Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The First Camera

So I admit, I didn't spend a huge amount of time researching which should be my first camera. I asked around a little, got a couple of suggestions, and read a few reviews online before settling on a Sony Alpha A230. It was cheap and the general online consensus was, it's a great beginner's model.

If you're looking to get into photography for the first time, when considering your camera choice I urge you to do the following:

1) Consider the cost. I know a cheaper camera generally means less quality, but if you spend four digits on your first camera and then decide photography isn't for you, you'll kick yourself. Think about the upper limit of your budget, and start looking at cameras a bit cheaper so you have some leeway.
2) If you can afford it, get a twin lens kit. What I mean by that is: most "high street" single-lens cameras come with a standard zoom lens, which is around 18-55mm with a maximum aperture of between f3.5 - 5.6 (I'll explain what that means in a bit). I bought a single-lens kit and already (two days after receiving the camera) am wishing I had the longer lens too. A twin lens kit will come with a second zoom lens, around 55-200mm. If you're serious about your photography, you'll need that second lens.
3) Buy a memory card at the same time. When considering your memory card, think about what kind of photos you want to take. If you think you'll take a lot of action shots and want to do that cool thing where you keep your finger down and it takes tons of shots in succession, you'll want to be sure that your memory card is fast enough to write a picture before accepting the next one. You'll need to think about what format you want to shoot in too, when deciding what size to get, but I firmly believe 8GB is big enough for any starter, and 4GB might even suffice if you want to shoot exclusively in JPG.
4) When shopping around, for the love of god use a price comparison site like Camera Price Buster (a UK site, I'm sure there are sites just like it for other countries). Not only does it query all the major (and minor) online retailers, but also provides totally legitimate voucher codes to enable you to pay the cheapest possible for your item. I was able to get my Sony for £300 by using this site -- much cheaper than had I just gone to the first high-street retailer I could think of.

In my next post I'll give a brief rundown on the terminologies and what that means when considering what sort of photographer you want to be.

Happy hunting!


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