Kevin Bradshaw –
Being that you are reading this column, I am going to assume that you want to take your photography skills higher than that of the average person. Therefore I am going to discuss the things to consider when shopping for a DSLR camera.
In my opinion far too much importance is placed upon the camera and to a large extent the megapixels of the sensor in the camera. The most important part of your gear when you are in DSLR photography are your lenses. So you ask, why am I discussing lenses when I said I was going to advise you on choosing a camera?
The reason is rather simple. Canon lenses will only fit on Canon camera’s, Nikon lenses will only fit on Nikon camera’s, and Sony lenses will only fit on Sony camera’s. Your friend says that is true, but you can buy third party lenses made by companies such as Tamron and Sigma that make lenses for Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras. This is true and even though these third party lenses are more affordable, they do not deliver the same quality as the Canon, Nikon, and Sony lenses.
You want to make sure whatever camera you choose will allow you to eventually get the type and quality of lens that you will want for the type of photography you are doing. With the three major manufacturers, (Canon, Nikon, & Sony), you will have no major concerns. Personally I recommend either Nikon or Canon, and I use Canon equipment for my photography. Regardless of preference, there is minor differences between Nikon and Canon, consider them to be equal for all practical purposes. Many people claim that the best DSLR camera on the market as of last year is the Canon EOS 5D Mark iii, which sells for around R24,000 which is not your entry level camera by any means.
DSLR camera’s can be divided into two categories, cropped frame sensor and full frame sensor. The full frame sensor camera’s are the most expensive and require the most expensive lenses, exclusively. A cropped frame type lens will not work properly on a full frame camera, however a full frame type lens will work on either type of camera. Megapixels are nice, but not the determining factor in deciding which camera to purchase. Anything over 12 megapixels will do a respectable job for you. What more megapixels allow you to do is to crop your photo down more in a post processing software like Photoshop and still maintain the quality. Anything much over 16 megapixels is kind of a waste of memory space as the improvement in quality is very difficult to determine with the human eye.
In summary, I recommend either Nikon or Canon, at least 12 megapixels, and you do not need more than 16 megapixels. If you can find a good camera used with less than 30,000 shutter actuations on it, it is well worth buying over new as it will likely cost half the price of new and do an excellent job for you if it is made by either of these major manufacturers. Next week we will discuss more about lenses.