In addition, you can buy an external flash the same day or maybe at a later period; the idea is to buy something that will last over a period of time. Be smart and trust your guts! Good luck!